Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Time to ease up on marijuana?

    Indian doctors are hoping to take advantage of the more favourable way the West is looking at medical cannabis
    The Hindu (India)
    Sunday, November 25, 2018

    With several States in the United States, and Canada this year, permitting the use of the marijuana for medical as well as recreational use, there is a loosening of the taboo associated with the plant. Indian doctors and researchers are hoping to take advantage of this. India is likely to kick off its own studies on medical marijuana. Led by the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR-IIIM) and the Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), Mumbai, researchers will test whether strains of marijuana grown at the CSIR-IIIM campus in Jammu could be effective in the treatment of breast cancer and sickle-cell anaemia as well as be “bio-equivalent” (similar in make-up and effect) to marijuana-derived drugs already approved by the U.S. FDA.

  • Cannabis : l’Assemblée adopte la création d’une amende forfaitaire

    Le cadre répressif instauré depuis 1970 prévoit, quelle que soit la drogue, que le contrevenant risque jusqu’à un an de prison et 3 750 euros d’amende
    Le Monde (France)
    Samedi, 24 novembre 2018

    L’Assemblée nationale a voté la création d’une amende forfaitaire de 200 euros pour sanctionner l’usage illicite de stupéfiants, jusqu’alors réprimé uniquement par une peine de prison et une forte amende, peu souvent prononcées. L’article, adopté par les députés par 28 voix contre 14, entend ainsi répondre à l’augmentation constante du nombre de consommateurs de cannabis : 5 millions en 2017, dont 700 000 usagers quotidiens, selon les chiffres officiels. La ministre de la justice, Nicole Belloubet, a insisté sur « la palette de réponses possibles », le ministère public conservant la possibilité de poursuivre l’infraction devant le tribunal correctionnel. (Lire aussi: Il n’y a jamais eu autant de consommateurs réguliers de cannabis en France)

  • Harm reduction is the right way to treat drug abuse

    Europe should re-embrace an approach it pioneered
    The Economist (UK)
    Saturday, November 24, 2018

    Portugal’s policies are based on “harm reduction” approaches pioneered in countries such as Switzerland in the 1980s. The idea is to emphasise treatment and prevention more than punishment, says Brendan Hughes of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). Most European countries now have some form of harm-reduction policy, though the east is more conservative. Some countries take things further. Many have safe injection rooms, supervised by medical professionals who check the drugs for safety. In Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, addicts who repeatedly fail methadone programmes may even receive free, government-prescribed heroin. “Heroin-assisted treatment” has been shown to reduce crime and deaths.

  • Marijuana bill due before Antigua-Barbuda parliament before Christmas

    Bill seeks to legalise the use of the herb for medicinal, religious and sacramental purposes
    WIC News (Caribbean)
    Saturday, November 24, 2018

    A bill that will allow residents to possess and use small quantities of marijuana will go before parliament on 12 December for the first time. According to the country’s latest cabinet notes, the Marijuana Bill will be read a first time and distributed when parliament convenes in 19 days. The bill focuses on decriminalising up to 5g of marijuana, eliminating fines associated with the currently illegal drug. The government is hoping that by passing the Marijuana Bill, it will lessen what it termed the “expensive” costs associated with pursuing convictions and prosecuting people who were caught with small amounts of the drug. (See also: Antigua and Barbuda set to pass inclusive cannabis regulation law)

  • Thailand moves one step closer to legal marijuana

    GPO ready to develop medication, rejects seized cannabis
    The Nation (Thailand)
    Saturday, November 24, 2018

    Thailand is moving closer to getting medical marijuana legalised, as the bill on the issue has already made headway in the legislative process. The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) approved the bill with 145 votes allowing marijuana to be used for medical and research purposes. Nobody attending the NLA session objected to the bill, and only one legislator abstained. The NLA’s Somchai Swangkarn said a vetting committee on the bill has also been established. “We believe the NLA will take 60 days to deliberate this draft,” he said. Over the period, he also expects relevant authorities to sort out cannabis-related patent issues after several civic organisations expressed concerns that all patent applications submitted to the Intellectual Property Department came from foreigners.

  • Dutch municipalities dissatisfied with regulated cannabis experiment

    The experiment states that all coffeeshops in a municipality must participate
    NL Times (Netherlands)
    Friday, November 23, 2018

    Many Dutch municipalities are dissatisfied with the current preliminary design of the government's experiment with regulated cannabis cultivation. Where municipalities queued to participate in the experiment when it was announced, the government will now have difficulty in finding 10 municipalities to participate, according to the association of Dutch municipalities VNG. The VNG's main objection is that the experiment will not automatically be extended if it proves successful. That means that coffeeshop owners may have to return to illegal growers after the experiment. "That is immoral", mayor Paul Depla of Breda said. The final point of criticism for the VNG is the so-called 'resident criterion' - coffeeshops can only sell to Dutch residents.

  • How 'fixing rooms' are saving the lives of drug addicts

    Across Europe, facilities that offer medical supervision for addicts are dramatically reducing drug-related deaths
    The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday, November 21, 2018

    All over Europe, every day, many thousands of people will inject heroin in drug consumption rooms. But none of these will be in the UK, where drug addicts are mainly confined to back streets, crack houses and hostel bedrooms. While European overdose rates are falling, the UK now has the worst drug death rate across the continent: one in three of the approximate 8,000 people who die as a result of drugs in Europe will do so in Britain. There has never been a recorded death in any of the 78 drug consumption rooms in Europe. Why? Because nurses quickly administer antidotes and immediately resuscitate the person before calling an ambulance. Elsewhere, the death rate from opiate overdoses is about 6%.

  • Marijuana is getting cheaper. For Colorado and some states, that’s a problem

    States may have failed to anticipate this problem because of misleading predictions about the effects of legalization
    The Denver Post (US)
    Wednesday, November 21, 2018

    Wholesale marijuana prices in Colorado have fallen by a third in just the past 12 months, continuing a price crash that began soon after the drug was legalized. Although this implies that some marijuana entrepreneurs are going to go bankrupt, the bigger financial hit will be felt by states that tax marijuana based on its price. Marijuana prices are collapsing because a legal business is dramatically cheaper to operate than an illegal one. Ironically, in a bid for more tax revenue per marijuana sale, Colorado increased its marijuana tax rate from 10 percent to 15 percent last year, only to see the anticipated added tax revenue wiped out by falling prices in a year’s time.

  • Why the future of marijuana farming could be craft weed

    Big Marijuana is not inevitable
    The Verge (US)
    Wednesday, November 21, 2018

    There are plenty of predictions about how cannabis farming is poised to go corporate, but Big Marijuana is not inevitable, says Ryan Stoa, a professor of law at Concordia University. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen. But Stoa, the author of Craft Weed: Family Farming and the Future of the Marijuana Industry, argues that in a world where cannabis is legal, there is a route for cannabis agriculture to stay sustainable and local. The Verge spoke to Stoa about what’s fending off a corporate takeover, potential legal regulations that could help the industry remain small, and the environmental impact of farming. (See also: Can artisanal weed compete with ‘Big Marijuana’?)

  • Amidst ganja reform, concerns about growers

    The Caribbean Community (Caricom) Marijuana Commission has called on the Government to decriminalise marijuana for all uses
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Tuesday, November 20, 2018

    Spirit CottleThe St Vincent and the Grenadines Parliament is expected to approve laws establishing a medical marijuana industry in the country. The bills are expected to become law amidst concerns among three groups involved in the review of the draft legislation — growers, the Christian Council, and the parliamentary opposition — that foreign interest could benefit the most from a medicinal marijuana industry here. “As we, as growers, get into this part of the industry, I must tell you that the playing field is not a level one, because foreigners, the investors, have the money [and] the growers, they don't have lands,” said Junior “Spirit” Cottle, a long-standing advocate of reform of the island's marijuana laws. (See also: Debate of SVG’s marijuana bills postponed)

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