Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Cannabis policy under worldwide review

For those of you who are kind enough to stop here to find drug news and find me still blathering on about baseball, here's a couple of items from the greater world of cannabis policy today.

In South Korea, "a narcotic crime expert claimed marijuana should not be regarded as a narcotic, supporting a female actress who filed a petition with a court to decide whether the laws banning marijuana are constitutional."

The remarks were made on behalf of the actress Kim Pu-son, who was arrested in July for smoking marijuana and was sentenced to a suspended prison term of two years. She filed a petition yesterday to a Suwon court where her appeal is pending, demanding it review whether the law on narcotics is constitutionally acceptable.

"Current law prescribing marijuana as a narcotic is unconstitutional, and banning marijuana is in violation of the right to pursue happiness," Kim claimed during a media briefing after filing the petition. She also said if the court rejects it, she would file the petition with the Constitutional Court.

In other news, a court in Belguim struck down part of a law regarding cannabis use that was enacted in 2003 to facilitate the use of medical marijuana. The court said that the legislation, which allowed users to smoke smal amounts of the drug in private as long as they do not disturb public order, was too unclear. According to the court, the police have too much discretion to assess the psychological, medical or social situation of the user and there is too much room for interpretation.

Meanwhile, in the town of Malama, India - a tiny village whose inhabitants have depended on the cultivation of cannabis for their livelihood for over five generations, the government has embarked on an irradication campaign that has destroyed over 14,000 acres of the crop.

The government has not come through with promised alternative jobs and rehabilatitation however, leaving the townspeople destitute and hungry. The angry villagers are demanding compensation for their lost crops.


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