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  • The new drug warriors

    As one side of the world softens its line against illegal drugs, another is getting tougher—and more vocal
    The Economist (UK)
    Saturday, May 2, 2015

    The war on drugs is edging towards a truce. Half of Americans want to lift the ban on cannabis. America’s change of heart has led many to wonder if the UN conventions might be reformed to legalise some drugs and treat the use of others as a problem requiring health measures, not criminal or military ones. But as America has drawn back from prohibition, new drug warriors are stepping up to defend it. Russia is foremost among them. “The Russians have taken over the hard-line role that the US used to play,” says Martin Jelsma of the Transnational Institute.

  • The painful price of aging in prison

    Even as harsh sentences are reconsidered, the financial — and human — tolls mount
    The Washington Post (US)
    Saturday, May 2, 2015

    In recent years, federal sentencing guidelines have been revised, resulting in less severe prison terms for low-level drug offenders. But tens of thousands of inmates who were convicted in the "war on drugs" of the 1980s and 1990s are still behind bars. Harsh sentencing policies, including mandatory minimums, continue to have lasting consequences for inmates and the nation’s prison system. Today, prisoners 50 and older represent the fastest-growing population in crowded federal correctional facilities, their ranks having swelled by 25 percent to nearly 31,000 from 2009 to 2013.

  • The wars don’t work

    As one war on drugs ends, another is starting. It will be a failure, too
    Leader
    The Economist (UK)
    Saturday, May 2, 2015

    In the West few politicians have been ready to admit the drug war’s failure—even as they quietly moderate their policy. They need to be honest with their own voters about the misery it has caused. Only then can they make a good case to the rest of the world that drug addicts need treatment, not prison, and that supply should be managed, not suppressed. A UN meeting next year to take a fresh look at the international conventions that shape national drug laws would be an excellent place to start. The first drug war caused devastation enough. For history to repeat itself would be a tragedy.

  • Chan and Sukumaran execution 'illegal', but Indonesia ignores Australia again

    The legal advice also suggested that aspects of Indonesia's behaviour in the lead-up to the executions represented "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment"
    The Age (Australia)
    Friday, May 1, 2015

    The execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran was illegal under international law according to advice provided to Julie Bishop, but Australia's request that Indonesia submit to the judgment of the International Court of Justice was ignored. The Australian ambassador asked Indonesia's consent on March 10 to explore the issue before the international court, but the Foreign Minister still has not had a reply. The Australian government had strong legal advice that the men's execution was illegal under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Indonesia signed in 2006. (See also: Bali nine execution: pair's lawyer describes 'machinery of death)

  • Germans mark a milestone in the fight to legalize marijuana

    Meanwhile tough new policy orders policemen to detain all users and dealers caught in known drug-dealing park
    i24news (Israel)
    Friday, May 1, 2015

    Those who support the legalization of marijuana in Germany recently marked a milestone with the creation of the first comprehensive draft law, which sets to regulate production and distribution of cannabis and its derivatives, while at the same time recommending the implementation of prevention programs. The draft stipulates who will get a permit to buy and sell cannabis, the price of the product, and even how much tax he will need to pay.

  • Which countries have the death penalty for drug smuggling?

    Thirty-two countries, plus Gaza, have the death penalty for drug smuggling
    The Economist (UK)
    Tuesday, April 28, 2015

    Indonesia executed eight convicted drug traffickers. The sentences have provoked outrage from the prisoners’ home countries, none of which hands down the death penalty to drug offenders. Brazil and the Netherlands had already withdrawn their ambassadors, following an earlier round of executions in January. Indonesia is rare in executing drug smugglers, who in most of the world are condemned only to long stretches in prison. Where else does trafficking earn a death sentence?

  • 2016: The UN's year to take on drugs

    Injecting realism into the global discussion of drug-policy objectives is crucial for designing and implementing more effective policies
    The National Interest (US)
    Monday, April 27, 2015

    Global disagreement over drug policies provides an important opportunity to reconsider the effectiveness of existing counternarcotics policies, address their problematic side effects, and propose evidence-based alternative strategies. Because of the differences in attitudes on drug policy around the world, a substantial revision of existing counternarcotics treaties is unlikely at UNGASS 2016. (See also: Improving global drug policy: Comparative perspectives and UNGASS 2016)

  • Ecuadorian activists want nothing less than universal marijuana

    Cannabis Ecuador: "With or without prohibition, there will always be drug use"
    The PanAm Post
    Friday, April 24, 2015

    marihuana-ecuadorEcuador may be on the verge of a landmark shift in drug policy, as legislators debate the newly proposed Organic Law on Comprehensive Drug Prevention. The initiative, promoted by the ruling party PAIS Alliance, opens the door for legalization, and could spell the beginning of the end for the War on Drugs in Ecuador. The PanAm Post spoke with Gabriel Buitrón, spokesman for Cannabis Ecuador (Ecuador Cannábico).

  • 'Just Say No' to the gateway theory of pot

    An interactive look at which drugs people start using right after they first use marijuana—and what that really means
    The Atlantic (US)
    Thursday, April 23, 2015

    Many young adults remember their childhood participation in Drug Abuse Resistance Education, better known by the acronym D.A.R.E. One of the program's core messages is that marijuana is a "gateway" to all sorts of other substances. D.A.R.E's effectiveness was later called into question, and its curriculum overhauled, but the legend remains. The scientist who coined the "gateway" term recently came out with a new paper showing that it's actually nicotine that is, biologically, the most potent of gateway of all.

  • Germany may ban EU citizens driving after smoking pot

    Deutsche Welle (Germany)
    Thursday, April 23, 2015

    Foreigners from EU states caught in driving under the influence of a small amount of cannabis can be banned from driving in Germany, the European Court of Justice said. Still, bans can be imposed only for a limited time. An Austrian citizen has filed a lawsuit against the German police saying that only the Austrian authorities are allowed to declare her driving license invalid or to impose a temporary ban.

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