Hemp News No. 33

Compiled by Paul Stanford

        The following news wire stories are provided as a public service by
Tree Free EcoPaper, makers of hemp (cannabis) paper and other nonwood papers,
pulps and fibers. 
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        Without further ado, please enjoy the news:

RTw  06/20/95       Researchers urge medicinal marijuana legalization

CHICAGO, June 20 (Reuter) - A commentary published on Tuesday in the
Journal of the American Medical Association urges that marijuana be legalised
for medical conditions ranging from glaucoma to migraine headaches.
     The move was advocated by Lester Grinspoon, a physician, and James Bakalar,
a lawyer, both associated with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
      Their commentary said more is known about marijuana than about most
prescription drugs, it is remakably safe, with no known case of lethal overdose,
and far less addictive or subject to abuse than many legal drugs.
     The AMA itself remains opposed to legalising marijuana but advocates
continued research into its medical uses.
     Marijuana is listed by the government as a Schedule One controlled
substance. The Drug Enforcement Administration in 1992 refused to reclassify it
so it could be legally prescribed.
     "Many people know that marijuana is now being used illegally for the nausea
and vomiting induced by chemotherapy," Grinspoon and Bakalar said.
     "Some know that it lowers intraocular pressure in glaucoma. Patients have
found it useful as an anticonvulsant, as a muscle relaxant in spastic disorders,
 and as an appetite stimulant in the wasting syndrome of human immunodeficiency
virus," they added.
     "It is also being used to relieve phantom limb pain (in amputees),
menstrual cramps and other types of chronic pain, including migraine," they
     "It is time for physicians to acknowledge more openly that the present
classification is scientifically, legally and morally wrong."

APn  06/22/95    Spotting Pot

 Associated Press Writer
   PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- An indoor marijuana farmer says his privacy was
invaded when authorities used an infrared device to measure heat seeping from
the growing-lamps in his attic.
   "No place is more sacred in America than a person's home," said attorney John
Henry Hingson III, who contends his client's Fourth Amendment rights were
violated when the Oregon National Guard took the readings from a helicopter with
 a thermal imaging device.
   Danny Lee Kyllo was arrested in February 1992 and sentenced to 5 1/4 years in
prison. He is free while U.S. District Judge Helen Frye considers his appeal
this week.
   The infrared readings were used to obtain a warrant to search Kyllo's home in
the coastal town of Florence. Hingson wants Frye to suppress evidence that
helped convict Kyllo, including the 128 marijuana plants found growing under
heat lamps in his attic and garage.
   Government experts refuted Hingson's claim that the infrared device can see
through walls and detect was is going on behind closed doors.
   "All it measures is heat escaping. It's like garbage you put on your
sidewalk," said Lt. Col. Barrie Vernon, a drug enforcement expert with the
 Pentagon's National Guard Bureau.
   The Guard says it has used the technology to find marijuana plants in 20
   David Allen, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon,
said a judge should give permission for the infrared device to be used.
   "I don't think it's at all too much to ask that infrared imaging be used
under carefully controlled circumstances," he said. The ACLU will file a court
brief supporting Kyllo.
   Last year, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal on a similar case in
St. Louis. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had determined that detecting
heat escaping from a home is not intrusive.
   If the San Francisco appeals court rules otherwise, attorneys believe, the
 Supreme Court might be more inclined to consider the matter.


The Australian Associated Press
   By Margaret McDonald, AAP State Political Correspondent
   SYDNEY, June 22 AAP - The New South Wales government has  signalled its
support for a fibre hemp industry to be trialled in  the state.
   Agriculture Minister Richard Amery has told upper house  Democrats MP and
avid fibre hemp enthusiast Richard Jones that  there was a provision in state
legislation for a crop to be  trialled under licence for fibre production.
   Mr Amery said the merits of a hemp industry had received wide  coverage in
the media but so far no applications had been received  by either his department
 or the Health Department, which both need  to approve it.
   "There is little need at this stage for my further  intervention," Mr Amgery
said, adding a check through department  records under previous coalition
minister, Ian Causley, showed no  applications in the last 18 months.
   But Mr Jones, who has worn a fibre hemp suit to parliament to  press his case
in the past, said the door was now open for  businessmen and farmers to apply.
   He spoke on regional radio programs today appealing for people  to step
forward and set up a trial crop.
   Queensland's Harold Good answered the call and faxed details of  a
six-hectare crop being grown near Byron Bay that he thought might  be suitable.
   Mr Good told AAP that he and a group of about 10 businessmen and  farmers
already manufactured soaps and lotions under the "Green  Earth" brand, which
 were made from hemp seed oil and distributed to  200 shops Australia-wide.
   "But the chance to use the same plant for fibre production is  exciting," Mr
Good said adding it also made practical economic  sense.
   "We know the fibre and paper industries from hemp are there  because already
clothing made from hemp is imported into our  stores.
   "Isn't it funny that we can sell the clothing but we can't grow  the crop."
   Mr Good said the public should not confuse fibre hemp from its  close
relative indian hemp, or cannabis.
   "There is no doubt we're not growing a crop for marijuana  smokers. This
(fibre) crop would be a waste of time for a smoker.
   "It's like drinking zero alcohol beer."
   The NSW National Party state conference in Mudgee last weekend  voted to
 support the trial of a fibre hemp plantation saying the  plant contained 0.3 per
cent of the psychoactive chemical,  tetrahydrocannabinol (TCH).
   Regular cannabis had 3.0 per cent of TCH and the conference was  told a
smoker would have to inhale an entire 100 hectare paddock of  fibre hemp in one
sitting "to get any buzz".
   During the last session of parliament, TCH was removed from the  poisons list
(effective June 1, 1995) meaning it can be used for  theraputic and
pharmaceutical purposes.
   South Australia and Tasmania are already involved in trialling  fibre hemp
   Today the Victorian government announced it was also considering  a trial.
   The two Upper House Democrats MPs in the South Australian  parliament who
 hold the balance of power, Mike Elliott and Sandra  Kanck, three months ago gave
the go ahead for legislation approving  the trial.
   NSW Democrats leader Elisabeth Kirkby applauded both her party  and the state
Labor government for winning the battle to get a  fibre hemp industry up and
   "Hemp production will be a valuable addition to agricultural  production in
NSW," Ms Kirkby said.
   "The fibre is a superb source of paper and for clothing and the  leaves can
be used for ethanol production or composted as a source  of organic matter."
   Hemp as a fuel source for diesel and petrol vehicles running on 
ethanol-blended fuels would also help the environment as it reduced  greenhouse
emissions by 15 per cent.
    The Nationals' conference was told firbe hemp was mankind's  oldest
cultivated crop being used in Egyptian times to make paper.
   It had three times more fibre than cotton and produced a fabric  26 times
stronger than pure cotton.
   AAP mm/dk/lz


The Australian Associated Press
   SYDNEY, June 23 AAP - A lot of "aggro" existed in Nimbin over a  police
operation in the north coast town to clean up the drug  culture there, a
community meeting heard today.
   The Nimbin community has described as excessive the so-called  police
Operation Ell Dockin, which has resulted in 10 officers  stationed in the town
of just 500 people over the past four months.
   Police said earlier this week they planned to intensify the  campaign.
   A meeting in Nimbin today of 200 farmers, businesspeople and  HEMP activists
 voted unanimously to call for a halt to the  escalation of the operation, Help
End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP)  Solicitor David Heilpern (Heilpern) said.
   The meeting also called on police to focus on the long term  health problems
of heroin addicts instead of trying for a high  arrest count, Mr Heilpern said.
   Tensions had been running high, with the town's police station  set on fire
this week and shop windows smashed on two different  nights, he said.
   Protesters had played drums and painted letters down the main  street saying
"freedom, stop police harassment" during the rally.
   "The threatened intensification of Operation Ell Dockin is a big  stick 1930s
solution to a complex health issue," Mr Heilpern said.
   "The tragic result now is that heroin is cheaper and more  available on the
streets of Nimbin than cannabis."
    Of the 195 arrests made so far under Ell Dockin only 22 had been  for heroin
use, with the rest being for cannabis, he said.
   "It's a total tragedy that heroin is more easily available.  People are going
to die," he said.
   Alcohol-related violence had also noticably increased since the  operation,
he said.
   There had never been a problem with cannabis related violence,  he said.
   "It's not surprising there is an enormous amount of community  anger about
the nature of the operation," he said.
 The problem of obvious street selling of heroin should be solved  through
communtiy consultation. People were happy to consult with  police, he said.
   Several attempts to contact Nimbin police today were  unsuccessful.
    AAP rmm/sd/mk/de

APn  06/23/95      Asset Seizures

 Associated Press Writer
   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Air charter owner Billy Munnerlyn picked up a passenger he
thought was a businessman in Little Rock, Ark. When they landed in Ontario,
Calif., federal agents seized the passenger's luggage, with $2.7 million inside.
   And they seized Munnerlyn's plane.
   The "businessman," unbeknownst to Munnerlyn, was a convicted cocaine dealer,
according to Rep. Henry Hyde's account of the incident.
    Although drug trafficking charges against Munnerlyn were quickly dropped for
lack of evidence, the government refused to release the plane that was essential
to his Las Vegas air charter service.
   He eventually had to settle with the government, paying $7,000 to get the
plane back, and then discovered that Drug Enforcement Administration agents had
caused some $100,000 in damage to it. Munnerlyn declared bankruptcy and is now
driving a truck for a living.
   Hyde, R-Ill., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, says that is one of
many examples of abuses by law enforcement that "will make your blood boil." It
and others are detailed in Hyde's new book, "Forfeiting Our Property Rights: Is
Your Property Safe From Seizure?"
   Hyde is proposing legislation to make it easier for people to get back
 property seized in civil asset forfeitures.
   "It's particularly obnoxious when your government becomes abusive, because
you have no place to turn," he said at a news conference Thursday.
   Attorney General Janet Reno, asked about the issue at her weekly meeting with
reporters, said she was concerned about complaints the Justice Department had
received "about abuse in asset forfeiture procedures across the country."
   Law enforcement officials view asset forfeiture as a good way to separate law
breakers from ill-gotten gains, especially in drug cases, while pumping millions
into useful purposes such as building prisons.
   But detractors, including civil libertarians, say some agencies are using
forfeitures to gain easy access to money and are stripping innocent citizens of
their property without due process.
    Some critics believe civil asset forfeiture should be abolished altogether,
thereby requiring a criminal conviction before the government can seize
   Hyde introduced a similar bill last year which failed in the House. But in
Washington's new climate of growing mistrust of government, Hyde said he
believes the legislation's prospects are "certainly better than last year."
   Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the Judiciary Committee's senior Democrat, has
expressed support for the new proposal.
   The Clinton administration, meanwhile, is drafting its own asset forfeiture
legislation. It is not expected to go as far as Hyde's bill in proposing changes
to asset forfeiture laws, said a Justice Department official speaking on
condition of anonymity.
    "We will be working with him (Hyde) in every way we can to address these
issues because I think we share a concern," Reno said. "I think he would agree
that it is an important tool for law enforcement and that we should work
together to do everything we can to eliminate the abuses."
   Hyde's bill would:
   --Force the government to prove the seizure was appropriate.
   --Provide attorneys for poor owners.
   --Give owners more time to contest forfeitures and enable them to sue the
government for mishandling property.
   --Eliminate the requirement that owners who are contesting a seizure post a
bond equivalent to 10 percent of the value of the seized property, to cover
court and storage costs should the government win.
    --Allow owners to get their property back if they take reasonable steps to
prevent others from using it for drug transactions.
   The measure is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union and the
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

WP   06/24/95           A Penalty Without a Crime

THE WAR ON DRUGS has accelerated the government's use of forfeiture powers,
which, for the most part, is a healthy development. Criminal forfeiture enables
the government to confiscate property used by a convicted felon in furtherance
of his crime, or purchased with the proceeds of crime. Drug traffickers, for
example, stand to lose not only the boats, small planes and automobiles used to
transport drugs but also the homes, investment properties and jewelry they were
able to buy with the money their crimes generated. Law enforcement officials are
then able to sell these confiscated goods and properties and use the money to
 fight crime. Hundreds of millions of dollars a year are made available to
federal, state and local governments through this process.
      In addition to criminal forfeiture, however, the government also has the
right to invoke civil forfeiture powers to seize property with only a showing of
probable cause that a crime has been committed. In these cases there is room for
terrible injustice, as Rep. Henry Hyde has pointed out in a recently published
book. The forward to that volume begins with the sentence: "The stories in this
book will make your blood boil," and that is no exaggeration. Completely
innocent people have had property taken without a hearing of any kind and faced
a long and expensive legal fight to get it back.
     The owner of a landscaping business, for example, was stopped at an airport
because he fit the profile of a drug courier -- he had paid for his ticket with
 cash -- and $9,600 in cash that he was carrying was seized. No drugs were found
and no charges were brought against the man, but the burden was on him to hire a
lawyer, put up a bond of 10 percent of the property taken and prove the seizure
was not justified.
     A Florida scientist acquitted of felonious assault on a policeman with his
BMW nevertheless had his car confiscated. The owner of a small air service lost
his plane because police discovered his passenger was carrying a large amount of
cash. Criminal charges against the pilot were quickly dropped for lack of
evidence, but it cost $85,000 in legal fees to get the plane back. Valuable real
estate has been seized on the word of a tipster, even though criminal charges
were not filed. And in what may be the most egregious case, a Florida sheriff
and his men stopped "suspicious" cars on I-95, assumed that anyone carrying more
 than $100 cash was a drug dealer and confiscated the money -- more than $8
million in a three-year period. Three-quarters of these drivers were not
arrested or charged with any crime, and only four of them recovered their money.
  Rep. Hyde, who is now chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced
legislation on Thursday to reform civil forfeiture proceedings. He would put the
burden of proof on the government, eliminate the 10 percent bond, provide
attorneys for poor claimants, extend deadlines and in general make the process
more fair. The problem needs attention, and the Hyde bill deserves support.

APn  06/28/95     Sheriff Pleads

   JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- A former sheriff charged with accepting tens of
thousands of dollars in kickbacks to protect marijuana growers from raids has
pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of justice.
   Joe Newmans, who was Baker County sheriff for 20 years until he lost a 1992
re-election bid, pleaded guilty Tuesday. He faces up to five years in prison, a
$250,000 fine and three years' probation. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 28.
   In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors dropped charges accusing Newmans
of growing and distributing marijuana.
    Newmans was the last of 30 people to plead guilty or be convicted in
connection with the drug probe.
   He was accused of accepting $70,000 from marijuana smugglers and growers from
1985 to 1993 in exchange for tipping them to airborne searches for marijuana
   Newmans is the second north Florida sheriff to be prosecuted on drug charges
in recent years. In 1993, former Nassau County Sheriff Laurie Ellis was
sentenced to 16 years in prison for distributing drugs from his department's
property room.

RTw  06/29/95      Australia looks to hemp growth for industry

By Kevin Morrison
     SYDNEY, June 30 (Reuter) - Australia is rediscovering hemp, one of the
world's oldest crops, but one viewed with suspicion in many quarters as "the
weed with its roots in hell."
     For hemp is cannabis sativa, the spindly annual with serrated leaves that
has been grown for millennia for its fibre but is now more famous for the
 illicit high it gives smokers.
     Until the 1930s, hemp was widely grown in Australia with the dried fibre
from the plant used to make rope, textiles, paper, oilseeds and herbal remedies.
     But Australian hemp supporters say the U.S. government's imposition of a
heavy tax on hemp producers led to the crop's worldwide decline, as the
country's Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was later adopted by other Western
     Hemp crusaders want to revive the crop, despite at times strong opposition,
saying a legalised industry could help save Australia's forests and slash its
paper import bill.
     After years of fighting hemp's image problem, their efforts are bearing
fruit and state governments are approving trials aimed at examining the
 viability of a hemp industry after many years of classifying it as an illegal
"noxious weed."
     But the trials will be of a strain of hemp that nobody would want to smoke
because it contains only about 0.3 percent of the intoxicating chemical
tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), according to hemp supporter, Richard Steggles.
     Marijuana strains contain three to 15 percent THC and anything below one
percent THC is seen as unlikely to give smokers a high, he said.
     Steggles is president of the Australian Hemp Industries Association (AHIA)
and also owns Eco-hemp, Australia's first shop devoted to hemp products.
     "It's an industry that is going to create jobs," he told Reuters in a
recent interview.
     He said the AHIA has already been in talks with timber and industrial
 groups, including CSR Ltd, Boral Ltd and James Hardie Industries Ltd, to present
ideas about developing a local hemp industry.
     Hemp is looking more attractive because of the continuing row over
Australia's huge woodchip exports and the world shortage of newsprint. Forestry
and paper groups are looking for alternative sources of fibre to make paper and
are investigating the viability of hemp, he said.
     He said there was pressure to look for alternative sources of paper because
Australia imported A$1.52 billion (US$1.1 billion) worth of paper and related
products in the year to June 30, 1994, and exported A$385.50 million ($278.45
million) of woodchips.
     Conservationists were up in arms earlier this year over the export of
native forest woodchips, mainly a waste product of timber logging used for
 making paper pulp.
     Australian Newsprint Mills Ltd (ANM), which is half owned by News Corp Ltd
and Fletcher Challenge Ltd, the world's second largest newsprint supplier, is
working closely with a group trialling hemp in Tasmania.
     "We are taking a close watching brief on it, helping them occasionally, by
sampling some material and keeping ourselves informed," David Quinn, corporate
affairs manager at ANM said.
     "There has been enough interesting information turned up to maintain our
interest," he told Reuters in a recent interview.
     "The political climate is changing, people are demanding that we look at
alternative sources of fibre -- the woodchip debate came in at the right time to
push it along," said a spokesman for the intensive crops division of the
 government of Victoria, one of the five states that has approved, or is about to
approve, trials.
     In addition, the federal government's agricultural research arm, the Rural
Industries Research Development Corp (RIRDC), is looking at forming a national
hemp industry plan.
     "There has been a ground swell of interest in hemp. I think it has some
sort of magic about it, maybe because of its drug usage, but it certainly has
got a bit of an aura," Brian Stynes, project manager at RIRDC told Reuters.
     On a smaller scale, Steggles' shop, Eco-hemp, in the city of Newcastle
about 150 km (90 miles) north of Sydney, sells hemp jeans, shirts, dresses,
shoes, wallets, stationery kits, belts, soaps, massage oils and lip balms.
     But Steggles said his shop now has to import all of its hemp material and
 products, mainly from Hungary and China.
     Eco-hemp is also developing hemp products for environmental group,
Greenpeace Australia, to go on sale in August.

UPn  06/29/95      Marijuana initiative proposed in California

   SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 29 (UPI) -- Californians would be able to use
marijuana, buy the drug in specialty stores and be released from prison if they
have been jailed for using the illegal plant under a proposed ballot measure
cleared for circulation Thursday.
   Advocates of legalizing marijuana received the go-ahead from the Secretary of
State's Office to try and place the issue before voters next year.
   The broad measure would allow residents to grow the illegal drug for personal
use, block drug tests for marijuana in the business world and allow inmates
convicted of using the drug to go free.
   Jack Herer, sponsor of the initiative and spokesman for Help End Marijuana
 Prohibition, or HEMP, said the sweeping proposal would help end what he
characterized as a useless ban on marijuana use.
   "Nobody has ever died from pot that wasn't shot by an ignorant cop," Herer
   Under the proposal, residents would be able to grow and use marijuana for
recreational and medicinal purposes. Businesses would receive permission to use
the sturdy plant in clothing, paper-making and other ventures.
   Hemp clothing has become a growing segment of the clothing industry, but
producers must turn to other parts of the world to obtain the plant for fabric.
   Some of the more controversial components of the measure would free up to
35,000 inmates convicted of using marijuana and release another 100,000 convicts
from parole for crimes related to the drug, Herer said.
    Businesses and insurance companies would be barred from testing people for
marijuana and individuals would be allowed to set up specialty stores of
Amsterdam-style marijuana bars under the proposal.
   Herer defended marijuana use and said studies have shown that using the drug
can be a health benefit.
   "People that smoke pot live longer than those that use no drugs at all,"
Herer said.
   One part of the initiative would allow patients to use marijuana for medicial
purposes. Assemblyman John Vasconcellos, D-Santa Clara, is carrying legislation
that would allow patients with AIDS, cancer, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis to
use marijuana to help alleviate their pain.
   Gov. Pete Wilson vetoed similar legislation last year.
    Initiative supporters must gather more than 433,000 valid signatures by Nov.
27 to place the issue before voters.

RTna 07/02/95      British children experiment more with drugs

LONDON (Reuter) - British youngsters in search of illicit thrills are
increasingly turning to narcotics rather than alcohol or cigarettes, a new
survey of almost 50,000 teenagers revealed Sunday.
     According to the survey, marijuana, ecstasy and speed are now a part of
life for modern schoolchildren in Britain, in the same way previous generations
chose cigarettes, the Sunday Times newspaper said, citing the survey.
      The report, due for its official launch Monday, was carried out by
researchers at Exeter University who questioned around 50,000 teenagers about
their attitudes to health.
     Part of the reason for increased drug use was that teenagers were
increasingly worried about their weight and health, the survey said. Many
believed drugs would do them less harm than cigarettes or alcohol.
     It said almost a third of all 15- and 16-year-old boys have smoked
marijuana, the newspaper reported. More than a quarter of girls of the same age
have also tried the drug.
     The survey said marijuana use in this age group had trebled since 1989,
while the amount of alcohol drunk had risen by only 12 percent. The proportion
smoking cigarettes had fallen.
      It also showed almost one in four 16-year-olds had tried LSD and more than
a fifth admitted to trying amphetamines.
     Other details of the survey reported by Britain's Press Association news
agency also showed drugs were well down on the list of teenagers' worries.
     Worries about jobs topped the list, with fears about school, money, health,
friends and AIDS all ranking above concerns about drugs.

APn  07/02/95      Militia Campout
   7 p.m.:
   A cooling rain has passed and militia members form a circle, eating meat from
a barbecue smoker.
   A pony-tailed man in camouflage has the group rapt, describing a raid by
sheriff's drug officers at his home a year ago, searching for marijuana:
   "They didn't find nothing, but yet they destroyed my home, interrogated my
kids, took my daughter in the back room by herself, which should never have
 happened. ... Holding a gun on my kids."
   He got serious about the militia. "I'm not against anyone," he says. "I'm
just to the point that I'm tired of being run over."
   Listening, some fellow militia members grunt or shake their heads.
   Randall speaks up, promising retaliation if his own home is invaded. "They
better cut their hedgerow down by their driveway, 'cause I'm gonna be hiding in
there with a baseball bat."

APn  07/03/95     Salinas-Drugs

   TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- When Carlos Salinas de Gortari was president of Mexico,
his brother was south-of-the border connection for traffickers who smuggled tons
of marijuana and cocaine into the United States, The Arizona Daily Star
   Raul Salinas de Gortari -- imprisoned in Mexico on charges of masterminding
last year's assassination of Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu, the No. 2 man in the
governing Institutional Revolutionary Party and his ex-brother-in-law -- denied
the report: "I have never had ties with drug traffickers."
    The paper quoted an unidentified source who claimed to have been part of the
ring as saying he once met with Salinas for five hours in Denver to discuss the
   In June, Newsweek quoted unnamed U.S. and Mexican officials as saying Raul
Salinas and Juan Garcia Abrego, reputed head of a Mexican drug cartel, met
frequently during his brother's presidential term, which ended Dec. 1. Raul
Salinas denied ever having any contact with Garcia.

[circa 07/03/95]       Plombon

Rep. Dave Plombon, D-Stanley, Monday denied he had violated his
probation by drinking at several Madison bars. Plombom faces an administrative
hearing. He is on probation on a marijuana possession conviction. The terms of
his probation prohibit him from drinking or even entering a bar. The lawmaker
currently is jailed in Chippewa County.

RTw  07/04/95       Bonn horrified at cannabis-from-chemist proposal

BONN, July 4 (Reuter) - The German government reacted with horror on Tuesday
to an official study group's proposal that soft drugs such as cannabis should be
sold by chemists, side by side with medicines.
     The group, set up by Germany's federal states, suggested the move as a way
of partly legalising the drugs and separating them from the market for "hard
drugs" considered far more addictive and damaging to health, such as heroin and
     But the federal government in Bonn staunchly opposes any attempt to
liberalise drugs policy.
     "It's irresponsible and quite nonsensical to lift hashish and marijuana
onto the same level as medicines by selling them in chemists' shops, so
suggesting they are harmless," the government's expert on drugs policy, Eduard
Lintner, said in a statement.
     "Germany would become a mecca for drug users and provide an even more
lucrative market to international dealers."
     The policy split runs along political lines between the centre-left Social
Democrat-led regional states, which favour a more liberal policy, and the
conservatives, also in government in Bonn, who want all kinds of drugs to remain
     Heide Moser, the health minister in SPD-led Schleswig- Holstein who chaired
the study group, called cannabis products such as marijuana leaves and hashish
resin "recreational drugs requiring regulation."
     Germany's supreme court ruled last year that possession of small amounts of
cannabis products for personal use should no longer be punished, and
Schleswig-Holstein has been gradually pushing back the limits of what this
     Last year a court there ruled that possession of up to four kg (8.8 pounds)
of hashish should be treated as a misdemeanour rather than a crime, basing the
amount on a calculation of its narcotic effect compared to that of alcohol or
      Government estimates put the number of hashish and marijuana users at up to
eight million in a country of 80 million people.



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