Drugs in the news

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  • Street opioids are getting deadlier. Overseeing drug use can reduce deaths

    Crackdowns on prescriptions are sending addicts to find a fix in the street. But drugs there are more often being made with rapidly fatal doses of fentanyl
    The Guardian (UK)
    Tuesday, April 26, 2016

    heroin-useAs health officials battle increasing mortality associated with heroin and prescription opioids, an even more dangerous group of street drugs has appeared on the scene. From Seattle to Syracuse, authorities are reporting a spike in overdoses of fentanyl, an opioid 25 to 50 times stronger than heroin; in Canada, four pounds of a drug called W18, which is 100 times stronger than fentanyl, were recently seized. The problem has caught law enforcement officials and politicians off guard. But to anyone who has studied the history of drug policy, it was completely predictable. It’s known as the “iron law of prohibition” or, as activist Richard Cowan, who coined the phrase, put it: “The harder the enforcement, the harder the drugs.”

  • Rethinking the global war on drugs

    World leaders met at the UN in a special session to discuss saner ways to fight the drug trade. They did not get very far toward a shift in approach
    OpEd
    The New York Times (US)
    Monday, April 25, 2016

    The U.S. is in the untenable position of violating the existing treaties — now that four states have legalized the sale of recreational marijuana. The Canadian government announced that it will introduce a bill next spring to decriminalize the sale of marijuana. Mexican leaders announced that their country intends to legalize medical marijuana and loosen restrictions on the amount of drugs people can possess for personal use. These new policies could render the existing drug treaties obsolete. Clearly, those accords need to be updated, heeding the experiences and lessons learned by the nations that have paid the highest price in the drug war.

  • Mexico's president proposes legalising medical marijuana

    Enrique Peña Nieto says laws would stop "criminalising consumption"
    The Guardian (UK)
    Friday, April 22, 2016

    pena-nieto-2016Following his statement at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) in which he called for more prevention, partial decriminalization and a public health approach, Mexico’s president Enrique Peña Nieto has announced plans to introduced laws to legalise medical marijuana and increase the quantity anyone can carry and consume for recreational purposes from five grams to 28 grams. His plan would also free some prisoners convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana. The initiative, which will now go to the senate for debate, signals a shift for Peña Nieto, who says he has never smoked marijuana and has openly opposed its legalisation.

  • The movement to legalize pot gains speed in the Americas

    To have a Mexican president come out publicly in favor of loosening drug laws struck many people as historic
    The Washington Post (US)
    Friday, April 22, 2016

    In the shift toward legalization of marijuana, the Americas have emerged as a leader. This is a remarkable shift for a region that includes some of the world’s leading producers of marijuana, and where the U.S. government has spearheaded a decades-long campaign against cultivation of the substances. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto proposed that Mexican citizens could legally possess up to an ounce of pot. Canada’s health minister stood at a United Nations podium and announced that her country would introduce new federal legislation to make cannabis legal by next year.

  • Global Commission slams UNGASS 2016 outcome that strains the credibility of international law

    By ignoring the available science and examples of best practice on drug policy and harm reduction, the UN will become increasingly irrelevant
    The Influence (US)
    Thursday, April 21, 2016

    At a packed press conference in Manhattan, a formidable panel – including former presidents of Mexico, Colombia and Switzerland, a former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, a former UK deputy prime minister and entrepreneur Richard Branson – declared itself "profoundly disappointed" by the failure of the UNGASS 2016 outcome document to produce substantive change. The nine panelists represented half of the membership of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, a body which unites international leaders to advocate for wide-ranging drug policy reform. (See also: Decriminalize all drugs, business and world leaders tell UN)

  • Jamaica dropped the mic on 4/20 and told the UN to get its act together on weed

    Jamaica is disappointed that the document does not allow countries sufficient flexibility to design our domestic policies to fit national circumstances
    Vice (US)
    Thursday, April 21, 2016

    On 4/20, the unofficial holiday celebrated by marijuana enthusiasts around the world, Jamaica called for the UN to review the status of cannabis, questioning why the drug is still legally considered as dangerous as heroin under international law. Speaking before the UN General Assembly, Jamaican Foreign Minister Kamina Johnson-Smith said that scheduling cannabis as a dangerous drug with no medical use — a status that dates back to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs — is outdated and out of touch.

  • TNI at UNGASS 2016: reports from New York

    Reform-minded states and civil society need to build something better from the ashes of this UNGASS

    ungass2016_nyThe Transnational Institute (TNI) attended the 30th session of the UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem in New York from the 19-21st April 2016. The General Assembl approved an outcome document. Global drug policy could have seen major changes at the UNGASS, but political divisions and entrenched institutional dynamics dampened hopes that it will mark the beginning of the end of the war on drugs. This storify features tweets, blogs and news from the event.

  • Vancouver prescriptions for addicts gain attention as heroin and opioid use rises

    The clinic’s prescription program began as a clinical trial more than a decade ago
    The New York Times (US)
    Thursday, April 21, 2016

    crosstown-clinicVancouver’s Crosstown Clinic, the only medical facility in North America permitted to prescribe heroin at the center of an epidemic raging across the continent, has been successful at keeping addicts out of jail and away from emergency rooms that its supporters are seeking to expand it across Canada. But they have been hindered by a tangle of red tape and a yearslong court battle reflecting a conflict between medicine and politics on how to address drug addiction.

  • Bürgerschaft für liberalere Cannabis-Politik

    Rot-Grün will in Bremen einen Modellversuch starten
    Weser Kurier (Germany)
    Mittwoch, 20. April 2016

    bremen-cannabisBremen will mit einer Bundesratsinitiative die Grundlage schaffen für einen Modellversuch zur kontrollierten Cannabis-Abgabe an Erwachsene. Ein entsprechender Antrag der rot-grünen Regierungskoalition wurde nach einer teils hitzigen Debatte in der Bürgerschaft angenommen. Der Antrag sieht ferner vor, die lokalen Handlungsspielräume auszuschöpfen: Dazu gehört unter anderem dass der Besitz geringer Cannabis-Mengen und der Eigenanbau von wenigen Cannabis-Pflanzen nicht länger verfolgt werden sollen.

  • California’s big chance to set the gold standard for marijuana policy

    AUMA eliminates or reduces most marijuana offenses proactively and retroactively
    The Huffington Post (US)
    Wednesday, April 20, 2016

    Californians will have the opportunity to support the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), based on key lessons and guidance from Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, DC, and Uruguay, and is consequently the most advanced marijuana legalization measure to date. AUMA establishes a clear line between personal use and commercial activity. If you are 21 or older, you can use, share, store, transport up to one ounce of dried flowers (8 grams of concentrate), and you can have up to six plants growing in your home. If you have any more product than that on your person you need to have a license, it’s that simple.

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In 2011 the 1961 UN Single Convention on drugs will be in place for 50 years. In 2012 the international drug control system will exist 100 years since the International Opium Convention was signed in 1912 in The Hague. Does it still serve its purpose or is a reform of the UN Drug Conventions needed? This site provides critical background.

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