The economic case for decriminalising drugs

Is it better to have drug use made legal, and therefore taxed and regulated, or might this encourage more drugs to be consumed – with the social and other costs associated with that? 

The UN wants its members to decriminalise drugs, and Sir Richard Branson thinks that is just great. Well, it is not quite like that; as so often, the story is more nuanced than the headline. The paper Sir Richard leaked, which urges “decriminalising drug use and possession for personal consumption”, was drawn up for a conference in Kuala Lumpur on harm reduction by Dr Monica Beg, an official at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna. It has since been withdrawn and, as you can gather from the outcry, it is certainly a “third-rail issue” – you touch it at your peril.


Cannabis in Switzerland: War on Cannabis Consumers

By Sylent Jay

The Swiss cannabis landscape has been under scrutiny lately. Since January 2015, consumers of the plant residing in Switzerland have been targeted by the government, with the help of Customs personnel as well as of police forces.

Switzerland in backwards motion since 2005

During the ‘90s and early ‘00s, Switzerland was somewhat of a quiet haven for cannabis consumers, offering for instance many options in terms of hemp-related items; clothing, hygiene products, and even some not-made-for-consumption cannabis-based products such as pot-pourris. Large metropolises especially, were riddled with shops selling these types of articles.


An Australian medical cannabis company just sold its first pot pills

Australian medical cannabis company MMJ PhytoTech Limited has just sold its first marijuana pills. The bad news: They are only available in Europe.

The capsules were sold in August via a Swiss-based subsidiary, Satipharm. 10 milligrams of the medication will set you back 89 euros (A$139.95).

The pills are registered as a dietary supplement in Germany. Their active ingredient, Cannabidiol (CBD), is made from a special medical cannabis strain and they do not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that causes most of marijuana's psychological effects when smoked.


An Australian medical marijuana company has released its first cannabis pills

Australian medical marijuana company MMJ PhytoTech has generated its first revenues from sales of its cannabis pill.

The CBD (Cannabidiol) capsules, registered as a dietary supplement in Germany, started retailing in Europe in August for about 3 euros each ($4.70).

The company intends to produce a total 1 million of the Swiss-made capsules in 2015. The pills, only available in Europe, are sold online.


UK Police In Cannabis 'Climbdown' And Other Countries' Approach To Marijuana Use

Three police forces have acknowledged that growing and using cannabis is no longer to be treated as a priority crime.

While cannabis remains a Class B drug in the UK, police chiefs including Durham’s Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg, say they will not actively pursue those growing or using leaves for personal, recreational use.

And Alan Charles, Derbyshire's PCC, told the Daily Mail: "When we are faced with significant budget cuts we cannot keep turning out to every single thing reported to us."



The Swiss postal system, in collaboration with California-based drone delivery company Matternet, announced this week that they’re testing a new package delivery service that uses drones as couriers. Switzerlands diverse terrain, full of mountains, lakes, rivers, and other environments easier to navigate by air, make it an ideal test site for flying robot mail delivery.


Evidence of Marijuana’s Medical Usefulness Mounts

The current issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) includes two articles that review studies of marijuana's medical utility and come to similar conclusions about the applications that are best supported by the existing evidence: treatment of chronic pain, neuropathic pain and spasticity.

There is also substantial evidence that THC, marijuana's main active ingredient, is effective at relieving nausea and restoring appetite.


Cannabis: The Comeback of a Banned Medicine Pt 2

Chemist Markus Lüdi is Switzerland’s only producer of a natural tincture made from cannabis. In his laboratory in Burgdorf in canton Bern he demonstrates how a liquid drug can be produced from cannabis flowers.

Lüdi has a special permit from the Federal Office of Public Health. All structures involved with cannabis have to meet safety and security criteria, and the whole production is subject to rigorous controls. And so it should be, Lüdi says. He shakes his head, though, when he talks about the amount of bureaucracy involved. Growing the mother plant, starting a new plantation, getting rid of vegetable residue at the end of the harvest – for every phase in production he has to make a special application.


Switzerland: A banned medicine's comeback

When pure and administered carefully, [cannabis] is one of the most valuable medicines we possess,” wrote British physician John Russell Reynolds in 1890, praising the substance’s curative properties. He even prescribed it in the form of a natural tincture for his most illustrious patient, Queen Victoria.

Over a century later, cannabis, also known as hemp or marijuana, is on the list of banned substances worldwide due to its psychotropic effects. A devastating and dangerous drug for some, a medicine without equal in the pharmacist’s repertoire for others, cannabis is beginning to be used again in the treatment of serious illness and chronic pain.


Few Well Done Studies Support Medical Use of Cannabis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Penny F. Whiting, PhD
School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol
The National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care West at University Hospitals, Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol UK
Kleijnen Systematic Reviews Ltd, Escrick, York, United Kingdom

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?


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