Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • 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.

  • ‘If the police aren’t needed, let’s leave them out completely’

    Several cities across the country shift resources and responsibilities away from law enforcement to professionals trained to handle emergency calls for nonviolent, crisis situations
    Pew Stateline (US)
    Tuesday, June 23, 2020

    us defund police2Every weekday morning, mental health clinician Carleigh Sailon turns on her police radio in downtown Denver and finds out who she can help next. She, along with a paramedic, jump in a repurposed city van, stripped of its blue lights and official insignia, and respond to 911 calls for people experiencing mental health crises, homelessness or drug addiction. Beginning this month, Denver’s emergency dispatch is sending social workers and health professionals, rather than police officers, to handle nonviolent situations. “If the police aren’t needed, let’s leave them out completely,” said Sailon, program manager for criminal justice services at the Mental Health Center for Denver. (See also: Addiction specialist: What defunding the police could mean for America’s drug epidemic)

  • Drug users call for safe supply of heroin and cocaine, and show how it’s done

    Sourcing clean street drugs is ‘virtually impossible’ and BC’s approach needs to evolve, say advocates
    The Tyee (Canada)
    Tuesday, June 23, 2020

    canada safe supply cocaineA new drug-user advocacy group in Vancouver says the safe supply of prescription narcotics must include pharmaceutical-grade heroin and cocaine and — to kickstart the effort — they’ve started giving those drugs away for free themselves. Dozens of people who use drugs marched in the city’s Downtown Eastside and set up an overdose prevention site where they distributed free doses of cocaine that had been tested for fentanyl, carfentanyl, benzodiazepines and other dangerous contaminants. Organizers had planned to distribute up to 200 doses of free heroin as well, but existing supply lines have become so contaminated that they couldn’t find any. Calling itself the Drug User Liberation Front, the group also called on the B.C. government to make broad changes to the current safe supply guidelines.

  • Cannabis Bill controversy: Did dagga growers influence MPs?

    One of the growers said they were happy with the withdrawal of the Bill because the value of the illicit herb will continue to be high
    Times of Swaziland (Eswatini)
    Sunday, June 21, 2020

    Did dagga growers influence MPs? The withdrawal of the Opium and Habit-Forming Drugs (Amendment) Bill No.06 of 2020 in the House of Assembly, has raised more questions than answers. Dagga grower Jama said he would continue advocating that dagga should not be legalised and that members of the Royal Eswatini Police Services (REPS) should continue destroying it but not all of it. “By destroying the dagga, the police control the price of dagga from dropping further,” said Jama. Another dagga grower, Musa, also said he was pleased that the Bill had been withdrawn. He said this was good because it meant that the value of the dagga would continue to be high.

  • Cannabis legalization bill clears first hurdle

    Legislation will decriminalize possession of up to 50 grams of marijuana while legalizing possession and consumption of up to 15 grams by people above 21
    The Times of Israel (Israel)
    Sunday, June 21, 2020

    israel cannabis flag courtA bill to legalize cannabis use in Israel was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, passing its first hurdle on the way to becoming law. The legislation will decriminalize the possession of up to 50 grams of marijuana while fully legalizing the possession and consumption of up to 15 grams by individuals above the age of 21. If the bill becomes law, selling and purchasing marijuana for personal use will be legal for those above 21 and authorized shops will be allowed to sell cannabis product, through growing marijuana at home will still be illegal. The legislation also outlined medical cannabis reform. (See also: Cannabis legalization bills pass early readings; ultra-Orthodox MKs walk out) | Israeli lawmakers give preliminary approval for cannabis decriminalization)

  • Switzerland releases details on recreational marijuana experiment, but full legalization likely years away

    The Swiss National Council rejected several proposals by legislators that would have imposed hurdles and limits on the experiment
    Marijuana Business Daily (US)
    Wednesday, June 17, 2020

    switzerland cannabis3The lower house of Switzerland’s Federal Assembly approved a bill paving the way for a pilot research program that would permit the temporary production and distribution of cannabis to adults for recreational purposes. While an important milestone, the vote in early June is also symbolic of the sluggish pace at which recreational legalization is occurring in Europe. While approving the project, a majority of National Council legislators rejected proposals that would have limited the experiment’s size and scope – a sign that the lower house is committed to moving forward with the project. Now the Council of States will debate and vote on the bill. Local experts expect the project to be approved.

  • Library of Congress highlights racist news coverage used to justify criminalizing marijuana a century ago

    "Tales of alleged atrocities fueled by the drug are often tied to anti-Mexican propaganda”
    Marijuana Moment (US)
    Tuesday, June 16, 2020

    loco weedThe Library of Congress (LOC) is documenting racist depictions of marijuana in early 20th century news coverage that helped to drive the criminalization of cannabis, highlighting sensationalized articles about the plant that the federal research body says effectively served as “anti-Mexican propaganda.” As part of the institution’s “Chronicling America” project, which digitizes media from throughout U.S. history, LOC published a timeline last week that gives examples of headlines concerning cannabis from 1897 to 1915. “From the late 19th to early 20th century, newspapers reported the early rise of marihuana (known today as marijuana),” the post states.

  • United Nations body to meet again this month to discuss WHO cannabis recommendations

    Member nations will have an opportunity to clarify and discuss unresolved issues stemming from the WHO recommendations
    Marijuana Business Daily (US)
    Tuesday, June 16, 2020

    who cannabisAccording to an email the CND Secretariat sent to permanent missions in Vienna, the “first topical meeting of the intersessional considerations of the WHO scheduling recommendations” is scheduled for June 24-25. During the gathering UN member countries are expected to discuss the implications of recommendations regarding extracts and tinctures as well as CBD. The WHO’s CBD recommendation, if ultimately adopted, could lead to freer international trade in the cannabinoid. The topical meetings, to be held behind closed doors, involve only UN-member countries and relevant intergovernmental organizations. Next week’s gathering will be the first of a series of topical meetings to be held before December.

  • Growers association calls ganja industry a failed experiment

    The CLA has failed, if their main achievement being heralded is the granting of a total of 60 licences up to May 2020, to perhaps no more than 25 companies and individuals in totality
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Monday, June 15, 2020

    jamaica cotton ganjaThe Ganja Growers and Producers Association (GGPAJ) says despite the success of several Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) operators, Jamaica's regulated cannabis industry has failed to live up to its potential. In a statement the GGPAJ said while the 2015 legislation was progressive, the regulations are unworkable, restrictive and draconian. It said that the industry was not designed with a ground-up approach and blamed both of the major political parties for the state of affairs. It accepted culpability too, saying it has so far failed to adequately lobby on behalf of the local sector, but claimed it can still be rescued as an inclusionary income generating enterprise for thousands of Jamaicans with a new approach. (See also: Cannabis agency defends its stewardship on ganja)

  • Saint Lucia cabinet to deliberate on cannabis commission’s proposals

    The Commission was set up in July 2019 to review and make recommendations on the laws and regulations as it relates to cannabis
    The Star (St Lucia)
    Monday, June 15, 2020

    st lucia cannabis movementOver ten months since the Saint Lucia government announced the formation of a Cannabis Commission, a report has been presented to the cabinet of ministers for a decision on the way forward. Mandated to “consult and provide advice on the design of a legislative and regulatory framework for cannabis”, the commission was chaired by Michael Gordon QC. From November-December 2019, the commission hosted a total of seven town hall meetings throughout the island, and also embarked on a social media campaign. The government’s point man on cannabis Commerce Minister Bradley Felix said that the criminalization of cannabis— which costs $3.6 million— has been ineffective in reducing related use.

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