• Legalising cocaine would stem drug violence, Belgian criminologist suggests

    "The idea hatched 100 years ago to criminalise hard drugs does not work in the modern world"
    The Brussels Times (Belgium)
    Saturday, January 21, 2023

    belgium antwerp cocaineAfter an 11-year-old girl died recently due to a shooting incident in Merksem, politicians have stressed that tackling narco-terror is a top priority, without exception. Ministers and mayors have spoken about stronger controls and even deploying the army to tackle the growing crisis. Could the legalisation of cocaine be part of the solution to reduce drug violence in Belgium? Criminologist Tom Decorte from Ghent University thinks so. He has claimed that it is precisely the illegality of the drug business that creates the biggest economic incentive for criminals and by legalising and regulating it, violent competition could be reduced or even eradicated. (See also: Fines for using hard drugs could increase from €150 to €1,000 | Belgium in Brief: Carrots, sticks, and cocaine)

  • Record 100 tonnes of cocaine seized in Port of Antwerp last year

    Less cocaine seized in Rotterdam but more was found in Antwerp
    The Brussels Times (Belgium)
    Tuesday, January 10, 2023

    cocaine seizureLast year, Belgian customs intercepted just under 110 tonnes of cocaine in the Port of Antwerp, a new record, as it marks the first time the 100-tonne mark has been passed. The port, together with the Dutch equivalent in Rotterdam, is preferred by international drug trafficking and related criminal organisations due to its central location in north-western Europe, as well as its long tradition with transport lines from South America. For international drug criminals, Antwerp and Rotterdam are two gateways to mainland Europe. However, in Rotterdam, the quantity of cocaine seized did decrease: from 70 tonnes in 2021 to around 50 tonnes in 2022. (See also: Young girl (11) dies in drug-related shooting in Antwerp | Less cocaine seized in Rotterdam but more was found in Antwerp)

  • This guy plans to open a store that sells heroin, meth, and crack

    Jerry Martin knows he’ll get arrested if he opens up a store in Vancouver that sells heroin, meth, MDMA, and more. “That’s the whole idea,” he said
    Vice (UK)
    Friday, January 6, 2023

    canada opioid crisis emergencyA Vancouver man is planning to open what would be Canada’s first store that sells heroin, cocaine, meth, MDMA, and other drugs as a way to reduce the rising number of deaths stemming from the overdose crisis. Jerry Martin, 51, wants to open the brick-and-mortar shop by the end of January, when British Columbia’s new drug decriminalization policy kicks in. The pilot project, which will last three years, will mean it’s no longer illegal to possess up to 2.5 grams of opioids, crack and powder cocaine, meth, and MDMA. Selling those drugs will remain illegal. But Martin, a former cocaine user, believes providing drugs that have been tested for contaminants will save the lives of drug users. 

  • Illegal weed delivery start-up Dispenseroo sees meteoric growth in the UK

    ‘I just wanted a change of career – I’d never sold drugs ever in my life before this,’ says Dispenseroo founder
    The Inependent (UK)
    Thursday, January 5, 2023

    dispenserooAn illegal cannabis delivery start-up in the UK is generating millions of pounds in revenue less than a year after it was created, according to its founder. Dispenseroo, which unlike other online drug markets operates on the open web, has attracted thousands of customers in recent months through guerilla advertising campaigns and word-of-mouth. The unorthodox approach of shunning the dark web means the site is easily found through popular search engines like Google and DuckDuckGo, allowing it to grow tenfold in recent months. The founder, who goes by the name “S”, told The Independent that he had never sold drugs before starting Dispenseroo, and only created the service out of frustration with “archaic” cannabis laws in the UK.

  • ‘This is another revolution’: could legalisation of cannabis transform Mexico’s economy?

    Despite frustrating legislative delays, farmers in Mexico are keen to start growing a crop that may be more profitable than rice, corn or sugar
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, January 5, 2023

    mexico cultivo legalThe pungent aroma of cannabis and the sound of dub music fill the air at a hacienda as about 150 smokers, users, growers, activists and business people gather for Mexico’s second annual Toquefest. In anticipation of the long-delayed legalisation of cannabis – after a number of supreme court decisions decreed the right to cultivate and deemed unconstitutional the ban on recreational use – the war on weed in Mexico is winding down and the festival is just one of 20 marijuana-related events being held across the country. Bills have been passed in both legislative chambers over the past two years but they have not agreed on the same version.

  • Pass cannabis controls now

    The Bangkok Post (Thailand)
    Wednesday, January 4, 2023

    thailand cannabis plant handoutSince December, MPs in Thailand have been working on getting the long-awaited cannabis and hemp control bill to pass its second reading. This push is a breath of fresh air not only for patients and medical practitioners but also investors looking to export cannabis as a cash crop. The reason? The bill had been filibustered by a number of political parties, both in the government coalition and the opposition, since September, with the Democrat, Pheu Thai, and the libertarian Move Forward Party (MFP) withdrawing their support for the legislation, which aimed to lay out the rules to control cannabis consumption after it was deregulated in June last year. (See also: Vote trims weed control bill)

  • French court overturns ban on sale of CBD-enriched cannabis

    The Council's decision was celebrated across the cannabis sector in France, where there are believed to be roughly 2,000 CBD shops
    The Brussels Times (Belgium)
    Friday, December 30, 2022

    france bientot legaliserFrance's highest administrative judicial body has annulled a Government decree that banned the sale of hemp flower and leaf enriched with CBD, the non-psychotropic molecule found in cannabis. The French Council of State (Conseil d'Etat) decreed that the Government's ban was "disproportionate", and argued that the sale of CBD in the form of leaves and buds does not "create a sufficient risk to public health" to justify prohibition. "As scientific data stand, the harmfulness of other molecules present in cannabis flowers and leaves, in particular CBD, has not been established," the Council ruled.

  • Now you can legally buy recreational cannabis in New York

    The first legal sale of recreational weed took place in a dispensary in Manhattan, just meeting the state’s deadline to open a store in 2022
    The New York Times (US)
    Thursday, December 29, 2022

    us ny liberty statueKenneth Woodin, a stay-at-home dad, was first in line at the cannabis dispensary in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. He said he wanted to be a part of history after having been arrested on a weed charge in Houston, where he previously lived. When he finally got inside, after a more than four-hour wait, he bought two bags, each containing an eighth of an ounce of smokable flower called Gorilla Glue for about $90. It was the kind of transaction that used to take place out of sight. But Mr. Woodin’s purchase on Thursday was made on the first day of licensed sales of recreational cannabis since the state legalized them last year. “This is a part of history,” Mr. Woodin, 33, said. “I don’t want to feel like being a criminal anymore.” (See also: New York’s first legal dispensary for recreational marijuana opens doors)

  • Is legal weed doomed to be run by big business?

    Pro-marijuana advocates have become surprising foes of some efforts to legalize. Here’s why
    Vox (US)
    Wednesday, December 28, 2022

    us california cannabis industryIf the federal government legalizes cannabis, lawmakers should beware of monopolization by national corporations, says Shaleen Title, chief executive of the cannabis policy think tank Parabola Center. Title authored a paper on preventing monopolies in the marijuana market, outlining how domination by big business is a threat to the existing cannabis industry. She writes that “the recent wave of market consolidation and high barriers to entry for smaller actors foreshadow a future national market controlled by only a handful of companies.” Title cautions that tobacco and alcohol companies are quietly laying the groundwork with the hope of controlling the legal cannabis market.

  • Marijuana law reached peak absurdity in 2022

    As cannabis startups struggle, consumers get “legally” high on sketchy synthetics sold in prohibition states
    Truthout (US)
    Saturday, December 24, 2022

    us flag cannabisBanning a plant with hundreds of industrial and medical uses was never going to work out well, but 2022 saw marijuana prohibition reach peak absurdity, not to mention peak confusion for consumers and new businesses trying to make sense of it all. At first glance, cannabis reform appears to be humming along smoothly. Maryland, Missouri and Rhode Island approved legalization initiatives in 2022 as states such as New Mexico and New York raced to establish regulations for legal recreational sales. New laws in mostly blue states expunged cannabis arrests from criminal records for thousands of people. President Joe Biden made moves to pardon federal marijuana prisoners and reconsider the federal “scheduling” of marijuana ...

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