• Cannabis is illegal in Nigeria but provides a living for families - study calls for rethink of drug laws

    For most rural dwellers cannabis farming serves as a means of income generation and diversification to meet basic needs
    The Conversation
    Monday, August 28, 2023

    nigeria cannabisCannabis is a heavily criminalised plant in Nigeria. It can get its growers, traders and users long prison sentences. The National Drug Law Enforcement Act prescribes an imprisonment of not less than 15 years for possession and use of cannabis. Yet its very illegality ensures high prices and makes it lucrative to grow. This research project is one of the few to explore the inside views of illicit cannabis farmers and traders in Africa. These insider views challenge the dominant story that the illicit cultivation and trade of cannabis is unproductive or driven by organised criminals. The main findings show that livelihoods are not only made from legal crops. In fact, it is illicit cannabis, with its illegality premium, that made a difference to our interviewees’ lives in Nigeria.

  • Sydney has a cocaine problem. Is decriminalisation the solution?

    Despite the cost and crackdowns, cocaine use is still on the rise
    Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
    Sunday, August 27, 2023

    australia decrimDelays in introducing reform is fuelling drug consumption and crime in NSW, experts have warned, calling for the government to implement decriminalisation for small quantities of illicit substances. Australia is now the highest per capita user of cocaine worldwide, consuming an estimated 5.6 tonnes a year, with Sydney leading the country in use. Australia is also one of the most expensive places to buy cocaine, costing anywhere from $250 to $400 a gram. The only places where it costs more are in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, where supplying drugs attracts the death penalty. Sydney’s love affair with the costly powder has led to carnage, with eight cocaine-related shootings since March alone.

  • German goverment adopts watered-down cannabis legalisation bill

    The adopted legislation sought to make the law more compatible with EU obligations, although concerns remain
    Euractiv (Europe)
    Wednesday, August 16, 2023

    Karl LauterbachThe German government adopted a watered-down plan to legalise cannabis, moving one step closer to the substance’s controlled distribution, though critiques from judicial, medical and law enforcement associations persist. The bill gives citizens the right to own up to three plants or 25g of the once-illicit substance, and create ‘social clubs’ to distribute cannabis. When the new German government took office in late 2021, legalising the consumption of cannabis was made a priority – both the Greens and the liberal FDP had made legalisation a key campaign promise to young voters. Plans for a comprehensive framework were delayed for months, while the research arm of the Bundestag, the German parliament, raised concerns about the plan’s compatibility with EU law. (See also: Germany unveils bill to legalize cannabis)

  • Morocco has high hopes after planting its first legal cannabis crop

    Reaching Morocco’s full potential is unlikely as long as cultivation is limited to medical and industrial markets
    Bloomberg (US)
    Monday, August 7, 2023

    cannabis cultivation moroccoFarmers have planted the first legal cannabis crop in Morocco, long a top producer of black-market hashish. For now, it’s shaping up to be a modest entry into the above-board market, but hopes are high the nation will one day become a key supplier to the steadily opening European market. The country’s first growing season began in June after legal cultivation was authorized to a group of farmers and companies for medical and industrial use. The government has touted the project as an opportunity to boost revenue, create jobs and protect the environment. Cultivation for recreational use is still banned, however, which experts say limits how quickly the industry will be able to grow.

  • 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)

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