Italy took a first step toward legalization of pot, leading Europe in what would be a groundbreaking change. The Intergrupo Parlamentare Cannabis Legale, a cross-party committee, agreed on a provisional text to legalize the consumption, growing, production and sale of cannabis under certain conditions. The text was signed by 218 members of parliament, and not just by the usual suspects. The proposal would allow growing cannabis at home or as members of "cannabis clubs" where a maximum of 50 people could cultivate and then share the product, with a strict prohibition on selling to the general public. (See also: Bill would legalize marijuana)
Drug law reform continues developing in the right direction in several Latin American and Caribbean countries. In Jamaica, for example, a law legalizing the cultivation and consumption of ganja for medicinal, religious and research purposes came into force, as well as the decriminalisation of possession for personal use. Jamaica also spoke out at the UN Thematic Debate in New York. On May 7th, the minister addressed the UN High Level Thematic Debate on international drug policy, highlighting Jamaica’s perspectives on drug control policies and participating in a debate that encourages open and inclusive discussions. Amongst the outcomes Jamaica would like to see from UNGASS is “the establishment of an Expert Advisory Group to review the UN drug policy control architecture, its system-wide coherence, its treaty inconsistencies and its legal tension with cannabis regulations.”
Marijuana may not be the "gateway drug" some believe it to be, a new study contends. Instead, teens smoke pot for very specific reasons, and it is those reasons that appear to prompt their decision to try other drugs, researchers report. For example, kids who use marijuana because they are bored are more likely to also use cocaine, while kids using pot to achieve insight or understanding are more likely to try magic mushrooms, according to findings published recently in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.
Traditional small ganja farmers in Jamaica, accustomed to clandestinely working their fields, will now have to adhere to strict regulations in order to supply research institutions that have been granted licences.
Up and down the Western Hemisphere, marijuana policy is a growing topic of discussion, and laws are starting to change. In 2014, retail marijuana stores opened in the states of Colorado and Washington, where anyone over 21 years old can purchase a wide variety of marijuana products.
Vancouver has approved new rules to license and regulate illegal marijuana stores, making it the first city in Canada to attempt to control the burgeoning market – and setting it on a collision course with the country’s federal government.
Legalising the medical use of cannabis has not led to a surge in the numbers of adolescents using it in the USA, according to new research that surprised its authors and will encourage those hoping for relaxation of the law elsewhere.