• What Thailand’s legalization of marijuana means for Southeast Asia's war on drugs

    Time (US)
    Tuesday, June 14, 2021

    thailand cannabis costumeSoutheast Asia, a region of 11 countries and some 680 million people, has long been infamous for having the strictest anti-drug laws in the world. But in a sign that regional leaders are mulling a new approach, Thailand became the first country in Asia to decriminalize marijuana for medical and other purposes. Smoking weed for fun is still illegal, Thai’s health minister clarified to CNN, but he expects legal cannabis production to boost the economy. Over 3,000 inmates incarcerated in Thai prisons for marijuana-related offenses were freed. Martin Jelsma at the Transnational Institute (TNI) in Amsterdam, says a common Southeast Asian approach to regulating marijuana and other narcotics is unlikely to happen. But he believes that in a region “so plagued by excessively repressive drug policies, the positive influence of Thailand’s recent policy changes on the regional debate is most welcome.”

  • In first for Europe, Malta to legalize recreational marijuana, with several other countries on the cusp

    The move comes amid a global shift toward local and nationwide decriminalization, and in some cases legalization, of the cultivation, sale and consumption of cannabis
    The Washington Post (US)
    Monday, December 13, 2021

    cannabis bud hand“The transatlantic winds of change that have been blowing in the Americas for a while have now reached the shores in Europe,” Tom Blickman of the Amsterdam-based Transnational Institute told a webinar hosted by EMCDDA in October. There’s growing consensus, he said, of a need to “take back control of an illicit and criminal market that in fact is out of control in terms of protecting public health.” Similar to the way cannabis regulations vary among U.S. states, Blickman said, Europe’s laws have likewise developed along “what fits best for local circumstances or national circumstances.” But, he cautioned, laws on both the European and international level that continue to class cannabis as an illicit substance could at some point clash with country-level efforts to legalize it.

  • New regime, same old drug myths in Myanmar

    It is high time that UNODC and other international agencies get serious and tackle the root causes of the scourge of drug production, smuggling and addiction
    The Irrawaddy (Myanmar)
    Tuesday, September 7, 2021

    burma opiumfieldIn the late 1980s as well as in Myanmar today, the military (or Tatmadaw) and the police could hardly be described as anti-drug crusaders. On the contrary, Myanmar’s security forces have a long history of working together with drug-trafficking gangs and the benefits have been both economic—personal gains for officers—and tactical: drug traffickers are useful intelligence assets and can be used to fight the country’s ethnic rebel armies. The first coup in 1962 and the introduction of the so-called “Burmese Way to Socialism” had a devastating impact on the country’s economy at the same time as it caused Myanmar’s ethnic rebellions to flare anew.

  • Morocco moves to legalise some cannabis cultivation

    But some pot farmers fear they won’t benefit
    The Economist (UK)
    Saturday, July 10, 2021

    morocco cannabis grower1Few countries produce more cannabis than Morocco, where locals mix it with tobacco and call it kif, meaning “supreme happiness”. The pleasure extends to Europe, where much of the cannabis ends up. Farmers in the Rif, a poor mountainous region in northern Morocco, produce most of the supply. They operate in a legal grey area. Growing cannabis is against the law in Morocco, but it is tolerated in the Rif. A bill passed by parliament, but yet to be approved by the king, may clarify the situation, at least somewhat. It would legalise the cultivation, use and export of cannabis for medical and industrial purposes (such as for hemp in textiles). The proposed law, though, would not legalise cannabis for recreational use. And it would allow cannabis farming only in certain regions of the country, such as the Rif.

  • Cannabis médical : aubaine ou mirage économique ?

    Considéré comme l’un des premiers producteurs mondiaux, le Maroc pourrait voir dans le cannabis une manne importante à emmagasiner dans ses finances publiques, là où elles s’évaporaient jusque-là dans l’illégal
    Tel Quel (Maroc)
    Vendredi, 11 juin 2021

    morocco cannabis farmerC’est la question qui brûle toutes les lèvres depuis l’annonce du projet de loi 13-21 : quelles seront, pour le Maroc, les retombées économiques de la légalisation de l’usage médical, thérapeutique et industriel du cannabis? A priori, la panacée. Du moins si l’on se fie à l’étude de faisabilité du ministère de l’Intérieur. De là à se demander s’il existe des possibilités d’ouverture pour le Maroc ? “Il pourrait y avoir un marché, mais il ne se crée pas facilement”, avance Tom Blickman. Ce dernier insiste sur le marché émergent du cannabis récréatif légal, “une solution pour réduire les trafics”. “Là ou d’autres pays ont légalisé le marché récréatif, comme le Canada, pourquoi ne pas produire pour ce marché?, suggère-t-il.

  • Eyeing lucrative profits, Morocco is seeking to legalise cannabis. The main obstacle? Islamist opposition

    Cannabis legalisation in Morocco could provide economic opportunity, dependant upon Europe, party politics, and upcoming elections
    The New Arab (UK)
    Thursday, May 13, 2021

    morocco cannabis grower2The stakes for legalising cannabis in Morocco are rising. On 11 March, the Moroccan government approved Cannabis Legalization Framework, Bill 13-21, to regulate medical cannabis and industrial hemp. However, the bill still must be ratified by Parliament, and political debate on cannabis is intensifying amid the leadup to the September 2021 general elections. This is not the first attempt to legalise cannabis in Morocco. But unlike other efforts, this proposal has come directly from the sitting coalition government. "Although legalising the cultivation of medical cannabis and industrial is a first positive step, the proposal is limited because it doesn't include any regulatory framework on recreational cannabis," said Tom Blickman from the Transnational Institute.

  • Should the EU help legalize cannabis farms in Morocco?

    Political fights are delaying Morocco's legalization of cannabis. But, thanks to the rise of medical marijuana, the measure fits well with EU development aims and international drug policy
    Deutsche Welle (Germany)
    Wednesday, April 28, 2021

    morocco parliament cannabisShould draft legislation clear the final hurdles in the next few weeks, Morocco could become the second Arab country to legalize cannabis. Lebanon was the first in 2020. Cannabis legalization has been suggested before in Morocco. It is hard to know whether the draft law will pass, Khalid Mouna, an associate anthropology professor at Moulay Ismail University in Meknes. Mouna said that had mostly been a tactic to gain the support of voters in deprived cannabis-growing areas. This time could be different, said Tom Blickman, a researcher on international drugs policy for the Amsterdam-based Transnational Institute. "I think it's serious because the initiative comes from the government, and behind the government is the palace," he said, referring to the Moroccan royal family. "Previous proposals came from the opposition."

  • La culture légale du cannabis, une opportunité écologique

    Assurer une assistance technique pour éviter la catastrophe écologique
    Medias24 (Maroc)
    Dimanche, 28 mars 2021

    “L’augmentation rapide de la culture illicite de cannabis dans le Rif au cours des dernières décennies, ainsi que les mauvaises pratiques de conservation des sols, ont fait des ravages sur les forêts déjà menacées et les écosystèmes fragiles du Rif (déforestation, érosion des sols, épuisement de l’eau)”, déclare Tom Blickman, connaisseur de la région, chargé d’un projet senior au « Transnational insitute » à Amsterdam. Ce dernier fait partie des nombreux experts-intervenants lors du webinaire organisé jeudi 25 mars par l’IUCN (Union internationale pour la conservation de la nature) et l’AMCDD (Alliance marocaine pour le climat et le développement durable), intitulé « légalisation du cannabis: quel impact sur la biodiversité et les ressources ? ».

  • Culture du cannabis : Quel impact sur la biodiversité et les ressources ?

    Les producteurs de cannabis au Maroc devraient avoir accès aux marchés émergents du cannabis légalement réglementés qui gagnent du terrain dans le monde entier
    Menara (Maroc)
    Vendredi, 26 mars 2021

    morocco cannabis2L'impact de la culture du cannabis sur la biodiversité et les ressources a été au centre d'un webinaire organisé à l'initiative de l'Alliance marocaine pour le climat et le développement durable, en collaboration avec l'Union internationale pour la conservation de la nature (UICN). Tom Blickman, chargé de projet senior au Transnational Institute, un think tank d’Amsterdam, a indiqué qu’au cours des 50 dernières années, les cultivateurs de cannabis marocains ont fait preuve d’une remarquable résilience aux tentatives du gouvernement d’éradiquer ou de réduire la culture du cannabis, ainsi que d’une capacité remarquable à s’adapter aux conditions changeantes du marché international. le défi est de trouver un modèle de développement durable qui inclut la culture du cannabis au Maroc.

  • Will XTC-Shops replace dealers in the future?

    The goal of this ‘ThinkTank’ was not for the experts to give their own personal opinion, but to look at what would be the best policy, objectively speaking
    Volteface (UK)
    Tuesday, March 2, 2021

    It’s Friday night. You’re planning on going to a festival with your friends. But first you take your bicycle and you take a trip to the ‘XTC-shop’. The cashier calculates exactly how much MDMA your pill needs to contain based on your weight and experience. The ingredients of the pill are listed on the packaging, which includes a leaflet as you would get with any other medication. You hand over your ‘pill passport’ in which your purchase is registered and you’re on your way. Is this the future of ecstasy use in the Netherlands? According to a group of 18 different Dutch experts, it could be. (See also: Developing a new national MDMA policy: Results of a multi-decision multi-criterion decision analysis)

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