Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • New regime, same old drug myths in Myanmar

    It is high time that UNODC and other international agencies get serious and tackle the root causes of the scourge of drug production, smuggling and addiction
    The Irrawaddy (Myanmar)
    Tuesday, September 7, 2021

    burma opiumfieldIn the late 1980s as well as in Myanmar today, the military (or Tatmadaw) and the police could hardly be described as anti-drug crusaders. On the contrary, Myanmar’s security forces have a long history of working together with drug-trafficking gangs and the benefits have been both economic—personal gains for officers—and tactical: drug traffickers are useful intelligence assets and can be used to fight the country’s ethnic rebel armies. The first coup in 1962 and the introduction of the so-called “Burmese Way to Socialism” had a devastating impact on the country’s economy at the same time as it caused Myanmar’s ethnic rebellions to flare anew.

  • We should hand out free heroin to drug users

    The idea that abstinence works is more about our fear of drugs than it is about science
    The Nation (US)
    Wednesday, August 25, 2021

    Let’s give out heroin, for free, to anyone who wants it. This is not a provocation meant to make you gasp or to elicit angry clicks—rather, it’s a proven strategy for reducing the harm of opioids that’s already in use in several countries across the globe. We face two drug-related crises in the United States. The first we can all agree on: Drugs are killing people at unprecedented rates. Over 90,000 people die each year from overdoses in the US, an amount that has quintupled since 1999. The second crisis is disputed, but no less deadly: Our drug policy leaves people to fend for themselves, while we waste time and resources.

  • Decriminalisation of kratom hailed by rights advocates

    A Thailand Development Research Institute study estimated that the decriminalisation will save authorities about 1.69 billion baht in prosecution costs
    The Bangkok Post (Thailand)
    Tuesday, August 24, 2021

    kratomThe decriminalisation of kratom, long used as a herbal remedy but which some health regulators around the world have criticised as potentially unsafe, was welcomed by human rights advocates. Kratom is part of the coffee family, used for centuries in Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea for its pain-relieving and mildly stimulating effects. It has become increasingly popular in the United States. The change to Thai law means "the general public will be able to consume and sell kratom legally", government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said, while more than 1,000 prisoners convicted of offences related to the drug will be freed. (See also: Thailand legalizes kratom, popular plant-based painkiller)

  • Drugs Commissioner: Possession of six grams of cannabis should no longer be a criminal offence

    The offence should be considered a misdemeanour in future, Daniela Ludwig proposes
    Berliner Zeitung (Germany)
    Monday, August 23, 2021

    germany ludwig cannabisThe Federal Commissioner on Narcotic Drugs, Daniela Ludwig (CSU), advocates that in future the possession of cannabis up to a personal use limit of six grammes should be prosecuted nationwide as an administrative offence and no longer as a criminal offence. The amount of 15 grammes tolerated in Berlin, however, is "clearly" too high, Ludwig said. There, more young people smoke pot than anywhere else in Germany. Ludwig recommends that the CDU/CSU seek a compromise on the issue of cannabis with possible coalition partners after the federal elections. "It is clear that cannabis is not as dangerous as cocaine or heroin. It is also true that the issue must be about different, better sanctions and about relieving the police and the judiciary," she stressed.

  • Socialdemokratiet mayoral candidate to legalise cannabis sales

    Should she get elected in November’s council election, Sophie Haestorp Andersen plans to shake up Copenhagen’s established dealer scene
    The Copenhagen Post (Denmark)
    Friday, August 13, 2021

    Sophie Hæstorp AndersenSocialdemokratiet’s leading mayoral candidate for Copenhagen, Sophie Hæstorp Andersen, has big plans concerning the decriminalisation of cannabis. Should the votes in the upcoming election this November be in her favour, she has vowed to use her position as mayor to take large steps forward in “the fight against criminality and uncertainty”, according to her Facebook profile. Andersen wants cannabis sales to be legal and regulated. Similar to Sweden’s approach to controlling alcohol consumption – the Systembolagetof in which people order in advance before buying drinks with a more than moderate alcohol content – she proposes that a governmental monopoly should be established around cannabis sales in Denmark. (See also: Christianites find no solution to eliminate cannabis trade)

  • 8,000 to be cleared after kratom's removal from narcotics list

    From Aug 24, kratom is no longer a narcotic
    The Bangkok Post (Thailand)
    Thursday, August 10, 2021

    kratomMore than 8,000 convicted people and suspects will be cleared of legal charges when kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is removed from the narcotics list on Aug 24, Office of Narcotics Control Board secretary-general Wichai Chaimongkol said. Kratom (Migragyna speciosa) is a tropical evergreen plant with opioid properties and some stimulant-like effects. It had long been used in tradtional medicine but was declared a Class 5 narcotic under the Narcotics Act of 1976. The law was amended in 2021 to remove kratom from the list. The amendment was published in the Royal Gazette on May 26 and the removal of kratom from the narcotics list is effective from Aug 24.

  • What do you do with a billion grams of surplus weed?

    Cannabis legalization was supposed to be a licence to print money. Three years on, nobody is turning a profit
    The Walrus (Canada)
    Thursday, August 5, 2021

    canada flag cannabisBack in 2018, during those months before Canada legalized recreational cannabis, things were good for the pot industry. Companies were being hyped as pioneers in “the green frontier” and “proof that money grows on trees.” Cannabis stocks were going ballistic, and three of the largest companies’ share values had each increased by more than 200 percent over the course of 2017—according to media outlet MJBizDaily, the Canadian Marijuana Index had risen by 117 percent in December of that year alone. Investors were not just making money, they were making money fast. Three years later, much of that hype has vanished, and now both industry and government are beginning thorough post-mortems of what is, and isn’t, working with pot legalization.

  • Canadian cannabis producers have sold less than 20% of output since adult-use legalization

    Canada’s largest licensed producers didn’t have the know-how needed to produce cannabis at the scale they told their investors they could
    MJBizDaily (US)
    Wednesday, July 28, 2021

    canada cannabis industrialCannabis producers in Canada have sold less than 20% of their production since the country launched adult-use sales in October 2018, according to an MJBizDaily analysis. The newest data – which runs through 2020 – implies that most of the cannabis produced from 2018 through last year was either stored in inventory or destroyed, and less than one-fifth ended up in retail stores. That disconnect likely helps explain how the largest Canadian cannabis producers, which account for most of the industry’s production, together have lost more than 11 billion Canadian dollars ($8.8 billion) cumulatively. Some industry experts blame poor-quality cannabis for the sales shortfall.

  • Snap vote to decriminalize marijuana fails in Knesset due to Ra’am opposition

    New Hope MK blames her former Likud colleagues, who had supported law proposal in previous government; coalition MKs Walid Taha and Mazen Ghanaim vote against
    Times of Israel (Israel)
    Wednesday, July 28, 2021

    israel cannabisA bill to decriminalize recreational marijuana use failed to clear a vote in the Knesset plenum due to opposition from lawmakers in the coalition’s Ra’am party. New Hope MK Sharren Haskel hoped to have her law proposal pass in a snap vote, as many opposition MKs were not present. However, opposition MKs quickly returned to the plenum to vote against the law. The vote failed 52-55 after Ra’am MKs Walid Taha and Mazen Ghanaim voted against the law along with the opposition parties. Haskel’s bill would permit Israeli adults to possess up to 50 grams of marijuana and to grow up to 15 plants for personal use. Anyone possessing marijuana in excess of that amount could face a NIS 2,000 (over $600) fine.

  • Barcelona cannabis clubs face closure in new legal setback

    Police and city authorities agree that ‘pioneering’ model has reduced street dealing and consumption
    The Guardian (UK)
    Tuesday, July 27, 2021

    spain csc barcelona sellingBarcelona’s 200 cannabis clubs face closure after the supreme court shut a legal loophole that has seen the city become Spain’s marijuana capital. It is the latest in a series of setbacks for the asociaciónes, as they are popularly known. In 2017, the court overruled a law passed by the Catalan parliament which said “private consumption of cannabis by adults … is part of the exercise of the fundamental right to free personal development and freedom of conscience”. Since then the clubs have operated under a Barcelona city bylaw that regulated their use, but this too has now been overturned, with the judges ruling that the city authorities were not competent to legislate on matters governed by the state.

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