Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • In the land with a rich history of growing weed, cannabis capitalism is an uneasy fit

    Jamaicans say the cultural ownership they feel towards cannabis is getting ignored by foreign investors looking to make money in the weed mecca
    Financial Post (Canada)
    Wednesday, June 5, 2019

    jamaica flag ganja2There’s a hint of disappointment in Courtney Betty’s voice when he talks about the present state of Jamaica’s legal medicinal cannabis regime. “I don’t think some of the companies coming in to do business here want to understand the social realities of Jamaica, or the real history of ganja in my country,” he said from his home in the country’s capital, Kingston. “I don’t think it is out of ignorance; I think this is just the way Western companies conduct business abroad.” By “Western” companies, Betty — the chief executive officer of Jamaican medical marijuana company Timeless Herbal Care — means Canadian. Since Jamaica legalized cannabis for medicinal cultivation and sale four years ago, a slew of Canadian pot companies have flooded the tiny island nation.

  • Scientist in Jamaica finds, cultivates lost ganja

    Jamaica should take the lead in establishing a geographical indicator for its home-grown cannabis "just like Champagne in France"
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Tuesday, June 4, 2019

    Machel EmanuelA supreme ganja, smoked by Rastas and even Bob Marley himself in the 1970s? This pipe dream of every ganja aficionado is becoming reality thanks to the horticultural talents of scientist Dr Machel Emanuel of the Biology Department at the University of the West Indies in Kingston. His specialty: landrace cannabis, which grew naturally in Jamaica before it disappeared as a result of human intervention. The reggae legends' ganja would not have been as strong as modern, artificially created cannabis, which has higher levels of THC — the plant's main psychoactive ingredient. But in the 1980s, during the US war on drugs, landrace cannabis was easily spotted because of its height and destroyed, and cultivation of the plant was abandoned. Over time, easier-to-hide hybrids replaced the landrace cultivars.

  • Millions use cannabis, but figures for how many become dependent aren’t reliable

    Most people who use cannabis won’t become dependent, but there needs to be raised awareness of the risk
    The Conversation (US)
    Monday, June 3, 2019

    dsmIV dependenceCannabis has an image of being a relatively harmless drug. But all drugs carry a degree of risk, and cannabis is no exception. One of those risks is dependence, which many people assume is only something that happens to those who use “hard drugs”, such as crack or heroin. In fact, the estimated risk of dependence on cannabis is about one in ten. It’s worth exploring how this figure of one in ten is constructed. Several studies of cannabis dependence used the criteria laid out in the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to determine cannabis dependence. Examining these criteria highlights just how challenging making this diagnosis is.

  • 'Chinese Ecstasy' drug linked to 125 deaths has arrived in Britain, NCA warns festival goers

    Each time we ban one generation, they produce a new generation which is more harmful
    The Telegraph (UK)
    Sunday, June 2, 2019

    warning test itA new ecstasy-like drug produced in China that has been linked to at least 125 deaths is feared to have spread to Britain, the National Crime Agency has warned in an alert to summer festival-goers. The United Nations (UN) has ordered a worldwide ban on N-Ethylnorpentylone in an attempt to close down its production in illegal psychoactive drugs “factories” in China which have flooded the market. It has been found in one in 20 samples of Ecstasy, or MDMA, tested by The Loop, a social enterprise set up by professor Fiona Measham, a former Government drugs adviser, which will this summer provide its free drug testing service at around a dozen festivals.

  • France to launch medical cannabis experiment in coming weeks

    No legalisation for recreational use
    France 24 (France)
    Sunday, June 2, 2019

    france cannabis2As a nearly unanimous French Senate gave medical marijuana the green light, France will start experimenting the use of medical marijuana for “about two years”, pending the approval of the health ministry. According to patient groups, somewhere between 300,000 and 1 million patients could be eligible to its use. The use of medical cannabis will be strictly controlled. Doctors will be permitted to prescribe it only as a last resort, after trying other available therapeutic treatments. In December 2018, the National Agency for the Safety of Health Products identified possible applications for medical cannabis: cancer, certain types of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, palliative care, and pain that does not respond to usual treatments. (See also: Is France about to legalise cannabis?)

  • Illinois will become 11th US state to legalise recreational marijuana use

    The bill will also pardon some past offences
    The Independent (UK)
    Sunday, June 2, 2019

    Illinois will likely become the 11th state in the US to allow small amounts of marijuana for recreational use. The state’s Democrat-controlled House sent a legalisation plan to governor JB Pristzker, also a Democrat. Pritzker was elected in 2018; he campaigned as a support of legalization. “This will have a transformational impact on our state, creating opportunity in the communities that need it most and giving so many a second chance,” Mr Pritzker said. The rule would make it legal for those 21 and older to buy marijuana at licensed dispensaries. Residents could possess up to 1 ounce (30 grams) and non-residents could have 15 grams. (See also: In landmark move, Illinois lawmakers approve adult-use cannabis program that could hit $2 billion in sales | Marijuana advocates hit unexpected roadblocks)

  • Hope for cannabis growers

    Jamaica to lobby US on correspondent banking rules
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Friday, May 31, 2019

    jamaica cannabis leafJamaica is to lobby the United States on the issue of legitimising licensed cannabis growers and processors under correspondent banking rules. Audley Shaw — Jamaica's minister of industry, commerce, agriculture, and fisheries — raised the matter in his address on plant medicine and cannabis at the Global Health Catalyst Summit at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. Shaw noted that financial institutions in Jamaica and many international jurisdictions do not allow banking transactions for legally licensed medical cannabis companies because of the restrictions imposed by United States banks in their correspondent banking arrangements.

  • Colombia has 100-plus licensed cannabis firms, but only a handful have registered cultivars

    Colombia’s cannabis framework allows sales only of cannabis extracts, not flower
    Marijuana Business Daily (US)
    Friday, May 31, 2019

    colombia flag cannabis medicalInterest in Colombia’s medical marijuana market is booming, but out of over 100 licensed cannabis companies operating in the country few have finished registering their first cultivars, a prerequisite to growing crops for commercial purposes. So far, no company is selling or exporting medical cannabis commercially. That highlights the challenges still facing businesses operating in Colombia’s medical marijuana industry. A year ago, most Colombian cannabis companies were focused on obtaining licenses and securing funding. Today, many boast immense licensed areas, theoretical production capacities, sophisticated marketing plans and low expected costs of production. But mandatory regulatory issues still remain the key hurdle likely to separate the leaders from the rest of the pack.

  • Legalising cannabis could be one solution to India’s agrarian distress

    The expertise in cannabis already exists in India
    Quartz (India)
    Friday, May 31, 2019

    india bhang shopIn the past decade, there’s been a sea change with respect to the global attitude to cannabis. India, however, is completely out of step with this global trend, as the use of cannabis—both medical and recreational—remains illegal in the country. India has suffered an agrarian crisis for the past three years. Low produce prices and drought conditions in several regions have led to widespread distress, triggering suicides, and demonstrations by farmers. Legalising cannabis could create a new cash-crop with a revenue stream that has multi-billion dollar export potential. This could help to pull the agrarian economy out of the doldrums and generate employment for thousands of farmers.

  • Asia emerging as new frontier for Canadian cannabis players

    While Asian nations are unlikely to be as accepting of recreational cannabis, they may be more likely to accept medicinal cannabis
    Bloomberg (US)
    Thursday, May 30, 2019

    canada dollar cannabisAs cannabis companies eye expansion in European and South American markets, Asia is poised to be a new frontier for some major Canadian pot players. Despite being the world’s most populous continent, it is estimated that Asia’s cannabis usage is about two per cent, or 85.5 million people, according to London-based cannabis data provider Prohibition Partners. However, several Asian countries are on the cusp of embracing medical cannabis and the continent could see its marijuana market grow to as much as US$5.8 billion by 2024, Prohibition Partners said in a recent report. That’s caught the attention of some Canadian cannabis players including Canopy Growth Corp.

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