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  • Marijuana crime: Are police turning 'a blind eye' to pot charges?

    'It's kind of the new vagrancy charge,' criminologist says
    CBC News (Canada)
    Tuesday, August 12, 2014

    canada-pot-flagIn Canada there appears to be "just a lack of enthusiasm on the part of police" to enforce possession laws. "There's a huge amount of discretion. It's kind of the new vagrancy charge, really," said Neil Boyd, professor and director of Simon Fraser University's school of criminology. A phone survey conducted by Ipsos Reid between Jan. 30 and Feb. 7, 2014, suggested that 70 per cent of 3,000 Canadians polled want to see pot possession either legalized or decriminalized.

  • Nonsense to arrest for a spliff

    Editorial
    The Gleaner (Jamaica)
    Monday, August 11, 2014

    The attorney general, Patrick Atkinson, must move with dispatch to determine, as the justice minister, Mark Golding, suggests, whether the police can proceed by issuing summonses to, rather than arresting, persons who are to be prosecuted for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The idea makes sense in the face of the Government's declared policy to decriminalise ganja use, but has added urgency following last week's death, apparently the result of a severe beating while in a Montego Bay police lock-up, of Mario Deane, who was arrested for a ganja cigarette. (See also: Ganja decision should not be based on votes)

  • It’s time to talk about MDMA

    This isn't another health-class lecture, but a grown up discussion of what's really in those pressed pills and how to make it safer
    The Canadian Press (Canada)
    Monday, August 11, 2014

    ecstasyAnother summer festival season, another slate of tragic overdoses and a few overwrought reactions about the need to ban electronic music parties. “Party drugs” in general have been blamed for the deaths of two at a Toronto music festival and another young person at a B.C. festival. Another six were treated at a Calgary festival for overdoses, though all got help in time. Advocates argue that MDMA, when taken safely and in the right amounts by healthy adults, can be relatively innocuous. It’s time to talk about MDMA’s history, its Canadian connection, and that it might also be time to talk about harm reduction.

  • Ganja growers demand amnesty on weed arrests

    The Gleaner (Jamaica)
    Sunday, August 10, 2014

    Mario DeaneA call has been made for the government to declare an amnesty on all arrests for the possession of under one pound of marijuana. The plea from the Ganja Future Growers Producers Association was made following the death of Mario Deane who was in the custody of the State. Deane was arrested and held at the Barnett Street police station lock-up in western Jamaica for possession of a marijuana spliff. While in custody, he was beaten and died in hospital a few days later.

  • Uruguay delays implementation of legal framework for marijuana sale

    Home-growth is on the rise in anticipation of new distribution methods being put in place
    El País (Spain)
    Thursday, August 7, 2014

    In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize the production and sale of marijuana. But this pioneering decision is presenting a number of challenges when it comes to implementation. The new law states that cannabis can be grown at home, acquired with a prescription at a pharmacy for registered users, or bought through cannabis clubs. While marijuana production is on the rise, the government has yet to put any of these legal frameworks in place. Meanwhile, home-growing is on the rise in anticipation of the final measures being introduced.

  • Ecuador set to release minor drug offenders in move away from harsh laws

    2,000 Ecuadorian prisoners could be freed under new code
    InSight Crime
    Wednesday, August 6, 2014

    prisonersAround 2,000 inmates convicted of low-level drug offences could be released in Ecuador under a new criminal code, as countries across the Americas slowly move away from harsh punishments for minor drug crimes. In an interview with El Comerico, Ecuador's chief public defender, Ernesto Pazmiño, said that thousands of people convicted of drug possession, street sales or acting as "mules" (couriers) will have their cases reassessed after the country's new Integrated Penal Code comes into force.

  • What science says about marijuana

    The New York Times (US)
    Wednesday, July 30, 2014

    Federal scientists say that the damage caused by alcohol and tobacco is higher because they are legally available; if marijuana were legally and easily obtainable, they say, the number of people suffering harm would rise. However, a 1995 study for the World Health Organization concluded that even if usage of marijuana increased to the levels of alcohol and tobacco, it would be unlikely to produce public health effects approaching those of alcohol and tobacco in Western societies.

  • Should Germany legalize cannabis?

    The Local (Germany)
    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

    cannabis-germany2In Germany an estimated three million people use marijuana on a regular basis. A recent court ruling allowing "seriously ill" patients to grow their own cannabis has sparked a debate about the benefits of the ban. Although cannabis is still technically illegal in Germany, in most areas police officers turn a blind eye to "small amounts" for personal use, although what is considered "small" varies widely depending on the area of Germany. Some politicians, such as Green Party veteran Hans-Christian Ströbele, have called for an outright end to the ban.

  • The federal marijuana ban is rooted in myth and xenophobia

    The New York Times (US)
    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

    reefer-madnessThe federal law that makes possession of marijuana a crime has its origins in legislation that was passed in an atmosphere of hysteria during the 1930s and that was firmly rooted in prejudices against Mexican immigrants and African-Americans, who were associated with marijuana use at the time. This racially freighted history lives on in current federal policy, which is so driven by myth and propaganda that it is almost impervious to reason.

  • The White House tries, fails to explain why marijuana should remain illegal

    The New York Times (US)
    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

    ondcpNo sooner had the Times published its opening editorials advocating legalization of marijuana than the White House fired back with an unconvincing response on its website. It argued that marijuana should remain illegal because of public health problems “associated” (always a slippery word) with increased marijuana use. Careful readers will immediately see the White House statement for what it is: A pro forma response to a perceived public relations crisis, not a full-fledged review of all the scientific evidence.

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