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  • Why Indonesia’s drugs problem is getting worse despite ‘shoot on sight’ orders and draconian laws

    President Joko Widodo has given authorities wider powers, drug laws have been tightened and the death penalty for drugs reinstated
    South China Morning Post (China)
    Tuesday, November 21, 2017

    In the eyes of Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, drug use is a serious problem. Inspired by his Filipino counterpart Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, authorities have been granted shoot-on-sight orders for dealers and traffickers, while lawmakers are introducing increasingly tougher regulations. Yet the world’s fourth most populated country remains awash with drugs. According to Sulistiandriatmoko, the chief representative of the National Anti-Narcotics Agency, official data shows there are nearly six million drug users across the sprawling archipelago. A 2016 report by international research and advocacy group the Transnational Institute found that between 2009 and 2012, about 37,000 Indonesians were sentenced to jail terms for using cannabis.

  • Federal government proposes 'micro' cultivation licences for small growers, rolls out public cannabis consultation

    Cultivation licences would be divided into four categories
    The Georgia Straight (Canada)
    Tuesday, November 21, 2017

    The federal government has proposed a licensing program that could allow for more of B.C.'s 'micro' producers to be included in the legal mix. Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor announced the release of a consultation paper detailing the government's proposed approach to the regulation of cannabis. She also announced the launch of a 60-day consultation period, and said that the government is eager to hear from Canadians, provinces and territories, municipalities, industry stakeholders, patients and more on its plan. Among the regulatory proposals set out in the paper, the first proposes a system for licensing that intends to allow for different activities in the market. (See also: Canada proposes health warnings, child-proof packs for legal pot sales)

  • White House says true cost of opioid drug epidemic in 2015 was $504bn

    Report factors in illicit opiods like heroin as well as prescription drugs
    The Guardian (UK)
    Monday, November 20, 2017

    The White House says the true cost of the opioid drug epidemic in 2015 was $504bn. In an analysis, the Council of Economic Advisers says the figure is more than six times larger than the most recent estimate. A 2016 study estimated that prescription opioid overdoses, abuse and dependence in the US in 2013 cost $78.5bn. Most of that was attributed to healthcare and criminal justice spending, along with lost productivity. The council's estimate is significantly larger because the epidemic has worsened, with overdose deaths doubling in the past decade, and that some previous studies did not reflect the number of fatalities blamed on opioids, a powerful but addictive category of painkillers. (See also: China disputes Trump’s claim of flood of Chinese fentanyl into US)

  • Here are the new rules for legal marijuana in California, effective Jan. 1

    The state dropped 276 pages of regulations yesterday - here's an overview
    The Cannabist (US)
    Friday, November 17, 2017

    Cannabis businesses in California can’t be within 600 feet of schools. Shops have to close by 10 p.m., and they need 24-hour video surveillance. Those regulations are in the new rule book for California’s cannabis industry, which state regulators released. “I feel a big sigh of relief. It’s a big milestone for us to release these regulations,” said Lori Ajax, chief of the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control. “But there’s still a lot of work to be done. No rest for the weary.” The rulebook gives aspiring and established marijuana businesses their first look at 276 pages of regulations they must abide by come Jan. 1, when the state will start issuing licenses for the multibillion-dollar industry and allowing recreational pot sales to start for the first time.

  • Ottawa approves temporary overdose-prevention sites in bid to address opioid crisis

    About 3,000 people could die of opioid overdoses in 2017
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Thursday, November 16, 2017

    Ottawa will let provinces and territories open temporary sites for drug-overdose prevention while their applications for permanent facilities are processed, a measure officials hope will curb the country's deadly substance-abuse crisis, the federal Health Minister said. Ginette Petitpas Taylor also said that existing sites for supervised drug consumption, which provide more services than overdose-prevention sites, will be permitted to allow users to check their illicit drugs for the presence of the opioid fentanyl. As well, the federal government wants to reduce regulatory barriers that limit access to prescription-grade heroin for people in drug-treatment programs.

  • Brazil must legalise drugs – its existing policy just destroys lives

    For decades, guns and imprisonment have been the hallmarks of Brazil’s war against the drug trafficking. But the only way to beat the gangs is to stop creating criminals, says a top Brazilian judge
    The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday, November 15, 2017

    The war raging in Rocinha, Latin America’s largest favela, has already been lost. Rooted in a dispute between gangs for control of drug trafficking, it has disrupted the daily life of the community in Rio de Janeiro since mid-September. With the sound of shots coming from all sides, schools and shops are constantly forced to close. The war is not the only thing being lost. For decades, Brazil has had the same drug policy approach. Police, weapons and numerous arrests. It does not take an expert to conclude the obvious: the strategy has failed. Drug trafficking and consumption have only increased. "The insanity of Brazil’s drug policy is striking," says Brazilian supreme court judge Luís Roberto Barroso.

  • Le coup de frein à la dépénalisation du cannabis fait tousser les experts

    L'Université de Berne se voit interdire de mener une étude sur la consommation contrôlée. Tollé dans les milieux de la prévention
    Tribune de Genève (Suisse)
    Mercredi, 15 novembre 2017

    Pas question d’analyser les effets d’une vente régulée de cannabis sur les consommateurs et sur le marché illégal. L’Office fédéral de la santé publique (OFSP) a opposé son veto à l’Université de Berne, qui souhaitait mener une telle étude en ville de Berne. La Commission cantonale d’éthique et de la recherche avait pourtant donné son accord, tout comme le Fonds national suisse, désireux de financer le projet à hauteur de 720 000 francs. Dans les milieux concernés, c’est la consternation. Au nom de la Fédération des professionnels des addictions, Jean-Félix Savary fustige «une décision catastrophique». (Voir aussi: Des regrets sur l'arrêt de l'étude sur le cannabis)

  • Bern cannabis study rejected for legal reasons

    The office did not reject the pilot project outright, saying from a health policy perspective “such projects explore new approaches by society to cannabis”
    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Tuesday, November 14, 2017

    The University of Bern cannot conduct a study on the effects of the regulated sale of cannabis in pharmacies on behalf of the city’s authorities. In a written reply the Federal Office of Public Health says the legal framework does not exist to authorise such a scientific project as “current drugs legislation does not allow the use of cannabis for non-medical reasons”. In May 2017, researchers from the university’s Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine and the Clinical Trials Unit filed a request with the health office for an authorisation to carry out a scientific study on the effects of the regulated sale of cannabis for recreational purposes via pharmacies. It also planned to study the illegal cannabis market in the Swiss capital. (Bundesrat Berset blockiert Cannabis-Politik der Städte)

  • L'Uni de Berne ne pourra pas se servir de cannabis

    L'Office fédéral de la santé publique estime que la loi sur les stupéfiants interdit une consommation pour des raisons non médicales
    Tribune de Génève (Suisse)
    Mardi, 14 novembre 2017

    Ce projet devait permettre d'étudier les effets de la régularisation de la vente de cannabis sur les consommateurs et sur le trafic de stupéfiants à Berne. D'autres villes comme Genève, Zurich, Bâle ou Bienne avaient manifesté leur intérêt pour cette expérience. Les participants se seraient procuré le cannabis dans les pharmacies. Mais la consommation de cannabis à des fins récréatives comme l'envisageait cette étude est exclue, a souligné l'Office Fédéral de la Santé Publique (OFSP). La Confédération n'a donc pas octroyé d'autorisation exceptionnelle. L'Université de Berne va examiner cette décision avant de faire éventuellement recours. Elle dispose d'un délai de 30 jours.

  • Medical cannabis cultivation: could Germany be the next Canada or Netherlands?

    The number of Germans receiving a prescription for medical cannabis has increased tenfold since before March this year
    The Local (Germany)
    Tuesday, November 14, 2017

    Despite the implementation of the legalization of medical marijuana in Germany in March, patients have been met with high prices, supply shortages and persistent taboos. The new law mandates that insurance companies cover the costs of upwards of 100 grams of the flower per month for chronically and terminally ill patients. But instead, more hurdles arose. Now some patients are waiting up to a few months to get their hands on the drug, imported at even higher prices from established markets in Canada and the Netherlands. Many doctors are wary of divvying out prescriptions for the stigmatized substance, and insurance companies are reluctant to pay. Home-grown, meanwhile, became strictly forbidden. Could domestic growing possibilities help?

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