Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Another cannabis company teeters on the edge

    MedMed's CEO tried to give assurances last week. It didn't go so well
    East Bay Express (US)
    Wednesday, January 29, 2020

    medmenLast week was a wild one for MedMen, the multistate cannabis retailer based in Culver City, California. As CEO Adam Bierman was getting ready to do a Reddit AMA ("Ask Me Anything") a character named Jason Spatafora tweeted out copies of emails that, Spatafora claimed, showed that the company was unable to pay vendors in cash, and was offering to give them shares of its depleted stock instead. Like a lot of cannabis companies, MedMen grew too big, too fast, as Bierman himself reluctantly admitted. Now, he said, the goal is "sustainability." It would be unwise to count MedMen out. The company, 10 years old, runs about 30 stores across the country, as well as large cultivation facilities.

  • Deputy Mayor wants pilot for safe consumption room in new drug strategy

    More consultation is needed and city needs to work out how to fund it
    The Bristol Cable (UK)
    Monday, January 27, 2020

    uk scr bristol transformIn Bristol, there were 49 drug related deaths in 2017/18 – the highest ever recorded. There are almost 5,000 heroin and crack users in the city and, despite Bristol’s well-regarded treatment services, there are 2,000 people who aren’t getting any help. In 2018, a feasibility study into whether a safe consumption room (SCR) could benefit Bristol was commissioned by the council, but it wasn’t published. The study found evidence that an SCR could help reduce Bristol’s high levels of the drug-related harms, particularly among heroin and crack users with complex needs who struggle to engage with current treatment. Currently the Home Office remains opposed, but drug policy experts have suggested local authorities would have the power to open them if there was agreement with police and other stakeholders.

  • Cannabis possession will soon be legal in Canberra

    An interview with Cannabis Clubs Mark Hutchison
    Mondaq (Australia)
    Friday, January 24, 2020

    Just quietly, from Friday week onwards, if you're in the ACT and you want to smoke cannabis in the privacy of your own home it will be completely legal. You'll also be able have up to 50 grams of weed sitting on your coffee table without any concerns. And if you want to turn your mind to growing a few plants in your own backyard that's okay as well. That's because as of 31 January, the personal possession and use of cannabis in the capital territory will be legal under local laws. And residents will be allowed to cultivate up to two plants. However, selling your product or even giving it away will remain illegal. In September 2018, Labor MLA Michael Pettersson introduced his cannabis legalisation private member's bill, which has turned the tide against the nationwide outlawing of the plant.

  • Illicit pot market still robust as prices beat legal sources: StatsCan

    The resilience of the illicit cannabis market is likely to weigh on the industry as it attempts to find a way out of its current slump of the licit market
    Bloomberg (Canada)
    Thursday, January 23, 2020

    canada ottawa cannabisThe difference between cannabis prices on the illicit and legal markets in the fourth quarter of last year widened slightly from the prior three-month period, according to new figures from Statistics Canada. The average price of cannabis in the illicit market during the fourth quarter of 2019 was $5.73 per gram, slightly higher than the $5.65 reported in the prior quarter but below the $6.44 mark tallied in the year-earlier period, data from StatsCan showed in its quarterly release of crowdsourced pricing information. The average price of legal cannabis in the fourth quarter was $10.30, edging higher from the $10.12 observed in the prior quarter and up from the $9.69 in the fourth quarter of 2018. (See also: Affordable legal cannabis should be priority as illegal pot prices drop, experts say)

  • Swiss cannabis market worth up to half a billion francs annually

    Between 40 and 60 tonnes of cannabis are estimated to be smoked each year across the country
    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Thursday, January 23, 2020

    Cannabis remains by far the most widespread drug enjoyed in Switzerland, even if the value of the market is much lower than that for cocaine. A study published by several groups including Addiction Switzerland estimates the national cannabis market to be worth up to CHF500 million ($516 million). But in canton Vaud, where the study was carried out, the figures show that the total market value was around half that of for cocaine – a finding that Frank Zobel, co-director of Addiction Switzerland, said was a surprise. “We thought that cannabis represented the biggest market in all senses of the word,” he said. “However, the turnover is lower than for cocaine, even if it does remain significantly higher than for other drugs.” (See also: Le marché du cannabis pèse 340 à 500 millions de francs en Suisse)

  • Rio violence: Police killings reach record high in 2019

    Police killed 1,810 people, an average of five per day, the highest number since official records began in 1998
    BBC News (UK)
    Thursday, January 23, 2020

    brazil rio upp armedThe number of police killings in Rio de Janeiro reached a record high last year, officials say, amid controversial hardline measures to tackle violence. Police killed 1,810 people, an average of five per day, the highest number since official records began in 1998. Critics blame the rise on policies that include the use of heavily armed agents and helicopter-borne snipers to fight criminals in densely populated areas. But officials say the approach has worked, citing a drop in violent crime. Rio de Janeiro is one of Brazil's most violent states and vast areas are under the control of criminals, many of them linked to powerful drug-trafficking gangs. But paramilitary groups formed by active and retired policemen, known as milícias, have also expanded their influence in recent years.

  • Cannabis companies could go bust in 2020, industry insiders predict

    2 Canadian companies sought creditor protection last month
    CBC News (Canada)
    Tuesday, January 21, 2020

    What a difference a year makes. Around this time in 2019, the cannabis sector was booming. Investors wanted in and stock prices were skyrocketing. Today, share prices have tumbled and analysts are forecasting "many" bankruptcies by the end of the year. Just last month, two Canadian companies, AgMedica and Wayland, were granted creditor protection. Some producers are looking for an exit, even if it means being bought by their competitors. Others looking to beef up their cash reserves are offering to sell off equipment and greenhouses — at a discount. "But in most cases, those are assets you don't want to take on. They're not efficient," said Greg Engel, CEO of cannabis producer Organigram. (See also: Cannabis industry facing a credit crunch as scrutiny, skepticism mount)

  • Colombia will tackle cocaine with a cancer-causing chemical. Only problem is, it won't work

    A new decree, urged on by Trump, means aerial fumigation of coca using glyphosate will likely resume in Colombia after a five-year hiatus
    Vice (US)
    Tuesday, January 21, 2020

    colombia fumigation planesThe Colombian government has published a proposed law that will allow it to resume a controversial program of aerial fumigation of coca crops using glyphosate, a weed-killer thought to cause cancer in people exposed to it regularly and in high doses. The plans are in the final stage of their passage to law, and spraying is expected to begin “in the second half of this year,” said Ricardo Vargas, an expert in crop fumigation and coca at National University of Colombia. Communities have not had the help they needed to move away from the coca trade and now will take the brunt of the new spraying program. “Many social leaders, some of whom have been for promoting the substitution of coca, have been threatened or killed.”

  • Crackdown on laughing gas cartridges and the Danish teenagers who abuse them

    Age and purchase limits will hopefully curtail a drug craze that has reached epidemic proportions
    The Copenhagen Post (Denmark)
    Tuesday, January 21, 2020

    nitrous oxideThe Danish government will present a bill to make it much harder for young people to abuse laughing gas cartridges to get high. The bill, which has a broad majority, will make it illegal for under-18s to buy the nitrous oxide cartridges, which are most commonly used in siphons to produce whipped cream for coffee and desserts. Additionally, it will be illegal for anyone to buy more than two of the eight-gram cartridges at the same time. The cartridges have been popping up all over cycle lanes and pavements over the last two to three years due to their abuse by teenagers who inhale the gas for a short-term euphoric effect. (See also: Why Denmark wants to ban under-18s from buying laughing gas)

  • MPs, health experts and lawyers call for new approach to drugs

    The manifesto calls on the government to set up an independent committee to come up with recommendations to reform drugs policy
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Monday, January 20, 2020

    netherlands cannabis plantation2MPs, television celebrities, lawyers, leading lights from the dance scene and health experts are among the 79 people who signed a manifesto calling for major reform in Dutch drugs policy. ‘The need for a new and realistic drugs policy is greater than ever. The international drug trade has taken root in the Netherlands with serious consequences,’ the manifesto states. A regulated – not a free – drugs market shouls be the starting point of a new drugs policy. ‘lllegality fuels crime. That is why we must tackle the criminal revenue model and make a regulated drug market the starting point of a new drugs policy.’ Regulation will open up more possibilities when it comes to prevention, public information, price and quality. (See also: Smallest coalition party calls for Netherlands to become ‘drug-free’ country)

Page 1 of 378