All Aboard! Railroad Museum in Schoharie showcases a bygone era!

by Don Rittner

Ten minutes from Middleburgh, New York in the heart of Schoharie County is one of the largest railroad museums in the Northeast. The Schoharie Valley Railroad Museum contains several of the original buildings that represent two former railroad companies: the Schoharie Valley Railroad (4.38 miles) and the Middleburgh and Schoharie Railroad (5.75 miles). Grandison N. Frisbie was first president of the SVRR and Jacob Vroman was first president of the M&SRR.

The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and you can visit on the weekends from Noon to 4PM.

My colleague and I were given a tour by Andrew Muller who is Historical Curator of the complex. The complex is owned by the Schoharie Colonial Heritage Association.

Old photo of the Station House, engine and passenger car with waiting people. The two steam engines owned by the company were eventualy scrapped.


The original Station House.



The Station House is where you purchased your ticket and waited for the train. It is now full of artifacts.

The complex of buildings includes the Station House, Freight Shed, Engine House, Weigh Station, the Old Mill and the Creamery Building.

The passenger car, box car and flat car can be seen here next to the Freight station.

The floods from Hurricane Irene back in 2011 did a considerable amount of damage and several artifacts were washed away but the volunteers and staff have ben restoring everything since then. Aside from some water lines on some windows (6 feet high at least) you would not know they were affected. Schoharie County was devastated by Irene. You can see some of the devastation in this YouTube video:


The passenger car was a former “Head” shop in the 60s and 70s before it was rescued.

Interior of the restored passenger car.

In 1974, the passenger car left the flats and made its way to the museum to be restored.

I particularly like the rolling stock. They have an original 1917 Delaware and Hudson wooden caboose, an 1891 wooden Passenger combine car, two boxcars and a flatcar.

In 1974, they transported the passenger car, the last remaining vehicle of the Middleburgh and Schoharie Railroad, to Depot Lane from the Middleburgh flats where it had been since 1936.  For many years it was a “Head” shop in the 60s.They restored the 1891 passenger car (had no chassis). The passenger car was made by Troy’s Gilbert Car Works in Green Island.  The restored 1917 wooden caboose was donated to the organization by the Bridgeline Historical Society. The museum also includes a 1920 scale model of buildings, cars and terrain of the area served by the Middleburgh and Schoharie Railroad.

The Depot and freight barn is full of artifacts from the railroading days. Old photos hang on the walls, exhibits and artifacts are everywhere. The caboose is in the engine house where you see a smoke exhaust and ash pit that they discovered later since it was boarded over. The mill building houses an annual antique show.


The Middleburg And Schoharie Railroad. This is M&S #2 at the engine facility in Middleburgh on August 20, 1936. Just a month before her abandonment. (Joseph A. Smith/Ken Bradford Collection). Photo from the Internet.


Andrew Muller is the Historical Curator of the complex.


The coal weigh station. John Fain operated it.


The Middleburgh Plum was so popular that an express car took 100 baskets a day to market. It suffered from Black Knot disease, a fungal disease that attacks plums and cherry trees.

The Middleburgh Plum.



The Middleburg And Schoharie Railroad. Here is the Middleburgh Depot but became a house after the railroad closed.


Model of the Middleburgh Station complex. Only the depot buildings survives.


The Middleburgh and Schoharie Railroad was founded in 1867. The first Chairman of the railroad was Jacob Vroman and S.L. Mayham asd Secretary. David Becker was named President of the railroad in 1868. The railroad was constructed at a cost of $105,000. The Middleburgh–Schoharie Railroad served both as a major passenger line in the Schoharie Valley and as a transporter of industry.

One of the major crops were hops and were frequently sent via the railroad. The Middleburgh and Schoharie Railroad operated in conjunction with the Schoharie Valley Railroad, formed in 1874, which the museum represents also. They were separate companies but frequently used each other’s locomotives, equipment, and facilities and this railroad ran between Schoharie and Schoharie Junction.

Hop Press.

Exhibit on Hop growing in the valley.

The railroad’s last run was September 24, 1936. The Schoharie Valley Railroad continued operation until September 17, 1942.  The company’s two engines, the Pony (built in 1855) and Middleburg (built in 1895) were eventually scrapped.  The latter engine was made in Schenectady.

The Railway Express delivered the mail to and from the railroads. My father was the REA platform manager for Union Station in Troy, NY. in the 1950s.




Email: scha@midtel.net

Web: http://schoharieheritage.org/railroad.html


NOTE TO READER.  Ignore words in lighter blue and double lined in the text.  There is a bug in the software system.  By clicking it brings you an ad.  However the links to websites and reports are valid.


Washing away the sins of the past.

Is Political Correctness destroying history?

By Don Rittner


During the tenure of Dick Thornburgh as US Attorney (1988-91), curtains were rented to hide the bare-busted “Spirit of Justice” statue and her bare-chested male equivalent, the “Majesty of Law,” in the justice department’s “Great Hall.”

In 2002, under John Ashcroft, curtains were installed blocking the statue from view during speeches. Justice officials said the curtains were put up to improve the room’s use for television. Ashcroft’s successor, Alberto Gonzales, took the curtains down in June 2005. In 2007 it was revealed that Republican lawyer and Bush appointee Monica Goodling ordered the drapes that were placed over the partially nude Spirit of Justice statues during Ashcroft’s tenure as Attorney General. The department spent $8,000 on blue drapes to hide the two aluminum statues.

Above “Spirit of Justice. Below “Majesty of Law.”

The two cast aluminum statutes were commissioned in 1933 at a cost of $7,275, and were made by artist C. Paul Jennewein, who created 57 different pieces for the justice building. Jennewein, a German born American Sculptor, produced a number of sculptures for public buildings between 1923 and 1964. He made the New York State Seal in 1959 that is the front of the Court of Appeals building in Albany.

Here in Albany a 19th century mural titled, “The Genius of America” (also known as “The United States of America (1870)), a 30 foot long painting by French artist Adolphe Yvon (1817-1893) became controversial. It was placed in the State Education Department building’s Chancellor’s Hall in the 1950s and disappeared in 2000 after department staff, some of them African American, complained that the mural was offensive.

“The Genius of America”

The mural depicts angels, babies and women in togas, George Washington and a god of war, and a group of colonial “zombies” coming up from the grave. In the lower right corner a slave in loincloth is being held under the arms of a well-dressed white man in a grey outfit (was it a Confederate man?). Since no one could figure out if the white man was lifting the slave from oppression or the opposite, it was decided to hide the mural with a large drape in 2000.

In 2013 it was decided by the education department’s first African-American commissioner John B. King to show the mural one hour per month so the public can make up their own mind.

The mural itself was almost destroyed. Alexander T. Stewart (1803-1876) commissioned it for his Fifth Avenue mansion. Stuart was a department store magnate and his marble fronted department store on Broadway between Chambers and Reade Streets was the largest retail store at the time. This store known as “The Marble Palace” at 280 Broadway still exists and later his “Iron Palace” built in 1862 took up almost a whole city block near Grace Church from Broadway and Ninth Streets to Tenth Street and Astor Place.

Because of the size and weighing 600 pounds it did not fit so he had it delivered to the Grand Union, a hotel famous in Saratoga that he owned. The building was demolished in 1952 but before that the painting was offered to the State of New York for free.

Grand Union Hotel in Saratoga was to be the original location for the mural but it weighed too much. Image from Shorpy.

The French artist Yvon was admired by Napoleon III who commissioned him to paint battle scenes. He was the leading teacher of drawing at the École des Beaux-Arts (1863–83) and he had American students Christian Schussele, Alfred Wordsworth Thompson, William Sartain, and J. Alden Weir. Alexander Stewart commissioned Yvon to paint not only “The Genius” but also The Reconciliation of the North and the South (lost) in 1870. When looked at as a pair it is clear that Yvon’s depiction of the slave in The Genius had more to do with emancipation than slaved.

The recent move to tear down all statues that deal with the Confederate participation in the Civil War seems also a step backward. Many argue that rather than tear them down, use them as educational objects and place plaques or inscriptions that describe what they represent.

Who are we trying to protect from seeing them? Adults, who can reasonably be expected to understand the symbolism and meaning behind them (could be a stretch)? Children, those innocent minds that must be sheltered from the realities of past events? This so-called progressive Puritanism is setting the stage for repeating the mistakes of the past.

Up for destruction now are public murals that were painted in San Francisco by a New Deal-era Communist painter. It just happened that Victor Arnautoff, a Russian immigrant, is considered by many to be the most important muralist in the Bay area during the 1930s Great Depression era. His philosophy of “The artist is a critic of society,” is reflected in his work and it is not a pretty picture of American culture or values. His “Life of Washington,” a 13 panel 1600 square foot mural graces the walls at George Washington High School and was completed in 1936. It shows slaves picking cotton at Mount Vernon and a group of colonizers walking past a dead Native American. Oops. Accurate but not politically correct these days. So the School Board in San Francisco wants to spend $600,000 to erase his work. One of the commissioners, Faauuga Moliga, is quoted in the New York Times supporting the move because “kinds are mentally and emotionally feeling safe at their schools.” So he wants the murals to be “painted down.” The board’s VP Mark Sanchez, is quoted that covering them up is not an option because it  “allows for the possibility of them being uncovered in the future,” and destroying them represents “reparations.”

“Life of Washington.” From the Washington Post.


If we are to allow each generation to destroy the cultural reflections and understandings of previous generations then there is no history to compare whether the human race is staying static or evolving. To protect young minds from the realities of human history is to foster ignorance, to paint an unrealistic story of American culture, and in fact destroy any chance of understanding how we got to where we are today. Why WAS there a Civil Rights Movement? Why are Native Americans relegated to reservations? Why DID we fight a Civil War? If we are only to rely on textbooks and one “approved” story then we are destined to make all the same mistakes again in the future. Just read some of the history books from the South that deny evolution, or claim the Earth is only 6,000 years old, etc.

One in ten Britons does not believe the Holocaust took place. In France, 20% of those aged 18-34 said they had never heard of the Holocaust; in Austria, the figure was 12%. A survey in America in 2018 found that 9% of millennials said they had not heard, or did not think they had heard, of the Holocaust. Overall one third of Americans thought “substantially less” than 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. A survey showed that 70 percent of Americans believe people care less about the Holocaust than before.

In 2018 a new report titled “Teaching Hard History: American Slavery,” which was researched over the course of a year by the Teaching Tolerance project of the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center revealed:


  • Only 8 percent of U.S. high school seniors could identify slavery as the central cause of the Civil War.
  • 68 percent of the surveyed students did not know that slavery formally ended only with an amendment to the Constitution.
  • Only 22 percent of the students could correctly identify how provisions in the Constitution gave advantages to slaveholders.
  • Only 44 percent of the students answered that slavery was legal in all colonies during the American Revolution.


But this lack of teaching our history is not new. Diane Ravitch, a historian of education at Teachers College at Columbia wrote a piece in the New York Times about this very subject in 1985. Her concluding paragraph is alarming considering how ineffective our knowledge of history has become:

“Unless historical-mindedness begins in the early years, in the home and the elementary grades, in the books that children read and the television they watch, even these small steps will not be enough. The free mind, as Aldous Huxley dramatically reminded us, needs to know its past, to debate and discuss how the world came to be as it is, in order to know what to defend and what to change and how to resist imposed orthodoxies.”


Considering what is going on today in American politics, knowledge of American history is of utmost importance. Unfortunately, it may be that Mark Twain’s comment in 1885 holds true today: “Many public-school children seem to know only two dates–1492 and 4th of July; and as a rule they don’t know what happened on either occasion.”

We need reminders of our past mistakes so we don’t repeat them.






Gartel and Rittner’s Great Adventures (AKA Don and Laurence spend a sunny day on NYC’s High Line)

by Don Rittner

My long time buddy Laurence Gartel, better known as the Father of Digital Media Art, and I decided to walk the High Line in New York City on Sunday, July 28. The sun was out, the temperature was in the 90’s, and fluffy cumulus clouds floated overhead. It was Laurence’s first time and I have been there several times but I noticed some new art installations.

In 1934, an elevated railroad track, the “High Line,” hovering 30 feet above 10th Avenue in New York City opened for business. It ran from 34th Street to St John’s Park Terminal at Spring Street. Its purpose was to pull cargo through the center of city blocks back and forth between Manhattan’s largest industrial districts. It was sorely needed as 10th Avenue became known as Death Avenue due to the number of people killed by moving freight trains, even though beginning in 1850 people were warned of oncoming trains by the “West Side Cowboys,” men who wrote on horseback in front of the moving trains.


(See https://www.thehighline.org/history/).

Death Alley and the West Side Cowboys.


In 1980, the last railroad train pulled three carloads of frozen turkey along the elevated railroad tracks, no longer needed as the truck industry took over the job of transporting goods. Plans to demolish the High Line were thwarted when Chelsea activist Peter Obletz challenged the demolition in court. In 1999, Joshua David and Robert Hammond, residents of the High Line neighborhood began preservation efforts to make a public open space park for the almost mile and half (1.45 m) elevated abandoned train track.

The High Line is its prime.

Nine years later the section between Gansevoort Street to West 30th Street opened to the public. In 2011, 3.7 million people visited, and only half of them were New Yorkers. In 2015, 7.5 million people visited the High Line. I could not find stats for recent years. It is now a destination for anyone coming to the city. The views are incredible, the design, which includes flowerbeds, seating, and the use of the old rails, incorporated into the design, make it a one of kind urban park in the sky.

The old and new next to each other along the High Line.


You will see futuristic buildings next to 19th century warehouses, many now used for housing or art space. In many spaces the rails once used by the locomotives are incorporated into the design. There are gardens, patches of flowers, even a small area that is a mini forest. Seating with little jaunts off the main corridor let you look down avenues.

Gartel walking along the High Line through a small forest.

Water fountains are abundant (one did not work) and works of art from large cubes that spell LOVE, to murals on buildings, to a standing clock grace the walkway. A few vendors selling ice cream sandwiches ($5 to $8 a piece, pricey).


Zaha Hadid’s designed Futuristic condos (520 West 28th Street) along the High Line are not selling very fast but you can get the Penthouse for a mere $50 million. Gartel and Rittner standing in front.

There are eleven entrances to The High Line.  The wheelchair-accessible entrances, each with stairs and an elevator, are at Gansevoort, 14th, 16th, 23rd, and 30th Streets.   Staircase-only entrances are located at 18th, 20th, 26th, and 28th Streets, and 11th Avenue.  Street level access is available at 34th Street via an “Interim Walkway” between 30th Street/11th Avenue and 34th Street.

The Vessel. Try climbing it.

A new section called The Spur at 30th and 10th Ave was opened recently. The Spur was once the High Line section most in danger of demolition. Thanks to a group of committed citizens and community leaders, it celebrated its opening on June 5, 2019. The Plinth is the first space dedicated to a rotating series of new monumental contemporary art commissions. The first commission is a 16 foot tall Bronze bust of a Black Woman called Brick House that graces the new section. It was created by Simone Leigh. The sculpture’s head is crowned with an Afro framed by cornrow braids, each ending in a cowrie shell. Brick House is the inaugural commission for the High Line Plinth.

Looking down the Vessel from the top.

According to the High Line web site, “Brick House is the first monumental sculpture in Leigh’s Anatomy of Architecture series, an ongoing body of work in which the artist combines architectural forms from regions as varied as West Africa and the Southern United States with the human body. The title comes from the term for a strong Black woman who stands with the strength, endurance, and integrity of a house made of bricks.”

Brick House.


Walking north on the High Line you eventually walk into the $25 Billion “Hudson Yards,” a new recently opened 28 acre neighborhood of mixed use high rises, 100 shops, food, and a large work of art, actually the centerpiece of the yards, a copper clad spiral staircase called The Vessel (for now, to be renamed in the future).  An estimated 120,000 people each weekend visited in its first three weeks (March, 2019).

Inside the Vessel.

Imagined by Thomas Heatherwick and Heatherwick Studio, The Vessel is a focal point where people can enjoy new perspectives of the city from different heights, angles and vantage points. Comprised of 154 intricately interconnecting flights of stairs — almost 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings — the vertical climb offers remarkable views of the city, the river and beyond. It is free to climb it (elevator for handicap) but you do need a ticket. Laurence and I did climb the stairs in the ninety degree heat (we should have taken the elevator).

The Shed.

You can get a same day ticket or book a future date and can be reserved online here


Two visitors enjoying the view.

Futuristic and beautiful are common words heard and one of the buildings is a giant new performing art venue called The Shed (not actually part of the Yards). It sits on immense set of wheels so it can move to the center to act as a weather shield when they have outside venues.

A view from the High Line.

Next time you get to the city be sure to visit.


New futuristic buildings can be found along the High Line.

Commissioned art works can be found along the High Line.

The Shed is sitting on large rollers in case of an earthquake.

Gartel and Rittner at the bottom of the Vessel.

A view in Hudson Yards.

Relaxing in Hudson Yards.

There are several food shops inside the Hudson Yards buildings. We did not eat here but we did find the name of this chicken place quite interesting.


Queens Short Play Festival offers a plethora of offerings and you get to vote!

By Don Rittner


It isn’t a secret that the Secret Theatre in The Long Island City Art Center on 23rd Street is having a One-Act Festival that runs from July 10th to August 24th. This annual festival features short one act plays ranging between 10 to 20 minutes each from a myriad of local playwrights. I was able to watch a few last Wednesday in this Queens based little theatre that basically sits under the elevated subway that runs along the street.

My interest was the short play Architecture of Desire that is a somewhat unhinged infomercial for a sex therapist/psychologist who is pushing his new book, “Architecture of Desire.” His practice is – where else – based in Kissimmee, Florida.

The four member troupe is Max Wingert, Melene Sosi, Artie Rose (also the director) and rising star Justyna Kostek, who’s one woman show Dietrich Rides Again received rave reviews last year and will re-up the performance in an Off-Broadway venue next year. I have reviewed Dietrich in the past. I am also familiar with Mr. Rose from his wonderfully energetic performance of the rapacious robber-baron of Mr. Stone in Bound to Rise at the Medicine Show Theatre a couple of years ago. His Nussbaum is similarly propulsive.

Architecture of Desire is satirical and whimsical and circus like and basically spoofs easy solutions to complex male/female relationships. Dr. Nussbaum’s golden promises appear directed chiefly to younger academics embarking on their dissertations (illustrated by Mr. Wingert), and amounts to saying you can become completely lost in your study of Marcel Proust AND still preserve a more than satisfying love life!

Mr. Rose, in his lab coat, plays a wonderful Nussbaum, playing him like a buffoon and confusing himself in his role as a circus ringmaster. Mr. Wingert playing the doctoral student trying to write a dissertation is constantly being interrupted by Ms. Kostek, who charmingly (like a rattlesnake) struts in as Olga, a put upon Russian Oligarch’s daughter, and in a second role as Lindsay the girl next door. Melene Sosi plays Heather and the doctor’s knowing helpmate. Towards the end of the play Ms. Sosi and Ms. Kostek alternate effectively between their roles swooning around the poor grad student trying to finish his thesis.

The first half of the play is the infomercial interrupted by the sex therapist trying to hawk his book while the Russian Olga and later Doc’s wife perform a monologue (flaunting their sex appeal) to the sitting and (trying to type on his computer) doctoral student. The thesis writer is not short on one line clichés to appease the doctor’s wife and is obviously perturbed by their constant interruptions (which include the three of them in a sort of ménage à trois dance).

Max Wingert and Justyna Kostek.

The second half of the commercial is doctor and his wife trying to sell a weekend in (you guessed it) Kissimmee, Florida to unlock the viewer’s desires. All in all, while it is short, there are plenty of opportunities to laugh. The subject is a good one to explore and could be expanded to a full-length comedy.

Wingert, Kostek and Rose.

The whole thing is an advertisement for the audience for the sex therapist theories about how to keep relationships healthy when one partner is completely absorbed in an academic task. Lindsay, Heather and Cameron are actors hired to illustrate doctor Nussbaum’s theory and sell his products.

The play is written by Brian Leahy Doyle and directed by Rose.

Rose and Sosi.

For a list of all the shorts, go here:



The plays run between 10 and 20 minutes each.


The LIC One Act Play Festival 2019
Running Festival: July 10th – August 17th, 2019
Semi-Finals: August 21st – 22nd, 2019 @ 7:30 PM
Finals: August 24th, 2019 @ 7:00 PM
Location: 44-02 23rd St, Long Island City, NY 11101 (View Map)
Description: The Act One: One Act Festival 2019 is a self-producing competition-style one-act play festival. The audience will vote for each show they see, and the top-scorers will have a place in the Finals.

Ticket price: $20 and you get to vote.







The Marijuana Debate – Part 10 : The Latest Research on Marijuana

by Don Rittner


As of January 2017, twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for the
treatment of medical conditions. Eight of these states and the District of Columbia have
also legalized it for recreational use. The increase use in products containing cannabis
included edibles, oils and inhaled substances has gained acceptance and the health effects of
cannabis use is a major concern.

A study was conducted and published by the National Academy of Sciences in 2017 with the
goals to conduct a comprehensive review of the current evidence regarding the health effects
of using cannabis and derived products.

Over the last 20 years landmark changes have occurred on the use of cannabis. In 2017
when the study was completed 22.2 million Americans, 12 years and older, reported using
cannabis in the past 30 days and between 2002 and 2015 that percentage has steadily

Conclusive evidence regarding the short and long term effects of cannabis still remain
elusive due to the lack of scientific research on the health implications of its use on
vulnerable populations like pregnant woman and adolescents. Sixteen experts on addiction,
oncology, cardiology, neurodevelopment, respiratory disease, pediatric and adolescent heath,
immunology, toxicology, preclinical research, epidemiology, systematic review and public
health formed a Committee on the Health Effects of Marijuana. However in the last few
yeas a substantial body of research has been developed and the committee looked at more
than 24,000 abstracts and fined tuned the study to over 10,000 abstracts of research in the
field. They published their findings in a 486 page report titled: The Health Effects of Cannabis
and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research. ISBN 978-0-309-
45304-2. The complete book can be downloaded for free at:


The committee made several recommendations that are reproduced here.

Address Research Gaps

Recommendation 1: To develop a comprehensive evidence base
on the short- and long-term health effects of cannabis use (both
beneficial and harmful effects), public agencies,4 philanthropic
and professional organizations, private companies, and clinical
and public health research groups should provide funding and
support for a national cannabis research agenda that addresses
key gaps in the evidence base. Prioritized research streams and
objectives should include, but need not be limited to:

Clinical and Observational Research

• Examine the health effects of cannabis use in at-risk or under researched
populations, such as children and youth (often
described as less than 18 years of age) and older populations
(generally over 50 years of age), pregnant and breastfeeding
women, and heavy cannabis users.

• Investigate the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics properties
of cannabis, modes of delivery, different concentrations, in
various populations, including the dose–response relationships
of cannabis and THC or other cannabinoids.

• Determine the harms and benefits associated with understudied
cannabis products, such as edibles, concentrates, and topicals.

• Conduct well-controlled trials on the potential beneficial and
harmful health effects of using different forms of cannabis, such as inhaled (smoked or
vaporized) whole cannabis plant and oral

• Characterize the health effects of cannabis on unstudied and
understudied health endpoints, such as epilepsy in pediatric populations;
symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder; childhood
and adult cancers; cannabis-related overdoses and poisonings;
and other high-priority health endpoints.
Health Policy and Health Economics Research

• Identify models, including existing state cannabis policy models,
for sustainable funding of national, state, and local public health
surveillance systems.

• Investigate the economic impact of recreational and medical cannabis
use on national and state public health and health care
systems, health insurance providers, and patients.

Public Health and Public Safety Research

• Identify gaps in the cannabis-related knowledge and skills of
health care and public health professionals, and assess the need
for, and performance of, continuing education programs that
address these gaps.

• Characterize public safety concerns related to recreational cannabis
use and evaluate existing quality assurance, safety, and
packaging standards for recreational cannabis products.

Improve Research Quality

Recommendation 2: To promote the development of conclusive
evidence on the short- and long-term health effects of cannabis
use (both beneficial and harmful effects), agencies of the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including the
National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, should jointly fund a workshop to develop
a set of research standards and benchmarks to guide and ensure
the production of high-quality cannabis research. Workshop
objectives should include, but need not be limited to:

• The development of a minimum dataset for observational and
clinical studies, standards for research methods and design, and
guidelines for data collection methods.

• Adaptation of existing research-reporting standards to the needs
of cannabis research.

• The development of uniform terminology for clinical and epidemiological
cannabis research.

• The development of standardized and evidence-based question
banks for clinical research and public health surveillance tools.

Improve Surveillance Capacity

Recommendation 3: To ensure that sufficient data are available
to inform research on the short- and long-term health effects
of cannabis use (both beneficial and harmful effects), the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, the Substance Abuse
and Mental Health Services Administration, the Association
of State and Territorial Health Officials, National Association
of County and City Health Officials, the Association of Public
Health Laboratories, and state and local public health departments
should fund and support improvements to federal public
health surveillance systems and state-based public health
surveillance efforts. Potential efforts should include, but need
not be limited to:

• The development of question banks on the beneficial and harmful
health effects of therapeutic and recreational cannabis use and
their incorporation into major public health surveys, including
the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, National
Health Interview Survey, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance
System, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Youth Risk
Behavior Surveillance System, National Vital Statistics System,
Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, and the National Survey of
Family Growth.

• Determining the capacity to collect and reliably interpret data
from diagnostic classification codes in administrative data (e.g.,
International Classification of Diseases-10).

• The establishment and utilization of state-based testing facilities
to analyze the chemical composition of cannabis and products
containing cannabis, cannabinoids, or THC.

• The development of novel diagnostic technologies that allow for
rapid, accurate, and noninvasive assessment of cannabis exposure
and impairment.

• Strategies for surveillance of harmful effects of cannabis for therapeutic

Address Research Barriers

Recommendation 4: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
National Institutes of Health, U.S. Food and Drug
Administration, industry groups, and nongovernmental organizations
should fund the convening of a committee of experts
tasked to produce an objective and evidence-based report that
fully characterizes the impacts of regulatory barriers to cannabis
research and that proposes strategies for supporting development
of the resources and infrastructure necessary to conduct
a comprehensive cannabis research agenda. Committee objectives
should include, but need not be limited to:
(Numbers in parentheses correspond to chapter conclusion numbers.)

• Proposing strategies for expanding access to research-grade marijuana,
through the creation and approval of new facilities for
growing and storing cannabis.

• Identifying nontraditional funding sources and mechanisms to
support a comprehensive national cannabis research agenda.

• Investigating strategies for improving the quality, diversity, and
external validity of research-grade cannabis products.
The committee’s conclusions were as follows:

Report Conclusions

Chapter 4

Conclusions—Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids
There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis or
cannabinoids are effective:

• For the treatment of chronic pain in adults (cannabis) (4-1)

• As antiemetics in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced
nausea and vomiting (oral cannabinoids) (4-3)

• For improving patient-reported multiple sclerosis spasticity
symptoms (oral cannabinoids) (4-7a)

There is moderate evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are
effective for:

• Improving short-term sleep outcomes in individuals with
sleep disturbance associated with obstructive sleep apnea
syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and multiple sclerosis
(cannabinoids, primarily nabiximols) (4-19)

There is limited evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are
effective for:

• Increasing appetite and decreasing weight loss associated
with HIV/AIDS (cannabis and oral cannabinoids) (4-4a)

• Improving clinician-measured multiple sclerosis spasticity
symptoms (oral cannabinoids) (4-7a)

• Improving symptoms of Tourette syndrome (THC capsules)

• Improving anxiety symptoms, as assessed by a public
speaking test, in individuals with social anxiety disorders
(cannabidiol) (4-17)

• Improving symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (nabilone;
a single, small fair-quality trial) (4-20)

There is limited evidence of a statistical association between
cannabinoids and:

• Better outcomes (i.e., mortality, disability) after a traumatic
brain injury or intracranial hemorrhage (4-15)

There is limited evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are
ineffective for:

• Improving symptoms associated with dementia (cannabinoids)

• Improving intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma
(cannabinoids) (4-14)

• Reducing depressive symptoms in individuals with chronic
pain or multiple sclerosis (nabiximols, dronabinol, and nabilone)

There is no or insufficient evidence to support or refute the
conclusion that cannabis or cannabinoids are an effective treatment

• Cancers, including glioma (cannabinoids) (4-2)

• Cancer-associated anorexia cachexia syndrome and anorexia
nervosa (cannabinoids) (4-4b)

• Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (dronabinol) (4-5)

• Epilepsy (cannabinoids) (4-6)

• Spasticity in patients with paralysis due to spinal cord injury
(cannabinoids) (4-7b)

• Symptoms associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
(cannabinoids) (4-9)

• Chorea and certain neuropsychiatric symptoms associated
with Huntington’s disease (oral cannabinoids) (4-10)

• Motor system symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease
or the levodopa-induced dyskinesia (cannabinoids)

• Dystonia (nabilone and dronabinol) (4-12)

• Achieving abstinence in the use of addictive substances
(cannabinoids) (4-16)

• Mental health outcomes in individuals with schizophrenia
or schizophreniform psychosis (cannabidiol) (4-21)

Chapter 7

Conclusions—Respiratory Disease

There is substantial evidence of a statistical association between
cannabis smoking and:

• Worse respiratory symptoms and more frequent chronic bronchitis episodes (long-term cannabis smoking) (7-3a)
There is moderate evidence of a statistical association between
cannabis smoking and:

• Improved airway dynamics with acute use, but not with
chronic use (7-1a)

• Higher forced vital capacity (FVC) (7-1b)

There is moderate evidence of a statistical association between
the cessation of cannabis smoking and:

• Improvements in respiratory symptoms (7-3b)
There is limited evidence of a statistical association between
cannabis smoking and:

• An increased risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease (COPD) when controlled for tobacco use
(occasional cannabis smoking) (7-2a)

There is no or insufficient evidence to support or refute a statistical
association between cannabis smoking and:

• Hospital admissions for COPD (7-2b)

• Asthma development or asthma exacerbation (7-4)

Chapter 8


There is limited evidence of a statistical association between
cannabis smoking and:

• A decrease in the production of several inflammatory cytokines
in healthy individuals (8-1a)

There is limited evidence of no statistical association between
cannabis use and:

• The progression of liver fibrosis or hepatic disease in individuals
with viral hepatitis C (HCV) (daily cannabis use)

There is no or insufficient evidence to support or refute a statistical
association between cannabis use and:

• Other adverse immune cell responses in healthy individuals
112(cannabis smoking) (8-1b)

• Adverse effects on immune status in individuals with HIV
(cannabis or dronabinol use) (8-2)

• Increased incidence of oral human papilloma virus (HPV)
(regular cannabis use) (8-4)

Chapter 9

Conclusions—Injury and Death

There is substantial evidence of a statistical association between
cannabis use and:

• Increased risk of motor vehicle crashes (9-3)

There is moderate evidence of a statistical association between
cannabis use and:

• Increased risk of overdose injuries, including respiratory
distress, among pediatric populations in U.S. states where
cannabis is legal (9-4b)

There is no or insufficient evidence to support or refute a statistical
association between cannabis use and:

• All-cause mortality (self-reported cannabis use) (9-1)

• Occupational accidents or injuries (general, nonmedical cannabis
use) (9-2)

• Death due to cannabis overdose (9-4a)

Chapter 10

Conclusions—Prenatal, Perinatal, and Neonatal Exposure

There is substantial evidence of a statistical association between
maternal cannabis smoking and:

• Lower birth weight of the offspring (10-2)

There is limited evidence of a statistical association between
maternal cannabis smoking and:

• Pregnancy complications for the mother (10-1)

• Admission of the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit
(NICU) (10-3)

There is insufficient evidence to support or refute a statistical
association between maternal cannabis smoking and:

• Later outcomes in the offspring (e.g., sudden infant death
syndrome, cognition/academic achievement, and later substance
use) (10-4)

Chapter 11


There is moderate evidence of a statistical association between
cannabis use and:

• The impairment in the cognitive domains of learning, memory,
and attention (acute cannabis use) (11-1a)

There is limited evidence of a statistical association between
cannabis use and:

• Impaired academic achievement and education outcomes

• Increased rates of unemployment and/or low income (11-3)

• Impaired social functioning or engagement in developmentally
appropriate social roles (11-4)

There is limited evidence of a statistical association between
sustained abstinence from cannabis use and:

• Impairments in the cognitive domains of learning, memory,
and attention (11-1b)

Chapter 12

Conclusions—Mental Health

There is substantial evidence of a statistical association between
cannabis use and:

• The development of schizophrenia or other psychoses, with
the highest risk among the most frequent users (12-1)

There is moderate evidence of a statistical association between
cannabis use and:

• Better cognitive performance among individuals with psychotic
disorders and a history of cannabis use (12-2a)

• Increased symptoms of mania and hypomania in individuals
diagnosed with bipolar disorders (regular cannabis use)

• A small increased risk for the development of depressive
disorders (12-5)

• Increased incidence of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts
with a higher incidence among heavier users (12-7a)

• Increased incidence of suicide completion (12-7b)

• Increased incidence of social anxiety disorder (regular cannabis
use) (12-8b)

There is moderate evidence of no statistical association between
cannabis use and:

• Worsening of negative symptoms of schizophrenia (e.g.,
blunted affect) among individuals with psychotic disorders

There is limited evidence of a statistical association between
cannabis use and:

• An increase in positive symptoms of schizophrenia (e.g.,
hallucinations) among individuals with psychotic disorders

• The likelihood of developing bipolar disorder, particularly
among regular or daily users (12-3)

• The development of any type of anxiety disorder, except
social anxiety disorder (12-8a)

• Increased symptoms of anxiety (near daily cannabis use)

• Increased severity of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms
among individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder

There is no evidence to support or refute a statistical association
between cannabis use and:

• Changes in the course or symptoms of depressive disorders

• The development of posttraumatic stress disorder (12-10)

Chapter 13

Conclusions—Problem Cannabis Use

There is substantial evidence that:

• Stimulant treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
(ADHD) during adolescence is not a risk factor for the
development of problem cannabis use (13-2e)

• Being male and smoking cigarettes are risk factors for the
progression of cannabis use to problem cannabis use (13-2i)

• Initiating cannabis use at an earlier age is a risk factor for
the development of problem cannabis use (13-2j)

There is substantial evidence of a statistical association between:

• Increases in cannabis use frequency and the progression to
developing problem cannabis use (13-1)

• Being male and the severity of problem cannabis use, but the
recurrence of problem cannabis use does not differ between
males and females (13-3b)

There is moderate evidence that:

• Anxiety, personality disorders, and bipolar disorders are not
risk factors for the development of problem cannabis use

• Major depressive disorder is a risk factor for the development
of problem cannabis use (13-2c)

• Adolescent ADHD is not a risk factor for the development
of problem cannabis use (13-2d)

• Being male is a risk factor for the development of problem
cannabis use (13-2f)

• Exposure to the combined use of abused drugs is a risk factor
for the development of problem cannabis use (13-2g)

• Neither alcohol nor nicotine dependence alone are risk factors
for the progression from cannabis use to problem cannabis
use (13-2h)

• During adolescence the frequency of cannabis use, oppositional
behaviors, a younger age of first alcohol use, nicotine
use, parental substance use, poor school performance, antisocial
behaviors, and childhood sexual abuse are risk factors
116for the development of problem cannabis use (13-2k)

There is moderate evidence of a statistical association between:

• A persistence of problem cannabis use and a history of psychiatric
treatment (13-3a)

• Problem cannabis use and increased severity of posttraumatic
stress disorder symptoms (13-3c)

There is limited evidence that:

• Childhood anxiety and childhood depression are risk factors
for the development of problem cannabis use (13-2a)

Chapter 14

Conclusions—Cannaabis Use and the Abuse of Other Substances

There is moderate evidence of a statistical association between
cannabis use and:

• The development of substance dependence and/or a substance
abuse disorder for substances, including alcohol,
tobacco, and other illicit drugs (14-3)

There is limited evidence of a statistical association between
cannabis use and:

• The initiation of tobacco use (14-1)

• Changes in the rates and use patterns of other licit and illicit
substances (14-2)

Chapter 15

Conclusions—Challenges and Barriers in Conducting Cannabis

There are several challenges and barriers in conducting cannabis
and cannabinoid research, including

• There are specific regulatory barriers, including the classification
of cannabis as a Schedule I substance, that impede the
advancement of cannabis and cannabinoid research (15-1)

• It is often difficult for researchers to gain access to the
quantity, quality, and type of cannabis product necessary to
address specific research questions on the health effects of
cannabis use (15-2)

• A diverse network of funders is needed to support cannabis
and cannabinoid research that explores the beneficial and
harmful health effects of cannabis use (15-3)

• To develop conclusive evidence for the effects of cannabis
use on short- and long-term health outcomes, improvements
and standardization in research methodology (including
those used in controlled trials and observational studies)
are needed (15-4)

You can download the complete study here:







The Marijuana Debate – Part 9 : Table of International Laws Regarding Marijuana as of 2017

by Don Rittner

The Marijuana Debate – Part 9 : Table of International Laws Regarding Marijuana as of 2017The Marijuana Debate – Part 9 : Table of International Laws Regarding Marijuana as of 2017


NEXT: The Marijuana Debate – Part 10 : The Latest Research on Marijuana



The Marijuana Debate – Part 8: International Laws Regarding Marijuana

by Don Rittner

The international laws vary regarding the use of weed although in most countries it is illegal. Some countries separate recreational use from medical marijuana, while there are many others who take all kinds of uses as the same. Some countries carry strict policies, while many others have learned to de-regulate the use of drugs, such as weed. Here, we take a look at the international laws about weed, in important parts of the world2. (1) At the end of this article is a listing of all countries and the United States along with their current policies.

Laws in Canada

Cannabis was banned in Canada in 1923. There are many social groups, which are trying to end the ban on this common drug. Currently, cannabis is only legal in the country for medical uses. However, it is legal to grow the marijuana plant, but only for those who have received a license from Health Canada. The current government of Justin Trudeau has vowed to eliminate the criminal penalties for using weed, and simplifying the regulations that are currently in place in the country2. On April 20, 2016, Health Minister Jane Philpott announced that new legislation would be introduced in spring 2017 to legalize and regulate cannabis in Canada. (2)

There is a government backed committee working in Canada to iron out the finer details of a new law, which will de-criminalize the use of marijuana in the country. As more businesses are licensed by Health Canada, it is all but natural to assume that cannabis has turned into a commodity and should be regulated just like other important commodities that are present in Canada. (3)

Laws in South America

There has been great support in Latin America about the legalization of drug use. Countries, such as Uruguay and Argentina strongly support allowing the people to personally use recreational drugs, such as cannabis. (4) Brazil has partially decriminalized the use of weed, but the current law is complete and cannot properly discuss the different between dealers and common users. (5)

Columbia’s Supreme Court has decreed in 2009 that it is not illegal to keep drugs in a minor quantity for personal use. The war on drugs already costs a great deal and does not produce the required benefits. (6) Mexico has also allowed the use of recreational marijuana in small amounts that are under 5gm. (7) The overall direction in the continent is changing and getting support for allowing marijuana for personal use.

According to Wikipedia, in August 2009, the “Argentine supreme court declared in a  landmark ruling that it was unconstitutional to prosecute citizens for having drugs for their  personal use – “adults should be free to make lifestyle decisions without the intervention of  the state.” The decision affected the second paragraph of Article 14 of the country’s drug  control legislation (Law Number 23,737) that punishes the possession of drugs for personal  consumption with prison sentences ranging from one month to two years (although  education or treatment measures can substitute penalties). The unconstitutionality of the  article concerns cases of drug possession for personal consumption that does not affect  others.

In 2002 and 2006, Brazil went through legislative changes, resulting in a partial decriminalization of possession for personal use. Prison sentences no longer applied and were replaced by educational measures and community services.(4) However, the 2006 law does not provide objective means to distinguish between users or traffickers. A disparity exists between the decriminalization of drug use and the increased penalization of selling drugs, punishable with a maximum prison sentences of 5 years for the sale of very minor quantities of drugs. Most of those incarcerated for drug trafficking are offenders caught selling small quantities of drugs, among them drug users who sell drugs to finance their drug habits.

In 2009, Colombia’s Supreme Court ruled that possession of illegal drugs for personal use is not a criminal offense, citing a 1994 decision by the country’s Constitutional Court. In 2012 Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos proposed the legalization of drugs in an effort to counter the failure of the War on Drugs, which was said to have yielded poor results at a huge cost.

According to the 2008 Constitution of Ecuador, in its Article 364 the Ecuadorian state does not see drug consumption as a crime but only as a health concern. (8) Since June 2013 the State drugs regulatory office CONSEP has published a table which establishes maximum doses carried by persons so as to be considered in legal possession

In 2012, newly elected Guatemalan president Otto Pérez Molina argued that all drugs should be legalized while attending the United Nations.

On February 22, 2008, Honduras President Manuel Zelaya called on the United States to legalize drugs, in order, he said, to prevent the majority of violent murders occurring in Honduras. Honduras is used by cocaine smugglers as a transiting point between Colombia and the US. Honduras, with a population of 7 million suffers an average of 8–10 murders a day, with an estimated 70% being as a result of this international drug trade. The same problem is occurring in Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Mexico, according to Zelaya.

In April 2009, the Mexican Congress approved changes in the General Health Law that decriminalized the possession of illegal drugs for immediate consumption and personal use, allowing a person to possess up to 5 g of marijuana or 500 mg of cocaine. The only restriction is that people in possession of drugs should not be within a 300-meter radius of schools, police departments, or correctional facilities. Opium, heroin, LSD, and other
synthetic drugs were also decriminalized, it will not be considered as a crime as long as the dose does not exceed the limit established in the General Health Law. The law establishes very low amount thresholds and strictly defines personal dosage. For those arrested with more than the threshold allowed by the law this can result in heavy prison sentences, as they will be assumed to be small traffickers even if there are no other indications that the amount was meant for selling.

Uruguay is one of few countries that never criminalized the possession of drugs for personal use. Since 1974, the law establishes no quantity limits, leaving it to the judge’s discretion to determine whether the intent was personal use In June 2012, the Uruguayan government announced plans to legalize state-controlled sales of marijuana in order to fight drug-related crimes. The government also stated that they will ask global leaders to do the same. (9)

On July 31, 2013, the Uruguayan House of Representatives approved a bill to legalize the production, distribution, sale, and consumption of marijuana by a vote of 50 to 46. Relating this vote to the 2012 legalization of marijuana by the U.S. states Colorado and Washington, John Walsh, drug policy expert of the Washington Office on Latin America, stated that “Uruguay’s timing is right. Because of last year’s Colorado and Washington State votes to legalize, the U.S. government is in no position to browbeat Uruguay or others who may follow.

December 10, 2013: A government-sponsored bill approved by a 16-13 vote in the Senate provides for regulation of the cultivation, distribution and consumption of marijuana and is aimed at wresting the business from criminals in the small South American nation. Backers outside the court house paraded signs declaring, “Cultivating freedom, Uruguay grows.” In April 2014, Uruguay will be the first country to have legal recreational cannabis. Consumers will be able to buy a maximum of 40 grams (1.4 ounces) each month from licensed pharmacies as long as they are Uruguayan residents over the age of 18. Buyers will be registered on a government database that will monitor their monthly purchases. Uruguayans will be able to grow six marijuana plants in their homes per year and form clubs of 15 to 45 members that can grow up to 99 plants per year.”

Laws in Europe

Europe is a region, where it is really difficult to assess a uniform policy structure for drugs, such as cannabis that are used both for recreation and for medical use. The EU member states usually have placed it as a controlled narcotic substance, and therefore one, which cannot be transported freely. The member states have also formulated their own laws, in the light of the consideration of the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. They have all adopted regulations, but cannabis products are not criminalized all across Europe. (8) According to a recent Forbes report in January 2017, “None of the European Union members has completely legalized marijuana. Spain, Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands, among others, have twisted their laws to tolerate and frame the use and sale of small amounts through special dispensaries, recreational stores (coffee shops) and clubs. It has also been “sort of” decriminalized or “semi legalized” in the Czech Republic, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Croatia, and Slovenia, where the fines are lighter, possession of personal amounts are accepted and legislation carves the difference between “light” and “hard” drugs. The 2003 law in Belgium states that only police issued fines can suffice for cannabis related infringements, especially if they do not affect other members of the society. Small quantities of less than 15gm of marijuana consist of a minor crime in the Czech Republic and also penalized through a police issued fine. Denmark also imposes only monitory fines for small possession of cannabis related drugs. The Czech Republic, for example, passed a law in 2010 decriminalizing possession of narcotic drugs in small quantities. The rest is still illegal.

Germany has a “special” regime of tolerance that makes the country one of the most lax, despite the fact that possession is still forbidden. It is expected that this year the country will approve licenses to sell cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

In 2001, Portugal became the first E.U. member to decriminalize personal use of marijuana, although cultivation is still criminal even if the crop is intended for personal use. Sale, too, remains illegal.

In Italy, which some predict will become the next European country and the second in the world after Uruguay to legalize cannabis, possession is prohibited but not for personal use and in small quantities.

In Spain, cultivating cannabis on private property for personal consumption by adults in a private space is legal. “Cannabis social clubs” that organize those activities number in the hundreds – more than 300 in Barcelona alone.

France and the rest of the E.U. consider the use of drugs, including cannabis, a criminal offense and its possession is always a crime, even if it doesn’t always lead to prison. Cyprus, meanwhile, is the strictest: Possession can be punished by up to eight years in jail.”

Greece penalizes for large quantities of weed, but quantities smaller than 20gm are not treated in a harsh manner. Spain punishes people, who are found in possession of over 40gm of hashish at one time, and also prohibits its use in public places. In France, most drug abusers are penalized to take a drug awareness course, which may cost up to 450 Euros. Imprisonment is usually reserved for more serious crimes, such as carrying of drugs as a business.

Italy and Lithuania impose administrative sanctions on people who are caught with weed, while it is considered a Class B substance in Cyprus. The Netherlands has clear legal distinction, where all personal use of marijuana and related products is completely legalized. However, possession of over 30gm is punishable, which clearly comes in the category of carrying for business purpose, rather than self use. People can buy cannabis products, from authorized coffee shops in the country, usually for amounts of 5gm.

Many countries still consider the possession and use of marijuana as a criminal offence, such as Poland, Austria, Portugal, Finland and Sweden. (9 )The same is considered as a misdemeanor in Slovenia, Germany, Luxembourg, and Croatia.

Cannabis is widely used in the United Kingdom, although it is an illegal drug. Research on cannabis in recent times; means that a number of advocacy groups are pushing for less stringent policies regarding the use of weed and weed-based medical solutions. (10) It remains a Class B substance in the country, and can only be held by organizations, which have special licenses for handing such substances, for legal uses. (11)

Although recreational use remains illegal in France, a new French Law allows the use of cannabis-based chemicals for use in preparing new medicines. This goes hand in hand, with similar legal position in countries, such as Italy, Finland and the Netherlands. (12) Germany has now allowed for regulated use of medical marijuana, although recreational use still remains illegal. (13) Netherlands is the only country in Europe, which allows the use of cannabis in specialized coffee shops throughout the country. (14)

Laws in Asia

Asia in general is known to have the toughest laws against recreational drugs, including weed and other related products. Hash is completely illegal in Afghanistan, which one of the most well known countries for weed production. (15) Marijuana is also illegal throughout the Arab countries. Although marijuana is available illegally in China, the country boasts some of the most extreme punishments for cannabis use. (16)

Cannabis-based products are also illegal in Indonesia. (17) Malaysia promotes capital punishment for people, who are caught with over 200gm of marijuana. There are strict policies even for people caught with minor quantities. (18)

Cannabis is illegal for recreational use in Israel, but allowed for medicinal needs. (19) Possessing marijuana is also illegal in Lebanon, although it is common to see weed cultivated throughout the country, with officials taking a soft look towards the use of cannabis. (20) Although illegal in Nepal, it is commonly available and used throughout the country. (21) Cannabis is illegal in India, according to federal laws, just like the United States, but most states allow for the use of cannabis in personal capacity. In fact, a bill has also been proposed in the Parliament to create new regulations for substances that are non-toxic in nature, such as marijuana, which is more commonly known as “bhang” and “ganja.” (22)

Laws in Africa
Africa has a diverse character spread throughout the continent, from the Islamic north to a Diverse south. South Africa has already passed a bill, which legalizes the use of medicalmarijuana in the country. It took a number of years to reach this situation. (23) The recreational use of the drug remains illegal in the country. Cannabis is also illegal in Egypt, although it is hard to find criminal penalties given to personal use. (24)

Cannabis is also illegal in Nigeria, although it is a regional hub for the production and transportation of marijuana. (25) Interestingly, cannabis is banned in Morocco, although a  significant portion of the national economy is supported through the industry of weed. There have been legal proposals, which discuss the legalization of weed for medicinal purposes. (26)


1. Health Canada, 2016. Frequently Asked Questions. Available at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hcps/substancontrol/hemp-chanvre/about-apropos/faq/index-eng.php

2. The Canadian Press, 2016. ‘We are moving from a prohibitory regime’: McLellan outlines marijuana  task force plan. BNN News. Available at http://www.bnn.ca/ottawa-to-release-task-force-report-onmarijuana-legalization-1.630354

3. Miller, Jacquie, 2016. Number of Canadians buying legal medical marijuana triples in just one year.  Ottawa Citizen. Available at http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/number-of-canadiansbuying-legal-medical-marijuana-triples-in-just-one-year

4. Jenkins, Simon, 2009. “The war on drugs is immoral idiocy. We need the courage of Argentina – While Latin American countries decriminalise narcotics, Britain persists in prohibition that causes  vast human suffering”. The Guardian. London.

5. Tni, 2009. Too many in jail for drugs offenses in Brazil. Available at  https://www.tni.org/en/newsroom/latest-news/item/574-too-many-in-jail-for-drugs-offenses-inbrazil

6. Colombia’s High Court Says Drug Consumption Not a Crime, 2009. Herald Tribune. Available at  http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=343393&CategoryId=12393

7. Manuel Vélez, 2009. Ley de Narcomenudeo. El Pensador (Spanish). Available at  http://archive.is/MwCkG#selection-93.5-93.17

8. EMCDDA, 2012. Legal topic overviews: possession of cannabis for personal use. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Available at http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/legaltopic-overviews/cannabis-possession-for-personal-use

9. Twenty two European Countries and Their Cannabis Laws. Medical Marijuana EU, 2016. Available at http://www.medicalmarijuana.eu/22-european-countries-cannabis-laws/

10. Patrick Miller and Martin Plant, 2002. “Heavy cannabis use among UK teenagers: an exploration.”. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 65(3), pp. 235-242.

11. Home Office, 2017. Drugs penalties. Government of UK. Available at  https://www.gov.uk/penalties-drug-possession-dealing

12. Ann Törnkvist, 2013. French law on pot-based medicine takes effect. The Local Fr. Available at  https://www.thelocal.fr/20130610/legalized-cannabis-tea-could-be-on-drug-menu-for-frenchpatients-in-pharmacies

13. Grotenhermen, F., 2002. “The Medical use of Cannabis in Germany”. Journal of Drug Issues. 32 (2): 607.

14. Michael Tonry (22 September 2015). Crime and Justice, Volume 44: A Review of Research. University of Chicago Press. pp. 261.

15. Martin Booth, 2011. Cannabis: A History. Transworld. pp. 325.

16. Chen, J., Li, Y., & Otto, J.M. (2002). Implementation of Law in the People’s Republic of China. The London Leiden Series on Law. Springer Netherlands. p. 202.

17. Thomas H. Slone, 2003. Prokem. Masalai Press.

18. US Department of State, 2015. Malaysia. Available at https://travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/country/malaysia.html

19. Erowid, 2017. Cannabis: Legal Status. The Vaults of Erowid. Available at https://www.erowid.org/plants/cannabis/cannabis_law.shtml#israel

20. Nicholas Blanford, 2007. In Lebanon, a comeback for cannabis. The Christian Science Monitor.  Available at http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1016/p06s02-wome.html

21. We Be High, 2017. Kathmandu, Nepal. Available at http://webehigh.org/kathmandu-nepal/

22 Correspondent, 2016. Bill for legalised supply of opium, marijuana cleared for Parliament.
Hindustan Times. Available at http://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab/aap-mp-gandhi-s-billseeking-opium-legalisation-cleared-for-tabling-in-parliament/story-itanKX3vRrhuXJPdgnJD6N.html

23. Medical Marijuana, 2016. Government Just Approved Medical Marijuana In South Africa. South  African Cannabis News & Supplies. Available at https://btl.co.za/government-just-approvedmedical-marijuana-in-south-africa/

24. Lama Hasan, 2010. Egypt’s Pot Problem? A Marijuana Shortage. Abc News. Available at http://blogs.abcnews.com/theworldnewser/2010/05/egypts-pot-problem-a-marijuanashortage.html

25. Seshata, 2013. Cannabis in Nigeria. Sensi Seeds. Available at https://www.sensiseeds.com/nl/blog/cannabis-in-nigeria/

26. Brian Preston, 2002. Pot Planet: Adventures in Global Marijuana Culture. Grove Press: New York.

NEXT: The Marijuana Debate – Part : Table of International Laws Regarding Marijuana