Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media

 

  • Illicit pot market still robust as prices beat legal sources: StatsCan

    The resilience of the illicit cannabis market is likely to weigh on the industry as it attempts to find a way out of its current slump of the licit market
    Bloomberg (Canada)
    Thursday, January 23, 2020

    canada ottawa cannabisThe difference between cannabis prices on the illicit and legal markets in the fourth quarter of last year widened slightly from the prior three-month period, according to new figures from Statistics Canada. The average price of cannabis in the illicit market during the fourth quarter of 2019 was $5.73 per gram, slightly higher than the $5.65 reported in the prior quarter but below the $6.44 mark tallied in the year-earlier period, data from StatsCan showed in its quarterly release of crowdsourced pricing information. The average price of legal cannabis purchased by Canadians in the fourth quarter was $10.30, edging higher from the $10.12 observed in the prior quarter and up from the $9.69 in the fourth quarter of 2018, the data showed.

  • Swiss cannabis market worth up to half a billion francs annually

    Between 40 and 60 tonnes of cannabis are estimated to be smoked each year across the country
    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Thursday, January 23, 2020

    Cannabis remains by far the most widespread drug enjoyed in Switzerland, even if the value of the market is much lower than that for cocaine. A study published by several groups including Addiction Switzerland estimates the national cannabis market to be worth up to CHF500 million ($516 million). But in canton Vaud, where the study was carried out, the figures show that the total market value was around half that of for cocaine – a finding that Frank Zobel, co-director of Addiction Switzerland, said was a surprise. “We thought that cannabis represented the biggest market in all senses of the word,” he said. “However, the turnover is lower than for cocaine, even if it does remain significantly higher than for other drugs.” (See also: Le marché du cannabis pèse 340 à 500 millions de francs en Suisse)

  • Cannabis companies could go bust in 2020, industry insiders predict

    2 Canadian companies sought creditor protection last month
    CBC News (Canada)
    Tuesday, January 21, 2020

    What a difference a year makes. Around this time in 2019, the cannabis sector was booming. Investors wanted in and stock prices were skyrocketing. Today, share prices have tumbled and analysts are forecasting "many" bankruptcies by the end of the year. Just last month, two Canadian companies, AgMedica and Wayland, were granted creditor protection. Some producers are looking for an exit, even if it means being bought by their competitors. Others looking to beef up their cash reserves are offering to sell off equipment and greenhouses — at a discount. "But in most cases, those are assets you don't want to take on. They're not efficient," said Greg Engel, CEO of cannabis producer Organigram. (See also: Cannabis industry facing a credit crunch as scrutiny, skepticism mount)

  • Colombia will tackle cocaine with a cancer-causing chemical. Only problem is, it won't work

    A new decree, urged on by Trump, means aerial fumigation of coca using glyphosate will likely resume in Colombia after a five-year hiatus
    Vice (US)
    Tuesday, January 21, 2020

    colombia fumigation planesThe Colombian government has published a proposed law that will allow it to resume a controversial program of aerial fumigation of coca crops using glyphosate, a weed-killer thought to cause cancer in people exposed to it regularly and in high doses. The plans are in the final stage of their passage to law, and spraying is expected to begin “in the second half of this year,” said Ricardo Vargas, an expert in crop fumigation and coca at National University of Colombia. Communities have not had the help they needed to move away from the coca trade and now will take the brunt of the new spraying program. “Many social leaders, some of whom have been for promoting the substitution of coca, have been threatened or killed.”

  • Crackdown on laughing gas cartridges and the Danish teenagers who abuse them

    Age and purchase limits will hopefully curtail a drug craze that has reached epidemic proportions
    The Copenhagen Post (Denmark)
    Tuesday, January 21, 2020

    nitrous oxideThe Danish government will present a bill to make it much harder for young people to abuse laughing gas cartridges to get high. The bill, which has a broad majority, will make it illegal for under-18s to buy the nitrous oxide cartridges, which are most commonly used in siphons to produce whipped cream for coffee and desserts. Additionally, it will be illegal for anyone to buy more than two of the eight-gram cartridges at the same time. The cartridges have been popping up all over cycle lanes and pavements over the last two to three years due to their abuse by teenagers who inhale the gas for a short-term euphoric effect. (See also: Why Denmark wants to ban under-18s from buying laughing gas)

  • MPs, health experts and lawyers call for new approach to drugs

    The manifesto calls on the government to set up an independent committee to come up with recommendations to reform drugs policy
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Monday, January 20, 2020

    netherlands cannabis plantation2MPs, television celebrities, lawyers, leading lights from the dance scene and health experts are among the 79 people who have signed a new manifesto calling for major reform in official Dutch drugs policy. ‘The need for a new and realistic drugs policy is greater than ever. The international drug trade has taken root in the Netherlands and with serious consequences,’ the online manifesto states. A regulated – not a free – drugs market the starting point of a new drugs policy,’ the manifesto states. ‘lllegality fuels crime. That is why we must tackle the revenue model of the criminals and make a regulated drug market the starting point of a new drugs policy.’ Regulation, the signatories say, will open up more possibilities when it comes to prevention, public information, price and quality.

  • Marijuana legalization may hit 40 states. Now what?

    Changes in state laws could usher in even more confusion for law enforcement and escalate the pressure on Congress to act
    Politico (US)
    Monday, January 20, 2020

    us flag cannabis capitolMore than 40 U.S. states could allow some form of legal marijuana by the end of 2020, including deep red Mississippi and South Dakota — and they’re doing it with the help of some conservatives. State lawmakers are teeing up their bills as legislative sessions kick off around the country, and advocates pushing ballot measures are racing to collect and certify signatures to meet deadlines for getting their questions to voters. Should they succeed, every state could have marijuana laws on the books that deviate from federal law, but people could still be prosecuted if they drive across state lines with their weed, because the total federal ban on marijuana isn’t expected to budge any time soon. (See also: Congress investigates lifting some cannabis restrictions)

  • Major Canadian pot companies facing proposed class-action lawsuits in the U.S.

    Each producer is accused of misleading investors or failing to disclose certain problems with their businesses
    CBC News (Canada)
    Sunday, January 19, 2020

    canada industrial cannabis village farmsSome of Canada's biggest cannabis producers are facing proposed class-action lawsuits in the United States after investors were hit with steep financial losses in the stock market. At least nine U.S. law firms are pursuing cases against Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis and Hexo Corp. in American courts. Although the allegations vary, each pot producer is accused of misleading investors or failing to disclose certain problems with their businesses. When those problems became publicly known, the lawsuits claim, share prices plunged and investors were stuck with losses. "[Investors] are mad; they were taken by surprise," said Reed Kathrein, a lawyer at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, which is pursuing claims against all three producers.

  • Pot industry heads to Davos as stocks rebound: Cannabis Weekly

    Cannabis House will run alongside the World Economic Forum
    Bloomberg (US)
    Sunday, January 19, 2020

    cannabis industry ny2016Tough times in the cannabis industry aren’t stopping its leaders from going to Davos. For the second year in a row, there will be a Cannabis House in Davos, Switzerland this week alongside the schmoozing and speeches of the World Economic Forum. The 2020 offering promises to be “a little more formal and more professional” than last year’s, according to Jason Paltrowitz, executive vice president of corporate services at OTC Markets Group, one of the sponsors of the Cannabis House. Cannabis House will feature a two-day conference focused on the themes of Davos 2020, including sustainability, climate change, social equity and impact investing. (See also: Major Canadian pot companies facing proposed class-action lawsuits in the U.S.)

  • Sars would benefit if growing cannabis is legalised, says Tito Mboweni

    Despite the hype, the large-scale commercialisation of dagga is not the right economic route to follow
    Independent on Saturday (South Africa)
    Saturday, January 18, 2020

    south africa daggaFinance Minister Tito Mboweni’s tweet about pushing for it to be legal to grow cannabis - for the SA Revenue Service’s sake - is a step in the direction towards including small growers, although it is more likely they will remain in the informal economy. This is the view of GG Alcock, informal economy expert and author of Kasinomics and Kasinomic Revolution, who said: "We need a policy which is like fair trade coffee where companies like Starbucks invest in small farmers in Costa Rica and central Africa, supplying them with seed and plant stock and then buying the coffee from them. This should be the model we explore, investing in small farmers and then aggregating their crop via large commercial entities. ... the problem is that government models do not currently consider this type of model."

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