Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Luxembourg to follow Canada's cannabis example

    Law to be presented by autumn, implementation in next four years
    Luxembourg Times (Luxembourg)
    Friday, May 17, 2019

    luxembourg cannabis flagLuxembourg is set to largely follow the example of Canada in legalising the recreational use of cannabis, two ministers said after a field trip to the country where the drug has been legal since 2018. Luxembourg's plans to allow production, purchase and consumption of the drug under certain circumstances have shaped up after the duo's trip to Canada, during which they spoke to local ministers and producers. The two ministers said they aim to present a legislative act by autumn this year for parliament to vote on after consultations with the State Council, the advisory organ to Luxembourg's parliament. They acknowledged that "neighbouring countries aren't too happy about this", but said they would seek dialogue with these countries to look at measures to prevent smuggling.

  • ‘They have free rein’: Rio residents fear police violence under far-right rule

    New governor promised ‘slaughter’ of gangsters, drawing comparisons with bloody Philippines drug war
    The Guardian (UK)
    Friday, May 17, 2019

    During campaigning last year, Rio’s new, far-right governor, Wilson Witzel, promised a “slaughter” of gun-toting drug gangsters using helicopters and snipers – leading to comparisons with the Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody drug war. Now fears are growing that the policy is being implemented in Rio, fed by a record high of 434 deaths in confrontations with police in the first three months of this year. Renata Souza, the chair of the human rights commission at Rio’s legislative assembly, wrote to the UN rapporteur on extrajudicial killings that Witzel was “legitimising” police violence in favelas.

  • The Hague says no to regulated marijuana trials, criticises rules

    Coffee shop owners will be forced back into the illegal circuit after four years of selling ‘legal’ marijuana
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Thursday, May 16, 2019

    coffeeshop salesThe Hague has followed Amsterdam and decided not to take part in the experiment with regulated marijuana cultivation, saying the plan is unworkable. ‘We consider the conditions are not sufficiently practical,’ mayor Pauline Krikke said. The decision is based on conversations with licenced coffee shop owners in the city. ‘Their lack of support is a clear signal,’ Krikke said in a briefing to councillors. The experiment with regulated growing is supposed to remove the gray area between the sale of marijuana in council-licenced coffee shops and the illegal cultivation and supply. There are many problems with the proposals; the Dutch local authorities association VNG said that it will be difficult to find 10 councils which want to take part. (See also: The Hague also pulls out of regulated cannabis experiment)

  • Health Ministry to reschedule medical cannabis, allowing for sale in pharmacies

    Under new guidelines, specialist doctors will be able to prescribe plant without license or approval, like any other medication
    The Times of Israel (Israel)
    Thursday, May 16, 2019

    The Health Ministry it would remove cannabis from its dangerous drugs ordinance list, a move that would allow pharmacies to begin selling the plant. Specialist physicians would be able to issue a normal prescription for cannabis, like any other medication, without the need for a license or prior approval from the Health Ministry. The decision will allow pharmacies to sell controlled cannabis products to patients over the age of 18. Doctors will be able to prescribe up to 40 grams. Prescriptions will be valid for several indications, including oncological diseases, inflammatory bowel conditions, neurological conditions such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease, HIV and severe epilepsy in minors.

  • High finance: Mr Nice 'cannabis lifestyle' shop opens in London

    Store named after celebrity dealer Howard Marks sells legal products such as CBD oil
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, May 16, 2019

    Howard MarksHoward Marks made his name in the illicit drugs trade but the late drugs baron is making a posthumous comeback to cash in on a booming legal trade in cannabis-related products. Borrowing his most famous alias, the first Mr Nice store opened in London’s Soho district on Thursday, selling everything from upmarket bath bombs and face creams to hoodies inspired by Britain’s best-known drug smuggler. Mr Nice bills itself as a “modern cannabis destination” that sells “carefully curated cannabis accessories from around the world”. Xan Morgan, the chief executive of Equinox International, the international cannabis company behind the venture, plans to launch 10 Mr Nice stores across the UK.

  • Making the desert bloom: Cheap solar panels boost the Afghan poppy crop

    They allow groundwater to be pumped up to irrigate otherwise useless land
    The Economist (UK)
    Thursday, May 16, 2019

    afghanistan opium harvestSolar panels are transforming the landscape of southern Afghanistan. Only 12% of the country is suitable for growing permanent crops, mostly in the valleys of the Arghandab and Helmand rivers. Even there, most farming is dependent on irrigation systems that date back to the 1950s, when dams were built with American aid, if not earlier. The ability to drill wells and, more recently, to extract water from them cheaply with solar power has changed all that. Not only are farmers getting more out of their existing farms, according to a study by David Mansfield of the London School of Economics, they are also creating new ones. Between 2002 and 2018 some 3,600 square kilometres in south-western Afghanistan was reclaimed for cultivation from the desert.

  • Mexico's president wants to change how the drug war is fought, and he may be heading for a showdown with Trump

    Mexico's president has announced plans to revise the Merida Initiative and to decriminalize drugs and pursue national development over drug prohibition
    Business Insider
    Thursday, May 16, 2019

    Mexico's drug policies could be in for some sweeping changes, and with them the country's relations with the United States. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced that his administration would seek to revise the Merida Initiative, the $3 billion US aid package that has largely funded Mexico's war on drugs. In a press conference May 9, Lopez Obrador, widely known in Mexico as AMLO, said his administration does not "want aid for the use of force, we want aid for development." The announcement came shortly after the Mexican government released a National Development Plan for the next five years that proposes decriminalizing all drugs in Mexico.

  • Belgian socialist party wants to legalise marijuana

    Elections in Belgium
    The Brussels Times (Belgium)
    Tuesday, May 14, 2019

    elio di rupoElio Di Rupo, leader of the French speaking socialist party, reiterated his party’s plan to legalise cannabis in Belgium in order to prevent young people being forced to aquire it in a criminal milieu controled by ‘mafia-like’ elements. "We are going to resubmit a legislation to legalize cannabis and we will do everything to get the government to agree,” Di Rupo said in an interview to La Libre. Meanwhile however the Christian democrats have rallied against the plans. (See also: Belgium legislates in favour of medicinal cannabis | Legalising cannabis could generate up to 144 million euros for Belgium)

  • Cannabis legalization must include cannabis equity

    Addressing the racialized harms of cannabis prohibition barely featured in political debates over legalization in Canada
    The Conversation (UK)
    Tuesday, May 14, 2019

    canada cannabis flagCanada’s federal government is currently working to pass a bill that would provide pardons for people convicted of minor cannabis possession. With a federal election around the corner, it may be too little, too late. As a result of mounting pressure, Canada’s federal government is now struggling to pass this bill before politicians leave the capital for the summer break. If the bill does not pass, it is unlikely to do so before a national election this fall, leaving tens of thousands of lives hanging in the balance. What Canadian legalization lacks are the important measures needed to repair the damage caused by almost a century of prohibition.

  • Medicinal cannabis: Legalised yet impossible to access

    It became lawful for the NHS to prescribe marijuana in November, yet as Harry Sumnall discovers, its impact has been felt by very few people
    The Independent (UK)
    Tuesday, May 14, 2019

    On 1 November 2018, the UK changed the law on medicinal cannabis. Medicinal cannabis products were moved from schedule 1, meaning they have no medicinal value, to schedule 2, which allowed doctors to prescribe them under certain circumstances. This change to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 was partly a response to a rapid evidence review by the chief medical officer, which concluded that some medicinal cannabis products were effective for some medical conditions, and partly due to formal advice from the government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to change the schedule. Since the rescheduling, many NHS patients have been frustrated by what they see as a slow and bureaucratic system that has denied them access to cannabis treatments.

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