Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • It’s time we were made legal, say London’s cannabis dealers... but don’t do it for skunk

    Weed dealers in the capital would welcome being decriminalised... but worry that big business will swoop in and take all the profits
    Evening Standard (UK)
    Thursday, August 22, 2019

    uk cannabis debate esLondon cannabis dealers would welcome the legalisation of their trade, despite apprehension that they would be excluded from enjoying the fruits of the process and lose their livelihood. This was one of the key findings of a research project by London Metropolitan University and the Evening Standard in which two criminologists carried out interviews with cannabis dealers to glean their views on legalisation. Two dealers described dual cannabis markets, one for “pure weed” smoked by the older generation and another for skunk, smoked by young people. They were adamant that high-potency skunk should not be legalised as it was a contributing factor to street violence and mental illness, despite skunk being “more profitable”. (See also: 50 arrests as police swoop on 'cannabis cafe' in east London)

  • Weed investment boom sparks calls for City pot exchange

    Legalising cannabis put Canada's stock markets at the head of a global "green rush"
    Evening Standard (UK)
    Tuesday, August 20, 2019

    uk cannabis debate esCanada was once the centre of a gold rush, but now a "green rush" for cannabis is setting stock markets alight. As the world's most progressive country on cannabis legislation, Canada has become the centre of a weed investment boom that has caught the eye of entrepreneurs across the globe. Canadian cannabis companies have the lowest cost of capital in the world, because they have a monopoly on the billions chasing the industry. Legalising cannabis has helped Canada gain "first mover" status in the burgeoning industry and now some are asking whether London should follow suit and steal a lead over European rivals such as Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Lisbon and Berlin.

  • Are e-cigarettes a gateway to cannabis use for teens and young adults? Yes, says new study

    It appears to support the theory that nicotine affects the developing brain, influencing how people respond to addictive substances
    Associated Press (US)
    Friday, August 16, 2019

    Adolescents and young adults who use electronic cigarettes are far more likely to also use marijuana, according to new research.The study, published online in JAMA Paediatrics, said the odds of marijuana use among young people who used e-cigarettes was 3.5 times greater than among those who said they had not used e-cigarettes.The research examined marijuana use among 10- to 24-year-olds through a compilation of 21 studies from the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. The authors, who include researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, say policymakers should pay attention to this connection.

  • Ganja export regulations to be finalised September

    Once enacted, the regulations will give CLA jurisdiction to handle requests for the import and export of ganja buds and resin oil
    The Gleaner (Jamaica)
    Friday, August 16, 2019

    jamaica flag ganjaThe Jamaican Government is finalising legislation to allow for marijuana producers to export. Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw says producers could potentially earn $30 million per gallon for exported marijuana oil. “I have set a target for the end of September for the regulations to be promulgated,” said Shaw. “I want us to start exporting extracted oil and buds from Jamaica to external markets.” Jamaica remains concerned about correspondent banking issues in the United States, where banks continue to block legitimate marijuana companies from conducting transactions, whether or not the product enters the US. (See also: Proposals to revolutionise medical cannabis industry put forward to Government)

  • Mexico's top court demands regulation on medical marijuana after long delays

    The ministry said it would comply with the court's ruling and ensure the child's access to treatment
    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Thursday, August 15, 2019

    med marijuana2Mexico's supreme court ordered the health ministry to issue regulation within six months on medical marijuana use, saying its failure to do so after legalization in 2017 had put rights at risk for patients, including children. The court made the decision as part of its ruling in favour of a child who needed medication derived from cannabis substance THC to treat epilepsy. "Due to the absence of rules regulating the therapeutic use of cannabis, it was impossible for the plaintiff to access treatment based on this substance or any of its derivatives," the court said in a statement. The health ministry had been instructed to update its guidelines within half a year following a June 2017 reform to legalize marijuana for medical and scientific needs.

  • A step change in the approach to addiction

    The most significant change to drug laws in 40 years has passed despite a flurry of last-minute attempts to change the bill
    Newsroom (New Zealand)
    Thursday, August 8, 2019

    The passing of the Misuse of Drugs Amendment marks a significant shift in how the Government deals with the possession and use of controlled substances, especially for those caught in the web of addiction.The Misuse of Drugs Amendment Act has four core parts: the Class A reclassification of the two most prevalent chemicals found in synthetics, the ability to temporarily reclassify emerging chemicals, increased penalties for manufacturers and suppliers, and enshrining police discretion over prosecution, and prioritising therapeutic options when dealing with possession and personal use of controlled drugs.Legislating police discretion is a remarkable move towards treating drug addiction as a health issue – something that’s been championed by the Greens and Labour.

  • 'Growing outside is a dream': Asparagus makes way for cannabis in Canada's fields

    Growing outdoors can cost as little as one-fifth that of greenhouse production and one exec says it makes for 'tastier' buds
    Financial Post (Canada)
    Wednesday, August 7, 2019

    cannabis bud2The amount of outdoor-grown cannabis will make up a small portion of the market this year — less than 10 per cent of the cultivation licenses granted in Canada are for outdoors — but many more are in the pipeline after the Canadian government changed its rules last year to allow pot farms. Growing outdoors eliminates the need for costly lighting, heating and cooling systems. WeedMD CEO Keith Merker said it can grow for about 20 cents at its farm versus $1 a gram in a greenhouse and $2 a gram for a typical indoor site. (See also: Cannabis can be grown outdoors for pennies on the dollar. So why is hardly anyone doing it?)

  • Thailand unveils first batch of medical marijuana for hospital distribution

    Reuters (UK)
    Wednesday, August 7, 2019

    Thailand delivered 4,500 bottles of cannabis oil to treat hospital patients, its first official use of marijuana for medical purposes since a measure legalising such use took effect this year. Thailand, which has a tradition of using cannabis to relieve pain and fatigue, legalised marijuana for medical use and research last year to help boost agricultural income. The Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) delivered the bottles to the public health ministry to distribute to hospitals for about 4,000 registered patients, with a further 2,000 bottles to be distributed this month. "This is the outcome of legalising medical cannabis," said deputy prime minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who is also the public health minister. "There is no hidden agenda. We only want to support every patient."

  • Boom in overdose-reversing drug is tied to fewer drug deaths

    Local, state and federal officials have embraced naloxone as a lifesaving measure
    The New York Times (US)
    Tuesday, August 6, 2019

    Prescriptions of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone are soaring, and experts say that could be a reason overdose deaths have stopped rising for the first time in nearly three decades. The number of naloxone prescriptions dispensed by U.S. retail pharmacies doubled from 2017 to last year, rising from 271,000 to 557,000, health officials reported. The United States is in the midst of the deadliest drug overdose epidemic in its history. About 68,000 people died of overdoses last year, according to preliminary government statistics reported last month, a drop from the more than 70,000 in 2017. "One could only hope that this extraordinary increase in prescribing of naloxone is contributing to that stabilization or even decline of the crisis," said Katherine Keyes, a Columbia University drug abuse expert.

  • Those caught with drugs won't face criminal conviction until third offence under radical 'three-strike' plan

    Tentative plans to decriminalise drugs were strongly opposed by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan
    Irish Independent (Ireland)
    Friday, August 2, 2019

    A 'three-strike' plan that will see people caught with small amounts of illegal drugs avoid criminal conviction on the first and second occasion but face the courts on the third will be unveiled by the Government of Ireland. Reforms to how those caught in possession of illicit substances are dealt with stop short of full decriminalisation, but represent a shift in the State's approach. The plan will see a health diversion programme whereby a person in possession of drugs for personal use will be referred to the HSE for screening and intervention. Those repeatedly caught in possession will still be dealt with by the criminal justice system and many existing drug laws are set to remain. (See also: 'Destined to fail': Opposition parties say government's new drug possession plan falls short)

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