Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Cannabis among top priorities for new Thai government

    Thailand, which had a tradition of using cannabis to relieve pain and fatigue, legalised marijuana for medical use and research last year
    Reuters (UK)
    Monday, July 22, 2019

    Developing a medical cannabis industry is among top policy priorities for Thailand's new government, according to a document released before the formal announcement. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the former junta leader who heads a civilian government following March elections, is due to set out the policies for debate in the national assembly. Developing the medical cannabis industry was a key demand of the Bhumjaithai party, one of the biggest parties in Prayuth's 19-party coalition. "The study and technological development of marijuana, hemp, and other medicinal herbs should be sped up for the medical industry to create economic opportunity and income for the people," the policy document said.

  • The profile of festival drug takers might be different to what you expect

    Common assumptions about Australian festival goers and the risks they take may be wrong
    The Conversation (UK)
    Thursday, July 18, 2019

    A NSW Coronial Inquest investigating a series of drug-related deaths at Australian music festivals has heard evidence of festival goers taking multiple concurrent doses of MDMA to avoid police detection and not receiving adequate medical attention. But a lack of knowledge about the drug use patterns and demographic profile of festival goers has stymied capacity to develop evidence-informed policy responses. Two data reports may help to inform the inquest and shed light on these patterns. Both reports are based on data from more than 5,000 Australian festival goers who completed the Global Drug Survey from late 2018. (See also: 'Please someone': inquest hears of tragic teen's cries for help)

  • No punishment for minors with small amounts of cannabis

    The Federal Court cleared up any lingering confusion around differences in treatment between adults and minors
    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Thursday, July 18, 2019

    switzerland cannabis2Possession of less than 10 grams of cannabis is not a punishable offence in Switzerland, regardless of whether you are a minor or an adult, the Federal Court has confirmed. In publishing its precedent decision, the Federal Court in Lausanne cleared up any lingering confusion around differences in treatment between adults and minors – no distinction should be made, judges ruled. The court said that while the protection of minors was a key component of the narcotics law, imposing heftier fines on youths was not the solution. Rather, judges said, prevention, therapy, and larger punishments for dealers was a better strategy.

  • Licences approved as St Vincent's Cannabis industry opens

    Barbadian investors would likely use the knowledge and experience gained in St Vincent to build out the sector at home
    Loop (Caribbean)
    Monday, July 15, 2019

    St Vincent’s Medicinal Marijuana industry is a go. Over 30 licences have been approved by the Medicinal Cannabis Authority (MCA) for the cultivation, development and export of medicinal marijuana products. The MCA said in a release that it has approved licences for eight local farmers’ producer cooperatives with an aggregated membership of over 100 traditional cultivators; traditional cultivators of cannabis who applied individually; three non-traditional local farmers; and 10 companies with the directorship of nationals from the OECS, CARICOM, North America, Europe and Africa. MCA said based on the applications currently under review it projects that by September an additional 200 traditional cultivators will obtain cultivation licences. (See also: Vincy ‘high’)

  • Support for legalising cannabis growing among British public, survey finds

    Poll shows policy-makers are 'significantly behind' tide of public opinion, says former Tory minister
    The Independent (UK)
    Sunday, July 14, 2019

    Twice as many British adults now support the legalisation of cannabis than oppose it, according to a poll which reveals a “widening gulf” between public opinion and drug laws. Forty-eight per cent of voters favour legalising recreational use of marijuana, up five points in the past year, with only 24 per cent objecting, found the YouGov survey. Support for medicinal cannabis was even stronger, with 77 per cent of respondents saying it should be permitted. A similar proportion said they would consider using cannabis-based treatments if there was strong evidence it would benefit them. The Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group (CDPRG), which commissioned the poll, said the findings indicated “clear and growing appetite” for a new approach to drug policy in the UK.

  • Cannabis pilot project agreement signed in Accompong

    Signing will ensure that traditional growers of ganja are not left out of the formal cannabis system
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Wednesday, July 10, 2019

    A tripartite agreement was signed to implement a cannabis pilot programme in Accompong, St Elizabeth, under the Cannabis Licensing Authority's (CLA) Alternative Development Programme. The agreement was signed by representatives of the CLA, Accompong Town Maroons, and Timeless Herbal Care. The Alternative Development Programme is being implemented as a strategy to transition traditional cannabis farmers from an illicit framework into the regulated environment, as a means of promoting sustainable economic development and poverty eradication. It is also aimed at providing access to quality-controlled cannabis for medicinal purposes, in keeping with government policy.

  • Coca, the illicit plant that funded Colombia’s civil war, is flourishing again

    Duque’s plan to destroy it is drawing opposition
    The Washington Post (US)
    Wednesday, July 10, 2019

    It was eight years ago the last time planes came to spray poison on Noralba Quintero’s coca crop in the jungled foothills here by the mighty Magdalena River. Until recently, she thought those days were over. Quintero’s community was one of thousands that relied on the plant from which cocaine is made to survive through Colombia’s decades-long civil war. With the historic peace accord of 2016, the government was supposed to help the farmers transition to legal agriculture. But that pledge remains unfulfilled — and coca has proliferated. Now President Iván Duque, pressured by the United States, is pushing hard to resume aerial fumigation with glyphosate, the controversial practice that officials here say is the most effective way of eradicating the illicit crop that helped fund the war.

  • Congressional committee discusses how to legalize cannabis

    The hearing highlighted competing visions of what reform should look like
    Leafly (US)
    Wednesday, July 10, 2019

    us flag cannabisIn a first-of-its-kind hearing, a key congressional committee met to discuss how to finally put an end to federal cannabis prohibition. Titled Marijuana Laws in America: Racial Justice and the Need for Reform, it was the latest indication of just how far Congress has come on cannabis reform after decades of intransigence. Americans now broadly support cannabis legalization, with a majority of both Democrats and Republicans in favor. The bipartisan agreement was on display at a House Judiciary subcommittee meeting, where members of both parties expressed frustration at the current state of the country’s cannabis laws. But while lawmakers seemed to agree on the need for reform, the hearing also highlighted tensions between competing visions of what reform should look like.

  • How do we eliminate the cannabis black market? License it

    Canadians prefer buying from their old dealers – often for good reason
    National Magazine (Canada)
    Wednesday, July 10, 2019

    canada flag cannabisGiven a choice, Canadians prefer to buy illicit weed. Nearly 80 per cent of all sales since legalization are from the “black market” – or more aptly named the “original market.” Contrary to what the government and the legal industry would have consumers believe, much of the illicit cannabis on the market today is of higher quality than that grown by licensed producers (LPs). The legalization of cannabis was a step in the right direction. But it also ushered in an elitist regulatory system that promoted big business to thrive in the face of the pre-existing culture and industry. The government encouraged titans of capital to build a new cannabis industry right on top of the original, underground industry, by people who know more about corporate financing models than how to grow the plant. 

  • Illegal cannabis getting even cheaper, as legal gets costlier, StatsCan says

    Gap between legal and illegal varieties as wide as $4.72 per gram, on average
    CBC News (Canada)
    Wednesday, July 10, 2019

    Statistics Canada's quarterly report on cannabis prices suggests the cost chasm between legal and illegal versions of the drug is wide, and getting wider. The data agency reported that the price gap between the two types of cannabis is as wide as $4.72 a gram. Canada legalized recreational cannabis last October, but the rollout across the country has been plagued by delays, limited supply, and other logistical issues. Three months ago, StatsCan's report of the first full quarter of price information showed the gap between legal cannabis and the illegal variety was $3.62 a gram. That means the illegal stuff today is roughly half the cost of the legal variety. So it is not surprising that more than half — 59 per cent — of respondents said they purchased illegal cannabis during the period.

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