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  • Philippines says Hague Tribunal will investigate Duterte over drug war

    The tribunal can take cases only if a country’s own judicial system is unable or unwilling to pursue them
    The New York Times (US)
    Thursday, February 8, 2018

    The International Criminal Court is opening a preliminary investigation into accusations that President Rodrigo Duterte and other Philippine officials committed crimes against humanity in the government’s deadly crackdown on drugs. The inquiry would determine whether there was enough evidence to build a case. But presidential spokesman Roque said that the government’s crackdown, which has left thousands dead since Mr. Duterte took office in June 2016, was a “legitimate police operation,” and that Duterte welcomed The Hague-based tribunal’s decision. In a 77-page complaint filed to the tribunal, Filipino lawyer Jude Josue Sabio accused Duterte and other officials of mass murder and crimes against humanity. (See also: Int'l Criminal Court takes 1st step in probe into Duterte drug war)

  • Tensions flare in Senate over marijuana-legalization bill

    Conservative senators seem intent on using procedural tricks to drag out the debate and irk the Liberal government
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Thursday, February 8, 2018

    Independent Senator Tony Dean, who is shepherding the federal bill to legalize cannabis through the Senate, is growing impatient with the slow pace of debate, alleging the Conservative are holding up the process for partisan purposes. He said there is an increasing likelihood the government would use time allocation – also known as closure – at some point to speed up the legislative process. The Trudeau government has yet to impose time allocation in the Senate since taking office, but it is seen as a growing possibility in this case. Bill C-45 is currently stuck at second reading in the Senate, with no timetable for its referral to committee for in-depth review. (See also: Trudeau government should push pot bill through Senate)

  • Why states should limit the potency of marijuana

    Government can and should place limits on marijuana’s strength just as it does other addictive products
    The Washington Post (US)
    Wednesday, February 7, 2018

    smokingMarijuana legalization states have taken no steps to limit the potency of marijuana, which has increased sharply in recent years. A new study suggests this could create public health problems down the road as more users become addicted or otherwise impaired. The study was conducted in the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available through “coffee shops.” The researchers examined the level of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main intoxicant in marijuana, over a 16-year period. The researchers estimated that for every 3 percent increase in THC, roughly one more person per 100,000 in the population would seek marijuana use disorder treatment for the first time. (See also: Stronger cannabis linked to rise in demand for drug treatment programmes)

  • Lower House passes “ganja bill”

    The ease up on prosecution is to be complemented by a public education component to sensitise the public about the dangers of drug abuse
    The Daily Observer (Antigua & Barbuda)
    Wednesday, February 7, 2018

    A bill to decriminalise up to 15 grammes of cannabis for personal use passed in the House of Representatives of Antigua and Barbuda. The Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) bill had its first reading in December, but was subsequently sent to a select committee to allow for more public consultations. That engagement was held on January 23 with recommendations calling for the proposed decriminalised amount to be raised from 10 grammes to as much as two ounces as it is in Jamaica. Prime Minister Gaston Browne said that they had commissioned a poll before the decriminalisation move and that research indicated that 70 percent of the population was in favour. (See also: Antigua and Barbuda set to decriminalise cannabis, as PM says it is "Part of the culture of the country")

  • St Vincent gov't not yet prepared to 'free up the weed'

    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Wednesday, February 7, 2018

    The St Vincent and the Grenadines government will not heed, at this time, calls for the decriminalisation of marijuana for recreational use. Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves said “unregulated consumption of recreational marijuana poses a number of risks and challenges that we do not currently have the data on which to make informed decisions, or the capacity to manage effectively”. Gonsalves said that while there will no doubt be populist calls to “free up the weed” in its entirety, his government “is not currently prepared to take that step”. In addition to the unknown risks and challenges, the government's regular scientific polling on the issue shows “a deep divergence of views on the issue of recreational marijuana in our society."

  • Marijuana legalization could be delayed beyond July 1, government officials say

    The exact timing for the legalization of cannabis depends on the speed with which the Senate studies and adopts C-45
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Tuesday, February 6, 2018

    Federal officials are predicting the legalization of cannabis will only occur two to three months after Bill C-45 is adopted by Parliament, in order to ensure a smooth transition to an open market for the recreational drug. Officially, the government is still aiming to legalize cannabis by July 1. However, to achieve that target, the legislation would need to be passed by Parliament by May 1 at a minimum, which is an unlikely event based on the current pace of the Senate's work. The looming delay is set to be announced later on Tuesday when the federal ministers of Health, Justice and Public Safety appear in front of a special session of the Senate to defend their plans to lift the 95-year-old prohibition on cannabis.

  • Philadelphia aims to become first US city to legalize safe injection sites

    The idea comes as a paradigm shift in the nation’s effort to stem the tide of opioid-related deaths
    Fox News (US)
    Tuesday, February 6, 2018

    Philadelphia officials are pushing an effort to make the city the first in the U.S. to allow drug users to shoot up at a medically supervised facility. The city overdose-related deaths peaked last year to about 1,200. City health officials want to cut down on the overdoses and deaths through this unique – and controversial – approach. “We haven’t seen a public health emergency like this in the last century,” said Thomas Farley, Health Commissioner for Philadelphia. “It’s time for us to rethink our assumptions, and consider options we hadn’t seen before." Unlike similar efforts by other cities, the injection sites would not need City Council approval because they would be privately run. (See also: SF safe injection sites expected to be first in nation, open around July 1)

  • Trump Treasury Secretary wants marijuana money in banks

    In 2014, under Obama, the department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued guidance that has allowed banks to open marijuana accounts without running afoul of federal regulators
    Forbes (US)
    Tuesday, February 6, 2018

    The Trump administration's top fiscal official appeared to voice support for letting marijuana businesses store their profits in banks. "I assure you that we don't want bags of cash," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified during an appearance before the House Financial Services Committee. "We want to make sure that we can collect our necessary taxes and other things." Mnuchin, in a series of responses to questions from lawmakers who raised concerns about the public safety implications of preventing cannabis businesses from accessing banks and forcing them to operate on an all-cash basis, said the Treasury Department is considering how to deal with the issue. (See also: Open the banking system to the marijuana industry)

  • Want teens to smoke less pot? Legalize it

    Evolutionary psychology predicted it, data now confirms it
    Psychology Today
    Monday, February 5, 2018

    Those favoring strict drug laws believe that, as marijuana becomes more available and less stigmatized, teen drug use will go up. It's a straightforward and logical belief. The reality is that, to date, not one jurisdiction, either in the U.S. or elsewhere, has seen a marked increase in teen drug use following the relaxation of marijuana restrictions. Not one. Both Colorado and Washington, the pioneer states of marijuana legalization, have actually seen drops in teen marijuana use following legalization. The drop in Colorado was particularly dramatic. Despite the wave of legalization, nationwide, teen drug use is at a 20-year low.

  • German police association calls for complete legalization of cannabis

    Rather than focus largely on repression, there are better opportunities in drug policy such as learning to deal with responsible drug use
    The Local (Germany)
    Monday, February 5, 2018

    The Association of German Criminal Officers (BDK) is in favour of ending the ban on cannabis and has called for the decriminalization of all use. "The prohibition of cannabis has historically been seen as arbitrary and has not yet been implemented in an intelligent and effective manner," the head of BDK, André Schulz, told Bild. The BDK advocates a "complete decriminalization of cannabis use," adding that the current legal system is stigmatizing people and promoting criminal careers. "My prediction is cannabis will not be banned for long in Germany.‎" (See also: "Nicht zuschauen, wie Jugendliche ihre Zukunft verkiffen" | Nach 60 Jahren Drogenpolitik bleibt es bei einer Lebenslüge | Frei high)

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