Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Drug company founder convicted of bribing doctors with money, strippers to sell more Fentanyl

    Case exposed kick-backs in the millions, lap dances as incentives
    Associated Press (US)
    Thursday, May 2, 2019

    John KapoorA pharmaceutical company founder accused of paying doctors millions of dollars in bribes to prescribe a highly addictive fentanyl spray was convicted in a case that exposed such marketing tactics as using a stripper-turned-sales-rep to give a physician a lap dance. John Kapoor, the 76-year-old former chairman of Insys Therapeutics, was found guilty of racketeering conspiracy after 15 days of jury deliberations. Four former employees of the Arizona-based company, including the former exotic dancer, were also convicted. Opioid overdoses claimed nearly 400,000 lives in the U.S. between 1999 and 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • First-time cannabis use up after legalization, StatsCan reports

    About 5.3 million people reported pot use in the last three months
    CBC News (Canada)
    Thursday, May 2, 2019

    More Canadians say they've used cannabis recreationally since it was legalized last fall, particularly those aged 45 to 64 and males, according to Statistics Canada. About 18 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and older, or about 5.3 million people, reported pot use in the last three months, the federal agency said in its quarterly report. Early indications point to more use right after it was legalized last October, when the reported use stood at 14 per cent. "One of the things … unique with this survey is the number of respondents who said they're using for the first time. So they started, in this case, in the post-legalization period," said Michelle Rotermann, a senior analyst in Statistics Canada's health analysis division.

  • Cannabis co-operatives: Can working together preserve small players?

    The fear is that cannabis could risk becoming just like any other industrialized cash crop
    Dope Magazine (US)
    Wednesday, May 1, 2019

    Hezekiah AllenHezekiah Allen believes in small family farms, though he’s biased — he grew up on one. Born in an off-the-grid community of rural Humboldt County, Allen was raised surrounded by a culture of craft cannabis farming that’s now being threatened in the scramble for dominance of California’s newly legal marketplace. That’s why, in recent years, he’s devoted his efforts to shaping a more equitable regulatory framework for small cannabis farmers as executive director for the California Growers Association (CGA). In September 2018, Allen transitioned to the private sector as chairman of Emerald Grown, a mutual benefit corporation made up of cannabis cooperative organizations — or co-ops — aimed at helping those same “legacy” growers adapt and compete.

  • Cannabis park gives micro-growers running start in competitive sector

    The facility will offer growers the chance to come in and design their own grow space
    Times Colonist (Canada)
    Wednesday, May 1, 2019

    Small-batch growers of cannabis hoping to get in on the legal and growing recreational market will soon have a home to get a head start in the business. The owners of the 50-acre Sooke Industrial Park have carved out just under a third of the land to establish buildings that will house both micro-cultivators and a production facility. It is called the B.C. Canna Park and one of its key selling points is it offers small growers a serious head start. It is already zoned for growing and production, offers the necessary power supply, security and a partnership with the landlord for packaging and marketing. The micro-growing market as being akin to the craft brewing industry, which is expected to produce higher quality, interesting strains of cannabis for the marketplace.

  • How the world’s oldest drug checking service makes high-risk pills “unsellable”

    DIMS tests every kind of illicit drug, and shares its data—in aggregated form, so it’s not traceable to individuals—with the government
    Filter (US)
    Wednesday, May 1, 2019

    The Drugs Monitoring and Information System (DIMS) in the Netherlands can proudly claim to be the oldest drug checking service in the world. It began unauthorized operations back in 1989, a time when use of “club drugs” was increasing in the country, and was formalized in 1992. By 1999, it was receiving funding from national and local governments. Today, DIMS is operated by the Trimbos Institute, a government-funded agency, and runs over 30 offices around the country, serving tens of thousands of people every year. “Our 27 years of research and experience shows that there’s no sign of drug checking encouraging drug use at all. Most likely the opposite is true.”

  • Sri Lanka president uses Easter attacks to fuel Duterte-inspired drug war

    Sirisena told Duterte that he planned to "follow your footsteps to control this hazard"
    Filter (US)
    Wednesday, May 1, 2019

    For Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena, the War on Drugs and the War on Terror go hand-in-hand. And the Easter attacks that rocked the capital city of Colombo on April 21 have boosted Sirisena’s anti-drug rhetoric, as he launches a drug war inspired by the bloody extrajudicial executions coordinated by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte—which Sirisena considers to be “example to the whole world.” Sirisena claimed that the suspected terrorist organization responsible for the bombings, a little-known local group called National Thowheed Jamath, could have ties to drug trafficking—as is often speculated of other Islamist militant groups, like Islamic State (IS), to which the Sri Lankan group is allegedly linked.

  • Swiss health commission calls for legalisation of cannabis

    Some 200,000 people in Switzerland use illegal cannabis, the government estimates, despite its criminalisation
    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Tuesday, April 30, 2019

    The Federal Commission for Addiction Issues said that cannabis use in Switzerland had not changed significantly in the past ten years. Despite its popularity, the percentage of problematic users is low, it said. The risks of cannabis are mainly linked to high amounts of THC [active ingredient], early use among teenagers, prolonged use, mixing cannabis and tobacco, and if it is used by people with existing mental problems. The commission recommends Switzerland legalise and regulate the market while protecting the health of its population, especially young people. The government is meanwhile is proposing limited pilot projects. (See also: Top Swiss health commission call for 'legalisation' of cannabis)

  • Legalising cannabis could generate up to 144 million euros for Belgium

    Groupe du Vendredi has estimated public spending on activities related to cannabis to be 223.9 million per year
    The Brussels Times (Belgium)
    Monday, April 29, 2019

    belgium court cannabisLegalising cannabis could generate up to 144 million euros for the Belgian State, reports Le Soir, citing a study by the Groupe du Vendredi. The think tank carried out an analysis of the current situation in Belgium, called Cannaconomics, which measured the impact on public finances, according to three scenarios. The first was legalisation with regulation, where the state controls production, distributes licenses and sets the price, would generate 144 million euros. In another scenario, a "simple" decriminalisation - lifting the ban on consumption, but not on sales and production - would result in a reduction in public spending by 42.8 million. Finally, a competitive market where private companies are free to set the quantity produced would generate a margin of 78.4 million.

  • Cannabis being decriminalised by back door, MPs warn

    Forces record a huge drop in the number of offences for the drug
    The Times (UK)
    Saturday, April 27, 2019

    uk possession cannabis chartPolice have been accused of decriminalising cannabis by stealth as forces recorded a drop in possession offences of up to 75 per cent in a decade. More than half of police forces recorded 40 per cent fewer crimes despite cannabis remaining the most popular drug, analysis by The Times showed. Police chiefs and police and crime commissioners (PCCs), as well as the organisation for rank-and-file officers, have called for a review of the legislation on drugs, particularly cannabis. the legislation on drugs, particularly cannabis. Recorded crime for possession of cannabis has dropped in most forces since 2008, with Greater Manchester’s figure falling by 75 per cent.

  • BBC documentary exposes hashish farmers’ vulnerability and officials' alleged involvement

    The channel revealed the vulnerability of Moroccan hashish growers and its flourishing market in the West
    Yabiladi (Morocco)
    Friday, April 26, 2019

    cannabis morocco2A BBC Arabic documentary tried to answer a daring question on hash cultivation in Morocco. Entitled Who is Getting Rich from Moroccan Hash?, the project investigated «the production, consumption and trade of hash» in the Kingdom, the number one exporter of this drug in the world. The documentary revealed that farmers who grow cannabis illegally in the northern Rif region, are the weakest link in a chain that, involves international smugglers, corrupt officials and sellers in Amsterdam. Speaking to hashish growers in northern Morocco, BBC Arabic shows that authorities turn a blind eye to hashish cultivation in the Rif.

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