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  • Canada’s mayors call for speedy approval of proposals to address overdose crisis

    The task force wants the federal government to set national targets for reducing overdoses
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Thursday, May 25, 2017

    Canada’s big-city mayors are calling for the expedited approval of new supervised drug-consumption sites, improved data collection and the expansion of unconventional therapies, such as heroin-assisted treatment, to address a national overdose crisis that shows no signs of abating. The formal recommendations from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ task force on the opioid crisis come as the Vancouver Police Department issues its own call for expanded addictions programs, including heroin-assisted treatment.

  • France to decriminalise cannabis possession within months, interior minister says

    The current laws primarily target people from poor areas and immigrant communities, and this would likely continue despite the change
    Talking Drugs (UK)
    Thursday, May 25, 2017

    france legalisationFrance’s newly-appointed Minister of the Interior, Gérard Collomb, has said that personal cannabis possession may no longer be prosecuted from as soon as September, although this change may be accompanied by unprecedented strict rules on people with convictions for selling drugs. Collomb said that new rules are set to be implemented under which someone found in possession of cannabis will be given a ticket and required to pay a fine, instead of being prosecuted or imprisoned. The plans, which he revealed during an interview with French news channel BFMTV on 24 May, could be in place "within three to four months", he said.

  • Canada eases steps to open supervised drug injection sites amid opioid crisis

    New legislation streamlines the more than two dozen requirements previously needed to launch facilities, which offer supervision and sterile equipment
    The Guardian (UK)
    Sunday, May 21, 2017

    Safe injection siteCanada’s government has made it easier to open supervised drug injection sites across the country, offering communities a lifeline as they battle an opioid crisis that has claimed thousands of lives in recent years. New legislation passed this week streamlines the more than two dozen requirements previously needed to launch these facilities, which offer a medically supervised space and sterile equipment for people who use drugs intravenously. “Solid evidence shows that, when properly set up and maintained, supervised consumption sites save lives, and they do it without increasing drug use or crime in the neighbourhood,” Jane Philpott, Canada’s health minister, told parliament this week.

  • The expanding universe of synthetic drugs

    From “legal highs” to fentanyl, there are more drugs on offer than ever before
    The Economist (UK)
    Saturday, May 20, 2017

    The 20th century saw new drugs created from scratch: amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines and more. It also saw a far more spirited, if often fruitless, policing of the line between drugs-as-medicine and drugs-of-choice — a line that was in many cases drawn according to the sort of people who chose to use the drug, rather than any essential danger it posed. These prohibitions rarely improved public health or public order; but they did encourage some of those who served the markets on the wrong side of the line to investigate the potential of molecules similar to those in existing drugs but not yet subject to any sanction.

  • California takes right steps in crafting state’s marijuana regulations

    Adult-use marijuana, like medical marijuana, is now legal in the state of California
    The Sacramento Bee (US)
    Wednesday, May 17, 2017

    When Proposition 64 passed last November by the largest margin of any marijuana legalization ballot measure in history, it represented a resounding message from more than 8 million California voters to federal, state and local policymakers. With the input of hundreds of respected state and local organizations, including local government and law enforcement, Proposition 64 was carefully and specifically drafted to safeguard public safety, public health and the environment, preserve local control, curb market monopolies and, above all else, protect our children.

  • Is Colombia sacrificing coca farmers' trust for US Aid dollars?

    The priority placed by Colombia's government on reaching eradication goals has put enormous pressure on security forces destroy as much coca as possible
    InSight Crime
    Wednesday, May 17, 2017

    Colombia's defense minister divulged new coca eradication figures ahead of a meeting between Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and his US counterpart Donald Trump, a sign of commitment to US policy preferences that may come at the expense of harming trust between Colombia's government and important segments of its own population. With regard to the upcoming meeting, Villegas praised the fact that the US Congress recently approved a $450 million aid package known as "Peace Colombia," which is aimed at supporting the country's peace agreement with the FARC.

  • An experiment helps heroin users test their street drugs for fentanyl

    Fentanyl has become a big part of the local drug supply in the Bronx
    NPR (US)
    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is "similar to morphine but can be 50 to 100 times more potent," according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Increasingly, drug dealers have been using fentanyl to cut their heroin supply — which can be lethal for users. By using the same simple test a doctor would use to check for fentanyl in a patient's urine, Van Asher, one of the staffers in charge of "transactions" — that means he gives out needles — is now giving drug users in the Bronx a way to quickly find out what's in their syringe before they inject.

  • Cannabis may help wean people off crack, study finds

    The results echo a smaller study of 25 crack users in Brazil
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    canada crack vancouverCannabis has been identified as a potential substitute for users of legal or illicit opioids, but a new Vancouver-based study shows the drug may also help reduce people’s cravings for another highly addictive substance: crack cocaine. Scientists at the BC Centre on Substance Use tracked 122 people who consumed crack in and around Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside over a three-year period and found they reported using that drug less frequently when they opted to also consume cannabis. The findings do suggest that cannabinoids might play a role in reducing the harms of crack use for some people. (See also: Therapeutic Use of Cannabis by Crack Addicts in Brazil)

  • Legal marijuana could earn millions for Swiss state

    Legal cannabis should benefit the federal coffers, as it is subject to a 25% tax and VAT levy, which should generate CHF30 million a year in tax revenue for the state
    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    Some 130 firms have registered with the Swiss federal authorities to sell legal pot that could generate CHF30 million ($30.2 million) in annual revenue for the state. Legal cannabis has become a flourishing business in recent months. Switzerland changed its laws in 2011 to let adults buy and use cannabis with up to 1% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the active ingredient that gets smokers high. So far, 130 retailers of legal cannabis have registered with the Federal Customs Administration to be taxed as tobacco producers, the Berner Zeitung reported. Swiss customs officials were in contact with 250 other potential producers. The customs administration confirmed that annual sales of legal pot in Switzerland amount to CHF100 million.

  • Ganja lobby wrong

    De La Haye counters claim he's anti-marijuana
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Monday, May 15, 2017

    Winston de la HayeThe Ministry of Health (MoH) of Jamaica has indicated that it has begun taking steps to change the schedule class of marijuana to effect amendments to international treaties concerning the drug.Chief Medical Officer Dr Winston De La Haye made the disclosure at last week's post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House after being asked to respond to accusations of him being labelled by ganja lobbyists as “anti-marijuana”. “They are wrong. We are lobbying to have it removed from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act that lists it as a criminal and narcotics substance,” he said. (See also: No ganja babies - Tufton vows to protect vulnerable from ill effects of marijuana | Two ganja licences approved)

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