Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Campaigners demand reform as official figures show one in five found guilty of cannabis possession is black

    Warning of link between convictions and police stop-and-search policy
    The Independent (UK)
    Monday, August 3, 2020

    uk stop search copyOne in five of those found guilty of cannabis possession in England and Wales last year was black, official figures show, prompting accusations of racial injustice at the heart of the UK’s drug laws. Campaigners said the rate was grossly disproportionate when only an estimated 3 per cent of the population is black. They also warned of a link between the convictions and the police stop and search policy, a central concern during the Black Lives Matter protests. The latest figures, obtained from the Ministry of Justice, show one in five, 21 per cent, of those convicted in 2018-19 was black. But the true figure could be even higher, because in 23 per cent of cases data on ethnicity was not recorded.

  • Criminalising cannabis use by children is unconstitutional, court rules

    Court hears children are languishing for months in detention for trivial offences
    GroundUp (South Africa)
    Monday, August 3, 2020

    sa dagga decriminalizedChildren found guilty of trivial offences, including the possession or use of cannabis, may not be incarcerated, the Johannesburg High Court has ruled. Section 4b of the Drug Trafficking Act, in so far as it applied to children, is unconstitutional and a child oriented approach should be followed to deal with drug use, which should include drug awareness, educational programs, treatment and rehabilitation. Regarding drug testing at schools, the South African Schools Act made it abundantly clear that the principal must have reasonable suspicion to test, no criminal proceedings may be instituted, the results must remain confidential, and it only authorised disciplinary proceedings. And yet, evidence suggested that hundreds of learners had been subjected to these tests and 24 had been unlawfully detained.

  • King Mswati, Stem Holdings and the multi-billion political dagga cold war

    Dagga farmers don’t want the industry to be captured by white monopoly capitalism
    Swaziland News (eSwatini)
    Saturday, August 1, 2020

    King MswatiKing Mswati allegedly entered into a deal with Stem Holdings and manipulated provisions of the Prevention of Organized Crime Act (POCA) by unleashing police officers on dagga farmers after Parliament refused to approve the Cannabis Bill, threatening the now controversial project. Around 2018 in the midst of escalating calls to legalize dagga, local and international companies applied for a cannabis license through the Ministry of Health but Stem Holdings allegedly approached royalty through the then Minister of Economic Planning and Development Prince Sihlangusemphi, a brother to the king later appointed into a position in the army equivalent to that of Minister of Defense. (See also: MP ‘Magawugawu’ on police surveillance, faces arrest over sentiments threatening King’s dagga deals)

  • Senator files new bill to federally legalize marijuana and regulate it like tobacco

    A federal age requirement for marijuana sales would be set at 21 under the measure
    Marijuana Moment (US)
    Friday, July 31, 2020

    Democratic senator Tina Smith (D-MN) filed a new bill to federally legalize marijuana, creating yet another potential avenue through which Congress could enact the policy change. Titled the “Substance Regulation and Safety Act”, it would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and direct several federal agencies to develop regulations for the plant. The bill would deschedule cannabis, require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop rules that treat marijuana the same as tobacco, create a national research institute to evaluate the risks and benefits of cannabis, require the U.S. Department of Agriculture to impose quality control standards and mandate that the Department of Transportation study methods for detecting THC-impaired driving.

  • Some WHO cannabis recommendations draw strong opposition at recent UN meeting

    European countries not only were largely silent during the open debate, they also did not make use of the opportunity to bring in experts
    Marijuana Business Daily (US)
    Thursday, July 30, 2020

    Two of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cannabis scheduling recommendations might face an uphill battle getting adopted later this year by the United Nations’ Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). That revelation stems from an analysis of statements made by U.N.-member states at a recent two-day CND meeting. Still, many in the cannabis industry are hoping for a positive outcome at the end of the year, when a vote is planned. The reason: If the two recommendations discussed at the CND meeting in June are approved, international trade in certain CBD preparations is expected to become more free.

  • First major study by Glasgow experts finds Scottish public support drug consumption rooms

    Study found that 61 per cent of people agreed with the introduction of DCRs in Scotland, whilst only 15 per cent disagreed
    The Herald (Scotland)
    Thursday, July 30, 2020

    they talk we dieResearch from a Glasgow university has revealed that the majority of Scots back the introduction of drug consumption rooms (DCRs) – with academics insisting the idea remains an option despite UK Government opposition. Scotland is Europe’s drugs death capital with more fatalities per person than any other nation, according to the latest data – amid reports that the rate has risen further during the Covid-19 lockdown. The Scottish Government has long-backed introducing supervised DCRs in a bid to treat the crisis as a health issue, but the UK Government renewed its opposition to the policy during February’s drugs death summit in Glasgow. (See also: Study finds ‘compelling’ case for safe drug taking facilities)

  • Over 1,100 children trafficked into UK drug trade, data shows

    Drug charity calls for legal regulation of drug market to protect vulnerable children
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, July 30, 2020

    uk cannabis plantation police2More than 1,100 children have been trafficked into the UK’s drug trade, new Home Office figures reveal. The data obtained by the drug reform charity Transform shows that 1,173 children were enslaved by drug dealers in 2019. Figures from January to December 2019 show that the majority of the 1,853 people estimated by the Home Office to have been trafficked into the illicit drugs business were children. Transform obtained the Home Office statistics through a freedom of information request and released them on Thursday to mark the UN’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. (See also: UK must regulate drug market to combat human trafficking)

  • Poor IT skills mean investigations into money laundering rarely bear fruit

    The FIU reports need too much further investigation and even then it is not clear if a case will stand up in court
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Monday, July 27, 2020

    money laundering washing machineOnly a handful of the tens of thousands of annual reports of suspected money laundering end up in court case because watchdog staff lack IT expertise. Some 155,000 cases of possible fraud were brought to the attention of the government’s Financial Intelligence Unit (Fiu) last year by banks, accountants and payroll offices, of which 39,000 were followed up by the prosecution office and the FIOD financial fraud unit. However, only a very small number actually went to court because the reports were not thorough enough to form the basis of a prosecution, money laundering expert professor Brigitte Unger told Trouw.

  • France extends police powers in crackdown on drugs trade

    The nationwide shift to on-the-spot penalties, following local pilots, will target low-level dealers and users of cannabis and other drugs
    Reuters (UK)
    Saturday, July 25, 2020

    france cannabis2France’s new prime minister Jean Castex announced plans to introduce on-the-spot fines for some drug offences amid mounting concern about over-stretched policing after a series of violent episodes in urban areas. The new penalties will allow police to “apply a sanction without delay” and help in the struggle against drug dealing, said Castex.  The nationwide shift to on-the-spot penalties, following local pilots, will target low-level dealers and users of cannabis and other drugs as part of a broader law enforcement struggle against urban gangs and petty crime. (See also: France to fight cannabis use with €200 on-the-spot fines)

  • La légalisation du cannabis, un levier de développement ?

    Face à l’échec de la répression, la solution pourrait passer par une légalisation de sa culture et de sa consommation
    Tel Quel (Maroc)
    Jeudi, 23 juillet 2020

    morocco cannabis moqueEt si le nouveau modèle de développement intégrait la légalisation du cannabis ? Ce jeudi 23 juillet, la CSMD a organisé un atelier de travail avec des chercheurs et des experts sur la question. Conscient que l’approche répressive envers les cultivateurs de cannabis n’aboutit à rien, le panel a axé sa réflexion sur les moyens de mieux exploiter les vertus thérapeutiques et récréatives de la plante. “Face à cette problématique, tout a été essayé et rien n’a marché. On ne peut pas aller à contre-courant. Il faut désormais faire un choix”, résume Camelia Benaskour, consultante en stratégie d’entreprise. (Lire aussi: Adapter la culture du kif à l’environnement, défi pour un nouveau modèle de développement)

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