• Cannabis policy expert slams Malta police's attitude to CBD

    Martin Jelsma says associations should be allowed to permit on site consumption
    Times of Malta (Malta)
    Saturday, July 29, 2023

    cannabis leaf plantsA leading drugs policy expert believes members of Malta’s planned cannabis associations should be allowed to consume cannabis on site rather than being restricted to only doing so at home. “It was an issue that came up in several of our meetings these past two days, and the social role of associations should be promoted as going beyond a place where members get cannabis to take home,” said Martin Jelsma, Programme Director for Drugs and Democracy at the Netherlands-based Transnational Institute. As it stands, the law will not allow members to smoke cannabis on the premises of planned cannabis associations. Jelsma also had strong words of criticism for Maltese authorities' handling of CBD cannabis flow, branding it "absurd".

  • Global resonance of Malta's drug policy reform highlighted at thematic round table

    “As more countries regulate the cultivation and distribution of cannabis, producer countries and relatively impoverished rural communities will experience a reduction of income”
    Malta Today (Malta)
    Friday, July 14, 2023

    malta roundtableThe not-for-profit model adopted by Malta for drug policy reform is resonating across other countries. The emphasis on a harm reduction approach, including considerations for social justice and the negative consequences caused by the ‘war on drugs', will remain key to ensuring cannabis reform promotes the well-being of society and protects the most vulnerable. Transnational Institute Program Director Martin Jelsma spoke about the relationship between drug policy reform in consumer countries, such as countries in the EU, and socio-economic development in producing countries predominantly in the global south, such as Morocco.

  • European cannabis legalisation moves into the slow-dopey lane

    Germany has got nervous
    The Economist (UK)
    Thursday, May 11, 2023

    europe cannabisGermany’s plans to move to full legalisation of consumption and sales of cannabis came to an abrupt halt last month. Until recently, Germany’s health minister, Karl Lauterbach, had been upbeat about the prospects for radical change. But following talks with the European Commission the plan has gone up in a cloud of smoke. Martin Jelsma of the Transnational Institute, a Dutch-founded think-tank, thinks the reason is that the proposals are not in compliance with an EU Council framework decision on drugs in 2004, nor with three relevant UN treaties. Mr Jelsma says it would be helpful if the European Commission were to give some indication as to what its position is on the question.

  • What Thailand’s legalization of marijuana means for Southeast Asia's war on drugs

    Time (US)
    Tuesday, June 14, 2022

    thailand cannabis costumeSoutheast Asia, a region of 11 countries and some 680 million people, has long been infamous for having the strictest anti-drug laws in the world. But in a sign that regional leaders are mulling a new approach, Thailand became the first country in Asia to decriminalize marijuana for medical and other purposes. Smoking weed for fun is still illegal, Thai’s health minister clarified to CNN, but he expects legal cannabis production to boost the economy. Over 3,000 inmates incarcerated in Thai prisons for marijuana-related offenses were freed. Martin Jelsma at the Transnational Institute (TNI) in Amsterdam, says a common Southeast Asian approach to regulating marijuana and other narcotics is unlikely to happen. But he believes that in a region “so plagued by excessively repressive drug policies, the positive influence of Thailand’s recent policy changes on the regional debate is most welcome.”

  • L’avenir de la culture du cannabis sous les projecteurs à Tanger

    Les centres et les instituts de recherche, et les universités sont appelés à s’engager à conserver les graines de cannabis
    Maroc diplomatique (Maroc)
    Lundi, 14 mars 2022

    morocco cannabis farmerL’avenir de la culture du cannabis et sa relation avec le développement territorial a été sous les projecteurs, samedi à Tanger, lors d’un colloque international organisé par la revue Tidighin des recherches amazighes et développement. Les intervenants à cette rencontre, organisée en collaboration avec le transnational institute (TNI), sous le thème « Quel avenir durable pour les producteurs du cannabis au Maroc après la promulgation de la loi 13-21 relative aux usages licites du cannabis?« , ont souligné que le Maroc, à travers la promulgation d’une loi régissant les usages licites du cannabis, parie sur l’avenir et donne l’opportunité aux régions concernées et à leurs habitants de s’engager dans un processus de développement global.

  • In first for Europe, Malta to legalize recreational marijuana, with several other countries on the cusp

    The move comes amid a global shift toward local and nationwide decriminalization, and in some cases legalization, of the cultivation, sale and consumption of cannabis
    The Washington Post (US)
    Monday, December 13, 2021

    cannabis bud hand“The transatlantic winds of change that have been blowing in the Americas for a while have now reached the shores in Europe,” Tom Blickman of the Amsterdam-based Transnational Institute told a webinar hosted by EMCDDA in October. There’s growing consensus, he said, of a need to “take back control of an illicit and criminal market that in fact is out of control in terms of protecting public health.” Similar to the way cannabis regulations vary among U.S. states, Blickman said, Europe’s laws have likewise developed along “what fits best for local circumstances or national circumstances.” But, he cautioned, laws on both the European and international level that continue to class cannabis as an illicit substance could at some point clash with country-level efforts to legalize it.

  • New regime, same old drug myths in Myanmar

    It is high time that UNODC and other international agencies get serious and tackle the root causes of the scourge of drug production, smuggling and addiction
    The Irrawaddy (Myanmar)
    Tuesday, September 7, 2021

    burma opiumfieldIn the late 1980s as well as in Myanmar today, the military (or Tatmadaw) and the police could hardly be described as anti-drug crusaders. On the contrary, Myanmar’s security forces have a long history of working together with drug-trafficking gangs and the benefits have been both economic—personal gains for officers—and tactical: drug traffickers are useful intelligence assets and can be used to fight the country’s ethnic rebel armies. The first coup in 1962 and the introduction of the so-called “Burmese Way to Socialism” had a devastating impact on the country’s economy at the same time as it caused Myanmar’s ethnic rebellions to flare anew.

  • Morocco moves to legalise some cannabis cultivation

    But some pot farmers fear they won’t benefit
    The Economist (UK)
    Saturday, July 10, 2021

    morocco cannabis grower1Few countries produce more cannabis than Morocco, where locals mix it with tobacco and call it kif, meaning “supreme happiness”. The pleasure extends to Europe, where much of the cannabis ends up. Farmers in the Rif, a poor mountainous region in northern Morocco, produce most of the supply. They operate in a legal grey area. Growing cannabis is against the law in Morocco, but it is tolerated in the Rif. A bill passed by parliament, but yet to be approved by the king, may clarify the situation, at least somewhat. It would legalise the cultivation, use and export of cannabis for medical and industrial purposes (such as for hemp in textiles). The proposed law, though, would not legalise cannabis for recreational use. And it would allow cannabis farming only in certain regions of the country, such as the Rif.

  • Cannabis médical : aubaine ou mirage économique ?

    Considéré comme l’un des premiers producteurs mondiaux, le Maroc pourrait voir dans le cannabis une manne importante à emmagasiner dans ses finances publiques, là où elles s’évaporaient jusque-là dans l’illégal
    Tel Quel (Maroc)
    Vendredi, 11 juin 2021

    morocco cannabis farmerC’est la question qui brûle toutes les lèvres depuis l’annonce du projet de loi 13-21 : quelles seront, pour le Maroc, les retombées économiques de la légalisation de l’usage médical, thérapeutique et industriel du cannabis? A priori, la panacée. Du moins si l’on se fie à l’étude de faisabilité du ministère de l’Intérieur. De là à se demander s’il existe des possibilités d’ouverture pour le Maroc ? “Il pourrait y avoir un marché, mais il ne se crée pas facilement”, avance Tom Blickman. Ce dernier insiste sur le marché émergent du cannabis récréatif légal, “une solution pour réduire les trafics”. “Là ou d’autres pays ont légalisé le marché récréatif, comme le Canada, pourquoi ne pas produire pour ce marché?, suggère-t-il.

  • Eyeing lucrative profits, Morocco is seeking to legalise cannabis. The main obstacle? Islamist opposition

    Cannabis legalisation in Morocco could provide economic opportunity, dependant upon Europe, party politics, and upcoming elections
    The New Arab (UK)
    Thursday, May 13, 2021

    morocco cannabis grower2The stakes for legalising cannabis in Morocco are rising. On 11 March, the Moroccan government approved Cannabis Legalization Framework, Bill 13-21, to regulate medical cannabis and industrial hemp. However, the bill still must be ratified by Parliament, and political debate on cannabis is intensifying amid the leadup to the September 2021 general elections. This is not the first attempt to legalise cannabis in Morocco. But unlike other efforts, this proposal has come directly from the sitting coalition government. "Although legalising the cultivation of medical cannabis and industrial is a first positive step, the proposal is limited because it doesn't include any regulatory framework on recreational cannabis," said Tom Blickman from the Transnational Institute.

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