Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Appeals Court overturns ruling that legalized SCS; Safehouse fights on

    The evidence in other countries with legal SCS speak for themselves: Safe consumption sites save lives
    Filter (US)
    Wednesday, January 13, 2021

    us philly overdose prevention site

    A three-judge panel from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals voted to overturn a Philadelphia District Court’s prior ruling that effectively legalized safe consumption sites (SCS). In a 2-1 decision, the Appeals Court adopted a broad interpretation of 21 USC S856—the section of federal code known as the “crack house statute” that was added to the Controlled Substances Act in 1986, making it a felony to “knowingly open, lease, rent, use, or maintain any place for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, or using any controlled substance.” The nonprofit group Safehouse maintained that the law does not apply to SCS, since the “purpose” of such a facility is not to facilitate drug use, but to to save lives. (See also: Impact of an unsanctioned safe consumption site on criminal activity)

  • Mexico moves to create world’s largest legal cannabis market

    The reforms would allow the legal cultivation of marijuana on Mexican soil after decades of violence between drug cartels and authorities
    Al Jazeera (Qatar)
    Tuesday, January 12, 2021

    mexico marchaMexico’s health ministry published rules to regulate the use of medicinal cannabis, a major step in a broader reform to create the world’s largest legal cannabis market in the Latin American country. The new regulation, signed off on by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, will now allow pharmaceutical companies to begin doing medical research on cannabis products. The cannabis reform taking place includes the recreational use of marijuana and would create the world’s biggest national cannabis market in terms of population. The new medicinal rules state companies that wish to carry out research have to obtain permission from the Mexican health regulator, COFEPRIS, and this research has to be done in strictly controlled and independent laboratories.

  • Cuomo vows New York 'will legalize adult-use recreational cannabis'

    The state estimates that legalization of recreational marijuana would help rake in over $300 million in tax revenue
    The Hill (US)
    Monday, January 11, 2021

    us ny liberty statueNew York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) vowed that his state will legalize recreational cannabis as he begins ramping up efforts in the new year to green-light legislation to legalize it. “We will legalize adult-use recreational cannabis, joining 15 states that have already done so,” he tweeted on Monday. The move, Cuomo said, will “raise revenue and end the failed prohibition of this product that has left so many communities of color over-policed and over-incarcerated.” Last week, Cuomo, who has made efforts in the past to make recreational marijuana legal in the state, announced a new proposal that aimed to legalize and establish an office that would oversee and regulate cannabis.

  • Blown off: Amsterdam will ban foreign tourists from coffeeshops in future

    Research suggests a large proportion of foreign tourists would not want to come to Amsterdam if they cannot go to a coffeeshop
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Friday, January 8, 2021

    cofeeshop bulldogForeign tourists will be banned from coffeeshops in Amsterdam in future. In a letter to the council, mayor Femke Halsema, the public prosecution service and the police have said that in the future they only want Dutch residents to have access to the shops to buy and smoke cannabis. The mayor also intends to limit the number of coffeeshops in any chain and regulate the supply with a new ‘quality mark’. Although coffeeshops fall under the mayor’s responsibilities, the new proposal will be discussed by Amsterdam council and there is likely to be a transition period before it is enforced. (See the letter from the mayor: Proposal to ban overseas visitors from Amsterdam cannabis coffeeshops | Foreigners face ban from Amsterdam's cannabis cafes)

  • CDC and NIDA will finally study potential of safe consumption sites

    No sanctioned SCS currently exist in the US, although many underground sites do operate
    Filter (US)
    Thursday, January 7, 2021

    For the first time ever, Congress has weighed in on the issue of safe consumption sites (SCS). A bill tied to the stimulus package signed into law on December 27 included a direction to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to release a report on the potential public health impact of SCS. The direction was handed down in a report by the House Committee on Appropriations that accompanied HR 7614. According to the report, the NIDA and CDC must provide Congress with “an updated literature review and evaluation of the potential public health impact of Overdose Prevention Centers in the US” before the end of June 2021.

  • The top cannabis research studies of 2020

    A natural THC-like cannabinoid discovered
    Leafly (US)
    Thursday, January 7, 2021

    cannabis topWhile the world seemed to arrest, the cannabis industry’s pulse grew stronger. Cannabis research, though temporarily stymied as universities scrambled to get COVID-19 protocols in place, continued to plod ahead. Although the number of cannabis-related publications were down in 2020 compared to the previous year (what wasn’t, other than stock market indices?), scientists continued to unlock the mysteries of the fascinating plant. Here are some of the top stories in cannabis research in 2020. Italian scientists isolated a new cannabinoid, THCP (tetrahydrocannabiphorol), and cannabinoids may treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

  • Dutch high hopes for legal cannabis farms hit by nimby protests

    Drug supply experiment falters as Netherlands plan for greenhouses stirs anxiety among local residents
    The Observer (UK)
    Sunday, January 3, 2021

    cannabis productionA Dutch trial of state-regulated cannabis cultivation farms to supply coffee shops risks being derailed by an outbreak of nimbyism after locals protested about the location of one of the new facilities. The plans to take over greenhouses on the outskirts of Etten-Leur, a town in north Brabant, near the Belgian border, and replace blackberries with cannabis plants, triggered large local protests and a request by the local mayor for central government to block the scheme. Board members of the initiative, known as Project C, have now warned that the other projects will face a similar backlash once their locations become known, threatening the success of the experiment.

  • Cannabis grow clubs want High Court to decide if customers can ‘sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits’ of their joint labour

    Lawyers, on behalf of THC, are now preparing to turn to a court to determine the legality of the cannabis grow club model
    Business Maverick (South Africa)
    Thursday, December 17, 2020

    sa dagga is my rightIn September 2018, the Constitutional Court decriminalised the private cultivation of cannabis by adults for personal private consumption. This created an opportunity for businesses to ‘privately’ grow and prepare cannabis for clients. But recent police action has nipped their operations in the bud, so they want legal clarity. In October this year, police in the Western Cape announced that provincial detectives had arrested two suspects on drug trafficking charges. It turned out the target of this clampdown had been The Haze Club (THC). This service is what is known as a cannabis grow club – there are apparently several in South Africa – and involves a business leasing to clients what it deems to be private space, in an appropriate facility, where it cultivates clients’ cannabis on their behalf.

  • After blockbuster Aphria-Tilray merger, world’s largest cannabis company eyes U.S. market

    Pending approval from regulators, the companies will effect an all-stock merger to create a sole firm
    Forbes (US)
    Thursday, December 17, 2020

    canada cannabis stock broker2Tilray and Aphria, two of the biggest marijuana companies in Canada, announced plans to merge and create the world’s largest cannabis outfit. With existing medical and recreational cannabis businesses in Canada and Europe, the new conglomerate is positioning itself to eventually enter the biggest weed market in the world: the U.S. “The next big prize is the United States,” said Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy. Cannabis is still illegal under U.S. federal law, so the company won’t be able to export into the country unless laws change under President-elect Biden. And as of now, the new company, to operate under the Tilray brand, does not have any US-based cannabis cultivation or retail licenses. (See also: Aphria, Tilray merging to create world's biggest cannabis company)

  • Why is Asia divided on a green light for medical marijuana?

    A UN commission this month voted to reclassify cannabis as a drug that is less dangerous and has therapeutic benefits
    South China Morning Post (Hongkong)
    Thursday, December 17, 2020

    cannabis skyThe issue of cannabis legalisation around the world was once again thrust into the spotlight following a vote by the United Nations’ Commission on Narcotic Drugs to reclassify it as one that is less dangerous and has medical or therapeutic benefits. Experts said the result could prompt greater medical research and legalisation efforts around the world. But it also illustrated a separate issue: Asian nations are starkly divided on their views towards marijuana use, a not entirely surprising outcome given the efforts made to recognise its benefits in countries such as Thailand and Malaysia. Thailand said it would no longer classify cannabis plants and extracts as a Category 5 narcotic – though cannabis buds containing high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, will remain illegal.

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