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  • Marijuana decriminalization leaps first legislative hurdle

    First- and second-time offenders to be hit with fines, rather than criminal penalties, under new government proposal
    The Times of Israel (Israel)
    Thursday, March 8, 2018

    Lawmakers advanced a proposal to decriminalize personal recreational marijuana use, imposing fines rather than criminal penalties for first and second-time offenders. The proposal cleared its first reading in the Knesset with 38 MKs in favors, and none opposed. It must still pass another two readings to become law. Under the proposal backed by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, whose office oversees the police, first-time offenders would be charged a NIS 1,000 ($265) fine but would not have a criminal case filed them. That sum would be doubled on the second offense.

  • Police probe of Brazilian marijuana researcher sparks protests

    Researchers are concerned about potential restrictions to academic freedom
    Nature (US)
    Thursday, March 8, 2018

    A police investigation targeting Brazil’s most prominent marijuana researcher has ignited a wave of protest among scientists. They say that the move by authorities from the state of São Paulo threatens research freedoms at a time when science in the country faces severe problems because of draconian budget cuts. Police questioned Elisaldo Carlini, a retired professor of psychopharmacology at the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp), on 21 February on suspicion of inciting drug crime, according to authorities. They are still investigating the case and have not charged Carlini with anything.

  • UK revealed to be world's biggest producer of medical cannabis

    A significant part of the UK's legal cannabis production goes towards a cannabis-based medicine called Sativex
    The Herald (UK)
    Tuesday, March 6, 2018

    GW Pharmaceuticals' growing facility. (Image: GW Pharmaceuticals)The UK is the world's largest producer and exporter of legal cannabis for medical and scientific use, according to a report from the UN's International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). The UK produced a 95 tonnes of legal cannabis in 2016 – accounting for 44.9 per cent of the world total – while the government refuses to allow medical cannabis in the UK on the basis that it has "no therapeutic value". Steve Rolles of Transform said: "It is scandalous and untenable for the UK government to maintain that cannabis has no medical uses, at the same time as licensing the world's biggest government approved medical cannabis production and export market." (See also: UK Drugs Minister opposes cannabis law reform while her husband profits from a license to grow it)

  • Overshadowed by the opioid crisis: A comeback by cocaine

    It’s the No. 2 killer among illicit drugs in the U.S. and kills more African-Americans than heroin does
    The New York Times (US)
    Monday, March 5, 2018

    The opioid epidemic just keeps getting worse, presenting challenges discussed at length at a White House summit last week. But opioids are not America’s only significant drug problem. Among illicit drugs, cocaine is the No. 2 killer and claims the lives of more African-Americans than heroin does. According to a recent study published in The Archives of Internal Medicine, among non-Hispanic black Americans, cocaine has been a larger problem than heroin for nearly 20 years. For example, over 2012-15, cocaine overdoses claimed 7.6 per 100,000 black men. In contrast, heroin overdoses claimed 5.45 per 100,000 black men. Black women use both drugs at lower rates than men, but cocaine overdoses exceed those from heroin for them as well.

  • Cannabis cultivation a go for giant Canadian tomato greenhouse

    The facility has the size of about 19 football fields
    The Cannabist (US)
    Monday, March 5, 2018

    canada industrial cannabis village farmsCanadian officials have green-lighted a plan to convert a gargantuan tomato greenhouse for cannabis cultivation. Health Canada issued a cannabis cultivation license for the 1.1 million-square-foot greenhouse operated by the joint venture of produce grower Village Farms International Inc. and medical cannabis firm Emerald Health Therapeutics Inc.. The companies plan to immediately start growing cannabis in the Delta, British Columbia, greenhouse and set expectations to receive the sales license by July 1, 2018. The facility that’s the size of about 19 football field is “conservatively” expected to produce 75,000 kilograms, or about 165,350 pounds, of cannabis annually.

  • New studies show that legal cannabis access reduces opioid abuse

    For many patients, cannabis offers a viable alternative to opioids
    The Hill (US)
    Sunday, March 4, 2018

    Scientific data is growing nearly by the day in support of the notion that legalized cannabis can mitigate opioid use and abuse. For instance, among states where medical cannabis access is permitted, patients routinely lessen their opioid intake. According to data published this week by the Minnesota Department of Health, among those patients known to be taking opiate painkillers upon their enrollment into the program, 63 percent “were able to reduce or eliminate opioid usage after six months.” A review of state-registered patients from various northeastern states yielded similar results, finding, 77 percent of respondents acknowledged having reduced their use of opioids following cannabis therapy.

  • Rodrigo Duterte tells police not to cooperate in drug war investigation

    International criminal court opens case after complaint accusing Philippines president of crimes against humanity
    The Guardian (UK)
    Friday, March 2, 2018

    President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Philippines’ police and soldiers not to cooperate in any investigation into his bloody war on drugs, amid international calls for an external probe. Western countries and rights groups have expressed alarm over the killing by police of more than 4,000 Filipinos since Duterte took office in June 2016, plus hundreds more killings of drug users by unknown gunmen. An international criminal court prosecutor has opened a preliminary examination into a complaint accusing Duterte and top officials of crimes against humanity. Duterte says he welcomes that and is willing to “rot in jail” to protect Filipinos.

  • House approves production of pharmaceutical cannabis

    Once regulations are in place, people prescribed medical cannabis will be able to buy the drug from licensed pharmacies
    Kathimerini (Greece)
    Thursday, March 1, 2018

    Parliament approved legislation allowing the manufacture of cannabis for medicinal purposes in Greece. The new legislation sets out the rules governing the cultivation and production of the particular types of the plant that are used for pharmaceutical purposes, as well as the operation of manufacturing units. The bill, which was voted for by the ruling majority, centrist To Potami and Democratic Alignment, was criticized by New Democracy lawmaker Konstantinos Vlasis, who said that it leaves loopholes allowing for the recreational use of cannabis. (See also: Greek Parliament passes bill to regulate medical cannabis production)

  • Jamaica missing out on growing ganja industry — Golding

    The issue that is plaguing the approval process is that the Ministry of Health is problematic
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Thursday, March 1, 2018

    mark golding speakingOpposition Spokesperson on Finance Mark Golding today told the Standing Finance Committee of Parliament that the cannabis sector needs full governmental support if Jamaica is to take advantage of the growing global industry. He singled out the Ministry of Health as not being fully cooperative in the approval process and said the composition of the current Cannabis Licensing Board is properly constructed and represents a wide range of stakeholders both private and public. According to Golding, government bureaucracy has turned off a number of overseas investors. (See also: Gov't seeking to improve ganja licence approval process)

  • Skunk is causing misery – criminalisation isn’t working

    Drugs reform has been urged by doctors and police chiefs. Yet our politicians have failed to act, and the consequences have been disastrous
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, March 1, 2018

    Can Britain ever kill its worst taboo? This week’s news of the soaring prevalence of skunk, in place of weaker and less harmful herbal forms of cannabis, is appalling. With other news of prison chaos due to an epidemic of artificial cannabis (spice), government drugs policy is devoid of coherence – and clearly lethal. Deaths from drug misuse are now at an all-time high. Every move towards liberalising Britain’s drug laws is opposed by every government. Reform has been proposed by doctors, backbenchers, police chiefs, the press and pressure groups from right and left. The truth is that the prevalence of harmful drugs in Britain is not caused by policy. It is caused by politicians.

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