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  • Colombian president: persisting with prohibitionist drug policies is 'insane'

    Juan Manuel Santos expressed dismay at UN decision to continue supporting criminalisation of drug use: ‘The old way of doing things is the wrong way’
    The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday, April 20, 2016

    Colombia’s president, Juan Manuel Santos, has said it is "insane" to keep approaching the global narcotics problem with the same failed policies of the past and called on drug war hawks to understand that "the old way of doing things is the wrong way". Speaking after a United Nations policy summit voted to maintain its support for prohibitionist drug policies, Santos said: "Let me be clear with them: the prohibitionist approach has been a failure." (See also: As Colombia’s leader, I know we must rethink the drugs war | Diplomacy or denialism? The language that the UNGASS Outcome Document overlooked)

  • Russia's 'cold turkey' approach highlights global divide over drug treatment at UN

    Russian representative suggests methadone and heroin are the ‘same narcotic drug’ as outside experts condemn country’s take on treatment
    The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday, April 20, 2016

    As international leaders debated global drug law at the United Nations, a bizarre panel on heroin treatment showed just how divided countries are over how to treat addicts. The panel, sponsored by the Russian Federation, began with an international group of scientists and diplomats explaining the importance of evidence-based drug treatment, before a Russian doctor veered into addiction science denialism. "We prefer to treat people in a drug-free setting," Dr Oxana Guseva, a medical representative of the Russian Federation, told the Guardian afterward, "because methadone is the same narcotic drug as heroin." (See also: Russia, science, and the global war on drugs)

  • Weed and the UN: Why international drug laws won't stop legalization

    Cannabis is clearly the elephant in the room at UNGASS
    Vice (US)
    Wednesday, April 20, 2016

    cannabis-treatiesUnder the outcome document for UNGASS that was drafted by diplomats in Vienna and formally adopted at UN headquarters in New York, weed still remains strictly banned by the treaties that govern international law. The intransigence is a real problem that threatens to undermine the legitimacy of all types of international treaties. John Walsh, the senior associate for drug policy at the Washington Institute on Latin America (WOLA), is hosting one of two weed-focused "side events" scheduled at the UN. "Cannabis is clearly the elephant in the room at UNGASS," Walsh said. "It's there, it's huge, but no one wants to talk about it."

  • To win the war on drugs, stop brutalising farmers who grow them

    Reform of drug policy is essential to protect the rights of cultivating communities, and ensure they make a living from their land
    Pien Metaal
    The Guardian (UK)
    Tuesday, April 19, 2016

    manual-eradication_copyReform of international drug control is urgently needed. The war on drugs has left a trail of suffering and criminality in its wake and has manifestly failed to achieve its objectives. The UN special session of the general assembly (UNGASS) presents an opportunity. Many reformers put drug users at the centre of changes to international drug policies, but the people growing the plants producing the substances they consume are often overlooked. Farmers’ livelihoods and communities are inherently linked to reform of international drug policies. For hundreds of thousands of farmers’ families, existing crop control laws and practices cause conflict and poverty. (See: Contributions of grower representatives at UNGASS)

  • UN backs prohibitionist drug policies despite call for more 'humane solution'

    Plan adopted at special session focuses on reform and cooperation between nations but maintains policies that criminalise non-medical or scientific drug use
    The Guardian (UK)
    Tuesday, April 19, 2016

    The 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) has approved an agreement that leaves in place the prohibitionist policies banning narcotics use, despite growing international discontent with the "war on drugs" – and the concerns of the nations that called the meeting. "So far, the solutions [to control drugs and crime] implemented by the international community have been frankly insufficient," Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto told the meeting. Within the General Assembly, the rift between countries interested in drug policy reform and those with repressive drug control regimes was evident.

  • Trouble in Europe's pot paradise

    A bloody gang war is raging in Amsterdam
    Vice (Netherlands)
    Tuesday, April 19, 2016

    Though the Dutch have struck a compromise with international treaties that shows great results for reducing harm for drug users, the approach has largely shielded problems with drug crime in the Netherlands from public view. All common illegal drugs are officially forbidden, but penalties for the possession are non-existent to low, depending on the substance and the amount in question. In reality, there are different gradations to the decriminalization of various substances, as well as a number of contradictory policies. Amsterdam's coffee shops are a notorious example. They dispense cannabis to locals and tourists alike, though the drug is illegal to produce, possess, and sell.

  • Swiss health minister open to cannabis distribution trials

    Health Minister Berset has welcomed the possibility of organised trials for cannabis in Switzerland, within the parameters of existing laws
    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Sunday, April 17, 2016

    In an interview with the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper, Berset said that his department welcomes trying out "new models and directions" such as controlled cannabis trials, as long as the necessary special permits are sought. When asked whether such trials would open a back door for legalisation of the substance, Berset answered with a clear "no". "The Swiss people voted down a legalisation initiative in 2008, but they also accepted the new drug law, which allows for special permits for medical treatments or research projects." (See also: Kann die Cannabisabgabe funktionieren?)

  • Cannabis: scientists call for action amid mental health concerns

    Warning reflects growing consensus that frequent use of the drug raises the risk of psychotic disorders in vulnerable people
    The Guardian (UK)
    Friday, April 15, 2016

    Global public health campaigns are needed to make clear the risks of heavy cannabis use, particularly for young people who are more susceptible to mental health problems, senior drugs researchers have said. The call for action from scientists in the UK, US, Europe and Australia reflects a growing consensus among experts that frequent cannabis use can increase the risk of psychosis in vulnerable people and lead to a range of other medical and social problems. The researchers are keen not to exaggerate the risks; cannabis alone is neither necessary nor sufficient to cause psychosis.

  • Hazy legality: how legal is Dutch weed really?

    ‘The current system, in which you can sell cannabis but not grow it, is unsustainable’
    DutchNews (The Netherlands)
    Friday, April 15, 2016

    coffeeshop-menuLast November, the local authorities’ association VNG, which represents all 393 Dutch municipalities, issued a report stating that ‘the current situation cannot continue’. ‘By turning a blind eye [to marijuana], the government is giving criminals free rein to sell their products. The cannabis industry is closely entwined with organised crime, which is also involved in ecstasy and human trafficking,’ the report said. The government, however, has consistently refused to consider any form of licensed growing. (See also: Marijuana cuttings soar in price as police crackdown hits growers)

  • Open letter to UN chief calls for global drug policy shift

    The signatories of the letter call for an emphasis on drug use as a health policy issue with the focus on harm reduction
    Associated Press (US)
    Thursday, April 14, 2016

    ungass2016_nyAn open letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon signed by more than 1,000 people, including financier Warren Buffett, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and rock star Sting, says the war on drugs has failed and calls for a shift in global drug policy from emphasizing criminalization and punishment to health and human rights. The letter signed by former presidents of Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Switzerland and others, was made public Thursday in advance of a United Nations special session on the topic beginning April 19. It was released by the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance.

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Cannabis social clubs in Spain

Cannabis social clubs are noncommercial organisations of users who cultivate and distribute enough cannabis to meet their personal needs without having to turn to the black market.




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In 2011 the 1961 UN Single Convention on drugs will be in place for 50 years. In 2012 the international drug control system will exist 100 years since the International Opium Convention was signed in 1912 in The Hague. Does it still serve its purpose or is a reform of the UN Drug Conventions needed? This site provides critical background.

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