Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • 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been accused of watering down a briefing on the life-saving merits of overdose prevention centres (OPCs) after a paper was retracted and then rereleased with a much less optimistic outlook on the facilities.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.

  • 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.”

  • Could XTC-shops replace Amsterdam’s coffeeshops 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)

  • House OKs bill that presumes drug suspects guilty until proven innocent

    House committee on human rights chair Bong Suntay warns if the bill becomes law, the accused 'may now be convicted on mere presumptions'
    Rappler (Philippines)
    Tuesday, March 2, 2021

    philippines human rightsThe House of Representatives passed a bill providing for legal presumption on who is considered an importer, financier, or protector of illegal drugs – meaning suspects would be presumed guilty upon apprehension. On Tuesday, March 2, lawmakers approved on final reading House Bill (HB) No 7814, which aimed to give more teeth to Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. The Duterte-controlled House approved the bill just days after the shootout between agents of the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency – the vanguards of Duterte’s landmark but deadly campaign against illegal drugs

  • Washington Court decriminalizes drugs: Will lawmakers let it stand?

    Law enforcement all across the state—from the Seattle Police Department to rural sheriff’s departments—announced they would no longer arrest or detain people solely for drug possession
    Filter (US)
    Tuesday, March 2, 2021

    decriminalizationIn February 2021, two states decriminalized drug possession. One was much anticipated; the other seemed to come out of nowhere. On February 1, Oregon’s ballot Measure 110 became law, making possession of small quantities—less than 1 gram of heroin, for example—no longer criminally punishable. Then, to the bewilderment of many, drug possession was decriminalized in Washington state on February 25. In an opinion authored by Justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud, a majority of state Supreme Court Justices found the statute RCW 69.50.4013—establishing felony criminal punishment for drug possession—to be unconstitutional. Washington is the only US state to criminalize the unknowing possession of drugs, subjecting defendants to up to five years in prison and large fines.

  • As BC’s overdose crisis deepens, Province defends efforts

    Drugs becoming ‘even deadlier, underscoring urgent need for supervised consumption, safe supply and treatment,’ says coroner
    The Tyee (Canada)
    Tuesday, March 2, 2021

    canada bc overdose covidAt least 165 more British Columbians died of illicit drug overdoses in the first month of 2021, more than double the number of deaths recorded last January. An average of more than five people died each day in the deadliest January recorded since the overdose crisis was declared a public health emergency nearly five years ago in April 2016. January was the 10th consecutive month where more than 100 people died as pandemic-driven border restrictions contributed to an increasingly toxic street supply, and progress dragged on promises of safer supplies for substance users. The devastating report comes just weeks after the province confirmed 1,726 people died in 2020, making it the deadliest year for overdoses.

  • "Cannabis récréatif" : une légalisation plébiscitée par une large consultation citoyenne

    80 % se disent pour une autorisation de la consommation et de la production dans un cadre régi par la loi
    Agence France Presse (AFP)
    Lundi, 1 mars 2021

    france bientot legaliserUne large majorité des quelque 250.000 personnes qui ont participé à une consultation citoyenne sur le cannabis dit "récréatif" plébiscitent la légalisation de cette drogue dont l'usage est interdit en France, a-t-on appris de sources parlementaires. Quelque 80,8% des répondants se disent d'accord avec une autorisation de la consommation et de la production dans un cadre régi par la loi, selon les résultats de cette consultation lancée mi-janvier par une mission d'information parlementaire. 13,8% se déclarent favorables à une dépénalisation. A l'inverse, 4,6% sont pour un renforcement des sanctions et seulement 0,8% pour le maintien du cadre légal en vigueur. (Lire aussi: Interrogés lors d’une consultation citoyenne, les Français se disent partisans d’une légalisation du cannabis récréatif)

  • Virginia joins 15 other states in legalizing marijuana

    Virginia is the 16th U.S. state to pass an adult-use marijuana legalization law, though sales would not start until 2024
    Politico (US)
    Saturday, February 27, 2021

    smoking pot3The Virginia Legislature approved adult-use marijuana legalization Saturday in a historic vote marking the first state in the Old South to embrace full legalization. Virginia is the 16th U.S. state to pass an adult-use marijuana legalization law, though sales would not start until 2024. Only two other states — Illinois and Vermont — have passed legislation to legalize, tax and regulate recreational marijuana through the legislature. The move puts pressure on neighboring states such as Maryland, where an adult-use legalization bill got its first hearing this month. New Jersey also recently enacted legalization, after voters overwhelmingly backed a referendum in November.

  • Le plaidoyer de l’Istiqlal pour une dépénalisation rapide des cultures du kif

    Le parti a été le premier à avoir déposé, en 2014, une proposition de loi demandant "une grâce en faveur des cultivateurs poursuivis et la dépénalisation de la culture du kif"
    Le 360 (Maroc)
    Samedi, 27 fevrier, 2021

    morocco flag cannabis2L'Istiqlal a accueilli avec satisfaction le projet de loi sur la légalisation du cannabis à des fins médicales. Mais, ce parti d'opposition a appelé le gouvernement à dépénaliser le plus vite possible la culture de cette plante qui couvre quelques 73.000 hectares dans le nord du Maroc. "Le gouvernement est appelé à dépénaliser rapidement la culture du cannabis", a déclaré Noureddine Moudiane, le président du groupe parlementaire de l'Istiqlal à la Chambre des représentants. L’autre priorité pour le parti de la Balance, a-t-il souligné, porte sur "une amnistie pure et simple" au profit d'un total de 30.000 cultivateurs poursuivis par la justice pour "culture illégale du kif". Noureddine Moudiane estime qu'actuellement "tous les cultivateurs du kif sont en liberté provisoire".

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