Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Mexico’s lower house approves recreational cannabis bill

    Proponents of bill argue it will take market out of hands of powerful drug cartels
    The Independent (UK)
    Thursday, March 11, 2021

    mexico flag cannabisMexico’s lower house has approved a bill that would legalise the recreational use of cannabis, putting the country on the path to becoming one of the world’s largest regulated markets for the drug. Those in favour of the bill argue it will take the marijuana market out of the hands of Mexico’s powerful drug cartels and give it to the government. Experts welcomed the news but stuck a cautionary note, saying the bill could primarily benefit transnational corporations rather than the farmers who grow the crop. “Its very welcome to see another country moving away from the failures of prohibition and legally regulating cannabis,” said Steve Rolles, senior policy analyst at drugs reform charity Transform. “Unfortunately there are still problems with the newly revised bill that are less of a cause for celebration.”

  • Morocco adopts bill legalizing medical production of cannabis

    Morocco is joining a small group of African countries to permit the legal use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes
    Morocco World News (Morocco)
    Thursday, March 11, 2021

    morocco cannabis hiliteMorocco’s government adopted bill 13-21, intending to legalize the production of cannabis for medicinal and therapeutic use in its weekly meeting after a few weeks of discussion. After the approval, Morocco will be among the first countries on the African continent to permit the use of cannabis for medical and therapeutic purposes. Observers were certain Morocco would make such a move after the country voted to remove cannabis from the list of the UN’s Schedule IV category of drugs that have limited or no therapeutic use. The North African country was the only member of the UN Commission on Narcotics Drugs (NCD) in the MENA to vote in favor of the cannabis’ removal from the list of toxic substances. (See also: Morocco’s new cannabis legalization bill explained)

  • BAT looks beyond tobacco to Canadian marijuana

    Marlboro maker Altria has invested in pot producer Cronos Group Inc, while Corona beer-maker Constellation Brands Inc has a stake in Canopy Growth
    Reuters (UK)
    Thursday, March 11, 2021

    marlboro marijuanaBritish American Tobacco said it will buy a nearly 20% stake in Canada-based cannabis producer Organigram for about 126 million pounds ($175.8 million) as it seeks to expand beyond its main tobacco business. Big tobacco and liquor companies in North America have already made large investments in the nascent industry, with cannabis seen as a less harmful alternative to cigarettes. With top Democratic lawmakers in the United States also promising to decriminalise marijuana use, analysts and experts predict record investment in the industry this year. The deal will give BAT access to R&D technologies, product innovation and cannabis expertise, it said in a statement, with an initial focus on natural remedy cannabidiol (CBD).

  • Le projet de loi sur le cannabis adopté en Conseil de gouvernement

    Examiné pour la troisième fois, le texte législatif traitant de l’usage légal du cannabis vient d’être adopté par le Conseil de gouvernement
    Le 360 (Maroc)
    Jeudi, 11 mars 2021

    morocco cannabis moqueLa troisième aura été la bonne! Après deux reports lors de précédents Conseils de gouvernement, le projet de loi 13-21, relatif à l’usage légal du chanvre indien a finalement été adopté par l’Exécutif qui s’est réuni, ce jeudi 11 mars 2021 à Rabat. Cette législation historique, qui permettra de légaliser la culture légale du cannabis à des fins thérapeutiques, avait créé la polémique au sein du Parti justice et développement (PJD). Son ancien secrétaire général, Abdelilah Benkirane avait même menacé de démissionner, au cas où ce projet devait être adopté. Pourtant, le secrétariat général du parti avait été tenu au courant de la présentation de ce texte, comme l’a confirmé Slimane Amrani. (Voir aussi: Cannabis: ces zones autorisées qui vaudront des milliards)

  • Tunisia slashes 30-year jail terms for pot-smoking trio

    Human rights organisations and Tunisians on social media had denounced the 30-year prison sentences as too harsh and called for changes to the law
    The New Arab (UK)
    Wednesday, March 10, 2021

    tunisia cannabisA court significantly reduced 30-year jail terms for three Tunisians convicted of smoking cannabis, in a case that sparked debate in the country about repressive drug laws. The appeals court in Kef, in northwestern Tunisia, sentenced two of the men to one year in prison and the third to two years, their lawyers said. The three had been found guilty on January 20 of organised consumption of cannabis in a public space. They had shared a joint in a disused locker room after a football match between friends in a former stadium in the marginalised rural area of Tunisia, their defence team said. In response to the outcry, politicians have called for the law to be relaxed, and several bills are being drafted, one of them aiming to legalise the production and sale of cannabis.

  • Colorado's legal cannabis farms emit more carbon than its coal mines

    Most US cannabis is grown indoors, as some states don’t allow outdoor growing and the crops are also at risk of theft
    New Scientist (US)
    Monday, March 8, 2021

    canada industrial cannabis village farmsLegal cannabis production in Colorado emits more greenhouse gases than the state’s coal mining industry, researchers analysing the sector’s energy use have found. The production and use of cannabis for medical or recreational reasons is now legal in several US states, which has led to a booming industry. Hailey Summers and her colleagues at Colorado State University have quantified and analysed the greenhouse gas emissions produced by cannabis growers. They found that emissions varied widely by state, from 2.3 to 5.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per kilogram of dried flower produced. “The emissions that come from growing 1 ounce, depending on where it’s grown in the US, is about the same as burning 7 to 16 gallons of gasoline,” says Summers.

  • PHE accused of toning down positive report on drug centres

    Line saying overdose prevention centres have helped lower death rates was removed from briefing
    The Guardian (UK)
    Friday, March 5, 2021

    used needlesPublic Health England has been accused of watering down a briefing on the life-saving merits of overdose prevention centres (OPCs) after a paper was retracted and then rereleased with a much less optimistic outlook on the facilities. The paper by PHE’s knowledge and library service was published in March 2019 after appeals from Labour to run pilots of OPCs but it was taken down and altered by the agency’s national drugs team after it faced calls to recommend the establishment of such centres in the UK. The Scottish government released a report on international approaches to drug policy reform which said OPC’s have “consistently been shown” to prevent fatal overdoses, improve uptake of addiction treatment and provide healthcare to hard-to-reach communities.

  • Bermuda Senate rejects controversial cannabis law

    The PLP claims that the Government's plans had been stymied by unelected officials “appointed by an unelected, unaccountable governor”
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Friday, March 5, 2021

    bermuda cannabis reformThe ruling Progressive Labour Party (PLP) has reacted angrily after the Senate rejected a controversial law to legalise cannabis, which will now be sent back to the House of Assembly in the British Overseas Territory. The Cannabis Licensing Act, setting out a regulatory framework for growing, selling and using the drug, was passed by MPs two weeks ago. But in the Upper House, senators opposed the legislation, six votes to five, handing a major defeat to the PLP five months after it was re-elected with a huge 24-seat majority. All three independent senators – who are chosen by the governor – and three Opposition One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) senators voted the Bill down; the five government senators voted in favour. (See also: Government to push on with cannabis law despite Senate rejection)

  • Most French people in favour of legalising cannabis, parliamentary survey finds

    Although France has Europe's highest number of cannabis smokers, it also has some of the harshest drug laws
    RFI (France)
    Wednesday, March 3, 2021

    france cannabis2A majority of French are in favour of legalising cannabis for recreational use, according to a recent parliamentary survey. The survey, involving a quarter of a million people, carried out last month by a parliamentary fact-finding mission, showed that more than 80 percent agree that consumption and production should be allowed, governed by law. Only 14 percent believe it should be decriminalised, while nearly five percent believe sanctions against it should be strengthened, but less than one percent believe that France should keep the legal framework the way it is now. “We now know that the legalisation of cannabis is no longer a taboo in France and that our fellow citizens are observing the ineffectiveness of the current legislation in the matter,” said LREM MP Caroline Janvier in a statement.

  • Doctors call for safer cocaine supply

    While a Canadian province mulls adding the drug to its safe supply, experts say full legalization is a better approach
    Vice (UK)
    Wednesday, March 3, 2021

    cocaine bagAs drug toxicity deaths and overdoses in Canada continue to soar to unprecedented levels due to the increasingly volatile illicit market, advocates and doctors are calling for more stimulants including cocaine to be part of safe supply efforts. “I would welcome the inclusion of cocaine, as well as methamphetamine, frankly, in safe supply programs. This is something that is urgently needed due to the severe risks associated with the illicit stimulant supply,” said Ryan McNeil, who researches drug use and policy in Canada as director of Harm Reduction Research at the Yale University School of Medicine. “Stimulants too often are an afterthought for decision-makers despite a rapid increase in stimulant-involved overdoses.”

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