Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Mexico wants to decriminalize all drugs and negotiate with the U.S. to do the same

    The document says that ending prohibition is “the only real possibility” to address the problem
    Newsweek (US)
    Thursday, May 9, 2019

    Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrado released a new plan that called for radical reform to the nation’s drug laws and negotiating with the United States to take similar steps. The plan calls for decriminalizing illegal drugs and transferring funding for combating the illicit substances to pay for treatment programs instead. It points to the failure of the decades-long international war on drugs, and calls for negotiating with the international community, and specifically the U.S., to ensure the new strategy’s success. “The ‘war on drugs’ has escalated the public health problem posed by currently banned substances to a public safety crisis,” the policy proposal, which came as part of AMLO’s National Development Plan for 2019-2024, read. Mexico’s current “prohibitionist strategy is unsustainable,” it argued.

  • Denver voters approve measure to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms

    In California activists took an initial step last week toward drafting a ballot measure to decriminalize psilocybin statewide
    Forbes (US)
    Wednesday, May 8, 2019

    magic mushroomsVoters in Denver, Colorado, made their city the first in the U.S. to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms by approving a ballot measure on the issue. Its provisions prohibit the city government from using any resources to impose criminal penalties against adults over 21 years of age for personal use and possession of psilocybin, the active ingredient in so-called "magic mushrooms." Initiative 301 also specifies that going after people for the mushrooms is the city's “lowest law enforcement priority” and establishes a review panel to assess and report on the effects of the change by early 2021. The new ordinance is just one example of how drug policy reform activists are increasingly setting their sights beyond marijuana. (See also: Denver first in U.S. to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms)

  • New Zealand tried for 20 years to curb its methamphetamine crisis. It failed

    The meth they traffic is stronger than ever and shipments are growing larger
    New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
    Tuesday, May 7, 2019

    nz methamphetamine pipeFor twenty years, New Zealand fought methamphetamine and lost. Now, a Herald investigation has examined the impact of the meth epidemic from the inside - spending six months in communities ravaged by meth. The documentary project, named Fighting the Demon, found a country gripped by the second wave of addiction; where users are punished but not helped; creating one of the most lucrative methamphetamine markets in the world. "If you were to ask any significant trafficker what is the best market for meth ... they would say Australia and New Zealand," said Drug Enforcement Agency Canberra attache Kevin Merkel. The figures behind the drug are startling. Meth inflicts an estimated $500 million of social damage a year.

  • Legalising cannabis: A grower’s perspective

    He suggested the government limit the number of growers, suppliers and sellers, so the market didn't get out of control
    RNZ (New Zealand)
    Tuesday, May 7, 2019

    nz maori cannabisAs the New Zealand government announces its plans for a cannabis referendum, a self-described “cannabis master” who grows and sells marijuana, provides insight into the illegal business he’s running, and what a workable legitimate business model could look like.  If recreational use becomes legal, he wants to be part of the change. It will allow growers and sellers like him – those he describes as “ninjas or living double lives” – to stop hiding. He said they'd come out of the woodwork and contribute to a new, legal market and would apply for a licence. (See also: New Zealand Drug Foundation is backing a Yes vote)

  • Government releases cannabis referendum details

    A legal purchase age will be 20
    New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
    Tuesday, May 7, 2019

    nz cannabis flagPeople will vote on a proposal for a legal cannabis market in 2020 with tightly controlled rules including special bars for consumption, special outlets for sales, and strict rules for home-grown cannabis. Justice Minister Andrew Little made the much-anticipated announcement, including proposals to limit the potency of products, and having a licensing regime to control all stages of the supply chain as well as all available products - including edibles and resins. "Cabinet has agreed there will be a simple Yes/No question on the basis of a draft piece of legislation," Little said. A bill will be drafted before the 2020 election, but will not be passed into law, calling into question whether the referendum will be binding. (See also: Cannabis referendum: A simple yes or no question on reform at 2020 General Election |Explainer)

  • No date yet for legalisation of marijuana, parliamentary secretary says

    Reforms parliamentary secretary Julia Farrugia Portelli said that an educational campaign would be a fundamental part of legalising marijuana
    Malta Today (Malta)
    Tuesday, May 7, 2019

    malta cannabis flagThe Malta government has not yet set a date to motion a bill to potentially legalise recreational marijuana, parliamentary secretary for reforms Julia Farrugia Portelli has said. She confirmed that talks with stakeholders were currently under way and said that a campaign to educate people about the drug and its effects would necessarily be part and parcel of any law to legalise marijuana. Farrugia Portelli is piloting a proposed reform on the recreational use of marijuana and had previously told this newspaper that the government would be insisting on certain rules in this regard, including a minimum legal age of 21 for buying the drug, and an absolute prohibition to smoke in public places, among other things.

  • China cashes in on the cannabis boom

    The movement to legalize the mind-altering kind of cannabis has virtually no chance of emerging in China
    The New York Times (US)
    Saturday, May 4, 2019

    Tian Wei director Hemp SoulChina has made your iPhone, your Nikes. Now, it wants to grow your cannabis. Two of China’s 34 regions are quietly leading a boom in cultivating cannabis to produce cannabidiol, or CBD, the nonintoxicating compound that has become a consumer health and beauty craze in the United States and beyond. They are doing so even though cannabidiol has not been authorized for consumption in China, a country with some of the strictest drug-enforcement policies in the world. “It has huge potential,” said Tan Xin, the chairman of Hanma Investment Group, which in 2017 became the first company to receive permission to extract cannabidiol here in southern China. The chemical is marketed abroad.

  • Jamaicans are worried foreigners will take over the ganja market

    Who is going to profit from this? Jamaicans, or somebody else?
    Vice (US)
    Saturday, May 4, 2019

    jamaica viceSince 2015, Jamaica has become the site of a ganja gold rush, as foreign investors pump in money and set up shop on the island. Smaller local farmers, many of whom were being harassed and punished for growing in the past, simply can’t compete. Some locals see this as another extensions of colonial inaction. “I'm not saying all of these investors coming in are evil,” says Ras Iyah V, an activist who has been fighting for ganja legalization for years. “I'm just saying most of these coming in are concerned with money. About making money out of an industry that our people have suffered for.”

  • Neighbours smell trouble from legal cannabis in Luxembourg

    Drug remains illegal in Germany, France and Belgium
    Luxembourg Times (Luxembourg)
    Friday, May 3, 2019

    luxembourg cannabisLuxembourg is likely to run into trouble with its neighbours if it sticks by its plan to legalise cannabis - a policy that remains unthinkable particularly in France and Germany. The country's new coalition government, formed last year, has pledged to legalise cannabis in the five years it is scheduled to stay in power. How and when this will happen, remains to be seen. But the Grand-Duchy's big neighbours Germany and France are unhappy anyway, fearing legal pot in Luxembourg could cause trouble back home. If Luxembourg follows up on its plan to legalise cannabis, every adult in Luxembourg will be allowed to cultivate, buy, possess and consume cannabis for personal use.

  • Paulwell joins lobby to get banking services for cannabis industry

    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Frday, May 3, 2019

    The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) is again being pressed about its role in charting the way forward to enable the legal cannabis industry to access financial services and become a part of the formal economy. East Kingston and Port Royal Member of Parliament Phillip Paulwell — a member of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) — said that Jamaica continues to be at a disadvantage as it awaits the United States to lead the way in opening up the industry in order to address the issue of banking for cannabis. The BOJ senior deputy governor told the committee that the bank has been holding meetings with the various associations representing the industry to see how their needs can be accommodated in the formal banking system, but that so far there has been no progress in that regard.

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