Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Britons who legally smoke cannabis in the US 'risk being deported'

    Warning comes amid rise in expulsions under federal law – even in states where drug is legal
    The Guardian (UK)
    Friday, November 15, 2019

    smoking jointA legal expert at an international immigration firm has warned British tourists and employees that if they smoke marijuana in the US, even in states where it has been legalised, they risk being barred from the country for life. UK visitors can still be arrested and deported from the US even if they consume cannabis in states such as California and Colorado, where the drug is legal, said Charlotte Slocombe, a senior partner at Fragomen in London. Slocombe says her firm and others that deal with US immigration laws have seen a rise in cases where British holidaymakers and green card holders, working legally in the US, are being expelled or denied entry because of cannabis consumption in states where it is legal.

  • Battered cannabis investors still seek bottom after Canopy plunges

    Canopy Growth plunges to record low after revenue drops most since cannabis legalization
    Financial Post (Canada)
    Friday, November 15, 2019

    cannabis bubbleCanopy Growth Corp. led another mass selloff in the Canadian cannabis space after an earnings miss had investors once again looking for a bottom in the battered sector. Both retail and institutional investors have called the bottom on the cannabis industry multiple times through an eight-month-long bear market that has seen the North American Marijuana Index shed almost 60 per cent of its value. Finding a bottom in cannabis stocks has proven to be challenging, given the constant cycle of bad news, including a lack of profitability, significant writedowns and dwindling cash reserves and withdrawn guidance. (See also: Sliding pot prices are leaving cannabis producers vulnerable to writedowns | Canopy Growth, Aurora post steep losses, revenue declines as legal cannabis sector falters)

  • Canadian cannabis group appeals to Trudeau to help fix industry challenges

    The Cannabis Council of Canada’s members includes Canopy Growth and Aurora Cannabis, which both reported disappointing earnings
    Marijuana Business Daily (US)
    Friday, November 15, 2019

    canada police dispensary raidAn industry group representing Canada’s biggest cannabis companies is appealing to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to help address some of the industry’s most persistent challenges. In a letter sent to the prime minister the Cannabis Council of Canada highlighted a number of areas in need of improvement, including a tax on medical cannabis and banking issues that are stymieing legal businesses. The Council asked the incoming ministers of public safety, finance, border security and organized crime reduction to discourage the proliferation of illegal online cannabis dispensaries. “We recommend that the government prioritize the closure and removal of both illegal brick and mortar stores, and actively seek out and shut down illegal online cannabis dispensaries,” the letter reads.

  • Two-thirds of Americans support marijuana legalization

    There are wide partisan and generational differences in views of marijuana legalization
    Pew Research Center (US)
    Thursday, November 14, 2019

    us cannabis poll nov2019 pewTwo-thirds of Americans say the use of marijuana should be legal, reflecting a steady increase over the past decade, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The share of U.S. adults who oppose legalization has fallen from 52% in 2010 to 32% today. Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority of U.S. adults (91%) say marijuana should be legal either for medical and recreational use (59%) or that it should be legal just for medical use (32%). Fewer than one-in-ten (8%) prefer to keep marijuana illegal in all circumstances, according to the survey, conducted Sept. 3 to 15 on Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel.

  • Government throws its weight behind medical cannabis sector

    Ministry report on the ecosystem’s key players and government incentives is aimed at attracting foreign investment
    The Times of Israel (Israel)
    Wednesday, November 13, 2019

    With the issuance of a wide-ranging ministry report on the medical cannabis industry, Israel is for the first time making clear its intention to back the burgeoning sector, according to a ministry official. The white paper on Israel’s Medical Cannabis Innovation, published earlier this month, maps out the industry’s ecosystem — the key players, leading startups, breakthrough research at academic institutions, government regulations, and opportunities that await investors should they decide to take the plunge. The global medical cannabis industry is expected to grow from $13.4 billion in 2018 to $44 billion by 2024, according to the IMARC Group.

  • Criminals launder €13bn a year in the Netherlands, most crime cash is Dutch

    The laundered money accounts for some 1.6% of Dutch GDP
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Wednesday, November 13, 2019

    money launderingAt least €13bn is laundered through the Netherlands on an annual basis, with most of the money coming from Dutch criminal enterprises, according to new research quoted in the Financieele Dagblad. Utrecht University professor Brigitte Unger estimates that half the €16bn generated by crime in the Netherlands is laundered through Dutch institutions, with the rest – some €5bn – coming from abroad. The Netherlands is not as popular a place to launder money as some claim. For example, some €340bn a year is laundered through Britain and the US, the paper said. This represents some 40% of the total amount estimated to be laundered via the 36 OECD countries. (See also: How the Netherlands built one of the world’s worst tax havens)

  • Cannabis use disorder is rising in U.S. states where weed is legal

    It is difficult to draw firm conclusions from observational studies
    Newsweek (US)
    Wednesday, November 13, 2019

    smoking pot3Rates of cannabis use disorder have risen in U.S. states where the drug has been legalized, including among children and teenagers, according to a study. The authors of the research published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry argued that while the policies have provided "important social benefits, particularly around issues of equity in criminal justice," the climb in conditions like cannabis use disorder are "a potential public health concern." "Given our findings on problematic use across age groups, legalization efforts should coincide with prevention and treatment." (See also: A new study found marijuana legalization leads to more problematic use |Study finds declining trend in prevalence of cannabis use disorder among frequent users)

  • Vancouver pilots new fentanyl-patch program to combat opioid crisis

    Illicit fentanyl is much stronger than heroin, meaning conventional treatments might be inadequate
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Wednesday, November 13, 2019

    A Vancouver physician is prescribing fentanyl to patients with opioid-use disorder in the latest effort by the medical community to curb overdose deaths caused by a toxic supply of illicit drugs. The pilot project began in July with eight patients who sought treatment for illicit-drug use but have not benefited from existing oral or injectable substitution therapies such as methadone, buprenorphine (Suboxone) or hydromorphone. Each patient gets a fentanyl patch – commonly used to treat chronic pain for conditions such as cancer – that is applied to the skin and changed every two days by a nurse. To address misuse, the patches are signed and dated, and a transparent film is applied to prevent tampering.

  • Drug law failing its purpose as undeserving people get jailed

    Magistrate complains about the wording of the law
    Times of Malta (Malta)
    Monday, November 11, 2019

    A “draconian” drug law in Malta has forced a magistrate to jail a 39-year-old woman for six months for cultivating six small cannabis plants for her personal use – because “it fails to distinguish between who deserves an effective jail term”. Due to the wording of the law, the woman would have benefited from a legal provision that would spare her a jail term – had she cultivated one large plant instead of six small ones with a total leaf weight of five grams. Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras said that the Drug Dependence Act, enacted in 2014, was originally intended to ensure that those found guilty of simple possession of small quantities of drugs were not jailed but fined. (See also: Flawed drug law - woman appeals jail term)

  • NSW coroner says punitive policing tactics increase risk of drug deaths and calls for reform

    Harriet Grahame also recommends pill testing and removing police drug dogs after inquest into the deaths of six young people
    The Guardian (UK)
    Friday, November 8, 2019

    The use of high-visibility policing tactics such as drug dogs and “large scale” strip searching at music festivals “increases rather than decreases” the risks associated with drugs, the New South Wales deputy coroner has said. In landmark findings, Harriet Grahame recommended pill-testing be introduced and said she was satisfied there was “significant evidence” that “intensive and punitive drug policing operations” were increasing “drug-related risks and harm”.  The “wholesale practice of strip-searching young people” was of “grave concern”, and its use to target people suspected of drug possession was “out of line with the purposes” of the legislation. (See also: 'Faces of these young people will remain with me': Coroner urges sweeping changes on drugs)

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