Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • 'We're dealing with a black market': is taking pills becoming more dangerous?

    Those calling for pill-testing and other harm minimisation say young people are dying while the debate becomes more polarised
    The Guardian (UK)
    Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    ecstacy pilssProf Alison Ritter, a public health academic from the University of New South Wales, agreed that there had been an “explosion” in new types of substances with the potential to increase the risk of drug use. Chemistry capabilities once reserved for large pharmaceutical companies are now widely accessible, and the internet has made access to a wider variety of products simpler. “The whole dynamic of the drug market has changed,” Ritter said. “There are more substances, more dangerous substances, and easier access through the internet. It’s certainly a more risky environment.” The most obvious solution, according to experts who spoke to Guardian Australia, is pill-testing. Both the NSW and Victorian governments remain resistant to introducing pill testing.

  • Cannabis in Congress: Why federally legal weed could soon be a reality

    Pro-marijuana bills introduced to congress used to be largely symbolic — now they have a chance to actually reach the floor if the House and come to a vote
    Rolling Stone (US)
    Monday, January 14, 2019

    us capitol cannabisThere is a fresh Congress in town. That means the nation’s 535 lawmakers are in the first stages of trying to get their favored pet issues on the radar of party leaders. That focused energy and flowery optimism that marks the start of any new Congress is different this year for marijuana proponents, because this time around they believe they can actually pass some sweeping cannabis reforms. The founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), is excited — giddy, even — in this new year. He dropped the third purely marijuana-focused bill in the 116th Congress. Named the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, it would explicitly do what its title states.

  • AG: Marijuana consultations to start this month

    Activists unsatisfied with moves to decriminalise plant
    Newsday (Trinidad & Tobago)
    Monday, January 14, 2019

    trinidad cannabis flagPublic consultations on the decriminalisation of marijuana in Trinidad and Tobago will begin on January 23. Despite calls for the drug to be legalised, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Faris Al-Rawi said legalisation was not part of the government’s short term plans. “The government’s focus right now is on decriminalisation. Marijuana is a dangerous drug. Whilst there may be advantages for its use on the medicinal side and whilst there is a certain degree of advocacy for legalisation, we believe we ought to hear, from the stakeholder consultations, what the pros and cons of societal stakeholder feedback looks like and then move ourselves into an informed decision.” (See also: Trinidad and Tobago to decriminalise cannabis, consider legalisation)

  • Is Alex Berenson trolling us with his anti-weed book?

    A former ‘New York Times’ journalist wrote about a “hidden epidemic” cause by pot — but it seems he got the science wrong
    Rolling Stone (US)
    Saturday, January 12, 2019

    Alex BerensonThere’s been a flurry of media coverage around a new book called Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence. One of the main points is that legalization is a terrible idea, because legal pot is already causing more people to become schizophrenic and psychotic, and people who are schizophrenic and psychotic are more likely to commit violent crimes. Alex Berenson, the book’s author — a former journalist who spent the past decade or so writing mysteries and thriller novels — landed plum op-eds in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. And yet, this theory is deeply flawed. (See also: The reasonable way to view marijuana’s risks | What Alex Berenson’s new book gets wrong about marijuana, psychosis, and violence)

  • Dutch weed experiment: The ongoing fight to regulate famed coffee shops

    The real Achilles’ heel of the coffee shop policy is the absence of any regulation of the production or wholesale of cannabis products — the notorious “backdoor paradox”
    BigBuds Magazine
    Friday, January 11, 2019

    When the Dutch government announced in October 2017 plans for an experiment with regulated cannabis production to supply the country’s famous coffee shops, the cannabis industry cautiously welcomed the idea. After more than two decades of increasing repression and criminalization, it seemed the government had finally turned the page and was taking its first step toward firm regulation. However, the initial enthusiasm has since faded as the rules and limitations of the experiment have become clear. The umbrella organization Cannabis Connect favours "phased implementation" — any coffee shop can join the experiment, and participating shops can maintain their current assortment while gradually adding new regulated cannabis to the menu.

  • Enjoy it while you can Cannabis Canada, your edge is already eroding

    Once America federally legalizes, Canadian producers ‘might as well be growing tomatoes’, insiders say
    Financial Post (Canada)
    Friday, January 11, 2019

    A number of industry insiders who argue that the level of government control and intervention in the cannabis landscape in Canada, coupled with the shifting political climate south of the border in favour of federal legalization, will slowly erode Canada’s current place at the top of the cannabis leaderboard. The largest cannabis companies — Canopy Growth Corp., Aurora Cannabis Inc., Tilray Inc., and Aphria Inc. — are Canadian and they are already carving out footprints and recognition for themselves in Europe, South America and even Africa. But cannabis industry players that straddle investments north and south of the border are acutely aware of the differences between different individual U.S. states and Canada when it comes to the legalization of cannabis.

  • Swiss pharmacies want to sell medical and recreational marijuana

    Zurich pharmacies want to start selling marijuana for medical and recreational purposes in the future
    The Local (Switzerland)
    Friday, January 11, 2019

    The President of the Pharmacy Association in Zurich, Valeria Dora, says that more and more people in Switzerland are consuming cannabis, and that selling it legally would provide users with safe products and combat criminals profiting on the black market. The group has penned a position paper stating its desire to decriminalise marijuana for medical and recreational use. Experts have praised the move, saying it is the right thing to do and that the necessary infrastructure and staff already exists. Dora, who represents around 110 Zurich-based pharmacies, says the reality of cannabis use in Switzerland cannot be ignored any longer.

  • AMOR: Legalise marijuana

    Activists unsatisfied with moves to decriminalise plant
    Newsday (Trinidad & Tobago)
    Thursday, January 10, 2018

    trinidad cannabis legalize All Mansions Of Rastafari (AMOR) said it was not enough to decriminalise marijuana in Trinidad and Tobago, but it should also be legalised. Attorney Jesse Daniel said a directive should be issued towards law enforcement officers not to arrest and charge people for small quantities of marijuana until the law was amended. Charging people for possession of marijuana for personal use only clogged the judicial system and was a waste of manpower. He said allowing people to carry a small amount of the herb would give the police more time and space to go after the hardened criminals. AMOR is also asking for the expunging of the records of all those who have been convicted of marijuana-related offences and served their sentences.

  • Legal pot costs almost 50 per cent more than pot bought on the black market: StatCan

    The average price of a legal gram of medical or recreational pot last year was $9.70, versus $6.51 on the illicit market
    Financial Post (Canada)
    Wednesday, January 9, 2019

    cannabis topsA legal gram of cannabis in Canada costs nearly 50 per cent more than illicit pot, according to a new analysis of price quotes compiled by Statistics Canada. The average price of a legal gram of medical or non-medical weed during the fourth quarter last year was $9.70, compared to the black market price of $6.51. The conclusions were based on price quotes gathered using the StatsCannabis crowdsourcing application between Oct. 17 — when adult-use pot was legalized in Canada — and Dec. 31. Roughly half of respondents indicated they bought cannabis from a legal channel, such as government-run stores or websites, based on 385 price quotes the agency deemed plausible. (See also: Canadian pot shortage could last up to three years, industry executives say)

  • Monopoly of medical cannabis not in public interest: Experts

    The concept of intellectual protection often served monopolies and should not apply to important things in people’s lives such as drugs
    The Nation (Thailand)
    Tuesday, January 8, 2019

    Authorities in Thailand overseeing a flood of patents for medical cannabis must consider the public interest, otherwise a commercial monopoly of the medicines and cultivation would result, experts warn. Advocacy group Thai Drug Watch said that the Intellectual Property Department is jeopardising public access to cannabinoid medicines and other drugs by limiting its focus to the economic benefits for big business. This would place full control over the entire product chain of medical cannabis in the hands of transnational pharmaceutical companies, it added.

Page 5 of 332