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IACM-Bulletin of 03 July 2011

USA: The federal government clarifies in a statement which licensed growers of cannabis may face prosecution in states with medical cannabis laws

The US Justice Department said in a memo to federal prosecutors that cannabis dispensaries and licensed growers in states with medical cannabis laws could face prosecution for violating federal drug and money-laundering laws. It says that a 2009 memo by the US Justice Department did not give states cover from prosecution. In 2009, the Justice Department told prosecutors they should not focus investigative resources on patients and caregivers complying with state medical cannabis laws.

The new memo says that this view has not changed. "There has, however, been an increase in the scope of commercial cultivation, sale, distribution and use of marijuana for purported medical purposes," says the new memo. With regard to large-scale cannabis cultivation centres it says: "Some of these planned facilities have revenue projections of millions of dollars based on the planned cultivation of tens of thousands of cannabis plants." On 30 June, Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said that the new statement does not represent a new policy, but rather clarifies the policy.

More at:
www.pressherald.com/news/nationworld/justice-memo-says-pot-growers-could-face-federal-prosecution_2011-07-01.html

(Source: Associated Press of 30 June 2011)

Italy: According to a ruling by the Supreme Court citizens may grow small amounts of cannabis at home

The Italian Supreme Court ruled on 28 June that citizens may grow small amounts of cannabis on their home balconies and terraces. Such an amount "could cause no harm," said the Cassation Court. Citing this rationale, the supreme judges rejected an appeal filed by prosecutors from the Catanzaro Court of Appeals. This appeal contested the not-guilty verdict of a 23-year-old charged for keeping a cannabis plant in a small vase on his home balcony in the town of Scalea in Calabria.

This verdict signals a new chapter at the Cassation Court, where previously narcotics cultivation always required a punishment, even in the case of minuscule amounts. The court caused some excitement in 2009 when it said it was legal to grow cannabis as long as people didn't let it get big enough to harvest the drug, ordering police to step in only if there was a concrete threat.

Links:
- www.lifeinitaly.com/news/en/145687
- www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/06/29/In-Italy-no-need-to-hide-the-pot-plants/UPI-74621309392885/

(Sources: ANSA of 28 June 2011, UPI of 29 June 2011)

News in brief

USA: Montana
A judge has blocked parts of a Montana law that would have imposed tough new restrictions on state-sanctioned medical cannabis suppliers starting on 1 July. In a preliminary injunction issued on 30 June, state District Judge James Reynolds in Helena ruled those limits would effectively deny access to cannabis for many patients entitled to use it under the state's 7-year-old medical cannabis law. (Source: Reuters of 1 July 2011)

USA: Sativex
The company GW Pharmaceuticals announced that a second phase III clinical trial with their cannabis extract Sativex was started in the USA to investigate the effects in pain of patients with advanced cancer. This indication represents the initial target indication for Sativex in the United States. This trial is fully funded by Otsuka Pharmaceutical, the licensing partner of GW in the USA. (Source: Press release by GW Pharmaceuticals of 30 June 2011)

Science: Sport
According to research at the Idaho State University in Pocatello, USA, both the opioid receptor antagonist naloxone as well as the cannabinoid receptor antagonist rimonabant reduced the reinforcing properties of physical exercise in rats. Sport then causes less fun. (Source: Rasmussen EB, Hillman C. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2011 Jun 27. [in press])

Science: Pain
According to research at the University of Calgary, Canada, an analogue of the so-called "abnormal cannabidiol" reduced pain in a rat model of acute joint inflammation. This effect was mediated by the putative cannabinoid receptor GPR55. (Source: Schuelert N, McDougall JJ. Neurosci Lett. 2011 Jun 13. [in press])

Science: Diabetes
In a study with 2,411 participants with a mean age of 60 years variants of the cannabinoid-1 receptor were not associated with the risk for type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. (Source: de Miguel-Yanes JM, et al. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Jun 2. [in press])

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