Drugs in the news

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  • Tax revenues from legal pot could reach $5-billion a year: economist

    Oft-touted law-enforcement savings from pot legalization may not materialize due to ongoing international obligations
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Thursday, January 28, 2016

    canada-marijuana-thumbA new report from CIBC World Markets says Canada’s federal and provincial governments could reap as much as $5-billion annually in tax revenues from the sale of legal marijuana. CIBC economist Avery Shenfeld crunched the numbers using current estimates of Canadian recreational pot consumption, the revenue experience in U.S. states that have legalized and other factors – such as prevailing “sin tax” rates on alcohol and tobacco.

  • Medical cannabis market shows growing pains

    In Europe there are 100 percent mark-ups which put it out of reach of even affluent populations
    Radio Prague (Czech Republic)
    Wednesday, January 27, 2016

    The Czech Republic took a bold step back in 2013 when lawmakers agreed to legalise the sale of medicinal cannabis or marihuana. But the development of this market, which can conceivably challenge that of the established pharmaceutical companies across a wide range of pain killers and treatments, is showing some local and global growing pains. (See also: Czech grown medicinal cannabis to be delivered in February)

  • 14,000 fewer persons arrested on ganja charges since changes to law

    After the government enacted changes to the Dangerous Drug Act which decriminalised possession of small quantities of marijuana
    The Gleaner (Jamaica)
    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

    peter-buntingNational Security Minister Peter Bunting says the police have arrested 14,000 fewer persons for possession of marijuana. The announcement comes months after the government enacted changes to the Dangerous Drug Act which decriminalised possession of small quantities of marijuana. Before the changes, persons criminalised for ganja possession could not get a United States visa, for example, or get a job. Since the amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act "hundreds of thousands" of persons have had their criminal records expunged.

  • Opium poppy farmers reject crop ban, war on drugs

    Participants expressed support for efforts to end wars in Myanmar and Colombia but called for a more inclusive peace process
    Myanmar Times (Burma)
    Monday, January 25, 2015

    Opium poppy farmers from Myanmar attending an international conference on “prohibited plants” have rejected a ban on growing their crops and urged an end to forced eradication. “We reject prohibition and the war on drugs,” small-scale farmers from 14 countries, including Myanmar, said in a joint statement at the end of a Global Forum of Prohibited Plant Producers held in Heemskerk, the Netherlands, that was organised by advocacy group Transnational Institute (TNI).

  • Key lawmaker urges Mexico to legalize marijuana

    The statement was shared in front of legislative body as they started a month-long discussion on the drug war
    The Lawyer Herald (US)
    Monday, January 25, 2016

    The President of Chamber of Deputies Jesus Zambrano said that Mexico should move ahead with entirely permitting marijuana usage. Mexico should follow the example of Colombia and Italy in pursuing policies to weaken organized drug syndicates. Narcotics traffickers are more equipped with weapons than the national army thus border control should be one of the main concerns to limit the traffic of arms. Inequality and poverty are also central to any policy addressing gang violence. (See also: Mexico opens landmark debate on marijuana laws)

  • A war on drugs? We'd be better off paying for a war on hunger

    Deforestation, limiting access to pain relief, forcing farmers into poverty: we need to wake up to the fact that prohibiting drugs causes more harm than good
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, January 21, 2016

    coca-peru2Global drug control policies, much like tax or climate change, impact heavily on many areas of development and inevitably on efforts to meet many of the sustainable development goals that were launched by the UN last year and came into force on 1 January. Since the mid-20th century, global drug policy has been dominated by strict prohibition and the criminalisation of drug cultivation, production, trade, possession and use, with the intention of creating a drug-free world.

  • Scientists have found that smoking weed does not make you stupid after all

    No evidence that adolescent marijuana use leads to a decline in intelligence
    The Washington Post (US)
    Monday, January 18, 2016

    A 2012 Duke University study found that persistent, heavy marijuana use through adolescence and young adulthood was associated with declines in IQ. Other researchers have since criticized that study's methods. A follow-up study found that the original research failed to account for a number of confounding factors, such as cigarette and alcohol use, mental illness and socioeconomic status. Two new reports tackle the relationship between marijuana use and intelligence from two very different angles: One examines the life trajectories of 2,235 British teenagers between ages 8 and 16, and the other looks at the differences between American identical twin pairs in which one twin uses marijuana and the other does not.

  • Who exactly is behind the lawsuits over Colorado's legal marijuana?

    Out-of-state anti-drug crusaders are taking Colorado marijuana to court. Is it their last chance to stop pot before other states vote on retail cannabis?
    The Denver Post (US)
    Sunday, January 17, 2016

    Three of the four marijuana-centered lawsuits filed against Colorado officials and businesses were organized and at least partially funded by out-of-state anti-drug organizations and socially conservative law firms. Only one lawsuit, filed by the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma, appears to be entirely homegrown. For those who oppose Colorado's marijuana laws, the out-of-state money offers a chance to fight back against what they characterize as a well-heeled marijuana lobby that changed public opinion with misleading messages.

  • Does cannabis really lower your IQ?

    Recent research has shown that differences other than cannabis use might be causing the much-discussed disparities in cognitive function
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, January 14, 2016

    Whether or not using cannabis can lead to cognitive impairment is a hot topic of research and public interest. Given the extensive media attention to findings that suggest detrimental effects of cannabis on cognition, brain function and mental health, you would be forgiven for thinking smoking a spliff was akin to repeatedly bashing yourself over the head with a giant bong. However, since much of the work to date is cross-sectional (that is, measurements are taken only at one time in a person’s life), we cannot know whether cannabis users would have performed any differently before they started using cannabis.

  • HSBC fights to stop money-laundering report going public

    Bank fined £1.32bn in 2012 argues that legal attempt to release government report would help criminals bypass safeguards
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, January 14, 2016

    hsbc-money-launderingHSBC is trying to prevent publication of a report on how it complies with money-laundering rules imposed on it by the US authorities in 2012, when it was fined a record $1.9bn. The bank is arguing in US courts that it could be left vulnerable to money laundering if the report is published. Under the terms of a deferred prosecution agreement with US authorities, made when it was fined for aiding money laundering by Mexican drug cartels, HSBC must be subjected to regular audits about its internal capacity to seek out potentially suspect activity by customers. (See also: Drug smuggling is HSBC’s raison d’etre)

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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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