Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Support for legalising cannabis growing among British public, survey finds

    Poll shows policy-makers are 'significantly behind' tide of public opinion, says former Tory minister
    The Independent (UK)
    Sunday, July 14, 2019

    Twice as many British adults now support the legalisation of cannabis than oppose it, according to a poll which reveals a “widening gulf” between public opinion and drug laws. Forty-eight per cent of voters favour legalising recreational use of marijuana, up five points in the past year, with only 24 per cent objecting, found the YouGov survey. Support for medicinal cannabis was even stronger, with 77 per cent of respondents saying it should be permitted. A similar proportion said they would consider using cannabis-based treatments if there was strong evidence it would benefit them. The Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group (CDPRG), which commissioned the poll, said the findings indicated “clear and growing appetite” for a new approach to drug policy in the UK.

  • Cannabis pilot project agreement signed in Accompong

    Signing will ensure that traditional growers of ganja are not left out of the formal cannabis system
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Wednesday, July 10, 2019

    A tripartite agreement was signed to implement a cannabis pilot programme in Accompong, St Elizabeth, under the Cannabis Licensing Authority's (CLA) Alternative Development Programme. The agreement was signed by representatives of the CLA, Accompong Town Maroons, and Timeless Herbal Care. The Alternative Development Programme is being implemented as a strategy to transition traditional cannabis farmers from an illicit framework into the regulated environment, as a means of promoting sustainable economic development and poverty eradication. It is also aimed at providing access to quality-controlled cannabis for medicinal purposes, in keeping with government policy.

  • Coca, the illicit plant that funded Colombia’s civil war, is flourishing again

    Duque’s plan to destroy it is drawing opposition
    The Washington Post (US)
    Wednesday, July 10, 2019

    It was eight years ago the last time planes came to spray poison on Noralba Quintero’s coca crop in the jungled foothills here by the mighty Magdalena River. Until recently, she thought those days were over. Quintero’s community was one of thousands that relied on the plant from which cocaine is made to survive through Colombia’s decades-long civil war. With the historic peace accord of 2016, the government was supposed to help the farmers transition to legal agriculture. But that pledge remains unfulfilled — and coca has proliferated. Now President Iván Duque, pressured by the United States, is pushing hard to resume aerial fumigation with glyphosate, the controversial practice that officials here say is the most effective way of eradicating the illicit crop that helped fund the war.

  • Congressional committee discusses how to legalize cannabis

    The hearing highlighted competing visions of what reform should look like
    Leafly (US)
    Wednesday, July 10, 2019

    us flag cannabisIn a first-of-its-kind hearing, a key congressional committee met to discuss how to finally put an end to federal cannabis prohibition. Titled Marijuana Laws in America: Racial Justice and the Need for Reform, it was the latest indication of just how far Congress has come on cannabis reform after decades of intransigence. Americans now broadly support cannabis legalization, with a majority of both Democrats and Republicans in favor. The bipartisan agreement was on display at a House Judiciary subcommittee meeting, where members of both parties expressed frustration at the current state of the country’s cannabis laws. But while lawmakers seemed to agree on the need for reform, the hearing also highlighted tensions between competing visions of what reform should look like.

  • How do we eliminate the cannabis black market? License it

    Canadians prefer buying from their old dealers – often for good reason
    National Magazine (Canada)
    Wednesday, July 10, 2019

    canada flag cannabisGiven a choice, Canadians prefer to buy illicit weed. Nearly 80 per cent of all sales since legalization are from the “black market” – or more aptly named the “original market.” Contrary to what the government and the legal industry would have consumers believe, much of the illicit cannabis on the market today is of higher quality than that grown by licensed producers (LPs). The legalization of cannabis was a step in the right direction. But it also ushered in an elitist regulatory system that promoted big business to thrive in the face of the pre-existing culture and industry. The government encouraged titans of capital to build a new cannabis industry right on top of the original, underground industry, by people who know more about corporate financing models than how to grow the plant. 

  • Illegal cannabis getting even cheaper, as legal gets costlier, StatsCan says

    Gap between legal and illegal varieties as wide as $4.72 per gram, on average
    CBC News (Canada)
    Wednesday, July 10, 2019

    Statistics Canada's quarterly report on cannabis prices suggests the cost chasm between legal and illegal versions of the drug is wide, and getting wider. The data agency reported that the price gap between the two types of cannabis is as wide as $4.72 a gram. Canada legalized recreational cannabis last October, but the rollout across the country has been plagued by delays, limited supply, and other logistical issues. Three months ago, StatsCan's report of the first full quarter of price information showed the gap between legal cannabis and the illegal variety was $3.62 a gram. That means the illegal stuff today is roughly half the cost of the legal variety. So it is not surprising that more than half — 59 per cent — of respondents said they purchased illegal cannabis during the period.

  • Make cannabis legal and cut crime, says Adam Smith think tank

    Legalisation in the UK could be reasonably expected within the next five to 10 years
    Evening Standard (UK)
    Tuesday, July 9, 2019

    uk evening standard cannabisA leading think tank today called for cannabis to be sold over the counter in pharmacies — and said legalisation for adult recreational use is a matter of “when, not if”.  The Adam Smith Institute, a non-profit organisation that promotes free-market socially liberal ideas and has strong links to the Conservative Party, said the best way for the next Tory government to tackle serious youth violence and knife crime is to legalise cannabis. Its report, “The Green Light — how legalising and regulating cannabis will reduce crime, protect children and improve safety”, calls for a Colorado-type free-market model augmented by elements of the Canadian public health approach, namely educating the public as to the harms of cannabis via product label warnings and public information campaigns.

  • Youth marijuana use declined in states that legalized, study finds

    The results run counter to long-standing fears expressed by opponents of legalization
    Marijuana Moment (US)
    Monday, July 8, 2019

    us flag cannabis capitolLegalizing marijuana is associated with a decline in youth cannabis consumption, according to a new study in a journal published by the American Medical Association. The research, which analyzed federal data on marijuana use trends among 1.4 million high school students from 1993 to 2017, showed that self-reported past-month youth cannabis use declined by an average of eight percent in states that legalized recreational marijuana. There was also a nine percent drop in reports of using marijuana 10 or more times over the past 30 days in those states, the study found. However, there was no statistically significant change in consumption rates in states that legalized medical cannabis alone. (See also: US teens may be finding it harder to buy cannabis after legalisation)

  • Bar Council welcomes Govt move to decriminalise drugs

    The government in June had pledged to decriminalise drug addiction and drug possession for personal use
    The Star (Malaysia)
    Monday, July 8, 2019

    decrimThe Malaysian Bar has welcomed the government's decision to decriminalise drugs, saying that these reforms are essential to a holistic drug policy. Malaysian Bar president Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor said the effectiveness of the hardline prohibitionist approach was questionable. "The incarceration of persons with addiction to illicit drugs — often in detention centres that are overcrowded and in deplorable conditions — does little to help them 'get clean' but often exposes them and their families to additional risks of harm," he said in a statement. Based on research findings in other jurisdictions, drug law reform in the form of the decriminalisation of illicit drug use — in favour of a more progressive harm reduction approach — is a prudent and progressive step for the Government to take in its drug policy.

  • Rodrigo Duterte's drug war is 'large-scale murdering enterprise' says Amnesty

    New report details systematic killing of poor and calls for UN investigation into crimes against humanity
    The Guardian (UK)
    Monday, July 8, 2019

    The president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte is carrying out a “large-scale murdering enterprise” and should be investigated by the UN for crimes against humanity, according to a new Amnesty report into his so-called war on drugs. It has been three years since Duterte pledged to wipe out drug abuse in the Philippines by giving police unprecedented powers and near total impunity to kill any suspected drug addicts or dealers. Amnesty’s report detailed how the systematic killing of the urban poor has continued on such a scale it now amounts to crimes against humanity. The report told of nightly incidents where police would shoot defenceless suspects, or abduct them and take them to other locations where they would be shot. (See also: A 3-year-old child Is the Philippine drug war’s latest victim)

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