Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Canada’s message to teenagers: Marijuana is legal now. Please don’t smoke it

    Canadian teenagers already used it more than young people anywhere else in the world, according to a 2013 Unicef report
    The New York Times (US)
    Sunday, November 11, 2018

    Canada became the second country to make it legal for adults to buy, grow and consume small amounts of marijuana. But it also made it a crime to give it to anyone younger than 19 or 18, depending on the province, and set a penalty of up to 14 years in prison for doing so. At the same time, the government began an $83 million public education campaign, much of it targeting Canadian youths, that warns of pot’s dangers. But persuading teenagers not to see legalization as a green light to use marijuana will be difficult, experts say, not to mention that past antidrug efforts have offered little evidence of success. And when it comes to marijuana and the teenage brain, the science is far from clear.

  • Cannabis companies race to clinch an edge in pot industry’s next phase of growth: Intellectual property

    With the global cannabis business expected to be worth $194 billion in seven years, firms are rushing to lock in lucrative patents to come out ahead
    Financial Post (Canada)
    Friday, November 9, 2018

    dollar cannabis3A report by the Bank of Montreal, which assumed a blue-sky scenario in which the U.S. and all 28 countries in the European Union legalize marijuana for recreational and medical use, projected that the global cannabis market could be worth $194 billion in seven years. The industry’s growth potential is why Canadian cannabis companies are rushing to beef up their research teams, hiring scientists, geneticists, hemp researchers and molecular biologists, and, more importantly, enlisting the expertise of patent lawyers since the companies that can clinch and lock in lucrative intellectual property will undoubtedly have an edge, especially in an industry as young and commoditized as cannabis is.

  • McGovern: I’ll let House debate marijuana reform

    His biggest marijuana-related priority: allowing states to legalize and regulate cannabis without interference by the federal government
    The Boston Globe (US)
    Friday, November 9, 2018

    For years, the US House’s powerful Rules Committee has been the place proposed marijuana laws go to die. Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican, made sure of that. Despite strong public support for reforming marijuana laws, he has stopped dozens of cannabis-related amendments and bills from reaching the House floor — including at least 34 since January 2017. Following the Democratic takeover of the House, Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts will soon assume control of the Rules Committee. “Unlike my predecessor, I’m not going to block amendments for marijuana,” the Democrat said. “Citizens are passing ballot initiatives, legislatures are passing laws, and we need to respect that. Federal laws and statutes are way behind.”

  • Mexico: president-elect Amlo's party moves toward marijuana legalization

    Party has submitted legislation to legalize the possession, public use, growth and sale of marijuana
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, November 8, 2018

    mexico legalizarlaThe party of Mexico’s president-elect has submitted legislation to legalize the possession, public use, growth and sale of marijuana in what would be a major change to the country’s narcotics strategy. Senator Olga Sánchez Cordero – who has been picked as interior secretary by president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador – said prohibition has fed violence and poverty, criticizing a 12-year crackdown on drug gangs that has claimed tens of thousands of lives. Sánchez’s bill also would allow every Mexican to grow up to 20 marijuana plants on private property and produce up to 17 ounces (480 grams) a year. The bill would also permit companies to grow and commercialize marijuana.

  • Michigan becomes 10th state to allow recreational marijuana

    Voters in Missouri approve medical marijuana bill
    The Washington Post (US)
    Wednesday, November 7, 2018

    Marijuana advocates scored a number of substantial ballot victories in the middle of the country on Election Day, chief among them the legalization of recreational marijuana in Michigan, which becomes the 10th state in the nation to approve recreational use of the drug. The results in Michigan follow the opening of recreational marijuana markets in Canada and the repeal of marijuana prohibition in Mexico. With the addition of Michigan, nearly 80 million Americans — 25 percent of the total U.S. population — live in a state or jurisdiction that has legalized recreational marijuana. The most recent polling by Gallup shows that two-thirds of American adults support legalization of the drug. (See also: Weed wins on Election Day. So what comes next?)

  • Thousands of patients in limbo as ministry temporarily shuts top cannabis grower

    As health officials cite concerns with hygiene, patients left with with no way to fill prescriptions fume at both ministry and Tikun Olam company over ‘broken system’
    The Times of Israel (Israel)
    Wednesday, November 7, 2018

    The Health Ministry has issued a temporary stop work order against Israel’s largest medical cannabis company, Tikun Olam, over concerns that the company’s cannabis drying process was not up to code, leaving thousands of patients in limbo. The ministry said it had temporarily suspended work at the company starting last Thursday in order to run laboratory tests on all of the cannabis products to ensure quality, including closing the dispensaries, the only way for patients to obtain their medication. The ministry announced it would allow the Tikun Olam dispensary to reopen and distribute cannabis as each batch is tested and approved.

  • Mexico introduces bill to legalise medical and recreational cannabis use

    The bill would permit companies to grow and commercialize marijuana. Individuals would also be allowed to cultivate plants for private use
    Reuters (UK)
    Tuesday, November 6, 2018

    Mexico’s next interior minister plans to submit a bill to create a medical marijuana industry and allow recreational use, in what would be a big step by the incoming government to shake up the country’s drug war. If the bill passes, Mexico would join Canada, Uruguay and a host of U.S. states that permit recreational use of the drug and allow its commercialization. It would be one of the most populous countries to roll back prohibition. Mexico’s Supreme Court last week ruled that an absolute ban on recreational use of marijuana was unconstitutional, effectively leaving it to lawmakers to regulate consumption of the drug.

  • Weed woes: Canada struggles to meet huge demand for legal cannabis

    Numerous stores dealing with empty shelves and disgruntled customers, with fears many consumers will turn to black market
    The Guardian (UK)
    Sunday, November 4, 2018

    Two weeks after Canada became the first G20 country to legalize cannabis amid much fanfare, numerous stores – both physical and digital – are struggling to meet high demand. In much of the country, the legal supply of marijuana has dried up. “The shortages are happening faster than I would have expected, but our research suggested quite strongly that there would be shortages in the first year of legalization,” said Rosalie Wyonch, a policy analyst at the CD Howe Institute. A mix of regulatory frameworks, retail chain distribution and logistical kinks – including postal strikes – have created fertile ground for the shortages. When Colorado legalized recreational cannabis, it took three years for supply to finally catch up to demand, and Canada could expect a similar delay.

  • Time for a truce in Asia’s war on drugs

    New International Drug Policy Consortium research indicates that the United Nations' drug strategy has been a “colossal failure” over the past decade - and Asian nations are getting it badly wrong
    Asia Times (Thailand)
    Saturday, November 3, 2018

    Global attitudes on narcotic drugs are changing, but the shift has come too late for those caught up in Asia’s past decade of misguided and often lethal anti-drug campaigns. Over the past ten years, governments have applied questionable, if not counter-productive, tactics to decrease the use and distribution of drugs, often in so-called “war on drugs” campaigns. According to a new report, Taking Stock, by the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), a global network of 177 NGOs that work on issues related to drug production, drug use, and trafficking, the 10-year United Nations (UN) drug strategy has been a “colossal failure.”

  • Global cannabis industry eyes China for production and investment

    Chinese investors are beginning to warm to the new market, but a negative social stigma and a lack of education surrounding the drug are hurdles that need to be overcome
    South China Morning Post (China)
    Friday, November 2, 2018

    china cannabis flagThe global cannabis industry is targeting China for production and investment, while the country’s investors are warming up to the idea of placing their money in the fast-growing market. Legal cannabis is a booming market worldwide, expected to be worth US$57 billion in 10 years, with legal adult recreational use accounting for 67 per cent, and medicinal marijuana taking up 33 per cent. Asia’s participation is predicted to rise as Thailand and Malaysia are considering the legalisation of medical marijuana – the first countries in the region to do so. While growth and consumption of marijuana remains illegal in China, the government has been investing in health-related cannabis. (See also: Why Hong Kong is no gateway to China when it comes to legalising marijuana)

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