• The neuroscience of pot

    Researchers Explain Why Marijuana May Bring Serenity Or Psychosis
    Alice G. Walton
    Forbes (US)
    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    cannabinoidsMarijuana has been shown to have both anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects and to induce anxiety and psychosis in certain people. In schizophrenics, it can increase symptoms, and in healthy people it can increase the risk of schizophrenia. Now, new study shows that the two active ingredients in pot, ?9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) may have quite opposite effects on the brain – and behavior – and could explain why pot’s effects can be unpredictable.

  • Peru replaces drug czar who de-emphasized coca plant eradication, saying it hurt poor growers

    The Washington Post (US)
    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    RicardoSoberonPeru’s government on Tuesday replaced its drug czar, whose refusal to endorse an all-out coca crop eradication effort put him at odds with the Cabinet chief and prompted concern by the U.S. Embassy. Ricardo Soberon’s resignation came after just five months in office. He caused a stir in August by temporarily suspending manual eradication of Peru’s coca crop.

  • Drugs bill goes to Parliament

    Legislation to decriminalize personal use but is tougher on those manufacturing and dealing in narcotics
    E Kathimerini (Greece)
    Monday, January 9, 2012

    Draft legislation that foresees the decriminalization of the possession of small quantities of drugs for personal use but the leveling of criminal charges against individuals caught growing or manufacturing drugs or using them in public was submitted in Parliament in Greece. The bill is part of a broader initiative aimed at decongesting Greece’s jails, many of which are filled to beyond double their capacity. (See also: Drug law reform in Greece)

  • Many US communities are blocking medical marijuana

    More and more states are saying yes to medical marijuana. But local governments are increasingly using their laws to just say no, not in our backyard
    The Associated Press
    Monday, January 9, 2012

    In California, with the nation's most permissive medical marijuana laws, 185 cities and counties have banned pot dispensaries entirely. In New Jersey, perhaps the most restrictive of the 17 states that have legalized marijuana for sick people, some groups planning to sell cannabis are struggling to find local governments willing to let them in. Dispensaries have also been banned in parts of Colorado and have run into opposition in some towns in Maine.

  • How well do international drug conventions protect public health?

    Robin Room & Peter Reuter
    The Lancet
    Volume 379, Issue 9810, pp. 84 - 91
    January 7, 2011

    logo_lancetThe Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs in 1961 aimed to eliminate the illicit production and non-medical use of cannabis, cocaine, and opioids, an aim later extended to many pharmaceutical drugs. Over the past 50 years international drug treaties have neither prevented the globalisation of the illicit production and non-medical use of these drugs, nor, outside of developed countries, made these drugs adequately available for medical use. The system has also arguably worsened the human health and wellbeing of drug users by increasing the number of drug users imprisoned, discouraging effective countermeasures to the spread of HIV by injecting drug users, and creating an environment conducive to the violation of drug users' human rights. The international treaties have constrained national policy experimentation because they require nation states to criminalise drug use. The adoption of national policies that are more aligned with the risks of different drugs and the effectiveness of controls will require the amendment of existing treaties, the formulation of new treaties, or withdrawal of states from existing treaties and re-accession with reservations.

  • Towards a smarter drugs policy

    US drugs debate is dominated by a Manichean divide between prohibitionists and liberalisers, obscuring real scientific solutions
    Keith Humphreys and Jonathan Caulkins
    The Guardian (UK)
    Friday, January 6, 2011

    The loudest voices in US drug policy debates call either for enforcing prohibition with ever-increasing ferocity or for giving up altogether by letting corporations legally sell the currently illicit drugs much as they do tobacco and alcohol. But as our colleagues and we detail this week in the Lancet, there is an alternative: adopting drug policies with scientific evidence of effectiveness. Regardless of what goals for drug policy emerge from the democratic process, everyone wants the policies implemented in the service of those goals to be effective.

  • Marijuana may both trigger and suppress psychosis

    Time Magazine (US)
    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    New research finds that the two main ingredients in marijuana have opposing effects on it. The study examined 15 normal men who had previously smoked cannabis only a few times. Researchers exposed the men to each of the two most psychoactive ingredients in marijuana — delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) and compared their effects with those of a placebo while the participants performed a mental task.

  • Handicapping Legalization in 2012

    East Bay Express (US)
    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Registered voters heading to the polls this fall for elections in Colorado, Washington, and perhaps California will have a chance to enact historic cannabis legalization in 2012. A Colorado group said it will file 155,000 signatures with the state on January 6 — enough to qualify the group's recreational cannabis legalization and tax initiative for the November ballot. A group in the state of Washington said on December 29 that it filed at least 355,000 signatures. And California?

  • Netherlands moves away from liberal line on smoking cannabis

    The Irish Times
    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    Is the Netherlands finally growing up, or is it committing tourism suicide? A ban on foreigners using its famous "coffee shops" – where soft drugs can be bought and consumed legally – came into effect in its three southern provinces yesterday, and will apply in the rest of the country, including Amsterdam, from January 1st, 2013. Unusually, opposition to the ban on foreigners has led to an alliance between the coffee shop owners and tourism interests – both of whom claim it will be counterproductive. (See also: Introduction of 'Weed Pass' in the Netherlands)

  • States say it's time to rethink medical marijuana

    Four states have asked federal officials to reclassify marijuana
    CNN (US)
    Sunday, January 1, 2012

    Medical marijuana advocates are hoping state governments can succeed where their efforts have failed by asking federal authorities to reclassify pot as a drug with medical use. Recently, Colorado became the fourth state to ask the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana as a narcotic in the same league as heavyweight painkillers including oxycodone. The governors of Washington and Rhode Island filed a formal petition with the agency in November, and Vermont signed onto that request shortly afterward.

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