Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Police chiefs call on federal government to decriminalize possession of illicit drugs for personal use

    Chiefs say their efforts should be directed at cracking down on drug trafficking, drug production
    CBC News (Canada)
    Thursday, July 9, 2020

    The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is calling on federal lawmakers to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of illegal drugs for personal consumption. CACP's president, Chief Constable Adam Palmer, said it's time to rethink how police and governments approach the use and abuse of illegal drugs in order to save lives. "Arresting individuals for simple possession of illicit drugs has proven to be ineffective. It does not save lives," Palmer said. "The CACP recognizes substance use and addiction as a public health issue. Being addicted to a controlled substance is not a crime and should not be treated as such. We recommend that Canada's enforcement-based approach for possession be replaced with a health care approach that diverts people from the criminal justice system."

  • Cannabis referendum: Marijuana not so bad for you, won't turn your hair green

    Stop wasting the money on the police, the helicopters, the prosecutors, the courts, the jails
    New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
    Wednesday, July 8, 2020

    Former Prime Minister Helen Clark says cannabis won't make your teeth fall out or turn your hair green - and criminalising it is an injustice to thousands of people every year. And she says it's not as bad for your health as legal substances tobacco or alcohol, a claim backed up by an expert panel's work that was published yesterday. Her comments come on the back of a new poll showing a tight race for the September referendum on legalising cannabis for recreational use, with 48 per cent support in favour and 43 per cent opposed. (See also: Legal cannabis has potential to reduce harm, but many unknowns: PM's chief science adviser)

  • Secret US drug injection site shows how supervision could save lives

    Thirty-three overdoses at sterile, protected location were reversed with naloxone, researchers find
    The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday, July 8, 2020

    dcr vancouverFor five years, a secret supervised drug injection site has operated in the US, allowing drug users to inject more than 10,000 times in a sterile, protected environment. The illegal operation is modeled after similar, legal sites in Canada and Europe, which seek to provide drug users with a place to get clean supplies, connect with social services and avoid overdosing in a dangerous place. A study of the underground site published in the New England Journal of Medicine online revealed how lives could be saved if the US were to sanction such facilities. An unnamed organization created the site in September 2014 in response to the opioid overdose crisis.

  • Thousands more pot shops needed to end illicit market: Fire & Flower CEO

    The illicit market still controls roughly 70 to 80 per cent of all cannabis household spending in the country, according to Statistics Canada
    BNN Bloomberg
    Monday, July 6, 2020

    canada ottawa cannabisCanada needs to open as many as 4,000 cannabis stores, more than triple the current number of licensed outlets, if policymakers want to eliminate the illicit market, according to the head of one of the largest marijuana retailers in the country. Trevor Fencott, chief executive officer of Fire and Flower Holdings Corp., said that Canada would need to mirror what other legal markets such as Colorado have done to compete directly with the illicit market, where one cannabis store would be open for every 10,000 people served. That would result in Canada needing to open about 3,500 to 4,000 cannabis stores. Canada has just shy of 1,000 licensed cannabis stores across the country less than two years after legalizing recreational pot.

  • GGPAJ welcomes start of the consultation process on 'Special Permits'

    The policy intends to provide this group of farmers with an additional avenue to enter the medical cannabis industry
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Saturday, July 4, 2020

    jamaica ganja2The Ganja Growers and Producers Association (GGPA) welcomed the start of the consultation process for the special permit policy for the cannabis industry. The Cannabis Licencing Authority (CLA) said it had begun meeting with stakeholders on the Cultivator's (transitional) Special Permit Policy. The policy is geared towards transitioning small or subsistence farmers who currently find it challenging to obtain a licence to enter into the medical cannabis industry. While the GGPA welcomed the development, the association said it was alarmed that it was not consulted about the policy. The association noted that it has over 4,000 registered members of which over 600 are currently active.

  • Magic mushrooms could help ex-soldiers to overcome trauma

    As more troops self-medicate with psychedelic drugs to help with PTSD, a group of experts lobby for proper clinical trials
    The Observer (UK)
    Saturday, July 4, 2020

    magic mushroomsA growing number of soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder are turning to “magic mushrooms” and LSD to treat their condition. But drug laws make it almost impossible to establish whether they work. Now a new body, the Medical Psychedelics Working Group, a consortium of experts, academics, researchers, policy specialists and industry partners, is to begin lobbying for a change in the law so that scientists can conduct clinical trials. “This is something that’s been developed by veterans,” said Professor David Nutt from Drug Science, an independent scientific body which calls for an evidence-based approach to the legislation and is part of the group.

  • 5 ways the UK could legalise cannabis

    Given the wide spectrum of legal models surrounding cannabis worldwide, what could legalisation in the UK look like?
    Leafie (UK)
    Thursday, July 2, 2020

    uk legalize cannabisWith more than half of people in the UK in favour of legalising the recreational use of cannabis, and countries around the world adopting more liberal stances to cannabis legislation, it seems inevitable that the fierce debate over cannabis regulation will resurface. The main question still stands – will cannabis be legalised in the UK? The legalisation and regulation of cannabis in the UK has multiple benefits that could help revive our lagging economy including job creation, tax revenue and savings in public services. These benefits have stimulated the conversation surrounding the legalisation of cannabis and caught the attention of government officials looking to cushion the inevitable realities of a recession as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

  • Lester Grinspoon, influential marijuana scholar, dies at 92

    He believed pot was dangerous until his research convinced him otherwise. He then became a leading proponent of legalization
    The New York Times (US)
    Thursday, July 2, 2020

    Lester GrinspoonDr. Lester Grinspoon, a Harvard psychiatry professor who became a leading proponent of legalizing marijuana after his research found it was less toxic or addictive than alcohol or tobacco, died on June 25 at his home in Newton, Mass. He was 92. He concluded that marijuana was a relatively safe intoxicant that should be regulated like alcohol. The real danger, he said, was criminalizing its users. After previewing his findings in an article in Scientific American in 1969, Dr. Grinspoon wrote “Marihuana Reconsidered.” It was published in 1971. “The greatest potential for social harm lies in the scarring of so many young people and the reactive, institutional damages that are direct products of present marihuana laws,” Dr. Grinspoon wrote.

  • UNM study: Cannabis is effective in treating depression, improving mental health

    Up to one in five individuals who used cannabis flower containing high levels of THC experienced some negative side effects, such as feeling unmotivated
    Forbes (US)
    Thursday, July 2, 2020

    cannabis topsAccording to a research study published by the University Of New Mexico and Releaf App in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, cannabis flower may be effective in providing immediate relief for the symptoms of depression – a condition affecting roughly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S., and often leading to other ailments like cancer, substance use disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, dementia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic pain. “The findings suggest that, at least in the short term, the vast majority of patients that use cannabis experience antidepressant effects, although the magnitude of the effect and extent of side effect experiences vary with chemotypic properties of the plant,” the paper reads.

  • Is the Netherlands finally heading for legalisation?

    A problem the coffeeshops might be facing is the supply of hash
    Volteface (UK)
    Wednesday, July 1, 2020

    coffeeshopSupplying coffeeshops with cannabis is illegal, so this is being done through a complicated ‘back-door’ policy. There might be a change coming with the start of the ‘controlled cannabis supply chain experiment’. Ten municipalities with a grand total of 79 coffeeshops have been selected for the experiment. These coffeeshops will start selling legally produced cannabis supplied by ten government-designated growers. The aim is to find out whether it is possible to regulate a quality-controlled supply of cannabis to coffeeshops and to see if the experiment has any effect on crime, safety and public health. A lot of people are happy about the new direction the Netherlands seems to be moving in, but others are critical and think progress is too slow.

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