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  • Trafficked and enslaved: the teenagers tending UK cannabis farms

    Vietnamese teens are tending Britain’s makeshift drug factories in empty buildings from suburban homes to a nuclear bunker
    The Guardian (UK)
    Saturday, March 25, 2017

    An international network of traffickers brings teenage boys from Vietnam to become enslaved gardeners in British suburbs. Yet every few weeks, another farm is discovered and new arrests are made. Police estimate that a significant chunk of British cannabis is produced this way. The NSPCC is so concerned by the exploitation of trafficked Vietnamese children that staff refer to UK-produced cannabis as "blood cannabis". More children are trafficked into the UK from Vietnam than from any other country; of all the identified trafficking victims who were forced into cannabis cultivation in 2012, 96% were from Vietnam, and 81% were children.

  • Medical marijuana – high time the Dutch got their message straight

    The Netherlands had been at the forefront of medical cannabis policy but has now been overtaken by many other countries
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Friday, March 24, 2017

    medical marijuana flosThe Netherlands is a major exporter of medical marijuana, even though it has never been formally approved here as a treatment for Dutch patients. And this year, the majority of Dutch health insurance companies stopped paying for it as well. Medical cannabis has been allowed on prescription in the Netherlands since 2003 and until recently was often covered by health insurers, if patients could show no other medication gave adequate relief of symptoms. Meanwhile, patients who have found benefit from medical cannabis are left dealing with the change in insurers positions.

  • Expert not expecting Trump to crack down on legal marijuana

    If it ends up on the chopping block, it's not something that a lot of Americans are going to stand up and scream about
    Las Vegas Sun (US)
    Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    With millions of dollars hanging in the balance, supporters of Nevada’s marijuana industry have been watching Jeff Sessions with wary, worried eyes since he was confirmed as U.S. attorney general. At issue is whether Sessions, a vehement opponent of marijuana, will attack the industry by aggressively enforcing federal pot laws. John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, has been watching Sessions carefully, too. Shortly after Sessions’ confirmation, Hudak wrote a report examining what could be in store for the marijuana industry under the new A.G.’s administration. (See also: What would a federal marijuana crackdown look like?)

  • Swiss cannabis entrepreneurs develop craving for low-potency pot

    It started gradually last year, and then suddenly things went crazy in December 2016 and in 2017
    Reuters (UK)
    Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    switzerland cannabis tobacco shopEntrepreneurs have high hopes for cannabis in Switzerland, where business has suddenly taken off in recent months, six years after the country legalized low-potency "marijuana-light". Switzerland changed its laws in 2011 to let adults buy and use cannabis with up to 1 percent THC, the chemical compound that produces a high. But its money-making potential seems only to have been discovered late last year, officials said. "The number of retailers registered to sell low-THC cannabis has risen to 140 from just a handful last year, " said a spokesman for Switzerland's Customs Agency in Berne, which taxes the trade. (See also: Le cannabis débarque dans les kiosques et fait un tabac)

  • A big thing marijuana opponents warned you about is definitely not happening

    Concerns about adolescent pot use have been one of the chief drivers of opposition to legalization campaigns in Washington, Colorado and elsewhere
    The Washington Post (US)
    Tuesday, March 21, 2017

    us cannabis use wa coData coming out of Washington and Colorado suggest that those states' legalization experiments, which began in earnest in 2014, are not causing any spike in use among teenagers. Teen marijuana use in Colorado decreased during 2014 and 2015, the most recent time period included in federal surveys. A separate survey run by the state showed rates of use among teenagers flat from 2013 to 2015, and down since 2011. A state-run survey of 37,000 middle and high school students in Washington state finds that marijuana legalization there has had no effect on youngsters' propensity to use the drug. The Washington State Healthy Youth Survey found that the 2016 rate of marijuana use was basically unchanged since 2012.

  • From opium to fentanyl: How did we get here?

    Vancouver has always had a drug problem. Only the opioids of choice — and the increasingly staggering death toll — have changed over the years
    The Province (Canada)
    Saturday, March 18, 2017

    When the members of the Royal Commission to Investigate Chinese and Japanese Immigration came to Vancouver in 1901, they got an eyeful. Opium in a smokable form was still widely used in China at the turn of the 20th century and where Chinese workers went, the opium trade soon followed. The fringes of Chinatown have always been the centre of Canada’s opiate trade. Ever more potent and easily smuggled versions emerged through the decades, culminating in the scourge of synthetic opiates — fentanyl and carfentanil — thousands of times more powerful and many times more deadly than opium.

  • Kiffen auf der Kö

    Düsseldorf will Vorreiter-Rolle bei Cannabis-Legalisierung
    Die Welt (Germany)
    Samstag, 18. März 2017

    Düsseldorf, die Landeshauptstadt Nordrhein-Westfalens, kämpft seit Monaten sehr aktiv und kreativ um die nationale Vorreiter-Rolle in Sachen Cannabis-Legalisierung. Die Stadt am Rhein will die erste Deutschlands sein, in der der Erwerb und der Konsum der Droge gesetzlich erlaubt ist. Viele Parteien wittern dabei im Wahljahr den Zuspruch der jungen Leute. Bremen und Berlin waren zuletzt mit entsprechenden Vorhaben gescheitert, die Hauptstadt sogar zwei Mal.

  • Bolivia sees coca as a way to perk up its economy – but all everyone else sees is cocaine

    Farmers can now grow more of the ‘star product’, but officials underestimated international resistance because coca is so widely accepted as harmless in Bolivia
    The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday, March 15, 2017

    The vision of an expanding international market for legal coca products – such as flour, tea and ointments – is shared widely in Bolivia, and it was the driving force for a recent law signed this month by president Evo Morales that jacks up the 12,000 hectares (29,640 acres) legally recognized in a 1988 law to 22,000 hectares. But in most other countries, coca is still best known as the main ingredient in cocaine, and finding a legal market for alternative products has proved challenging.

  • As rebels move out of Colombia drug trade, corporations look to move in

    “What’s important here is we don’t go 500 years backward to the times where indigenous people were working for outsiders and marginalized”
    The New York Times (US)
    Thursday, March 9, 2017

    Colombia has received billions of dollars in American aid to eradicate the drug trade. But in the coming weeks, the government says, it will begin processing licenses for a small number of companies, including PharmaCielo, under a 2015 law that allows the cultivation of medical marijuana. A Canadian company called PharmaCielo, with the government’s approval, is working to produce the drug legally in Colombia and is looking to hire. It is an unorthodox experiment by Colombia, one that underscores the region’s changing attitudes toward drugs after decades of fighting them.

  • Illegal marijuana shops linked to activists Marc, Jodie Emery raided across Canada

    Toronto Police have taken an aggressive approach to the city’s growing number of marijuana dispensaries
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Thursday, March 9, 2017

    Police officers in several Canadian cities raided illegal marijuana dispensaries linked to activists Marc and Jodie Emery, charging them and several others with drug offences as part of an investigation led by Toronto police. The raids were the latest attempt by local police forces to shut down pot shops that have been opening in cities across the country, even as the federal government prepares to fully legalize the drug with legislation this spring. It was also notable for the involvement of Vancouver’s police force, which has largely left dispensaries in the city alone, including those run by the Emerys. (See also: Toronto police accuse Cannabis Culture of having links to organized crime | Arrest of Emerys by police tarnishes justice in Canada)

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