Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • No mandatory prison sentence for personal cannabis cultivation under new rules

    Justice minister Owen Bonnici presents amendments to drug dependency laws
    Malta Today (Malta)
    Thursday, December 12, 2019

    malta cannabis flagThe prison sentence for a woman who was cultivating cannabis for her personal use, has led to the proposal of legal amendments that will give the Maltese courts discretion on how to sentence such cases. Justice Minister Owen Bonnici presented a package of legal amendments that will give the courts discretion on whether to sentence to jail people who can show that the cultivation of cannabis was for their strict personal use. Malta removed a previous mandatory term of imprisonment of six months for people found cultivating cannabis “in a small quantity not exceeding one plant, in circumstances where the Court is satisfied that such cultivation was for personal use.” Cultivation of cannabis will remain illegal under the new rules.

  • Cannabis: le National entre en matière

    Le Conseil national est entré en matière mardi, par 100 voix contre 85, sur la question des essais pilotes de distribution de cannabis
    Tribune de Genève (Suisse)
    Mardi, 10 novembre 2019

    switzerland cannabis3Le Parlement pourra aborder la question des essais pilotes de distribution de cannabis. Contre l'avis de sa commission, le nouveau Conseil national est entré en matière mardi. Le projet qui vise à mener des programmes strictement encadrés. La discussion n'a porté que sur l'entrée en matière. Le dossier retourne auprès de la commission qui avait proposé de rejeter le projet suite à un rapport de l'Office fédéral de la santé publique. Le Conseil fédéral veut créer une base légale dans la loi sur les stupéfiants pour pouvoir mener des études scientifiques sur les effets d'une utilisation contrôlée du cannabis. Son objectif est de comprendre le fonctionnement du marché et de combattre le marché noir.

  • Inside the billion-dollar race to patent cannabis

    Phylos has chosen to support Big Ag over craft botanists. They took the money
    Leafly (US)
    Monday, December 9, 2019

    cannabis bud2The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has already issued several patents for specific kinds of cannabis and for more wide-ranging “utility patents,”  but so far they’ve gone unenforced and unnoticed. Today’s legal cannabis market is worth an estimated $11 billion. That could easily double within the next few years. Imagine holding a patent that required every grower of a popular strain to pay the patent holder a licensing fee. Biotech startups and Big Ag corporations aren’t imagining—they’re planning. With federal legalization looming, some are already filing patent claims on cannabis strains. The bigger players are waiting in the wings, ready to purchase patents and claim ownership of hugely valuable DNA. (See also: Legacy growers defend their strains against a Big Ag takeover)

  • La légalisation du cannabis récréatif dans les limbes

    La mesure, qui sera en premier lieu soumise au Conseil de gouvernement, pourrait bien mettre le Luxembourg dans une position délicate
    Luxemburger Wort (Luxembourg)
    Mercredi, 4 decembre 2019

    luxembourg cannabisSi l'usage thérapeutique du cannabis est déjà entré dans une phase de test, son emploi «à des fins récréatives» n'est pas encore à l'ordre du jour de la Chambre. Annoncée à plusieurs reprises par le gouvernement de Luxembourg, la mesure devrait «prochainement» aboutir à un projet de loi, a annoncé Etienne Schneider (LSAP), ministre de la Santé. Le projet de loi qui inquiète les voisins du Grand-Duché n'est pas encore prêt. Aucune date précise n'a été avancée. La future disposition pourrait entrer en conflit avec des conventions internationales ratifiées par le pays. (A lire aussi: Luxembourg : plus d’obstacles que prévu sur le cannabis)

  • The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far

    Home cultivation will be limited to two plants per person and four plants per household
    Public Address (New Zealand)
    Wednesday, December 4, 2019

    nz cannabis flag2As you’re probably aware, the draft bill outlining the proposed legal cannabis regime to be put to a referendum late next year was published, and has already attracted a flurry of comment. It’s notable that a good deal of the comment is about proposals that aren’t actually new. A minimum age of purchase of 20, regulation of potency, restriction of use to private homes and licensed premises, inclusion of harm-reduction messaging, permission for physical but not online retail, recognition of “social sharing”, permission for home cultivation, no importation of cannabis products, regulated sale of edibles and concentrates, and a ban on advertising and most marketing – these were all clearly laid out in the Cabinet paper in May.

  • Drug Foundation praises the proposed cannabis law – but National says it's not up to scratch

    Individuals will be allowed to carry only 14g of dried cannabis
    New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
    Tuesday, December 3, 2019

    The Government outlined details of what they'll be voting for in next year's cannabis referendum. The New Zealand Drug Foundation is welcoming the proposed new law which would regulate the use of cannabis, if it's made legal after next year's referendum. But National said although the draft bill was well-intentioned it's not doing the job it needs to do. At the 2020 election, New Zealanders will be asked: "Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?" The legislation specifies a minimum age of 20 to use or purchase a recreational cannabis product. It prohibits the consumption of cannabis in public spaces, limiting use to private homes and licensed premises. (See also: Cannabis referendum: Proposed possession, purchase limits and supply details unveiled)

  • Personal drug use and possession should be decriminalised, former Supreme Court justice argues

    A new paper is calling on Australian governments to decriminalise personal drug use
    ABC News (Australia)
    Monday, December 2, 2019

    Richard RefshaugeThe criminalisation of illicit drugs is causing more harm than good, a prominent former judge has said, calling for criminal offences relating to personal drug possession to be abolished. Retired ACT Supreme Court Justice Richard Refshauge is the patron of Directions Health Services that has produced a position paper on the matter. "We know that in certain cases it's clear that penalties can reduce illegal behaviour," he said. "In the case of drugs the evidence is all the other way. Putting people who use small amounts of drugs occasionally into the criminal justice system actually piles prejudice, upon prejudice, upon prejudice." In September, the ACT Government passed laws to legalise personal cannabis use.

  • ‘B.C. bud’ cannabis still underground, John Horgan hopes to rescue it

    Legal marijuana mostly from out of province, not selling well
    Nelson Star (Canada)
    Monday, December 2, 2019

    British Columbia used to supply half of Canada’s marijuana, export it to the United States by the hockey bag, and bring home a bong-full of blue ribbons for its exotic “B.C. bud” strains from international Cannabis Cup competitions in Amsterdam. Premier John Horgan argues that this history is the main reason why legal marijuana has fizzled so far in B.C., a year into Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s bold legalization experiment. Horgan’s government is moving to take over the “economic development” part of legal cannabis from Ottawa, because its ponderous Health Canada licence system for growers is working great for mass-market producers in Ontario and Quebec. And it’s killing B.C. bud. (See also: British Columbia chamber lobbies province over craft cannabis cultivation)

  • Consider decriminalisation to tackle drug death ‘crisis’, say treatment providers in unprecedented plea

    Frontline services demand end to ideology-driven policy to save ‘thousands of lives’
    The Independent (UK)
    Sunday, December 1, 2019

    The future UK government has been urged to consider every available measure to curb the current drug death “crisis, including decriminalisation, in an unprecedented plea from the UK’s major drug treatment providers. They implored the next government to be “brave and radical” in the changes they make to current drug laws, described as “not fit for the modern world”. An independent commission must be established to revamp “incredibly outdated” policy, with no options off the table, said the UK’s largest drug treatment provider, Change Grow Live. Ahead of the general election, the charity urged all political parties to commit to setting up this commission and implementing whatever it recommends.

  • Medical grade heroin drug treatment centre to open in Glasgow

    Staff are fully trained in overdose and have access to defibrillators and naloxone
    Evening Times (Scotland)
    Tuesday, November 26, 2019

    dcr brightonA new service providing medical grade heroin to the most problematic drug users in Glasgow is ready to open. The Enhanced Drug Treatment Service will treat the most at risk heroin users who are in danger of overdose, HIV and Hepatitis C. The facility is a first in Scotland and described by officials as "gold standard" treatment. The facility, costing £1.2m which is located just outside the city centre expects to treat around 20 patients in the first year and doubling to 40 in year two. The city’s Health and Social Care Partnership wants to open a safe drug consumption facility on the same site but UK drug laws currently won’t allow it. (See also: Scottish government urged to declare drug addiction emergency | Pioneering Glasgow clinic offers addicts pharmaceutical grade heroin)

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