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  • Legal marijuana’s big moment

    Despite hostility from the Trump administration, signs indicate federal decriminalization is only a flipped House away
    Politico (US)
    Tuesday, April 24, 2018

    us flag cannabis capitolIn Washington, evolution on the marijuana issue is proceeding at warp speed in political terms. John Boehner is just the latest in a string of noteworthy newcomers to the legalization movement that has been barreling through state houses for the past decade. Just in the past several weeks, Mitch McConnell fast-tracked a Senate bill to legalize low-THC hemp. Chuck Schumer announced that he would introduce a bill to deschedule marijuana entirely. Colorado Senator Cory Gardner struck a deal with President Donald Trump, who promised to not target Colorado’s legal marijuana industry in exchange for Gardner releasing his hold on Trump’s Department of Justice nominees.

  • Unfazed by Brazil's army, Rio drug gangs willing to wait out occupation

    Despite their role in the drug trade the gangs have long provided authority where the government does not
    Reuters (UK)
    Tuesday, April 24, 2018

    Leaders of Rio de Janeiro's heavily armed drug gangs agree on at least one thing with the head of Brazil's army: An ongoing military intervention cannot solve the soaring crime and violence that is roiling the seaside metropolis. "Will the army break this cycle of violence?" asked a leader of the Red Command, Rio's most powerful drug gang, on a recent weeknight as deputies weighed marijuana and cocaine on a digital scale in a slum from which they operate. "Not a chance." The comments come two months after President Michel Temer deployed 30,000 troops here, saying organised crime had "taken over Rio de Janeiro."

  • The red flags ahead of Canada’s marijuana legalization

    The government has decided to limit the supply of legal marijuana to a small number of big, licensed providers, rather than inviting erstwhile illegal providers into the market subject to rigorous controls
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Monday, April 23, 2018

    The central question facing the Liberal government as it seeks to fulfill its 2015 campaign promise to “legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana” is: Can they do it without making the situation worse? The current regime has a lot of problems. It doesn’t keep pot away from kids, it puts large profits into the hands of organized crime and it traps a lot of people into the criminal-justice system for what is, for the most part, a victimless crime. From that perspective, legalization would seem to be a no-brainer. But it is always possible for even the most well-intentioned government to make things worse, and as Bill C-45 moves closer to becoming law, a number of warning flares are starting to go off.

  • In Lebanon, one farmer-turned-candidate is running on a pro-cannabis platform

    Legalizing cannabis for medical purposes means that the farmer will benefit before the merchant
    Al Arabiya
    Monday, April 23, 2018

    In Lebanon, on the roads of Baalbek-Hermel leading to his village of Deir al-Ahmar, Shawki Fakhri is contesting the upcoming local elections under a pro-cannabis platform. But he has no interest in the recreational use of the drugs. Fakhri, a farmer like many of those who will be voting in his district come May 6, is pushing to legalize and legislate the plant in order to help his constituents. “For some pharmaceutical companies, the law allows them to grow and even import cannabis on medical grounds. If the project I am proposing is granted, it will bring in at least $50 mln for the Baalbek farmers,” Fakhri told Al Arabiya.

  • Canadian and U.S. pot firms cross borders to raise money in battle for dominance

    Capital is king in battle for market share in a global legal cannabis industry of $57B in projected spending
    CBC News (Canada)
    Sunday, April 22, 2018

    As U.S. and Canadian government policies toward marijuana grow more divergent amid Canada's push for legalization, their stock exchanges have seen a flurry of cross-listing activity from companies eager to snap up investment capital and carve out dominant positions in a growing global market. Marijuana producers that operate in U.S. states where pot is legal are prevented from public listings in their home country because the drug is prohibited at the federal level, so they turn their focus north for a legal avenue to raise public capital. The flurry of activity comes as Washington's political tone seems to have softened toward the drug.

  • Legalising cannabis adds $3.6bn to Australian economy, budget office says

    Parliamentary Budget Office rates fiscal benefits of Greens’ push to legalise, licence and tax marijuana
    The Guardian (UK)
    Sunday, April 22, 2018

    Legalising cannabis would reap the Australian economy almost $2bn a year, the Parliamentary Budget Office has found. The Greens plan to not only decriminalise cannabis but also legalise it for adult use is the latest case study of political differences, with both Labor and the Coalition looking into legalising it for medicinal use, but going no further. But claiming that the “war on drugs had failed”, the Greens leader, Richard Di Natale, last week proposed the full legalisation of cannabis, which would allow adults to grow up to six marijuana plants for personal use. (See also: The drugs debate we have to have)

  • An opioid crisis foretold

    The New York Times (US)
    Saturday, April 21, 2018

    us overdose vs hivToday’s opioid crisis is already the deadliest drug epidemic in American history. Opioid overdoses killed more than 45,000 people in the 12 months that ended in September, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The epidemic is now responsible for nearly as many American deaths per year as AIDS was at the peak of that crisis. The death toll from opioids could climb for years to come. Millions of people are dependent on or addicted to these drugs, and many of them are increasingly turning to more potent, illicit supplies of heroin and fentanyl, which are cheap and readily available. Yet only about 10 percent of Americans who suffer from substance abuse receive specialized addiction treatment.

  • Drug reform gets a push

    The Bangkok Post (Thailand)
    Saturday, April 21, 2018

    New plans for treatment of drug addicts and abusers are a welcome step on the way to badly needed drug reform. The steps announced last week by the chief of the prime ministers Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), Sirinya Sitdhichai, may make it possible to begin rehabilitation instead of criminal treatment. As welcome as the new programme is, it is still only a tentative step towards what is needed. It is time for bold steps and a new outlook on the problem. Because the five-decade "war on drugs" is such an obvious failure, it is vital to find and employ new methods. Sitdhichai has put in motion what he is too grandly calling "a comprehensive drug rehabilitation programme". In fact, the new policy brings only some small, if highly important changes.

  • Most banks won’t touch America’s legal pot industry

    Lawmakers and businesses are demanding clarity for an industry that could generate as much as $11bn in revenue in 2018
    The Economist (UK)
    Friday, April 20, 2018

    us banking cannabisProviding banking services to pot-sellers is a risky endeavour. Despite being legal in one form or another in 29 states, marijuana is banned under the federal Controlled Substances Act, and classified as a so-called Schedule 1 drug alongside cocaine and heroin. This is why the vast majority of American banks refuse to do business with the industry, lest they run foul of federal statutes on money-laundering, drug-trafficking and racketeering. As of September 2017, just 400 of America’s 5,700 banks catered to the sector. Without access to financial services, most marijuana-related businesses operate on a cash-only basis, stashing piles of money in duffel bags and hiring armed guards to protect employees from robberies.

  • Cannabis products sold in Lidl Switzerland

    Health and addiction experts are less enthusiastic about the normalisation of a product whose effects remain relatively unknown
    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Thursday, April 19, 2018

    Hemp containing active ingredient cannabidiol (CBD) can now be bought in Swiss branches of German discount supermarket chain Lidl. Start-up company The Botanicals, from Thurgau in northeastern Switzerland, will be supplying pure hemp flowers grown exclusively in Switzerland in partially automated greenhouses and specially designed indoor facilities. They say they support sustainable agriculture and are renouncing the use of chemical, synthetic or genetically modified substances. The hemp is obtained according to the Good Agricultural and Collection Practice guidelines of the European Medicines Agency. The hemp flowers, which are produced as a tobacco replacement intended to be used in roll-up cigarettes, are available in stores in French and German-speaking Switzerland.

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