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  • Lebanon to consider legalizing cannabis growing: official

    Report proposes legalising billion-dollar cannabis industry to rescue ailing economy
    Reuters (UK)
    Wednesday, July 18, 2018

    Lebanon’s parliament is considering legalizing the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said, in an attempt to boost the struggling economy. “The Lebanese Parliament is preparing to study and adopt the legislation necessary to legislate the cultivation of cannabis and its manufacture for medical uses in the manner of many European countries and some U.S. states,” Berri’s office said, reporting comments made in a meeting with the U.S. ambassador to Beirut. (See also: Budding business: how cannabis could transform Lebanon | Cannabis cultivation could boost Lebanon's economy, report says)

  • Murder in Colombia’s peace laboratory

    A long history of state absence fuels the mistrust of the government
    NACLA (US)
    Thursday, July 19, 2018

    Colombian campesinos in Briceño, Antioquia have voluntarily uprooted their coca plants in exchange for government support to grow new crops. But with much aid delayed, the local economy has collapsed, and the presence of a newly formed dissident FARC group threatens to bring more violence. While families have received bimonthly payments for pulling out their crops, other parts of the program to support a transition to other crops haven’t materialized. The program also promised that families would receive goods worth stipulated amounts of money to allow them to develop three different productive projects: small subsistence farms; short-term projects in the first year to help them make money after cash payments ended; and additional funding for long-term projects.

  • Will Mexico legalize drugs?

    Obrador explores radical bid to bring narcotics wars under control
    Newsweek (US)
    Wednesday, July 18, 2018

    Mexico’s President-elect López Obrador has considered unconventional methods to address his nation’s ills. In a country riddled with corruption and crippled by gang violence, Mexican voters turned to the left for change, which Obrador has promised to deliver. Obrador is mulling the legalization of drugs nationwide in an effort to nullify the vicious cartel warfare that kills tens of thousands of people each year. According to incoming Interior Minister Olga Sanchez Cordero, Obrador has given her a free hand to do “whatever is necessary to restore peace in this country.” The U.S.-backed war on drugs has done little to stem the violence since Mexican troops were deployed to the streets in December 2006. (See also: Could drug legalisation counter violence and corruption in Mexico?)

  • Dutch cut overdose deaths by dispensing pure heroin

    Only the most hardened drug abusers qualify for the program in the Netherlands
    The Plain Dealer (US)
    Sunday, July 15, 2018

    dcr amsterdamPublic-health experts in the Netherlands say free distribution of government-funded heroin is one reason that drug-related deaths are far less common than in the United States. The program also has reduced crime and improved the quality of life for many users, according to Ellen van den Hoogen, who runs the clinic. Is it an answer for the United States, where the opioid epidemic continues to claim more than 100 lives every day? Maybe it should be, said Van den Hoogen. "It's been an enormous success. I think it would work elsewhere." The Netherlands program started in 1998, modeled after a similar, successful effort in Switzerland. Several other European countries, including Germany and the United Kingdom, have adopted the model as well.

  • Police ‘decriminalising cannabis’ as prosecutions fall away

    Government figures sent to Norman Lamb MP reveal fall of 19% since 2015 in people prosecuted for possession
    The Observer (UK)
    Saturday, July 14, 2018

    Police forces are in effect decriminalising cannabis, campaigners say, after uncovering figures that show a substantial fall in the number of prosecutions and cautions for possessing the drug. Last year only 15,120 people in England and Wales were prosecuted for possession of cannabis, a fall of 19% since 2015. Police issued cautions to 6,524 people in 2017 – 34% fewer than two years before. The figures from the Ministry of Justice were released in response to a parliamentary question from the Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb, who called for a “regulated cannabis market” to protect public health.

  • Cuomo administration report backs marijuana legalization in New York

    The new Health Department report says that cannabis legalization comes with the potential for substantial tax revenue
    Forbes (US)
    Friday, July 13, 2018

    The administration of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) released a state Health Department report that says the "positive effects" of legalization "outweigh the potential negative impacts." "Numerous NYS agencies and subject matter experts in the fields of public health, mental health, substance use, public safety, transportation, and economics worked in developing this assessment," the 75-page document says. "No insurmountable obstacles to regulation of marijuana were raised." The report estimates that legal marijuana sales could generate between $248.1 million and $677.7 million in revenues for the state in the first year, depending on tax and usage rates. (See also: Cuomo moves closer to marijuana legalization in New York)

  • Government won't 'stand in the way' of drug testing at festivals, says Home Office

    'Clarity from the Government is a win, but we can go even further. Let’s make it a requirement that festivals and, if possible, nightclubs, have to ensure there is drug safety testing available'
    The Independent (UK)
    Monday, July 9, 2018

    The Home Office “would not stand in the way” of drug testing at clubs and festivals, it said. It follows calls from experts and campaigners for music events to provide the service after two people died and 13 others were hospitalised at Hampshire's Mutiny festival. Eleven people have died at festivals in the last two years even though drug use is not increasing, suggesting that illegal substances now have higher levels of toxicity. Currently, drug testing facilities are offered at an extremely limited number of nightclubs and festivals by The Loop, a charity and the sole provider of such services. Policing minister Nick Hurd said the Home Office was not standing in the way of what he called "local operating decisions".

  • CARICOM report says legalize marijuana use

    Legal policy toward marijuana should be informed, not by punitive approaches, but by public health rationales, within a human rights, social justice and developmental perspective
    The Nassau Guardian (Bermuda)
    Monday, July 9, 2018

    The CARICOM Regional Commission on Marijuana has recommended the declassification of marijuana as a dangerous drug in all legislation and the reclassification of the drug as a controlled substance in its report presented at the CARICOM heads of government meeting. The commission presented its findings and recommendations into the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding marijuana use in the Caribbean. “The commission believes that the end goal for CARICOM should be the dismantling of prohibition in its totality, to be replaced by a strictly regulated framework akin to that for alcohol and tobacco, which are harmful substances that are not criminalized,” the report said.

  • Toronto’s chief medical officer calls for decriminalization of all drugs for personal use

    The report comes as cities across Canada rush to implement harm-reduction strategies to curb the spiking death toll from the opioid crisis
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Monday, July 9, 2018

    Toronto’s chief medical officer is calling for the decriminalization – and potential legalization – of all drugs for personal use as a way to curb rising opioid-related deaths and overdoses. In a report released on Monday, Medical Officer of Health Eileen de Villa recommended the federal government scale up harm-prevention strategies, including the removal of legal penalties for small amounts of drugs, and convene a task force to look at the possibility of regulating all drugs, such as alcohol. Dr. de Villa made those recommendations to the Toronto Board of Health, asking it to put pressure on the provincial and federal governments.

  • A plan to jump start Lebanon's economy: Export cannabis to the world

    'The quality we have is one of the best in the world,' said Lebanon's trade minister, adding cannabis could become a one-billion-dollar industry
    Haaretz (Israel)
    Sunday, July 8, 2018

    Consulting firm McKinsey & Co. presented a document detailing proposals to jump start Lebanon's economy to President Michel Aoun, Bloomberg reported. The report highlighted some "quick wins" Lebanon can implement to get back on track - including legalizing cannabis production for export. Caretaker Economy and Trade Minister Raed Khoury added Lebanon could legalize cultivation and export the drug for medicinal treatments: “The quality we have is one of the best in the world,” he said, adding cannabis could become a one-billion-dollar industry. Bloomberg notes that "cannabis is cultivated clandestinely in the eastern Bekaa Valley, which is dominated by Hezbollah." (See also: Lebanon will legalize growing marijuana after McKinsey evaluated it as a boost for the country's troubled economy)

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