Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Cannabis companies could go bust in 2020, industry insiders predict

    2 Canadian companies sought creditor protection last month
    CBC News (Canada)
    Tuesday, January 21, 2020

    What a difference a year makes. Around this time in 2019, the cannabis sector was booming. Investors wanted in and stock prices were skyrocketing. Today, share prices have tumbled and analysts are forecasting "many" bankruptcies by the end of the year. Just last month, two Canadian companies, AgMedica and Wayland, were granted creditor protection. Some producers are looking for an exit, even if it means being bought by their competitors. Others looking to beef up their cash reserves are offering to sell off equipment and greenhouses — at a discount. "But in most cases, those are assets you don't want to take on. They're not efficient," said Greg Engel, chief executive officer of Organigram, a cannabis producer in Moncton, N.B.

  • Crackdown on laughing gas cartridges and the Danish teenagers who abuse them

    Age and purchase limits will hopefully curtail a drug craze that has reached epidemic proportions
    The Copenhagen Post (Denmark)
    Tuesday, January 21, 2020

    nitrous oxideThe Danish government will present a bill to make it much harder for young people to abuse laughing gas cartridges to get high. The bill, which has a broad majority, will make it illegal for under-18s to buy the nitrous oxide cartridges, which are most commonly used in siphons to produce whipped cream for coffee and desserts. Additionally, it will be illegal for anyone to buy more than two of the eight-gram cartridges at the same time. The cartridges have been popping up all over cycle lanes and pavements over the last two to three years due to their abuse by teenagers who inhale the gas for a short-term euphoric effect. (See also: Why Denmark wants to ban under-18s from buying laughing gas)

  • MPs, health experts and lawyers call for new approach to drugs

    The manifesto calls on the government to set up an independent committee to come up with recommendations to reform drugs policy
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Monday, January 20, 2020

    netherlands cannabis plantation2MPs, television celebrities, lawyers, leading lights from the dance scene and health experts are among the 79 people who have signed a new manifesto calling for major reform in official Dutch drugs policy. ‘The need for a new and realistic drugs policy is greater than ever. The international drug trade has taken root in the Netherlands and with serious consequences,’ the online manifesto states. A regulated – not a free – drugs market the starting point of a new drugs policy,’ the manifesto states. ‘lllegality fuels crime. That is why we must tackle the revenue model of the criminals and make a regulated drug market the starting point of a new drugs policy.’ Regulation, the signatories say, will open up more possibilities when it comes to prevention, public information, price and quality.

  • Marijuana legalization may hit 40 states. Now what?

    Changes in state laws could usher in even more confusion for law enforcement and escalate the pressure on Congress to act
    Politico (US)
    Monday, January 20, 2020

    us flag cannabis capitolMore than 40 U.S. states could allow some form of legal marijuana by the end of 2020, including deep red Mississippi and South Dakota — and they’re doing it with the help of some conservatives. State lawmakers are teeing up their bills as legislative sessions kick off around the country, and advocates pushing ballot measures are racing to collect and certify signatures to meet deadlines for getting their questions to voters. Should they succeed, every state could have marijuana laws on the books that deviate from federal law, but people could still be prosecuted if they drive across state lines with their weed, because the total federal ban on marijuana isn’t expected to budge any time soon. (See also: Congress investigates lifting some cannabis restrictions)

  • Major Canadian pot companies facing proposed class-action lawsuits in the U.S.

    Each producer is accused of misleading investors or failing to disclose certain problems with their businesses
    CBC News (Canada)
    Sunday, January 19, 2020

    canada industrial cannabis village farmsSome of Canada's biggest cannabis producers are facing proposed class-action lawsuits in the United States after investors were hit with steep financial losses in the stock market. At least nine U.S. law firms are pursuing cases against Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis and Hexo Corp. in American courts. Although the allegations vary, each pot producer is accused of misleading investors or failing to disclose certain problems with their businesses. When those problems became publicly known, the lawsuits claim, share prices plunged and investors were stuck with losses. "[Investors] are mad; they were taken by surprise," said Reed Kathrein, a lawyer at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, which is pursuing claims against all three producers.

  • Pot industry heads to Davos as stocks rebound: Cannabis Weekly

    Cannabis House will run alongside the World Economic Forum
    Bloomberg (US)
    Sunday, January 19, 2020

    cannabis industry ny2016Tough times in the cannabis industry aren’t stopping its leaders from going to Davos. For the second year in a row, there will be a Cannabis House in Davos, Switzerland this week alongside the schmoozing and speeches of the World Economic Forum. The 2020 offering promises to be “a little more formal and more professional” than last year’s, according to Jason Paltrowitz, executive vice president of corporate services at OTC Markets Group, one of the sponsors of the Cannabis House. Cannabis House will feature a two-day conference focused on the themes of Davos 2020, including sustainability, climate change, social equity and impact investing. (See also: Major Canadian pot companies facing proposed class-action lawsuits in the U.S.)

  • Sars would benefit if growing cannabis is legalised, says Tito Mboweni

    Despite the hype, the large-scale commercialisation of dagga is not the right economic route to follow
    Independent on Saturday (South Africa)
    Saturday, January 18, 2020

    south africa daggaFinance Minister Tito Mboweni’s tweet about pushing for it to be legal to grow cannabis - for the SA Revenue Service’s sake - is a step in the direction towards including small growers, although it is more likely they will remain in the informal economy. This is the view of GG Alcock, informal economy expert and author of Kasinomics and Kasinomic Revolution, who said: "We need a policy which is like fair trade coffee where companies like Starbucks invest in small farmers in Costa Rica and central Africa, supplying them with seed and plant stock and then buying the coffee from them. This should be the model we explore, investing in small farmers and then aggregating their crop via large commercial entities. ... the problem is that government models do not currently consider this type of model."

  • Justice secretary hits back at criticism of nitrous oxide ban

    Robert Buckland says laughing gas is dangerous after David Nutt argues beer is more toxic
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, January 16, 2020

    nitrous oxideThe UK justice secretary, Robert Buckland, has hit back at the former drugs adviser David Nutt for labelling the government’s criminalisation of nitrous oxide hysterical. Buckland said nitrous, also known as laughing gas or hippy crack, was a dangerous drug, and giving young people mixed messages could put lives at risk. Nutt, a former adviser to the Home Office and more recently a vocal critic of government drugs policy, said nitrous was far less toxic or addictive than wine or beer. Nitrous oxide was banned alongside other co-called legal highs in 2016, but Nutt said the substance could be “fun without the risks of alcohol”. “The effect is over in a few minutes. You’re perfectly safe, you can go back home, you can drive, you are much more in control of it, you don’t have a hangover,” he said.

  • European Commission proposes unified EU vote on WHO cannabis scheduling recommendations

    The Commission asked for a “further assessment” on the proposed clarification that CBD preparations with no more than 0.2% THC not be subject to international control
    Marijuana Business Daily (US)
    Wednesday, January 15, 2020

    cannabis top handsIn advance of the March session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), the European Commission has proposed that EU member nations vote in favor of three of the six World Health Organization (WHO) cannabis scheduling recommendations. The Commission “Proposal for a Council Decision” is meaningful because – if adopted by the Council of Europe – EU countries would vote as a block at the CND session in Vienna and the three motions the Commission supports stand a higher chance of being approved. One of these supported changes would be positive for the cannabis industry: removing cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. (See also: European Commission falls short on WHO cannabis recommendations, experts say)

  • New parliamentary secretary Rosianne Cutajar says it's time to implement cannabis reform

    Newly appointed as reforms parliamentary secretary, Rosianne Cutajar says reform on recreational cannabis would surely be implemented within the next two years
    Malta Today (Malta)
    Wednesday, January 15, 2020

    malta reform nowRosianne Cutajar, in her new role as reforms parliamentary secretary, said that it is now time to start implementing the cannabis reform, which aims to legalise recreational cannabis. Prime Minister Robert Abela has promoted Cutajar to parliamentary secretary of equality and reforms within the ministry for justice. "Look, we spent a long time in consultation, but now it's time to implement it. Without a doubt, in the next two years, we would be seeing the reform's implementation," Cutajar said. With the liberalisation and regulation of the medical cannabis market, the former reforms parliamentary secretary, Julia Farrugia Portelli, had promised the complete legalisation of recreational cannabis. (ReLeaf Malta: A Maltese Legalised and Regulated Cannabis Market 2020)

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