Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • As cannabis market softens, some investors pulling back

    Companies overpaid for assets in the run-up to raising capital, and now those Canadian companies are recalibrating
    The Gleaner (Jamaica)
    Sunday, May 24, 2020

    jamaica flag ganjaAurora, a Canadian listed cannabis company, has sold its Jamaica asset for less than its CDN$4.5 million ­valuation in order to get cash. “The company also accepted an offer to sell its Jamaica property for gross proceeds of CDN$3.4 million,” said Aurora in a market filing. The property in Jamaica was idle but would have formed the base for its local operations. Across the local sector, sales between licensed ­dealers in Jamaica – for instance, farmers selling to herb houses – have been falling. The CLA has issued some 60 licences since October 2017 and 15 export authorisations to seven licensees since November 2018. All licensees that have applied to export cannabis have been granted export authorisations.

  • PPE and contactless delivery

    Drug dealers reveal how they are adapting to coronavirus
    The Conversation (UK)
    Thursday, May 21, 2020

    cocaine strawWhile the COVID-19 lockdown might have brought most parts of the economy to a halt, it seems to have had little affect on drug dealers. They have even found opportunity in the situation. They wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to avoid infection, finding a neat way to cover their faces to avoid police surveillance in the process. The COVID-19 pandemic has not diminished the supply of and demand for illicit drugs in the UK – particularly cannabis and cocaine. And while it might be difficult to see the attraction of using stimulants and party drugs like MDMA and cocaine in the confines of your own home during lockdown, users seem to be taking full advantage of the extra time on their hands.

  • What lockdown? World’s cocaine traffickers sniff at movement restrictions

    In destination markets in Europe and the United States, authorities are still seizing large hauls with remarkable frequency
    Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)
    Wednesday, May 20, 2020

    cocaine seizureThe world’s cocaine industry — which produces close to 2,000 metric tons a year and makes tens of billions of dollars — has adapted better than many other legitimate businesses. The industry has benefited from huge stores of drugs warehoused before the pandemic and its wide variety of smuggling methods. Street prices around Europe have risen by up to 30 percent, but it is not clear how much of this is due to distribution problems, and how much to drug gangs taking advantage of homebound customers. What is clear is that cocaine continues to flow from South America to Europe and North America. Closed trafficking routes have been replaced with new ones, and street deals have been substituted with door-to-door deliveries.

  • Psychedelic drugs could help treat the mental health epidemic we'll face after coronavirus

    One ecstasy trial reached a milestone when it was approved to treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder in America
    The Independent (UK)
    Wednesday, May 20, 2020

    psilocybinMost of us have fixed views about drugs like ecstasy or LSD. The majority of us think they are dangerous and should remain illegal. Fear of these drugs is understandable. Their effects are unpredictable and, beyond adjusting the dose, we have limited control over their effects. That’s very different to the ever-popular alcohol and cannabis which are far more predictable in the way they make us feel, behave or think. Trials using psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin, LSD or 3,4-methylene dioxymethamphetamine (known to most of us as ecstasy) are well underway and showing promising results. One such trial reached a milestone when it was approved to treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder in America.

  • EU court advises against hemp-derived oil imports ban

    The opinion represents a symbolic victory for the CBD industry, whose European market is expected to grow 400% by 2023
    Euractiv (EU)
    Wednesday, May 20, 2020

    kanavapeProhibiting imports of cannabidiol oil (CBD) from other member states is contrary to EU law since there is no scientific evidence that hemp-based products have psychotropic effects, according to a non-binding opinion from the advocate general of the EU’s top court. On 14 May, an adviser to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said in a legal opinion that  the import of  CBD cannot be banned under the bloc’s free movement of goods. CBD is a lighter chemical compound extracted from hemp plants but containing less than 0.2% of the active substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The legal case concerns the marketing in France of Kanavape, an e-cigarette using CBD oil imported from the Czech Republic, where organic hemp plants were processed.

  • Years after legalizing marijuana, voters see it as a huge success

    The perception of success seems to correlate with both the passage of time and the efficiency of a state’s retail recreational marijuana system
    Leafly (US)
    Wednesday, May 20, 2020

    illegalResidents in nine of the 11 states that have legalized the adult use of cannabis have no regrets about ending prohibition. In fact, according to a new survey, large majorities now deem the move a whopping success. YouGov, an international research data and analytics group based in London, surveyed more than 32,000 Americans in legal states. Participants were asked if they considered recreational marijuana legislation to be more of a success or failure. The survey was conducted April 17-20, 2020. In Colorado and Washington, the first states to legalize (in 2012), voters responded with two thumbs up.

  • Illinois announces $31 million In marijuana revenue-funded grants to repair drug war’s harms

    Regulators have identified economically distressed areas around the state where businesses and nonprofits are eligible for the funds
    Marijuana Moment (US)
    Tuesday, May 19, 2020

    us illinois r3Illinois is putting its marijuana money where its mouth is, announcing that $31.5 million in restorative justice grants are now available thanks to tax revenue derived from legal cannabis sales. Under the legalization bill that Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed last year, a Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) program was established. It provides grant opportunities for “communities impacted by economic disinvestment, violence and the severe and multilayered harm caused by the war on drugs.” There are five priorities of R3 that the funds are meant to address: civil legal aid, economic development, reentry from the criminal justice system, violence prevention and youth development.

  • Is Southeast Asia's drug trade too big to control?

    The war on drugs looks like a losing battle in Southeast Asia. Although authorities carry out big busts, prices remain low and demand is high
    Deutsche Welle (Germany)
    Tuesday, May 19, 2020

    Police in Myanmar this week announced the largest synthetic drug seizure on record in Southeast Asia. Between February and April, security forces seized more than 200 million tablets of methamphetamine, 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of crystal meth, 300 kilograms of heroin and 3,750 kilograms of liquid 3-methylfentanyl (3MF). "The amount of 3MF is truly incredible. 3MF is 10 times stronger than fentanyl, which is 100 times stronger than morphine. That makes it equivalent to a few thousand tons of morphine — or several billion doses. That has to be for global supply, not just regional," Myanmar expert Richard Horsey told DW.

  • It’s time to admit it: Drug dealers should be considered essential workers

    If there’s one thing living in and writing about the dope game for over a decade has taught me, it’s that the ‘cure’ we now have for addiction is worse than the disease
    The Independent (UK)
    Tuesday, May 19, 2020

    cocaine useOver the past few weeks, we’ve heard stories about how the pandemic has disrupted the global narcotics trade. In Mexico, it’s messing up business for the Sinaloa cartel. No chemicals coming in from China = no ingredients for fentanyl or crystal meth. A tiny microscopic virus did what a billion dollars of DEA funding could not. We’ve also heard stories of how dealers are getting around quarantine, sometimes dressing up as nurses or delivery drivers to give their clients their fix. Like coronavirus, the drugs issue is a public health crisis. Since the pandemic is making us reconsider a lot of things, from our lifestyles to government spending, I’d like to propose we reconsider our drug policy.

  • Legalising the cannabis economy takes a Covid-19 hit

    Covid-19 lockdown regulations affecting the sitting of parliamentary committees and the ability to hold a public participation process
    Mail & Guardian (South Africa)
    Tuesday, May 19, 2020

    sa dagga is my rightDelays in passing new laws governing the possession and use of cannabis, caused by the Covid-19 lockdown, have placed on hold the development of a different kind of green economy mentioned by President Cyril Rampahosa in his February State of the Nation address. The delays in promulgating the Regulation of Cannabis Bill and additional changes to the Medicine and Related Substances Control Act mean the state will not meet the September 2020 deadline set by the Constitutional Court in the 2018 judgment declaring the prohibition on cannabis cultivation, possession and use unconstitutional. (See also: No legal sales in new cannabis Bill)

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