Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Pot politics: Some Northeast states regroup on legalization

    Supporters remain hopeful, particularly about New Jersey, where the question is now headed to voters this fall
    Associated Press (US)
    Monday, January 13, 2020

    us capitol cannabisA year ago, marijuana legalization looked like it was on a roll in the Northeast — it had already passed in three of the region’s states and was a priority for governors in three more, including the populous New York. Now, after legislative efforts stalled and a vaping sickness stirred new concerns, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut still want to make recreational pot legal. And they and Pennsylvania’s governor have been comparing notes on how to do it. “This year, let’s work with our neighbors ... to coordinate a safe and fair system,” New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this week. His state hosted the four Democratic governors for an October summit on the issue.

  • Why is medical marijuana a high ranking priority for Thailand's military?

    Put simply, the military establishment recognises there are huge business and tax revenue-raising opportunities to be had
    ABC (Australia)
    Sunday, January 12, 2020

    thailand dr ganjaSouth-East Asia is notorious for its brutal approach to policing drug use and production. But in Thailand change is afoot, as authorities seek to develop a homegrown medical marijuana industry. Its conservative, military-dominated Government has spearheaded the effort, which seeks to make Thailand a regional centre for the production and distribution of medical marijuana. The Federal Government has approved the sale of medicinal marijuana, but it still won't be easy for people to get a prescription.First outlawed in 1935, marijuana has reportedly been a part of traditional Thai medicine and cooking for centuries, mainly used as a versatile form of pain relief. Thailand legalised medical marijuana in December 2018, making it the first country in South-East Asia to do so.

  • Belgium’s most powerful politician has a drugs problem

    Bart De Wever is under attack from the far right over the drug war in Antwerp
    Politico (US)
    Saturday, January 11, 2020

    antwerp harbourDrug gangs increasingly choose Antwerp over the port of Rotterdam since checks there have become tougher. Almost one-third of all cocaine intercepted in European ports was in the port of Antwerp, according to Europol's latest EU Drug Markets Report. Belgian customs announced Wednesday that 2019 was a new record year. They intercepted 61 tons of cocaine, which is more than 10 times as much as five years earlier. This upsurge has less to do with increased controls than with growing European consumption, according to narcotics experts. Critically, the drug problem exposes Belgium's most influential politician, Bart De Wever, Antwerp's mayor, to being politically outflanked by the far right.

  • Canberra's cannabis laws do not address supply problem, meaning buying the drug will remain illegal

    Buying, selling and trading cannabis after January 31 will remain illegal in the ACT
    ABC (Australia)
    Saturday, January 11, 2020

    australia cannabis map2Cannabis will be legal in the ACT come the end of the month, but those hoping to light up might have to break the law to do so. The controversial new laws legalise growing, possessing and smoking small quantities of cannabis. If you are over 18 you can grow the plant, collect up to 50 grams of dried bud, and smoke it as you like within your own home (provided there are no children around). But the laws do not offer any guidance at all on how it is supposed to be acquired. There will not be any cannabis shops opening up, as buying and selling the drug remains strictly illegal. It also cannot be gifted from one person to another. Cultivating two plants — to a limit of four per household — is perfectly legal but buying cannabis seeds is not.

  • Foreign assets could be next on the block for cash-hungry cannabis companies

    International holdings becoming burden to companies needing to divest non-core assets
    Financial Post (Canada)
    Friday, January 10, 2020

    canada canopy growth facilityTwo years ago, Canadian cannabis companies were racing to scoop up international assets, from swaths of fertile land in southern Africa to cultivation licences in Jamaica and everything in between. Now, with fears of a cash crunch looming over the industry, some of the same producers who spent tens of millions to build an international presence have started dialling back, putting projects on hold or divesting of their foreign operations altogether. And it’s a trend that some pot analysts expect will only intensify over the next 12 months. “Licensed producers are now in a capital constrained environment and investors want to see profitability.” (See: ‘Building a new industry from scratch is hard’: Cannabis firms brace for more spilled blood in 2020)

  • L'étude de la proposition de loi relative à l’amnistie des cultivateurs de kif ajournée

    Toutefois, l’exécutif montre un signe d’ouverture sur une question qui a longtemps essuyé un niet
    Tel Quel (Maroc)
    Vendredi, 10 janvier 2020

    morocco parliament cannabisIl faudra s’armer de patience pour connaître la position du gouvernement au sujet des deux propositions de loi portées par le PAM, au sujet de la légalisation du cannabis et l’amnistie des cultivateurs de la plante. L’étude de la proposition de loi relative à l’amnistie des cultivateurs de cannabis a été ajournée, lors d’une réunion de la commission de justice à la deuxième chambre avec Mohamed Benabdelkader, ministre de la Justice. Déposée en 2015 par le PAM à la deuxième chambre, la proposition de loi relative à la légalisation du cannabis sera examinée au sein de la commission des secteurs productifs à la deuxième chambre, mais aucune date n’a été fixée pour le moment.

  • Senegal's remote cannabis growers evade crackdown

    Cannabis grows easily in Senegal's tropical climate, which makes it a tempting crop for impoverished farmers
    AFP (France)
    Friday, January 10, 2020

    senegal cannabisMost Senegalese farmers sell peanuts and vegetables, but in one hamlet lost in a mangrove swamp in the country's south, only one crop is commercially viable -- cannabis. Kouba, a village deep in the mangroves of Casmance and inaccessible by road, teems with caiman crocodiles and rare birds. Locals say no police officer has set foot there since the 1980s, and a recent crackdown on cannabis cultivation has passed them by. "Ever since I was born, people have been cultivating cannabis," says Philippe Diaba. "If you don't grow cannabis here, you can't get by." Kouba villagers say the drug fetches between 15,000 and 30,000 CFA francs ($25-$50, 23-45 euros) a kilo -- compared with just 500 CFA francs for a kilo of onions. (West Africa needs to look at partially decriminalising drugs, says thinktank)

  • New York could legalise cannabis this year, governor says

    Legalizing the drug would pour hundreds of millions into the coffers of a state facing a $6 billion budget gap, he said
    The Independent (UK)
    Thusday, January 9, 2020

    us ny legalize nowGovernor Andrew Cuomo pledged for the second year in a row to legalise recreational cannabis in New York, prioritizing a push that fell apart last year amid tensions over who should be allowed to sell the drug and where the revenue should go. New York could become the nation’s 12th to do so. Mr Cuomo made the legalisation of cannabis a key priority as he outlined his agenda for 2020, saying taxes imposed by a regulatory scheme could bring some $300m into the state’s coffers and confront injustices in enforcement of drug laws. “For decades, communities of colour were disproportionately affected by the unequal enforcement of marijuana laws. Last year we righted that injustice when we decriminalised possession,” Mr Cuomo said in his annual State of the State address.

  • South Africa's black farmers fight to enter marijuana market

    The new marijuana industry could soon be controlled by big pharmaceutical companies, cutting out long-time growers
    The New York Times (US)
    Wednesday, January 8, 2020

    sa cannabis cultivationFollowing the Constitutional Court's decision in 2018 to decriminalize the personal use and cultivation of cannabis in South Africa, there are concerns on the ground that black farmers who have been working for decades in what has been an illegal industry may miss out on the potential boom. Many smaller growers cannot afford to get the licenses needed to grow marijuana for medicinal and research purposes. The stringent requirements include getting police clearances, registering a specified plot size, erecting high-tech security fencing, getting irrigation systems and setting up agreements with overseas buyers, among others. The cost of establishing a legal marijuana farm is estimated to be $200,000 to $350,000, according to a South African agricultural publication, Landbouweekblad.

  • Tainted drugs are fuelling Thunder Bay's opioid deaths, say advocates. They want a safe supply to fight it

    A safe supply of opioids 'would mean less death,' says CEO of NorWest Community Health Centres
    CBC Radio (Canada)
    Wednesday, January 8, 2020

    Inside the only supervised injection site in Thunder Bay, Ont., nurse practitioner Josh Fraser has reversed so many opioid overdoses that he says the lives saved are "too many to count." "It's not about trying to stop it," Fraser said of drug use in the northwestern Ontario city. "I think it's about providing a safe place and meeting people where they're at." The NorWest Community Health Centres' supervised injection site is part of a wider call by the Alliance for Healthier Communities — a network of community-governed health-care providers — asking the federal government to address contaminated drugs in the illicit market, and provide a safe supply for opioid users. A safe supply "would mean less death," but would require the federal government to collaborate with the provinces on a national strategy.

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