Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media

 

  • Wash. governor wants DEA to reclassify marijuana

    The Associated Press
    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee have filed a petition with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration asking the agency to reclassify marijuana so doctors can prescribe it and pharmacists can fill the prescription. The governors want the federal government to list marijuana as a Schedule 2 drug, allowing it to be used for medical treatment. Marijuana is currently classified a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it's not accepted for medical treatment and can't be prescribed, administered or dispensed.

  • Drugs policy review

    Mark Easton
    BBC News (UK)
    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    The influential Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) is to "undertake a comprehensive review of drugs policy in the new year". They are to ask whether the government's 2010 drug strategy is a "fiscally responsible policy with strategies grounded in science, health, security and human rights". The HASC is also going to investigate the criteria used by government to measure the efficacy of its drug policies. The growing chorus of international establishment figures who argue that prohibition has proved a failed policy appears to have led the committee to ask some searching questions about the effectiveness of Britain's drugs strategy.

  • Report shows fewer traffic fatalities after states pass medical-pot laws

    The Denver Post (US)
    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    The passage of state medical-marijuana laws is associated with a subsequent drop in the rate of traffic fatalities, according to a newly released study by University of Colorado Denver professor Daniel Rees and Montana State University professor D. Mark Anderson. The study found that the traffic-death rate drops by nearly 9 percent in states after they legalize marijuana for medical use. The researchers arrived at that figure, Rees said, after controlling for other variables such as changes in traffic laws, seat-belt usage and miles driven. The study stops short of saying the medical-marijuana laws cause the drop in traffic deaths.

  • Injection rooms approved, but advocates wonder what’s next

    Funding and legal concerns remain after government agrees to open safe place for addicts to inject
    The Copenhagen Post (Denmark)
    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    The thirty-five year fight to establish permanent injection rooms for drug addicts is now over after the government announced last week that such facilities would be up and running by 2013. But long-time campaigners are bracing themselves for news on the guidelines for how the rooms are to be run. The government will present a catalogue outlining the current drug legislation and amendments that will need to be made in order for injection rooms to become legal.

  • It's time to end the phoney war on drugs

    William Johnson
    The Ottawa Citizen (Canada)
    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    We are supposedly engaged in a "war on drugs." What war on drugs? A phoney war, because it provokes that which it proclaims to repress. Take three countries with different approaches to recreational drugs: the United States, Canada and the Netherlands. The first two rely on a punitive approach. The Netherlands prefer harm reduction. As is notorious, Dutch citizens can openly enjoy cannabis in coffee shops. So does the Netherlands swarm with drug-crazed zombies? Look at the percentage of the population (15 to 64) who use cannabis annually. In the U.S., 13.7 per cent. In Canada, 12.6 per cent. In the Netherlands: 5.4 per cent. For every Dutch pot smoker, there are 2.3 Canadians and 2.5 Americans.

  • Clubbers should be able to test their ecstasy

    We don't know what caused two nightclub deaths last weekend, but a Dutch system of analysing drugs in confidence might help
    David Nutt
    The Guardian online (UK)
    Monday, November 28, 2011

    Media reports of two deaths at the weekend in the same party venue have once again been accompanied by police suggestions that the drug responsible is ecstasy that may be from a "contaminated" batch. Speculation as to the cause of these tragic deaths is unhelpful, and recent experience with mephedrone has shown such preliminary comments are often quite wrong, we will know the truth only when toxicology results are reported.

  • Dr. Evan Wood: There is nothing conservative about supporting marijuana prohibition

    Evan Wood
    The Province (Canada)
    Monday, November 28, 2011

    Imagine an extremely expensive government policy proven to be completely ineffective at achieving its stated objectives. Consider also that whenever this policy is subjected to any kind of impact assessment, the government’s own data clearly show that the policy has been ineffective, expensive and fuelled the growth of organized crime. Finally, imagine this remarkable set of circumstances persisting for decades — at great cost to taxpayers and community safety — and yet elected officials say and do nothing to address the status quo.

  • Justices to Decide on Fairness in Drug Sentences

    The New York Times (US)
    November 28, 2011

    The Supreme Court agreed to resolve a question that has vexed the lower federal courts since Congress enacted a law to narrow the gap between sentences meted out for offenses involving two kinds of cocaine. Selling cocaine in crack form used to subject offenders to the same sentence one would get for selling 100 times as much in powder. The new law, the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, reduced the disparity to 18 to 1, at least for people who committed their offenses after the law became effective on Aug. 3, 2010.

  • Dutch ban foreigners from cannabis cafes in Maastricht area

    Officials forbid most non-Dutch from cafes as of January 1, 2012; a nation-wide ban could be next
    The Global Post
    Saturday, November 26, 2011

    Dutch Minister of Justice Ivo Opstelten has announced an official  ban on non-residents from coffee shops not just in Maastricht, but in the nearby cities of Tilburg and Eindhoven as well, beginning January 1, 2012. Dutch residents will need carry a “weed pass” to enter. Dutch authorities say the rest of the country will follow a year later. It’s possible that a broader ban will never come to pass, because Amsterdam is too politically powerful for any elected official to take a stance against it.

  • Polls, dispensary bans show Coloradans are split over possibly legalizing marijuana

    The Denver Post (US)
    Saturday, November 26, 2011

    As proponents of a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana near the deadline to turn in signatures, they face a puzzling picture of the electorate. An independent poll this summer found a slender majority of Coloradans support legalizing cannabis. But whenever marijuana has actually appeared on the ballot in Colorado in recent years — most commonly as measures to ban dispensaries and other marijuana businesses — it has generally fared poorly.

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