Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • 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. (See also: Ease restrictions on medical psychedelics to aid research, experts say)

  • 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.

  • ‘War on drugs’ blamed for deaths of at least 122 children in Philippines

    Activists claim young people are deliberately targeted and call for UN to investigate human rights record of Duterte regime
    The Guardian (UK)
    Tuesday, June 30, 2020

    philippines stop killingAt least 122 children, including a one-year-old, have been killed during President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs” in the Philippines, according to a report that concluded some children have been deliberately shot at and targeted as proxies. The study, by the World Organisation Against Torture, adds to growing calls for the UN human rights council to establish an independent investigation into abuses committed under Duterte. Rights groups estimate that tens of thousands of people may have died as a result of unlawful killings during anti-drug operations launched after his election in 2016.

  • Growing majority of Kiwis support legalising cannabis, new poll finds

    Support for legalising cannabis also contrasted sharply according to political allegiance with National voters by far the lease in favour
    New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
    Monday, June 29, 2020

    nz cannabis referendum2A growing majority of New Zealanders support legalising cannabis for personal use, according to a new poll just three months from a national referendum. Licensed medicinal cannabis company Helius Therapeutics commissioned the independent Horizon Research survey of nearly 1600 Kiwis. It found 56 per cent of respondents plan to vote for legalising cannabis for personal use on September 19. Support for legalising pot continues to grow after the last Horizon poll in February registered 54 per cent support for the bill. The poll also found women, at 59 per cent, favoured legalisation more than men, at 52 per cent. (See also: Maori strongly support cannabis reform ahead of referendum)

  • Not all WHO cannabis recommendations would loosen international control, UN drug agency says

    The Board did not position itself in favor or against any of the WHO’s recommendations
    Marijuana Business Daily (US)
    Friday, June 26, 2020

    un logo cannabisAn analysis by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) concludes that most of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cannabis scheduling recommendations would either have little impact on international drug controls or actually tighten requirements. The analysis was provided to member states shortly before the start of the first in a series of UN meetings. The WHO recommendations are often celebrated as a positive step toward the easing of the international control of cannabis, which would be a positive development for the industry. But regarding practical implications in the level of international control, the INCB document found that, if adopted two recommendations would imply no meaningful change and two others would mean more control for pure THC.

  • Supervised consumption sites save Alberta money: University of Calgary study

    The province should take the savings into consideration, especially during tough economic times
    Global News (Canada)
    Thursday, June 25, 2020

    dcr supervisionA study from the University of Calgary has concluded the Calgary supervised consumption site is saving the province money. The study looked at the costs of treating a person who has overdosed at the consumption site and compares that to how much the same treatment would cost at a hospital. The study found that for every overdose at the Sheldon Chumir supervised consumption site, the province saves $1,600 in EMS and hospital costs. Since the site opened in 2018, the province has saved over $2.3 million, the study found. (See also: Opioid overdoses killed up to 142 people in Alberta during first 3 months of 2020: province)

  • Swiss government wants to ease access to medical marijuana

    The decision to prescribe cannabis-based drugs would be taken directly by doctor and patient
    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Wednesday, June 24, 2020

    medical cannabis docterThe Swiss government wants to empower doctors to prescribe cannabis for medical purposes without authorisation. The Federal Council submitted a revised version of the narcotics law to parliament for deliberation. Cannabis, whether for recreational or medical purposes, has been banned in Switzerland since 1951. However, doctors may prescribe a medicine based on this substance if they get an exceptional green light from the Federal Office of Public Health. But the government believes this process complicates access to treatment, delays the start of therapies and is no longer adequate in view of the growing number of requests.

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