Cannabis is the most widely produced and consumed illicit substance globally. A significant number of states have long engaged in soft defection from the UN drug control regime in relation to tolerant policies on the personal possession, cultivation and use of cannabis. Recently, there has been growing debate within political circles on the benefits of regulated cannabis markets. This has been driven by a number of factors, including the continuing illegality of supply, the associated and often violent involvement of criminal elements and the use of finite criminal justice resources. In this section you will find an overview of our most recent blogs on the issue.
Legalisation of cannabis is making slow but unstoppable progress across much of the developed world, many experts believe, following the end of prohibition in two US states. In Amsterdam, long famous for its coffee shops, international experts gathering to discuss cannabis regulation said the international conventions, once so heavily policed by the US, would now be increasingly flouted. Already many countries, most notably the Netherlands and Spain, have bypassed the rules.
Latin American countries are turning to Europe for lessons on fighting drugs after souring on the prohibition-style approach of the violent and costly U.S.-led war on drugs. Until recently, most Latin American countries had zero-tolerance rules on drugs inspired by the United States. But now countries from Brazil to Guatemala are exploring relaxing penalties for personal use of narcotics, following examples such as Spain and Portugal that have channeled resources to prevention rather than clogging jails.
Legislators in Mexico City, the largest city in North America, are preparing to push through certain measures that would decriminalize and regulate the consumption of marijuana in the Mexican capital, a move that may speed pot legalization elsewhere in the continent. Proposals include the setting up of cannabis clubs to grow herb for their members and tolerance of anyone carrying up to 30 grams, or just over an ounce, of marijuana.
In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize the production and sale of marijuana. But this pioneering decision is presenting a number of challenges when it comes to implementation. The new law states that cannabis can be grown at home, acquired with a prescription at a pharmacy for registered users, or bought through cannabis clubs. While marijuana production is on the rise, the government has yet to put any of these legal frameworks in place. Meanwhile, home-growing is on the rise in anticipation of the final measures being introduced.
In Uruguay, licensed cannabis clubs of up to 45 members will be allowed to grow a maximum of 99 plants each year. In August, growing up to six plants of cannabis at home became legal. Each club member can produce no more than 480g of cannabis each year and the club's growing fields cannot be within 150m of a school, college or a drug rehabilitation centre. Legalising cannabis has been a sensitive issue in Uruguay, where voters will be going to the polls in a second round of presidential elections on 30 November. Both presidential candidates have said they will tinker with the new laws if elected.
Martin Barriuso, the president of of Pannagh and the Federation of Cannabis Associations (FAC) in Spain and two fellow activist from Pannagh have been arrested for drug trafficking on Monday, November 14, 2011. TNI wishes to express its support for the demand to immediately release of Barriuso and his fellow activists. Pannagh always has been transparent in their wish to create a regulated cannabis distribution system among adults to prevent a criminal black market.
In the past few weeks, the attention of the international drug policy community has been focused on the cannabis regulation bill in Uruguay. The great significance of this momentum for the drug policy reform has been supported by various civil society organisations and public opinion leaders from all around the world. This contrasts with the steps back undertaken in Spain, where a new bill – the paradoxically so-called citizen security law – was approved last 29th November by the Council of Ministers.
The last few years have witnessed a boom in new cannabis user associations in Spain. Although there are no reliable figures for them, most are known to have been created for the collective cultivation of marihuana crops, and are now several hundred-strong. They are mainly found in Catalonia, which is also home to the largest of them: some have existed for only a short time but already have several thousand members.
On 19 June, 2012, the Ganjazz Art Club in Donostia, one of the oldest Cannabis Social Clubs in Spain, received a visit that was unimaginable a few years earlier: a group of members of the autonomous regional Basque parliament on official business. Its goal was to find out how one of these cannabis users’ associations, that have proliferated over the past few years, operates.
Martin Barriuso, the president of of Pannagh and the Federation of Cannabis Associations (FAC) in Spain and two fellow activists from the Pannagh cannabis social club have been released. They had been erroneously arrested for drug trafficking in Bilbao on Monday, November 14. Cannabis social clubs are registered, non-profit associations that are formed by adult people who consume cannabis.
The Basque Parliament will approve a law bill in the first few months of 2012 on drug addiction, which will regulate "the growing, sale and consumption of cannabis". For the new ruling, for which "technical and legal studies have been undertaken", the regional government wants to "open a debate" with associations in favour of consumption and to "shape their rights".
Adults may be legally able to seek out clubs in certain Swiss cities to buy state-certified cannabis, free of chemicals, for personal use under a pilot project being drafted. Lawmakers from at least five municipal governments are looking at participating in an experiment to regularize the use of marijuana through "user’s associations". Bern has become the latest city to look seriously at liberalizing the use of cannabis through regulations. Zurich, Basel and Lausanne are also interested in joining in the experiment being piloted by the city of Geneva.
In mehreren Schweizer Kantonen sind Diskussionen im Gang, ob und wie der Konsum von Cannabis legalisiert werden könnte. Eine Vorreiterrolle spielt Genf. Dort hat eine Kommission um alt Bundesrätin Ruth Dreifuss der Kantonsregierung Vorschläge für ein Pilotprojket vorgelegt. «Es sollte Vereine geben», sagt die Vorsteherin der Genfer Suchtkommission, die frühere Bundesrätin Ruth Dreifuss. In den Vereinen sollte der Cannabiskonsum dereinst legal sein, so das Ziel der Arbeitsgruppe. Bis dahin ist es aber noch ein weiter Weg.
A tiny Spanish country town believes it has found a way to make unemployment, debt and economic crisis disappear in a puff of smoke – by leasing out its land for marijuana plantations. The town hall of Rasquera in Catalonia on Wednesday voted to sign a €1.3m agreement with a cannabis association in nearby Barcelona to plant marijuana for its 5,000 members. Spain's cannabis clubs argue that if growing and possessing marijuana for personal consumption is legal, then there is nothing illegal about forming a club to that end.
The Spanish village of Rasquera has adopted in a referendum a plan to rent out a field for growing cannabis in an urgent bid to create jobs and raise money to pay off its debts. Rasquera's village council on February 29 approved the plan to rent seven hectares (17 acres) of public land to an association that promotes the legal recreational or therapeutic use of cannabis by its 5,000 members in a 4-3 vote.
Le modèle du «Cannabis social club» (CSC), sorte de coopérative régulant la production et la distribution du cannabis, vient de Belgique et d’Espagne. Dans ces pays, la culture du cannabis est dépénalisée en-dessous d’une certaine quantité [5 plants par personne en Espagne, ndlr]. En France, sur les trois derniers mois, 150 «Cannabis social clubs» se sont montés, ce qui représente entre 1200 et 1500 consommateurs.Un adhérent commente l’essor de ces associations autogérées de consommateurs qui entendent peser dans le débat sur la dépénalisation.
L'autoculture de cannabis croît et se multiplie. C'est la tendance observée par l'Observatoire français des drogues et des toxicomanies (OFDT) qui dénombre 200 000 cultivateurs particuliers de marijuana en France. Une culture domestique généralement pratiquée à l'abri des regards et sous les néons d'un appartement. Mais pas seulement. Depuis 2009, certains se réunissent dans des "cannabis social clubs". Des coopératives, calquées sur le modèle espagnol, au sein desquelles les adhérents font pousser et partagent leurs plants.
One of France's leading campaigners for the decriminalisation of cannabis was given a suspended prison term and fined for possession and use of the drug. Dominique Broc is the founder of the cannabis social clubs, a movement that encourages members to grow the herb for their own use and avoid illegal dealers. The 44-year-old gardener said he would appeal his conviction, which came after police who visited his home in western France found 126 plants and 26 grammes of cannabis.