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  • Ottawa approves temporary overdose-prevention sites in bid to address opioid crisis

    About 3,000 people could die of opioid overdoses in 2017
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Thursday, November 16, 2017

    Ottawa will let provinces and territories open temporary sites for drug-overdose prevention while their applications for permanent facilities are processed, a measure officials hope will curb the country's deadly substance-abuse crisis, the federal Health Minister said. Ginette Petitpas Taylor also said that existing sites for supervised drug consumption, which provide more services than overdose-prevention sites, will be permitted to allow users to check their illicit drugs for the presence of the opioid fentanyl. As well, the federal government wants to reduce regulatory barriers that limit access to prescription-grade heroin for people in drug-treatment programs.

  • Brazil must legalise drugs – its existing policy just destroys lives

    For decades, guns and imprisonment have been the hallmarks of Brazil’s war against the drug trafficking. But the only way to beat the gangs is to stop creating criminals, says a top Brazilian judge
    The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday, November 15, 2017

    The war raging in Rocinha, Latin America’s largest favela, has already been lost. Rooted in a dispute between gangs for control of drug trafficking, it has disrupted the daily life of the community in Rio de Janeiro since mid-September. With the sound of shots coming from all sides, schools and shops are constantly forced to close. The war is not the only thing being lost. For decades, Brazil has had the same drug policy approach. Police, weapons and numerous arrests. It does not take an expert to conclude the obvious: the strategy has failed. Drug trafficking and consumption have only increased. "The insanity of Brazil’s drug policy is striking," says Brazilian supreme court judge Luís Roberto Barroso.

  • Bern cannabis study rejected for legal reasons

    The office did not reject the pilot project outright, saying from a health policy perspective “such projects explore new approaches by society to cannabis”
    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Tuesday, November 14, 2017

    The University of Bern cannot conduct a study on the effects of the regulated sale of cannabis in pharmacies on behalf of the city’s authorities. In a written reply the Federal Office of Public Health says the legal framework does not exist to authorise such a scientific project as “current drugs legislation does not allow the use of cannabis for non-medical reasons”. In May 2017, researchers from the university’s Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine and the Clinical Trials Unit filed a request with the health office for an authorisation to carry out a scientific study on the effects of the regulated sale of cannabis for recreational purposes via pharmacies. It also planned to study the illegal cannabis market in the Swiss capital. (Bundesrat Berset blockiert Cannabis-Politik der Städte)

  • L'Uni de Berne ne pourra pas se servir de cannabis

    L'Office fédéral de la santé publique estime que la loi sur les stupéfiants interdit une consommation pour des raisons non médicales
    Tribune de Génève (Suisse)
    Mardi, 14 novembre 2017

    Ce projet devait permettre d'étudier les effets de la régularisation de la vente de cannabis sur les consommateurs et sur le trafic de stupéfiants à Berne. D'autres villes comme Genève, Zurich, Bâle ou Bienne avaient manifesté leur intérêt pour cette expérience. Les participants se seraient procuré le cannabis dans les pharmacies. Mais la consommation de cannabis à des fins récréatives comme l'envisageait cette étude est exclue, a souligné l'Office Fédéral de la Santé Publique (OFSP). La Confédération n'a donc pas octroyé d'autorisation exceptionnelle. L'Université de Berne va examiner cette décision avant de faire éventuellement recours. Elle dispose d'un délai de 30 jours.

  • Medical cannabis cultivation: could Germany be the next Canada or Netherlands?

    The number of Germans receiving a prescription for medical cannabis has increased tenfold since before March this year
    The Local (Germany)
    Tuesday, November 14, 2017

    Despite the implementation of the legalization of medical marijuana in Germany in March, patients have been met with high prices, supply shortages and persistent taboos. The new law mandates that insurance companies cover the costs of upwards of 100 grams of the flower per month for chronically and terminally ill patients. But instead, more hurdles arose. Now some patients are waiting up to a few months to get their hands on the drug, imported at even higher prices from established markets in Canada and the Netherlands. Many doctors are wary of divvying out prescriptions for the stigmatized substance, and insurance companies are reluctant to pay. Home-grown, meanwhile, became strictly forbidden. Could domestic growing possibilities help?

  • Greece hopes its economy can get high from medical weed

    Legislation on medicinal cannabis expected by end of 2017
    Bloomberg (US)
    Tuesday, November 14, 2017

    Investors in medical cannabis projects are focusing on Greece, where a warm, sunny climate and potentially favorable future legislation could help the government deliver on a promise to pull the country out of a seven-year economic crisis. Growers have expressed interest in pumping more than 1.5 billion euros ($1.74 billion) into projects to build greenhouse parks for the cultivation and manufacture of cannabis, Evangelos Apostolou, minister of rural development and food, said in an interview. That would give Greece a share of a global market the government says could be worth 200 billion euros in the next 10 years.

  • Two thirds of Germans are against cannabis legalization, survey shows

    Whereas the CDU and CSU are fundamentally opposed to the drug’s legalization, parties such as the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the Green party support it
    The Local (Germany)
    Monday, November 13, 2017

    63 percent of German citizens are opposed to the legalization of marijuana, a new survey released by research institute Forsa has found. 34 percent of Germans believe that adults should be able to purchase cannabis for their own use in specialist shops, the survey findings moreover reveal. While 72 percent of people over the age of 60 support continued prohibition, 43 percent of those under 30 were pro-legalization. A 2015 Forsa survey conducted for German news magazine Stern, 61 percent of Germans said they thought the sale and consumption of hashish (a drug made from cannabis) should continue to be banned.

  • Berlin: Görlitzer Park cannabis possession once again legal

    The previous senate's zero-tolerance policy was counterproductive and unnecessarily burdening the judiciary
    Deutsche Welle (Germany)
    Thursday, November 9, 2017

    Berlin has quietly ended a ban on cannabis possession in the notorious Görlitzer Park, admitting it was ineffective in addressing flagrant criminality. Drug pushers are a constant fixture, despite a zero-tolerance policy. The park in Kreuzberg has long been a major hotspot for consumer level drug dealing and had been subject to a no-tolerance policy since April 2015. But that policy was quietly repealed by the state coalition government last month, the Berliner Morgenpost reported. Possession of up to 15 grams of cannabis will once again go unpunished, it reported, bringing the park into line with the rest of the city.

  • Asia’s violent anti-drug crackdowns are hurting people, not the drug trade

    Ruth Dreifuss, Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Olusegun Obasanjo say that governments in Asia should look away from coercive means, like the death penalty and long prison sentences, and towards voluntary rehabilitation
    South China Morning Post (China)
    Thursday, November 9, 2017

    With regional and international heads of state gathering in Manila for the 31st Asean Summit, it seems appropriate to examine whether there are more effective drug policies for dealing with the harms caused by the presence of drugs in society. The Philippines offers a striking example of the costs of violent repression – in lives, increased violence, public expenditure, the impact on public health and the undermining of the rule of law. Yet despite these costs, there is no sign of any long-term disruption in trade, no long-lasting solution. Tragically, we have serious reasons to fear contagion of this violent approach to other countries in the region. Indeed, Cambodia initiated a crackdown in January that has resulted in the arbitrary arrests of more than 8,000 people.

  • Don't 'bank' on ganja! - Lawmaker says J'cans might be clinging to false hopes

    Banks have expressed concerns in relation to their correspondent banking relationships
    The Gleaner (Jamaica)
    Thursday, November 9, 2017

    The viability of Jamaica's legal ganja and hemp industry has been called into question, with Government lawmaker Marisa Dalrymple Philibert suggesting that Jamaicans might be clinging to false hope as there are financial barriers that could exclude small farmers from participating in the sector. Members of Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) indicated that there was need for clarity as to how investors in the cannabis sector would either source funding from the banks or deposit proceeds from the sector into financial institutions when there were concerns relating to correspondent banking. Small farmers seeking to form a company and participate in the cannabis sector should be given the assurance that they could do business with the banks without facing major roadblocks. (See also: Ganja block)

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