Drugs in the news

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  • U.S. secretly tracked billions of calls for decades

    The DEA used its data collection extensively and in ways that the NSA is now prohibited from doing
    USA Today (US)
    Wednesday, April 8, 2015

    For more than two decades, the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed logs of virtually all telephone calls from the USA to as many as 116 countries linked to drug trafficking. The Justice Department revealed in January that the DEA had collected data about calls to "designated foreign countries." The now-discontinued operation, carried out by the DEA's intelligence arm, was the government's first known effort to gather data on Americans in bulk, sweeping up records of telephone calls made by millions of U.S. citizens regardless of whether they were suspected of a crime.

  • Chile opens debate on marijuana bill

    The bill now moves to the full Chamber of Deputies before passing to the Senate, a legislative process that could take years
    Agence France Presse (AFP)
    Tuesday, April 7, 2015

    Chile's congressional health committee approved a bill that would legalize the cultivation of marijuana for private recreational or medicinal use, sending it to the floor for a full debate. The bill would take marijuana off the list of hard drugs and make it a soft drug like alcohol. It would allow people over the age of 18 to grow up to six cannabis plants for their own use, or for use by minors if they use the substance as part of a prescribed treatment. But it would maintain the country's ban on using marijuana in public and limit the amount a person can possess to 10 grams.

  • Canadian company to tap into Jamaica for medicinal cannabis supply

    The Gleaner (Jamaica)
    Saturday, April 4, 2015

    A Canadian company is seeking to tap into the Jamaican market for the supply of dried marijuana to the medicinal marijuana industry in Canada. Marketing director of FLOR, Raymond Grant, (the local agent for the company), said that 80 per cent of the shares of the company are owned by Jamaicans living in Canada who are ready to invest in Jamaica. Grant has been meeting with local farmers and laying the groundwork for the development of a supply industry in Jamaica.

  • Kratom criminalisation successfully shelved in Malaysia

    Medicinal value and harms of criminalization were the key reasons for opposition of the amendment
    Thursday, April 2, 2015

    The increasingly widespread use of ketum (or kratom) in Malaysia earlier this year prompted the Ministry of Home Affairs to lead a push to schedule it in the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952. On April 1, the amendment to the DDA was shelved. Opposition MP Wong Chen wrote a Facebook post detailing reasons for opposition to the amendment, including: usage as traditional medication, lack of socioeconomic considerations, and the need for evidence-based rehabilitation. He also emphasized that the country should be moving towards decriminalization of drugs.

  • Cannabis for schizophrenia - A new medication?

    Deutsche Welle (Germany)
    Thursday, April 2, 2015

    Cannabidiol, which is an active substance in cannabis, helps relieve the symptoms of schizophrenia by helping to normalize brain metabolism. Schizophrenia is a severe and disabling brain disorder. Professor Markus Leweke, a medical doctor at the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany, describes the potential benefits of medical cannabis and pharmacological treatments for neuropsychiatric disorders, with a focus on cannabinoids.

  • This is what's actually in your ecstasy

    A new breed of super-strong ecstasy has accompanied this peak in quality
    Vice (UK)
    Wednesday, April 1, 2015

    The latest data on ecstasy – taken from pills seized by police in England and Wales between July and October of last year – reveals that the average pinger contains 108mg of MDMA, making them the strongest they've ever been in the UK. For context, "back in the day" – i.e. during the Second Summer of Love, as rave took off here in the late-80s and early-90s – most pills were around the 80mg mark. Which is close to what's seen by ecstasy researchers as the "acceptable" dose (70-75mg) for an average-sized adult during one drug-taking session.

  • An injecting room worked for heroin. Let's have one to help beat ice

    To tackle ice, Australia needs brave leaders who understand that there will always be people who take meth
    The Guardian (UK)
    Tuesday, March 31, 2015

    In its report on the methamphetamine market, the Australian Crime Commission identified ice as the illicit drug posing the highest risk to Australia. Perhaps it’s time to establish a safe place for ice users along the lines of the heroin injecting centre: a place where users can be monitored, where adverse physical and mental reactions to the drug can be professionally dealt with. This could, like the injecting centre, become a place where users develop a trust relationship with staff and are eventually amenable to referral into treatment. (See also: Australia's drug policy led the world 30 years ago. Now politics holds us back)

  • Governor General gives assent, 'Ganja law' now in effect

    The Act also makes special provisions for people of the Rastafarian Faith and visitors to the island who intend to use medical marijuana
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Tuesday, March 31, 2015

    Governor General Sir Patrick Allen has given his assent to the Bill amending the Dangerous Drugs Act, making possession of two or less ounces of ganja a ticketable offence. The House passed the Bill on February 24, 2015, following which it was expected to be signed into law about a week later. During the month-long wait, there was speculation among some ganja advocates that GG Allen, a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist faith, might have been having difficulties giving his assent to the amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act. The Ministry of Justice has prepared a fact sheet on the Act.

  • Labour's 'appalling gutter politics' on drugs

    Labour now prioritises crude electioneering over reforming drug policy to save lives
    New Statesman (UK)
    Tuesday, March 31, 2015

    Campaigners for a more evidence-based drug policy are horrified. "It’s a classic and appalling example of gutter politics,” says Martin Jelsma, Director of the drugs policy programme of the Transnational Institute. “Accusing the Lib Dems of being ‘soft on drugs and thugs’ is a cheap populist slogan that tries to hide the Labour Party's own co-responsibility for destroying the future of thousands of people by giving them a criminal record for no good reason at all."

  • Marijuana cultivation in California is sucking streams dry, says new report

    The drought-stricken state is facing further water shortages due to unregulated marijuana farms
    The Guardian (UK)
    Saturday, March 28, 2015

    With its dense forests, foggy climate and rugged coastline, California’s Humboldt County has long been synonymous with its biggest cash crop: marijuana. Cannabis has thrived here — both before and since the state legalized it for medical purposes in 1996. The industry has been booming in the last few years, and with little regulation it has had a huge impact on the environment. A report, published by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, quantifies some of that impact for the first time. (See also: Is pot causing the California drought?)

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