Drugs in the news

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  • Drugs advisory group decides against banning qat in UK

    Home Office-commissioned report finds no evidence of links to organised crime or Somalia's al-Shabab Islamist group
    The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

    khat-sellingA clash between the home secretary, Theresa May, and her expert drugs advisory group is looming after it decided against banning qat, a mild herbal stimulant, traditionally used in Britain's Somali, Yemeni and Ethiopian communities. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs said there was insufficient evidence that Qat caused health or wider societal problems to justify a ban in Britain.

  • Davos 2013: Soros calls for new strategy on drugs

    Billionaire philanthropist George Soros said the war on drugs had endangered political stability and security in many countries
    BBC News (UK)
    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

    George Soros has called for an end to the West's "war on drugs". Soros has thrown his weight behind a push by Guatemalan President Perez Molina, who recently declared that prohibition should be abandoned. Speaking at the World Economic Forum, Soros said that the narcotics trade threatened stability in many countries. President Molina said he would organise a meeting of Latin American leaders next June to discuss the issue. Costa Rica, Mexico and Colombia have opened talks with U.S. officials to prepare for the legalization of marijuana in some U.S. states, Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla declared.

  • Khat ban rejected by UK drug advisers

    The UK government's official drugs advisory body has rejected calls to ban the herbal stimulant
    BBC News (UK)
    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

    khatThe Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) said there was "insufficient evidence" that khat caused health problems. The stimulant is traditionally used by members of the Somali, Yemeni and Ethiopian communities. It has been outlawed by the US and Canada and in most European countries, most recently by the Netherlands. The review was commissioned by the Home Office. The ACMD said there was "no evidence" khat was directly linked with serious or organised crime. (See also: Chewing over Khat prohibition)

  • Marijuana still a drug with no accepted medical use, court says

    Appellate judges defer to federal health experts and side with the DEA
    Los Angeles Times (US)
    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

    Marijuana will continue to be considered a highly dangerous drug under federal law with no accepted medical uses, after a U.S. appeals court refused to order a change in the government's 40-year-old drug classification schedule. The decision keeps in place an odd legal split over marijuana, a drug deemed to be as dangerous as heroin and worse than methamphetamine by federal authorities, but one that has been legalized for medical use by voters or legislators in 20 states and the District of Columbia.

  • Inslee: Wash. to keep moving forward on legal pot

    The Seattle Times (US)
    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

    holderWashington Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson met with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday, but came away no further enlightened about how the federal government will respond to last fall's votes in Washington and Colorado that set up legal markets for marijuana. Ferguson said his message to the Justice Department was that the state hopes to avoid a legal fight, but that his office has a team of lawyers preparing just in case.

  • Khat: a legal high, but should it be banned?

    It's like saying we'll ban alcohol because there are people who are alcoholic
    Channel 4 News (UK)
    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

    chewing-khatKhat, a stimulant drug, is chewed by around 90,000 people in the east African and Yemeni communities in the UK. But now the Home Office is considering banning the substance. During the last election, pro-ban activists met politicians, offering them community votes. In return, they wanted their support for the ban on khat. Some politicians accepted the offer and supported the mission.

  • Strict pot controls needed, state says

    The federal government will try to take action if Washington doesn’t impose strict controls over the growth and sale of marijuana
    The Seattle Times (US)
    Monday, January 21, 2013

    i502-implementationWashington State officials are looking to build a strictly regulated marijuana system that could forestall federal concerns about how the drug will be handled once it’s available for public purchase. Rick Garza of the Liquor Control Board said he expects the federal government will try to take action if Washington’s system has loose controls. He said it’s important for Washington to have a strong regulatory structure, such as how participants in the system are licensed and how the product is handled from growth to the point of sale.

  • Bill to legalize marijuana introduced in legislature

    Hawaii News Now (US)
    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    Hawaii could join Colorado and Washington as states that have legalized the use of marijuana by adults, under a measure introduced by state House Speaker Joe Souki. House Bill 150, known as the Personal Use of Marijuana Act, would allow adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and to cultivate a limited number of marijuana plants in a secure and locked location. It also would allow for licensed and regulated marijuana retail stores, as well as licensed facilities to cultivate, manufacture and test marijuana. (Related story: Hawaii residents support legalizing marijuana, survey finds)

  • Guatemala's president: 'My country bears the scars from the war on drugs'

    Leaders of drug-consuming countries in the west have to accept that the war on drugs has brought Latin American nations to their knees
    The Observer (UK)
    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    perez-molina-obsThis is at the heart of the awakening in Latin America, a feeling that drugs prohibition has allowed rich and powerful cartels to rise to such prominence that they threaten the institutions of the state – the police, the judicial system, the army, the media, and the body politic. In Latin America it is not about rehab and criminality, it is about an existential threat to the state.

  • We enforced Ottawa’s pot laws. They don’t work

    The proof that cannabis prohibition has failed is irrefutable, four former B.C. attorneys-general say
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Friday, January 18, 2013

    pot-lighting-upIt is time to put ideology and politics aside in favour of a level-headed, evidence-based discussion about the failure of marijuana prohibition and the policy alternatives available to us. Provincial and municipal leaders across Canada must join, if not lead, the debate and demand change. Only then will we end the prohibition-fuelled cycle of crime, waste and violence. Four former B.C. Attorney Generals come out in very clear terms and say what needs to be said: Canada’s pot laws don’t work.

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