Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Congressional committee discusses how to legalize cannabis

    The hearing highlighted competing visions of what reform should look like
    Leafly (US)
    Wednesday, July 10, 2019

    us flag cannabisIn a first-of-its-kind hearing, a key congressional committee met to discuss how to finally put an end to federal cannabis prohibition. Titled Marijuana Laws in America: Racial Justice and the Need for Reform, it was the latest indication of just how far Congress has come on cannabis reform after decades of intransigence. Americans now broadly support cannabis legalization, with a majority of both Democrats and Republicans in favor. The bipartisan agreement was on display at a House Judiciary subcommittee meeting, where members of both parties expressed frustration at the current state of the country’s cannabis laws. But while lawmakers seemed to agree on the need for reform, the hearing also highlighted tensions between competing visions of what reform should look like.

  • How do we eliminate the cannabis black market? License it

    Canadians prefer buying from their old dealers – often for good reason
    National Magazine (Canada)
    Wednesday, July 10, 2019

    canada flag cannabisGiven a choice, Canadians prefer to buy illicit weed. Nearly 80 per cent of all sales since legalization are from the “black market” – or more aptly named the “original market.” Contrary to what the government and the legal industry would have consumers believe, much of the illicit cannabis on the market today is of higher quality than that grown by licensed producers (LPs). The legalization of cannabis was a step in the right direction. But it also ushered in an elitist regulatory system that promoted big business to thrive in the face of the pre-existing culture and industry. The government encouraged titans of capital to build a new cannabis industry right on top of the original, underground industry, by people who know more about corporate financing models than how to grow the plant. 

  • Illegal cannabis getting even cheaper, as legal gets costlier, StatsCan says

    Gap between legal and illegal varieties as wide as $4.72 per gram, on average
    CBC News (Canada)
    Wednesday, July 10, 2019

    Statistics Canada's quarterly report on cannabis prices suggests the cost chasm between legal and illegal versions of the drug is wide, and getting wider. The data agency reported that the price gap between the two types of cannabis is as wide as $4.72 a gram. Canada legalized recreational cannabis last October, but the rollout across the country has been plagued by delays, limited supply, and other logistical issues. Three months ago, StatsCan's report of the first full quarter of price information showed the gap between legal cannabis and the illegal variety was $3.62 a gram. That means the illegal stuff today is roughly half the cost of the legal variety. So it is not surprising that more than half — 59 per cent — of respondents said they purchased illegal cannabis during the period.

  • Make cannabis legal and cut crime, says Adam Smith think tank

    Legalisation in the UK could be reasonably expected within the next five to 10 years
    Evening Standard (UK)
    Tuesday, July 9, 2019

    uk evening standard cannabisA leading think tank today called for cannabis to be sold over the counter in pharmacies — and said legalisation for adult recreational use is a matter of “when, not if”.  The Adam Smith Institute, a non-profit organisation that promotes free-market socially liberal ideas and has strong links to the Conservative Party, said the best way for the next Tory government to tackle serious youth violence and knife crime is to legalise cannabis. Its report, “The Green Light — how legalising and regulating cannabis will reduce crime, protect children and improve safety”, calls for a Colorado-type free-market model augmented by elements of the Canadian public health approach, namely educating the public as to the harms of cannabis via product label warnings and public information campaigns.

  • Youth marijuana use declined in states that legalized, study finds

    The results run counter to long-standing fears expressed by opponents of legalization
    Marijuana Moment (US)
    Monday, July 8, 2019

    us flag cannabis capitolLegalizing marijuana is associated with a decline in youth cannabis consumption, according to a new study in a journal published by the American Medical Association. The research, which analyzed federal data on marijuana use trends among 1.4 million high school students from 1993 to 2017, showed that self-reported past-month youth cannabis use declined by an average of eight percent in states that legalized recreational marijuana. There was also a nine percent drop in reports of using marijuana 10 or more times over the past 30 days in those states, the study found. However, there was no statistically significant change in consumption rates in states that legalized medical cannabis alone. (See also: US teens may be finding it harder to buy cannabis after legalisation)

  • Bar Council welcomes Govt move to decriminalise drugs

    The government in June had pledged to decriminalise drug addiction and drug possession for personal use
    The Star (Malaysia)
    Monday, July 8, 2019

    decrimThe Malaysian Bar has welcomed the government's decision to decriminalise drugs, saying that these reforms are essential to a holistic drug policy. Malaysian Bar president Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor said the effectiveness of the hardline prohibitionist approach was questionable. "The incarceration of persons with addiction to illicit drugs — often in detention centres that are overcrowded and in deplorable conditions — does little to help them 'get clean' but often exposes them and their families to additional risks of harm," he said in a statement. Based on research findings in other jurisdictions, drug law reform in the form of the decriminalisation of illicit drug use — in favour of a more progressive harm reduction approach — is a prudent and progressive step for the Government to take in its drug policy.

  • Rodrigo Duterte's drug war is 'large-scale murdering enterprise' says Amnesty

    New report details systematic killing of poor and calls for UN investigation into crimes against humanity
    The Guardian (UK)
    Monday, July 8, 2019

    The president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte is carrying out a “large-scale murdering enterprise” and should be investigated by the UN for crimes against humanity, according to a new Amnesty report into his so-called war on drugs. It has been three years since Duterte pledged to wipe out drug abuse in the Philippines by giving police unprecedented powers and near total impunity to kill any suspected drug addicts or dealers. Amnesty’s report detailed how the systematic killing of the urban poor has continued on such a scale it now amounts to crimes against humanity. The report told of nightly incidents where police would shoot defenceless suspects, or abduct them and take them to other locations where they would be shot. (See also: A 3-year-old child Is the Philippine drug war’s latest victim)

  • Opposition MP calls for policy on cannabis

    "The health and wellness market and all the spa and medicinal offshoots of this are another unexplored frontier in the industry"
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Wednesday, July 3, 2019

    Opposition spokesman on tourism, Dr Wykeham McNeill is urging the Government to formulate a policy framework to define its position on cannabis. Cannabis could provide opportunities, including a new retail market, with appropriate properties operating as dispensaries for the legal sale. “This further gives us the opportunity for branding products such as Orange Hill ganja, as well as a dedicated source of income straight from the retail market to these approved growers,” he said. The UN estimates that 37,000 acres of illegal ganja is grown in Jamaica for each crop cycle, with a production of approximately 66 million pounds per year. Given the estimated value of between $9,000 and $22,000 per pound, this equates to $1.48 trillion, or about 70 per cent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

  • Majority of Dutch councils ban drug use in public

    The ban appears to contradict freedoms laid out in the opium law, but could probably be justified in court for controlling potential nuisance
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Wednesday, July 3, 2019

    A new survey shows that almost two-thirds of Dutch towns ban drug use in public. Despite the national policy of ‘tolerance’ to certain soft drug use, municipalities are clamping down, especially where there is nuisance;  218 of the 355 councils ban drug use in places like parks, streets and public buildings – sometimes across a whole area, and sometimes in particular problem spots. In 2018 only 151 penalties were issued for drug use in public, totalling €31,000 – almost half of which were doled out in Rotterdam. Jon Schilder, professor of constitutional and administrative law at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, said: ‘It is completely undesirable that “lower” governmental organisations make something prosecutable that the higher laws did not want to punish.’

  • Bruce Linton's firing signals it is time for the cannabis industry to start delivering

    Forty-per-cent stakeholder Constellation Brands' new CEO was 'not pleased with Canopy’s recent reported year-end results'
    Financial Post (Canada)
    Wednesday, July 3, 2019

    Bruce LintonThe surprise ousting of the chief executive officer of Canada’s foremost cannabis company is a sign of things to come, some observers warned, as the young industry grapples with investor impatience in the face of what has so far been disappointing financial results. Canopy Growth Corp. announced that Bruce Linton, who founded and grew the firm into the world’s most valuable cannabis company, was “stepping down” from both his role as co-CEO and as a member of the board. But in multiple media interviews, Linton said he had effectively been terminated by the company’s board of directors — a majority of whom had been appointed by Canopy’s largest investor, the U.S.-based alcohol giant Constellation Brands. (See also: How will history judge Canopy Growth’s founder as a dealmaker?)

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