Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Italy court cracks down on cannabis shops in win for Salvini

    The interior ministry issued a directive in May to strengthen controls on legal weed shops
    Reuters (UK)
    Thursday, May 30, 2019

    Italy’s Supreme court banned the sale of many widely sold cannabis derivatives, in a win for Deputy Prime Minister and far-right League leader Matteo Salvini who had declared war on the so-called “legal-weed” shops. Under 2016 legislation, cannabis with a psychotropic active ingredient (THC) level below 0.6 percent can be freely cultivated and sold in Italy. But according to the latest ruling, the sale of cannabis derivatives such as “oil, leaves, inflorescences and resin” does not fall within the scope of the law. The ruling is likely to be a serious blow to the light weed commerce that has thrived in Italy in the last three years.  (See also: Did Italy just make selling 'cannabis light' illegal? | Italy’s top court bans cannabis light sales as sector feels political heat)

  • Israel is banking on cannabis as its next big industry

    Potential investors from as far away as China are visiting Israel to explore opportunities
    Los Angeles Times (US)
    Wednesday, May 29, 2019

    israel medical marijuanaIsrael sees legal production of medicine based on cannabis as its next big industry, hoping to tap into a global market that research organizations estimate at $17 billion a year and growing. There are several factors that make Israel especially well-positioned to capitalize on the drug’s medical promise. Blessed with mild weather, lots of sunshine and sophisticated research-and-development sectors, Israel also has a tradition of educated farmers through the kibbutz system who can easily implement the “precision agriculture” necessary for high production standards. Israelis have dedicated thousands of acres and millions of dollars to cultivating the plant under controlled conditions. (See also: Cannabis is a bubble, says Technion researcher)

  • Most people accept medical use of marijuana: Nida Poll

    86.3% of the public support the use of medical marijuana, Nida Poll found
    The Bangkok Post (Thailand)
    Tuesday, May 28, 2019

    thailand marijuana awakeningAn opinion survey found 86% of respondents support the medical use of marijuana and kratom, 39% think authorities can control its use, and 59% want its use to be restricted to certain places. The National Institute of Development Administration and the Public Relations Department polled 2,058 people nationwide to gather their opinions about the medical use of marijuana and kratom. A huge majority  (86.3%) said they supported its use because research confirmed marijuana and kratom could serve medical purposes and provide treatment alternatives. All respondents were aware that the narcotic law permitted the medical use of marijuana and kratom and 98.40% knew that marijuana had medical treatment benefits. (See also: Five cannabis drugs set for debut)

  • Israel's BOL Pharma aims for top of the world's medical marijuana industry

    The company will sell shares in Toronto expected to value it at around $1 billion
    Haaretz (Israel)
    Monday, May 27, 2019

    israel medical marijuanaIt started 85 years ago as a farm on Moshav Ein Iron growing peaches and avocados, but if the plans of the Israeli company Breath of Life come to fruition, it could become a major player in the world medical marijuana industry. The company, which also calls itself BOL Pharma, took a major step in that direction over the weekend when it filed for an initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange in what is expected to be a company valuation of $1 billion. It’s an ambitious valuation, but BOL has made its ambitions quite clear and has put together a company with research and development capabilities, a pipeline of products and extensive growing areas.

  • Government to issue second licence for medicinal cannabis as demand grows

    The Dutch Society of Family Doctors (NHG) maintains there is currently ‘insufficient evidence’ that the drug relieves pain or improves patients’ quality of life
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Monday, May 27, 2019

    medical marijuana flosThe Dutch government is planning to issue a second licence for the production of medicinal cannabis to meet growing demand patients. The only company authorised to produce cannabis for medical use, Bedrocan in Emmeloord, has increased its output fivefold in the last five years to 2,604 kilograms. Bedrocan received its licence 16 years ago from the Office of Medicinal Cannabis (BMC), which buys the entire stock and distributes it to hospitals and pharmacies. Around half of it is sold abroad to countries including Germany, Italy and Poland. The BMC, established by health minister Els Borst in 2000, is expected to start the European tendering process for a second licence in early June.

  • Oakland council may board magic bus by decriminalizing natural psychedelics

    The move comes amid a wave of decriminalization efforts nationwide that some advocates are calling a psychedelic “renaissance”
    San Francisco Chronicle (US)
    Monday, May 27, 2019

    magic mushrooms2Oakland could become the second city in the country to decriminalize certain natural psychedelics — including “magic mushrooms” — if elected leaders approve a resolution that would instruct law enforcement to stop investigating and prosecuting people using the drugs. The resolution is scheduled for its first public hearing before the City Council’s public safety committee and could go before the full council as early as June 4. It applies only to psychedelics that come from plants or fungi, not synthetic drugs like LSD or MDMA, also known as ecstasy. Councilman Noel Gallo, who introduced the resolution, said he hopes that the decriminalization of natural psychedelics could help people with mental health issues. (See also: The movement to make shrooms legal is gaining momentum)

  • ‘They came to kill.’ Almost 5 die daily at hands of Rio police

    Local lawmakers and community activists say officers are routinely carrying out extrajudicial killings
    The New York Times (US)
    Sunday, May 26, 2019

    brasil policia vilao2Shooting from helicopters, armored personnel carriers or at close range, police officers in Rio de Janeiro have gunned down 558 people during the first four months of the year — the highest number in this period since the state began keeping records more than two decades ago. This recent spike comes after years in which the federal and local authorities put in place policies that significantly diminished police killings. But as the country dove into a deep economic and political crisis in 2014, resources for security programs dried up. Criminal gangs reclaimed lost territory in Rio, and across Brazil violence exploded: More than 51,500 people were killed last year. (See also: Jair Bolsonaro will not defeat crime in Brazil by tolerating militias)

  • The green rush: should you invest in cannabis?

    The highs – and lows – of the legal marijuana market
    The Spectator (UK)
    Saturday, May 25, 2019

    How big is the legal cannabis industry? Every time I think I’ve seen the highest estimate along comes another breathless puff piece with an even bigger number to chew on. $50 billion? Not even close. $100 billion? That’s only the US, according to some figures. One consultancy reckons you’ll be able to stick another zero on that within ten years. A trillion dollar weed industry? Surely not. Is investing in cannabis shares the sure bet it’s made out to be? The experience of many investors already suggests otherwise. While many of the first weed companies to go public made big initial gains, most tumbled as quickly too. At the end of last year, just when Canada — the world’s largest cannabis market — announced its supply was running out, it triggered a rout in share prices.

  • Eindhoven says no to regulated marijuana experiment

    The Dutch local authorities association VNG said it will be difficult to find 10 councils which want to take part
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Thursday, May 23, 2019

    netherlands coffeeshop rolling jointsEindhoven has followed The Hague and Amsterdam and decided not to take part in the government’s experiment with regulated marijuana cultivation, saying it cannot accept the terms and conditions for the experiment. ‘I realise that this goes against the offer I made the cabinet in 2017 to help to shape the experiment, but now the details are known, I have no choice but not to sign up,’ mayor John Jorritsma said in a statement. Jorritsma said the issue had been discussed with aldermen and local coffee shop owners, who are also unhappy at the position the trial puts them in. He also said he expects the net impact of the trial in terms of crime, public nuisance and health to be minimal.

  • California bill to create ‘safe injection sites’ in San Francisco clears Assembly

    The legislation comes just four months after former Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar measure
    Los Angeles Times (US)
    Thursday, May 23, 2019

    A bill that would allow San Francisco city officials to open facilities where people can inject drugs without legal consequences cleared the state Assembly. Assembly Bill 362 by Assemblywoman Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) would create a six-year pilot program in San Francisco giving drug users a place to inject themselves with intravenous drugs under clinical supervision. Eggman said that with overdose deaths on the rise nationally, California must try new strategies to address the epidemic. So-called safe injection sites, which are operated in Canada, Switzerland and eight other countries, offer treatment and connect users with social services such as housing.

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