Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media

 

  • State marijuana packaging must be ‘as unattractive as possible’

    The four-year experiment is part of the current government’s coalition agreement
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Wednesday, October 2, 2019

    More rules about the pending experiments with regulated marijuana production are becoming clear. In particular, officials are keen to make sure non-users do not take up the habit, so state-produced cannabis will be sold in ‘unattractive’ packaging. Growers may only use the Helvetica typeface on the packages and black ink. In addition the packet must be ‘free of all processing and branding which could make it more appealing’. Nor may the packaging state what the likely effect of taking the drug is. The package must, however, also include a health warning. The government said in August it will press ahead with trials of regulated marijuana production with the maximum 10 cities when the experiment starts in 2021.

  • Vape bans and lung disease: Picking through the Feds’ framing

    A marijuana-related vaping disease outbreak gave the Trump administration the perfect opportunity to tackle another public health problem: teen e-cigarette use
    Filter (US)
    Wednesday, October 2, 2019

    The feds have been finessing their approach to vaping, amid outcries over both an outbreak of lung disease and the impact of bans of vape flavors on former smokers. The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data on the outbreak of lung disease associated with “vaping” indicate that 77 percent of over 800 reported cases⁠ (which included at least 13 reported deaths⁠) involve patients who used unregulated cannabis-derived products. Substances including vitamin E acetate or hydrogen cyanide mixed with illicit THC oils have been implicated. CannaSafe, a testing firm, conducted independent analyses on 10 sample products linked to lung disease, and found that all contained a fungicide that could turn into hydrogen cyanide, which is extremely poisonous and flammable, when heated.

  • Drugs researchers: ‘No such thing as victimless cocaine’

    Coke users are well aware that their drug of choice is steeped in serious criminality and are even prepared to pay more for ‘clean’ coke
    Het Parool (Netherlands)
    Tuesday, October 1, 2019

    cocaine alert flatTogether with prevention worker Judith Noijen of the Jellinek Clinic, crimninologist Ton Nabben published the 25th edition of Antenne, a large-scale study of drug use. Using questionnaires, one-on-one interviews and drug tests, it paints a clear picture of drug use among youth and young adults in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is the only city in the Netherlands that measures the status of drugs and users so precisely. Nabben is in favour of regulation, whereby the government supplies the substance under strict conditions and provides targeted information. That would be feasible for MDMA, for example, the main component of ecstasy.

  • Strike cannabis off Controlled Substances Act

    Small Caribbean states should desist from competing against each other so aggressively as to devalue their shared heritage
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Monday, September 30, 2019

    Ras Iyah VCannabis guru Ras Iyah V says the time has come for developing nations, including those of the Caribbean, to collectively lobby the US to strike cannabis from its Controlled Substances Act. “It is important for Jamaica to align itself with Third World countries, starting with the Caribbean, because you have all of these Caribbean countries that will be embarking on a cannabis programme, who have gone as far as amending their laws to be establishing an industry in their respective countries.” St Vincent and the Grenadines Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar appealed for CARICOM and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States to partner in the development of standards governing the negotiation of cannabis trade agreements for their member states.

  • Canada’s drug crisis has a solution. Politicians don’t like it

    Decriminalization saves lives. But Canada is only just accepting that reality—and the United States is even further behind
    Foreign Policy (US)
    Sunday, September 29, 2019

    canada dcr usersA recent study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Addiction, found that a trio of policies adopted to combat the opioid overdose epidemic saved, combined, an estimated 3,030 lives in the Canadian province of British Columbia alone, between April 2016 and December 2017. The findings are a ringing endorsement of the policies adopted by the government of the province hit hardest by the epidemic: promoting access to the overdose-reversing drug naloxone, expanding access to supervised consumption or injection sites, and providing access to treatment known as opioid agonist therapy.

  • Cannabis reform raises conflict between state and federal laws

    Diverse approaches to drug enforcement and prosecution across Australia are not uncommon
    The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
    Sunday, September 29, 2019

    australia cannabis mapThe ACT parliament passed significant reforms in regard to cannabis. Whilst the headlines called it "cannabis legalisation" the actual change was rather mild – a reform of territory offences allowing for the possession of 50 grams of cannabis as well as the cultivation of cannabis plants — two plants per person, with a cap at four plants per household. The proposal avoided political controversies associated with the large-scale cultivation, manufacture and sale of cannabis – preferring a "home-grown" approach to cannabis consumption. Questions have been raised about how this legal change will relate to Commonwealth laws that criminalise cannabis possession. Generally when a state or territory law conflicts with the Commonwealth – the Commonwealth prevails.

  • 'Evolution, not revolution': ACT cannabis users chilled about legalisation

    While some have concerns over the move – a first for Australia – the territory isn’t expecting things to change all that much
    The Guardian (UK)
    Friday, September 27, 2019

    australia cannabis map2Chief minister Andrew Barr describes the Australian Capital Territory’s decision to legalise cannabis possession for personal use as an “evolution, not a revolution”. The ACT law, to take effect at the end of January, will allow residents 18 years and over to possess up to 50 grams and grow two plants, up to a total of four plants per household. With the federal medicinal cannabis regime, introduced in 2016, still in its infancy, the ACT is ahead of the pack – one of only three jurisdictions where it is decriminalised, along with the Northern Territory and South Australia – and is now the first to legalise it.

  • Cannabis industry hopes SAFE Banking Act will spark new wave of growth, especially in U.S.

    Cannabis companies would be able to open operational accounts at banks, and consumers could purchase with credit and debit cards
    Financial Post (Canada)
    Friday, September 27, 2019

    For the first time in history, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to both validate and protect the burgeoning cannabis industry by giving it access to banks, credit unions and insurance companies. The SAFE Banking Act, which easily cleared the House with a 301-123 vote but still has to clear the U.S. Senate before passing into law, would allow financial institutions to work with cannabis companies without fearing retribution. It’s still currently possible under federal law to prosecute banks for doing so; punishments can even include stripping them of deposit insurance. (See also:  How the U.S. cannabis banking bill could hurt Canadian exchanges)

  • Caribbean gov’ts urged to take unified approach to cannabis trade

    If Caribbean leaders don’t get the cannabis strategy right, we may end up losing out on one of the most lucrative exports in our region’s history
    The Loop (Caribbean)
    Friday, September 27, 2019

    caribbean cannabis overview mapSt Vincent and the Grenadines Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar is calling for Caricom and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to take a collective approach to the development of standards governing the negotiation of cannabis trade agreements for their member states. Caesar said small Caribbean states should no longer be competing against each other.  He said if the Caribbean as a region intends to fully realise the opportunity that the fast-growing cannabis industry presents, it must develop a unified approach and ensures a seat at the international table.  (See also: T&T riding last wave in $m marijuana train)

  • Feds 'obsessed' with cannabis laws as Barr opens door to MDMA reform

    The Canberra Times (Australia)
    Friday, September 27, 2019

    Andrew BarrChief Minister Andrew Barr says the federal government should stick to trying to beat dangerous drug gangs instead of becoming "obsessed" with the ACT's new cannabis legalisation laws, as he flagged the possibility of decriminalising MDMA sometime in the future. Mr Barr said any federal intervention to overturn the laws would be "a massive overreaction". Asked whether there were plans to decriminalise other drugs like MDMA, he said said further harm minimisation laws could be on the agenda at "some time in the future". But he said it wouldn't be happening in the next four to five years. (See also: Now that the ACT has given marijuana the green light, could (and should) MDMA be next?)

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