Canadian government declares full legalization of marijuana in 2017

Representatives of UN member states meeting at the UNGASS on the World Drug Problem in Vienna on April 20 2016 (2016 UNODC)

Representatives of UN member states meeting at the UNGASS on the World Drug Problem in Vienna on April 20 2016 (2016 UNODC)

Canada’s Minister of Health, Jane Philpott, told a Special Session of the UN General Assembly on the World Drug Problem that Canada would be introducing legislation to legalize marijuana consumption in the country.

The special session was called after Latin American countries called on the world to change the global strategy on combating drug abuse away from the War on Drugs approach that they say is harming their countries, making Minister Philpott’s comments consistent with the theme of the meeting.

The Minister said that consultations with NGOs, lawyers doctors and activists, as well as her experience as a medical doctor in both Canada and sub-Saharan Africa informed her opinion that the current drug policy was not working.

In building the case marijuana legalization, Philpott said:

“Our approach to drugs must be comprehensive, collaborative and compassionate.  It must respect human rights while promoting shared responsibility. And it must have a firm scientific foundation.”

She said that her government will “apply these principles with regard to marijuana.”

The Minister added that legislation affecting marijuana would be introduced in Spring 2017, and remarked that it would both keep marijuana out of the hands of children, suggesting age restrictions in the new law, and criminals, pointing to full legalisation of the supply, instead of decriminalization.

Philpott acknowledged that Canadian legalization would conflict with policy in many countries, but that the Canadian government believes it’s the best way forward for the country.

The announcement is part of a raft of developments toward greater legal tolerance toward cannabis and its derived products. Australia recently passed legislation legalizing medicinal cannabis in the country. That legislation would not legalize cannabis for recreational use however.

 

Decline of anti-drug arrests in the UK caused no increase in cannabis usage – new data

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there was no increase in cannabis usage in the UK despite decreased police enforcement of anti-cannabis laws

England and Wales witnessed no increase in cannabis usage despite reduced police enforcement of laws prohibiting cannabis from 2010 to 2015, according to newly released data from police forces and the British government.

The findings call into question the public health benefits of the war on drugs, and bolster calls to legalize drug consumption, in particular of cannabis, which have picked up steam in developing countries over the last decade.

Data released this year by 32 police forces in response to Freedom of Information Requests by the BBC shows that the total number of arrests for cannabis possession by the respective police forced declined from 35,367 to 19,115 per year, a 46 percent decline, from 2010 to 2015.

Chief Constable Mike Barton justified the de-prioritization of enforcing cannabis prohibition laws by the relative unimportance of illicit cannabis usage:

“It’s freed up our staff to deal with things that are more important.”

The decriminalization shift did not lead to increased cannabis consumption as shown by study conducted by the British Home Office, which finds 6-7 percent of the population using cannabis over the timespan.

Australia legalizes medicinal cannabis

A hemp plant. The cultivation and production of medicinal cannabis was legalized in Australia on February 24 2016 (Hendrike)

A hemp plant. The cultivation and production of medicinal cannabis was legalized in Australia on February 24 2016 (Hendrike)

Australia has become the most recent Western nation to legalize medicinal cannabis after legislation was passed on February 24, 2016 by the Australian to legalize cannabis for medicla purposes.

Health Minister Sussan Ley described the legislation as the “missing piece” needed to provide Australian patients with a reliable source of legal medicinal cannabis for managing chronic conditions.

The legislation, which received bipartisan support in Australia’s parliament, will create a national medicinal cannabis regulator to oversee the cultivation of cannabis and the manufacture of medicinal cannabis products from the cannabis plant.

Commenting on the passing of the legislation, Ms Ley said:

“This is an historic day for Australia and the many advocates who have fought long and hard to challenge the stigma around medicinal cannabis products so genuine patients are no longer treated as criminals.”

“This is the missing piece in a patient’s treatment journey and will now see seamless access to locally-produced medicinal cannabis products from farm to pharmacy.”

Ms Ley added that the amendments to the Narcotic Drugs Act are consistent with Australia’s international obligations under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

The Health Minister added that the new legislation would not make cannabis legal for general cultivation or recreational use.

News Corp apologises to Langdon Brown and Don Medicinal Cannabis

News Corp published an apology to Langdon Brown this week for having published an article in the Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Telegraph alleging that Mr. Brown’s company, the Don Medicinal Cannabis, had “ripped off” sick patients in Australia.

In the apology, News Corp stated that the allegations made in the article about Langdon Brown and his business “were false”, and “apologise[d] unreservedly for the hurt and upset that has been caused to him by its publication”.

The articles will remain online for 30 days.

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