Drugs in the news

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  • As B.C. heroin flap shows, drug laws are not about improving health

    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Friday, November 28, 2014

    heroin_syringeIf you’ve ever had surgery, you owe a debt to heroin-assisted therapy, and not because you were probably doped up on morphine in post-op. Rather, it’s because of William Halsted. Appointed the first chief of surgery of Johns Hopkins in 1889, the man now known as “the father of surgery” proceeded to revolutionize the craft during his more than 30-year career. Mr. Halsted introduced the use of surgical gloves and complete sterility, performed the first radical mastectomy and developed new stomach and intestinal surgeries. And one more thing: During his entire time at Johns Hopkins, Mr. Halsted injected himself with morphine on a daily basis.

  • Drug possession arrests double in past six years across NSW

    Harm reduction expert says increase in arrests for minor drug offences is extraordinary
    The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
    Friday, November 28, 2014

    The number of people arrested for possessing drugs in New South Wales (Australia) has doubled over the past six years, with NSW leading a national trend towards increased law enforcement directed at individual drug users. Yet the spike in arrests appears to have done nothing to stem the tide of drug use, with the state this week hitting the 1 million mark for the number of people who have recently used illicit drugs. The data comes as the NSW Bar Association released a report finding drug prohibition has been a failure and calling for reform. (Fact sheet: Cannabis and the law)

  • Some pols pushing to legalize pot before voters do

    The Boston Herald (US)
    Friday, November 28, 2014

    Some state lawmakers say it’s high time Massachusetts hashes out a bill to legalize and tax marijuana, or, if left to voters, risk repeating the awkward ballot-to-reality rollout that’s plagued the fledgling medical marijuana industry. “It’s almost certain to be on the ballot in 2016, I think people are going to vote for it, and I think we have the responsibility to do it right,” said state Sen. Will Brownsberger, chairman of the Legislature’s judiciary committee. “I don’t think it’s wisest to leave it to whoever is writing the ballot question.”

  • Into the breach: Drugs, control, and violating bad laws in good ways

    Rick Lines
    Thursday, November 27, 2014

    An October statement on drug control from the US State Department has prompted much comment and speculation at home and abroad. Delivered by Ambassador William Brownfield, the ‘Brownfield Doctrine’, as it has been named by some commentators, lays out a four pillar approach the United States will follow in matters of international drug control.

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  • Cannabis umnebelt die Koalition

    Streit um Mindestmenge
    Berliner Zeitung (Germany)
    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

    In der Großen Koalition in Berlin ist eine Debatte um die zulässige Menge für Eigenkonsum von Cannabis entbrannt. Die CDU will das Limit auf sechs Gramm statt wie bisher 15 Gramm senken. Die SPD ist gegen diesen Vorstoß. Die Meinungsverschiedenheiten in der Fraktion sind relevant, weil die Berliner Verordnung, die die höhere Freimenge regelt, Anfang 2015 erneuert werden muss.

  • Uruguay pushes back start of marijuana sale in pharmacies

    Reuters
    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

    Uruguay could start selling marijuana in pharmacies in March 2015, the head of the National Drugs Board said, although the government had initially been aiming for year-end. A variety of hurdles are preventing the government from making its deadlines in implementing the measures passed into law last December. Even the plan to start selling marijuana in March, when President Jose Mujica leaves office, looks ambitious as the government is still tendering cultivation licenses.

  • Marijuana’s big-money Marley Brand makes a splash

    The subsidiary of Seattle-based Privateer Holdings is met with few tough questions, showing what a difference a year makes
    Seattle Weekly News (US)
    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

    Last week, NBC’s Today Show giddily announced an exclusive: Privateer Holdings, the Seattle marijuana company long acclaimed locally for its straight, corporate image and Ivy-League-educated bosses, was launching “the first global pot brand” based on the legacy of Bob Marley. The company is likely to start selling pot overseas, says Privateer public-relations director Zack Hutson, previously a spokesperson for Starbucks. “We’re in discussions with a distributor in Israel” – a country with a federally legal medical-marijuana system. Hutson also cites Uruguay and the Netherlands as potential early markets.

  • Marijuana industry sets its sights on the mainstream

    The appeal to the marijuana industry is simple: "The future of this industry depends on the present – don’t screw it up"
    The Huffington Post (US)
    Monday, November 24, 2014

    Marijuana is growing up. As Colorado and Washington’s recreational marijuana industries blossom and new markets in Oregon and Alaska begin to take shape, so-called ganjapreneurs are looking for ways to take cannabis mainstream. Before long, they hope, marijuana products will be as widely available as alcohol – and just as socially acceptable. While marijuana businesses may have dreams of mass market sales and global domination, for the moment, they seem to be taking the "go slow" approach.

  • Pro-marijuana groups eye Northeastern states, including Maine

    The Washington Post (US)
    Sunday, November 23, 2014

    maine2Marijuana advocates want to take their legalization drive — so far the province of Western states — to the Northeast, and they say the first state to do it here might be Maine. The Pine Tree State has a long history with cannabis — Maine voters approved medical marijuana legalization 15 years ago, becoming the first New England state to do so. Now, national marijuana advocates say, the state represents a chance for pro-marijuana forces to get a toehold in the Northeastern states they have long coveted.

  • The great American relapse

    An old sickness has returned to haunt a new generation
    The Economist (UK)
    Saturday, November 22, 2014

    The face of heroin use in America has changed utterly. Forty or fifty years ago heroin addicts were overwhelmingly male, disproportionately black, and very young. Most came from poor inner-city neighbourhoods. These days, the average user looks different. More than half are women, and 90% are white. The drug has crept into the suburbs and the middle classes. And although users are still mainly young, the age of initiation has risen: most first-timers are in their mid-20s. The spread of heroin to a new market of relatively affluent, suburban whites has allowed the drug to make a comeback, after decades of decline.

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Study: The ‘gateway drug’ is alcohol, not marijuana

A study in the August edition of The Journal of School Health finds that the generations old theory of a “gateway drug” effect is in fact accurate for some drug users, but shifts the blame for those addicts’ escalating substance abuse away from marijuana and onto the most pervasive and socially accepted drug in American life: alcohol.

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