Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • When harm reduction expansion stifles activism: A lesson from Europe

    Without activism, highly damaging structures—the remaining bad drug policies and inequalities—are left unchallenged
    Filter (US)
    Tuesday, July 23, 2019

    Western European harm reduction presents an interesting paradox. On the one hand, the widespread availability of effective harm reduction programs is laudable. Drug-related disease rates are low. Overdose rates are low. A variety of treatment options, from abstinence to methadone to prescription heroin, are available in many areas at no cost. Integrated care models⁠—ones that recognize the complex stew of social, economic, psychological and familial circumstances that contribute to problematic drug use⁠—are common. Gone are the days of begging for funding scraps to support a meager staff. But these far-reaching successes have come at a price. (See also: Where have all the activists gone?)

  • Cannabis among top priorities for new Thai government

    Thailand, which had a tradition of using cannabis to relieve pain and fatigue, legalised marijuana for medical use and research last year
    Reuters (UK)
    Monday, July 22, 2019

    Developing a medical cannabis industry is among top policy priorities for Thailand's new government, according to a document released before the formal announcement. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the former junta leader who heads a civilian government following March elections, is due to set out the policies for debate in the national assembly. Developing the medical cannabis industry was a key demand of the Bhumjaithai party, one of the biggest parties in Prayuth's 19-party coalition. "The study and technological development of marijuana, hemp, and other medicinal herbs should be sped up for the medical industry to create economic opportunity and income for the people," the policy document said.

  • Breaking Brabant: Drug labs blight a Dutch landscape

    The Netherlands is one of the world’s largest producers of ecstasy and amphetamines
    Politico (EU)
    Monday, July 22, 2019

    North Brabant is Europe's biggest producer of synthetic drugs, such as ecstasy and amphetamine. In 2017, 21 active ecstasy laboratories were dismantled in the EU, up from 11 in 2016 — and all of them were in the Netherlands, according to a report released by the EU drugs agency in June. Local government experts estimate the annual volume of waste from illicit drug production is about 255,000 kg per year. Most of it is dumped in the countryside, resulting in 109 reported findings in 2018, up from 83 in 2017. "It's a very complex issue, but we must seek to regulate this type of drugs on an EU-level in a different way," says Maarten Groothuizen, MP and justice spokesman for the D66 party, hinting at the Dutch gedoogbeleid (“tolerance policy”) that's already in place for the sale of cannabis in coffee shops.

  • Govt. has ignored benefits of cannabis, claims plea in HC

    Petition challenges NDPS Act that criminalises cultivation and use of the drug
    The Hindu (India)
    Friday, July 19, 2019

    india ganja legalizationThere is not a single document which shows that cannabis is lethal to human, a social cause litigation has claimed before the Delhi High Court in its pursuit to bring an end to various existing laws in India that prohibit and criminalise its use. Bangalore-based cannabis advocacy group Great Legalisation Movement India, in its petition, has challenged various sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and Rules that criminalise the cultivation, possession and use of cannabis. A Bench of Justice G.S. Sistani and Justice Jyoti Singh asked for more details on the plea, including on the aspect of regulation while raising concerns over rising drug abuse cases. The Bench has posted the hearing on the petition in late August. (See also: Delhi HC to examine plea to legalise cannabis use)

  • The profile of festival drug takers might be different to what you expect

    Common assumptions about Australian festival goers and the risks they take may be wrong
    The Conversation (UK)
    Thursday, July 18, 2019

    A NSW Coronial Inquest investigating a series of drug-related deaths at Australian music festivals has heard evidence of festival goers taking multiple concurrent doses of MDMA to avoid police detection and not receiving adequate medical attention. But a lack of knowledge about the drug use patterns and demographic profile of festival goers has stymied capacity to develop evidence-informed policy responses. Two data reports may help to inform the inquest and shed light on these patterns. Both reports are based on data from more than 5,000 Australian festival goers who completed the Global Drug Survey from late 2018. (See also: 'Please someone': inquest hears of tragic teen's cries for help)

  • No punishment for minors with small amounts of cannabis

    The Federal Court cleared up any lingering confusion around differences in treatment between adults and minors
    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Thursday, July 18, 2019

    switzerland cannabis2Possession of less than 10 grams of cannabis is not a punishable offence in Switzerland, regardless of whether you are a minor or an adult, the Federal Court has confirmed. In publishing its precedent decision, the Federal Court in Lausanne cleared up any lingering confusion around differences in treatment between adults and minors – no distinction should be made, judges ruled. The court said that while the protection of minors was a key component of the narcotics law, imposing heftier fines on youths was not the solution. Rather, judges said, prevention, therapy, and larger punishments for dealers was a better strategy.

  • Licences approved as St Vincent's Cannabis industry opens

    Barbadian investors would likely use the knowledge and experience gained in St Vincent to build out the sector at home
    Loop (Caribbean)
    Monday, July 15, 2019

    St Vincent’s Medicinal Marijuana industry is a go. Over 30 licences have been approved by the Medicinal Cannabis Authority (MCA) for the cultivation, development and export of medicinal marijuana products. The MCA has approved licences for eight local farmers’ producer cooperatives with an aggregated membership of over 100 traditional cultivators; traditional cultivators of cannabis who applied individually; three non-traditional local farmers; and 10 companies with the directorship of nationals from the OECS, CARICOM, North America, Europe and Africa. MCA said based on the applications under review it projects that by September an additional 200 traditional cultivators will obtain cultivation licences. (See also: Vincy ‘high’ | Acres Agricultural Canada receives 300-acre cannabis license)

  • Support for legalising cannabis growing among British public, survey finds

    Poll shows policy-makers are 'significantly behind' tide of public opinion, says former Tory minister
    The Independent (UK)
    Sunday, July 14, 2019

    Twice as many British adults now support the legalisation of cannabis than oppose it, according to a poll which reveals a “widening gulf” between public opinion and drug laws. Forty-eight per cent of voters favour legalising recreational use of marijuana, up five points in the past year, with only 24 per cent objecting, found the YouGov survey. Support for medicinal cannabis was even stronger, with 77 per cent of respondents saying it should be permitted. A similar proportion said they would consider using cannabis-based treatments if there was strong evidence it would benefit them. The Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group (CDPRG), which commissioned the poll, said the findings indicated “clear and growing appetite” for a new approach to drug policy in the UK.

  • Cannabis pilot project agreement signed in Accompong

    Signing will ensure that traditional growers of ganja are not left out of the formal cannabis system
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Wednesday, July 10, 2019

    A tripartite agreement was signed to implement a cannabis pilot programme in Accompong, St Elizabeth, under the Cannabis Licensing Authority's (CLA) Alternative Development Programme. The agreement was signed by representatives of the CLA, Accompong Town Maroons, and Timeless Herbal Care. The Alternative Development Programme is being implemented as a strategy to transition traditional cannabis farmers from an illicit framework into the regulated environment, as a means of promoting sustainable economic development and poverty eradication. It is also aimed at providing access to quality-controlled cannabis for medicinal purposes, in keeping with government policy.

  • Coca, the illicit plant that funded Colombia’s civil war, is flourishing again

    Duque’s plan to destroy it is drawing opposition
    The Washington Post (US)
    Wednesday, July 10, 2019

    It was eight years ago the last time planes came to spray poison on Noralba Quintero’s coca crop in the jungled foothills here by the mighty Magdalena River. Until recently, she thought those days were over. Quintero’s community was one of thousands that relied on the plant from which cocaine is made to survive through Colombia’s decades-long civil war. With the historic peace accord of 2016, the government was supposed to help the farmers transition to legal agriculture. But that pledge remains unfulfilled — and coca has proliferated. Now President Iván Duque, pressured by the United States, is pushing hard to resume aerial fumigation with glyphosate, the controversial practice that officials here say is the most effective way of eradicating the illicit crop that helped fund the war.

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