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  • Canada eases steps to open supervised drug injection sites amid opioid crisis

    New legislation streamlines the more than two dozen requirements previously needed to launch facilities, which offer supervision and sterile equipment
    The Guardian (UK)
    Sunday, May 21, 2017

    Safe injection siteCanada’s government has made it easier to open supervised drug injection sites across the country, offering communities a lifeline as they battle an opioid crisis that has claimed thousands of lives in recent years. New legislation passed this week streamlines the more than two dozen requirements previously needed to launch these facilities, which offer a medically supervised space and sterile equipment for people who use drugs intravenously. “Solid evidence shows that, when properly set up and maintained, supervised consumption sites save lives, and they do it without increasing drug use or crime in the neighbourhood,” Jane Philpott, Canada’s health minister, told parliament this week.

  • California takes right steps in crafting state’s marijuana regulations

    Adult-use marijuana, like medical marijuana, is now legal in the state of California
    The Sacramento Bee (US)
    Wednesday, May 17, 2017

    When Proposition 64 passed last November by the largest margin of any marijuana legalization ballot measure in history, it represented a resounding message from more than 8 million California voters to federal, state and local policymakers. With the input of hundreds of respected state and local organizations, including local government and law enforcement, Proposition 64 was carefully and specifically drafted to safeguard public safety, public health and the environment, preserve local control, curb market monopolies and, above all else, protect our children.

  • Is Colombia sacrificing coca farmers' trust for US Aid dollars?

    The priority placed by Colombia's government on reaching eradication goals has put enormous pressure on security forces destroy as much coca as possible
    InSight Crime
    Wednesday, May 17, 2017

    Colombia's defense minister divulged new coca eradication figures ahead of a meeting between Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and his US counterpart Donald Trump, a sign of commitment to US policy preferences that may come at the expense of harming trust between Colombia's government and important segments of its own population. With regard to the upcoming meeting, Villegas praised the fact that the US Congress recently approved a $450 million aid package known as "Peace Colombia," which is aimed at supporting the country's peace agreement with the FARC.

  • An experiment helps heroin users test their street drugs for fentanyl

    Fentanyl has become a big part of the local drug supply in the Bronx
    NPR (US)
    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is "similar to morphine but can be 50 to 100 times more potent," according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Increasingly, drug dealers have been using fentanyl to cut their heroin supply — which can be lethal for users. By using the same simple test a doctor would use to check for fentanyl in a patient's urine, Van Asher, one of the staffers in charge of "transactions" — that means he gives out needles — is now giving drug users in the Bronx a way to quickly find out what's in their syringe before they inject.

  • Cannabis may help wean people off crack, study finds

    The results echo a smaller study of 25 crack users in Brazil
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    canada crack vancouverCannabis has been identified as a potential substitute for users of legal or illicit opioids, but a new Vancouver-based study shows the drug may also help reduce people’s cravings for another highly addictive substance: crack cocaine. Scientists at the BC Centre on Substance Use tracked 122 people who consumed crack in and around Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside over a three-year period and found they reported using that drug less frequently when they opted to also consume cannabis. The findings do suggest that cannabinoids might play a role in reducing the harms of crack use for some people. (See also: Therapeutic Use of Cannabis by Crack Addicts in Brazil)

  • Legal marijuana could earn millions for Swiss state

    Legal cannabis should benefit the federal coffers, as it is subject to a 25% tax and VAT levy, which should generate CHF30 million a year in tax revenue for the state
    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    Some 130 firms have registered with the Swiss federal authorities to sell legal pot that could generate CHF30 million ($30.2 million) in annual revenue for the state. Legal cannabis has become a flourishing business in recent months. Switzerland changed its laws in 2011 to let adults buy and use cannabis with up to 1% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the active ingredient that gets smokers high. So far, 130 retailers of legal cannabis have registered with the Federal Customs Administration to be taxed as tobacco producers, the Berner Zeitung reported. Swiss customs officials were in contact with 250 other potential producers. The customs administration confirmed that annual sales of legal pot in Switzerland amount to CHF100 million.

  • Ganja lobby wrong

    De La Haye counters claim he's anti-marijuana
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Monday, May 15, 2017

    Winston de la HayeThe Ministry of Health (MoH) of Jamaica has indicated that it has begun taking steps to change the schedule class of marijuana to effect amendments to international treaties concerning the drug.Chief Medical Officer Dr Winston De La Haye made the disclosure at last week's post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House after being asked to respond to accusations of him being labelled by ganja lobbyists as “anti-marijuana”. “They are wrong. We are lobbying to have it removed from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act that lists it as a criminal and narcotics substance,” he said. (See also: No ganja babies - Tufton vows to protect vulnerable from ill effects of marijuana | Two ganja licences approved)

  • Provinces diverge on approach to guidelines on legal marijuana

    Setting guidelines related to the minimum legal age, retail sales, public health, education and security are among the wide range of needs
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Sunday, May 14, 2017

    Provinces have been protesting the large volume of work and heavy costs they say the Trudeau government has piled on them in its rush to legalize recreational cannabis across Canada by next year. Provinces have been busy since the federal government tabled legislation last month to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana use, with a primary aim of keeping weed out of the hands of youth and criminals. Ottawa hopes to make it happen by July 2018. Some provinces expressed concern about what they see as a hurried course set by Ottawa toward legalization.

  • Change in policy will not get rid of illegal cannabis cultivation: Dutch Ministries

    No matter which scenario is picked, there will still be illegal cultivation
    NL Times (Netherlands)
    Wednesday, May 10, 2017

    Little will change around illegal cannabis cultivation, even if the government changes the current tolerance policy, according to officials from the Ministries of Public Health and Security and Justice. The Dutch government is considering three scenarios: regulating both cannabis sales and cultivation, extending the tolerance policy to include growers, or a total ban on both growing and selling weed. In February a majority in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, voted for regulated cannabis cultivation. When and if a change of law will be implemented is still unclear.

  • Daily dose of cannabis extract could reverse brain's decline in old age, study suggests

    Regular low doses of THC dramatically boosted memory and learning in older mice, say scientists, who plan a clinical trial in humans later this year
    The Guardian (UK)
    Monday, May 8, 2017

    Researchers have come up with an unusual proposal to slow, or even reverse, the cognitive decline that comes with old age: small, daily doses of cannabis extract. The idea emerged from tests on mice which found that regular, low doses of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis – impaired memory and learning in young animals, but boosted the performance of old ones. The discovery has raised hopes for a treatment that improves brain function in old age without inducing the behavioural effects well known to recreational users of the drug.

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