• Legalising cannabis: Germany first, Europe next?

    Now everybody is speculating that legalisation might be done in two steps — first, decriminalisation of the consumers (including also home growers, and cannabis social clubs)
    EU Observer (Europe)
    Thursday, February 9, 2023

    germany regulieren statt kriminalisierenThe German 'traffic light' coalition of the SPD, Greens, and Liberals promised in their 2021 post-election governing manifesto to not just decriminalise cannabis — but to be the first country in Europe legalise it. Nearly 18 months later, and with a battle with Brussels looming over the move, not to mention the likely knock-on effects of Europe's largest (by population) and richest nation effectively making marijuana another lifestyle choice, like alcohol, how is that going? EUobserver spoke to Georg Wurth, the head of the German Hemp Association [Deutsche Hanfverband] in Berlin, to assess the likely pitfalls and potential.

  • Editorial: No grass without the roots

    Some of the new rules for so-called ‘harm reduction’ cannabis clubs seem to favour commercial rather than community interests
    Times of Malta (Malta)
    Monday, February 6, 2023

    The Authority for the Responsible Use of Cannabis recently held a conference where it outlined the rules for social clubs and the sale of home-grown cannabis in Malta. The conference signalled the authority’s intention to move forward after a lull of almost a year. While news that cannabis social clubs – termed “Harm Reduction” clubs in an apparent nod to civil society – will be able to register for licences as from the end of this month, doubts have been raised as to whether the guidelines laid out by the authority will follow the spirit in which the law was written. In creating a safe environment for cannabis users, the clubs to be formed under the new regulations are meant to follow a non-profit model. However, reports from the conference say it did little to allay fears of business pouncing onto a new market.

  • Inside New York’s struggling weed real estate experiment

    Its social equity program goes further than any other legal cannabis state. It’s also contributing to a rocky rollout
    Politico (US)
    Sunday, February 5, 2023

    Roland ConnerRoland Conner never imagined that getting arrested for marijuana in the ‘90s would lead to where he is now: the owner of a new cannabis dispensary in the heart of Greenwich Village. The blocks surrounding his shop, Smacked Village, are bustling with potential customers among the NYU students and people coming in for the city’s nightlife — and New York took extraordinary steps to make it work. By far the biggest perk is that a state agency located, leased and will renovate a storefront on one of the priciest slabs of real estate in the world to help someone sell a drug that once landed people in prison. But Conner’s fledgling cannabis business is also vastly outnumbered by illicit competitors that have sprouted all over the city since the state legalized weed for adults nearly two years ago.

  • Canadian province experiments with decriminalising hard drugs

    Canada's province of British Columbia is starting a first-in-the-nation trial decriminalising small amounts of hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin
    BBC News (UK)
    Tuesday, January 31, 2023

    canada dulf safe supply2Adults can possess up to 2.5g of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl and morphine. Canada's federal government granted the request by the west coast province to try out the three-year decriminalization experiment. Ahead of the pilot's launch, British Columbia and federal officials outlined the rules under the federally approved exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. While those substances will remain illegal, adults found in possession of a combined total of less than 2.5g of the drugs will not be arrested, charged or have their substances seized. (See also: What you need to know about the decriminalization of possessing illicit drugs in B.C. | Decriminalization yet another 'half measure' as B.C. confronts full-sized drug crisis, advocates say)

  • In the weeds: Germany's plan to legalise cannabis in 2024 likely delayed

    Berlin unveiled its bold project to legalise cannabis in October 2022 but has yet to draft the law it then needs to present to the European Commission to launch talks
    Euronews (Europe)
    Friday, January 27, 2023

    cannabis germany2Germany's plans to legalise cannabis consumption in 2024 are looking increasingly unlikely as it has yet to submit its proposals to the European Commission, the health ministry confirmed to Euronews. The ministry said that its draft law for the legalisation of cannabis is “currently being drafted” within the federal government. “A large number of legal and operational questions concerning implementation need to be answered and coordinated between the ministries in charge” before it can be submitted to the European Commission, it added. Berlin unveiled its bold project to legalise cannabis in October 2022. Under the plan, German consumers would be allowed to buy up to 30 grammes of cannabis for private consumption with supplies cultivated and distributed through a controlled market.

  • Cannabis 'Harm Reduction' clubs can apply to sell home-grown drug from February

    Rules for clubs outlined during convention for cannabis regulation
    Times of Malta (Malta)
    Friday, January 27, 2023

    cannabis flowerCannabis clubs - dubbed Cannabis Harm Reduction Associations - can apply to sell home-grown marijuana from next month but must abide by a list of regulations outlined on Friday. The associations are the only way to legally buy the drug, which was legalised in December 2021. They can apply for licensing from February 28 through a non-profit model set by the Authority for the Responsible Use of Cannabis (ARUC). They must be non-profit and can only sell their own product, meaning that only seeds can be imported from abroad. This means that cannabis legally sold in Malta must be grown in the country. (See also: Who came up with those new ‘cannabis rules’, anyway? Cheech and Chong?)

  • New Yorker jailed during ‘war on drugs’ becomes cannabis pioneer

    Roland Conner, 50, opens pop-up marijuana shop in Greenwich Village, only second legal dispensary in the state
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, January 26, 2023

    Roland ConnerAs a New York City teenager, 50-year old Roland Conner found himself harshly punished for minor offenses related to marijuana. A 1991 arrest resulted in a months-long incarceration, as America’s flawed “war on drugs” had an unfairly disproportionate impact on Black and brown youth. Since that period in his life, native New Yorker Conner has gone on to operate a property management business and manage a transitional housing facility in the Bronx borough. His next horizon? Operating one of New York state’s newly licensed dispensaries for recreational cannabis, at a store he’s calling Smacked! in the upscale Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan.

  • Marijuana legalization not associated with increased rates of psychosis, American Medical Association study of 63 million people finds

    Study authors specifically looked at commercial and Medicare Advantage claims data to assess the potential impact of legalization
    Marijuana Moment (US)
    Thursday, January 26, 2023

    psychosisThere is “no statistically significant increase” in psychosis-related diagnoses in states that have legalized marijuana compared to those that continue to criminalize cannabis, a new study published by the American Medical Association concluded. Researchers carried out an analysis of more than 63 million health insurance beneficiaries from 2003-2017 to address the idea that cannabis reform could be linked to higher rates of psychosis, which certain prohibitionists have cited to argue against legalization. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry, determined that, “compared with no legalization policy, states with legalization policies experienced no statistically significant increase in rates of psychosis-related diagnoses.”

  • Self-medication far outstrips use of prescription marijuana

    The Trimbos institute is launching a major research programme to try to establish why users don’t go through the official channels
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Monday, January 23, 2023

    coffeeshopMost of the 130,000 people in the Netherlands who use cannabis as a medicine to help with depression or pain, for example, buy the plant from a coffee shop or grow it themselves, according to research by the mental health and addiction research institute Trimbos. If fact, only around 7,000 people actually have a formal doctors’ prescription for medical marijuana, even though the Netherlands has had a government run Bureau of Medicinal Cannabis since 2003, which issues cannabis of pharmaceutical quality to patients.

  • Legalising cocaine would stem drug violence, Belgian criminologist suggests

    "The idea hatched 100 years ago to criminalise hard drugs does not work in the modern world"
    The Brussels Times (Belgium)
    Saturday, January 21, 2023

    belgium antwerp cocaineAfter an 11-year-old girl died recently due to a shooting incident in Merksem, politicians have stressed that tackling narco-terror is a top priority, without exception. Ministers and mayors have spoken about stronger controls and even deploying the army to tackle the growing crisis. Could the legalisation of cocaine be part of the solution to reduce drug violence in Belgium? Criminologist Tom Decorte from Ghent University thinks so. He has claimed that it is precisely the illegality of the drug business that creates the biggest economic incentive for criminals and by legalising and regulating it, violent competition could be reduced or even eradicated. (See also: Fines for using hard drugs could increase from €150 to €1,000 | Belgium in Brief: Carrots, sticks, and cocaine)

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