Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Pot industry heads to Davos as stocks rebound: Cannabis Weekly

    Cannabis House will run alongside the World Economic Forum
    Bloomberg (US)
    Sunday, January 19, 2020

    cannabis industry ny2016Tough times in the cannabis industry aren’t stopping its leaders from going to Davos. For the second year in a row, there will be a Cannabis House in Davos, Switzerland this week alongside the schmoozing and speeches of the World Economic Forum. The 2020 offering promises to be “a little more formal and more professional” than last year’s, according to Jason Paltrowitz, executive vice president of corporate services at OTC Markets Group, one of the sponsors of the Cannabis House. Cannabis House will feature a two-day conference focused on the themes of Davos 2020, including sustainability, climate change, social equity and impact investing. (See also: Entrepreneurs at Davos portrayed cannabis as a ‘gateway’ drug – but in a good way – for mental health treatment)

  • Sars would benefit if growing cannabis is legalised, says Tito Mboweni

    Despite the hype, the large-scale commercialisation of dagga is not the right economic route to follow
    Independent on Saturday (South Africa)
    Saturday, January 18, 2020

    south africa daggaFinance Minister Tito Mboweni’s tweet about pushing for it to be legal to grow cannabis - for the SA Revenue Service’s sake - is a step in the direction towards including small growers, although it is more likely they will remain in the informal economy. This is the view of GG Alcock, informal economy expert and author of Kasinomics and Kasinomic Revolution, who said: "We need a policy which is like fair trade coffee where companies like Starbucks invest in small farmers in Costa Rica and central Africa, supplying them with seed and plant stock and then buying the coffee from them. This should be the model we explore, investing in small farmers and then aggregating their crop via large commercial entities. ... the problem is that government models do not currently consider this type of model."

  • Justice secretary hits back at criticism of nitrous oxide ban

    Robert Buckland says laughing gas is dangerous after David Nutt argues beer is more toxic
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, January 16, 2020

    nitrous oxideThe UK justice secretary, Robert Buckland, has hit back at the former drugs adviser David Nutt for labelling the government’s criminalisation of nitrous oxide hysterical. Buckland said nitrous, also known as laughing gas or hippy crack, was a dangerous drug, and giving young people mixed messages could put lives at risk. Nutt, a former adviser to the Home Office and more recently a vocal critic of government drugs policy, said nitrous was far less toxic or addictive than wine or beer. Nitrous oxide was banned alongside other co-called legal highs in 2016, but Nutt said the substance could be “fun without the risks of alcohol”. “The effect is over in a few minutes. You’re perfectly safe, you can go back home, you can drive, you are much more in control of it, you don’t have a hangover,” he said.

  • European Commission proposes unified EU vote on WHO cannabis scheduling recommendations

    The Commission asked for a “further assessment” on the proposed clarification that CBD preparations with no more than 0.2% THC not be subject to international control
    Marijuana Business Daily (US)
    Wednesday, January 15, 2020

    cannabis top handsIn advance of the March session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), the European Commission has proposed that EU member nations vote in favor of three of the six World Health Organization (WHO) cannabis scheduling recommendations. The Commission “Proposal for a Council Decision” is meaningful because – if adopted by the Council of Europe – EU countries would vote as a block at the CND session in Vienna and the three motions the Commission supports stand a higher chance of being approved. One of these supported changes would be positive for the cannabis industry: removing cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. (See also: European Commission falls short on WHO cannabis recommendations, experts say)

  • New parliamentary secretary Rosianne Cutajar says it's time to implement cannabis reform

    Newly appointed as reforms parliamentary secretary, Rosianne Cutajar says reform on recreational cannabis would surely be implemented within the next two years
    Malta Today (Malta)
    Wednesday, January 15, 2020

    malta reform nowRosianne Cutajar, in her new role as reforms parliamentary secretary, said that it is now time to start implementing the cannabis reform, which aims to legalise recreational cannabis. Prime Minister Robert Abela has promoted Cutajar to parliamentary secretary of equality and reforms within the ministry for justice. "Look, we spent a long time in consultation, but now it's time to implement it. Without a doubt, in the next two years, we would be seeing the reform's implementation," Cutajar said. With the liberalisation and regulation of the medical cannabis market, the former reforms parliamentary secretary, Julia Farrugia Portelli, had promised the complete legalisation of recreational cannabis. (ReLeaf Malta: A Maltese Legalised and Regulated Cannabis Market 2020)

  • Why overdose deaths have fallen here - despite more overdose

    “Without access to and rapid scale-up of harm reduction and treatment strategies, the number of overdose deaths in BC would be 2.5 times as high”
    Filter (US)
    Tuesday, January 14, 2020

    canada safe heroin dcrRoughly 66 times every single day in British Columbia, someone calls 911 for a suspected drug overdose. And 66 times every day, an operator answers one of those calls, assesses the situation, and dispatches firefighters or paramedics (never police). And then those professionals rush out and, nearly 66 times every single day, they save a person’s life. “When BCEHS [BC Emergency Health Services] paramedics respond to a potential overdose patient, the patient has a 99 percent chance of survival,” reads an email from Shannon Miller, a spokesperson for the agency. If Vancouver is so great with harm reduction, why are overdose numbers there so high? An analysis of relevant data can help explain.

  • Danish parties want to decriminalise hard drugs

    Liberal Alliance, Alternativet and Enhedslisten look to Portugal for inspiration
    The Copenhagen Post (Denmark)
    Tuesday, January 14, 2020

    cocaine useA new report in Denmark revealed that more young Danes are consuming cocaine. Now several Danish parties want to change the law on the drugs to allow people to use it for their own consumption. “Despite our ban and hard line on drugs, we see more and more young people using them. So we look to countries like Portugal, where the number of abusers and deaths have dropped in the wake of drug decriminalisation,” Sikandar Siddique, the spokesperson for judicial issues for Alternativet, told TV2 News. Last month, in Norway, the attorney general proposed a similar change to the law, stating that current policy has not had the desired impact.

  • The Great Cannabis Crash of 2019

    California is famous for its cyclical booms and busts: housing, dotcoms, gold mining. Guess which industry is next
    East Bay Express (US)
    Tuesday, January 14, 2020

    california cannabis greenhouseBad news about the so-called "Green Rush" rolled in slowly at first, picking up steam around the end of last summer. Stocks started to dive. Layoffs were announced. Executives who just months earlier were forecasting great riches suddenly acknowledged — mostly in whispers — the deepening gloom. Since last August, the North American Marijuana Index, which tracks cannabis stocks, has fallen by half. The problem with pot stocks isn't limited to California. It's continental: too many investors looking for a quick buck creates a bubble, as with Internet stocks in 1999, or housing in 2007. That bubble has now burst. (See also: Dare we hope for federal legalization?)

  • Birthplace of semi-legal pot risks falling behind U.S.

    Despite a thriving marijuana culture, the Netherlands could miss out on billions of euros in profits
    Bloomberg (US)
    Monday, January 13, 2020

    Since the Netherlands decriminalized marijuana in 1976, Amsterdam’s “coffee shops” have become a destination for weed lovers from around the globe. But pot has never been fully legalized in the country: You won’t get busted for smoking or selling small quantities, but producing or selling it in bulk remains a legal gray zone. And that’s proving to be a handicap for the Dutch marijuana industry as full legalization speeds ahead elsewhere. Dutch seeds are considered the gold standard worldwide, and people with ties to the Netherlands are a big part of the global business. Many of the country’s growers say the future lies across the Atlantic, where Canada and 11 U.S. states now allow recreational pot use, and many more states permit medicinal consumption.

  • Investors rush to bring weed to the masses

    Low-cost ETFs are being rolled out at a furious pace, but returns have been abysmal
    The Economist (UK)
    Monday, January 13, 2020

    etf cannabis chart economistEurope's first cannabis exchange-traded fund (ETF), the Medical Cannabis and Wellness ETF, dubbed CBSX, launched in Germany. A joint project of Purpose Investments, a Canadian asset manager, and HANetf, a British ETF platform, the fund will invest in businesses that grow, make and distribute medical cannabis products. One of the goals of the new venture is to democratise cannabis investments, which have been inaccessible (because companies are still private) or expensive (because investors must buy stocks individually). The rise of ETFs—pooled portfolios designed to replicate the performance of an asset class—has made investing cheap and easy. Marijuana ETFs have proved popular in America. And yet anyone betting on cannabis ETFs last year would have seen their money go up in smoke.

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