Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Decriminalise adult cultivation of cannabis with clear rules, ReLeaf says

    Half-baked law on cultivation of cannabis plant has produced confusion over sentencing of people cultivating at home
    Malta Today (Malta)
    Friday, December 11, 2020

    malta cannabis flagReLeaf Malta has reiterated a call for the full decriminalisation of adult cultivation of cannabis by 2021. The cannabis law reform group said the Maltese government should prioritise the right to health and privacy for cannabis consumers, with full decriminalisation of adult consumption ensuring no more persons go through the harrowing experience of the criminal justice system. ReLeaf is advocating for a larger quantity margin for cannabis possession, and a consultative council composed of various stakeholders to develop a rights-based policy for cannabis users. ReLeaf wants adults to be allowed to home-grow cannabis or set up a cannabis ‘social club’ for its consumption. (See also: Cannabis legalisation NGO criticises government for lack of action)

  • Marijuana could easily be rescheduled with Biden’s health secretary

    Biden wants to put the cannabis plant in a Schedule II listing instead of its current Schedule I
    LA Weekly (US)
    Thursday, December 10, 2020

    us flag cannabis capitolWhile many diehard cannabis advocates are calling for the plant to be legalized in the United States in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco, President-elect Joe Biden isn’t quite ready to take that leap. Instead, he wants to focus on federally decriminalizing the herb, expanding research opportunities and making it available for medicinal purposes. Interestingly, his pick for health secretary almost solidifies that the nation is indeed headed down such a progressive path. Biden’s campaign issued a directive months ago showing exactly what his administration would be willing to do, if elected, to lessen federal cannabis restrictions. “Democrats will decriminalize marijuana use and reschedule it through executive action on the federal level,” the document stated.

  • Morocco’s road to legal cannabis: Paved with obstacles, opportunities

    Legal cannabis in Morocco is opposed by both conservatives and organized crime
    Morocco World News (Morocco)
    Thursday, December 10, 2020

    morocco cannabis5After Morocco’s historic “yes” vote on cannabis at the UN last Thursday, the path towards legal cannabis has widened. However, obstacles still exist. Morocco supported declassifying cannabis from Schedule 4, which contains the most dangerous drugs deemed to have no medical use. Morocco’s vote recognized the medicinal value of cannabis, a move that many saw as evidence Morocco could be on a path to legalization. In the midst of an economic crisis driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, Morocco could see cannabis as a way to boost tax revenue and stimulate the hard-hit tourism sector. Producers in Morocco illegally export roughly $8.8 billion of the cash crop annually, according to BBC estimates.

  • Scott Wiener tries — again — to allow S.F., Oakland and L.A. to open a safe drug use site

    Mayor London Breed and members of the Board of Supervisors support opening safe drug use sites in San Francisco
    San Francisco Chronicle (US)
    Monday, December 7, 2020

    us sf model dcrState Sen. Scott Wiener is trying — once again — to allow San Francisco to open a safe injection site, where people can use drugs in a safe and supervised setting. It’s currently illegal to open a such a site in California. The bill, which Wiener, D-San Francisco, introduced, would allow San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oakland to open a safe injection site. The pilot program would sunset Jan. 1, 2027. Mayor London Breed and members of the Board of Supervisors support opening safe drug use sites in San Francisco, where overdoses have skyrocketed this year. The city is on track to lose two people a day to the crisis, which shows no signs of slowing as the pandemic disrupts city services and isolates people from their communities.

  • Legalise marijuana: Government’s contradictions on cannabis use must be ironed out

    The Times of India (India)
    Sunday, December 6, 2020

    india bhang shopIndia has voted in favour in the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs to remove cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Convention. It was only under American pressure that the Indian government banned all narcotic substances, including marijuana, in the 1980s. But today there is a change of heart in the US itself. The House of Representatives just passed a legislation that would decriminalise marijuana and expunge non-violent marijuana-related convictions. At least 15 American states have legalised recreational cannabis while 35 states in all have legalised medical marijuana. India too must reverse course and decriminalise marijuana. A BJP government ought to be more inclined towards upholding what’s been for long an Indian tradition anyway. (See also Indian Express editorial: Clear the smoke)

  • Le reclassement du cannabis par l’ONU, prélude à une dépénalisation au Maroc?

    Le débat au niveau parlementaire et gouvernemental sur cette réglementation «est lié en premier lieu aux frictions politiques et électoralistes entre les différents partis»
    Yabiladi (Maroc)
    Samedi, 5 decembre 2020

    morocco parliament cannabisLa Commission des stupéfiants des Nations unies (CND) a approuvé le reclassement du cannabis hors de la catégorie des drogues les plus dangereuses. Le Maroc a fait partie des 27 pays ayant voté pour. Coordinateur du Collectif marocain pour l’usage thérapeutique et industriel du kif, Chakib Al Khayari, estime que le vote du Maroc doit être replacé dans son contexte national. Il rappelle que «l’arsenal juridique marocain est déjà doté d’un texte de loi, qui permet de cultiver le cannabis à des fins scientifiques, avec une permission du ministère de la Santé». Il souligne ainsi que même si le royaume a rapidement fait partie des signataires de la Convention unique des Nations unies sur les stupéfiants, «nous ne sommes pas dans une prohibition totale de l’exploitation de cette herbe».

  • Inside the weed legalization bill the House of Representatives just passed

    The MORE Act, the first legalization bill to make it to the floor of Congress, would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, and begin to give back to the communities hit hardest by the War on Drugs
    Rolling Stone (US)
    Friday, December 4, 2020

    Congressional Cannabis Caucus member Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) speaks as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) looks on during a news conference to highlight the MORE Act legislation in Washington, D.C., on November 19th, 2019.The House of Representatives passed the MORE Act on Friday by a vote of 228-164. It was 2018, Democrats were about to gain control of the House of Representatives, and cannabis justice advocates knew they needed to get to work. Every two years, a handful of new states were joining those that had already legalized cannabis, either recreationally or medicinally. Federal decriminalization was inevitable. If advocates wanted to have any say in what legislation would look like, the first Democratic House majority since 2011 was their best chance to make inroads. Every cannabis measure up for a vote last month passed convincingly. One in three Americans now live in states that have legalized recreational use.

  • House passes sweeping reform bill to decriminalize marijuana

    The bill would allow states to continue to establish their own rules and regulations regarding sales and access to medical marijuana
    The Hill (US)
    Friday, December 4, 2020

    us capitol cannabisThe U.S. House of Representatives passed sweeping legislation that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, the first time either chamber of Congress has voted to legalize cannabis. The measure, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, passed on a largely party-line vote of 228-164. Six Democrats voted against the legislation and five Republicans voted for it. The GOP-controlled Senate is not expected to take up the measure. The legislation would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances and expunge some marijuana convictions for nonviolent criminals. (See also: House approves federal marijuana legalization bill in historic vote)

  • Special Report: Burner phones and banking apps

    Meet the Chinese 'brokers' laundering Mexican drug money
    Reuters (UK)
    Thursday, December 3, 2020

    money laundering washing machineU.S. law enforcement officials say Chinese “money brokers” represent one of the most worrisome new threats in the war on drugs. Small cells of Chinese criminals have upended the way narcotics cash is laundered and are displacing the Mexican and Colombian money men that have long dominated the trade. Chinese brokers are moving vast sums quickly and quietly. Their expertise: routing cartel drug profits from the United States to China then on to Mexico with a few clicks of a burner phone and Chinese banking apps – and without the bulky cash ever crossing borders. The launderers pay small Chinese-owned businesses in the United States and Mexico to help them move the funds. Most contact with the banking system happens in China, a veritable black hole for U.S. and Mexican authorities.

  • Leaked FBI report: Drug sellers practice harm reduction

    Before selling their product, “narcotics dealers,” as the report pejoratively described them, checked it with fentanyl test strips
    Filter (US)
    Wednesday, December 2, 2020

    fentanyl dangerThe recognition that people who sell drugs can play a crucial role in reducing the harms caused by drug criminalization is not limited to reformers, syringe service workers and researchers. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is also aware—although the evidence of this comes from a leaked intelligence report, rather than any public FBI acknowledgment. In an April 9, 2019 “Situational Information Report” found on a hacked server sharing intelligence with North Texas law enforcement—among the documents published by the transparency collective Distributed Denial of Secrets—the FBI’s Denver Division recorded that drug sellers were practicing common harm reduction measures amid the arrival of a fentanyl-adulterated supply, dubbed “Sleepy Dope,” to Pueblo, Colorado.

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