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  • Murder in Colombia’s peace laboratory

    A long history of state absence fuels the mistrust of the government
    NACLA (US)
    Thursday, July 19, 2018

    Colombian campesinos in Briceño, Antioquia have voluntarily uprooted their coca plants in exchange for government support to grow new crops. But with much aid delayed, the local economy has collapsed, and the presence of a newly formed dissident FARC group threatens to bring more violence. While families have received bimonthly payments for pulling out their crops, other parts of the program to support a transition to other crops haven’t materialized. The program also promised that families would receive goods worth stipulated amounts of money to allow them to develop three different productive projects: small subsistence farms; short-term projects in the first year to help them make money after cash payments ended; and additional funding for long-term projects.

  • Will Mexico legalize drugs?

    Obrador explores radical bid to bring narcotics wars under control
    Newsweek (US)
    Wednesday, July 18, 2018

    Mexico’s President-elect López Obrador has considered unconventional methods to address his nation’s ills. In a country riddled with corruption and crippled by gang violence, Mexican voters turned to the left for change, which Obrador has promised to deliver. Obrador is mulling the legalization of drugs nationwide in an effort to nullify the vicious cartel warfare that kills tens of thousands of people each year. According to incoming Interior Minister Olga Sanchez Cordero, Obrador has given her a free hand to do “whatever is necessary to restore peace in this country.” The U.S.-backed war on drugs has done little to stem the violence since Mexican troops were deployed to the streets in December 2006. (See also: Could drug legalisation counter violence and corruption in Mexico?)

  • Cannabis store and cafe opens in Kingston

    EPICAN currently employs over 50 local farmers at its growing facility in the Blue Mountains
    The Gleaner (Jamaica)
    Friday, July 20, 2018

    Jamaica has opened its first seed-to-sale cannabis retail store located in Market place on Constant Spring Road. The ribbon-cutting ceremony signified the beginning of a new era for the use of medical marijuana in Jamaica. As the first company to be granted a licenses to cultivate, process and retail medical grade ganja by the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) in Jamaica, EPICAN offers a product rooted in Jamaican sun and soil. The McKenzie brothers spent three years educating local farmers in methods that meet international growing standards in an effort to bring marijuana farming in Jamaica out of the shadows and on to the global stage.

  • Does legal weed make police more effective?

    Freeing police from the burden of low-level marijuana enforcement would allow them to devote resources to more serious crimes
    The Washington Post (US)
    Wednesday, July 18, 2018

    Marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington state has “produced some demonstrable and persistent benefit” to police departments' ability to solve other types of crime, according to researchers at Washington State University. “Our models show no negative effects of legalization and, instead, indicate that crime clearance rates for at least some types of crime are increasing faster in states that legalized than in those that did not,” the authors write in a study published in the journal Police Quarterly. Advocates for legalization have frequently argued that freeing police from the burden of low-level marijuana enforcement would allow them to devote resources to more serious crimes.

  • Lebanon to consider legalizing cannabis growing: official

    Report proposes legalising billion-dollar cannabis industry to rescue ailing economy
    Reuters (UK)
    Wednesday, July 18, 2018

    Lebanon’s parliament is considering legalizing the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said, in an attempt to boost the struggling economy. “The Lebanese Parliament is preparing to study and adopt the legislation necessary to legislate the cultivation of cannabis and its manufacture for medical uses in the manner of many European countries and some U.S. states,” Berri’s office said, reporting comments made in a meeting with the U.S. ambassador to Beirut. (See also: Budding business: how cannabis could transform Lebanon | Cannabis cultivation could boost Lebanon's economy, report says)

  • Dutch cut overdose deaths by dispensing pure heroin

    Only the most hardened drug abusers qualify for the program in the Netherlands
    The Plain Dealer (US)
    Sunday, July 15, 2018

    dcr amsterdamPublic-health experts in the Netherlands say free distribution of government-funded heroin is one reason that drug-related deaths are far less common than in the United States. The program also has reduced crime and improved the quality of life for many users, according to Ellen van den Hoogen, who runs the clinic. Is it an answer for the United States, where the opioid epidemic continues to claim more than 100 lives every day? Maybe it should be, said Van den Hoogen. "It's been an enormous success. I think it would work elsewhere." The Netherlands program started in 1998, modeled after a similar, successful effort in Switzerland. Several other European countries, including Germany and the United Kingdom, have adopted the model as well.

  • Police ‘decriminalising cannabis’ as prosecutions fall away

    Government figures sent to Norman Lamb MP reveal fall of 19% since 2015 in people prosecuted for possession
    The Observer (UK)
    Saturday, July 14, 2018

    Police forces are in effect decriminalising cannabis, campaigners say, after uncovering figures that show a substantial fall in the number of prosecutions and cautions for possessing the drug. Last year only 15,120 people in England and Wales were prosecuted for possession of cannabis, a fall of 19% since 2015. Police issued cautions to 6,524 people in 2017 – 34% fewer than two years before. The figures from the Ministry of Justice were released in response to a parliamentary question from the Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb, who called for a “regulated cannabis market” to protect public health.

  • Cuomo administration report backs marijuana legalization in New York

    The new Health Department report says that cannabis legalization comes with the potential for substantial tax revenue
    Forbes (US)
    Friday, July 13, 2018

    The administration of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) released a state Health Department report that says the "positive effects" of legalization "outweigh the potential negative impacts." "Numerous NYS agencies and subject matter experts in the fields of public health, mental health, substance use, public safety, transportation, and economics worked in developing this assessment," the 75-page document says. "No insurmountable obstacles to regulation of marijuana were raised." The report estimates that legal marijuana sales could generate between $248.1 million and $677.7 million in revenues for the state in the first year, depending on tax and usage rates. (See also: Cuomo moves closer to marijuana legalization in New York)

  • Hemp cultivation is now 'legal' in Uttarakhand

    "When we started working on industrial hemp, we tried to figure out why India is not tapping on this $1-trillion industry"
    Business Line (India)
    Tuesday, July 10, 2018

    india cannabis uttarakhandUttarakhand will be the first State in India to allow commercial cultivation of hemp crop, a rich source of high-quality fibre and a host of medicinal and nutritive products. The State government, earlier this month, granted licence to the Indian Industrial Hemp Association (IIHA), a non-profit organisation that promotes industrial application of hemp, to grow the fibre over 1,000 hectares, on a pilot basis. Even though the policy to allow cultivation of non-narcotic cannabis was formulated in 1985 along with opium, hemp cultivation failed to take off in India as proper procedures were not laid down for its cultivation, procurement and use, unlike that in the case of legal opium.

  • Government won't 'stand in the way' of drug testing at festivals, says Home Office

    'Clarity from the Government is a win, but we can go even further. Let’s make it a requirement that festivals and, if possible, nightclubs, have to ensure there is drug safety testing available'
    The Independent (UK)
    Monday, July 9, 2018

    The Home Office “would not stand in the way” of drug testing at clubs and festivals, it said. It follows calls from experts and campaigners for music events to provide the service after two people died and 13 others were hospitalised at Hampshire's Mutiny festival. Eleven people have died at festivals in the last two years even though drug use is not increasing, suggesting that illegal substances now have higher levels of toxicity. Currently, drug testing facilities are offered at an extremely limited number of nightclubs and festivals by The Loop, a charity and the sole provider of such services. Policing minister Nick Hurd said the Home Office was not standing in the way of what he called "local operating decisions".

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