Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Cuomo to push legalizing recreational marijuana in New York by early 2019

    63 percent of New Yorkers favor legalizing marijuana
    The New York Times (US)
    Monday, December 17, 2018

    Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that he would push to legalize recreational marijuana next year, a move that could bring in more than $1.3 billion in revenue annually and put New York in line with several neighboring states. The highly anticipated proposal came in a speech Mr. Cuomo gave in Manhattan, in which he outlined his agenda for the first 100 days of his third term. “The fact is we have had two criminal justice systems: one for the wealthy and the well off, and one for everyone else,” Mr. Cuomo said, describing the injustice that he said had “for too long targeted the African-American and minority communities.”

  • Gov't urged to regulate ecstasy production

    ‘We have to ask ourselves what the treaties have delivered’
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Monday, December 17, 2018

    The government should regulate the production of party drug ecstasy to remove it from the criminal circuit, GroenLinks parliamentarian Kathalijne Buitenweg says in the Volkskrant. ‘The government does not have to make the pills itself but should regulate production,’ to make sure they meet proper quality standards, Buitenweg said. ‘It is not just a question of health but a question of doing something about the worrying increase in criminal power,’ she told the paper. The MP wants the government to take the initiative to revise UN drugs treaties. Breda mayor Paul Depla also told the Volkskrant the government should take a stand.

  • Swiss eye local ganja

    Firm heading to Jamaica with ideas to ensure small farmers benefit from medical marijuana industry
    The Gleaner (Jamaica)
    Monday, December 17, 2018

    The possibilities for the explosion of Jamaica's medical marijuana industry have attracted the interest of another major multinational corporation that wants to set up shop in Jamaica. And it says it has a plan to ensure that the traditional small farmers are not left out. "We have systems to ensure compliance and shrink the illegitimate market, but also help to legitimise some of the historically marginalised people who want to be included in the industry and ensure that there are opportunities for the small cultivators, not only to be active in the market, but to ensure that they are able to sustain themselves," said Alex Spelman, vice-president of SICPA Holdings, a Switzerland-based company that operates in more than 160 countries across the globe. (See also: Swiss company eyes Jamaica's ganja industry)

  • Teen marijuana use remains lower than pre-legalization levels, federally funded survey finds

    Even as teens’ attitudes toward marijuana’s harms continue to relax, they are not showing corresponding increases in marijuana use
    Marijuana Moment (US)
    Monday, December 17, 2018

    Fewer young people are using marijuana now as compared to 2012, when the first states moved to legalize cannabis, according to a federally funded study. The 2018 Monitoring the Future survey found that annual, monthly and daily marijuana use remained lower among the nation’s 8th, 10th and 12th grade students compared to pre-legalization levels. Teens’ perceived availability of cannabis continued to decline in 2018 as well. Fewer adolescents are saying they perceive occasional or frequent cannabis use as harmful. Experts have long believed that lower perceptions of risk are correlated with more frequent use, but the data doesn’t seem to bear out those concerns. (See also: Teen marijuana use actually declined in Washington State after legalization, study finds)

  • Thames Valley Police 'won't arrest drug users' in pilot

    The three-month pilot will offer a "tailored diversion route" to address people's use of drugs instead of seeing them prosecuted
    BBC News (UK)
    Monday, December 17, 2018

    People found with "small quantities of illegal drugs" will not be arrested and instead urged to engage with support services, as part of a police pilot. Thames Valley Police (TVP) hopes the approach will reduce deaths, prevent reoffending and lower service demands. Assistant Chief Constable Jason Hogg has denied the scheme is a soft approach, saying there is "nothing soft about trying to save lives". Figures showed drug deaths nationally increased by 29% in 2017. ACC Hogg said people would not be prompted to attend appointments, but if they failed to engage with addiction services "they could find themselves being prosecuted" if found in possession in the future.

  • New gangs 'Uberise' Europe's cocaine supply and bring more violence

    Rising production from Latin America has led groups from North Africa and the Balkans to change the drug trade, EU agency says
    The Guardian (UK)
    Friday, December 14, 2018

    A surge in the supply of pure cocaine to Europe has led to a rise in drug-related murders as new criminal gangs muscle into a market previously dominated by the mafia, the EU drugs agency has said. The extra output from Latin America, especially by the biggest producer, Colombia has led to growing numbers of gangs including from Morocco and the Balkans setting up their own smuggling lines straight from producers. This has seen an “Uberisation” of the cocaine trade characterised by faster, anytime-anywhere delivery, a report by the Lisbon-based agency said, which has also kept prices lower.

  • French study recommends legalising therapeutic cannabis

    The committee ruled out recommending that cannibis be administered by smoking, given the associated health risks
    France 24 (France)
    Friday, December 14, 2018

    A scientific committee convened by the French government has concluded that it might be “appropriate” to legalise cannabis for therapeutic use in a report. The committee, convened by France's ANSM (the French National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products), stated that it would be “appropriate to authorise the use of therapeutic cannabis […] in certain clinical situations and in cases where [existing] therapies provide insufficient relief or are not well tolerated”. According to the committee, the law should authorise the use of the plant in cases of severe pain, for certain types of epilepsy, as part of ancillary care for cancer patients, in certain “palliative situations” and for the muscular contractions linked to multiple sclerosis.

  • St Vincent Parliament approves legislation decriminalising marijuana

    The Caricom Marijuana Commission recommended that the plant be decriminalised for all purposes, and warned against a medical marijuana only approach to reform
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Friday, December 14, 2018

    caribbean ganjaSt Vincent and the Grenadines has become the first Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) member to pass legislation allowing for the decriminalisation of marijuana for medicinal and scientific purposes. Parliament approved two pieces of legislation that also allows for the production of the crop under a tightly controlled framework. Agriculture Minister Saboto Caesar, who piloted the measure, said that it would end many of the sufferings people had endured in the illegal marijuana trade. Lawmakers also approved the Medical Marijuana Amnesty Bill amidst calls by the Opposition and some members of the Rastafarian for the Ralph Gonsalves Government to go the full length and legalise small portions of the plant for recreational use.

  • Safer opioids actively being reviewed for epidemic: chief public health officer

    A safer supply of opioids is a “no-brainer” to ensure people are not forced to turn to a “deadly, illegal market”
    National Post (Canada)
    Wednesday, December 12, 2018

    Heroin being prepared at a supervised injection site in VancouverPublic health officials across Canada are seriously considering increasing the supply of safer opioids to quell a crisis that newly released data show helped claim more than 2,000 lives in the first half of the year. Canada’s chief public health officer said Wednesday a toxic drug supply is a key part of Canada’s opioid epidemic. Creating a safer opioid supply is “being actively reviewed and discussed” with provinces and territories, Dr. Theresa Tam said, and will require exploring what treatments people require. (See also: Ending the overdose epidemic starts with a safe supply of drugs)

  • A promising way to help drug users is ‘severely lacking’ around the world, report says

    The evidence is clearly in favour of harm reduction
    Time (US)
    Tuesday, December 11, 2018

    Global funding for harm reduction programs is in “crisis,” according to the latest Global State of Harm Reduction report, potentially threatening the effectiveness of HIV, hepatitis and drug overdose relief programs worldwide. Harm reduction policies and programs are meant to curb the negative effects associated with illicit drug use — such as overdoses and the spread of blood-borne illnesses like HIV and hepatitis C — rather than focusing solely on stopping substance use. Proponents, and plenty of research, suggest these practices can have a sizable impact on public health, and help drug users who can’t or don’t want to quit.

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