Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • New drug guidelines are Europe's most liberal

    Czech rules on narcotics possession designed to aid law enforcement
    The Prague Post (Czech Republic)
    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    pargue-marijuana-marchLong known for a liberal policy on drugs, the Czech Republic is now officially quantifying its status as one of European Union's most lenient member states when it comes to decriminalizing drug possession. But these new guidelines come among signs that the rest of Czech drug policy is not keeping pace with other EU members and contradicts law enforcement tactics being utilized to tackle alcohol abuse.

  • Council may enter drug trade

    City supports draft model to offer small quantities of cannabis to residents at current street prices
    The Copenhagen Post (Denmark)
    Thursday, September 24, 2009

    hash-smokingA City Council majority is backing a plan to legalise the sale of cannabis, which could see two thirds of the market taken away from criminal gangs. A memorandum drawn up by council staff, is proposing that state-licensed shops sell the drug in small quantities at 50 kroner per gram – similar to the current street price.

  • Marijuana's journey to legal health treatment

    The Canadian experience
    CBC News (Canada)
    Monday, August 17, 2009

    med-marijuana-health-canadaIn 2001, Canada became the first country to adopt a formal system to regulate the medicinal use of marijuana — the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations. The policy allowed people suffering from terminal illnesses or severe conditions such as epilepsy, AIDS, multiple sclerosis and cancer to use the drug if it eased their symptoms. Some people would be able to grow marijuana themselves under strict guidelines.

  • Too many in jail for drugs offenses in Brazil

    Marina Lemle
    Comunidad segura
    August 13, 2009

    The Ministry of Justice in Brazil announced the results of research that show that there are too many people behind bars in Brazil for drug trafficking. The Ministry subsequently recommended a review of drug legislation in light of the data and in support of human rights, seems to indicate that things are changing, or at least that change is in the air for drug policy in the nation. The study was a joint project of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, UFRJ, and the University of Brasília UnB, coordinated by Luciana Boiteux.

  • Setting sights on future of drug policy

    Comunidad segura
    August 5, 2009

    Participants of the Seminar "Drugs Policies: Progresses and Retrocessions", held in Rio de Janeiro by Viva Rio and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, recommend drug policy based on respect for human rights, developed from a public health perspective, that favors scientific research and includes strategies to prevent drug addiction. Luciana Boiteux underlined the disparity that exists between the depenalization of drug use and the increased penalization of selling drugs that resulted from the 2006 Law on Drugs.

  • City trying to ‘hash out’ pot issue

    Decriminalisation of cannabis has moved from public to political debate following the release of a city committee report
    The Copenhagen Post (Denmark)
    Tuesday, July 7, 2009

    A new Social Affairs Committee report on cannabis has recommended that the City Council seriously consider decriminalisation of the substance’s as being a means to curbing gang violence. The Social Liberals, Red-Green Alliance and Socialist People’s Party (SF) at City Hall have all backed the legal sale of cannabis in small quantities for personal use for some time. And in February, the committee was given the green light to review the matter when the council’s largest party, the Social Democrats, gave their support to looking into the issue.

  • Committee wants coffee shops to cater to locals only

    NRC Handelsblad (Netherlands)
    Thursday, July 2, 2009

    Limit the sale of cannabis to local users, reconsider the distinction between hard and soft drugs, raise the legal age for drinking alcohol from 16 to 18 and appoint a drug czar to overlook policies. These are the most striking recommendations published on Thursday by a committee chaired by Christian democrat Wim van de Donk. The Dutch government had asked the committee to lay the groundwork for a new memorandum on Dutch drug policies to be drafted this fall.

  • Mixed reviews for ‘community policing’ in slums

    May 22, 2009

    The police, who used to shoot first and ask questions later in Santa Marta, a Rio de Janeiro shantytown, are now getting on well with the local community – the result of a state government plan that nevertheless has drawn criticism. Out of long habit, many local residents in the Santa Marta "favela" do not dare talk openly about the police who have been permanently posted in their neighbourhood for the past six months, as part of what the Rio de Janeiro state government describes as a plan to "pacify" the slums.

  • 5 Years After: Portugal's Drug Decriminalization Policy Shows Positive Results

    Street drug-related deaths from overdoses drop and the rate of HIV cases crashes
    Brian Vastag
    Scientific American
    Tuesday, April 7, 2009

    In the face of a growing number of deaths and cases of HIV linked to drug abuse, the Portuguese government in 2001 tried a new tack to get a handle on the problem—it decriminalized the use and possession of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, LSD and other illicit street drugs. The theory: focusing on treatment and prevention instead of jailing users would decrease the number of deaths and infections.

  • Coffee shop trial is test for Dutch drugs policy

    NRC Handelsblad (The Netherlands)
    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    The owner and several employees of the biggest coffee shop in the Netherlands are being prosecuted for membership of a criminal organisation. The outcome of the trial can have a huge impact on soft drugs policy in the Netherlands. If Meddy Willemsen, the owner of the mega coffee shop Checkpoint in Terneuzen, is convicted of encouraging illegal cannabis cultivation and running an organised supply chain, more proprietors of coffee shops could face prosecution as gang leaders. (See also: Owner of massive cannabis café cleared of most charges on appeal)

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