Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media

 

  • Criminalization that never should have been: Cannabis

    The decades-long prohibition of marijuana was founded upon racism and bigotry
    The Hill (US)
    Friday, June 12, 2020

    As the House debates ways to reform policing in the United States, it’s critical that we not only analyze the structures under which law enforcement operates, but also the extraordinary powers that they have been granted — powers that often provide them with the ability to interact with citizens whenever and wherever they please. One common pretext provided by police for these citizen interactions is that they suspect that someone has either used or is in possession of marijuana. That is why Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) has suggested the need to amend federal anti-marijuana laws during the recent hearing on policing practices

  • Cannabis-Modellprojekt in Bremen kann kommen

    SPD, Grüne und Linke sowie die FDP haben in der Bürgerschaft dafür gestimmt, dass der Senat die Machbarkeit eines Modellprojektes zur kontrollierten Abgabe von Cannabis prüfen soll
    Weser Kurier (Germany)
    Donnerstag, 11. Juni 2020

    germany cannabis flagsBremen wird also nach dem 2017 gescheiterten Vorstoß im Bundesrat (damals gemeinsam mit Thüringen) nun für die Landesebene prüfen, unter welchen Bedingungen ein Modellprojekt, in dem die kontrollierte Abgabe des Rauschmittels durch wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen flankiert wird, möglich ist. Auf Bundesebene soll sich der Senat für eine Reform des Strafgesetzes in puncto Drogen einsetzen. Was das Bremer Modellprojekt angeht muss die Regierung nun entscheiden, ob man sich Berlin anschließt, das derzeit nach einem abgelehnten Antrag auf ein eigenes Cannabis-Versuchsprojekt bei der zuständigen Bundesbehörde für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte Rechtsmittel prüft, oder einen eigenen Antrag stellt.

  • B.C. records highest number of fatal overdoses in a single month, with 170 deaths

    Overdoses claimed more lives in May than COVID-19 has claimed all year in province
    CBC News (Canada)
    Thursday, June 11, 2020

    canada opioid crisis emergencyThe BC Coroners Service said 170 people died of an illicit drug overdose in May, the highest total ever recorded for a single month in provincial history. It's also more people than have died from COVID-19 in B.C. all year. "It's frustrating to see the number of illicit drug deaths go up and to reach a new high ... It's sad to see this many people impacted, losing their lives," said Andy Watson, a spokesperson for the coroners service.The province said 167 people have died of COVID-19 since B.C.'s first case of the virus was confirmed six months ago. The annual total for overdoses in B.C. was 554 as of May 31. (See also: An emotional Dr. Bonnie Henry urges family, friends to reach out to drug users after 170 die in May)

  • Police uncovers 'wee' enclave in Volta Region

    The 60 man operation even with the aid of motorized cutters and cutlasses they could barely destroy 20% of the farms in the area
    GhanaWeb (Ghana)
    Thursday, June 11, 2020

    The Drug Law Enforcement Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service has recently uncovered hundreds of acres of farmland dedicated to the cultivation of plants suspected to be Indian Hemp. The enclave is located behind the Tome Mountain at Peki in the South Dayi District of the Volta Region. With the help of a drone, the location which initially looked like a small enclave was discovered to be so vast and hidden such that it would have been difficult to detect and assess. A visit to the site revealed hundreds of farmlands dedicated to the cultivation of the substance as far as the eyes can see.

  • NSW police pursue 80% of Indigenous people caught with cannabis through courts

    Data shows hugely disproportionate treatment, which experts say helps trap young Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system
    The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday, June 10, 2020

    Police in New South Wales pursue more than 80% of Indigenous people found with small amounts of cannabis through the courts while letting others off with warnings, forcing young Aboriginal people into a criminal justice system that legal experts say “they will potentially never get out of”. Between 2013 and 2017 the police disproportionately used the justice system to prosecute Indigenous people, despite the existence of a specific cautioning scheme introduced to keep minor drug offences out of the courts. During the five year period, 82.55% of all Indigenous people found with a non-indictable quantity of cannabis were pursued through the courts, compared with only 52.29% for the non-Indigenous population.

  • A massive Asian drug bust has stirred a fentanyl mystery

    The operation targeted a string of warehouses and refineries in the northern hills of Myanmar, namely an area known as Kutkai
    PRI (US)
    Wednesday, June 10, 2020

    myanmar biggest seizureAs the UNODC put it, this was “one of the largest and most successful counternarcotics operations” in Asia’s history. Myanmar’s army and police, which conducted the raids, are naturally pleased. But the story behind the raid is quite messy — one involving double-crossing traffickers, Chinese mafia and even the White House. Myanmar’s government has known about the labs for years. The same goes for the United States’ Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Chinese intelligence. Even The World knew it was there, writing in 2015 that the area contains “a number of heroin and meth refineries.” The labs went undisturbed because they were protected by a militia — one that happens to serve under Myanmar’s army.

  • Netherlands to open applications for cannabis grow experiment next month

    The cultivation experiment will last at least four years, with an option to extend it for another 1½ years
    Marijuana Business Daily (US)
    Wednesday, June 10, 2020

    The Dutch government will start accepting applications in July from potential cultivators for its adult-use cannabis experiment. From July 1 until July 28, companies will be able to apply to grow adult-use marijuana for supply to coffee shops in 10 municipalities around the country. July marks the official start to the preparatory phase of the limited-scope experiment that will mandate all coffee shops in the 10 participating municipalities be supplied exclusively with legally grown cannabis. Until now, all coffee shops have carried cannabis only from the illicit market. The selection process of up to 10 growers is expected to take six months. (See alos: Cannabis firms can sign up for licensed growers test next month)

  • Government announces plan to advance cannabis legalization reforms

    Legislation easing restrictions on recreational, medical use to be advanced ‘responsibly’; report says process will take 4 months, use to be approved for ages 21+
    The Times of Israel (Israel)
    Tuesday, June 9, 2020

    israel cannabisThe two biggest parties making up the new government said they would push for increased legalization of cannabis use, a week after the police minister backed easing enforcement of existing laws. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White said in a joint statement that they would advance legislation “to resolve the issue of decriminalization and legalization,” apparently referring to recreational cannabis use. The matter will be done “via a responsible model that will be suited to the State of Israel and the Israeli population,” the statement said, without elaborating.

  • The coronavirus has gutted the price of coca. It could reshape the cocaine trade

    Data released last year showed coca production at all-time highs. Now, farmers are left with acres upon acres of coca leaf and little means to sell it
    The Washington Post (US)
    Tuesday, June 9, 2020

    coca raspacharAs a farmer eking out a living in Peru’s central jungle, Rubén Leiva grew one cash crop that seemed immune from global cycles of booms and busts. But the coronavirus pandemic has accomplished what neither other international crises nor a U.S.-backed “war” ever could: a collapse in the price of coca leaf, a natural stimulant that is the building block of cocaine. The great coca crash of 2020 — prices for the leaf in some regions of South America have fallen as much as 73 percent — illustrates the extent to which the pandemic is disrupting every aspect of global trade, including the traffic in illegal drugs. Lockdowns have sealed regional borders and sharply curbed domestic and international transit, challenging the ability of cartels to move product by land, air or sea.

  • We can no longer ignore the potential of psychedelic drugs to treat depression

    Psilocybin ( or “magic mushrooms”) can be used to assist psychotherapy for difficult-to-treat depression, making a significant difference when conventional antidepressants and talking therapy have not
    The Guardian (UK)
    Monday, June 8, 2020

    psilocybinThe world is experiencing a devastating physical health emergency. But the coronavirus pandemic has also seen a renewed focus on our psychological wellbeing. Loneliness, uncertainty and grief may be intensifying an already acute mental health crisis, and in the US there has been a 20% spike in the number of prescriptions for antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs during lockdown. Demand for key antidepressants is threatening to exceed supply in the UK – where prescriptions have already more than doubled over the last decade. At Imperial College we’ve been comparing psilocybin to conventional drugs – and the results are potentially game-changing.

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