Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Partial decriminalization of public cannabis use takes effect Sunday night

    Legalization activists warn substituting fines for criminal indictments may lead to stricter enforcement by police
    The Times of Israel (Israel)
    Sunday, March 31, 2019

    Marijuana possession will be partially decriminalized at midnight Sunday night when a plan two years in the making goes into effect, replacing criminal prosecution for personal marijuana use in public with fines and a less stringent enforcement regime. A version of the plan was first put forward in early 2017 by the government’s Anti-Drug Authority, and was approved by cabinet ministers in March of that year. It is based on the so-called Portugal Model, which treats marijuana use as a public health issue akin to cigarette smoking rather than a criminal problem. The current policy of arrest for criminal prosecution will change at midnight to a three-strikes policy. (See also: The highs and lows of Amos Silver, Telegrass cannabis kingpin nabbed in Ukraine)

  • Majority of parties support re-evaluating Sweden's strict drug policies

    Sweden’s long-standing zero-tolerance drugs policy deserves a fresh look, a majority of parliament’s Committee on Health and Welfare told broadcaster SVT
    The Local (Sweden)
    Saturday, March 30, 2019

    Drug laws in Sweden have not been evaluated in decades, even as the country’s harsh approach has left it increasingly isolated from its neighbours. After the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (Sveriges kommuner och landsting, SKL) recently came out in support of re-evaluating the nation’s penal code for drug offenses, SVT found that a majority of the political parties on the Committee on Health and Welfare also believe it is time to give drug laws a new look. While SKL’s proposal and the committee members’ openness might perhaps reveal a shift in thinking, it is far from universal. (See also: 79-year-old Swedish woman jailed for using cannabis to treat pain)

  • Will Germany become the world's largest market for medicinal cannabis?

    For two years, Germany has allowed cannabis cultivation for medical purposes
    Deutsche Welle (Germany)
    Saturday, March 30, 2019

    The use of medicinal cannabis has been allowed in Germany for two years now. But because domestic cultivation hasn't gotten off the ground yet, the plant has been imported, mainly from Canada. That might change soon. While Canadians were at the forefront of exporting the plant, "they have failed to deliver to all regions in Europe, and Germany for that matter," said Frankfurt-based entrepreneur Niklas Kouperanis. Bottlenecks have also been reported by Georg Wurth of the German Hemp Association (DHV). "At the moment, there's next to nothing coming in from Canada as companies there are preoccupied with their home market," he said.

  • Barbados tells of plans to develop cannabis industry

    Administration has not yet taken a decision regarding recreational cannabis
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Sunday, March 24, 2019

    Barbados has announced plans to establish a medicinal cannabis industry project implementation unit tasked with establishing the administrative framework for the timely implementation of the project. Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who delivered her Administration's 2019-2020 national budget, said the unit will be headed by a director, who will be responsible for championing the programme and ensuring that an expansive educational and sensitisation campaign is implemented. One of the tasks of the unit will be to facilitate the establishment of a Medicinal Cannabis Authority and Board, which will be responsible for regulating the medicinal cannabis industry.

  • Brussels’ weed wave hits new high

    Thanks to a lack of regulation, delivery services and shops selling cannabis-derived products are popping up in the EU capital
    Politico (EU)
    Tuesday, March 26, 2019

    For cannabis entrepreneurs in Brussels, business is blooming. Fom Ly runs the Cannabis Social Club Brussels, distributing flowers and oils around the city whenever the club’s members place orders on his mobile app. He recently switched his delivery guy from a push bike onto an electric bike because the service is so popular. The prospering industry is a new but increasingly visible part of life in Belgium’s capital as businesses and non-profit social clubs exploit a legal gray zone. What they are selling is cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive chemical component found in marijuana. While national regulations are in place to restrict marijuana as an illicit drug or a medicine, EU farming laws allow for the sale of industrial hemp, a variety of cannabis grown to make fabrics or ropes, provided it contains only trace amounts of marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient THC.

  • Should Canberra allow dope-growing clubs to be set up?

    The supply problem could be fixed by amending the wording of the legislation to allow "cannabis social clubs"
    The Canberra Times (Australia)
    Tuesday, March 26, 2019

    Michael PetterssonDope-smoking Canberrans should be able to join clubs where gardeners can cultivate their cannabis crops for them, a Legislative Assembly inquiry has been told. Labor backbencher Michael Pettersson's private member's bill would legalise cannabis possession under 50 grams and allow users to grow up to four plants. The government has foreshadowed amendments to the legislation that would allow only two plants to be grown up to a household limit of four plants, and introduce wet and dry limits for the drug. Mr Pettersson said that allowing people to grow their own supply would stop them coming into contact with drug dealers who "have a commercial imperative to push harder and more addictive substances on their clients". (See also: Drug law reform not so simple)

  • Rodrigo Duterte photographed with suspected Chinese ‘drug lords’, says former narcotics official

    One of the men had allegedly set up a meth lab in Davao, where Duterte previously served as a long-time mayor before taking office
    South China Morning Post (China)
    Monday, March 25, 2019

    philippines duterte drugwarPhilippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has faced widespread criticism over his deadly drug crackdown, has been photographed with two Chinese men suspected to be “deeply involved” in illegal drugs, said a former senior anti-narcotics official who wrote a report on the men in 2017 and sent a copy to the authorities. Eduardo Acierto said he was unaware what government action had been taken after he submitted his report about the two Chinese men to top police officials in December 2017. Instead, Acierto said he was now facing illegal drugs complaints and has been the target of death threats that forced him to go into hiding recently. (See also: Philippine MPs urge probe into claims Chinese former adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte adviser was involved in drugs trade)

  • Don't be greedy! Why cannabis companies should support home cultivation

    The New York Medical Cannabis Industry association (NYMCIA) recomended to ban home cultivation for consumers
    Forbes (US)
    Wednesday, March 20, 2019

    One of the great things about the cannabis industry is that it has dramatically sped up the process of ending cannabis prohibition and achieving advocacy goals that many of us have worked on for decades, long before there were profits to be made in producing and selling legal cannabis. The cannabis industry has attracted people with money and political influence that never previously supported reform, and its growth has led to businesses pushing for state-level legalization if for no other reason than it opens new markets for their business. But every now and then, advocacy goals and business interests collide, and it’s in these moments when a company’s moral compass is exposed. (See also: How the cannabis industry defeated legalization in New York)

  • The campaign for a 'drug-free world' is costing lives

    Global policy on drug control is unrealistic, and has taken a harsh toll on millions of the world’s poorest people
    The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday, March 20, 2019

    Drug control efforts across the world are a threat to human dignity and the right to life. The first problem lies with the founding aspiration of the international drug system: to create a “drug-free society”, which countries have sought to achieve through prohibition, enforced by repression. The past four UN high commissioners for human rights have repeatedly asked countries to address the violation of fundamental rights in drug control. On 15 March in Vienna, a coalition of UN agencies, human rights experts and a few progressive governments, led by the United Nations Development Programme and the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy at the University of Essex, launched the international guidelines on human rights and drug policy.

  • High-strength cannabis increases risk of mental health problems

    Study says 30% of first-time psychotic disorders in south London linked to strong drugs
    The Guardian (UK)
    Tuesday, March 19, 2019

    Frequent cannabis use and high-strength varieties are likely to increase the chance of mental health problems, according to researchers in the journal Lancet Psychiatry. Experts have previously flagged a link between cannabis use and psychosis. Now research suggests the potency of the cannabis is important, with patterns in cannabis use linked to how often new cases of psychotic disorders arise. The study estimated that 30% of first-time cases of psychotic disorders in south London, and half of those in Amsterdam, could be avoided if high-potency cannabis was not available. The study had limitations because it relied on self-reported use of cannabis and a small numbers of participants. Also, THC and CBD content of the cannabis was not directly measured. (See also: NORML responds to latest cannabis and psychosis claims)

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