Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media

 

  • Street dealers dealt with in Amsterdam anti-drug campaign

    Mayor Femke Halsema announced earlier this month that she wants to enforce a national law that means only residents can buy
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Saturday, April 23, 2022

    drug dealingAs tourists return in full force to the Amsterdam red light district, Amsterdam city council has met them with police action and a campaign warning visitors against street dealers. Over the Easter weekend, the city announced, 69 people were apprehended for breaking various drug and public order laws, and 54 were banned from the area. Meanwhile, city hosts, big screens and a social media campaign are warning visitors about the risks of bad drugs, robbery and deception by street dealers, while the city has increased camera surveillance of former ‘blind spots.’ (See also: Amsterdam mayor plans to press ahead with tourist cannabis cafe ban)

  • 420 day: Berlin pro-cannabis rally demands immediate legalization

    Hundreds of marijuana users gathered in the German capital to mark 420, the annual cannabis celebration, and demand legalization of the drug
    Deutsche Welle (Germany)
    Wednesday, April 20, 2022

    germany entkriminalisering sofortAt least 500 pro-legalization protesters gathered in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate on Wednesday for 420, the annual April 20 celebration marked by cannabis consumers around the world, to urge the government to move forward with its plans to decriminalize the drug. "We will introduce the controlled distribution of cannabis to adults for recreational purposes in licensed stores," the government promised. But five months on and there has been no word or timetable about when legal stores might be opened, and pro-cannabis activists are getting impatient at what they consider unnecessary foot-dragging. After all, the Green Party, now a part of the government coalition, has already presented a draft law to the Bundestag in the last few years and seen it defeated.

  • 4/20 in Belgium: High time to legalise cannabis?

    Calls for legalisation of cannabis in Belgium have intensified in recent years
    The Brussels Times (Belgium)
    Wednesday, April 20, 2022

    For those partial to the psychoactive herb cannabis, 20 April (known in the US as 4/20) is a day of celebration for the drug, with groups sometimes gathering to “light up” at the given hour on the given day. Not so in Belgium, where a drug law dating back more than a century currently outlaws the drug and shrouds the use of its legal component CBD in ambiguity. With no plans for legalisation, the country lags far behind its progressive neighbours Luxembourg and the Netherlands on cannabis-related policy. Is it time the country considers decriminalising the plant?

  • Health office approves first Swiss project to sell cannabis for recreational use

    The city of Basel is the first to be given the green light by the Swiss authorities to sell cannabis for recreational use
    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Tuesday, April 19, 2022

    medical cannabis docterThe Swiss Federal Office of Public Health said it had approved a request for a pilot on the regulated sale of cannabis through local pharmacies. It will be restricted to just under 400 participants over the age 18 as part of a joint project by the University of Basel, its psychiatric clinics and the cantonal health department. The trial, due to begin in September, is intended to help evaluate the effects of new regulations on the recreational use of cannabis and ultimately combat black market distribution, the office said. Several other local authorities, including Zurich, Geneva and Bern, have also applied to roll out similar trials. (See also: Switzerland to launch 1st cannabis sale pilot in summer)

  • Cannabis entrepreneurs in Amsterdam feel "ignored" by Mayor Halsema

    The proposal and possible alternatives are still being discussed with the city council
    NL Times (Netherlands)
    Tuesday, April 12, 2022

    coffeeshop2Several entrepreneurs in the Amsterdam cannabis industry said they feel ignored by Mayor Femke Halsema. They said they were surprised by Halsema’s announcement saying that she, along with the local leadership of the police and prosecution service, will stick with their plan to ban foreign tourists from coffee shops to prevent drug nuisance in the city center. The officials completely ignored a white paper with alternative proposals put forward by their industry, Amsterdam cannabis purveyors Barney's, Best Friends, and Sensi Seeds wrote in a message to the mayor. They sent a letter with alternative proposals to tackle the problem. (See also: Councillors oppose Amsterdam cannabis cafe tourist ban plan | Amsterdam putting up street signs to warn tourists against drug dealers)

  • Amsterdam to ban coffeeshops selling weed to tourists

    The mayor may be heading for a clash with the city council
    NL Times (Netherlands)
    Tuesday, April 12, 2022

    nl amsterdam weedMayor Femke Halsema plans to go through with a ban on coffeeshops selling weed to tourists in Amsterdam, she said in a letter to the city council. According to her, the enforcement of the residents-only criterion is "necessary" for the municipality to get a grip on the coffeeshop market and "inseparable" from any relaxation of the cannabis policy, such as regulated cultivation or expanded trade stocks, Het Parool reports. Over three million foreign tourists visit coffeeshops in Amsterdam every year, making the capital's cannabis market uncontrollably large and a portal to serious crime. Some tourists may resort to street dealers, but research could not estimate how many.  (See also: Amsterdam mayor plans to press ahead with tourist cannabis cafe ban)

  • Tunisians call for the legalization of cannabis

    Tunisian activists call for decriminalizing cannabis and establishing a national authority to regulate the consumption of the plant
    Albawaba (Tunisia)
    Sunday, April 10, 2022

    tunisia cannabisA group of young Tunisians is calling for the establishment of a National Cannabis Bureau, and the end of the nationwide ban on cannabis. The youth group, “Badal,” claims that the law criminalizing the consumption of weed is detrimental to the future of young Tunisians. The youth-led movement calls to eradicate “Law No. 52” that penalizes cannabis consumption, explaining that it's “cruel,” the report added. Under Law 52, smoking hashish is penalized with a one-year prison sentence for anyone charged with drug possession. And the prison sentence can reach five years in case the culprit has a criminal history. The call rekindles the controversy in Tunisia regarding the consumption of cannabis, known in slang as “zatla”.

  • New program sells regulated fentanyl to help prevent overdoses from illicit supply in Vancouver

    British Columbia is approaching its sixth year of a public-health emergency declared in response to record-shattering drug deaths from an increasingly volatile drug supply
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Thursday, April 7, 2022

    A Vancouver social services organization has launched a program to sell pharmaceutical-grade fentanyl to drug users who would otherwise purchase toxic, illicit substances from street dealers, a first-in-Canada model that straddles prescription-based safer supply and regulated drug sales. Under the PHS Community Services Society program, a person who would ordinarily buy illicit opioids – particularly dangerous because of their unknown potencies and additives – can instead purchase fentanyl powder capsules from one of the program’s clinical sites for the same price: $10 for a tenth of a gram, called a point.

  • More than half of Europeans support cannabis legalization - report

    The European cannabis market is expected to cross 3 billion euros ($3.27 billion) in annual revenue by 2025, up from about 400 million euros last year
    Reuters (UK)
    Thursday, April 7, 2022

    europe cannabisMore than half of the European population support legalization of adult use of cannabis and around 30% of them are interested in purchasing it, according to polling data by industry consultants. Europe's liberal approach could reap multiple financial and economic benefits as seen in the United States, which has witnessed a surge in cannabis use during pandemic-induced lockdowns. While majority of Europeans support regulated cannabis shops, most do not favor growing the plant at home, according to the report by London-based consultancy Hanway and pot producer Curaleaf International. The report comes a week after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to end the federal ban on marijuana.

  • Africa eyes the global cannabis market

    Africa's rapidly developing cannabis industry could soon supply the entire world. Uganda is already cultivating medical cannabis for the German pharmaceutical market
    Deutsche Welle (Germany)
    Wednesday, April 6, 2022

    uganda cannabis womanBenjamin Cadet stands among his plants in a white polo shirt bearing his company logo. He dons surgeon's gloves and handles the flowers carefully. They are full of pollen — ripe for the picking. The Ugandan entrepreneur and former member of parliament is the CEO of the only company licensed to grow and export cannabis legally in the East African country. The cannabis plantation, located in Uganda's mighty Rwenzori Mountains, extends over three hectares in the country's west, almost directly on the Equator. More than 40,000 cannabis plants thrive in greenhouses under strict hygienic conditions. They are destined for export to Europe. (See also: Aiming high: Africa’s cannabis future)

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