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  • Danish MP calls for decriminalisation of both cannabis and hard drugs

    Larsen calls Denmark’s war on drugs “a total failure” and points at the huge amount of resources spent on drug enforcement
    The Copenhagen Post (Denmark)
    Thursday, May 17, 2018

    Henrik Sass Larsen minces no words in his new book ‘Exodus: The Way to the Centre-Left’  in which he offers up his opinion on the Danish government’s ‘zero tolerance’ drug policy. Larsen, the chair of the Socialdemokratiet parliamentary group, calls the efforts “a total fiasco”. Larsen goes far beyond the idea of simply legalising cannabis, which is already a break from his party’s policy on cannabis – he calls for the decriminalisation of all drugs in Denmark. And he calls zero tolerance a “humanitarian disaster”.  “Every school child knows where they can get cannabis,” Larsen told Information. “It has served no other purpose than to send people to prison.” (See also: Danish MP’s pro-legalisation cannabis comments do not change party line)

  • Is Sweden's zero-tolerance approach to drugs a failing model?

    Sweden has one of the highest fatality rates from opioid overdoses in Europe
    The Local (Sweden)
    Thursday, May 17, 2018

    Sweden is accustomed to being praised for its forward-thinking approach, but there's one area where many feel it lies behind the curve. The country's "zero tolerance" policy towards drugs is an increasingly isolated one compared to its neighbours, and has even been subject to criticism from the UN. The Local's Sweden In Focus series looks at why Sweden takes such a hard-line stance on drugs, what the consequences are, and if it will ever change. Sweden's long-standing zero-tolerance drugs policy is based on the fundamental vision of a "drug-free society", and was shaped by lobbying group the Association for a Drug-Free Society (RNS). (See also: Drug policy in Sweden: a repressive approach that increases harm)

  • Surge in young Americans using marijuana as first drug

    Proportion of young people who tried cigarettes as their first drug fell over the same period, US study says
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, May 17, 2018

    The proportion of young people using marijuana as their first drug doubled in the 10 years from 2004, a US-based study has found. The government study reveals that among people aged between 12 and 21, the proportion of those who tried cigarettes as their first drug fell from about 21% to just under 9% between 2004 and 2014. However, the proportion who turned first to marijuana almost doubled from 4.4% to 8%. While some studies have suggested that, overall, use and abuse of marijuana has fallen among teenagers in the US, the latest research sought to look at trends in which drug, if any, young people turned to first.

  • Big opportunities in Europe's cannabis market come with big risks

    Earning substantial market share in Europe will not be for the faint of heart or, sadly, the shallow-pocketed
    Forbes (US)
    Wednesday, May 16, 2018

    Interest is running very high among cannabis entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on the prospect of an expanded European cannabis market. Europe is home to more than 740 million people, a population more than double the roughly 360 million people that live in the United States and Canada – the two largest cannabis markets today. If we accept that legal cannabis sales in the United States could reach $75 billion by 2030 – a recent estimate from Cowen, an investment banking and research firm that covers the cannabis industry – then extrapolating that number to account for Europe’s much larger population offers a crystal-clear reason why established cannabis companies in Canada and the United States are now turning their attention to Europe.

  • Ecstasy and cocaine are getting stronger, Dutch drug analysis shows

    Tests carried out on 12,000 drug samples in 2017
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Wednesday, May 16, 2018

    Ecstasy pills are becoming stronger and cocaine sold on the streets is more pure, according to a new report by the addiction centre Trimbos Institute. The institute bases its claim on tests carried out on 12,000 drug samples in 2017. The researchers found the amount of MDMA – the active ingredient – in ecstasy pills had gone up from an average 120 milligrams in 2013 to 167 milligrams last year. When it comes to cocaine, in 2014, just 59% of the powder was made up of the actual drug, but this rose to an average of 68% last year. (See also: Drug legalization main menu item at world’s first “ecstasy” store)

  • Trafic de cannabis : Le PAM et l'Istiqlal appellent à la libération des personnes poursuivies

    Des plaintes vexatoires ou entachées de mauvaise foi contre ces agriculteurs les poussent à devenir des fugitifs en permanence
    Yabiladi (Maroc)
    Mardi, 15 mai 2018

    La nécessité d’inscrire les noms des personnes poursuives pour trafic de cannabis dans les zones du Nord sur la liste des bénéficiaires de la grâce royale est une revendication du Parti de l’authenticité et de la modernité (PAM) et de l’Istiqlal (PI). Les groupes parlementaires de ces deux formations politiques ont ainsi réitéré cette demande, à en croire Hespress. Le parti de la Balance a alerté sur le fait que les détenus dans ces affaires «ne bénéficient pas de la grâce comme d’autres prisonniers», notant qu’il existe «des crimes plus abjects et dont les auteurs bénéficient de l’amnistie».

  • High time to rehash drug policy, think tanks say, as legalisation could save taxpayer £900m

    The government's approach to cannabis had been an "expensive failure"
    City A.M. (UK)
    Sunday, May 13, 2018

    uk police time wastedThink tanks have today called on the government to radically rethink its drug policy, as it was revealed that taxpayers could save nearly £900m a year if cannabis was legalised. A report by the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) argued that legalising the drug would reduce spending by police, prisons, courts and the NHS and put a huge amount of money back in taxpayers' pockets. The health service would gain the most from such a move, making back £132.6m from not prescribing sleeping tablets, pain-relief medicine and anti-depressants which had been given out as a result of patients smoking higher-potency 'skunk'.

  • How do you move mountains of unwanted weed?

    Oregon farmers have grown three times what their customers can smoke in a year, causing bud prices to plummet and panic to set in
    Willamette Week (US) / The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday, May 9, 2018

    us oregon plantationIt turns out Oregonians are good at growing cannabis – too good. In February, state officials announced that 1.1m pounds of cannabis flower were logged in the state’s database. If a million pounds sounds like a lot of pot, that’s because it is: last year, Oregonians smoked, vaped or otherwise consumed just under 340,000lb of legal bud. That means Oregon farmers have grown three times what their clientele can smoke in a year. The result? Prices are dropping to unprecedented lows in auction houses and on dispensary counters across the state. Wholesale sun-grown weed fell from $1,500 a pound last summer to as low as $700 by mid-October.

  • Canada plans to legalize weed – but will those convicted of crimes get amnesty?

    Activists argue that without amnesty, many from marginalized communities will continue to feel the effects of outdated laws
    The Guardian (UK)
    Tuesday, May 8, 2018

    As Canada prepares to legalize marijuana this summer, politicians are facing growing calls to grant a blanket amnesty for people convicted under the existing drug laws – many of whom belong to marginalized groups. Since the prime minister, Justin Trudeau, was elected in 2015 on a manifesto promise to legalize cannabis, more than 15,000 people have been charged over marijuana-related offences – joining close to 500,000 Canadians with marijuana convictions on their criminal record. The Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty launched a petition asking the government to consider pardons for possession charges. The group hopes to gain at least 5,000 signatures by the end of May.

  • The Senate should stand down on cannabis

    Editorial
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Monday, May 7, 2018

    Conservative senators have been threatening to slow or even kill the Liberal government’s cannabis legalization bill for months. But with a third reading in the upper house approaching, and a Senate committee having just recommended a year’s delay in implementing the law, things are getting serious. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is standing his ground. He insists marijuana will be legal by summer, as planned. He’s right to do so. The Senate’s latest concerns are not enough to justify delaying for 12 months a repeal of criminal sanctions that put blameless people behind bars, and which Canadians effectively voted to scrap in the last election. (See also: In bid to intimidate Canada on cannabis regulation, INCB is reckless and wrong)

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