Drugs in the news

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • The injustice of marijuana arrests

    The New York Times (US)
    Monday, July 28, 2014

    America’s four-decade war on drugs is responsible for many casualties, but the criminalization of marijuana has been perhaps the most destructive part of that war. The toll can be measured in dollars — billions of which are thrown away each year in the aggressive enforcement of pointless laws. It can be measured in years — whether wasted behind bars or stolen from a child who grows up fatherless. And it can be measured in lives — those damaged if not destroyed by the shockingly harsh consequences that can follow even the most minor offenses.

  • Denmark to look at decriminalising drugs

    The WHO's surprising recommendation to decriminalise personal drug use has MPs planning to reevaluate Denmark's national drug policies
    The Local (Denmark)
    Sunday, July 27, 2014

    denmark-flag-cannabisThe World Health Organization’s (WHO) call for the decriminalisation of drugs will be taken up by Danish politicians in the autumn. In the WHO report, which focused on international HIV prevention, the UN agency encourages countries to stop criminalising the use of drugs. “Countries should work toward developing policies and laws that decriminalise injection and other use of drugs and, thereby, reduce incarceration,” the report read. (See also: Liberal Alliance: Legalise all drug possession)

  • Repeal Prohibition, Again

    The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana
    Editorial
    The New York Times (US)
    Sunday, July 27, 2014

    It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol. The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana. (See also: Why the New York Times editorial series calling for marijuana legalization is such a big deal and Evolving on Marijuana)

  • The Guardian view on overdue overhauling of US and global drug laws

    Until Washington DC rewrites its own failed statutes, liberalisation in the states – and the rest of the world – is not going to be secure
    Editorial
    The Guardian (UK)
    Sunday, July 27, 2014

    obama-changeThe war on drugs has been a losing fight for 40 years. The response to unending failure has always been to demand more law enforcement and more prison cells. America led the world to sign up to successive UN protocols and conventions, which reforming countries like Uruguay now find themselves running up against. It seems absurd when states within the US itself are conducting similar legal experiments. Neither federal laws nor UN conventions of the old prohibitionist order can stand in logic any longer. (See also NYT editorial: Repeal Prohibition, Again)

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The Rise and Decline of Cannabis Prohibtion

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The History of Cannabis in the UN Drug Control System and Options For Reform

The question facing the international community today is no longer whether or not there is a need to reassess and modernize the UN drug control system, but rather when and how to do it.

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