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  • Ecstasy is getting stronger, drug testing clinic warns

    Trimbos says the price of drugs has remained relatively stable
    DutchNews (The Netherlands)
    Tuesday, May 3, 2016

    ecstasy3The amount of active ingredients in ecstasy pills in the Netherlands has almost doubled in 10 years, according to the Trimbos addiction institute, which runs a nationwide testing service. In 2005, there was an average of 81 mg of MDMA in a pill but last year that had gone up to 150 mg, according to the institute’s 2015 monitoring report. The highest concentration of MDMA recorded last year was 293 mg. (See also: Drug users favoring “ecstasy light” as street XTC rises in potency)

  • T&T mulling decriminalising ganja

    Al Rawi told the Trinidad Guardian that the government has started the groundwork to decriminalise marijuana
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Tuesday, May 3, 2016

    The Trinidad and Tobago government is examining the possibility of decriminalising marijuana and is reviewing existing legislation as well as planning wide consultation before adopting any position, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi has said. He told the Trinidad Guardian newspaper that there has been "a full exercise of analysing the types of crime in our prisons and the pre-trials detention or remand statistics for a range of offences, including possession of narcotics, and particularly possession of cannabis." (See also: Rowley surprised: Gov't not reviewing ganja laws | 'AG did nothing wrong on ganja statement')

  • Rethinking drug prohibition on a global scale

    We need to improve public understanding of the concept of "harm reduction" as the primary goal of drug policy
    Vice (US)
    Monday, May 2, 2016

    ungass2016-ny-plenaryLast month, the United Nations General Assembly met for the first time in history to reconsider international drug prohibition with an eye toward policies focused on health and human rights. Facing unprecedented drug gang–related violence, Mexico, Colombia, and Guatemala had insisted the global confab be moved up by two years. Yet somehow there was no sense of urgency, and no actual changes were made, in large part due to the intransigence of Russia and China.

  • Uruguay's cannabis law makes big strides, but faces serious challenges

    Uruguayan authorities have announced an agreement with every major pharmacy association in the country
    About News (US)
    Saturday, April 30, 2016

    Nearly two and half years after becoming law, Uruguay’s pioneering plan to regulate every level of the national market for cannabis is finally on the verge of taking shape. While implementation has proceeded at a deliberate pace – in part due to the transition to a new government in early 2015 – recent advances provide a glimpse of what full implementation will look like. Two companies that won contracts to grow cannabis for commercial purposes have planted their first crop, meaning that Uruguayan adults should be able to purchase cannabis for non-medical use at sales points in pharmacies in late 2016.

  • Violent Christiania police action caught on video

    Pusher Street has long been a flashpoint for confrontation and controversy
    The Local (Denmark)
    Friday, April 29, 2016

    Two videos posted online by the Christiania-based documentary group Cadok show large-scale police action targeting the Copenhagen district’s cannabis market, Pusher Street. While recorded confrontations with the police in Christiania are nothing new, the violent nature of one of the videos has led to widespread sharing on social media and even an offered reward for information on the officers involved. The video shows police officers running through Christiania and hitting people with their batons amidst scenes of chaos. (See also: Danish gov snubs call to clear Pusher Street)

  • Lack of progress and transparency at the UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs

    The first meeting in twenty years of the UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) was supposed to be a game changer. It was not
    NACLA (US)
    Wednesday, April 27, 2016

    ungass2016-ny-plenaryThe first meeting of UNGASS since 1998 was supposed to be a game changer in prodding the lumbering and often draconian UN drug policy regime into serious revision. Mass incarceration of the poor, corruption, human rights abuses, public health crises and violence caused by the Drug War have been exhaustingly documented all over the world. The UN Special Session came up short in meeting the expectations of drug policy reformers from around the globe.

  • New agreement brings no end to war on drugs in ASEAN

    A global meeting on drugs failed to deliver a highly anticipated shift from a punitive approach to narcotics, disappointing Myanmar advocacy groups
    The Myanmar Times (Myanmar)
    Tuesday, April 26, 2016

    opium-burmaThe outcome of the UN General Assembly Special Session on drugs in New York resulted in an outcome document that brings little new to the table. Nang Pann Ei, a coordinator of the Drug Policy Advocacy Groups, called the UNGASS meeting significant because Myanmar civil society was able to speak up for opium farmers facing the constant threat of crop eradication. But she voiced disappointment about the resulting policy document, saying it has "some serious gaps". "It did not mention harm reduction specifically, and decriminalisation of drug use and abolishing the death penalty for drug-related offenses was not mentioned," she said.

  • Holness Government urged to be bold and legalise ganja

    "The reason we are being tentative is fear of our brothers from the north"
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Tuesday, April 26, 2016

    jamaica-ganja2The director general of the National Commission on Science and Technology, Professor Errol Morrison, said that while the decriminalisation of marijuana in Jamaica is a good move, it is not enough. While insisting that he is not criticising the Government, the principal of the University of the West Indies Professor Archibald McDonald joined Morrison in urging the Andrew Holness-led Jamaica Labour Party Administration to be bolder than the last administration and legalise marijuana in Jamaica. He emphasised that in moving towards legalisation, Jamaica needs to regulate the industry.

  • Owner of biggest cannabis cafe faces retrial

    Coffee shops with more than 500 grammes of cannabis on the premises are not covered by the official policy of turning a blind eye to soft drugs
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Tuesday, April 26, 2016

    The Dutch supreme court has ordered a retrial of the owner of what was the country’s biggest cannabis cafe, saying a lower court ruling clearing him of criminal charges was not properly motivated. The lower appeal court had said that even though the cafe had too much marijuana on the premises this did not merit a prison sentence. In addition, the court pointed out that the authorities had encouraged the café’s growth and must have understood that it needed large volumes of drugs to meet demand. (See also: Coffee shop trial is test for Dutch drugs policy)

  • Street opioids are getting deadlier. Overseeing drug use can reduce deaths

    Crackdowns on prescriptions are sending addicts to find a fix in the street. But drugs there are more often being made with rapidly fatal doses of fentanyl
    The Guardian (UK)
    Tuesday, April 26, 2016

    heroin-useAs health officials battle increasing mortality associated with heroin and prescription opioids, an even more dangerous group of street drugs has appeared on the scene. From Seattle to Syracuse, authorities are reporting a spike in overdoses of fentanyl, an opioid 25 to 50 times stronger than heroin; in Canada, four pounds of a drug called W18, which is 100 times stronger than fentanyl, were recently seized. The problem has caught law enforcement officials and politicians off guard. But to anyone who has studied the history of drug policy, it was completely predictable. It’s known as the “iron law of prohibition” or, as activist Richard Cowan, who coined the phrase, put it: “The harder the enforcement, the harder the drugs.”

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