• Instant fines for drug possession in Belgium: €1,000 for cocaine

    Instant fines for drug possession have been implemented across the country since January 2022
    The Brussels Times (Belgium)
    Sunday, August 6, 2023

    belgium policeMore than a thousand immediate fines were levied in Belgium for possession of drugs during July alone, mainly at festivals, according to Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne (Open VLD). The fines are calculated based on the variety and quantity of drugs found, with offenders required to pay immediately via QR code or bank transfer within a 15-day window. Violators possessing cannabis face potential fines up to 150 euros. Possession of ecstasy or similar synthetic drugs comes with a heightened fine of 300 euros. Unprecedentedly, cocaine possession can now give an instant fine of up to 1,000 euros.

  • A beachside city became California’s legal cannabis capital. Not everyone is stoked

    Santa Barbara voters hoped for an economic boost, but a coalition of schools, rich homeowners and the wine industry are no longer feeling the buzz
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, August 3, 2023

    us cannabis greenhouses santa barbaraThanks to the most lenient policies in California for recreational marijuana, Santa Barbara county is now the state’s undisputed capital of legal cannabis, boasting more acres than each of the the storied Emerald Triangle counties of Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino. Santa Barbara voters overwhelmingly backed California’s legalisation of recreational marijuana in 2016, with hopes that the cannabis boom would bring tax revenue and new jobs to the county. The transformation has been fast and furious. Santa Barbara county is now home to around a third of all cultivation licenses issued in California, despite making up only 1.8% of the state’s land, with some megafarms stretching over dozens of acres.

  • Cannabis policy expert slams Malta police's attitude to CBD

    Martin Jelsma says associations should be allowed to permit on site consumption
    Times of Malta (Malta)
    Saturday, July 29, 2023

    cannabis leaf plantsA leading drugs policy expert believes members of Malta’s planned cannabis associations should be allowed to consume cannabis on site rather than being restricted to only doing so at home. “It was an issue that came up in several of our meetings these past two days, and the social role of associations should be promoted as going beyond a place where members get cannabis to take home,” said Martin Jelsma, Programme Director for Drugs and Democracy at the Netherlands-based Transnational Institute. As it stands, the law will not allow members to smoke cannabis on the premises of planned cannabis associations. Jelsma also had strong words of criticism for Maltese authorities' handling of CBD cannabis flow, branding it "absurd".

  • ‘Outlaws’: Morocco’s Rif provides refuge for cannabis farmers

    Even as Morocco liberalises some cannabis laws, the Rif continues to be a centre for illicit production
    Al Jazeera (Qatar)
    Friday, July 28, 2023

    morocco cannabis grower1For centuries, the mountains of the Rif have been a centre of cannabis farming. Morocco is to this day the biggest producer of cannabis resin in the world, according to the United Nations. In July 2021 in an effort to improve the economy of one of the poorest regions, the kingdom decided to officially approve a bill legalising the production of cannabis for industrial, medicinal and cosmetic uses in the Rif. Up to now, the local farmers who have made the choice to grow cannabis legally are still few. By May, only about 400 of them had received authorization to begin. According to Khalid Mouna, a Moroccan anthropologist, with a focus on the Rif and kif, the small-scale local farmers might become the ones who will be left behind by the new law.

  • German cannabis legalisation could infringe EU law despite tweaks

    Legal problems for German legislation especially arise for the idea of allowing ‘cannabis clubs’
    Euractiv (Europe)
    Wednesday, July 26, 2023

    europe cannabisGermany’s plans to legalise cannabis are partially incompatible with EU law, despite significant changes Berlin made to avoid legal problems, according to a study from the parliamentary research service. After the German government first presented a roadmap in October 2022 for the full legalisation of the commercial production and distribution of cannabis, it became clear that the plans clashed with EU legislation on drug trafficking. After talks with the European Commission, the three-party government presented a new version in April that was significantly watered down in order to make it legally compatible with the EU framework. (See also in German: Bun­des­tags­gu­t­achten gibt der Ampel Rücken­wind)

  • Court: Swiss police can’t seize small amounts of cannabis for personal use

    Police in Switzerland do not have the unconditional right to confiscate and destroy cannabis quantities less than 10 grams, the country’s Federal Court has ruled
    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Tuesday, July 25, 2023

    cannabis switzerlandThe possession of small quantities of cannabis, if for personal use rather than re-sale, is already not treated as a criminal offense in Switzerland. However, the highest court in Switzerland clarified that such mini-amounts are also not liable for seizure – that is, if there is no proof of any crime having taken place, and if the user is not nabbed while actually consuming the drug. In 2008 Swiss voters rejected legalisation, but in 2012 parliament reduced the penalty for possession and consumption of small amounts to a fine – in order to relieve the police and judiciary and save costs. (See also: Swiss police face confusion about hard drug rules)

  • Swiss cities test controlled cannabis distribution

    A commercial model could prove dangerous; a scheme where no one makes a profit is more appropriate, where those running it can decide what products to offer and train the sales staff properly
    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Sunday, July 23, 2023

    switzerland cannabis infoSwiss drug policy is shifting. Some pharmacies and social clubs in major cities are making cannabis available for recreational purposes under scientific pilot projects. There is even talk of extending such trials to cocaine. The scientific pilot SCRIPT will make cannabis available for sale in pharmacies in the Swiss capital Bern, along with the cities of Lucerne and Biel. The goal is to evaluate what impact a regulated, not-for-profit sale of cannabis coupled with advisory services may have on cannabis consumption. It is one of several pilot trials planned across Switzerland. In June, Bern’s city parliament overwhelmingly approved a motion from the Alternative Left party calling on the city to conduct a scientific pilot trial of controlled cocaine sales.  

  • New cannabis law to come into force on Friday

    After the new cannabis law was published in the 'Official Journal', Luxembourg's gazette, on Tuesday, the law is set to come into force on Friday 21 July 2023
    RTL Today (Luxembourg)
    Tuesday, July 18, 2023

    luxembourg cannabisThe Ministry of Justice published a statement (FR) on Tuesday announcing that the legalisation of private cannabis cultivation and consumption was officially included in Luxembourg's gazette. This means that the law will come into force on Friday 21 July this year, four days after the text was published. Adults will thus be allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants per household. Consumption and transportation of cannabis outside of one's home remain prohibited, as do private sales. The law also stipulates new and reduced penalties for violations. (See also: Everything you need to know about the new cannabis law)

  • Cannabis associations eye first quarter of 2024 for opening their doors

    Each club will be required to contribute a portion of each euro they make to a harm reduction fund
    Malta Today (Malta)
    Monday, July 17, 2023

    malta cannabisCannabis associations in Malta could be up and running by the end of March 2024, sources familiar with the matter have told MaltaToday. In June, it was revealed that 26 groups had applied for cannabis association licences from the Authority for the Responsible Use of Cannabis, (ARUC) but no timeframe was yet given. The biggest hurdle surrounding the licence approval involved receiving the green light from banks in order to take out loans to be able to operate, however, sources say that this issue has been resolved. Regarding the applicants themselves, ARUC had received applications for all five types of associations, characterised by their number of members.

  • Canadian marijuana entrepreneurs shift focus to ‘micro’ licenses

    The industry is already swimming in overproduction of low-quality cannabis that generally comes from “standard” production sites
    MJBizDaily (US)
    Monday, July 17, 2023

    Cannabis entrepreneurs in Canada are increasingly turning to smaller micro-cultivation facilities to manage costs and produce higher-quality marijuana at a time when the industry is facing a glut of “standard” product and falling prices. That shift ultimately could help shrink some of the Canadian cannabis industry’s current supply glut, given that micro-class licensees operate smaller cultivation facilities. At the end of 2022, Canada’s total indoor growing area was 28% lower than the all-time high reached in 2020. Consumers appear to be weighing price sensitivity with a desire for the highest-quality products they can afford at a particular price point.

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