Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Philippines police chief and Duterte drug war enforcer resigns in meth scandal

    Oscar Albayalde denies allegations he profits from drug deals arranged by corrupt officers in 2013
    The Guardian (UK)
    Monday, October 14, 2019

    The chief of police in the Philippines has stepped down after facing historical accusations in the Senate that he protected officers who had resold confiscated drugs and received some of the profits. It was a rapid fall from grace for Oscar Albayalde, the head of the Philippine National Police (PNP), who rose to fame as the enforcer of Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs in Manila before Duterte was appointed president. Albayalde has denied the allegations. Thousands of people have been killed as part of Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs. Amnesty International called it a “large-scale murdering enterprise”.

  • “People feel betrayed”: small-scale dagga growers fear exclusion from legal trade

    At present, the only route into South Africa’s legal cannabis trade is by obtaining a South African Health Products Regulatory Authority licence for medical marijuana cultivation
    Ground Up (South Africa)
    Monday, October 14, 2019

    As South Africa looks to enter the booming commercial cannabis market, which could be worth up to R27 billion locally by 2023, the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, has repeatedly reiterated the plant’s economic promise for the Eastern Cape, the country’s poorest province. “We must not be left behind as cannabis is brought into the spotlight and the world jumps to grab their drag on the spliff,” said the department’s MEC Nomakhosazana Meth at a stakeholder event in August. But despite the fanfare, Beecee Nombanga, a Manhlaneni community leader, remained sceptical that small-scale growers would see any benefits from a legal trade that was geared towards “big companies in big towns who have a lot of resources that we simply don’t have”.

  • The Great American cannabis experiment

    The contradictions between state and federal law are intensifying
    Politico (US)
    Monday, October 14, 2019

    us capitol cannabisWhile state legalization has allowed the cannabis industry to grow – it generated over $10 billion in sales last year and employs more than 211,000 people nationwide — state laws are increasingly unable to overcome hurdles created for the cannabis industry by the federal government. What this means is that while some Americans are making money producing and selling cannabis, other Americans are still being arrested and charged for the exact same activities. In 2017, the nascent industry neared $8 billion in sales, legal states made $745 million in cannabis tax revenue, and 659,700 people were arrested and charged with marijuana-related violations, including possession. (See also: Stop the “green rush”)

  • Cannabis extract may work as a treatment for cannabis addiction

    While THC tends to increase anxiety, CBD makes people calmer
    New Scientist (UK)
    Sunday, October 13, 2019

    For people who are addicted to cannabis, one treatment option may be, paradoxically, to take pills containing an extract of cannabis. The first test of the idea has found that people taking capsules of this extract, known as cannabidiol or CBD, nearly halved the amount of cannabis they smoked, according to results presented at New Scientist Live this week. Cannabis is usually seen as a soft drug, but some users – about 1 in 10 by one estimate – become addicted, getting withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia when they try to stop. The number of people seeking treatment because they can’t quit smoking cannabis has been rising in the past decade, linked with a use of the more potent form known as skunk, said Val Curran of University College London at the event.

  • Grading cannabis strength ‘will improve mental health of users’

    Addiction experts say standard units, similar to those used for alcohol, would help consumers know the level of drug they are taking and its effects
    The Observer (UK)
    Sunday, October 13, 2019

    smoking jointsStandard units for grading the potency of cannabis – similar to those already used for alcohol – would result in significant improvements in the mental health of users, according to addiction experts. Researchers from the Addiction and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath, working with staff from King’s College London, UCL and the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, say more needs to be done to make people aware of the levels of THC – the main psychoactive component – in the cannabis they are consuming. Writing in the journal Addiction, the experts suggest a unit level should be set at 5mg of THC – the amount that would typically be found in a small joint. This is enough to induce intoxication but without psychotic symptoms.

  • SNP formally backs decriminalisation of drugs

    The SNP has repeatedly called for drugs control to be devolved to Holyrood
    BBC News (UK)
    Sunday, October 13, 2019

    scotland drug deathsThe SNP has backed decriminalising the possession and consumption of drugs. At its conference in Aberdeen, a resolution was unanimously passed by delegates branding current drug control legislation "not fit for purpose". And they called for powers to be devolved to Holyrood to enable the "decriminalisation of possession and consumption of controlled drugs". The Scottish government has set up a taskforce to tackle drug deaths, which hit a record high in 2018. There were 1,187 drug-related deaths in Scotland in 2018, by far the highest death rate in the European Union and three times that of the UK as a whole. Existing drugs legislation - covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 - is reserved to Westminster. (See also: SNP conference votes to decriminalise possession and consumption of drugs)

  • Jamaica joins global stock markets in bracing for impact of Cannabis Banking Bill

    The JSE boss is of the view that the SAFE Banking Act would “result in the growth globally of the cannabis industry”
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Friday, October 11, 2019

    cannabis investingThe Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) has joined other stock markets across the globe in bracing for the impact of the Cannabis Banking Bill, which is currently before the US Congress. Having already been passed by the US House of Representatives on September 25, the SAFE Banking Act, which now goes to the Senate, where if it is passed would lift restrictions in the US on American banks doing business with cannabis companies. As a result of this move, securities exchanges in Jamaica and around the world are considering the implications for their own economic institutions. At present, foreign-based financial institutions with US banking relationships cannot freely work with legal cannabis businesses.

  • Le Luxembourg produira son propre cannabis

    Le ministère de la Santé a confirmé qu'une «chaîne de production et de vente nationale sera instaurée sous contrôle de l'Etat», dans la future loi légalisant le cannabis
    Luxemburger Wort (Luxembourg)
    Vendredi, 11 octobre 2019

    Le Luxembourg met toutes les chances de son côté pour devenir l'un des pionniers européens en matière de cannabis. Si la légalisation de l'usage récréatif de cette drogue était connue de longue date, le ministère a bien confirmé qu'une chaîne de production nationale allait également voir le jour. Bien évidemment, cette production sera soumise à «des procédures très strictes, garantissant la qualité du produit», a souligné une porte-parole. En attendant, les grandes lignes du modèle réglementaire du projet de loi seront présentées «avant Noël au conseil de gouvernement, sous la forme d'un concept». Après approbation, les travaux autour du projet de loi pourront alors être mis en route.

  • Moroccco takes up foreign marijuana hybrids

    Traditional Moroccan cannabis remains highly coveted
    Africa News
    Thursday, October 10, 2019

    morocco cannabis5Morocco’s rugged Rif Mountains have long been renowned for their cannabis but traditional varieties are being smoked out by foreign hybrids offering higher yields and greater potency. The local strain of marijuana, known as Beldiya, is coveted by afficionados but is gradually disappearing from the fields. Nowadays in Ketama, a region in the heart of the northern Rif, a strain called “Critical” is king. Major cannabis producers decide what to plant and “hybrid plants have become a market all on their own,” said Moroccan anthropologist Khalid Mouna, who has written a thesis on the economics of Ketama’s cannabis production. Critical, which Mouna said comes from the Netherlands, is the latest hybrid created in laboratories in Europe or North America to be introduced to Morocco.

  • Canada’s cannabis colonialism

    Some of the practices of the corporate cannabis giants are reminiscent of the modus operandi that tarnished the reputation of Canadian mining companies abroad
    Toward Freedom (Canada)
    Wednesday, October 9, 2019

    canada dollar cannabis2Canadian weed companies have their eye on a massive prize: the lucrative medical and adult cannabis markets that are emerging around the world. Much of the hype around corporate cannabis is linked to the acquisition of lands and smaller growing operations internationally. The selling point is that cannabis can be grown overseas and exported to meet demand in Canada (and eventually the US), but also that Canadian companies position themselves as suppliers in emerging local markets. Lobbying to impact national legislation, supporting criminalization of traditional producers, and moving into remote territories with plans to implement plantation style economies are just some of the critiqued practices of Canada’s emerging cannabis sector.

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