Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Rodrigo Duterte's drug war is 'large-scale murdering enterprise' says Amnesty

    New report details systematic killing of poor and calls for UN investigation into crimes against humanity
    The Guardian (UK)
    Monday, July 8, 2019

    The president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte is carrying out a “large-scale murdering enterprise” and should be investigated by the UN for crimes against humanity, according to a new Amnesty report into his so-called war on drugs. It has been three years since Duterte pledged to wipe out drug abuse in the Philippines by giving police unprecedented powers and near total impunity to kill any suspected drug addicts or dealers. Amnesty’s report detailed how the systematic killing of the urban poor has continued on such a scale it now amounts to crimes against humanity. The report told of nightly incidents where police would shoot defenceless suspects, or abduct them and take them to other locations where they would be shot. (See also: A 3-year-old child Is the Philippine drug war’s latest victim)

  • Opposition MP calls for policy on cannabis

    "The health and wellness market and all the spa and medicinal offshoots of this are another unexplored frontier in the industry"
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Wednesday, July 3, 2019

    Opposition spokesman on tourism, Dr Wykeham McNeill is urging the Government to formulate a policy framework to define its position on cannabis. Cannabis could provide opportunities, including a new retail market, with appropriate properties operating as dispensaries for the legal sale. “This further gives us the opportunity for branding products such as Orange Hill ganja, as well as a dedicated source of income straight from the retail market to these approved growers,” he said. The UN estimates that 37,000 acres of illegal ganja is grown in Jamaica for each crop cycle, with a production of approximately 66 million pounds per year. Given the estimated value of between $9,000 and $22,000 per pound, this equates to $1.48 trillion, or about 70 per cent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

  • Majority of Dutch councils ban drug use in public

    The ban appears to contradict freedoms laid out in the opium law, but could probably be justified in court for controlling potential nuisance
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Wednesday, July 3, 2019

    A new survey shows that almost two-thirds of Dutch towns ban drug use in public. Despite the national policy of ‘tolerance’ to certain soft drug use, municipalities are clamping down, especially where there is nuisance;  218 of the 355 councils ban drug use in places like parks, streets and public buildings – sometimes across a whole area, and sometimes in particular problem spots. In 2018 only 151 penalties were issued for drug use in public, totalling €31,000 – almost half of which were doled out in Rotterdam. Jon Schilder, professor of constitutional and administrative law at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, said: ‘It is completely undesirable that “lower” governmental organisations make something prosecutable that the higher laws did not want to punish.’

  • Bruce Linton's firing signals it is time for the cannabis industry to start delivering

    Forty-per-cent stakeholder Constellation Brands' new CEO was 'not pleased with Canopy’s recent reported year-end results'
    Financial Post (Canada)
    Wednesday, July 3, 2019

    Bruce LintonThe surprise ousting of the chief executive officer of Canada’s foremost cannabis company is a sign of things to come, some observers warned, as the young industry grapples with investor impatience in the face of what has so far been disappointing financial results. Canopy Growth Corp. announced that Bruce Linton, who founded and grew the firm into the world’s most valuable cannabis company, was “stepping down” from both his role as co-CEO and as a member of the board. But in multiple media interviews, Linton said he had effectively been terminated by the company’s board of directors — a majority of whom had been appointed by Canopy’s largest investor, the U.S.-based alcohol giant Constellation Brands. (See also: How will history judge Canopy Growth’s founder as a dealmaker?)

  • The cannabis-psychosis debate is being driven by fear mongering, not facts

    The narrative around psychosis and cannabis often ignores the importance of the varying social and structural factors that shape health outcomes
    Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Monday, July 1, 2019

    As the legalization of recreational cannabis gains traction across North America, one of the most-debated health concerns is psychosis and cannabis use, particularly for young people. Frustratingly, both sides often resort to cherry picking data or conflating correlation with causation. Anecdotes, not science, often prop up these arguments. We’ve all heard it: “Consuming cannabis can lead to psychosis.” While this is partially true, it reflects only a restricted, conveniently framed piece of the picture. Others dismiss the association completely, which is also not productive to evidence-informed conversation. For the most part, we’re getting the conversation wrong, and doing a disservice to young people, caregivers, people experiencing psychosis, and those at risk. 

  • The Cannabis Debate: 63 per cent of Londoners think UK should follow Canada and make drug legal

    Major Evening Standard poll shows fast-changing attitudes to legalisation of the drug
    Evening Standard (UK)
    Monday, July 1, 2019

    uk evening standard cannabisLondoners overwhelmingly support the legalisation of cannabis for adult recreational use, according to a poll commissioned by the Evening Standard and the independent think-tank Volteface. Sixty-three per cent of residents in the capital back legalisation and regulation of the class B drug, with just 19 per cent opposing the idea. In the country at large, 47 per cent back legalisation, with 30 per cent against and 23 per cent undecided. Cannabis is the UK’s most widely used illicit drug with an estimated 3 million users. Overall it is a market worth an estimated £2.5 billion, with potential tax revenues of £1 billion, according to the Institute of Economic Affairs. (See also: Legalisation could mean opportunities for investors but disruption for thousands of dealers on London estates)

  • Reefer Madness or Pot Paradise? The surprising legacy of the place where legal weed began

    Colorado’s first-in-the-nation experiment with legalized marijuana has infused the drug into almost every corner of life
    The New York Times (US)
    Sunday, June 30, 2019

    colorado marijuanaColorado’s first-in-the-nation experiment has reshaped health, politics, rural culture and criminal justice in surprising ways that often defy both the worst warnings of critics and blue-sky rhetoric of the marijuana industry, giving a glimpse of what the future may hold as more and more states adopt and debate full legalization. Some families rattled by their children’s marijuana problems have moved, seeking refuge in less permissive states. But over all, state surveys do not show an increase in young people smoking pot. And while low-level marijuana charges have plummeted, the racial divide in drug arrests has persisted.

  • ‘There’s no opposition now’: how a quiet Canada town became a world leader in growing weed

    In an abandoned chocolate factory in Ontario, Canopy Growth is nurturing global ambitions
    The Guardian (UK)
    Saturday, June 29, 2019

    In 2018 Canada became the second country, after Uruguay, to legalise recreational use. By catching the green wave, Canopy Growth’s co-chief executive, Bruce Linton, has built, in under six years, a company valued by the stock market at £11.5bn, positioned to be the number one global player. Though Canopy has yet to make a profit, revenues reached C$225m last year. More than half comes from its recreational cannabis brand Tweed, even though legalisation only took hold halfway through the year. But breaking America is the biggest prize in the near future. Canopy recently signed a C$4.5bn deal giving it an option to buy the US cannabis firm Acreage, putting it in pole position to grab a slice of the US if it opens up further.

  • Seiveright urges European stakeholders to bolster cannabis push

    Much more is needed to be done to ensure the full incorporation of small traditional players who need to be brought into the regulated environment
    The Gleaner (Jamaica)
    Thursday, June 27, 2019

    Delano SeiverightDirector of the Cannabis Licensing Authority, Delano Seiveright, encouraged European stakeholders to continue to pursue further cannabis-related reforms in their respective countries as it will, in part, assist “small developing states like Jamaica to further deepen its cannabis liberalisation efforts so as to bring much-needed benefits to small traditional farmers who are suffering from marginalisation due to complicated laws and regulations brought on by geopolitical realities, and to foster growth and development in emerging market economies”. Much more is needed to be done to ensure the full incorporation of small traditional players who need to be brought into the regulated environment. (See also: CLA director lobbys Europe to push cannabis reforms)

  • Freeing craft cannabis from 'grey market' worth $3 billion to B.C: report

    Licensing just 15 per cent of B.C.'s 6,000 craft cannabis growers could legitimize nearly $3 billion in cannabis sales in two years
    Vancouver Sun (Canada)
    Wednesday, June 26, 2019

    canada craft cannabisHealth Canada rules for micro-cultivation of recreational cannabis have kept most of the pot sold in B.C. — and the expert growers who made B.C. bud a global brand — locked up in the grey market, industry leaders say. Licensing just 15 per cent of B.C.’s 6,000 grey market craft cannabis growers and raising production caps could legitimize nearly $3 billion in cannabis sales in two years, according to an analysis by the cannabis business accelerator Grow Tech Labs. The cost of entering the regulated market, combined with tight limits on capacity, conspire to create a business model that isn’t viable for growers currently working in the unregulated market, said CEO Barinder Rasode, a former Surrey city councillor. (See also: Health Canada 'build first' policy a blow to craft cannabis industry: critics)

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