Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Cannabis can both help and hinder memory

    How it affects you might come down to inequality
    The Independent (UK)
    Wednesday, July 22, 2020

    cannabis home growingEven the word “dope”, describing people that use cannabis, suggests they have less than optimal brain functioning. The idea that cannabis impairs memory has been around so long it’s almost accepted as fact. The science exploring the relationship between cannabis and memory is now revealing a far more interesting understanding of the connection. There is evidence of disruption to short-term memory and concentration during intoxication with cannabis. Both are responsible for the poorer educational outcomes in adolescents who were observed in research. But this isn’t the whole story. Recent research has found that compounds found in cannabis can delay the onset of problems like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

  • 'The risk is zero': Legalising cannabis in Lebanon could help solve its economic crisis

    The cannabis production industry exists in Lebanon through a combination of blind eyes, backhanders, and sometimes, guns
    Sky News (UK)
    Wednesday, July 22, 2020

    lebanon cannabis farmerLast month Lebanese President Michel Aoun signed an order paving the way for a change in the country's legislation. If the bill passes through parliament then the production of cannabis could be allowed. But for the moment, the whole plan is confused and far from concluded. To start with, the type of plant the government is proposing to be legalised is not the same variety the farmers currently sow - they are proposing to legalise a different plant in the cannabis family. Perhaps more problematic though, is that it's being suggested that the law will not allow anyone who currently grows cannabis illegally to be involved in future legal production. So instead of benefiting from a change in the law, the farmers who rely on the plant for their livelihood would be out of a job.

  • ‘Does anyone care?’: B.C. overdose deaths hit record high for second consecutive month

    The government must invest in a public-health approach to substance use that not only includes decriminalization, but also pharmaceutical alternatives to the toxic drug supply
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Thursday, July 16, 2020

    canada bc overdose deaths june2016This time, at least 175 people died. The victims include a soccer goalie who had just celebrated his 26th birthday, a cheerful young volunteer at an overdose prevention site, and a college graduate who aspired to become an addictions worker to help others through their struggles. June’s illicit drug overdose death toll set yet another B.C. record, surpassing May’s tally by four. “Extreme” fentanyl concentrations were detected in 15 per cent of deaths from April to June, compared with 8 per cent from January, 2019, to March, 2020, according to data released by the BC Coroners Service. At least 5,731 people have died since 2016, the year British Columbia declared a public-health emergency because of overdose deaths.

  • Amount of cocaine intercepted by Dutch customs doubled in first half of 2020

    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Thursday, July 16, 2020

    Customs officers seized twice as much cocaine in the first six months of 2020 than in the same period last year. More than 25,000 kilograms of the drug were intercepted in the Netherlands between January and June, compared to 12,000 in the first half of 2019. The customs service said better co-operation with police and other domestic agencies, as well as border control agencies in countries such as Belgium and Brazil, had contributed to the increased haul. It is not known how much of the increase is the result of more cocaine being smuggled worldwide. In April, 4,500 kilos of cocaine were found in a container of bananas from Costa Rica. Rotterdam and Antwerp are known to be two of Europe’s main hubs for the international illegal drugs trade.

  • Netherlands clarifies application process to grow adult-use cannabis

    The government estimates a minimum production of 65,000 kilograms per year will be needed
    Marijuana Business Daily (US)
    Thursday July 16, 2020

    The Dutch government wants to clear up several issues regarding the application process to grow legal recreational marijuana. The process is part of an experiment in the Netherlands to legalize – though it’s limited in scope and time – the production of marijuana destined to be sold in coffee shops. (Basic information about the application process.) Only applicants that demonstrate the capability to cultivate at a large scale – a minimum of 6,500 kilograms per year – will be considered. But a newly released FAQ specifies that the winners won’t necessarily have to grow that amount. Up to 10 growers will be selected to supply roughly 80 coffee shops in 10 municipalities during a period of at least four years. (See also: Netherlands receives 149 grower applications for recreational cannabis experiment)

  • Biden-Sanders task force does not recommend legalizing marijuana

    States should be able to make their own decisions about recreational use
    Chicago Tribune (US)
    Friday, July 10, 2020

    us sanders bidenA task force formed between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, which had prior heated discussions on cannabis, agreed on multiple criminal justice priorities, but marijuana legalization was not among them. Instead, the official policy recommendations for Biden represents a reiteration of his previous cannabis views. He believes in cannabis decriminalization, not legalization. The recommendations, however, supply more details about specific marijuana polices Biden could pursue if elected President. “Democrats will decriminalize marijuana use and reschedule it through executive action on the federal level,” the document reads. “We will support legalization of medical marijuana, and believe states should be able to make their own decisions about recreational use.”

  • 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, 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.

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