Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • I'm 'coming out' about drugs: it's time get real about pill testing

    "As lawmakers we won’t save lives by sticking our heads in the sand," Cate Faehrmann says
    The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
    Monday, January 21, 2019

    As a politician I’ve made the difficult decision to "come out" in this way because the government’s zero-tolerance approach to drugs has not only been a catastrophic failure in stopping drug use, it is costing people their lives. It is so out-of-touch with millions of people’s reality that everyone has stopped listening. Young people are not fools. They want us, as politicians, to "get real" about illegal drugs. Their parents want us to stop the moral crusade and listen to the evidence. This means being honest about the nature and extent of drug use and accepting the evidence that a harm minimisation approach, where illegal drug use is treated as a health issue not a criminal one, works. That's why we need pill testing and other harm minimisation measures to keep our young people safe.

  • Westmoreland ganja farmers welcome pilot but...

    Representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture are yet to meet with any of the ganja farmers ahead of the announced start of the pilot projects
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Monday, January 21, 2019

    One of the nation's leading ganja advocates, Ras Iyah V, has welcomed Prime Minister Andrew Holness' announcement that the pilot project for the Alternative Development Programme (ADP), which will provide an avenue for small farmers to benefit from the ganja industry, is scheduled to start by March this year. But with less than two months to go, and what he says has been no word from the government, Iyah V said stakeholders are concerned that the pilot projects slated for Accompong, St Elizabeth and Orange Hill in Westmoreland will not be executed in a timely manner.

  • Does marijuana use really cause psychotic disorders?

    Alex Berenson says the drug causes ‘sharp increases in murders and aggravated assaults’. As scientists, we find his claims misinformed and reckless
    The Guardian (UK)
    Sunday, January 20, 2019

    Does marijuana cause psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, and do associated symptoms like paranoia lead to violent crimes? That’s what writer Alex Berenson is claiming. As part of his new book promotion, Berenson published a New York Times op-ed that also blames the drug for “sharp increases in murders and aggravated assaults” purportedly observed in some states that allow adult recreational marijuana use. As scientists with a combined 70-plus years of drug education and research on psychoactive substances, we find Berenson’s assertions to be misinformed and reckless.

  • Cannabis farms cover 500 square kilometers of Northern Morocco

    ”Most of the land cultivated for cannabis is public property," according to one environmental activist.
    Morocco World News (Morocco)
    Friday, January 18, 2019

    Between 47,000 and 50,000 hectares, mainly in the Rif region, are planted with cannabis in Morocco, the National Narcotics Commission (CNS) said. Mohamed Andaloussi, the president of the Azir Association for the Protection of the Environment in Al Hoceima, recently told EFE that 90 percent of the land cultivated for cannabis is public property that farmers exploit illegally. “A large part of these public lands were forests that farmers cut down to grow cannabis despite this being an illegal activity since 1974,” Andaloussi pointed out. (See also: Moroccan police seizes 15 tons of cannabis resin in Tangier)

  • After legalization: Four things to know about cannabis in Quebec

    Legalization has highlighted the province's thirst for the "sticky icky" but also some chronic problems that have come with the new market
    The Montreal Gazette (Canada)
    Thursday, January 17, 2019

    In Quebec — where the product is sold by the government-run Société Québécoise du Cannabis (SQDC) — legalization has highlighted the province’s thirst for the “sticky icky” but also some chronic problems that have come with the new market. Quebecers had all but exhausted the province’s supply of legal weed within hours of legalization. Demand was so high that the government-run SQDC had to shut down three days a week to keep from running dry. The cannabis shortage rippled from the recreational market to the medical space within hours. Patients at Santé Cannabis frantically called the Montreal Clinic in October, worried that they wouldn’t be able to access their medicine. The black market and “grey market” are still thriving.

  • Luxembourg in talks with Canada over how to legalise recreational cannabis

    Discussions will clarify how cannabis will be sold and laws around national production
    Luxembourg Times (Luxembourg)
    Wednesday, January 16, 2019

    Discussions between Luxembourg and Canada are under way to establish how the Grand Duchy will legalise cannabis and sell the drug for recreational use. Luxembourg's health minister Etienne Schneider, who is also economy minister and deputy prime minister, told the government's health committee the talks will clarify how cannabis could be sold in Luxembourg and the laws around the national production of the drug. Within a month of Luxembourg's national elections in October last year the government announced cannabis would be made legal for non-medical use. Schneider said the drug would also be commercially distributed.

  • Overwhelming majority of voters support pill-testing – Guardian Essential poll

    Model where counsellors provide risk-reduction advice backed by 63% of sample
    The Guardian (UK)
    Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    An overwhelming majority of voters in the latest Guardian Essential poll say they support pill testing in Australia. The survey of 1,089 respondents, taken between 9 and 13 January found 63% of voters support pill testing where trained counsellors provide risk-reduction advice informed by on-site laboratory analysis of people’s drugs. The strong level of support crosses party-political lines. The poll found 57% of Liberal/National voters support pill testing, though support is strongest among Labor (73%) and Greens (74%) voters. Just 24% of voters oppose the idea, and roughly 12% say they “don’t know” if they support it or not.

  • 'We're dealing with a black market': is taking pills becoming more dangerous?

    Those calling for pill-testing and other harm minimisation say young people are dying while the debate becomes more polarised
    The Guardian (UK)
    Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    ecstacy pilssProf Alison Ritter, a public health academic from the University of New South Wales, agreed that there had been an “explosion” in new types of substances with the potential to increase the risk of drug use. Chemistry capabilities once reserved for large pharmaceutical companies are now widely accessible, and the internet has made access to a wider variety of products simpler. “The whole dynamic of the drug market has changed,” Ritter said. “There are more substances, more dangerous substances, and easier access through the internet. It’s certainly a more risky environment.” The most obvious solution, according to experts who spoke to Guardian Australia, is pill-testing. Both the NSW and Victorian governments remain resistant to introducing pill testing.

  • Cannabis in Congress: Why federally legal weed could soon be a reality

    Pro-marijuana bills introduced to congress used to be largely symbolic — now they have a chance to actually reach the floor if the House and come to a vote
    Rolling Stone (US)
    Monday, January 14, 2019

    us capitol cannabisThere is a fresh Congress in town. That means the nation’s 535 lawmakers are in the first stages of trying to get their favored pet issues on the radar of party leaders. That focused energy and flowery optimism that marks the start of any new Congress is different this year for marijuana proponents, because this time around they believe they can actually pass some sweeping cannabis reforms. The founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), is excited — giddy, even — in this new year. He dropped the third purely marijuana-focused bill in the 116th Congress. Named the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, it would explicitly do what its title states.

  • AG: Marijuana consultations to start this month

    Activists unsatisfied with moves to decriminalise plant
    Newsday (Trinidad & Tobago)
    Monday, January 14, 2019

    trinidad cannabis flagPublic consultations on the decriminalisation of marijuana in Trinidad and Tobago will begin on January 23. Despite calls for the drug to be legalised, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Faris Al-Rawi said legalisation was not part of the government’s short term plans. “The government’s focus right now is on decriminalisation. Marijuana is a dangerous drug. Whilst there may be advantages for its use on the medicinal side and whilst there is a certain degree of advocacy for legalisation, we believe we ought to hear, from the stakeholder consultations, what the pros and cons of societal stakeholder feedback looks like and then move ourselves into an informed decision.” (See also: Trinidad and Tobago to decriminalise cannabis, consider legalisation)

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