Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Medicinal cannabis users left high and dry by Dutch tolerance policy

    Guidelines from the Dutch College of General Practitioners (NHG) recommended prescribing cannabis for pain relief in the palliative phase only
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Wednesday, March 13, 2019

    Despite the relaxed attitude to cannabis in the Netherlands, acquiring the alternative medicine is often a battle. Around half a million people in the Netherlands use cannabis medicinally – the vast majority without a prescription – yet Dutch law-makers and prevailing attitudes have been slow to catch up. Under the hazy tolerance law, marijuana – including CBD – is still officially illegal and patients who self-medicate do so at their own risk despite its widely-demonstrated positive effect on certain conditions. Patients who do get prescriptions must bear the cost of their medication. According to The Dutch Care Institute, there is insufficient evidence of the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis for it to be included in basic health insurance.

  • In Moroccan cannabis fields, illumination of Jewish role in country’s hash trade

    Religious sources from the time reference issues related to hashish, none mention any prohibition on the consumption, or even trade, in the substance
    The Times of Israel (Israel)
    Tuesday, March 12, 2019

    “The Jews in general did not grow cannabis,” explains Dr. Doron Danino, an expert on Moroccan Jewry. “But they received a monopoly from the king for the sale of tobacco in Morocco, and that included sales of the cannabis plant and the hashish produced from it.” A close examination of religious texts written by local community rabbis during the 18th and 19th centuries reveals fascinating information about the involvement of Jews in Morocco’s hashish scene. Written in the 18th century and printed in Jerusalem in the 1930s, the book “Avnei Shayish” by the chief rabbi of Sefrou, Rabbi Shaul Abitbul, details the annual licensing fee Jewish hashish merchants were forced to pay the king each year — 24,000 Spanish rials.

  • Demand for supervised injection sites steady as funding decisions loom

    There have been more than 70K visits to Ottawa's 4 supervised drug injection sites
    CBC News (Canada)
    Monday, March 11, 2019

    As toxic and often deadly fentanyl began popping up in the city's illicit drug supply fatal overdoses surged. Despite strong opposition, four supervised injection sites, including this one, opened their doors in Ottawa. Later this month, the provincial government will decide whether the facilities will continue to get funding. Without that money, some may not survive, and advocates fear the same is true of their clients. The government insists on calling them "consumption and treatment services," and is making treatment options other than supervised injection a condition for continuing funding.

  • Canadian company partners with Westmoreland farmers to grow ganja

    Wiisag is a First Nations company that forms strategic partnerships with indigenous communities
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Friday, March 8, 2019

    Wiisag Corporation, a Canadian indigenous integrated cannabis company, has signed an agreement to partner with the Westmoreland Hemp and Ganga Farmers Association (WHGFA) to grow two crops of medical marijuana on a 10-acre property in that parish. Based on the agreement, which was signed last month in Negril, Wiisag Corporation will provide funding and management services to WHGFA under a pilot project set to begin in the second quarter of 2019. “Both parties seek to forge a strategic partnership to grow and develop medical marijuana products,” WHGFA Chairman Delroy Johnson, who chaired the signing, said.

  • Marijuana farmers, company haggle over price

    A marijuana amnesty law passed last year will waive criminal penalties for farmers who can sell illegally grown marijuana to the medical marijuana industry
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Friday, March 8, 2019

    Spirit CottleThe President of the Cannabis Revival Committee (CRC) in St Vincent and Grenadines, Junior “Spirit” Cottle, is urging marijuana farmers not to accept anything less than EC$300 (EC dollar = US$0.37 cents) for a pound of their product after a locally-based medicinal cannabis company said it was offering US$50 a pound. “We are not saying we are not going higher. But we are not going below that. And, under the medical industry, we're looking for more than that. We will be negotiating but, as it stands now, under the amnesty, it mustn't go below that,” Cottle said. In a statement, the CRC called on traditional cultivators of cannabis “to be on the lookout for some foreign investors who want to offer them lower than the unofficial EC$300 minimum which they have been receiving for one pound of cannabis”.

  • Peruvian farmers abandoning coffee plantations for coca fields

    Coca cultivation in Peru, which decreased considerably between 2015 and 2016, rose 14 percent to 49,900 hectares in 2017
    InSight Crime
    Thursday, March 7, 2019

    A drop in coffee prices is forcing hundreds of Peruvian farmers to seek work in coca plantations-a sign that the country, like its neighbor Colombia, is seeing a boom in coca cultivation. A report by the Association of Exporters (ADEX) notes that although coffee production increased by 6 percent in Peru between January and November of 2018, the total value of the exported goods decreased by 6 percent. This is directly attributed to low prices in the international market and obstacles in the consolidation of sales contracts. Lorenzo Castillo, a general manager of the National Coffee Board (JNC), stated last December that farmers had started migrating to drug-trafficking regions of the country to work on coca plantations, where they can earn higher wages.

  • Drug consumption rooms 'should be considered' in NI

    Drug-related deaths among males in Northern Ireland have almost doubled in the last 10 years
    BBC News (UK)
    Thursday, March 7, 2019

    heroin useConsideration should be given to providing rooms where people can safely inject themselves with illegal drugs, NI's chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride has said. There is a "significant problem" with drug users injecting in public places. He said health professionals had seen a clear increase in the use of heroin among patients in recent years. "My own view on this is that we need to look at all options that can reduce the harm associated with intravenous drug misuse," he said. "Yes, we have reduced the risk of overdose through making available Naloxone, but we also need to look at whether or not there are other alternative models such as consumption rooms.

  • UN report on Myanmar opium crop criticized

    Kachin Independence Army denies UNODC claims and says crops grown in government-controlled areas
    Asia Times (Thailand)
    Wednesday, March 6, 2019

    The recently-released "Myanmar Opium Survey 2018" by the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) distorts reality, accuses ethnic rebels who are not involved in the drugs trade for being responsible for the scourge while turning a blind eye to official complicity in the trade. That is the basic message in a commentary published by the Transnational Institute (TNI), a Dutch-based international research and advocacy group. After the Kachin rebels complained about the UNODC report, its Bangkok and Yangon offices issued a statement on February 27, which, however, did not address the main issue of wrongful identification of armed groups in the opium growing areas. (See also: UN opium survey distorts the facts, says think tank)

  • Bankers circling Europe's growing cannabis market

    For European companies, catching up to Canada’s cannabis behemoths won’t be easy
    Bloomberg (US)
    Tuesday, March 5, 2019

    Investors who are eager for the cannabis industry in Europe to emulate the boom in pot-stock listings in Canada may not have much longer to wait, judging by the activities of investment bankers. Canaccord Genuity, the biggest underwriter of stock offerings for weed-related companies, has appointed a head of European cannabis investment banking. French bank Bryan Garnier & Co. in the past year started covering the Canadian sector via a Paris-based analyst. To be sure, it may be a good thing that the market has been slower to develop than in Canada, where recreational pot was legalised in October, because it may mean the region avoids the market frenzy that hit North America last fall.

  • Colorado lawmakers taking second crack at bill that would allow publicly traded marijuana companies

    After Hickenlooper vetoed measure, supporters find support from Polis for expanded bill in ’19
    The Denver Post (US)
    Monday, March 4, 2019

    A bill that opens the door for out-of-state investors and private equity firms to wade into Colorado’s regulated marijuana business waters passed its first lawmaking hurdle. The Colorado House Finance Committee approved House Bill 1090, titled “Publicly Traded Marijuana Companies” with a handful of amendments, referring it to the House Appropriations Committee. The law would repeal a restriction limiting out-of-state owners with a stake in a local marijuana businesses to 15 individuals (a term that can include corporations), would do away with the requirement that all “passive” owners of marijuana businesses who do not make decisions about the businesses go through initial background checks and allow publicly traded entities to hold marijuana licenses in the state.

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