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  • The opium bulbs of Myanmar: drug crop or lifeline for poor farmers?

    Rural development to wean poppy farmers off their illicit crop contend with lack of roads, water and power in remote areas plagued by militias
    The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday, June 22, 2016

    An estimated 133,000 households in Myanmar, mainly found in impoverished, remote regions, last year grew poppies across 55,500 hectares (about 137,000 acres) of land, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Myanmar is the second largest producer of opium after Afghanistan. The trade in opium and its derivative heroin is controlled by many rebel groups and pro-government militias who use it to fund a long-running civil war. The opiates, along with methamphetamine, end up in China and across south-east Asia. (See also: Poppylands: Understanding Myanmar's addiction to heroin)

  • Time to put ‘skunk’ out of business

    As THC levels have risen, the CBD that used to feature in commercial cannabis has gradually disappeared
    VolteFace
    Wednesday, June 22, 2016

    cannabinoidsIn the scientific literature, 'skunk' has come to mean something more specific: cannabis that contains a high percentage of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the intoxicating part) but little to no Cannabidiol (CBD, an antipsychotic), in contrast to other milder ‘strains’ which contain lower levels of THC and more a significant CBD component. Skunk is a deliberate creation of the illicit industry, fashioned by generations of selective breeding and advanced cultivation methods that have steadily pushed THC levels up over the last 20 years.

  • Christiania raid spurs new debate on legal cannabis

    Copenhagen officials have thrice requested a trial programme that would legalize cannabis in the city
    The Local (Denmark)
    Tuesday, June 21, 2016

    After a massive police raid on the open-air cannabis market Pusher Street, a number of prominent figures in law enforcement have called on Denmark to stop fighting a losing battle and legalize cannabis. Among them is senior prosecutor Anne Birgitte Stürup from the Copenhagen Public Prosecutor Office (Statsadvokaten). “I personally believe we should legalize the sale of cannabis because this is a fight we cannot win,” she told Jyllands-Posten. The former chief inspector of the Copenhagen Police, Per Larsen, said that Copenhagen city’s cannabis trial plans should be allowed to move forward. (See also: Hash market has grown out of Christiania's hands)

  • California’s largest political party just endorsed legalizing marijuana

    Growers association head urged neutrality on pot
    Sacramento Bee (US)
    Monday, June 20, 2016

    Six years ago, the California Democratic Party joined most of its elected leaders in declining to endorse the marijuana legalization initiative on the fall ballot. This year’s measure to legalize recreational pot, the AUMA initiative, however, has stirred no similar concerns. At their executive board meeting in Long Beach, Democrats opted to embrace the pot proposal after hearing from one of its chief supporters, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a leading candidate to succeed Brown as governor in 2019. (A Public Policy Institute of California poll found that 60 percent of likely voters in the Golden State are in favor of legalizing recreational weed)

  • Mexico's president may have been bluffing about his support for weed decriminalization

    The senate postponed discussion of the bill until next September at the earliest
    Vice (US)
    Monday, June 20, 2016

    The sudden derailing of much-anticipated reforms to legalize medical marijuana in Mexico, as well as raise the possession threshold, has raised doubts over whether President Enrique Peña Nieto's initial promotion of the ideas was ever anything more than good public relations. "It looks like he never really wanted it," said drug policy expert and activist Lisa Sánchez, noting that it is the president's own Institutional Revolutionary Party that has blocked the reforms.

  • Teen marijuana use in Colorado found lower than national average

    A pro-legalization advocacy group said the findings show fears of widespread pot use by minors in states with legalized cannabis are unfounded
    Reuters (US)
    Monday, June 20, 2016

    Marijuana consumption by Colorado high school students has dipped slightly since the state first permitted recreational cannabis use by adults, a new survey showed, contrary to concerns that legalization would increase pot use by teens. The biannual poll by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment also showed the percentage of high school students indulging in marijuana in Colorado was smaller than the national average among teens. (See also: Now we know what happens to teens when you make pot legal)

  • Copenhagen police tear down Christiania cannabis market

    Hash stands torn down and arrests made in latest efforts to clean up Christiania
    The Local (Denmark)
    Saturday, June 18, 2016

    denmark-christiania-policeCopenhagen Police on Friday carried out a large-scale operation in Christiania, clearing the alternative enclave's open-air cannabis market. Using saws and hammers, officers tore down 37 cannabis stalls and arrested 18 people. According to reports, cannabis sales resumed within minutes of police leaving Pusher Street, leading many to wonder what actual purpose the action served. (See also: Copenhagen cops cleaning up Pusher Street … again)

  • Drugs in Europe: Not mind-stretching enough

    Liberal drug policies have spread across Europe. But some early adopters are slipping behind
    The Economist (UK)
    Saturday, June 18, 2016

    European countries’ reforms have lost momentum, or even slipped backwards. Most drug-policy experts consider this a shame. The reformist countries’ experiences not only show how well liberal drug policies work; they suggest they need to go further. One of the problems is complacency – meaning that politicians in countries with harm-reduction policies often think the drug problem has been solved. In Europe “everyone is keeping each other in check,” says Tom Blickman. Europe is no longer a place where policymakers can take risks.

  • Justice Ministry seeking to remove ‘ya ba’ from ‘most-dangerous drugs’ list

    Governments are now changing tack and trying to find ways to “co-exist” with drugs
    Asian Correspondent
    Friday, June 17, 2016

    Thailand's Justice Ministry is looking into a proposal to exclude ‘ya ba’, or pills containing a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine, from the list of narcotics and to instead treat it as a normal drug in order to encourage drug addicts to seek help. Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya said years of fighting against drugs and drug abuse, the world had yet to see any large strides towards victory, and the number of drug addicts is only increasing. He called for Thailand to overhaul its narcotics laws. (See also: Yes to drug policy mend | Time we shook off meth's criminal stigma)

  • Health bodies call for drugs to be decriminalised

    UK should adopt the Portuguese system under which people caught using drugs were offered treatment and support rather than being punished
    BBC News (UK)
    Thursday, June 16, 2016

    Two leading public health organisations have called for the possession and personal use of all illegal drugs to be decriminalised in the UK. The Royal Society for Public Health and the Faculty of Public Health said the government's approach to drugs policy had failed. There should be a greater focus on treatment and education, they added. The report, Taking A New Line On Drugs, said criminal sanctions failed to deter illegal drug use, undermined people's life chances and could act as a barrier to addicts coming forward for help. (See also: Breaking Good - Times editorial | Leading public health bodies call for decriminalisation of drugs)

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