• GEPCA: In Spain, experts are presenting their proposal for regulating cannabis

    Cannabis has clearly emerged as a political issue in Spain and will remain as such
    Martín Barriuso
    Wednesday, July 26, 2017

    In Spain, a group of drugs experts have established the GEPCA, a body which seeks to set up a comprehensive regulation for cannabis. This model already has the support of much of Spain’s cannabis movement and is set to make history. Find out more about this proposal. The GEPCA is a group of experts set up in 2014 and tasked with devising a proposal for regulating cannabis in Spain. On 20 June they presented their model, which seeks to bring together the rights of individual users and non-users, and protect the most vulnerable groups. It also aims to reduce risks linked with consumption. In this article, we will discuss who they are and what they are offering in this historic proposal.

  • The EU adopts its most progressive drug action plan ever

    Is this document a breakthrough in European drug policy reform?
    Peter Sarosi
    Tuesday, July 25, 2017

    Although it was without much fanfare that the European Commission, in July 2017, published the new Action Plan on Drugs (2017-2020), the drug policy community should celebrate it as a great achievement both for its progressive content and for the meaningful involvement of civil society in its preparation. If there is a sign that the European Union is getting through difficult times, it's the limited attention its new public policy initiatives receive. While the adoption of previous EU drug strategies and action plans has been well covered by the media, now, two years after the great migration crisis and one year after the Brexit vote, almost nobody noticed the adoption of the new EU Action Plan on Drugs.

  • In a historic step, non-medical cannabis sales to begin in Uruguay

    Despite Uruguay’s focus on public health in the implementation process, the government has not made significant progress on medical marijuana
    Geoff Ramsey and John Walsh
    Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
    Wednesday, July 19, 2017

    When commercial cannabis sales go online on July 19, Uruguay will mark a major milestone, becoming the first country to establish a legal domestic market for non-medical cannabis. It’s hard to overstate just how important this moment is to the ongoing shift in the global drug policy paradigm: more than 50 years since the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs banned cannabis for all but medical or scientific purposes, adult residents of Uruguay will be able to purchase cannabis in pharmacies for non-medical use across the country.

  • WHO and UNDP change in leadership: What views on drug policy and harm reduction?

    The commitment of the aspiring leaders to evidence-based policies must be one of the criteria taken into account
    Khalid Tinasti, Ann Fordham, David R Bewley-Taylor
    Thursday, May 4, 2017

    The UN General Assembly Special Session on drugs held in April 2016 has been organized by the international drug control entities, but has confirmed the inclusion of other UN agencies in the global debates on drugs. Out of these, WHO and UNDP have played a major role in linking drug policy with the priorities of protecting human rights and promoting sustainable development. In May 2017, the leadership of both agencies will change. This letter reviews the aspiring leaders of these agencies’ positions on drug policies through existing literature, providing more clarity on their past or current commitment to the issue of drug policy and harm reduction stakeholders.

  • Uruguay is creating the world’s first nationwide regulated cannabis market

    Here’s how it will work
    Geoff Ramsey & John Walsh
    Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
    Monday, May 1, 2017

    Beginning on May 2, Uruguayan adults interested in legally purchasing cannabis for non-medical uses can register to do so at post offices around the country. When commercial cannabis hits the market in July, Uruguay will become the first country on the planet to establish a legal, nationwide market for non-medical cannabis. Because the law was passed in December 2013 and authorities have implemented it in careful, protracted steps, much of the related coverage has been incomplete. Here are the facts about Uruguay’s law, and how it will work moving forward.

  • Can the government impede cannabis regulation in Spain?

    The days are numbered for cannabis prohibition in Spain
    Martin Barriuso
    Friday, February 17, 2017

    Is cannabis regulation possible with a prohibitionist government in Spain? Cooperation between various forces in Congress, changes in public attitudes and regional regulations in place suggest we have good grounds for being hopeful. Mariano Rajoy’s government has been and remains opposed to any changes to the law on cannabis in Spain. Nevertheless, the fact that it is ruling as a minority government, together with changes to public attitudes to cannabis in Spain, gives us room for hope that a shift towards new policies may actually come sooner than we think.

  • A new era for cannabis clubs in Spain

    Small clubs that are horizontal and participative in nature – those closest to the original cannabis club idea – are going to be able to continue
    Martin Barriuso
    Friday, January 13, 2017

    spain court cannabisFollowing the Supreme Court's judgements against cannabis clubs in 2015, ordinary courts have started interpreting them. Spain's major clubs, above all in Barcelona, appear to have their days numbered. However, increasingly more judges understand that small clubs fit in with the Law. A new era is dawning.

  • Silver linings

    U.S. State votes to legalize cannabis boost reform opportunities in the Americas
    John Walsh
    Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
    Thursday, November 10, 2016

    us-21-percent-recreationalOne of the most striking juxtapositions of the 2016 U.S. elections is that on the same day that the nation elected to the presidency a candidate who employed openly racist language and fueled his campaign by denigrating and stoking fear of Mexicans, four U.S. states – notably including California – continued to roll back cannabis prohibition. With over 20 percent of Americans now living in states that have voted to regulate rather than ban cannabis, the United States is in no position to slam the brakes on similar reform efforts abroad.

  • Found in the dark

    Myanmar's regressive drug policies must change
    Ernestien Jensema Nang Pann Ei Kham
    Friday, October 21, 2016

    Some 400 people were charged with being “found in the dark” in Yangon, Myanmar in the first five months of 2015 alone. The charge carries a prison term for “any person found between sunset and sunrise, within the precincts of any dwelling-house or other building whatsoever without being able to satisfactorily account for his presence therein”. Drug users are often charged with being “found in the dark” or “being notorious”, just one indication of the inadequacy of Myanmar's current response to its drug problem, according to Found in the Dark, a recent report by the Transnational Institute and the National Drug User Network in Myanmar.

  • A lot has happened and a lot has not happened

    Demystifying the changes - Examination of the Jamaican experience
    Vicki Hanson
    Thursday, October 20, 2016

    Vicki HansonAt the recently concluded 6th Latin American and 1st Caribbean Conference on Drug Policy, held in Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic, I started a discussion on the cannabis situation in Jamaica with a statement that “A lot has happened and a lot has not happened”, and this is the very same way I wish to start the engagement in this blog. Jamaica has in the last two (2) years has been thrust into the midst of the international discourse on drug policy reform, with specific emphasis on Cannabis reform.


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