Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • These are the countries most likely to legalize weed next

    Mexico? Likely. India? Not so much
    Vice (US)
    Wednesday, April 17, 2019

    In October 2018, Canada became the second country after Uruguay—and the first G7 nation—to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, politicians took the plunge largely to reduce underage access to weed. So who's next? To formulate some well-educated predictions, we spoke to an ace team of weed experts who have been on the frontline of reform, from region to region, for decades. Come with us as we peek into our bud-crusted crystal ball. “Mexico will almost certainly legalize and regulate in 2019,” said Tom Blickman, senior project officer at the Transnational Institute.

  • Canada's legal weed struggles to light up as smokers stick to black market

    Six months after legalisation, licensed producers are unable to keep up with the demand or quality of neighborhood dealers
    The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday, April 17, 2019

    canada cannabis flagWhen Melissa, a resident of Halifax, Nova Scotia, went to one of Canada’s first government cannabis stores, she wasn’t impressed. “You can’t look at what they have. You can’t smell the product,” she said. “It’s too expensive.” And so she, like tens of thousand of other Canadians, went back to their old habits: buying from neighbourhood dealers. Six months after Canada became the first G7 country to legalise marijuana, the bold experiment is still struggling to get off the ground. Legal producers were unable to meet the sudden surge in demand, and struggled for weeks to fill orders, leaving marijuana stores with empty shelves. As a result, the vast majority of cannabis sales in the country – roughly $5bn – are made on the illegal markets, compared to $2bn in legal sales.

  • Jamaica’s cannabis gamble

    How to sell dope without provoking America
    The Economist (UK)
    Wednesday, April 17, 2019

    Jamaica is starting to think of cannabis as an opportunity. Uruguay, Canada and ten American states have legalised it for recreational use. Ganja, as Jamaicans call it, is a “growth-oriented industry”, says Audley Shaw, the agriculture minister. In 2015 Jamaica decriminalised the possession of small amounts and allowed its cultivation for medical use. But Jamaica’s welcome is wary. It is trying to cash in on cannabis without provoking the United States. The risk of miscalculation is high. The island has become a magnet for marijuana merchants. In September Aphria, one of three “golden boys” of Canadian weed, bought a 49% stake in a grower in Jamaica. (See also: Shaw says no to PC Bank as financial institution for ganja)

  • Boheco: This cannabis startup is weeding out the high notes for a Hemp economy

    Boheco is focused on establishing a scale-centric approach towards industrial hemp based products and raw material as well as cannabis-based medicines
    The Economic Times (India)
    Tuesday, April 16, 2019

    bohecoBombay Hemp Company (BOHECO), is a first mover in the industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis’ space in India. Boheco slowly started making inroads in a space that had not been spoken about as openly before in the Indian context. And the results have been heartening for them and the industry as a whole. “Prior to 2013, hemp was rarely mentioned or raised as an interesting opportunity for new industrial and medicinal development horizons, primarily due to the pre-conceived stigma surrounding the recreational use of Cannabis combined with the fear of industrial and medicinal cannabis being misused and re-directed to the illicit cannabis market,” says Jahan Peston Jamas. (See also: Ratan Tata, Rajan Anandan back cannabis research firm)

  • Global cannabis investors souring on Canada's potential

    Canadian cannabis companies were virtually unanimous in citing global expansion as a key element of their growth plans
    CTV News (Canada)
    Tuesday, April 16, 2019

    Six months after cannabis was legalized in Canada, many of the people in search of a financial windfall appear ready to turn their attention elsewhere. “We’re very bullish on the globe, on the U.S. -- not so much on Canada,” Loren DeFalco, partner at CB1 Capital, a New York based cannabis-focused investment advisory company, said at a cannabis investors’ conference in Toronto. His sentiments were echoed, in whole or in part, by other industry insiders. Reasons for the pessimism around Canada included advertising restrictions making it difficult to build a popular brand, consumers being unsure where to find trustworthy knowledge about cannabis and the slow rollout of retail distribution in Ontario and B.C., which has left many with no easy access to a physical cannabis store.

  • Lebanon’s green gold: The debate to legalize cannabis

    Farmers see legalisation as the government stealing their revenue
    Vice (US)
    Monday, April 15, 2019

    lebanon cannabis harvestLebanon is about to take a historic step for the Arab World with a proposed bill to legalize the cultivation of cannabis for medical use. But in the fertile Bekaa valley in Eastern Lebanon, where communities have been growing cannabis for generations, this news has not gone down well. VICE’s Rony Karkar finds out why Lebanon is so keen to legalize cannabis, and travels to the village of Yammouneh, where one of the main cannabis farming communities live, to find out why they think they’ll lose out if their livelihood becomes legal.

  • Where the war on weed still rages

    The Washington Post (US)
    Monday, April 15, 2019

    Marijuana possession led to nearly 6 percent of all arrests in the United States in 2017, FBI data shows, underscoring the level of policing dedicated to containing behavior that’s legal in 10 states and the nation’s capital. But the figure obscures the considerable variations in enforcement practices at the state and local levels. In many areas of the country in 2016, more than 20 percent of all arrests stemmed from pot possession, according to newly released county-level arrest figures from the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data. The figure exceeds 40 percent in a handful of counties, topping out at nearly 55 percent in one Georgia county.

  • Germany: Drivers on cannabis will no longer automatically lose license

    Experts have argued that cannabis users can still have THC in their blood even days after consumption
    Deutsche Welle (Germany)
    Friday, April 12, 2019

    germany police cannabisFirst time offenders of driving under the influence of cannabis will no longer have their driver's license revoked, a federal court in Leipzig ruled. Instead, driver's license authorities must first declare with a medical evaluation whether or not the cannabis user was fit to drive. Under current law, a drivers license can be revoked if the driver is unable to drive due to the consumption of alcohol, cannabis or other drugs. In regards to cannabis, the law applied drivers caught with one nanogram per millimeter of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis — in their bloodstream.

  • Dutch ministers unveil marijuana plans

    Ministers say they expect the decision about which local authorities will take part will be made by the end of the year
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Thursday, April 11, 2019

    The Dutch government is to press ahead with experiments in regulated marijuana production involving 10 licenced growers, according to the detailed plans. The long-awaited experiment with regulated growing is supposed to remove the gray area between the sale of marijuana in council-licenced coffee shops and the illegal cultivation and supply. The plans, which were put out to consultation last year, state that the 10 growers will all have to produce at least 10 different types of marijuana product and the thc content will have to be clearly marked on the packaging. The plans have been criticized by the Dutch local authorities association VNG, drugs and legal experts and coffee shop owners. (See also: Holland’s half-baked attempt to return to the marijuana vanguard)

  • Alex Berenson and the last anti-cannabis crusade

    How a best-selling thriller writer and media hound is spreading a moral panic about pot
    The New Republic (US)
    Wednesday, April 10, 2019

    harry anslinger quoteThe encroaching specter of mass legalization of cannabis has triggered a strange reprisal of the alarmist themes of Anslinger’s assault on the plant over 80 years ago. More curious still, our celebrated latter-day apostle of Anslingerism—the thriller novelist Alex Berenson—has been embraced by a credulous mainstream and liberal press. One might imagine that in this day and age we would have grown immune to moral entrepreneurship in the context of cannabis, now that a movement has begun to unravel Anslinger’s legacy. But in tandem with the momentum toward national legalization of cannabis, a new crop of moral entrepreneurs, led by Berenson, have stepped forward to enforce the crumbling status quo.

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