• Cannabis industry plans for South Africa have stalled: how to get them moving again

    The industry has the potential to create jobs, alleviate poverty and help reduce the extreme inequality in South Africa
    The Conversation (UK)
    Friday, March 24, 2023

    The opportunity to commercialise the hemp and cannabis industry in South Africa is that it is a new, fast-growing, multi-billion dollar sector with local and international markets. The potential legal pharmaceutical market for hemp and cannabis in South Africa alone has been estimated at over R100 billion a year. But there are challenges. First, that the government fails to implement changes needed to ensure the sector grows in a way that benefits township and rural entrepreneurs farmers. The second is that, from mid-2022, small scale farmers farming cannabis promised to be issued with licences to farm legally. However, some farmers in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape are still waiting.

  • Amid worsening food shortages, we need to turn over a new leaf on the coca plant

    Colombia could help address food insecurity, stepping in to help supply countries in need of more efficient food production
    Euronews (Europe)
    Thursday, March 23, 2023

    bolivia coca produccionThe coca leaf has been a staple in Andean communities for centuries, serving as a source of nutrition, as an aide for altitude adjustment, and as an energy boost. However, despite its many benefits, coca is still widely associated with its illegal derivative, cocaine. This association has led to a prohibition on the international trade of coca, holding back the coca leaf’s potential to help countries in need. Yet, the coca leaf could be at the centre of a global crop resurgence if we just take the steps needed to free it. Coca-based organic fertilisers, developed in Colombia, are an innovative, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic versions. 

  • How drug “decriminalization” fueled Brazil’s mass incarceration crisis

    The partial decriminalization policy implemented under Lula’s first administration in 2006 was a disaster
    Filter (US)
    Thursday, March 23, 2023

    brazil prison populationAt first glance, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s cabinet looks very different from that of predecessor Jair Bolsonaro. It comprises many scientists and other experts in their respective fields, where the previous administration favored military and neoliberal ideologues. Minister of Human Rights Silvio de Almeida is among those who say they support a public health approach to drug use rather than a carceral one. But time and again, we see lip service performed by officials we call “progressive,” while we wait for their actions to match their words.

  • Controlled cannabis sale in Zurich greenlighted

    The Swiss health authorities have paved the way for a trial with cannabis in the city of Zurich later this year
    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Wednesday, March 22, 2023

    switzerland pilot projectThe Zurich city government and the Zurich University Hospital said that the Federal Office of Public Health approved the conditions for the organic production of two separate strains of cannabis. The project, Zuri Can - Cannabis with Responsibility, is intended to study the impact of regulated cannabis supply on the consumption and health of consumers. The project was delayed last October following objections by the health office. The sale of cannabis products from pharmacies and social clubs to control groups is now due to begin next August. A maximum of 2,100 participants can take part in the large-scale pilot project in Switzerland's biggest city. (See also: Zurich set to legalize cannabis In Swiss trial program)

  • Malawi cannabis: Farmers' high hopes fail to materialise

    As part of its vision for how the country could benefit from cannabis, the government wanted to involve as many small-scale farmers as possible
    BBC News (UK)
    Wednesday, March 22, 2023

    cannabis malawiMalawian farmer Ethel Chilembwe has paid out hundreds of dollars, cleared six hectares of land and got ready for the training, but after two years of waiting she has not cultivated a single cannabis plant. Malawi legalised cannabis farming for industrial and medicinal use in February 2020 hoping to take advantage of the booming global demand and move away from the reliance on tobacco as an export crop. Ms Chilembwe, who has been farming tobacco in Kasungu in the west of the country for the last seven years, also scented an opportunity to replace her shrinking returns. She was not the only one - hundreds of other farmers have also been left disappointed.

  • Major alcohol industry association calls for federal marijuana legalization, recommending regulatory framework

    The current system for the regulation of alcohol “serves as a strong model” for cannabis, the industry says
    Marijuana Moment (US)
    Wednesday, March 22, 2023

    alcohol cannabisA major alcohol industry association is officially backing federal marijuana legalization, sending a letter to congressional leadership that implores lawmakers to “regulate adult-use cannabis at the federal level.” The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) said that “the current conflict between state and federal law is not only causing adverse consequences for consumers and non-consumers of cannabis but will also have long-term public health and safety costs that are too great to ignore.” Now that states are even discussing ways to begin interstate commerce of the product, a “piecemeal” approach to marijuana reform is untenable, so lawmakers should “comprehensively” address the issue.

  • Raphael Mechoulam, ‘Father of Cannabis Research,’ dies at 92

    His work helped break down the chemical structures of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, to figure out how cannabis makes users high
    The New York Times (US)
    Wednesday, March 22, 2023

    Raphael MechoulamRaphael Mechoulam, a pioneering Israeli chemist who is credited with opening the field of cannabis science after identifying the structure and function of the key compounds of cannabis, died on March 9 at his home in Jerusalem. He was 92. Professor Mechoulam’s groundbreaking work with cannabis began in the early 1960s, just before the use of marijuana and other drugs exploded in countries around the world, bringing seismic changes to popular culture while also kicking off decades-long battles about health effects and enforcement. His research earned him the unofficial title “the father of cannabis research.”

  • France to keep a cautious watch on German cannabis bill

    As Germany moves towards the legalisation of recreational cannabis in 2024, the French government intends to keep a close eye on developments in its European neighbour’s legislative framework
    Euractiv (Europe)
    Tuesday, March 21, 2023

    cannabis europaGermany is looking into legalising the sale of cannabis for recreational purposes from next year, according to a draft plan Health Minister Karl Lauterbach presented to the European Commission. “France will closely monitor the evolution of the German legislative framework, especially with regard to its potential impact on cross-border regions,” the office of French Health Minister François Braun. France is currently opposed to the legalisation of cannabis and has one of Europe’s most restrictive legislations. It also has Europe’s second-highest consumption levels with around 900,000 daily cannabis users, according to figures from the Interior Ministry.

  • Australia spends billions ‘failing to police’ cannabis that earns black market $25bn a year, Greens say

    David Shoebridge says legalising the drug would bring in $28bn in tax revenue in first decade
    The Guardian (UK)
    Friday, March 17, 2023

    David ShoebridgeAustralia’s cannabis industry could be earning the black market $25bn a year and, rather than policing it, we could be gaining revenue from it by legalising it, Greens senator David Shoebridge has said. “Law enforcement is spending billions of public dollars failing to police cannabis, and the opportunity here is to turn that all on its head by legalising it,” he said. In answer to a question from Shoebridge during Senate estimates on how much cannabis Australians consumed, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (Acic) provided data from the nation’s wastewater which found 14.6 kilograms of THC (the psychoactive compound found in cannabis) per thousand people a year.

  • Legal cannabis plans breach international law – State Council

    Luxembourg has already had to scale back plans to fully legalise cannabis
    Luxembourg Times (Luxembourg)
    Thursday, March 16, 2023

    luxembourg cannabisLuxembourg's plans to allow residents to grow four cannabis plants at their home have been thrown into question after the country's de-facto upper chamber stated the proposals would breach international law. Lawmakers who put forward the draft law "risk exposing themselves to criticism on the international level of non-conformity with international law," the State Council said in a legal opinion. While Luxembourg's plans would breach international law, they would conform with existing EU law, the state council found, given the country would not completely legalise cannabis. (See also: Cannabis cultivé chez soi : l’Europe ne dit pas non)

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