Drugs in the news

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  • State Department official calls for 'flexibility' on drug control treaties

    The Huffington Post (US)
    Tuesday, October 14, 2014

    Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield called for "flexible" interpretations of international drug control treaties at the United Nations in New York City, citing marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington. Brownfield's remarks were the third time this year he has made such a call. The high-profile venue underscores the pressure that state legalization efforts have put on the U.S. to allow other countries to amend strict, decades-old international drug control treaties. However, Brownfield's claim that current treaties are flexible enough to allow marijuana legalization is at odds with the text of the treaties themselves, said John Walsh of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).

  • US signals shift in international drug policy

    InSight Crime
    Monday, October 13, 2014

    william-brownfield2In a press conference at the United Nations in New York on October 9, US official William Brownfield laid the groundwork for a new US approach to international drug policy, pointing to the changing political landscape on drug regulation in the Americas. Brownfield set out the United States' position on international drug policy, including to "accept flexible interpretation" of the UN Drug Control conventions. (See also: Brownfield's Statement to the Third Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations and Reforming the global drug-control system: The stakes for Washington)

  • No, marijuana is not actually “as addictive as heroin”

    The overall take-home message from Hall can be summed up as follows: if you use marijuana, don't overdo it
    The Washington Post (US)
    Thursday, October 9, 2014

    reefer-madnessYou may have read this week that a new "20-year research study" on marijuana use "finally demolishes claims that smoking marijuana is harmless," and has found that it "makes you stupid," that "smoking marijuana over the long-term can develop cancer" [SIC], and that marijuana is "as addictive as heroin." At least, that's what you'd conclude if you'd read most media coverage of the study. But if you'd actually read the study yourself, you'd likely walk away with very different conclusions. (See also: Teenagers who use cannabis every day 60% less likely to finish school)

  • Breaking taboo, Morocco may okay pot in nod to struggling farmers

    Country’s Rif valley is the world’s leading producer of hashish, but residents and growers live in poverty and fear of the law
    Times of Israel (Israel)
    Tuesday, October 7, 2014

    Morocco’s marijuana farmers live in a strange limbo in which the brilliant green fields are left alone, while the growers themselves face constant police harassment. A new draft law may bring some reprieve: It aims to legalize marijuana growing for medical and industrial uses, a radical idea for a Muslim nation. It could alleviate poverty and social unrest, but the proposal faces stiff opposition in this conservative country, as well as the suspicions of farmers themselves, who think politicians can do nothing help them.

  • Ecuador is freeing thousands of drug mules

    President Rafael Correa has said his country's harsh old drug laws were 'imposed by the gringos'
    Global Post
    Monday, October 6, 2014

    In Latin America’s latest challenge to Washington’s “war on drugs,” Ecuador has quietly begun releasing thousands of convicted cocaine smugglers. The move is a result of the country’s new criminal law, which took effect August 10. It treats “drug mules” who commit the low-profit, high-risk offense more as vulnerable people exploited by cartels than as hardened criminals. Around 500 mules have already been freed and at least another 2,000 are expected to follow, says Jorge Paladines, national coordinator of the Public Defender’s Office.

  • Yes to marijuana ballot measures

    Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia should legalize pot
    The New York Times (US)
    Sunday, October 5, 2014

    The decision by California voters in 1996 to legalize medical marijuana produced a wave of similar initiatives around the country. Less than two decades later, over half the states allow at least limited medical use. Now it looks as though recreational use of the drug may follow the same path. In 2012, Washington State and Colorado legalized recreational marijuana. This November, voters in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia will decide whether to do the same — effectively disregarding the misguided federal ban on a drug that is far less dangerous than alcohol.

  • Huge majority thinks 'war on drugs' has failed, new poll finds

    Observer survey shows an increasing number of Britons want illegal drugs decriminalised
    The Observer (UK)
    Sunday, October 5, 2014

    An increasing proportion of Britons favours a more liberal approach to drugs and would support decriminalisation strategies, according to a comprehensive survey commissioned by the Observer. An overwhelming majority believes that the so-called "war on drugs" is futile, with 84% saying that the decades-long campaign by law enforcement agencies against the global narcotics trade can never be won. The proportion of Britons who believe certain drugs should be decriminalised has risen from 27% to 39% since 2008. (See also: Britain divided: how we really feel about drugs)

  • Cabinet approves changes to ganja law

    The Gleaner (Jamaica)
    Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

    JamaicaJusticeMinAccepting that aspects of the Dangerous Drugs Act prohibit Jamaica from enjoying the economic benefits of medical marijuana and industrial hemp, the Government has made a number of changes to the act. Justice Minister Mark Golding announced that among the amendments to the act that Cabinet has approved are provisions for permits to cultivate, possess, import, export, transport, manufacture, sell, and distribute ganja for medical and scientific purposes under licence.

  • Law to be amended to facilitate medical ganja industry

    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Tuesday, September 30, 2014

    Mark-Golding_JamaicaThe Government of Jamaica has drafted legislation to amend the Dangerous Drugs Act as it moves to establish medical ganja and industrial hemp industries, where the cultivation and other activities involved in the production and supply of the plants will be legal under a controlled regime. Minister of Justice Senator Mark Golding emphasized that the objective is to lay the foundations for the establishment of regulatory regimes to govern the cultivation and use of ganja for medical and scientific purposes, as well as non-medical industrial hemp.

  • Cannabis-Klubs als Lösung?

    Gastkommentar zur Drogenpolitik
    Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Switzerland)
    Donnerstag, 25 September 2014

    Derzeit werden im Kanton Genf konkrete Projekte für Cannabis-Klubs erörtert. Es stellt sich die Frage, wie solche Konzepte unter dem geltenden Betäubungsmittel gesetz (BetmG) realisiert werden können. Heute gibt es in der Schweiz einen mehr oder weniger breiten politischen Konsens, dass die Verfolgung von Cannabis-Konsumenten nicht zu viele Ressourcen kosten darf, die anderweitig sinnvoller eingesetzt werden könnten. Das Parlament hat darum das Bussensystem beim Cannabis-Konsum eingeführt: eine halbherzige und bürokratische Lösung, die nicht wirklich befriedigt und wiederum zu einer ungleichen Verfolgung in den Kantonen führen kann.

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The Rise and Decline of Cannabis Prohibtion

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The History of Cannabis in the UN Drug Control System and Options For Reform

The question facing the international community today is no longer whether or not there is a need to reassess and modernize the UN drug control system, but rather when and how to do it.

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