Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Tens of thousands apply for pot amnesty

    Weed walkathon gains momentum
    The Bangkok Post (Thailand)
    Thursday, May 23, 2019

    A total of 31,177 people applied for the medical marijuana amnesty online during the 90-day registration period, which means the number of medical marijuana users in Thailand may exceed 50,000, says the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Disease Health Science Centre. However, Prof Thiravat Hemachudah, the head of the centre -- which assisted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the online amnesty registration process -- said patients will still have to contact the FDA to complete the process. Prof Thiravat said the Red Cross and the FDA never expected to receive so many queries and applications for an amnesty when the initiative was launched. (See also: Pot prescriptions possible by end of June)

  • Without safe injection sites, more opioid users will die

    The abrupt refusal to renew funding for safe injection sites will unquestionably lead to more Canadians dying
    The Conversation (UK)
    Thursday, May 23, 2019

    Ontario is undoubtedly in the midst of an opioid overdose crisis. From January to September 2018, an incredible 1,031 Ontarians died of an overdose. The number of deaths in the province is second only to the 1,155 deaths in British Columbia, dubbed the “ground zero” of the overdose epidemic in North America. Yet with no signs of the crisis slowing down, the Ontario government announced in April that they would abruptly halt funding for several safe injection sites — an unprecedented and dangerous step backwards in curtailing the public health emergency.

  • 'Price-conscious' pot consumers find backyard planting way cheaper

    Will police enforce limit of 4 plants per household? That depends
    CBC News (Canada)
    Wednesday, May 22, 2019

    The federal Cannabis Act specifies that each household can cultivate up to four plants — either indoors or out. Manitoba and Quebec have opted to prohibit homegrown cannabis, but there's already evidence Canadians in other provinces are set to take advantage of the herb's newly legal status. "For the price-conscious consumer, if you're paying around $10 a gram for the varieties at the store, you might be only paying 50 cents per gram or less for a variety you grow yourself at home," says Alex Rea of Toronto-based Homegrown Hydroponics. It's difficult to know yet just how many Canadians are taking advantage of the new opportunity to grow recreational cannabis at home. But demand is already outstripping supply, since a number of provincial authorities are reporting seed shortages.

  • Expert says new laws stifling legal ganja industry

    Unless the number of licensed producers are increased significantly, Jamaica cannot compete in the legal marijuana industry on a global scale
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Wednesday, May 22, 2019

    Ganja growers and producers say regulations to the updated Dangerous Drugs Act (2015) are too stringent and pose a major impediment to those who represent the backbone of the industry, and, by extension, its development. Vice-president of the Ganja Growers and Producers Association of Jamaica (GGPAJ) Maurice Ellis, who is also an executive member of the Jamaica Licensed Cannabis Association (JLCA), argues that the GGPAJ has been pushing for changes to some of the barriers to entering the industry. The small farmers are at a vast disadvantage as a result of the extensive nature of the rules laid down in law. “When it comes on to the small farmer he's not being left behind; he's actually being left out." (See also: Cannabis Authority taking steps to meet growing demand, says Green)

  • How to legalize every drug

    Cocaine energy drinks, licensed psychedelics guides, and fair trade heroin could all be part of a safer legal regime
    Vice (US)
    Wednesday, May 22, 2019

    regulationAs Canada continues to work out the kinks of legalizing cannabis—and jurisdictions around the world follow suit—harm reduction advocates and drug policy researchers have their sights set on the regulation of all drugs, a reform they say is necessary to save lives and look at the issue from a public health perspective. Legalizing drugs would be different from decriminalizing drugs—the latter would make it legal to possess and use small amounts of banned substances but not to produce or sell them. Legalization would mean securing a safe supply of drugs and, with varying degrees of strictness, making those drugs accessible to the public.

  • Purdue Pharma accused of 'corrupting' WHO to boost global opioid sales

    ‘Unscrupulous’ manufacturer replicated false marketing claims to change WHO guidelines, report by members of Congress alleges
    The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday, May 22, 2019

    Purdue Pharma, the drug manufacturer that kickstarted the US opioid epidemic, corruptly influenced the World Health Organization in order to boost painkiller sales across the globe, according to a report by members of Congress. An investigation by Katherine Clark and Hal Rogers, who represent districts in Massachusetts and Kentucky hard hit by the US opioid epidemic, accuses Purdue of replicating its false marketing claims about the safety and effectiveness of opioids to change WHO prescribing guidelines in an attempt to expand foreign markets for its drugs. “The web of influence we uncovered paints a picture of a public health organization that has been corrupted by the opioid industry,” said Clark.

  • Proposals to liberalise cannabis laws expected before Cabinet

    Plans will stop short of ‘full-blown’ decriminalisation of possession
    The Irish Times (Ireland)
    Tuesday, May 21, 2019

    The plans envisage a move to providing drug counselling, addiction treatment and other health interventions for many users found in possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use. However, they will stop short of “full-blown” decriminalisation of the personal possession of drugs and some criminal sanctions are expected to remain on the statute book, according to sources. There remain serious differences within Government on the proposals, which have yet to be finalised. Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has privately expressed concerns about any proposal to decriminalise the personal possession of drugs, it is understood.

  • Study finds CBD effective in treating heroin addiction

    Nearly 400,000 Americans have died of opioid-related causes since 2000
    CNN (US)
    Tuesday, May 21, 2019

    opioidsCannabidiol, the non-psychoactive ingredient in hemp and marijuana, could treat opioid addiction, a new study says. Given to patients with heroin addiction, cannabidiol, also known as CBD, reduced their cravings for the illicit drug as well as their levels of anxiety. "The intense craving is what drives the drug use," said Yasmin Hurd, the lead researcher on the study and director of the Addiction Institute of Mount Sinai. "If we can have the medications that can dampen that [craving], that can greatly reduce the chance of relapse and overdose risk." The available medications for opioid addiction, such as buprenorphine and methadone, act in a similar way, curbing cravings.

  • Luxembourg to follow Canada's cannabis example

    Law to be presented by autumn, implementation in next four years
    Luxembourg Times (Luxembourg)
    Friday, May 17, 2019

    luxembourg cannabis flagLuxembourg is set to largely follow the example of Canada in legalising the recreational use of cannabis, two ministers said after a field trip to the country where the drug has been legal since 2018. Luxembourg's plans to allow production, purchase and consumption of the drug under certain circumstances have shaped up after the trip. The ministers aim to present a legislative act by autumn this year after consulting the State Council, the advisory organ to Luxembourg's parliament. They acknowledged that "neighbouring countries aren't too happy about this", but said they would seek dialogue with these countries to look at measures to prevent smuggling. (See also: Cannabis legalisation to occur this legislature | Wegen Cannabis nach Kanada: Etienne Schneider und Felix Braz haben sich über Weed informiert)

  • ‘They have free rein’: Rio residents fear police violence under far-right rule

    New governor promised ‘slaughter’ of gangsters, drawing comparisons with bloody Philippines drug war
    The Guardian (UK)
    Friday, May 17, 2019

    During campaigning last year, Rio’s new, far-right governor, Wilson Witzel, promised a “slaughter” of gun-toting drug gangsters using helicopters and snipers – leading to comparisons with the Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody drug war. Now fears are growing that the policy is being implemented in Rio, fed by a record high of 434 deaths in confrontations with police in the first three months of this year. Renata Souza, the chair of the human rights commission at Rio’s legislative assembly, wrote to the UN rapporteur on extrajudicial killings that Witzel was “legitimising” police violence in favelas.

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