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  • Task-force leader on legalizing marijuana urges prohibition, for now

    All dispensaries and compassion clubs across Canada still operate outside the federal government’s medical-marijuana program
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Thursday, March 23, 2017

    Anne McLellan, head of an official task force that submitted recommendations to Ottawa on how best to legalize cannabis, said police everywhere should enforce the existing prohibition of marijuana, despite several communities in British Columbia choosing to regulate – not raid – illegal pot shops. Vancouver crafted Canada’s first municipal marijuana bylaw in response to what was a "growing difficult situation for them." The former minister of public safety, health and justice, said other cities should not follow suit before the current laws change, echoing what the federal government has repeatedly said when asked about the rise of illegal dispensaries.

  • Expert not expecting Trump to crack down on legal marijuana

    If it ends up on the chopping block, it's not something that a lot of Americans are going to stand up and scream about
    Las Vegas Sun (US)
    Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    With millions of dollars hanging in the balance, supporters of Nevada’s marijuana industry have been watching Jeff Sessions with wary, worried eyes since he was confirmed as U.S. attorney general. At issue is whether Sessions, a vehement opponent of marijuana, will attack the industry by aggressively enforcing federal pot laws. John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, has been watching Sessions carefully, too. Shortly after Sessions’ confirmation, Hudak wrote a report examining what could be in store for the marijuana industry under the new A.G.’s administration. (See also: What would a federal marijuana crackdown look like? | America’s pot industry shrugs off Donald Trump’s harder line on drugs)

  • Swiss cannabis entrepreneurs develop craving for low-potency pot

    It started gradually last year, and then suddenly things went crazy in December 2016 and in 2017
    Reuters (UK)
    Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    switzerland cannabis tobacco shopEntrepreneurs have high hopes for cannabis in Switzerland, where business has suddenly taken off in recent months, six years after the country legalized low-potency "marijuana-light". Switzerland changed its laws in 2011 to let adults buy and use cannabis with up to 1 percent THC, the chemical compound that produces a high. But its money-making potential seems only to have been discovered late last year, officials said. "The number of retailers registered to sell low-THC cannabis has risen to 140 from just a handful last year, " said a spokesman for Switzerland's Customs Agency in Berne, which taxes the trade. (See also: Le cannabis débarque dans les kiosques et fait un tabac)

  • A big thing marijuana opponents warned you about is definitely not happening

    Concerns about adolescent pot use have been one of the chief drivers of opposition to legalization campaigns in Washington, Colorado and elsewhere
    The Washington Post (US)
    Tuesday, March 21, 2017

    us cannabis use wa coData coming out of Washington and Colorado suggest that those states' legalization experiments, which began in earnest in 2014, are not causing any spike in use among teenagers. Teen marijuana use in Colorado decreased during 2014 and 2015, the most recent time period included in federal surveys. A separate survey run by the state showed rates of use among teenagers flat from 2013 to 2015, and down since 2011. A state-run survey of 37,000 middle and high school students in Washington state finds that marijuana legalization there has had no effect on youngsters' propensity to use the drug. The Washington State Healthy Youth Survey found that the 2016 rate of marijuana use was basically unchanged since 2012.

  • Small ganja farmers to get help to legalise cultivation

    Small ganja farmers and advocacy groups have expressed concern that they would be left out of the regulated industry
    The Gleaner (Jamaica)
    Monday, March 20, 2017

    The Government of Jamaica is to undertake a programme to help small ganja farmers benefit from a legal regulated cannabis industry. The project dubbed, the Alternative Development Programme, is to be carried out over one year. The Cabinet says small traditional farmers have worked to establish the Jamaican brand in the global cannabis industry and have suffered for the cause of creating a legal industry. It says the programme will therefore seek to help these farmers to transition from illicit cultivation of ganja to a sustainable legal avenue.

  • Why coca leaf, not coffee, may always be Colombia’s favourite cash crop

    One of the least controversial proposals in the FARC peace accords is the idea of crop substitution and alternative development in these regions
    Iban De Rementeria
    The Conversation (US)
    Sunday, March 19, 2017

    Colombia’s current peace process is facing numerous challenges. In a country that has suffered the worst impacts of the international drug war, one main dilemma is this: what to do with rural regions which have specialised in producing coca leaf, the main ingredient in one of the world’s most lucrative products? The uncomfortable truth about international agricultural markets is that only in illicit ones are poor local producers able to sell their product for a price that actually covers the cost of inputs: land, labour and capital. In a globalised world, illegal crops such as coca, cannabis and poppies are poor farmers’ rational response to the ruinously low prices of imported subsidised farm products.

  • From opium to fentanyl: How did we get here?

    Vancouver has always had a drug problem. Only the opioids of choice — and the increasingly staggering death toll — have changed over the years
    The Province (Canada)
    Saturday, March 18, 2017

    When the members of the Royal Commission to Investigate Chinese and Japanese Immigration came to Vancouver in 1901, they got an eyeful. Opium in a smokable form was still widely used in China at the turn of the 20th century and where Chinese workers went, the opium trade soon followed. The fringes of Chinatown have always been the centre of Canada’s opiate trade. Ever more potent and easily smuggled versions emerged through the decades, culminating in the scourge of synthetic opiates — fentanyl and carfentanil — thousands of times more powerful and many times more deadly than opium.

  • Kiffen auf der Kö

    Düsseldorf will Vorreiter-Rolle bei Cannabis-Legalisierung
    Die Welt (Germany)
    Samstag, 18. März 2017

    Düsseldorf, die Landeshauptstadt Nordrhein-Westfalens, kämpft seit Monaten sehr aktiv und kreativ um die nationale Vorreiter-Rolle in Sachen Cannabis-Legalisierung. Die Stadt am Rhein will die erste Deutschlands sein, in der der Erwerb und der Konsum der Droge gesetzlich erlaubt ist. Viele Parteien wittern dabei im Wahljahr den Zuspruch der jungen Leute. Bremen und Berlin waren zuletzt mit entsprechenden Vorhaben gescheitert, die Hauptstadt sogar zwei Mal. (Mehr dazu: Düsseldorf könnte als erste deutsche Stadt "Kiffer-Ausweise" ausstellen)

  • Bolivia sees coca as a way to perk up its economy – but all everyone else sees is cocaine

    Farmers can now grow more of the ‘star product’, but officials underestimated international resistance because coca is so widely accepted as harmless in Bolivia
    The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday, March 15, 2017

    The vision of an expanding international market for legal coca products – such as flour, tea and ointments – is shared widely in Bolivia, and it was the driving force for a recent law signed this month by president Evo Morales that jacks up the 12,000 hectares (29,640 acres) legally recognized in a 1988 law to 22,000 hectares. But in most other countries, coca is still best known as the main ingredient in cocaine, and finding a legal market for alternative products has proved challenging.

  • Tunisia to ease penalties for cannabis use

    The changes will avoid thousands of imprisonments
    News24 (South Africa)
    Wednesday, March 15, 2017

    Tunisians convicted of cannabis consumption will be able to avoid prison if it is their first offence. The north African country has faced mounting calls from rights groups to reform a law that jails youths for a year for smoking a joint. Law 52, dating back to the rule of toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, imposes a mandatory one-year jail sentence for narcotics use, ruling out any mitigating circumstances. But the National Security Council headed by President Beji Caid Essebsi announced measures to limit the number of users sent to prison. For a first conviction, judges will be able to issue a pardon as soon as the judgment is pronounced. (See also: "All This for a Joint")

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