Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Is the Netherlands finally heading for legalisation?

    A problem the coffeeshops might be facing is the supply of hash
    Volteface (UK)
    Wednesday, July 1, 2020

    coffeeshopSupplying coffeeshops with cannabis is illegal, so this is being done through a complicated ‘back-door’ policy. There might be a change coming with the start of the ‘controlled cannabis supply chain experiment’. Ten municipalities with a grand total of 79 coffeeshops have been selected for the experiment. These coffeeshops will start selling legally produced cannabis supplied by ten government-designated growers. The aim is to find out whether it is possible to regulate a quality-controlled supply of cannabis to coffeeshops and to see if the experiment has any effect on crime, safety and public health. A lot of people are happy about the new direction the Netherlands seems to be moving in, but others are critical and think progress is too slow.

  • ‘War on drugs’ blamed for deaths of at least 122 children in Philippines

    Activists claim young people are deliberately targeted and call for UN to investigate human rights record of Duterte regime
    The Guardian (UK)
    Tuesday, June 30, 2020

    philippines stop killingAt least 122 children, including a one-year-old, have been killed during President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs” in the Philippines, according to a report that concluded some children have been deliberately shot at and targeted as proxies. The study, by the World Organisation Against Torture, adds to growing calls for the UN human rights council to establish an independent investigation into abuses committed under Duterte. Rights groups estimate that tens of thousands of people may have died as a result of unlawful killings during anti-drug operations launched after his election in 2016.

  • Growing majority of Kiwis support legalising cannabis, new poll finds

    Support for legalising cannabis also contrasted sharply according to political allegiance with National voters by far the lease in favour
    New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
    Monday, June 29, 2020

    nz cannabis referendum2A growing majority of New Zealanders support legalising cannabis for personal use, according to a new poll just three months from a national referendum. Licensed medicinal cannabis company Helius Therapeutics commissioned the independent Horizon Research survey of nearly 1600 Kiwis. It found 56 per cent of respondents plan to vote for legalising cannabis for personal use on September 19. Support for legalising pot continues to grow after the last Horizon poll in February registered 54 per cent support for the bill. The poll also found women, at 59 per cent, favoured legalisation more than men, at 52 per cent.

  • Not all WHO cannabis recommendations would loosen international control, UN drug agency says

    The Board did not position itself in favor or against any of the WHO’s recommendations
    Marijuana Business Daily (US)
    Friday, June 26, 2020

    un logo cannabisAn analysis by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) concludes that most of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cannabis scheduling recommendations would either have little impact on international drug controls or actually tighten requirements. The analysis was provided to member states shortly before the start of the first in a series of UN meetings. The WHO recommendations are often celebrated as a positive step toward the easing of the international control of cannabis, which would be a positive development for the industry. But regarding practical implications in the level of international control, the INCB document found that, if adopted two recommendations would imply no meaningful change and two others would mean more control for pure THC.

  • Supervised consumption sites save Alberta money: University of Calgary study

    The province should take the savings into consideration, especially during tough economic times
    Global News (Canada)
    Thursday, June 25, 2020

    dcr supervisionA study from the University of Calgary has concluded the Calgary supervised consumption site is saving the province money. The study looked at the costs of treating a person who has overdosed at the consumption site and compares that to how much the same treatment would cost at a hospital. The study found that for every overdose at the Sheldon Chumir supervised consumption site, the province saves $1,600 in EMS and hospital costs. Since the site opened in 2018, the province has saved over $2.3 million, the study found. (See also: Opioid overdoses killed up to 142 people in Alberta during first 3 months of 2020: province)

  • Swiss government wants to ease access to medical marijuana

    The decision to prescribe cannabis-based drugs would be taken directly by doctor and patient
    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Wednesday, June 24, 2020

    medical cannabis docterThe Swiss government wants to empower doctors to prescribe cannabis for medical purposes without authorisation. The Federal Council submitted a revised version of the narcotics law to parliament for deliberation. Cannabis, whether for recreational or medical purposes, has been banned in Switzerland since 1951. However, doctors may prescribe a medicine based on this substance if they get an exceptional green light from the Federal Office of Public Health. But the government believes this process complicates access to treatment, delays the start of therapies and is no longer adequate in view of the growing number of requests.

  • Drug users call for safe supply of heroin and cocaine, and show how it’s done

    Sourcing clean street drugs is ‘virtually impossible’ and BC’s approach needs to evolve, say advocates
    The Tyee (Canada)
    Tuesday, June 23, 2020

    canada safe supply cocaineA new drug-user advocacy group in Vancouver says the safe supply of prescription narcotics must include pharmaceutical-grade heroin and cocaine and — to kickstart the effort — they’ve started giving those drugs away for free themselves. Dozens of people who use drugs marched in the city’s Downtown Eastside and set up an overdose prevention site where they distributed free doses of cocaine that had been tested for fentanyl, carfentanyl, benzodiazepines and other dangerous contaminants. Organizers had planned to distribute up to 200 doses of free heroin as well, but existing supply lines have become so contaminated that they couldn’t find any. Calling itself the Drug User Liberation Front, the group also called on the B.C. government to make broad changes to the current safe supply guidelines.

  • Cannabis Bill controversy: Did dagga growers influence MPs?

    One of the growers said they were happy with the withdrawal of the Bill because the value of the illicit herb will continue to be high
    Times of Swaziland (Eswatini)
    Sunday, June 21, 2020

    Did dagga growers influence MPs? The withdrawal of the Opium and Habit-Forming Drugs (Amendment) Bill No.06 of 2020 in the House of Assembly, has raised more questions than answers. Dagga grower Jama said he would continue advocating that dagga should not be legalised and that members of the Royal Eswatini Police Services (REPS) should continue destroying it but not all of it. “By destroying the dagga, the police control the price of dagga from dropping further,” said Jama. Another dagga grower, Musa, also said he was pleased that the Bill had been withdrawn. He said this was good because it meant that the value of the dagga would continue to be high.

  • Cannabis legalization bill clears first hurdle

    Legislation will decriminalize possession of up to 50 grams of marijuana while legalizing possession and consumption of up to 15 grams by people above 21
    The Times of Israel (Israel)
    Sunday, June 21, 2020

    israel cannabis flag courtA bill to legalize cannabis use in Israel was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, passing its first hurdle on the way to becoming law. The legislation will decriminalize the possession of up to 50 grams of marijuana while fully legalizing the possession and consumption of up to 15 grams by individuals above the age of 21. If the bill becomes law, selling and purchasing marijuana for personal use will be legal for those above 21 and authorized shops will be allowed to sell cannabis product, through growing marijuana at home will still be illegal. The legislation also outlined medical cannabis reform. (See also: Cannabis legalization bills pass early readings; ultra-Orthodox MKs walk out) | Israeli lawmakers give preliminary approval for cannabis decriminalization)

  • Switzerland releases details on recreational marijuana experiment, but full legalization likely years away

    The Swiss National Council rejected several proposals by legislators that would have imposed hurdles and limits on the experiment
    Marijuana Business Daily (US)
    Wednesday, June 17, 2020

    switzerland cannabis3The lower house of Switzerland’s Federal Assembly approved a bill paving the way for a pilot research program that would permit the temporary production and distribution of cannabis to adults for recreational purposes. While an important milestone, the vote in early June is also symbolic of the sluggish pace at which recreational legalization is occurring in Europe. While approving the project, a majority of National Council legislators rejected proposals that would have limited the experiment’s size and scope – a sign that the lower house is committed to moving forward with the project. Now the Council of States will debate and vote on the bill. Local experts expect the project to be approved.

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