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  • Canadian banker snags $750-million in marijuana business as rivals say no

    The major banks are starting to circle
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Tuesday, April 3, 2018

    In a down-and-out Canadian town, Bruce Linton dreamed of transforming an abandoned Hershey Co. chocolate plant into the Next Big Thing, a medical marijuana factory. But the pot entrepreneur faced a crisis typical of his edgy industry: Banks shut their doors in his face. Then Linton turned to an old-school credit union - that paragon of community, rectitude, and caution - and found a middle-aged banker named Rob Paterson. The chief executive officer of Alterna Savings & Credit Union Ltd. seemed an unlikely mark. He barely drank and hadn’t smoked a joint since his university days.

  • Philippine court halts govt move to keep drug war kill records secret

    The order covers drug-related deaths from July 2016 until November 2017
    Reuters (UK)
    Tuesday, April 3, 2018

    The Philippine Supreme Court ordered police to hand over full records of thousands of deadly encounters in the country’s war on drugs, thwarting a government bid to keep operational details of the bloody crackdown secret. The high court gave the solicitor-general, Jose Calida, 15 days to comply with a December order that he had challenged on the grounds of national security. Human rights and legal groups lauded the decision as a triumph that would help bring to book state officials involved in what they say are systematic abuses, cover-ups and executions during President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody 21-month campaign.

  • Europe is losing the fight against dirty money

    Europe is losing the fight against dirty money because it has used national solutions to tackle an international problem
    Politico (EU)
    Monday, April 2, 2018

    Rob Wainwright, who will be leaving his post as Europol director after almost a decade, said: “One of my favorite frustrations is on financial crime — the anti-money laundering regime.“ Professional money launderers — and we have identified 400 at the top, top level in Europe — are running billions of illegal drug and other criminal profits through the banking system with a 99 percent success rate,” he said. “We have created a whole ton of regulations … the banks are spending $20 billion a year to run the compliance regime … and we are seizing 1 percent of criminal assets every year in Europe.” According to the latest Europol figures, between 0.7 and 1.2 percent of EU annual GDP is “detected as being involved in suspect financial activity.” (See also: The EU’s latest agreement on amending the anti-money laundering directive: at the vanguard of trust transparency, but still further to go)

  • Opioids prescribed less in states where medical marijuana legal, studies find

    Two new studies have found a correlation using data from programs used by millions of older, poor and disabled Americans
    The Guardian (UK)
    Monday, April 2, 2018

    medical cannabis cbdIn one study, researchers at the University of Georgia, Athens, used data from Medicare Part D, a government-run prescription drug program for people older than 65. They found prescriptions filled for all opioids decreased by 2.11m daily doses a year when a state legalized medical marijuana, and by 3.7m daily doses a year when marijuana dispensaries opened. In a second study, researchers at the University of Kentucky examined opioid prescription data from Medicaid, a government-run program for the poor and disabled. More than 74 million Americans use Medicaid. State medical marijuana laws were associated with a 5.8% lower rate of opioid prescribing, and states with recreational marijuana laws were associated with a 6.3% lower rate of opioid prescribing.

  • Wall Street experiments with marijuana investments

    Former Bear Stearns broker sets up legal cannabis industry networking business
    Financial Times (UK)
    Sunday, April 1, 2018

    dollar cannabis2More adventurous corners of Wall Street are experimenting with marijuana as an investment even though recreational use of the drug is illegal in New York and the US attorney-general has reminded the industry that cannabis is outlawed by federal statute. The gathering at Aretsky’s Patroon in midtown Manhattan gave 80 private equity executives, fund managers and family-office investors a chance to hear from pot entrepreneurs seeking capital. One bragged of management team experience that included Blackstone, Goldman Sachs and the Harvard Business School. The North American legal cannabis market grew by a third to nearly $10bn last year, according to ArcView Market Research, and is forecast to more than double in size by 2021.

  • Indonesia criminal code overhaul a step backwards for drug policy

    Sweeping criminal sanctions proposed in Indonesian parliament could worsen the country's drug problem
    Al Jazeera
    Friday, March 30, 2018

    As more countries move away from drug prohibition, Indonesia is about to step up its efforts to defend it. Proposed revisions to the country's criminal code promote harsh penalties for the use and possession of narcotics - including society's ultimate sanction, the death penalty - instead of a health-oriented approach. Rather than enabling a safer, healthier future for the world's fourth largest population, the changes guarantee a surge in prison overcrowding, inflated public health costs, decreased access to health care, and increased drug trafficking, availability, and misuse.

  • Canada’s next steps on cannabis and the UN drug treaties

    Canada’s proposed approach to cannabis will result in Canada being in contravention of certain obligations related to cannabis under the UN drug conventions
    Dave Bewley-Taylor, Tom Blickman, Martin Jelsma, and John Walsh
    Ipolitics (Canada)
    Thursday, March 29, 2018

    Ever since the introduction of Bill C-45, questions have been swirling concerning Canada’s position relative to the UN drug control conventions: conventions to which Canada is a party and that, crucially, prohibit the creation of regulated markets for the recreational use of cannabis. Amidst debates and discussion over the past few months on how best to manage the impending mismatch between Canada’s domestic cannabis policy and international commitments, various options have been proffered and examples from elsewhere sought. One possible avenue to explore is a mechanism called modification inter se, as outlined in ‘Balancing Treaty Stability and Change: Inter se modification of the UN drug control conventions to facilitate cannabis regulation.’

  • Daily cannabis use could delay at-risk youth from moving to higher risk drug use: study

    Other recent research suggests cannabis may be a potential substitute for users of legal or illicit opioids, as well as crack cocaine
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Thursday, March 29, 2018

    Various medical marijuana products are distributed as an alternative to intravenous drugs at an overdose prevention site in Vancouver, B.C., on Aug. 28, 2017Consuming cannabis every day could delay at-risk youth from moving on to injecting more dangerous drugs, according to a new study that casts doubt upon the age-old assumption that marijuana acts as a gateway for teens to try other more harmful substances. The research, from scientists at the BC Centre on Substance Use, also adds to other work that has suggested marijuana could be used as a substitute for people addicted to opioids. Researchers repeatedly interviewed 481 homeless young people in Vancouver’s downtown core who had never injected any drugs and found - over a decade of tracking this at-risk cohort - that daily cannabis use was associated with a 34 per cent decrease in the rate people started injecting drugs.

  • Most Luxembourg residents want cannabis legalised

    Survey shows most people in Grand Duchy would like to see marijuana legalised for personal use
    Luxembourg Times (Luxembourg)
    Thursday, March 29, 2018

    The majority of Luxembourg residents think cannabis should be fully legalised for personal use and not just for medical reasons, according to a survey carried out by TNS Ilres. Fifty-six percent of respondents were in favour for cannabis being legalised, with 18% being in "absolute" agreement that the drug should be fully legal in the Grand Duchy. However, the lion's share of those in agreement, at 38%, believe cannabis should be legalised "under certain conditions". Younger participants, particularly those aged between 18 and 24, generally responded favourably to total legalisation.

  • LibDem MSP says Scotland should ‘open regulated drugs market’

    Laws around cannabis are all currently reserved to Westminster, under the Misuse of Drugs Act
    The National (Scotland)
    Wednesday, March 28, 2018

    Scotland should have its own “regulated cannabis market” to control the pricing and potency of the drug, LibDem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton has claimed. He made the call after new figures showed the vast majority of police seizures involved cannabis. In total, the force seized 347.9 kg of herbal cannabis, 322.1kg of cannabis resin and 18,310 cannabis plants from dealers. Cole-Hamilton said: “These new figures show that when it comes to drug related crime, police time is dominated by cannabis. Despite this, cannabis is freely available and widely used. The ‘war on drugs’ just simply isn’t working. It is costing millions and filling the pockets of criminal gangs."

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