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World News - June 2019

President of Mexico Unveils Plan to Decriminalize All Drugs

You read that right, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has a plan to end prohibition by decriminalizing all illegal drugs.  According to his administration’s ‘National Development Plan for 2019-2024’, “The ‘war on drugs’ has escalated the public health problem posed by currently banned substances to a public safety crisis,” it adds that the current “prohibition strategy is unsustainable.”

Cannabis is already on a set path to legalization in Mexico.  Just last year the Supreme Court ruled the prohibition of cannabis unconstitutional.  A bill to legalize marijuana and allow its commercial sale was introduced last November by Sen. Olga Sanchez Cordero and is making it’s way through the legislature.

As for the rest of the drugs, Obrador says Mexico will “renounce the claim of combating addictions by prohibiting the substances that generate them.”  His new plan will divert funding and resources from targeting those who suffer from addiction, to providing medical supervision, personal detox treatments, and regulated prescription doses.  “The only real possibility of reducing the levels of drug consumption is to lift the ban on those that are currently illegal.” the policy statement reads, “and redirect the resources currently destined to combat their transfer and apply them in programs - massive, but personalized - of reinsertion and detoxification.”

Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, executive director of the US based Drug Policy Alliance, praised the move, “Mexico’s president is rightly identifying one of the major drivers of violence and corruption in his country: the prohibition of drugs.  The next step is to translate words into action, by pursuing both a domestic and international agenda of drug policy reform, grounded in respect for human rights.”

UK Cannabis Growers Narc on Selves in Protest

It all started with Carly Barton, a 32-year-old art lecturer with fibromyalgia related chronic pain, the United Kingdom’s first licensed medical cannabis patient.  Frustrated with no access, and with no legal avenues, she started to grow her own medicine illegally, like many others in places where the law does not facilitate for cannabis.  The difference?  She sent a letter to Home Secretary Sajid Javid, the cabinet minister responsible for law enforcement policy, effectively telling the government she was breaking their laws.  In an interview with Talk Radio Carly stated, “If I can grow my own, safely, I can be well.  Unfortunately that carries a 14 year prison sentence.”  Her self-outing sparked a media frenzy and has inspired hundreds more to join in the protest by self-incriminating.

“From what I understand, police are behind the amnesty,” said one protester, who wished to remain anonymous, “They won’t raid if they don’t have to.  For genuinely sick people in need of medicinal cannabis, they’re on our side.”  As of mid-May, no patients had received responses from authorities after identifying themselves, according to Barton.  The issue lies when a neighbor or third party alerts police, who are then obligated to respond.  For many, the risk is more than worth it.  Another anonymous protester put it plainly, “This is our chance to do something.  I need to take this risk.  I need to step in front to show the authorities that I am not a criminal.  That’s why I’m not hiding.  I’m not doing something bad.  I’m doing something for my health.”

Rohrabacher Predicts End to Legal Roadblocks

At the International Cannabis Business Conference the key note speaker, Dana Rohrabacher predicts that a series of bills will be picked up early next year, combining the different cannabis bills together to solve issues for states new marijuana laws, the federal hemp laws and banking rules. 

Currently, Rohrabacher is the spokesman for CBD Global, INC. He went even further to say, “Before the next election I believe it will be passed. Trump has said he will sign the legislation. Trump will be the lead sled dog and take a giant step forward.”

Low THC cannabis is legal in Switzerland. The Swiss limit on THC is one percent, and in many European countries the limit is less. Investors are securing this new legal market, with Companies like Mile High Labs out of Boulder, Colorado pioneering American and European strategies. 

Italy’s Minister of the Interior Declares War on “Cannabis Light”

“A war starts today, street by street, shop by shop, district by district, city by city.”  Those were the words of Matteo Salvini, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, while at a meeting of representatives from drug recovery organizations this past May where he vowed to close all “Cannabis Light” shops in Italy.  “Cannabis Light”, defined as cannabis with THC levels below 0.2%, was approved by the Italian government in 2017.

Paolo Monasterolo, CEO of Estonia based Adalia Holding, believes the move is more about the coming European Parliament elections than keeping people safe from low potency marijuana, “being Italian, I’m ashamed to see such behavior from the Italian Ministry of Interior, which is pure propaganda in times of European elections.”  Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development, Labor, and Social Policies, Luigi Di Maio stands in opposition to Salvini’s call, “You can’t get up in the morning and close shops.  We should work to have shops opening.”  

 According to Marco Cappiello, co-founder of CBD manufacturer Encta, “Salvini can’t just shut down the legal hemp industry.  At most, he can allocate extra resources to check the legality of what’s being sold in the retail shops.  They’ve been doing that already for awhile, so there’s really nothing new here.”  Despite this, three shops were reportedly closed the day after the minister’s declaration of war.  The Italian Supreme Court of Cassation is expected to weigh in and provide clarity regarding “Cannabis Light” products soon.

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