Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Peru’s war on drugs is an abject failure – here’s what it can learn from Bolivia

    Coca production has not shrunk overall, merely shifting its location, often through extensive replanting, which aggravates deforestation
    The Conversation (UK)
    Saturday, May 30, 2020

    When Peruvian government forces began eradicating coca leaf, the raw material for cocaine, without warning in a remote corner of Peru’s principal coca growing region last November, they were met by growers armed with sticks and rocks. The security forces backing the eradication brigades responded by firing bullets and tear gas, seriously wounding five farmers. For 40 years, policies in Peru have prioritised forced eradication of coca leaf under intense pressure from the US government. Weak economies, farmers turned into outlaws, and human rights violations are the result of this militarised crop and drug control strategy.

  • Ancient people in the Kingdom of Judah may have gotten high off weed

    The Hebrew Bible doesn't appear to mention cannabis use, and that there isn't any known archaeobotanical evidence for the plant at the shrine
    Live Science (US)
    Friday, May 29, 2020

    More than 2,700 years ago, worshipers at a "holy of holies" shrine in Israel may have gotten high on weed. Researchers discovered burnt cannabis and frankincense at the site, which was located in the Kingdom of Judah. Researchers made the discovery after analyzing ancient residues left on two altars at the shrine. The burnt cannabis is "the first known evidence of [a] hallucinogenic substance found in the Kingdom of Judah," a region that now includes parts of the West Bank and central Israel, the researchers wrote in the study. The cannabis finding indicates that people may have purposefully used the plant for its "hallucinogenic ingredients," to stimulate ecstasy during cultic ceremonies.

  • UN body preparing for December vote on WHO cannabis recommendations despite coronavirus

    The focus of the meetings should be the “exchange of views among member states’ experts”
    Marijuana Business Daily (US)
    Thursday, May 28, 2020

    A document prepared by the chair of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) has laid out a course to keep on track for December’s key vote on the World Health Organization’s cannabis scheduling recommendations. This is positive news for industry stakeholders concerned about a possible delay stemming from the coronavirus crisis. While the likely outcome of the vote is not yet known, it could have far-reaching implications for the global cannabis industry. One recommendation, for instance, would recognize the medical value and a lesser potential for harm of cannabis at a U.N. level – making it easier for member countries to adopt medical cannabis programs.

  • Czech government moves to granting medical marijuana production licences to multiple growers

    Currently there are only 90 pharmacies in the country are authorised to buy and resell to patients Czech-grown cannabis, from the lone authorized distributor, Alliance Healthcare
    Radio Prague International (Czech Republic)
    Thursday, May 28, 2020

    medical marijuana2The Czech government has approved a draft amendment to the Act on Addictive Substances that will allow issuing licences to both grow and export medical marijuana. The bill would also newly allow more than a single central producer, with the State Institute for Drug Control granting licences to smaller ones. People suffering from a range of diseases have long called for making medical marijuana, which has been technically legal in the Czech Republic for many years now, easier to obtain and less expensive. This January, public health insurance was extended to cover medical marijuana, under certain conditions. (See also: Seznam: Medical cannabis prescriptions on the rise)

  • National leader Todd Muller signals cannabis legislation will have his support if New Zealand votes 'yes'

    The referendum on the prospective law will be "non-binding"
    Stuff (New Zealand)
    Tuesday, May 26, 2020

    nz cannabis flagNational leader Todd Muller says his party will likely support the legalisation of cannabis if New Zealand votes "yes" in the upcoming referendum. National has previously declined to commit to enacting the result of the non-binding cannabis referendum, which will be voted on in September as part of the 2020 election. But Muller signalled a softer stance, after ousting Simon Bridges from the leadership, indicating he would legalise cannabis "if the people have spoken" in support. The bill being proposed by the Labour-led Government would allow cannabis to be consumed, sold, and purchased for recreational use, by people 20 years or older. Personal possession of 14 grams of cannabis, the sale of cannabis edibles, and growing up to four cannabis plants per household would be allowed. 

  • Cannabis crop could contribute $490m a year to government coffers

    Legalisation of cannabis will be put to the vote in a non-binding referendum in September
    RNZ (New Zealand)
    Tuesday, May 26, 2020

    nz cannabis referendum2The Government's coffers could be winners if cannabis is legalised. Work by the NZ Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) shows a legal cannabis industry could raise about $490 million a year in tax, including GST. Legalisation of the drug will be put to the vote in a non-binding referendum in September. A tax on a legal cannabis industry has been calculated at 25 per cent. NZIER principal economist Peter Wilson said the projected tax-take on cannabis was only an estimate. There was not a lot of information in New Zealand about cannabis use. If regulatory costs and taxes were too high an illegal market would likely re-emerge and gain market share.

  • Big source of illicit cannabis, Albania mulls legalising medical use

    For almost three decades one of the biggest sources of illicit cannabis in Europe, Albania is now considering legalising the drug for medical use. But experts warn it will not be simple
    Balkan Insight (Serbia)
    Monday, May 25, 2020

  • Lavish parties, greedy pols and panic rooms: How the ‘Apple of Pot’ collapsed

    MedMen was the country’s hottest pot startup—until it flamed out. Its fall has exposed the gap between “green rush” hype and the realities of a troubled industry
    Politico (US)
    Sunday, May 24, 2020

    medmenMedMen looked to become the Apple of pot, the first mainstream, nationwide consumer brand for the product that drove so many Americans to ingest and invest. Marijuana liberalization was sweeping the country. A nascent industry was taking shape. No company was better poised to reap the rewards than MedMen was. Then, it all began to unravel. The company got hit with a class-action lawsuit from employees alleging labor law violations. Miffed investors sued the founders, accusing them of self-dealing and other underhanded tactics. A former chief financial officer filed a blockbuster complaint in a Los Angeles court accusing the founders of a slew of misdeeds, from manipulating MedMen’s stock price, to bank fraud, to seeking private intelligence groups to get dirt on their enemies ...

  • As cannabis market softens, some investors pulling back

    Companies overpaid for assets in the run-up to raising capital, and now those Canadian companies are recalibrating
    The Gleaner (Jamaica)
    Sunday, May 24, 2020

    jamaica flag ganjaAurora, a Canadian listed cannabis company, has sold its Jamaica asset for less than its CDN$4.5 million ­valuation in order to get cash. “The company also accepted an offer to sell its Jamaica property for gross proceeds of CDN$3.4 million,” said Aurora in a market filing. The property in Jamaica was idle but would have formed the base for its local operations. Across the local sector, sales between licensed ­dealers in Jamaica – for instance, farmers selling to herb houses – have been falling. The CLA has issued some 60 licences since October 2017 and 15 export authorisations to seven licensees since November 2018. All licensees that have applied to export cannabis have been granted export authorisations.

  • PPE and contactless delivery

    Drug dealers reveal how they are adapting to coronavirus
    The Conversation (UK)
    Thursday, May 21, 2020

    cocaine strawWhile the COVID-19 lockdown might have brought most parts of the economy to a halt, it seems to have had little affect on drug dealers. They have even found opportunity in the situation. They wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to avoid infection, finding a neat way to cover their faces to avoid police surveillance in the process. The COVID-19 pandemic has not diminished the supply of and demand for illicit drugs in the UK – particularly cannabis and cocaine. And while it might be difficult to see the attraction of using stimulants and party drugs like MDMA and cocaine in the confines of your own home during lockdown, users seem to be taking full advantage of the extra time on their hands.

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