Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • The great fentanyl myth, and how we’re killing drug users

    We know attacking supply has failed. But we let it continue
    The Tyee (Canada)
    Friday, January 4, 2019

    canada opiod crisisOur moral failure flows from the fact that we know what to do, but accept a policy that is killing our fellow citizens. The Vancouver Police Department set out a pragmatic response in May 2017. Provide treatment on demand. Expand programs that prescribe opioids so people have a safe source of drugs, instead of sending them to risk buying poisoned supplies. Create programs that recognize the links between drug misuse and mental illness. Base the entire response on evidence about what works, not prejudices against drug users. And this week, Vancouver Coastal Health medical officer Dr. Mark Lysyshyn said all “psychoactive substances” should be regulated, not criminalized.

  • New Zealand embraces pill testing as Australian politicians resist

    A key member of the New Zealand government has called pill testing a "fantastic idea"
    SBS News (Australia)
    Thursday, January 3, 2018

    As Australian politicians continue to rule out pill testing at music festivals, New Zealand appears to be embracing the controversial practice. The country's Police Minister Stuart Nash said the idea of independent pill testing tents was "a fantastic idea and should be installed at all our festivals". "The war on drugs hasn't worked in the past 20 years, so it's time to change to a more compassionate and restorative approach," Mr Nash said. "We know young people are taking them, so we have to be pragmatic about it and not bury our head in the sand." Former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Palmer has called on leaders to show some "courage" and introduce the practice. But state governments have pushed back against the idea.

  • Police Minister Stuart Nash wants drug testing kits at all music festivals by next summer

    At some festivals in Australia drug hospitalisations dropped by 95 per cent after drug testing was implemented
    New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
    Wednesday, January 2, 2019

    Police Minister Stuart Nash wants to see all New Zealand music festivals kitted out with drug testing kits by next summer. This has been welcomed by the New Zealand Drug Foundation, who said this was "fantastic news". But the foundation's executive director Ross Bell has warned the Minister that a law change would be needed before drug testing stations become the norm at the bigger festivals. Nash's comments come after illicit drugs, which contained traces of pesticide, were obtained by police in Gisborne at the Rhythm and Vine music festival earlier this week. (See also: Drug testing uncovers more laced pills at music festival)

  • Now for the hard part: Getting Californians to buy legal weed

    “The bottom line is that there’s always been a robust illicit market in California — and it’s still there”
    The New York Times (US)
    Wednesday, January 2, 2019

    A billion dollars of tax revenue, the taming of the black market, the convenience of retail cannabis stores throughout the state — these were some of the promises made by proponents of marijuana legalization in California. One year after the start of recreational sales, they are still just promises. California’s experiment in legalization is mired by debates over regulation and hamstrung by cities and towns that do not want cannabis businesses on their streets. California was the sixth state to introduce the sale of recreational marijuana — Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington paved the way — but the enormous size of the market led to predictions of soaring legal cannabis sales. Instead, sales fell.

  • Marijuana legalization 2019

    Which states will consider legal weed in year experts predict will be 'real game-changer'
    Newsweek (US)
    Tuesday, January 1, 2019

    Following a year of huge advancements in marijuana policy reform, experts predict that 2019 would be a “real game-changer” in terms of the conversation surrounding cannabis legalization at both the state and federal level. “In 2019, I think that we can expect to see more of the same type of change, but maybe at a more rapid pace,” Jolene Forman, senior staff attorney at the Drug Policy Alliance, told Newsweek. “The train has left the station. Americans of all political affiliations and almost all demographics support marijuana legalization,” Forman added. Experts have said that marijuana legalization would continue to become more of a mainstream issue in Congress in 2019, especially with Democrats regaining control in the House of Representatives in January.

  • Maroc : «La prohibition de l’usage récréatif et thérapeutique du cannabis est un échec total»

    Il est important aujourd’hui de se demander quelle politique nous voulons mener pour notre pays
    Yabiladi (Maroc)
    Lundi, 31 decembre 2018

    morocco cannabis moqueAlors qu’une trentaine de pays à travers le monde dépénalisent et financent l’usage thérapeutique du cannabis, le producteur numéro un mondial nage toujours à contresens. Au Maroc, la production, la possession et la consommation de cannabis et de produits qui en dérivent sont interdites. Un cadre légal ayant causé une succession d’échecs selon Reda Mhasni, psychologue clinicien et psychothérapeute. Il y a des initiatives émanant de différents partis, notamment le Parti de l’authenticité et de la modernité (PAM) ainsi que le parti de l’Istiqlal. Des sujets souvent abordés à l’approche des élections. Mais les projets sont ensuite enterrés et on n'en reparle plus après.

  • Cannabis strength doubles across Europe in 11 years

    A study tracking increased potency of both herbal and resin types of the drug points to greater dangers for users
    The Guardian (UK)
    Sunday, December 30, 2018

    Cannabis potency has doubled across Europe in the past decade, according to the first study to track changes in the drug across the continent. The study, published in the journal Addiction and conducted by researchers from the University of Bath and King’s College London, finds that both cannabis resin and herbal cannabis have increased in strength and price with potentially harmful consequences for users. In herbal cannabis, concentrations of THC – the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis which has been linked to psychosis – increased from 5% in 2006 to 10% in 2016. For cannabis resin, THC concentrations remained relatively stable between 2006 and 2011 before increasing rapidly from 10% to 17% between 2011 and 2016.

  • Mexico moves towards legalising cannabis

    End of prohibition is a big step in a country on the frontline of the drug wars
    Financial Times (UK)
    Friday, December 28, 2018

    mexico destroying cannabis fiedOlga Sánchez Cordero, interior minister in Mexico’s new leftist nationalist government, has submitted a bill to Congress to end prohibition and start regulation. Since the ruling party controls Congress, the bill is unlikely to run into trouble; indeed, it is expected to be passed within weeks. Mexico will be the third country in the world to make marijuana cultivation and consumption legal. Latin America’s second-largest economy, which briefly legalised all drugs in 1940, will follow in the footsteps of Uruguay and Canada, as well as more than 30 US states where cannabis has been legalised for medicinal or recreational use or both. The big difference is that, unlike Mexico, none of the other places is a major producer of illegal drugs.

  • Cannabis firms in conflict of interest for owning both pot producers and marijuana clinics, critics charge

    Controversy has long swirled around the financial links between pharmaceutical companies and doctors; studies suggest such connections can adversely affect medical decision making
    National Post (Canada)
    Thursday, December 27, 2018

    canada dollar cannabisWhen doctors at the Solace Health Network of cannabis clinics prescribe their patients medical marijuana, one government-licensed producer of the drug might come quickly to mind. The clinics’ parent company, after all, is Terrascend, which also owns a cannabis grower and seller. A direct ownership link between doctor-staffed clinics and the manufacturer of their main treatment tool would be unheard of if it involved a pharmaceutical firm. But in the fast-evolving cannabis industry, Terrascend’s arrangement is far from unique — and quite legal. Close to a dozen companies across the country have combined pot-producing operations and marijuana-treatment clinics under the same corporate umbrella, in what seems to be a growing trend.

  • Germany delays roll-out of medical marijuana

    Opposition lawmakers have rebuked the government for a "deliberate obstruction" of legal cannabis laws
    Deutsche Welle (Germany)
    Thursday, December 27, 2018

    The production and distribution of medical marijuana in Germany will be delayed once again. The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices has said it needs more time to decide the rules for awarding licenses to cannabis producers. Medical marijuana has technically been legal in Germany since March 2017, but the Federal Ministry of Health has repeatedly postponed the implementation of the legislation. Now, authorities are saying that the first licenses may not be awarded until the second quarter of 2019. While prescriptions skyrocket for products containing cannabis, there is still no legal framework for the large-scale production of legal cannabis in Germany.

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