More international officials looking at relaxing MJ laws

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More high-ranking government officials across the globe are taking up the cause of cannabis, with an Israeli police chief looking into fully legalizing medical marijuana and a German lawmaker sponsoring a bill to repeal the nation’s ban on cannabis.

That follows news of marijuana laws being eased in places such as Jamaica and Puerto Rico in recent months, and even reports that Italy’s army is cultivating medical marijuana.

These developments are often more symbolic than anything, however.

In Israel, for instance, the outgoing Inspector Gen. Yohanan Danino established a special committee to study the effects of loosened marijuana laws in western countries, and pointed out that the number of MMJ permit holders in the country has ballooned over the past four years from 400 to 20,000. But Danino has no power to affect national policy and make MMJ more broadly available to the country’s 8 million residents.

And in Germany, the head of the country’s Hemp Association acknowledged that the cannabis bill stands no chance of passing, even though it would significantly boost taxes.

Still, the spokesman said the bill represented a major step forward, because it was the first time a conservative mainstream politician agreed to sponsor such legislation.