Drugs in the news

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  • NDP demands immediate decriminalization of marijuana

    MP Murray Rankin says too many people are getting criminal records for something that will soon be legal
    CBC News (Canada)
    Monday, June 13, 2016

    The federal New Democrats are putting forward a motion in Parliament to pressure the Liberal government to decriminalize pot before it is legalized. NDP Justice Critic Murray Rankin says it is not fair to arrest people and give them criminal records for possessing marijuana if the practice will soon be legal. "Despite Justin Trudeau's clear campaign promise to immediately fix marijuana laws in Canada, the government has done nothing for eight months except continue the senseless practice of handing out criminal records for personal use," said a statement released by Rankin.

  • Cannabis in the capital: Federal haze

    The District’s odd governance makes for even odder drug laws
    The Economist (UK)
    Saturday, June 11, 2016

    Since 2015 it has been legal to own, grow and use cannabis privately in Washington, DC. Generous souls are allowed to give small amounts to whomever they like. It is illegal, however, to sell it. Small businesses have sprung up seeking to exploit this dichotomy. Able to legalise cannabis but unable to tax or regulate it, DC finds itself in a strange hinterland of legality. Because nearly 30% of the District consists of federal land, on which cannabis is still classed as a Schedule 1 drug, it can be legal to possess cannabis on one side of a street and illegal on the other.

  • Moroccan party leader calls for moderate consumption of cannabis

    El Omari's demand for allowing the commercialization of cannabis to individual consumers marks a shift on the issue of cannabis in Morocco
    Moroccan World News (Morocco)
    Saturday, June 11, 2016

    Ilyas El OmariIlyass El Omari, President of the Regional Council of Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima, proposed to allow cannabis to be sold legally in cafes. The Secretary General of the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM), one of Morocco's opposition parties, said that "the majority of the rural population, especially the area of Chefchaouen, is living directly or indirectly from cannabis," stressing that he would not let all these people "live in inequality." In an interview with Telquel, El Omari said that he would like to make it possible for the youth of the region "to be able to open cafes where they can legally sell cannabis to consumers in reasonable and specific amounts on a weekly basis."

  • Justin Trudeau may have made the best case for legal pot ever

    Latest federal data shows no significant change in marijuana use among teens in Colorado and Washington in the year after marijuana became legal
    The Washington Post (US)
    Friday, June 10, 2016

    Trudeau's argument for legalization is concerned less with creating benefits, and more with reducing harms. He starts from the same place that many legalization opponents start from — concern for the safety of children. He points to an easy-to-overlook fact: It's already incredibly easy for teenagers to get high if they want to. In 2015, for instance, nearly 80 percent of U.S. 12th-graders said it would be easy for them to obtain marijuana. It's clear, in other words, that current policies centered on making the drug completely illegal are doing little to keep it out of the hands of kids who want to use it.

  • Dutch cities renew call for regulated cannabis cultivation

    Regulating cannabis cultivation would reduce violent crime surrounding illicit cultivation and could therefore arguably protect human rights
    NL Times (Netherlands)
    Thursday, June 9, 2016

    Almost 90 percent of Dutch municipalities supported a call on the government to allow experiments with regulated cannabis cultivation at the association of Dutch municipalities VNG’s annual conference. Regulation would allow better action against illicit cannabis cultivation and the serious crime that accompanies it. The VNG wants to put pressure on the government with this joint call, which should carry more sway than previous calls by a few mayors. The VNG hopes to make regulated cannabis cultivation a theme for the next parliamentary election in 2017. A study by Radboud University Nijmegen, concluded that international law does allow regulated cannabis cultivation.

  • The activists helping illegal pot dealers turn into legit marijuana businessmen

    California officials want to ensure that those once punished over harsh weed laws aren’t overrun by wealthy entrepreneurs once it’s legalized recreationally
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, June 9, 2016

    california2016In California, where voters are expected to legalize recreational marijuana in November, there’s a small, but growing movement to eliminate barriers in the industry for people with pot offenses on their records. Some officials are now even promoting policies and programs aimed at directly encouraging current and former drug dealers to open businesses. Advocates say it’s an uphill battle – and an urgent one. Wealthy entrepreneurs, who are often white men, are dominating and profiting off of the sale of marijuana while those who continue to suffer the consequences of harsh pot laws – primarily people of color – are denied opportunities.

  • Punjab’s war on drugs is more a war on drug addicts

    Those who have been arrested were merely small-time peddlers. No drug lord worth his name has been put behind bars
    The Indian Express (India)
    Wednesday, June 8, 2016

    india-punjab-24deathsIn May 2014, stung by allegations of inaction over the rampant abuse and trafficking of drugs, the Punjab government launched an aggressive crackdown with Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal declaring: “We will spare no one.” These words resonated in police stations across the state with 17,068 arrests in 2014 and 11,593 more until December 2015. But that’s just on the surface, according to an Express investigative series on drug problem in Punjab. (See also: Punjab drugs: At Ground Zero, behind each door, a broken home | Cut and paste, cut and paste and you have a drugs FIR in Punjab)

  • Why addiction is not a disease: the liberal case

    Apart from being scientifically baseless, the disease model undermines hope, fails to end stigma and doesn’t always get addicts the help they need
    The Guardian (UK)
    Tuesday, June 7, 2016

    addictIs addiction a disease? Most people think so. The idea has become entrenched in our news media, our treatment facilities, our courts, and in the hearts and minds of addicts themselves. It’s a potent concept: If you’re an alcoholic or a drug addict, then you’re ill. And you’re going to remain ill. According to Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease,” and that definition has been adopted by medical researchers and policy makers everywhere. Recently, the supremacy of the disease model was highlighted by an article in The New England Journal of Medicine.

  • The human-rights case for drug legalization

    “The objectives of drug control have not been reached,” says one Mexican activist. “Not even close.”
    The Atlantic (US)
    Tuesday, June 7, 2016

    The first shot in Mexico’s drug war was fired in December 2006, when Mexican President Felipe Calderon sent 6,500 security forces to reclaim Michoacan state from feuding cartels. “The battle against organized crime has just begun,” Calderon’s interior minister declared, “and the fight will take time.” That fight has now taken nearly 10 years, and tens of thousands of lives. And Mexico has little to show for it, besides death and destruction. The Open Society Justice Initiative, which advocates for criminal-justice reform, accused both the Mexican government and drug gangs of committing crimes against humanity.

  • Philippine president-elect promises 'a medal' to anyone who shoots a drug dealer

    Rodrigo Duterte advised members of the public to 'do it yourself, if you have the gun'
    The Independent (UK)
    Monday, June 6, 2016

    rodrigo_duterteRodrigo Duterte, the new and controversial leader of the Philippines, has called for vigilante justice to deal with the country’s rampant drug trade. In a nationally televised address, Mr Duterte invited any member of the public who encounters a drug dealer to “call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun – you have my support.” If the suspect resists, he went on, “You can kill him. Shoot him and I’ll give you a medal.” (See also: The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2015)

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UNGASS 2016: Prospects for treaty reform and UN system-wide coherence on drug policy
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This paper explores key lessons from the 1990 Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Drug Abuse (UNGASS 1990) and the 1998 Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS 1998), and tracks subsequent policy events and trends. It discusses the wide array of increasing tensions and cracks in the "Vienna consensus," as well as systemic challenges and recent treaty breaches. Various options for treaty reform are explored.

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