Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Ottawa unveils new pot-pardon application system

    U.S. authorities now unable to see convictions of pardoned Canadians, but travellers could still be barred
    CBC News (Canada)
    Thursday, August 1, 2019

    canada marijuana thumbJustice Minister David Lametti unveiled unveiled a free and quicker way for Canadians to apply for pardons for simple cannabis possession. The new online applications system aims to remove barriers to employment, housing, travel and volunteering opportunities for people who were convicted of simple possession before recreational cannabis use was made legal. Lametti said the announcement will help minorities who have been "disproportionately affected by cannabis laws." Canadians can now apply for pardons through the Parole Board of Canada's website. An online application is available and an email and toll-free number will help answer users' questions. (See also: Canadians convicted of cannabis possession can now apply for pardons, free of charge and purportedly without hassle)

  • Victoria's largest cannabis dispensary chain shuttered

    Some medical users rely on dispensaries like Trees which carry specialized products
    CTV News (Canada)
    Thursday, August 1, 2019

    canada marijuana thumbThe largest chain of unlicensed cannabis dispensaries in Victoria is no more. Police and provincial cannabis enforcement officers raided the downtown Trees dispensary location, one day after shuttering the company's location near Mayfair mall. In response, all three remaining Trees locations in the city have been shut down, while the future of the company's two shops in Nanaimo is up in the air. While cannabis has been legal in Canada since October 2018, retail operators are required to follow a rigid regulatory framework, attain a series of approvals from the city and provincial government, and source their inventory solely from federally licensed cannabis producers. The closure has left 92 people out of work and thousands of customers without a trusted medical cannabis supplier.

  • France is testing safe drug consumption rooms for opioid addicts

    Halfway through a six-year trial, more users are getting medical care and fewer are discarding needles in the street
    Bloomberg (US)
    Wednesday, July 31, 2019

    dcr parisParis’s supervised consumption room, close to the Gare du Nord train station, is preventing potential fatalities and delivering much-needed health care. In the first year, the team provided more than 800 treatments, including dressing wounds and directing users to opioid substitutes such as methadone, and screened more than 100 people for infectious diseases. Visitors were rushed to an adjacent hospital or given emergency medical care on-site on average once every three weeks. Users bring their own drugs (police won’t charge them with personal possession in the surrounding streets), while staff members issue clean needles, send drug samples to labs to check purity, and intervene in emergencies. The facility also has a lounge, library, and arts space.

  • Canada's cannabis industry just beginning to bud

    What looks like a once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity is proving to be an elusive pot of gold
    Deutsche Welle (Germany)
    Wednesday, July 31, 2019

    canada cannabis industrialMark Rendell, a business journalists  for Canada's second-largest daily, The Globe and Mail, says the decision to legalize cannabis has led to a gold rush mentality within the emerging industry. He saw even sober-minded investors get "high" on cannabis stocks. He is skeptical in view of the many broken promises made by a lot of companies about their production targets so far. "Companies had to drive their story forward, they had to come out with press release after press release ... saying we are going to build this and sell this because they were talking to a retail investor audience. So there was a real shock, how much they underperformed." (See also: Establishing territorial footprint has been what the race in Europe has been all about since mid 2016 for the Canadian LPs so far)

  • Pass the Duchy: Luxembourg’s grand plan to legalize cannabis

    Health minister confirms plans and calls on neighbouring countries to relax their laws
    Politico (EU)
    Tuesday, July 30, 2019

    luxembourg cannabisLuxembourg has ambitions to legalize recreational cannabis and convince other European countries to do the same. The Duchy would legalize the entire cannabis market, from issuing licenses for its production to legalizing its consumption, under a highly regulated structure. The health ministry is slated to unveil a proposal to start the legislative process this fall, and the goal is for it to become law within two years. It would ban home cultivation and likely impose an age restriction — possibly 18 — for purchase. Health Minister Etienne Schneider also envisions prohibition on purchases by non-residents, as a way to avoid drug tourism. He admits it will be difficult striking a balance between keeping borders open and regulating this new market, especially if Luxembourg's neighbors fear undesired spillover.

  • Cannabis to be 'fully legal in UK within years'

    ‘I want the market legalised, regulated and taken away from crime gangs,’ says Labour MP David Lammy after trip to Canada
    The Independent (UK)
    Monday, July 29, 2019

    uk poll 30072019A group of cross-party MPs said the UK could completely legalise cannabis use within a decade following a research trip to Canada. Labour’s David Lammy, the Liberal Democrats’ Sir Norman Lamb and Conservative MP Jonathan Djanogly visited the country to study the legal weed market, set up after the drug was decriminalised there last year. The Tottenham MP Lammy said he had shifted his stance on the drug, deciding to back legalisation in a departure from his party’s official position. “I want the market legalised, regulated and taken away from crime gangs,” the Tottenham MP told BBC’s Newsbeat. “I want to see the strength of the stuff reduced, labelled and properly organised in this country.” (See also: Over half of Brits support cannabis legalisation in the UK)

  • Economics of legalising cannabis – pricing and policing are crucial

    Combination of getting the price level right and cracking down on illegal activities crucial to reach the right balance between reducing criminality and avoiding increases in cannabis consumption following legalisation
    The Conversation (UK)
    Monday, July 29, 2019

    cannabis leaf plantsLegalising cannabis can have major benefits for all citizens. If carried out correctly, everyone will benefit from less crime and stronger rule of law. Legalising the drug will especially help protect young people and may even lower their consumption of the drug. It is also a way of raising taxes for the state, instead of fuelling criminal organisations, which currently control the illegal market. These benefits are increasingly recognised by the public. Crucial to seeing these benefits come about, is the way legalising cannabis is done and how the drug is priced once it is made legal. These are the findings from researchI’ve carried out with colleagues in France. (Read also: Millions use cannabis, but figures for how many become dependent aren't reliable)

  • New York governor signs bill decriminalizing marijuana use

    Possession under two ounces will not be met with criminal penalties
    The Hill (US)
    Monday, July 29, 2019

    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a bill decriminalizing the use of marijuana in the state and expunge the records of some people convicted on cannabis-related charges. "Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana for far too long, and today we are ending this injustice once and for all,"  Cuomo said in a statement. "By providing individuals who have suffered the consequences of an unfair marijuana conviction with a path to have their records expunged and by reducing draconian penalties, we are taking a critical step forward in addressing a broken and discriminatory criminal justice process." The new bill, approved by New York’s state legislature earlier this year, will reduce unlawful marijuana possession to a misdemeanor punishable by a fine.

  • St Kitts Gov't tables legislation to allow for marijuana use

    The High Court has ruled that some prohibitions on cannabis use were too broad and inconsistent with the Constitution
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Monday, July 29, 2019

    The St Kitts-Nevis government said it would table legislation in the Parliament allowing for the regulated and controlled use of marijuana for medicinal, scientific, religious and recreational purposes amendmending the Drugs (Prevention and Abatement of the Misuse and Abuse of Drugs) (Amendment) Bill, 2019. “The far-reaching legislative amendments come after the Cabinet established a National Marijuana Commission to ascertain the views of citizens and residents on cannabis use,” noting that the consultations, which were chaired by the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Hazel Laws, had “found unanimous agreements for the decriminalisation of marijuana in the Federation”. (See also: St Kitts-Nevis review of Cannabis laws reflect changing view)

  • St Vincent hops onto ganja train

    Possession of two ounces or less of marijuana now a ticketable offence
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Saturday, July 27, 2019

    ganja rasta smokingThe St Vincent and the Grenadines Parliament has amended legislation that would make smoking two ounces (56 grammes) or less of marijuana a ticketable offence, if the offender admits to the crime. Under the new law, a person who is in possession of up to two ounces of marijuana cannot be arrested, cannot be jailed, and would not get a criminal record as a result. The law also makes it legal for persons to use the drug in their home or at places of Rastafarian worship. If the new law gets the approval of lawmakers, possession of up to two ounces of marijuana is still a criminal offence, but the maximum penalty that the court can impose is EC$500 dollars. (See also: Contradictions in new ganja law — Friday)

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