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  • Confronting Colombia’s coca boom requires patience and a commitment to the peace accords

    Troublingly, there have been reports of forced eradication in communities that are either negotiating or have signed crop substation agreements with the government under the terms of the accord
    Adam Isacson
    Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
    March 13, 2017

    colombia cocaleros guaviareColombia is in the midst of a coca boom, perhaps its largest ever. The coca boom’s causes are complex, and Colombia’s government is hoping that the U.S. government will respond in a manner that recognizes this complexity and joins it in pursuing a lasting solution within the peace accords’ framework. Colombian media have expressed worry that, with a conservative U.S. administration and Congress, the bilateral relationship might once again “narcotize.”

  • As rebels move out of Colombia drug trade, corporations look to move in

    “What’s important here is we don’t go 500 years backward to the times where indigenous people were working for outsiders and marginalized”
    The New York Times (US)
    Thursday, March 9, 2017

    Colombia has received billions of dollars in American aid to eradicate the drug trade. But in the coming weeks, the government says, it will begin processing licenses for a small number of companies, including PharmaCielo, under a 2015 law that allows the cultivation of medical marijuana. A Canadian company called PharmaCielo, with the government’s approval, is working to produce the drug legally in Colombia and is looking to hire. It is an unorthodox experiment by Colombia, one that underscores the region’s changing attitudes toward drugs after decades of fighting them.

  • Illegal marijuana shops linked to activists Marc, Jodie Emery raided across Canada

    Toronto Police have taken an aggressive approach to the city’s growing number of marijuana dispensaries
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Thursday, March 9, 2017

    Police officers in several Canadian cities raided illegal marijuana dispensaries linked to activists Marc and Jodie Emery, charging them and several others with drug offences as part of an investigation led by Toronto police. The raids were the latest attempt by local police forces to shut down pot shops that have been opening in cities across the country, even as the federal government prepares to fully legalize the drug with legislation this spring. It was also notable for the involvement of Vancouver’s police force, which has largely left dispensaries in the city alone, including those run by the Emerys. (See also: Toronto police accuse Cannabis Culture of having links to organized crime | Arrest of Emerys by police tarnishes justice in Canada)

  • Marijuana stocks drop as Trudeau’s pot czar says Canada won’t rush into legalization

    "If they delay, there’s going to be a lot of eggs that are going to break in this business"
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Tuesday, March 7, 2017

    As investors flock to Canada’s burgeoning marijuana sector, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is signaling recreational pot sales aren’t imminent. Lawmaker Bill Blair -- the former Toronto police chief leading Trudeau’s legalization effort -- confirmed a bill is due in parliament this spring, but it won’t be the last hurdle as ample regulatory work remains. The federal government will take its time and work with provinces, territories and cities to build a framework and develop specific regulations, he said. (See also: Make drugs dull: legalising cannabis the Canadian way)

  • Israel officially decriminalizes marijuana

    First-time offenders will face $270 fine if caught using marijuana in a public place
    Haaretz (Israel)
    Sunday, March 5, 2017

    israel cannabis flag courtThe cabinet approved the decriminalized use of marijuana in Israel. According to the proposal formulated by the Public Security and Justice ministries, any first-time offender caught using marijuana in public would receive a fine rather than face criminal action. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said that "the government's approval is an important step on the way to implement the new policy, which will emphasize public information and treatment instead of criminal enforcement." To implement the policy, an inter-ministerial team will be set up to propose amendments, regulations and the required changes to carry out the new policy. (Read more: How cannabis became illegal in Israel in the first place | Israel makes it official: Cannabis is not a crime)

  • Durham police will give addicts heroin to inject in 'shooting galleries'

    Force will be first in England to implement radical approach that has achieved positive results in a number of European countries
    The Guardian (UK)
    Sunday, March 5, 2017

    Heroin addicts will be given supplies to inject in specially designated “shooting galleries” under radical plans to tackle drug-related crime in Durham. The police force is set to become the first in England to implement an approach pioneered in Switzerland and credited with achieving positive results in a number of European countries but unlikely to attract much domestic political support. Under the plans, Durham constabulary, which was last week rated the best in England, would buy diamorphine – pharmaceutical heroin – to give to addicts, which they could inject twice a day in supervised facilities.

  • Doctors rejoice as Germany kicks off medical marijuana prescriptions

    Health insurance providers also now must cover the costs of cannabis treatments
    The Local (Germany)
    Friday, March 3, 2017

    Germany’s doctors are embracing the newly legal prescription of medical marijuana, which went into effect at the start of this month. “I predict a certain increase of this therapy, though to what extent is unclear,” said Josef Mischo of the German Medical Association, referring to how doctors can now treat their patients with the drug. “As a medical community, we welcome the fact that therapeutic possibilities have now been expanded.” Before the German parliament (Bundestag) passed the new legislation in January, the only way for patients to use cannabis as a treatment was to apply and wait for special, individual approval - and the bar was set fairly high for those seriously ill.

  • Philippines police plant evidence to justify killings in drug war, says report

    Human Rights Watch says President Rodrigo Duterte bears ultimate responsibility for the deaths of thousands
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, March 2, 2017

    phillipines drugwarHuman Rights Watch has accused Philippines police of falsifying evidence to justify unlawful killings in the government’s war on drugs that has caused more than 7,000 deaths, and pointed the finger at president Rodrigo Duterte as being ultimately responsible. HRW said in a report that Duterte and other senior officials instigated and incited the killings of drug suspects in a campaign that could amount to crimes against humanity. The United Nations should create an independent investigation to determine responsibility and ensure accountability, the report said.

  • Sessions reassures senators: No pot crackdown imminent

    Worries about a shift in federal enforcement in states that have legalized recreational use may be overblown
    Politico (US)
    Thursday, March 2, 2017

    jeff sessions marijuanaThe Trump administration is causing serious paranoia among marijuana advocates with its hints of a federal crackdown on recreational use. But Attorney General Jeff Sessions has privately reassured some Republican senators that he won't deviate from an Obama-era policy of allowing states to implement their own marijuana laws. But a large group of bipartisan senators aren't taking any chances. They sent a letter urging Sessions to uphold the Obama-era policy. A Justice Department spokesman said senators should mellow out. "The department’s current policy is reflected in the 2013 Cole Memo," the DOJ spokesman said, referring to the Obama policy.

  • Don't smoke it with tobacco: scientists suggest ways to make cannabis safer

    As more countries relax their laws and with drug potency rising, it is crucial to take steps to reduce harm from cannabis use, researchers say
    The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday, March 1, 2017

    Scientists are calling for a major effort to make cannabis use less harmful as a rising number of countries look to replace long-standing and outright bans on the drug with more relaxed legislation. Researchers at King’s College London and UCL said it was now crucial for health officials to consider measures to reduce the harm from cannabis use. Many of the health risks that users face could be reduced by discouraging people from smoking it with tobacco, and using vapourisers instead, according to an article in the journal Lancet Psychiatry. Another option the scientists propose is to boost levels of CBD in high potency cannabis, so that users can get their hit without being at such risk of mental harm.

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