Treating Drug Users As Criminals Only Makes Matters Worse Says UN Official & Latest Global Cannabis News

As the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference gears up for Chicago on Sept. 27-28, gathering top CEOs, investors and leaders in the cannabis industry, let’s scroll through the latest regulatory updates on the global level. Some of these will undoubtedly be among the topics during the two-day event.

Cannabis Law In Thailand Needs To Be Rewritten To Include Medical Use Only

Thailand's legislators plan to reintroduce comprehensive legislation regulating the medical and research use of cannabis, reported Channel News Asia, citing Saritpong Kiewkong of the Bhumjaithai party, which previously pushed to legalize marijuana, leading to its removal from the narcotics list.

Thailand became the first Southeast Asian country to decriminalize marijuana in June 2022. However, it done it without appropriate regulations.

"Cannabis will be - double underline - for medical purposes and research," Kiewkong told reporters in the parliament on Wednesday. The country's new Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, agreed, adding that the legislation would need to be rewritten to address medical cannabis only, reported Bloomberg.

"The law will need to be rewritten," Srettha said. "It needs to be rectified. We can have that regulated for medical use only,"

Recreational cannabis use, however, is off the table – a statement in agreement with both Kiewkong and Thavisin. "There is no policy for recreational use," the lawmaker said.

Finalizing and passing the draft law will take at least a year.

Netherlands to Launch Rec Sales Pilot Program This December

Meanwhile, the Netherlands opted to kick a new pilot program this December under which it plans to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana, reported Forbes.

The program's objective is to determine whether cannabis can be legally sold by coffee shops in the municipalities that are part of it.

As of mid-May, smoking weed in Amsterdam's world-famous red light district will no longer considered legal.

The Ministries of Public Health and Justice announced it would launch the experiment earlier this year in the municipalities of Tilburg and Breda. The Dutch government gave the green light for operations to start on Dec. 15.

Large Quantities Of Cannabis Destroyed In Denmark

Recent data from Denmark's government revealed that large quantities of medical marijuana have been destroyed intentionally, reported Marijuana Business Daily.

More than 300 permits allowed the destruction of 145,541 kilograms (320,862 pounds) of cannabis, the Danish Parliament's Health Committee said in a reply to a parliamentary inquiry this year.

"All four types of cultivation are licensed and the companies produce and destroy cannabis," the Danish Medicines Agency spokesperson told MJBizDaily.

"As our destruction procedures are not specific for the cultivation purpose or origin," the destroyed quantity may include medical marijuana cultivated for the pilot program, which launched in 2018.

Treating Drug Users As Criminals Only Makes Matters Worse, UN Commissioner Says

According to a recent report from the United Nations, the war on drugs is shedding light on numerous human rights issues, reported Marijuana Moment. The report calls on member nations to adopt a public health-centered approach instead of punitive drug control policies. The report emphasizes that treating drug use as a criminal matter only worsens the damage it causes.

"Laws, policies and practices deployed to address drug use must not end up exacerbating human suffering. The drug problem remains very concerning, but treating people who use drugs as criminals is not the solution," stated Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"States should move away from the current dominant focus on prohibition, repression and punishment," he continued, "and instead embrace laws, policies and practices anchored in human rights and aimed at harm reduction."

Cannabis Users In Malta Deprived Of Legitimate Way To Acquire Weed

Malta became the first country in Europe to legalize the cultivation and possession of cannabis for personal use in 2021. However, setting up regulated cannabis associations where users could legally purchase the drug never happened.

As a result, many are charged with trying to sell cannabis, like Anees Badroush (33), who was provisionally allowed out of custody on Tuesday by a court. He is undergoing criminal proceedings for drug trafficking, reported the Times of Malta.

Pointing out the peculiar scenario, Badroush's defense attorney, Franco Debono, shed light on how lawmakers had neglected cannabis users, depriving them of legitimate means of acquiring cannabis.

The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference, the place where deals get done, is returning to Chicago this Sept 27-28 for its 17th edition. Get your tickets today before prices increase and secure a spot at the epicenter of cannabis investment and branding.

Photo: Beniznga edit of photo by Shutterstock

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