Drugs in the news

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  • The difference between legalisation and decriminalisation

    The Economist (UK)
    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

    The war on cannabis seems to be slowly burning out. On June 12th Jamaica announced that it plans to decriminalise possession of small amounts of the drug. Several countries, including Mexico and Portugal, have already taken this step, and many others are considering it. A handful of other jurisdictions—so far only Uruguay and the states of Colorado and Washington—have taken a different approach, not decriminalising but instead legalising cannabis. Many people mistakenly use the terms “legalisation” and “decriminalisation” interchangeably. What is the difference?

  • Jamaica anticipates a marijuana rush as decriminalisation looms – but is it too late?

    The prospect of growing ganja for medical purposes has triggered a wave of heady economic optimism, but it faces stiff competition
    The Guardian (UK)
    Monday, June 16, 2014

    cannabis-cultivation-jamaica2Possession of a mere handful of marijuana has for decades clogged Jamaican courts with petty cases and distracted an undermanned police force from tackling the crime cartels pushing drugs and guns. The recently proposed decriminalisation of marijuana has been long anticipated and much unfulfilled. Fearing those big-stick-wielding neighbours, the United States, would crack Jamaica's backside, politicians have avoided pressing the reset button on a law that has proved unwieldy, expensive and downright stupid. (See also: No fall-out expected from decision on ganja)

  • Ganja laws: The Government's case for reform

    A lightly edited version of Justice Minister Mark Golding's statement on reforms to the laws relating to ganja
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Sunday, June 15, 2014

    On June 2, Cabinet approved certain changes to the law relating to ganja. These relate to the possession of small quantities for personal use, the smoking of ganja in private places and the use of ganja for medical/medicinal purposes. Approval has been given also to a proposal for the decriminalisation of the use of ganja for religious purposes. The decriminalisation of ganja in Jamaica has been the subject of considerable study and recommendations over the years. A 1977 Joint Select Committee of Parliament which reviewed ganja use and legislation, stopped short of recommending its legalisation. (See also: Clear up inconsistencies in the proposed ganja reform)

  • Barcelona bans new cannabis clubs for 1 year

    The Local (Spain)
    Friday, June 23, 2014

    The Barcelona city council announced that no new cannabis clubs will be allowed to open in the city for one year in order to halt their proliferation and allow for tighter regulation of the 160 clubs that already exist. The cannabis clampdown comes just days after the first closure of a club for suspected illegal dealing. Cannabis clubs in the city have fuelled a boom in tourists looking for legal highs, despite technically being private establishments meant for members only.

  • Barcelona is fighting an overdose of cannabis clubs

    Business Week (US)
    Friday, June 13, 2014

    Barcelona has a new tourist attraction that some locals wish would disappear: a burgeoning number of "cannabis clubs," where people can legally buy and smoke pot. Although selling marijuana is against the law in Spain, some regions allow local residents to set up nonprofit clubs whose members grow and share it for personal use. As recently as 2011, only a few dozen such groups were in the Catalonia region, which includes Barcelona. But since then, the number has risen to about 400.

  • Jamaica set to decriminalise marijuana for personal use

    The Gleaner (Jamaica)
    Friday, June 13, 2014

    In Jamaica, plans are in the making for the decriminalisation of possession of small amounts of marijuana. "Cabinet approved certain changes to the law relating to ganja (marijuana). These relate to possession of small quantities of ganja for personal use, the smoking of ganja in private places and the use of ganja for medical-medicinal purposes," Justice Minister, Mark Golding. (See also: Decriminalisation of ganja could cause more health problems, MAJ warns and Gov't should reconsider ganja cultivation laws - Dr Lowe)

  • How neuroscience reinforces racist drug policy

    The seemingly objective science of neuroimaging can be used to justify a moral argument for or against legal marijuana
    Nathan Greenslit
    The Atlantic (US)
    Thursday, June 12, 2014

    A recent neuroscience study from Harvard Medical School claims to have discovered brain differences between people who smoke marijuana and people who do not. Such well-intentioned and seemingly objective science is actually a new chapter in a politicized and bigoted history of drug science in the United States. Different-looking brains tell us literally nothing about who these people are, what their lives are like, why they do or do not use marijuana, or what effects marijuana has had on them.

  • West Africa should decriminalise drugs - Obasanjo commission

    Low-level drug offences should be decriminalised in West Africa, according to a high-level report
    BBC News (UK)
    Thursday, June 12, 2014

    The West Africa Commission on Drugs says drug cartels are undermining the region by using it to transit cocaine. The commission, headed by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, says the cartels should be tackled but that punishing the personal use of drugs does not work. It argues that current policies incite corruption and provoke violence. Drug trafficking and consumption have become major issues in West Africa since the turn of the century. (See also: West Africa needs to look at partially decriminalising drugs, says thinktank)

  • Cabinet approves proposal to decriminalise small amounts of ganja

    The Gleaner (Jamaica)
    Thursday, June 12, 2014

    The Jamaican government has approved proposed amendments to the law that will decriminalise the possession of small amounts of ganja. Justice Minister Mark Golding says the government will soon table a bill in Parliament that will seek to expunge the criminal records of persons convicted for possession of small amounts of ganja. Speaking at a Jamaica House press conference a short while ago, Golding said Cabinet has approved proposed changes to the Dangerous Drugs Act to make possession of up to two ounces (57 grams) or less a non-arrestable offence. (See also: Jamaica government announces major changes to drug laws)

  • First cannabis club shut down in Catalonia for drug trafficking

    Authorities are keeping a closer eye on member-only associations that claim to be not-for-profit
    El País (Spain)
    Wednesday, June 11, 2014

    Growing numbers of visitors are purchasing a few grams of marijuana while on holiday in Barcelona, a city that is already being described as the "Holland of the South." All one needs to do is become a member of a cannabis club, many of which advertise on the internet, and place an order by phone or online. But for the first time in the Catalan capital, a judge has ordered a club closure on the grounds that it was engaging in drug trafficking.

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