Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Germany to launch cannabis farming as Canada's Aurora, Aphria win tenders

    Germany has depended on imports of medical cannabis, mainly from Canada and the Netherlands
    Reuters (UK)
    Thursday, April 18, 2019

    medical cannabis docterGermany has awarded contracts to supply domestically-grown cannabis to two Canadian companies, as it seeks to develop its own medicinal marijuana industry and reduce reliance on imports. Drugs regulator BfArM said it would purchase 4,000 kg and 3,200 kg of cannabis over four years from German production subsidiaries of Canada’s Aurora Cannabis and Aphria, respectively. Another tender over a four-year harvest of 3200 kg has been delayed because an unidentified bidder who lost out is challenging the procedure with a regulator. The first home-grown harvest is slated for late 2020.

  • These are the countries most likely to legalize weed next

    Mexico? Likely. India? Not so much
    Vice (US)
    Wednesday, April 17, 2019

    In October 2018, Canada became the second country after Uruguay—and the first G7 nation—to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, politicians took the plunge largely to reduce underage access to weed. So who's next? To formulate some well-educated predictions, we spoke to an ace team of weed experts who have been on the frontline of reform, from region to region, for decades. Come with us as we peek into our bud-crusted crystal ball. “Mexico will almost certainly legalize and regulate in 2019,” said Tom Blickman, senior project officer at the Transnational Institute.

  • Canada's legal weed struggles to light up as smokers stick to black market

    Six months after legalisation, licensed producers are unable to keep up with the demand or quality of neighborhood dealers
    The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday, April 17, 2019

    canada cannabis flagWhen Melissa, a resident of Halifax, Nova Scotia, went to one of Canada’s first government cannabis stores, she wasn’t impressed. “You can’t look at what they have. You can’t smell the product,” she said. “It’s too expensive.” And so she, like tens of thousand of other Canadians, went back to their old habits: buying from neighbourhood dealers. Six months after Canada became the first G7 country to legalise marijuana, the bold experiment is still struggling to get off the ground. Legal producers were unable to meet the sudden surge in demand, and struggled for weeks to fill orders, leaving marijuana stores with empty shelves. As a result, the vast majority of cannabis sales in the country – roughly $5bn – are made on the illegal markets, compared to $2bn in legal sales.

  • Germany: Drivers on cannabis will no longer automatically lose license

    Experts have argued that cannabis users can still have THC in their blood even days after consumption
    Deutsche Welle (Germany)
    Friday, April 12, 2019

    germany police cannabisFirst time offenders of driving under the influence of cannabis will no longer have their driver's license revoked, a federal court in Leipzig ruled. Instead, driver's license authorities must first declare with a medical evaluation whether or not the cannabis user was fit to drive. Under current law, a drivers license can be revoked if the driver is unable to drive due to the consumption of alcohol, cannabis or other drugs. In regards to cannabis, the law applied drivers caught with one nanogram per millimeter of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis — in their bloodstream.

  • Dutch ministers unveil marijuana plans

    Ministers say they expect the decision about which local authorities will take part will be made by the end of the year
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Thursday, April 11, 2019

    The Dutch government is to press ahead with experiments in regulated marijuana production involving 10 licenced growers, according to the detailed plans. The long-awaited experiment with regulated growing is supposed to remove the gray area between the sale of marijuana in council-licenced coffee shops and the illegal cultivation and supply. The plans, which were put out to consultation last year, state that the 10 growers will all have to produce at least 10 different types of marijuana product and the thc content will have to be clearly marked on the packaging. The plans have been criticized by the Dutch local authorities association VNG, drugs and legal experts and coffee shop owners.

  • Alex Berenson and the last anti-cannabis crusade

    How a best-selling thriller writer and media hound is spreading a moral panic about pot
    The New Republic (US)
    Wednesday, April 10, 2019

    harry anslinger quoteThe encroaching specter of mass legalization of cannabis has triggered a strange reprisal of the alarmist themes of Anslinger’s assault on the plant over 80 years ago. More curious still, our celebrated latter-day apostle of Anslingerism—the thriller novelist Alex Berenson—has been embraced by a credulous mainstream and liberal press. One might imagine that in this day and age we would have grown immune to moral entrepreneurship in the context of cannabis, now that a movement has begun to unravel Anslinger’s legacy. But in tandem with the momentum toward national legalization of cannabis, a new crop of moral entrepreneurs, led by Berenson, have stepped forward to enforce the crumbling status quo.

  • Cannabis banking prospects improve; scepticism and stigma remain

    The SAFE Banking Act aims to protect banks that service the cannabis industry from being penalised by US federal legislators
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Wednesday, April 10, 2019

    jamaica flag ganjaThe nascent medical cannabis business in Jamaica is challenged by limited access to banking facilities. Many of the major banks have asked clients engaged in legal medical cannabis businesses to close their accounts for fear of breaching federal laws in the USA. Further, despite provision in law for researchers to investigate and innovate, projects are being held until financial rules are settled. On top of this structural barrier, scepticism and stigma perfuse the system. (See also: Jamaican ganja is a US$250-million industry)

  • Mother of girl with epilepsy has supply of medical cannabis confiscated

    Campaigner Emma Appleby was stopped with £4,500 worth of cannabis oil for her daughter
    The Observer (UK)
    Saturday, April 6, 2019

    The law in the UK was changed last November to make access to medical cannabis legal, but parents have been struggling to secure prescriptions, due to reluctance within the medical community. NHS England says it expects cannabis-based products for medicinal use should “only be prescribed for indications where there is clear published evidence of benefit”. Hannah Deacon, mother of one of the first children to be prescribed medical cannabis, said that people need help from the government, rather than an insistence on randomised control trials to prove the efficacy of medical cannabis. “We need observational trials and modern thinking from clinicians and ministers to make these life-changing medicines truly accessible.” (See also: Teagan Appleby to have confiscated medical cannabis returned)

  • A budding trade: Industrial cannabis is booming in China

    Hemp stocks reach an all-time high
    The Economist (UK)
    Thursday, April 4, 2019

    The hemp plant has a history in China. It was probably twisted into the world’s first rope there around 2,800BC. Since its cooler sister, marijuana, became legal for recreational use in Canada and many American states, industrial-use hemp—a variety of cannabis that contains trivial amounts of weed’s mind-altering substance, THC—is flourishing in a country that until a few years ago banned its cultivation outright. China grows nearly half the world’s legal hemp. In 2018 sales, mostly of textile fibre made from the plant’s stalk, totalled $1.2bn. Now global demand for its seeds, leaves and flowers is surging. Packed with fulsome fatty acids, seeds go into snacks and oil. Leaves and flowers contain cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating compound that reduces anxiety and inflammation.

  • How cannabis is firing up the U.S. supply chain

    U.S. companies cannot stop talking about marijuana, hoping in part they can catch investor interest as the booming economy around the drug lifts revenues throughout the supply chain
    Reuters (UK)
    Thursday, April 4, 2019

    us cannabis deliveredWith the recreational use of cannabis now legal in 10 states and the District of Columbia and medical marijuana legal in 23 states, marijuana is on its way to becoming an $80 billion industry in the United States by 2030, according to estimates by Cowen Inc. That outsized growth is starting to bleed into adjacent industries ranging from energy to packaging to point-of-sale technology whose products are used in the production or sale of marijuana. As investors circle the cannabis space, supply-chain companies are showing a new willingness to associate themselves with an industry that remained largely illegal a decade ago.

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