Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • A new ‘war on drugs’ is short sighted and naive

    There are options for taking a new path with like-minded countries
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Monday, September 16, 2019

    Forty years ago, the Netherlands was far ahead of its time. But today we see the country moving backwards, as evidenced by a recent report on the drugs culture in Amsterdam. The authors of the report, believe that Dutch society is ‘undermined’ by organised drugs crime, though it’s hard to say what the evidence is to support these conclusions. A new ‘hard approach’ – rather similar to the old approach elsewhere in the world – with more police powers must be deployed, in addition to stigmatising users, the report’s authors argued. The ban on drugs does not have the support of the majority of the Dutch. Most use is not problematic and users would rather buy their goods in a legal market, with quality guarantees and tax revenues to be spent on the people who do get into trouble.

  • Legalise cannabis, says Liberal Democrat candidate for London mayor

    Siobhan Benita says the capital should make the move to tackle youth crime
    The Observer (UK)
    Saturday, September 14, 2019

    The legalisation of cannabis should be tested in London to improve public health and stop young people being drawn into crime, a London mayoral candidate has said. Siobhan Benita, the Lib Dem candidate for next year’s election, said the idea of legalising the drug was “no longer controversial” and the serious crime in the capital meant it was the right place for the idea to be trialled. “Illegal drugs activity, especially in the capital, is a big part of pulling young people into serious violence,” she said. “I want to remove power from those gangs. My question would be, why haven’t we done this yet?" She said legalisation, which would free up police time, had been supported by prominent former police officers. (See also: Labour to ‘consider legalising all drugs’ including cocaine and heroin)

  • Malaysia's Government looks to decriminalise drug use in bid to stem disadvantage

    Traffickers of drugs will still face the death penalty
    ABC News (Australia)
    Saturday, September 14, 2019

    malaysia drug useThe non-descript white van parked at the mosque entrance went mostly unnoticed. In conservative Malaysia, very few of the Muslim faithful on their way to prayers could ever have imagined its true purpose. After a 40-year war on drugs that has seen countless thousands of drug users locked up, the van is a symbol of a dramatic shift in Malaysia's approach to narcotics. It's a mobile methadone clinic, set up to provide support on the ground as the nation prepares to decriminalise drug use. "Looking at drug addicts as suffering a form of a disease is crucial," said Nurul Izzah Anwar, a Malaysian Government MP at the forefront of the push for what many proponents simply call "decrim".

  • Govt commits to helping cannabis debate focus on facts and evidence

    The government and the Drug Foundation say they are committed to keeping the public informed, fear mongering to a minimum and misinformation out of the news
    RNZ (New Zealand)
    Friday, September 13, 2019

    nz cannabis flagMPs and the Drug Foundation addressed a symposium on drug law reform at Parliament today. Justice Minister Andrew Little told the crowd, despite a lot of investment into the enforcement of prohibiting cannabis since 1965, it was still well and truly present in communities. "It's estimated between a quarter of a million to 300,000 New Zealanders are regular users of cannabis, that's what prohibition has given us," he said. Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell said his organisation has released their own report, Taking control of cannabis: A model for responsible regulation, on what those regulations should look like.

  • Thais allowed six cannabis plants per household under draft law

    The law could be passed in 6 months after November when parliament re-opens
    Reuters (UK)
    Friday, September 13, 2019

    thailand marijuana awakeningA party in Thailand's ruling coalition has proposed a draft law that would allow Thais to grow a limited amount of cannabis at home, less than a year after the country legalised the drug for medicinal purposes and research. Under Thailand's current drug laws, recreational users of cannabis can incur tough penalties, including up to 10 years in prison for possession and hefty fines. A senior lawmaker in the Bhumjaithai Party, third-largest partner in the coalition and in charge of the health ministry, said the draft law would allow up to six marijuana plants per household. Cannabis is still a drug under Thai law. "The principle is for medical use, you can have it at home for ailments, but not smoke it on the street," Supachai Jaisamut said.

  • Copenhagen city council supports cannabis legalization trial

    A majority in Copenhagen Municipality’s city council (Borgerrepræsentation) wants to legalize cannabis, but the government remains opposed
    The Local (Denmark)
    Thursday, September 12, 2019

    christiania hashCity politicians in Copenhagen are in support of trialling a legalization of the sale of cannabis and will approach the government over the issue. “There’s a new government, so it makes sense for us in Copenhagen to again make clear our view that it is important for us that something is done about the hash market in Copenhagen,” said Socialist People’s Party councillor Klaus Mygind. City councillors say a trial would undermine criminal hash dealers and also make it easier to reach young people who are struggling with addiction. The idea is based on the establishment of five or six points of sale in the city, which would be staffed by specially trained advisors. 44 of the 55 representatives on the city council support the proposal.

  • One of the largest pharma companies in the world has made a big move in cannabis

    As the cannabis industry advances, we’ll likely see more and more big pharma companies ink deals with cannabis firms
    Forbes (US)
    Thursday, September 12, 2019

    medical cannabis docterA subsidiary of NYSE-traded giant Teva Pharmaceuticals has signed a deal with medical cannabis company Canndoc to distribute its GMP products to pharma customers, including hospitals, health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and all pharmacies in Israel. It should be noted that, almost by any measure, from market cap to revenue, Teva is one of the largest pharma companies in the world, and considered to be the biggest generic drug manufacturer in the globe. Needless to say, this is a big deal. Beyond specific deals, a few big pharma companies have registered cannabinoid-related clinical trials in the U.S. and Canada.

  • The rank hypocrisy of marijuana prohibition advocates’ taxpayer funding

    Kevin Sabet continues to fail to disclose SAM’s funding and the incestuous financial connections behind efforts to maintain the status quo
    Filter (US)
    Monday, September 9, 2019

    kevin sabet2The New York Chapter of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), the prohibitionist organization led by Kevin Sabet, has submitted a request “to keep its funding sources confidential,” as reported in a September 5 Times Union article. As justification, the group cited fears that its donors would be harassed. SAM’s request for donor anonymity claims “that it doesn’t receive funding from “faceless deep-pocketed corporate interests” in the “alcohol, tobacco, opioid, or the prison industries…” Yet the organization’s attempt to avoid transparency is ironic, when SAM has just announced its intention to release a report on industry donations to the marijuana legalization movement. (See also: Marijuana legalization opponent directed to identify donors)

  • Colombia is turning into a major medical marijuana producer

    Due to government bureaucracy in Colombia, it can take months or years for startups to secure the proper permits and licenses
    NPR (US)
    Saturday, September 7, 2019

    colombia clever leaves facilityOther countries are passing laws to permit the production, import and export of medical marijuana but Colombia has a leg up because it did so three years ago, says Rodrigo Arcila, president of the Colombian Cannabis Industry Association. He said the group's 29 member companies have invested more than $600 million in building medical marijuana facilities. Arcila maintains that Colombia can produce cannabis products at lower prices than competitors due to affordable land, relatively low wages and an abundance of skilled farm hands who cut their teeth in Colombia's booming flower business. As an emerging venture it's unclear how the medical marijuana business will play out.

  • Black market pot entered CannTrust facility, flowed into legal market last year: Sources

    Some cannabis producers may face pressure to tap the black market to acquire new strains in order to differentiate their products from competitors
    BNN Bloomberg (Canada)
    Friday, September 6, 2019

    canada cannabis industrialSenior operating staff working at CannTrust Holdings Inc.’s Pelham, Ont. facility late last year brought cannabis seeds from the black market into production rooms, leading to some illicitly-grown pot flowing into the legal market. In an apparent effort to conceal the black market cannabis seeds from regulatory inspections and other staff members, some CannTrust employees changed the names of as many as 20 strains to those which the company was licensed to sell in the legal medical and recreational markets. Adding cannabis seeds obtained through the black market would have allowed CannTrust to significantly bolster its production at a time when it had overcommitted itself with supply contracts with provinces and other licensed marijuana producers.

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