Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Drogenbeauftragter über geplante Cannabis-Freigabe: "Ein Ritt auf der Rasierklinge"

    Der Drogenbeauftragte der Bundesregierung, Burkhard Blienert, warnt vor Schnellschüssen bei der geplanten Legalisierung von Cannabis
    Frankfurter Rundschau (Germany)
    Thursday, January 20, 2022

    Burkhard BlienertMit der kontrollierten und regulierten Abgabe von Cannabis in Deutschland werden wir europäische Geschichte schreiben. Denn als größtes EU-Land sind wir beispielgebend für andere Staaten. Das Thema ist extrem komplex und voller Fallstricke. Es macht keinen Sinn, jetzt die Legalisierung übers Knie zu brechen, wenn dann wenig später die Verkaufsstellen wieder schließen müssen, weil wir etwas vergessen haben. Das ist kein Gesetz, das man so einfach aus dem Ärmel schütteln kann. Es gibt aber schon zahlreiche Vorarbeiten, auf die wir aufbauen können, etwa der Entwurf der Grünen für ein Cannabis-Kontrollgesetz. (See some relevant quotes in English)

  • French political left light up an enormous parliamentary doobie

    France is Europe’s biggest consumer of cannabis, according to a report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
    RFI (France)
    Sunday, January 16, 2022

    france bientot legaliserFrench MPs discussed a bill this week to legalise the consumption of cannabis. Proposed by the hard-left France Unbowed party (LFI), it is not expected to find government support, but several recent polls show public opinion shifting in favour of legalisation. Caroline Janvier and Jean-Baptiste Moreau from the ruling LREM party were among MPs from five parliamentary groups in support of a bill which would "legalise the production, sale and consumption of cannabis under state control". A similar proposal put forward by Esther Benbassa from the France Unbowed party back in 2014 was rejected.

  • Cannabis companies facing 'crossroads' selling off stores, farms and warehouses

    Companies are at a "crossroads" as they come to terms with the profitability, viability and challenges of the industry
    CTV News (Canada)
    Thursday, January 13, 2022

    canada cannabis industrialCannabis companies are selling off growing facilities, stores and warehouses as they try to better align their offerings with demand. Industry observers say demand for cannabis is high, but there are so many assets available for sale right now because companies have misjudged what consumers want. They say companies are looking to off-load properties as they cut products and pivot toward items more likely to fly off the shelves. Many have realized their business plans are not sound and that demand for particular products is well below their expectations, leaving them with a glut of pot to sell. Others are struggling to stand out as the number of pot products for sale in the country swells, craft cannabis' share of the market grows and illicit sales remain strong.

  • Sadiq Khan drug ‘decriminalisation’ plan ‘does not go far enough’, say experts

    Over 12 police forces already have diversion like this in place for all drugs, not just cannabis
    Evening Standard (UK)
    Wednesday, January 5, 2022

    uk stop searchSadiq Khan’s proposed plan to end the prosecution of young people caught with cannabis in three London boroughs “does not go far enough”, according to experts. It was reported this week that the Mayor of London is considering a new pilot scheme in the boroughs of Lewisham, Greenwich and Bexley that would see any under-25s caught with small amounts of cannabis redirected to education or counselling services instead of facing arrest. Experts in the fields of criminal justice and public health have welcomed the move. But Professor Alex Stevens, professor of criminal justice at the University of Kent, has called for the Mayor of London to be more ambitious with his proposals. (See also: A drugs-related criminal record is often more harmful than the drug itself)

  • Sadiq Khan plans pilot to ‘decriminalise’ minor cannabis offences in London

    Scheme could ‘divert young people found with small amount of cannabis’ away from arrest by police
    The Guardian (UK)
    Tuesday, January 4, 2022

    Sadiq KhanDowning Street has expressed concern over moves to end the prosecution of young people caught with cannabis in some London boroughs, under a pilot scheme being developed by Sadiq Khan. The mayor of London is understood to be developing a plan based on a successful model from Thames Valley police that would offer classes or counselling, rather than arrest, to under-25s caught with small quantities of cannabis. Khan’s office said the plans for three boroughs to trial the approach were still in development and that they did not have the powers to fully decriminalise any drugs. The pilot is yet to receive approval from the mayor’s office for policing and crime. (See also: Young people won’t be arrested for carrying weed in parts of London)

  • ‘We’re making harm reduction cool’: overdose reversal Narcan becomes a rave essential

    As recreational drugs like cocaine are increasingly cut with fentanyl, a movement has sprung up to prevent deaths in nightclubs
    The Guardian (UK)
    Friday, December 31, 2021

    fentanyl alert nyFentanyl testing strips as well as the opioid-reversal drug naloxone (commonly known as Narcan) are becoming the sine qua non of the party scene, distributed everywhere cultural denizens hang out: nightclubs, art galleries, downtown streetwear stores, even housewarming parties in Brooklyn. Fentanyl has turned into an indiscriminate spectre in the club scene. The deadly synthetic opioid has been flooding the street market as dealers bulk out recreational drugs like cocaine and heroin with fentanyl. No one can say exactly why it has become so common. Many clubbers now see recreational drug use akin to a game of Russian roulette, and as nightclubs reopened this year, warnings spread through social media about bad batches causing accidental overdoses in these communities.

  • D.A. Chesa Boudin joins critics of Breed’s Tenderloin crackdown to protest plan

    “Right now in San Francisco it’s easier to get high than it is to get help. That has to change”
    San Francisco Chronicle (US)
    Monday, December 20, 2021

    sf tenderloinDistrict Attorney Chesa Boudin joined other elected officials and activists to criticize Mayor London Breed’s plan to flood San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood with police and crack down on drug dealers as well as people who use drugs in the open. Boudin, Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton and Public Defender Mano Raju said at a news conference that the plan was flawed because it relied on failed policies to deal with problems. Those who provide addiction treatment or harm-reduction services called for the mayor to quickly ramp up “evidence-based” alternatives, including treatment, housing, education and jobs. (See also: Breed’s emergency plan for the Tenderloin draws backlash | Advocacy orgs denounce Mayor Breed’s call for an emergency order)

  • It's official: recreational cannabis reform is now law

    Legal notice published, following president's signature
    Times of Malta (Malta)
    Saturday, December 18, 2021

    malta cannabis flagA bill to allow recreational cannabis use has been signed by President George Vella and is now part of Maltese law. Legal Notice 478 notes that the Authority on the Responsible Use of Cannabis Act has now come into force and establishes Innovation Minister Owen Bonnici as the minister responsible for it. The legal notice was published four days after the bill was sent to President Vella for his signature, after a majority of MPs voted in its favour. Appeals from some factions for the president to refuse to sign the law were shot down by the head of state himself: “In no way can the president, under our system, impose his decision on those representing the people in parliament, whether he agrees with it or not.” (See also: 'This is no smokescreen' - Owen Bonnici interviewed on cannabis reform)

  • S.F. Mayor Breed declares state of emergency in the Tenderloin

    Critics, including the public defender and harm-reduction advocates who work with people who use drugs, were quick to slam her plan for more policing
    San Francisco Chronicle (US)
    Friday, December 17, 2021

    sf tenderloin overdoseSan Francisco Mayor London Breed declared a state of emergency in the Tenderloin, allowing city officials to bypass some bureaucratic hurdles as they try to stem a tide of fatal overdoses and street crime. The declaration would allow city officials to suspend rules around zoning, planning codes and contracts, enabling them to quickly set up a “linkage” facility that offers shelter, mental health and hygiene to people suffering from addiction. Her announcement comes after Breed unveiled a plan for the downtown neighborhood, ramping up funding for police overtime and infrastructure, such as public toilets, while adding social workers and outreach staff to lure more people into treatment — or jail those who refuse. (Opinion: Breed’s plan to shut down Tenderloin drug markets is progressive)

  • Up in Smoke: Is the legal-cannabis industry on the verge of collapsing?

    Huge swaths of California are pot deserts, with no dispensaries within reasonable driving distance
    East Bay Express (US)
    Wednesday, December 15, 2021

    us cannabis cultivation californiaWhen legalization proponents sold voters on Prop. 64 in 2016, one of their chief arguments in favor of the measure was that legal weed would yield a cash bonanza for state and local governments throughout California. And indeed, they seem to have been right. But now, many of those very same people argue that those taxes need to be reduced or eliminated altogether. And indeed, they seem to be right about that, too. Nobody could know precisely what would happen, though plenty of people were certain that they did know, or at least sounded like they did. Most people thought the legal market would overtake the illicit market. The market for illicit pot in California is still much larger than the legal market—approaching three times the size, by some estimates.

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