Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media

 

  • Germany to launch cannabis farming as Canada's Aurora, Aphria win tenders

    Germany has depended on imports of medical cannabis, mainly from Canada and the Netherlands
    Reuters (UK)
    Thursday, April 18, 2019

    medical cannabis docterGermany has awarded contracts to supply domestically-grown cannabis to two Canadian companies, as it seeks to develop its own medicinal marijuana industry and reduce reliance on imports. Drugs regulator BfArM said it would purchase 4,000 kg and 3,200 kg of cannabis over four years from German production subsidiaries of Canada’s Aurora Cannabis and Aphria, respectively. Another tender over a four-year harvest of 3200 kg has been delayed because an unidentified bidder who lost out is challenging the procedure with a regulator. The first home-grown harvest is slated for late 2020.

  • 4/21 organizers want to reclaim cannabis from corporations

    Legalization has to be done right—with guaranteed jobs, guaranteed economic benefits, and guaranteed community benefits
    Leafly (US)
    Thursday, April 18, 2019

    On 4/20, cannabis consumers across the United States will light one up in celebration of cannabis culture. In 10 states and counting, that celebration is perfectly legal. But as the annual ritual transitions from grassroots activism to commercialized indulgence, advocates want to remind consumers that the social justice work isn’t over just yet. On April 21, a coalition of justice and reform-minded organizations are launching what they’re calling the 421 For All campaign with a fundraiser designed to spotlight the ongoing need for comprehensive cannabis reform, especially in those states that have legalized but have yet to fulfill promises of “righting the wrongs of the drug war.” (See also: How the cannabis industry defeated legalization in New York)

  • Calls for drug law reform in Sweden as drug deaths continue unabated

    Despite the large number of opioid-related deaths, the government has failed to introduce evidence-based health policies
    Talking Drugs (UK)
    Thursday, April 18, 2019

    The debate around Sweden’s zero-tolerance drug policy has been reignited in recent months, due to the approach’s failure to reduce drug deaths. Sweden currently has one of the highest rates of drug-related deaths in Europe. This rate is more than four times the EU average. The Swedish government claims its strict legislation is aimed at reducing drug use, but that may be on the rise too. Recent government data indicates a slight rise in cannabis use among young people, while “ecstasy” (MDMA) use is also on the increase. Possession of drugs for personal use continues to be criminalised, and can be punished by a fine or prison sentence. A majority of political parties in the government's Committee on Health and Welfare now support reevaluating this approach.

  • The cannabis ‘gold rush’ is underway and shows no sign of stopping, says pot CEO

    Cannabis is an opportunity for monstrous tax revenue
    CNBC (US)
    Thursday, April 18, 2019

    cannabis investingWith 33 states now offering some form of legal medical or recreational marijuana, and pot companies expanding their footprints across the country, the cannabis “gold rush” is underway — and it won’t stop anytime soon, says Ben Kovler, founder, chairman and CEO of Green Thumb Industries. “The opportunity in cannabis is here in the U.S.,” Kovler said adding that “the phone rings a lot” at Green Thumb as companies in diverse sectors start to field opportunities in the space. “This is where the market is,” he said. “This is a $50 [billion] to $80 billion industry where total market capitalization is still under $15 billion. So it’s a really exciting time, and you can see that the U.S. is where the operators want to be.” (See also: Cannabis CEOs bet on US pot legalisation within a year)

  • These are the countries most likely to legalize weed next

    Mexico? Likely. India? Not so much
    Vice (US)
    Wednesday, April 17, 2019

    In October 2018, Canada became the second country after Uruguay—and the first G7 nation—to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, politicians took the plunge largely to reduce underage access to weed. So who's next? To formulate some well-educated predictions, we spoke to an ace team of weed experts who have been on the frontline of reform, from region to region, for decades. Come with us as we peek into our bud-crusted crystal ball. “Mexico will almost certainly legalize and regulate in 2019,” said Tom Blickman, senior project officer at the Transnational Institute.

  • Canada's legal weed struggles to light up as smokers stick to black market

    Six months after legalisation, licensed producers are unable to keep up with the demand or quality of neighborhood dealers
    The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday, April 17, 2019

    canada cannabis flagWhen Melissa, a resident of Halifax, Nova Scotia, went to one of Canada’s first government cannabis stores, she wasn’t impressed. “You can’t look at what they have. You can’t smell the product,” she said. “It’s too expensive.” And so she, like tens of thousand of other Canadians, went back to their old habits: buying from neighbourhood dealers. Six months after Canada became the first G7 country to legalise marijuana, the bold experiment is still struggling to get off the ground. Legal producers were unable to meet the sudden surge in demand, and struggled for weeks to fill orders, leaving marijuana stores with empty shelves. As a result, the vast majority of cannabis sales in the country – roughly $5bn – are made on the illegal markets, compared to $2bn in legal sales.

  • Jamaica’s cannabis gamble

    How to sell dope without provoking America
    The Economist (UK)
    Wednesday, April 17, 2019

    Jamaica is starting to think of cannabis as an opportunity. Uruguay, Canada and ten American states have legalised it for recreational use. Ganja, as Jamaicans call it, is a “growth-oriented industry”, says Audley Shaw, the agriculture minister. In 2015 Jamaica decriminalised the possession of small amounts and allowed its cultivation for medical use. But Jamaica’s welcome is wary. It is trying to cash in on cannabis without provoking the United States. The risk of miscalculation is high. The island has become a magnet for marijuana merchants. In September Aphria, one of three “golden boys” of Canadian weed, bought a 49% stake in a grower in Jamaica.

  • Germany: Drivers on cannabis will no longer automatically lose license

    Experts have argued that cannabis users can still have THC in their blood even days after consumption
    Deutsche Welle (Germany)
    Friday, April 12, 2019

    germany police cannabisFirst time offenders of driving under the influence of cannabis will no longer have their driver's license revoked, a federal court in Leipzig ruled. Instead, driver's license authorities must first declare with a medical evaluation whether or not the cannabis user was fit to drive. Under current law, a drivers license can be revoked if the driver is unable to drive due to the consumption of alcohol, cannabis or other drugs. In regards to cannabis, the law applied drivers caught with one nanogram per millimeter of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis — in their bloodstream.

  • Dutch ministers unveil marijuana plans

    Ministers say they expect the decision about which local authorities will take part will be made by the end of the year
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Thursday, April 11, 2019

    The Dutch government is to press ahead with experiments in regulated marijuana production involving 10 licenced growers, according to the detailed plans. The long-awaited experiment with regulated growing is supposed to remove the gray area between the sale of marijuana in council-licenced coffee shops and the illegal cultivation and supply. The plans, which were put out to consultation last year, state that the 10 growers will all have to produce at least 10 different types of marijuana product and the thc content will have to be clearly marked on the packaging. The plans have been criticized by the Dutch local authorities association VNG, drugs and legal experts and coffee shop owners. (See also: Holland’s half-baked attempt to return to the marijuana vanguard)

  • Alex Berenson and the last anti-cannabis crusade

    How a best-selling thriller writer and media hound is spreading a moral panic about pot
    The New Republic (US)
    Wednesday, April 10, 2019

    harry anslinger quoteThe encroaching specter of mass legalization of cannabis has triggered a strange reprisal of the alarmist themes of Anslinger’s assault on the plant over 80 years ago. More curious still, our celebrated latter-day apostle of Anslingerism—the thriller novelist Alex Berenson—has been embraced by a credulous mainstream and liberal press. One might imagine that in this day and age we would have grown immune to moral entrepreneurship in the context of cannabis, now that a movement has begun to unravel Anslinger’s legacy. But in tandem with the momentum toward national legalization of cannabis, a new crop of moral entrepreneurs, led by Berenson, have stepped forward to enforce the crumbling status quo.

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