Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Cannabis farms cover 500 square kilometers of Northern Morocco

    ”Most of the land cultivated for cannabis is public property," according to one environmental activist.
    Morocco World News (Morocco)
    Friday, January 18, 2019

    Between 47,000 and 50,000 hectares, mainly in the Rif region, are planted with cannabis in Morocco, the National Narcotics Commission (CNS) said. Mohamed Andaloussi, the president of the Azir Association for the Protection of the Environment in Al Hoceima, recently told EFE that 90 percent of the land cultivated for cannabis is public property that farmers exploit illegally. “A large part of these public lands were forests that farmers cut down to grow cannabis despite this being an illegal activity since 1974,” Andaloussi pointed out. (See also: Moroccan police seizes 15 tons of cannabis resin in Tangier)

  • After legalization: Four things to know about cannabis in Quebec

    Legalization has highlighted the province's thirst for the "sticky icky" but also some chronic problems that have come with the new market
    The Montreal Gazette (Canada)
    Thursday, January 17, 2019

    In Quebec — where the product is sold by the government-run Société Québécoise du Cannabis (SQDC) — legalization has highlighted the province’s thirst for the “sticky icky” but also some chronic problems that have come with the new market. Quebecers had all but exhausted the province’s supply of legal weed within hours of legalization. Demand was so high that the government-run SQDC had to shut down three days a week to keep from running dry. The cannabis shortage rippled from the recreational market to the medical space within hours. Patients at Santé Cannabis frantically called the Montreal Clinic in October, worried that they wouldn’t be able to access their medicine. The black market and “grey market” are still thriving.

  • Luxembourg in talks with Canada over how to legalise recreational cannabis

    Discussions will clarify how cannabis will be sold and laws around national production
    Luxembourg Times (Luxembourg)
    Wednesday, January 16, 2019

    Discussions between Luxembourg and Canada are under way to establish how the Grand Duchy will legalise cannabis and sell the drug for recreational use. Luxembourg's health minister Etienne Schneider, who is also economy minister and deputy prime minister, told the government's health committee the talks will clarify how cannabis could be sold in Luxembourg and the laws around the national production of the drug. Within a month of Luxembourg's national elections in October last year the government announced cannabis would be made legal for non-medical use. Schneider said the drug would also be commercially distributed.

  • Overwhelming majority of voters support pill-testing – Guardian Essential poll

    Model where counsellors provide risk-reduction advice backed by 63% of sample
    The Guardian (UK)
    Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    An overwhelming majority of voters in the latest Guardian Essential poll say they support pill testing in Australia. The survey of 1,089 respondents, taken between 9 and 13 January found 63% of voters support pill testing where trained counsellors provide risk-reduction advice informed by on-site laboratory analysis of people’s drugs. The strong level of support crosses party-political lines. The poll found 57% of Liberal/National voters support pill testing, though support is strongest among Labor (73%) and Greens (74%) voters. Just 24% of voters oppose the idea, and roughly 12% say they “don’t know” if they support it or not.

  • '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.

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