Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Sweet smell of success? Big business bets on a marijuana boom

    The medical cannabis industry is luring major players, and legal recreational use could bring sky high returns for investors
    The Observer (UK)
    Saturday, March 2, 2019

    To listen to some of the predictions about the future of the cannabis industry, you would think financial analysts had been partaking heavily of the product. The European cannabis market will be worth €123bn (£106bn) by 2028, according to the London-based analysis firm Prohibition Partners. That is more than twice the revenues that Apple reported in the region last year and larger than the annual economic output of Ukraine. A flood of established stockbrokers have begun pumping out research on the industry and, as of the beginning of 2018, there were already a dozen cannabis companies with a stock market value of more than $1bn.

  • Cannabis: Le commerce international s’organise… sauf au Maroc

    Le Maroc a adopté un modèle de prohibition qui lui a été imposé par les puissances mondiales, et dont ces mêmes puissances se retirent maintenant pour leur unique profit
    L'Economiste (Maroc)
    Vendredi, 1 mars 2019

    Depuis 2013, pas moins de dix Etats américains et la capitale fédérale, ainsi que le Canada et l’Uruguay, ont autorisé l’usage légal du cannabis pour leurs résidents adultes. Le Mexique, le Luxembourg, les Pays-Bas et la Nouvelle Zélande leur emboïteront le pas. Une cinquantaine de juridictions ont légalisé l’usage médical du cannabis. Le Maroc doit légaliser, et vite. Le Maroc perd au profit des grands groupes de cannabis nord-américains – et bientôt les Européens entreront dans le jeu – ses souches qui devraient normalement être sous le régime d’origine protégée. Ce patrimoine d’une valeur monétaire non négligeable a été laissé hier aux criminels, il le sera demain aux entrepreneurs étrangers.

  • Swiss may let 5,000 people use marijuana legally for studies

    The proposed Swiss pilot projects would be limited to cannabis, with only adults who demonstrate that they already use it allowed to participate
    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Thursday, February 28, 2019

    Switzerland may let up to 5,000 people smoke marijuana legally in pilot studies to help shape new rules for recreational use. The cabinet proposed limited pilot projects that may lead to changes in laws banning cannabis that date back to 1951. The plan will be put out for public comment until mid-year, the Federal Health Office said. "Without undermining the general cannabis prohibition, we need to be able to test new regulation models under the current situation," the government said. "Cities point to the negative impact of current laws, illegal trade in public places that is increasingly disruptive and makes people feel unsafe, and resource-sapping efforts to curb drug sales in urban areas." (See also: Thousands of Swiss could get 'cannabis licence' | Distribution de cannabis: le Parlement peut trancher)

  • How Duterte’s exaggerations worsened the Philippines’ drug problem

    We’ve come to a point where drugs can be literally fished out of our waters. How can anyone hear these stories and reasonably claim them to be signs of success?
    Rappler (Philippines)
    Thursday, February 28, 2019

    We’re nearing the midpoint of the Duterte administration, yet we’re nowhere near solving the Philippines' drug problem. By all accounts, things even seem to have gotten worse. For example, Duterte proclaimed, “There are seven to eight million Filipinos reduced to slaves to a drug called shabu. Seven to eight million lost souls.” Later he said, “We are facing a serious problem… The Medellin Cartel of Colombia has entered the country so we will be seeing a lot of cocaine.” Painting an ever-direr picture of the country’s drug problem is part and parcel of Duterte’s overall political strategy: by exaggerating the drug problem's extent and continually framing it as a national security issue, he is able to justify his war on drugs. (See also: PH drug war not a model for any country, says UN rights chief)

  • Scientists brew cannabis using hacked beer yeast

    Researchers modify microbe to manufacture cannabis compounds including the psychoactive chemical THC
    Nature (US)
    Wednesday, February 27, 2019

    The yeast that has been used for millennia to brew alcoholic drinks has now been engineered to produce cannabinoids — chemicals with medicinal and mind-altering properties found in cannabis. The feat, described in Nature, turns a sugar in brewer’s yeast called galactose into tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a main psychoactive compound in cannabis. The altered yeast can also produce cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid with potential therapeutic benefits, including its anti-anxiety and pain-relief effects. This fermentation process will enable manufacturers to produce THC, CBD and other rare cannabinoids more cheaply, efficiently and reliably than conventional plant-based cultivation. (See also: A cannabis high, no plant required)

  • Portugal rejects recreational cannabis, as medical becomes legal

    Officials want to see long-term positive results from Uruguay or Canada before making legislative change
    Talking Drugs (UK)
    Tuesday, February 26, 2019

    The Portuguese parliament has rejected two proposals to legalise the cultivation and sale of cannabis for recreational purposes. The first proposal, put forward by the People-Animal-Nature party (PAN), suggested limiting individuals to buying 75 grams of cannabis per month from licensed pharmacies, where sales would be overseen by state health agents who would provide information on the drug and its risks. If passed, the proposal would also have allowed people to grow six plants of cannabis per household. The second proposal, from the Left Block (BE), would have had a more relaxed approach to sale - permitting the sale of cannabis at any licensed establishment. It also would have permitted home cultivation.

  • Is marijuana really legal in Mexico?

    Mexico’s federal judges will now be required to grant appeals for the recreational use of marijuana
    El Universal (México)
    Tuesday, February 26, 2019

    Mexico’s federal judges will be required to grant amparo appeals for the recreational use of marijuana. However, this does not imply that marijuana has been legalized in Mexico. The Supeme Court of Justice (SCJN) published eight sentences, recognizing the right to the unhindered development of human personality, freedom of thought and expression, as well as the right to good health. With this in mind, the Mexican State is compelled to respect the citizens’ right to use cannabis for recreation purposes. These eight sentences shaped a case-law issued last October through which marijuana cultivation for recreation purposes was endorsed. Nonetheless, this does not translate into an immediate effect for citizens, nor does it imply that they will be able to file amparo appeals right away.

  • San Francisco to expunge thousands of marijuana convictions

    NPR (US)
    Tuesday, February 26, 2019

    San Francisco officials plan to expunge more than 9,000 marijuana convictions dating back to 1975, the city's highest law enforcement official said. It's the culmination of San Francisco's year-long review of past convictions after California voters legalized recreational marijuana throughout the state in 2016. Several California cities are taking on the task of expunging records, but San Francisco is the first one to finish the job, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. "It was the morally right thing to do," San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón told the Los Angeles Times. "If you have a felony conviction, you are automatically excluded in so many ways from participating in your community."

  • Home Office gives green light to first drug testing clinic

    ‘Life-saving’ scheme, licensed by the government, launched amid rising concern over potentially toxic substances
    The Observer (UK)
    Sunday, February 24, 2019

    drug checkingThe first drug-checking service licensed by the Home Office will allow users to have their illicit substances tested without fear of being arrested in a move that could be rolled out nationally if it is shown to save lives. The year-long pilot project will allow anyone over the age of 18 to take their drugs to the clinic, run by the charity Addaction. Testing the content will take about 10 minutes, during which time the user will complete a short questionnaire to allow harm reduction advice to be tailored to them. The launch of the service comes amid rising concerns that users are buying drugs which contain other potentially toxic or more potent substances. Cocaine laced with the synthetic opioid fentanyl has been linked to a number of deaths.

  • Doubts on pot use linger over amended drug law

    Groups which support alternative medical treatments should be given clear assurances that they can continue growing the plants without legal hindrances
    The Bangkok Post (Thailand)
    Friday, February 22, 2019

    Experts are saying that both users and producers of marijuana-based drugs for medical purposes will face numerous restrictions under the amended Narcotics Act, despite the fact the government had just legalised the medical use of marijuana. Several academics argued that under the newly-passed Narcotics Act, users and producers are subjected to rules that effectively serve to limit the use and production of marijuana-based drugs to the point where the production of such medication is no longer viable. Even the government's plan to pardon patients and researchers convicted of violating the 1979 Narcotics Act promises no happy ending.

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