• Morocco’s cannabis regulation agency Is “open for business”

    Morocco’s agency in charge of regulating cannabis-related economic activities has begun operations
    Morocco World News (Morocco)
    Friday, June 3, 2022

    morocco cannabis field growerFollowing its first meeting yesterday, Morocco’s cannabis watchdog agency is now officially operational. The agency is set to oversee the cultivation and use of cannabis for medical and commercial purposes. The milestone comes months after the country adopted provisional legislation in 2021 to regulate the cultivation and industrial use of cannabis. Chaired by Morocco’s Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit, the agency deliberated on a number of measures relating to the agency’s internal organization including management of its 2022 budget. On the list of the agency’s responsibilities is overseeing activities along the cannabis production chain, starting from acquiring seeds to the marketing and export of cannabis-based products.

  • Decriminalization a good step, but safe supply key: chief coroner

    “We have lost far more people to drug toxicity over the COVID pandemic than we have to COVID"
    Times Colonist (Canada)
    Thursday, June 2, 2022

    canada opiod crisisTo stop toxic-drug deaths, governments must provide a safe supply of drugs with the same urgency that they provided people with COVID vaccines, says B.C.’s chief coroner. “We have lost far more people to drug toxicity over the COVID pandemic than we have to COVID,” Lisa Lapointe said. Including the death toll for May, there have been more than 10,000 drug poisoning deaths in B.C. since 2016, when opioid overdoses were declared a public health emergency, she said. While decriminalization alone won’t save lives, said Lapointe, it could when paired with a regulated safe supply of drugs for people dependent on their use. (See also: MPs vote against bill to decriminalize small amounts of drugs across Canada | ‘We are losing a whole generation of Canadians’: Bill to curb toxic drug deaths defeated)

  • Rural dagga farmers – the same ones highlighted by Ramaphosa – say they'll be 'criminalised' by new laws

    Chief among the group's concerns are the myriad of "arbitrary" limitations on plant size, numbers of plants, and concentrations of cannabinoids
    Business Insider (South Africa)
    Thursday, June 2, 2022

    south africa pondolandTraditional cannabis growers in the rural Eastern Cape, the same ones assured of inclusion by President Cyril Ramaphosa, are objecting to proposed laws aimed at regulating the use and possession of the plant. South Africa's cannabis industry received a major boost from the Constitutional Court's 2018 ruling that decriminalised private and personal use of the plant. The landmark ruling has been followed by an uptick in commercial ventures and the development of a Cannabis Master Plan tasked with industrialising the plant, tapping into a R28 billion sector and supporting up to 25,000 jobs. The Umzimvubu Farmers Support Network (UFSN) argues that the Bill, in its current form, would "criminalise the amaMpondo cannabis farmers" and threaten their livelihoods instead of them benefiting from new frameworks.

  • NSW Attorney-General proposes $400 fines instead of court for drug possession

    The pilot would give police the discretion to issue two $400 infringements, with those penalties waived if users undertook health interventions
    news.com.au (Australia)
    Thursday, June 2, 2022

    decriminalizationNSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman has proposed a diversion scheme that would see people caught with drugs hit with a $400 fine instead of being taken to court. The proposal would implement one of the recommendations from the Special Commission of Inquiry into Ice, which released its final report in 2020. Mr Speakman said in March he was “disappointed” his government hadn’t done more to implement the findings of the inquiry, which had cost more than $10 million to produce. “Sadly illicit drug use is widespread in our community – for example statistics suggest that one in seven Australian men in their 20s have used cocaine in the last 12 months. The current approach is clearly not working.” (See also: NSW attorney-general urges drug law pivot)

  • Small-scale possession of illicit drugs will be decriminalized in B.C. starting next year: Ottawa

    Adults will be able to possess small amounts of opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, MDMA
    CBC News (Canada)
    Tuesday, May 31, 2022

    canada opioid crisis emergencyAdults in British Columbia will be allowed to possess small amounts of some illicit drugs starting next year, the federal government announced — a move that marks a dramatic shift in Canada's drug policy. The federal government says Canadians 18 years of age and older will be able to possess up to a cumulative 2.5 grams of opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA within British Columbia. The announcement is in response to a request from the province for an exemption from the law criminalizing drug possession. Critics take issue with low threshold amount, delay in implementation and potential for discrimination. (See also: British Columbia will decriminalize drug possession | B.C. decriminalization plan won't do much to stop toxic drug deaths, says chief coroner)

  • Cannabis policy changes in Africa are welcome. But small producers are the losers

    For state authorities, policy changes are aimed at opening avenues for scarce foreign exchange revenue critically needed to boost stagnating economies
    The Conversation (Australia)
    Monday, May 30, 2022

    uganda cannabis womanMany African states that persecuted citizens for cannabis related offences for years are now promoting legal cannabis production. Over the past five years 10 countries have passed laws to legalise production for medical and scientific purposes. These include Lesotho, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Ghana, Eswatini, Rwanda and Morocco. South Africa has also legalised the private growing of cannabis plants by adults for their own personal consumption. The cannabis policy liberalisation in Africa has been brought about by two main factors. One is the lobbying by local activists. Cannabis use is still criminalised in most African countries. The other factor is the emergence of the global legal cannabis industry projected to grow to nearly US$200 billion by 2028.

  • How the punishment for drugs possession in Norway is changing

    Norway's Attorney General recently issued new guidelines for how the authorities should handle drug possession charges
    The Local (Norway)
    Monday, May 23, 2022

    decrimThe Attorney General announced updated guidelines for how the police should work with drug possession charges. The Attorney General has said that drug addicts should not be prosecuted for having drugs for personal use. The Supreme Court has said that this advice applies to those found with up to five grams of heroin, amphetamine or cocaine. Lawmakers also say that those caught with “modest exceedance” of this limit should receive a reduced sentence or punishment. The Attorney General has advised that fair exceedance would be a quantity of narcotics of up to ten grams. Three recent rulings in the Supreme Court, which saw three drug addicts handed reduced sentences or no punishment at all for being in possession of drugs, prompted the new guidelines.

  • Is Austria set to legalise cannabis use?

    A case in the Constitutional Court could bring changes to the ban of cannabis for personal use in the country
    The Local (Austria)
    Thursday, May 19, 2022

    Austria has a very complex system when it comes to its drug laws and regulations, but in short: no, cannabis is not legal in the alpine country. People are not allowed to consume, buy, sell, or grow the plant (growing it at home has some very strange specifications, such as it must never be allowed to bloom). However, since 2016, a person caught with a small quantity of cannabis could face only small charges, similar to traffic violations. The country’s constitutional court is evaluating a private petition by Paul Burger, a 26-year old Viennese. He was caught with a half-burned joint at the end of 2020 by two police officers in plain clothes.

  • UK’s first regular drug checking service set to launch this month in Bristol

    Personalised health advice will be available, with the doors set to open for the first time on 28th May 2022
    DJ Mag (UK)
    Thursday, May 12, 2022

    drug checkingThe UK's first regular drug checking service is launching in Bristol this month, delivered by non-profit harm reduction specialists The Loop in a new partnership with the local authority. Funded by Bristol City Council, and delivered by the award-winning drug checking and evidence-based information organisation, the new scheme uses a multi-agency partnership model involving the Bristol Drugs Project (BDP) and People's Republic of Stokes Croft (PRSC). The overall goal is to reduce high-risk use of substances and build a fuller picture of the local illicit drug market. Members of the public can confidentially test illegal substances free of charge, engaging in a process that has been proven to significantly reduce risk and harm.

  • Sadiq Khan appoints drugs tsar to explore legalising cannabis

    The London mayor made the announcement after visiting a cannabis factory in Los Angeles
    Evening Standard (UK)
    Thursday, May 12, 2022

    Sadiq Khan has appointed a drugs tsar to explore the potential benefits of legalising cannabis. The mayor has asked Lord Falconer, formerly Lord Chancellor in Tony Blair’s government and a current member of Labour’s shadow cabinet, to lead a review of the law on the class B drug. Establishing a London drugs commission was a manifesto pledge and Mr Khan has previously called for an “evidence-based approach” to potential decriminalisation. Mr Khan said the commission would examine the effectiveness of UK drugs laws on cannabis and the potential for reducing “drug-related harm”. City Hall does not have the power to change the criminal law but could influence the debate. (Transform: London's cannabis commission: what can it actually achieve?)

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