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  • St Vincent gov't not yet prepared to 'free up the weed'

    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Wednesday, February 7, 2018

    The St Vincent and the Grenadines government will not heed, at this time, calls for the decriminalisation of marijuana for recreational use. Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves said “unregulated consumption of recreational marijuana poses a number of risks and challenges that we do not currently have the data on which to make informed decisions, or the capacity to manage effectively”. Gonsalves said that while there will no doubt be populist calls to “free up the weed” in its entirety, his government “is not currently prepared to take that step”. In addition to the unknown risks and challenges, the government's regular scientific polling on the issue shows “a deep divergence of views on the issue of recreational marijuana in our society."

  • 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.

  • Philadelphia aims to become first US city to legalize safe injection sites

    The idea comes as a paradigm shift in the nation’s effort to stem the tide of opioid-related deaths
    Fox News (US)
    Tuesday, February 6, 2018

    Philadelphia officials are pushing an effort to make the city the first in the U.S. to allow drug users to shoot up at a medically supervised facility. The city overdose-related deaths peaked last year to about 1,200. City health officials want to cut down on the overdoses and deaths through this unique – and controversial – approach. “We haven’t seen a public health emergency like this in the last century,” said Thomas Farley, Health Commissioner for Philadelphia. “It’s time for us to rethink our assumptions, and consider options we hadn’t seen before." Unlike similar efforts by other cities, the injection sites would not need City Council approval because they would be privately run. (See also: SF safe injection sites expected to be first in nation, open around July 1)

  • Trump Treasury Secretary wants marijuana money in banks

    In 2014, under Obama, the department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued guidance that has allowed banks to open marijuana accounts without running afoul of federal regulators
    Forbes (US)
    Tuesday, February 6, 2018

    The Trump administration's top fiscal official appeared to voice support for letting marijuana businesses store their profits in banks. "I assure you that we don't want bags of cash," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified during an appearance before the House Financial Services Committee. "We want to make sure that we can collect our necessary taxes and other things." Mnuchin, in a series of responses to questions from lawmakers who raised concerns about the public safety implications of preventing cannabis businesses from accessing banks and forcing them to operate on an all-cash basis, said the Treasury Department is considering how to deal with the issue. (See also: Open the banking system to the marijuana industry)

  • Want teens to smoke less pot? Legalize it

    Evolutionary psychology predicted it, data now confirms it
    Psychology Today
    Monday, February 5, 2018

    Those favoring strict drug laws believe that, as marijuana becomes more available and less stigmatized, teen drug use will go up. It's a straightforward and logical belief. The reality is that, to date, not one jurisdiction, either in the U.S. or elsewhere, has seen a marked increase in teen drug use following the relaxation of marijuana restrictions. Not one. Both Colorado and Washington, the pioneer states of marijuana legalization, have actually seen drops in teen marijuana use following legalization. The drop in Colorado was particularly dramatic. Despite the wave of legalization, nationwide, teen drug use is at a 20-year low.

  • German police association calls for complete legalization of cannabis

    Rather than focus largely on repression, there are better opportunities in drug policy such as learning to deal with responsible drug use
    The Local (Germany)
    Monday, February 5, 2018

    The Association of German Criminal Officers (BDK) is in favour of ending the ban on cannabis and has called for the decriminalization of all use. "The prohibition of cannabis has historically been seen as arbitrary and has not yet been implemented in an intelligent and effective manner," the head of BDK, André Schulz, told Bild. The BDK advocates a "complete decriminalization of cannabis use," adding that the current legal system is stigmatizing people and promoting criminal careers. "My prediction is cannabis will not be banned for long in Germany.‎" (See also: "Nicht zuschauen, wie Jugendliche ihre Zukunft verkiffen" | Nach 60 Jahren Drogenpolitik bleibt es bei einer Lebenslüge | Frei high)

  • Big Sur’s legendary weed growers being left behind in legal era

    So far, permits are only being issued to the “ganja-preneurs”
    The Cannabist (US)
    Monday, February 5, 2018

    california big surFor decades, hidden in creases of the wild and rugged Santa Lucia Mountains, farmers have eked out a living growing some of the nation’s most esteemed cannabis, hanging onto the hope that someday they wouldn’t fear arrest. Marijuana in California is now legal. Yet the fate of farmers in Big Sur — the birthplace of legendary “Big Sur Holy Weed” in the Golden State’s storied cannabis culture — remains more precarious than ever. As springtime approaches, county officials are issuing licenses to high-tech greenhouse growers, mostly owned by well-funded outsiders, on the edge of urban Salinas — but are rebuffing small traditional farmers on parcels in the more remote reaches of Monterey County such as Big Sur.

  • In Mexico, is legalized pot just a pipe dream?

    Surveys say most Mexicans are wary of legalizing marijuana — but their opposition appears to be softening
    NPR (US)
    Monday, February 5, 2018

    marihuana rolling jointAt a conference in late January, Mexico's top tourism official told reporters legalizing marijuana would help combat an epidemic of violence that has enveloped parts of the country. "It is absurd that we have not taken that step," Tourism Secretary Enrique de la Madrid said. He said cannabis legalization should start in Baja California Sur, a state with hot spots like Los Cabos, and Quintana Roo, where Cancún is located. Both regions saw spikes in violence last year. The comments ricocheted across the Mexican media. Not only were they unexpected, but they also came six months before a presidential election in which a major debate is how to proceed with a U.S.-backed drug war that has contributed to Mexico's highest homicide rate on record.

  • One month after Sessions marijuana memo, where do U.S. attorneys stand on legal weed

    “We are united in the view that the federal government shouldn’t subvert the will of our citizens expressed at the state level.”
    The Cannabist (US)
    Monday, February 5, 2018

    It’s been a month since U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo, Obama-era Department of Justice guidance on enforcement of federal law in states that legalized marijuana in some form. Sessions’ marijuana policy shift didn’t just inject uncertainty into the legal cannabis industry — it empowered the Justice Department’s U.S. attorneys to enforce — or ignore — federal marijuana laws. So where do the U.S. attorneys stationed in the nine states (and Washington, D.C.) that have legalized recreational marijuana stand? Here’s what we know about the top federal prosecutors in those districts one month into the post-Cole Memo paradigm.

  • The secret housing program giving safe drugs to addicted residents

    Vancouver’s Portland Hotel Society has been quietly running an opioid substitution program for more than a year
    Vice (Canada)
    Monday, February 5, 2018

    canada stop fentrificationCanada’s opioid crisis has hit British Columbia harder than anywhere else. Last year, 1,422 people across the province died after taking drugs accounting for more than a third of all overdose deaths in Canada in 2017. The epidemic has B.C. health officials desperate for new ideas to bring the numbers back under control. And so, last December, the BC Centre for Disease Control said it plans to distribute hydromorphone (brand name Dilaudid) as a clean alternative to street drugs contaminated with fentanyl. Controversial though it might be, the idea is not entirely new. In Vancouver, the nonprofit Portland Hotel Society (PHS) quietly launched the hydromorphone program in September 2016.

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