In this week’s cannabis news round-up, Singapore executes the second cannabis offender in three weeks; Amsterdam bans outdoor cannabis smoking in the famous Red-Light district; STIIIZY opens its 30th retail location and Costa Rica issues first medical cannabis cultivation license
Singapore Executes Second Citizen In Three Weeks for Trafficking Cannabis
Despite mounting calls for the city-state to stop its archaic executions, Singapore adhered to its capital punishment policy for drug-related charges by hanging a second citizen on Wednesday for cannabis trafficking—the second in only three weeks.
The 37-year-old individual, whose identity remains undisclosed to respect his family’s privacy, was put to death after the court dismissed his last attempt to reopen his case on Tuesday without even granting a hearing. Kokila Annamalai, an activist from the Transformative Justice Collective—an organization advocating for the abolition of the death penalty in Singapore—shared this information. According to Annamalai, the man had been imprisoned for seven years and was convicted in 2019 for trafficking approximately some three pounds of cannabis. His bid to reopen the case was based on DNA evidence and fingerprints linking him to a significantly smaller quantity, which he admitted to possessing. However, the court rejected this evidence, as reported by Annamalai. It’s worth noting that Singaporean law stipulates that trafficking more than one pound of cannabis may result in the death penalty.
“If we don’t come together to stop it, we fear that this killing spree will continue in the weeks and months to come,” Annamalai said. She added that 60 prisoners are on death row in the city-state, primarily for drug-related offenses.
Three weeks ago, 46-year-old Singaporean Tangaraju Suppiah made global headlines when he was also executed for cannabis trafficking. Prosecutors had relied on phone records that implicated him as the individual responsible for coordinating the delivery, a claim he vehemently denied.
Amsterdam Bans Outdoor Cannabis Smoking in Red Light District
Amsterdam’s world-famous Red Light District will no longer permit outdoor cannabis smoking after the city’s council members have voted in favor of a ban. The ban will take effect on May 25 and will be enforced by local officials and the police. According to Margriet Luttikhuizen, a spokesperson for the city, individuals caught smoking weed in the central district will face a fine of €100 ($108US).
“The ban is part of a broader set of measures aiming to reduce nuisance, improve the residents’ night’s sleep and increase the livability and safety,” Luttikhuizen said.
Mayor Femke Halsema has advocated for reforms in the notorious district to combat nuisance behavior and organized crime within the city center. As part of these efforts, the city is exploring alternative locations for the famous erotica district.
While cannabis remains illegal in The Netherlands, possessing up to five grams is decriminalized. Licensed “coffee shops” are authorized to sell small quantities to adults.
STIIIZY Opens 30th Retail Location
STIIIZY celebrated the grand opening of its inaugural dispensary in Costa Mesa, CA on Saturday, May 13. To commemorate the occasion, the store offered a special promotion to the first 6,000 Californians who could provide proof of residency: a complimentary 1/8th bag of the brand’s premium cannabis for just one penny. This new location in Orange County is the popular cannabis lifestyle brand and retailer’s 30th store nationwide.
“Costa Mesa is easily the heart of Orange County,” STIIIZY Co-Founder and President Tak Sato said in a press release. “It’s the center of all things shopping, and we’re proud to be doing business in this area. For years, we have had a significant following in the OC, so we’re more than excited to have the opportunity to bring our products and store environment to its citizens. Costa Mesa’s city leadership has also been extremely supportive in normalizing cannabis, and we’re happy to have them as partners in our vision of bringing cannabis to the culture.”
STIIIZY Costa Mesa offers customers a unique, Instagram-worthy retail experience. The expansive 10,595 square foot facility at 2701 Harbor Boulevard showcases a sleek and modern design, with 22 registers, 24 product display cases and an artistically crafted 6,000 square foot sales floor.
“Our Costa Mesa store features one of our largest sales floors ever, as we don’t want our customers waiting,” Sato said. “We know we’re going to have big crowds here, so this space is tailormade to ensure our customers are still able to have the best personal shopping experience with our sales associates.”
Costa Rica Issues First Medical Cannabis Cultivation License
The government of Costa Rica has granted the first license to cultivate and process medical cannabis. The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) in Costa Rica issued the permit, according to local media reports.
Azul Wellness S.A. has announced plans to establish an 800-square-meter production and processing facility in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province. To support its operations, the company has partnered with Merida Capital Holdings, a US-based cannabis private equity firm.
In addition to Azul Wellness S.A.’s license, Costa Rica’s MAG has also issued eight authorizations for hemp cultivation. Former President Carlos Alvarado legalized medical cannabis and hemp on March 2, 2022. In October of that same year, newly elected president Rodrigo Chaves honored his campaign promise to begin the process of preparing the regulations for medical cannabis and industrial hemp licenses.
With the approval of the license, Costa Rica has taken a significant stride forward in its cannabis policy. The country’s favorable climate and strategic location position it as a promising center for cannabis cultivation and processing. As the industry continues to develop, Costa Rica has the potential to emerge as a key player in the global medical cannabis market, bolstering the country’s economy and granting patients access to vital therapeutic treatments.