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  • Duterte to Int'l Criminal Court: Drug war continues, case or no case

    'The war or the drive against drugs will not stop and it will last until the day I step out,' says a defiant President Rodrigo Duterte
    Rappler (Philippines)
    Monday, February 12, 2018

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte sought to appear unfazed by the International Criminal Court’s preliminary examination into his drug war, saying it will not stop the controversial campaign. “The war or the drive against drugs will not stop and it will last until the day I step out. If I go to prison, I go to prison,” Duterte said. Duterte said the ICC could not declare him guilty of a crime since merely threatening criminals with death is not a crime. The Philippine President has threatened to withdraw from the ICC. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the ICC preliminary examination is a “waste of time” as the Philippines’ justice system is fully functioning, thus the international court, as a “court of last resort,” has no jurisdiction over the drug war.

  • Plans for heroin to be prescribed to addicts in West Midlands

    Police and crime commissioner David Jamieson sets out policy at odds with national approach
    The Guardian (UK)
    Monday, February 12, 2018

    Doctors in the West Midlands could soon be prescribing heroin for addicts, who would be invited to inject themselves with clean syringes in drug consumption rooms with medical staff on standby, under a plan put forward by the region’s police and crime commissioner David Jamieson setting out a number of recommendations for a regional drugs policy sharply at odds with the government’s zero-tolerance approach. The proposals also include a mechanism to divert criminals who use drugs into treatment rather than the justice system, equipping police with the overdose treatment naxalone, and introducing on-site drug testing in nightclubs. (See also: A police force is set to go against government policy to try and save lives)

  • Marijuana producers enter retail race as legalization looms

    Companies will need to tread carefully as the regulations on how the drug can be marketed, branded or packaged have yet to be finalized
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Sunday, February 11, 2018

    As the race to produce enough cannabis for the soon-to-be-legal market gets increasingly crowded, licensed producers are setting their sights on the next frontier in the race for maximum pot profitability: developing retail stores. Pot producers have been ramping up production in preparation for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use later this year and are looking to deploy their cash in more profitable ways. Retail is high on their priority list, such as the cannabis dispensary operations south of the border, which offer a direct connection to the consumer through "budtenders" who personalize the potentially overwhelming experience. Such vertical integration also serves to gives their products a competitive edge.

  • Big US tobacco company buys stakes in Canadian cannabis growers, American hemp firm

    Transactions mark the alcohol and tobacco industries’ initial attempts to capitalize on the rapidly growing marijuana industry – particularly in Canada
    Marijuana Business Daily (US)
    Friday, February 9, 2018

    A publicly traded U.S. tobacco company has bought controlling stakes in two Canadian marijuana producers and invested in a North Carolina hemp grower, making what is believed to be the first foray by a significant tobacco business into the cannabis industry. Alliance One International, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol AOI, said it acquired a 75% equity position in Canada’s Island Garden and an 80% stake in Goldleaf Pharm. Terms of the transactions were not disclosed. The moves were first reported by New Cannabis Ventures.

  • To cut drug deaths, city considers sanctioned places to shoot up

    At community meetings and among officials, the mere idea of the sites has generated a heated debate over their legality and their potential effect on the neighborhoods
    The New York Times (US)
    Friday, February 9, 2018

    Drug Consumption Room in Frankfurt (Germany)In 2016, the opioid epidemic claimed 1,374 lives in New York City. That’s roughly four drug overdose deaths each day. One death every seven hours. New York City officials are floating an idea that so far has not been tried in the United States: sanctioned locations where drug users can shoot up under the supervision of medical staff ready to revive them if they overdose. They are called safe injection facilities, and the city has been eyeing them for more than a year, despite potential federal opposition. In 2016, the City Council allocated $100,000 for the city health department to study the feasibility of the facilities, which already exist in Canada and Europe. Mayor Bill de Blasio hinted in late January that the report would soon be released.

  • Rabobank to pay $369 million in money-laundering case

    The settlement describes how three unnamed executives ignored a whistleblower’s warnings and orchestrated the cover-up
    The Associated Press (US)
    Thursday, February 8, 2018

    Dutch lender Rabobank’s California unit agreed to pay $369 million to settle allegations that it lied to regulators investigating allegations of laundering money from Mexican drug sales and organized crime through branches in small towns on the Mexico border. The subsidiary, Rabobank National Association, said it doesn’t dispute that it accepted at least $369 million in illegal proceeds from drug trafficking and other activity from 2009 to 2012. It pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States for participating in a cover-up when regulators began asking questions in 2013. (See also: New calls to prosecute Dutch bank for laundering Mexican drug money)

  • Philippines says Hague Tribunal will investigate Duterte over drug war

    The tribunal can take cases only if a country’s own judicial system is unable or unwilling to pursue them
    The New York Times (US)
    Thursday, February 8, 2018

    The International Criminal Court is opening a preliminary investigation into accusations that President Rodrigo Duterte and other Philippine officials committed crimes against humanity in the government’s deadly crackdown on drugs. The inquiry would determine whether there was enough evidence to build a case. But presidential spokesman Roque said that the government’s crackdown, which has left thousands dead since Mr. Duterte took office in June 2016, was a “legitimate police operation,” and that Duterte welcomed The Hague-based tribunal’s decision. In a 77-page complaint filed to the tribunal, Filipino lawyer Jude Josue Sabio accused Duterte and other officials of mass murder and crimes against humanity. (See also: Int'l Criminal Court takes 1st step in probe into Duterte drug war)

  • Tensions flare in Senate over marijuana-legalization bill

    Conservative senators seem intent on using procedural tricks to drag out the debate and irk the Liberal government
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Thursday, February 8, 2018

    Independent Senator Tony Dean, who is shepherding the federal bill to legalize cannabis through the Senate, is growing impatient with the slow pace of debate, alleging the Conservative are holding up the process for partisan purposes. He said there is an increasing likelihood the government would use time allocation – also known as closure – at some point to speed up the legislative process. The Trudeau government has yet to impose time allocation in the Senate since taking office, but it is seen as a growing possibility in this case. Bill C-45 is currently stuck at second reading in the Senate, with no timetable for its referral to committee for in-depth review. (See also: Trudeau government should push pot bill through Senate)

  • Why states should limit the potency of marijuana

    Government can and should place limits on marijuana’s strength just as it does other addictive products
    The Washington Post (US)
    Wednesday, February 7, 2018

    smokingMarijuana legalization states have taken no steps to limit the potency of marijuana, which has increased sharply in recent years. A new study suggests this could create public health problems down the road as more users become addicted or otherwise impaired. The study was conducted in the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available through “coffee shops.” The researchers examined the level of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main intoxicant in marijuana, over a 16-year period. The researchers estimated that for every 3 percent increase in THC, roughly one more person per 100,000 in the population would seek marijuana use disorder treatment for the first time. (See also: Stronger cannabis linked to rise in demand for drug treatment programmes)

  • Marijuana legalization could be delayed beyond July 1, government officials say

    The exact timing for the legalization of cannabis depends on the speed with which the Senate studies and adopts C-45
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Tuesday, February 6, 2018

    Federal officials are predicting the legalization of cannabis will only occur two to three months after Bill C-45 is adopted by Parliament, in order to ensure a smooth transition to an open market for the recreational drug. Officially, the government is still aiming to legalize cannabis by July 1. However, to achieve that target, the legislation would need to be passed by Parliament by May 1 at a minimum, which is an unlikely event based on the current pace of the Senate's work. The looming delay is set to be announced later on Tuesday when the federal ministers of Health, Justice and Public Safety appear in front of a special session of the Senate to defend their plans to lift the 95-year-old prohibition on cannabis.

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