Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Trump says China will curtail fentanyl. The U.S. has heard that before

    The United States has long pushed China to systemically control all fentanyl substances
    The New York Times (US)
    Monday, December 3, 2018

    China vows to stem the supply of the powerful opioid fentanyl flowing into the United States. It pledges to target exports of fentanyl-related substances bound for the United States that are prohibited there, while sharing information with American law-enforcement authorities. Such promises, echoed in the recent meeting between the countries’ presidents, ring familiar. Cracking down on the manufacturing and distribution of fentanyl in China is no easy task. Many classes of the drug are already considered controlled substances in the country. Fentanyl’s chemical structure and those of related analogues can be modified to create similar yet distinct substances, so new versions can be concocted quickly.

  • Legalization of recreational marijuana will result in international sanctions – PM

    He said that a country must put legislation in a sensible strategic frame as this country is now doing
    Searchlight (St Vincent)
    Friday, November 30, 2018

    Ralph GonsalvesSt Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) cannot legalize marijuana for recreational purposes without facing sanctions internationally. And persons who say we can just "free up the weed" are opportunistic and misleading says Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. He explained that because of the nature of the international legal regime, this country could face sanctions if we do not approach the cannabis issue correctly. "We are a small country, we are not Canada or California," stressed the Prime Minister who noted also that "freeing up the weed" in SVG does not add significant income to persons selling it locally because the base is too small. "The international conventions to which we subscribe make an exception to do medical cannabis, not to do recreational."

  • Mexico’s war on drugs failed

    Proposals to legalize opium production could still beat the cartels—but only if poppy farmers are part of the process
    Foreign Policy (US)
    Friday, November 30, 2018

    Former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, once a firm proponent of the war on drugs, urged contemporary lawmakers to “give the benefit of the doubt to those of us who have followed the wrong policy for so many years.” And Mexico’s incoming president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said in his victory speech that the drug war was a “failed crime and violence strategy.” Guerrero’s state legislature agrees. As an alternative to the policy of the last few years, lawmakers there have called on the national government to legalize the production of opium for pharmaceutical use. The State’s governor, Héctor Astudillo, has led the charge. López Obrador’s incoming interior minister, Olga Sánchez, seems to be on board, and the president-elect has said that he won’t rule it out.

  • Cannabis to be made legal for recreational use in Luxembourg

    Coalition parties confirm cannabis will be commercially distributed in Luxembourg
    Luxembourg Times (Luxembourg)
    Thursday, November 29, 2018

    cannabis salesCannabis will be made legal for recreational use in Luxembourg, it has been confirmed. During a press conference held by the three coalition parties – Democratic Party (DP), Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP) and The Greens (déi gréng) – political leaders said the drug will be legalised. It will also be commercially distributed, as was confirmed by deputy prime minister Etienne Schneider, speaking to Luxembourg Times. The parties said only residents will be able to buy the drug and penalties will be put in place for anyone distributing to minors or around schools. Furthermore, addiction prevention will be part of government policy. (See also: Cannabis legalisation needs to be applauded)

  • Marijuana, mountains and money: How Lesotho is cashing in

    The country has managed to attract Canadian investors, who have found the climate and low labour costs ideal for expanding their businesses
    BBC News (UK)
    Wednesday, November 28, 2018

    Lesotho is aiming to make money from the booming medicinal marijuana industry, but the southern African nation already has an unheralded illicit trade in the drug for recreational use. The high altitude combined with fertile soils, untainted by pesticides, enables illicit growers to produce a high-quality crop. Last year, Lesotho became the first African country to legalise the cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes, spawning a new sector in a country which struggles to create employment opportunities. The government has granted international companies licences to grow, distribute and to export marijuana-based products, but the small-scale farmer cannot afford the infrastructure and licensing costs that the legal trade requires.

  • Dr Benedikt Fischer: Canada provides lessons on legal cannabis

    Keep the cannabis industry at bay
    New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
    Tuesday, November 27, 2018

    New Zealand is debating its cannabis policy, a process that led to legalisation of cannabis use and supply in Canada just last month. Since the two countries share many traits and values - and high cannabis use rates - they have many insights to share on these matters. In Canada, where cannabis reform had been discussed for decades, legalisation was advanced not principally to further the freedom to use drugs. Rather, the rationale included recognition that cannabis prohibition had done more harm than good, and that only through legalisation could cannabis be better controlled and regulated towards protecting public health and safety. Based on my involvement in Canadian science and policy here is a - certainly incomplete and subjective - list of thoughts.

  • Pot growers turn to gifting, trading with no legal way to buy cannabis seeds in Canada

    It would technically be illegal for Canadians to plant seeds at home that were purchased from another country
    The Toronto Star (Canada)
    Tuesday, November 27, 2018

    Cannabis consumers who can’t buy seeds are finding creative ways to grow their own pot. Even though the federal government made it legal on Oct. 17 to grow four plants per household, officials say there is no place to buy seeds without breaking the law. With nothing in the stores, people are finding other ways to grow. Darryl Kolewaski, a homegrower with a medical licence, said he has had hundreds of frustrated people approach him looking for seeds after being unable to find them in stores. He said he’s allowed to gift plants under the Cannabis Act, which he does when he has capacity to do so. The Cannabis Act states adults can share up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or the equivalent with other adults.

  • How to achieve weed equality

    Could Massachusetts – the latest US state to open its doors to legal cannabis sales – provide an alternative model of social justice?
    Vice (UK)
    Monday, November 26, 2018

    The official body that's overseen the legal cannabis regulatory process in Massachusetts has given the much anticipated "commence operations" notice. It has taken two years for the Cannabis Control Commission's rollout of this rather unique model for cannabis reform. On entering one of the new cannabis stores, customers are directed to either an express line, for experienced connoisseurs, or a queue for the "full service", where a "budtender" will educate as to the effects and assorted flavours of the products. Massachusetts has placed a firm emphasis on its "social equity" programme, which is designed to ensure that people from ethnic communities – most notably black people and those with Latin backgrounds – are not excluded from the new industry.

  • N.J. moves a big step closer to legalizing marijuana

    Separate pieces of legislation would expunge convictions for minor marijuana convictions
    The Philadelphia Inquirer (US)
    Monday, November 26, 2018

    A bill to legalize recreational marijuana was voted out of a joint committee in the New Jersey legislature marking a giant step towards making the cannabis plant and its products available for legal adult use. Senate Bill 2703 would legalize the possession and use of limited amounts of marijuana for adults 21 and older. It also would create a state system to oversee the operations of a new potentially multibillion-dollar industry. Moments after the bill cleared, Sen. Nick Scutari (D., Union) said he was "very optimistic" the legalization bill would pass but said he just "couldn't say" when.  "We moved it along quite well today, but a lot depends on the governor to help out," he said.

  • France introduces fixed fine for drug use

    The introduction of the fine would not remove other “possible responses” to drug use - such as the accused being asked to appear in court
    The Connexion (France)
    Sunday, November 25, 2018

    france cannabisThe French Assemblée Nationale has voted to introduce a fixed €200 fine for the use of narcotics - and cannabis in particular - in an effort to step up the fight against illegal drugs. The bill was adopted on Friday November 23, by 28 votes in favour, and 14 against. It will introduce a €200 fixed punishment fine for the illicit use of drugs, with cannabis especially targeted. Since 1970 in France, illegal drug use - of any kind - has been associated with up to a year in prison and a fine of up to €3,750; but this was rarely enforced for the use of drugs such as cannabis. The vote comes against a backdrop of widespread cannabis use in France: official figures estimated that in 2017 there around 5 million users nationally, of which 700,000 were said to use it daily.

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