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  • While waiting to legalize pot, why not decriminalize it in the meantime?

    Ottawa could well bring in an interim regime involving decriminalization
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Wednesday, April 19, 2017

    The Trudeau government has put itself and many Canadians in a bind with the announcement that it will legalize marijuana by July of next year. Canada has made it clear that the war on this particular drug is over – a decision based on pot’s popularity and ready availability in this country, and in the knowledge that criminalizing its sale and possession for personal use is more harmful, on balance, than allowing its consumption in a tightly regulated market. But on the other hand, Canada intends to continue in the interim to make it a crime to have pot in your possession, except for medical reasons. (See also: Justin Trudeau: father's influence made my brother's marijuana charge 'go away' | Marijuana decriminalization: Why is Trudeau creating legal limbo?)

  • Decriminalisation of all drugs for personal use considered

    Growing calls in recent years for the decriminalisation of drugs for personal use
    The Irish Times (Ireland)
    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    The decriminalisation of all drugs, including heroin, cocaine and cannabis, for personal use is one of the policy options outlined in the forthcoming National Drug Strategy. Minister of State for Drugs Catherine Byrne will publish the strategy – which will govern all drugs policy from now until 2020 – before the summer. It proposes a group be established to “consider the approaches taken in other jurisdictions to the possession of small quantities of drugs for personal use”. There have been growing calls in recent years, including from Ms Byrne’s predecessor Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, for the decriminalisation of drugs for personal use.

  • Officers rue the return of US 'war on drugs'

    Dealing long sentences to low-level users and distributors damaged community relations and made life tough for frontline police
    BBC News (UK)
    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    jeff sessions2Attorney General Jeff Sessions likes to reminisce about the aggressive law enforcement of the 80s and 90s and recently labelled cannabis "only slightly less awful" than heroin. Mr Sessions sent out his own memo last month to prosecutors, instructing them to use "every tool we have", including targeting drug users, in a new crackdown on violent crime. But many of those who fought and studied the first war on drugs say it was a proven failure. A 2013 study published in the British Medical Journal found that since 1990 US drug prices nationwide had fallen while purity increased. And a 2012 study by the University of Florida found that the threat of severe punishment was "generally weak and insignificant" at deterring drug crime or lowering addiction rates.

  • Police describe kill rewards, staged crime scenes in Duterte's drug war

    'Only the poor are dying'
    Reuters (UK)
    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    The Philippine police have received cash payments for executing drug suspects, planted evidence at crime scenes and carried out most of the killings they have long blamed on vigilantes, said two senior officers who are critical of President Rodrigo Duterte's "war on drugs." In the most detailed insider accounts yet of the drug war's secret mechanics, the two senior officials challenged the government's explanations of the killings in interviews with Reuters. Almost 9,000 people, many small-time users and dealers, have been killed since Duterte took office on June 30. (See also: Lacson urges PNP, PDEA to change drug war tactics | The Philippines’ Duterte incites vigilante violence)

  • Are police too skint to control Britain's weed growing industry?

    In some parts of the country police are seizing as little as one tenth of the plants they were confiscating six years ago
    Vice (UK)
    Monday, April 17, 2017

    Six years ago police were busting more than 20 cannabis farms a day. Local newspapers were filled with images of officers wading through illegal grows in urban lofts, warehouses and abandoned banks and churches. Police were seizing so many plants they had to burn them in skips because they had no room to store them. But now, despite high profile cannabis farm busts this year inside a nuclear bunker in Wiltshire and a mansion metres from Buckingham Palace, evidence is emerging that the police's assault on Britain's cannabis cultivation industry is fizzling out.

  • Always look on the bright side of legalization

    While it's by no means perfect, it's a great start
    Lift (Canada)
    Monday, April 17, 2017

    I have to say, I’ve been pretty dismayed with the overall response to Bill C-45. While I wasn’t expecting spontaneous mobs of joyous people cheering in the streets, I was anticipating some appreciation for the fact that this campaign promise had actually materialized into a history-making bill. I obviously knew that the die-hard activists would be all over it, but I have been surprised to see the number of scathing opinion pieces that have made their way into publications from journalists, academics and others who didn’t seem to have much of an opinion at all before last Thursday. (See also: Why critics are saying Justin Trudeau’s weed bill is a continuation of the War on Drugs)

  • Legalization plan doesn’t include amnesty for past marijuana-convictions: Liberals

    The NDP has called on the government to immediately decriminalize simple possession
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Monday, April 17, 2017

    The federal plan to legalize recreational marijuana does not include the general amnesty for past pot convictions some would like to see, says Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale. Newly tabled legislation would allow people 18 and older to publicly possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis, or its equivalent in non-dried form. But the Trudeau government is not considering a blanket pardon for people with criminal records for possessing small amounts of the drug, Goodale said in an interview. The government has also made it clear that the move to legalization by mid-2018 doesn’t mean lax law enforcement during the transition period. (See also: Marijuana legalization: What was Justin Trudeau smoking?)

  • Ottawa doctor pioneers use of cannabis to help opioid addicts

    Activists in the cannabis community go further, often referring to marijuana as an “exit drug”
    Ottawa Citizen (Canada)
    Sunday, April 16, 2017

    Mark UjjainwallaThe patients at Dr. Mark Ujjainwalla’s methadone clinic are trying to beat their addiction to heroin, narcotic painkillers and other opioid drugs, but most of them still smoke pot. He estimates that 90 per cent of his patients at the Recovery Ottawa clinic on Montreal Road already use marijuana, and he’s begun writing prescriptions so they can buy it legally. Medical marijuana, used appropriately, can reduce insomnia, anxiety and cravings for opioids, says Ujjainwalla. Marijuana cannot replace methadone or suboxone, the drugs he uses to treat addicts, he says. But in some cases patients on marijuana can reduce their dose of methadone, he says. “They see (marijuana) as positive, and I agree with them.”

  • With Spice, politicians are sleepwalking into another “war on drugs” disaster

    Legalisation and regulation is far safer both for users and for wider society
    I News (UK)
    Sunday, April 16 2017

    Reefer madness is back. Only this time, it has been rebranded. Now it is Spice Nightmare that is stalking the UK, as a sinister new drug turns poor and homeless people into zombies who stumble along streets with arms outstretched or slump upright like mannequins. Experts warn of an epidemic, police officers struggle to cope and emergency services are becoming overwhelmed. Pictures of tragic users acting like cinematic undead in busy urban areas are the perfect clickbait story. Predictably, there are instant knee-jerk calls from crass politicians to reclassify this evil drug and ramp up penalties for use. (See also: Spice is a terrifying drug, but panic won’t make it go away)

  • Get high on own supply?

    Small farmers' profits might dip after prohibition laws were amended
    Weekend Argus (South Africa)
    Saturday, April 15, 2017

    For years much of South Africa’s dagga has been grown on the green rolling hills of the east coast, often as what economist Vladislav Lakcevic calls “garbage crops” – small plantings to supplement impoverished peasant farmers’ incomes. But last month’s High Court ruling effectively legalising growth and use of dagga at home might hit the pockets of subsistence farmers in some of the poorest parts of southern Africa. The High Court ruled last month that laws prohibiting household use of dagga were unconstitutional. Thousands of people suddenly growing weed in their gardens rather than buying it on street corners could affect dagga farmers, said Jeremy Acton, president of the Dagga Party of South African. (See also: Growing the green)

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