• Minister considers Portuguese drugs strategy

    The Irish Examiner (Ireland)
    Friday, November 4, 2011

    Junior Health Minister Roisin Shortall, who is in charge of Ireland’s drugs strategy, said she had an "open mind" in relation to Portugal’s model. She said she was "particularly interested" in the country’s "yellow card" system, which warned users about their behaviour and tried to steer them away from drugs. Dr Joao Goulao, Portugal’s National Drugs Co-ordinator, said decriminalisation of drugs for personal use did not itself lead to benefits. "There is not a causal effect between decriminalisation and these results — it is due to a comprehensive response. But decriminalisation did not affect negatively the evaluation of the phenomenon."

  • Integrative Medicine: Legalization and regulation of cannabis

    The CMA council believes the legalization and regulation of marijuana will allow broader research into the potential benefits and risks
    Drs. Kay Judge and Maxine Barish-Wreden
    The Seattle Times (US)
    Friday, November 4, 2011

    The California Medical Association made news when it became the first state medical association to recommend the legalization and regulation of cannabis. The CMA's Council on Scientific and Clinical Affairs noted in its recommendations that there is an increasing body of evidence that marijuana may be useful in the treatment of a number of medical conditions, but research to determine both risks and benefits is hampered in the United States because marijuana still is classified as an illegal drug.

  • Federal policy toward medical-pot businesses remains puzzling

    John Ingold
    The Denver Post (US)
    Friday, November 4, 2011

    Fifteen years after the first state legalized medical marijuana — and set up a confrontation with federal law that keeps cannabis illegal — federal law enforcement's position on medical-marijuana businesses remains something of a mystery. Two memos written in the past two years that attempt to explain the federal position have not answered medical-marijuana advocates' questions. Indeed, federal raids in the past month in Colorado and California have only generated more.

  • Study: legal medical marijuana doesn't encourage kids to smoke more pot

    Maia Szalavitz
    Time Magazine (US)
    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Despite warnings from opponents of medical marijuana, legalizing the drug for medical purposes does not encourage teens to smoke more pot, according to new research that compared rates of marijuana use in Massachusetts and Rhode Island after the latter state changed its laws. Rhode Island legalized medical marijuana in 2006, but Massachusetts did not.

  • Maastricht loses '£26 million-a-year' after drug tourism ban

    The Daily Telegraph (UK)
    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    A Dutch city has lost income worth £26 million a year to its economy after banning French drug tourists from buying marijuana in legal cannabis cafés. The reduction in turnover in the popular "coffee shops", where cannabis can legally be purchased and smoked, is equivalent to the loss of 345 full-time jobs. As from October 1 this year the city's cannabis cafés have only been allowed to serve Dutch, Belgian and German customers in a bid to drive away millions of French drug tourists. The Association of Licensed Maastricht Coffee Shops has warned that cannabis users are being driven onto the streets, where marijuana smoking is a criminal offence, after getting Dutch people to buy drugs for them.

  • Decriminalize pot, aldermen urge — but mayor says not so fast

    The Chicago Sun-Times (US)
    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday he would not be rushed into decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana because doing so creates its own set of problems that other cities have been forced to correct. The mayor shined the light on his deliberations on the hot-button issue as Chicago aldermen formally introduced their decriminalization plan after releasing ward-by-ward statistics that show minorities bear the brunt of marijuana arrests.

  • Cash-strapped Chicago mulls easing marijuana law

    A Chicago alderman says he's found a way for the city to raise desperately needed cash that will also keep more police officers on the street: Marijuana
    The Associated Press
    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Alderman Danny Solis introduced an ordinance to the City Council that would make possession of small amounts of marijuana a ticketable offense with a $200 fine rather than a misdemeanor that carries jail time. He estimates the change would generate $7 million a year and, since the vast majority of such cases are dismissed, would save police and courthouse workers money and time.

  • The punishment must fit the crime, even for drug users

    Australia's exports could include its approach to drug possession
    Gino Vumbaca
    The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    The case of the Australian boy arrested on drug charges in Bali offers the opportunity to review our nation's own response to drug use, both here and abroad. While empathy for the boy's family is warranted and genuine, the case should also raise the question of what would happen to someone in Australia caught with a similar small amount of cannabis or other illicit drug.

  • Doctors refuse to OK marijuana use

    Some users risked being jailed for using a drug that helps them function
    Sharon Kirkey
    The Ottawa Citizen (Canada)
    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    A decade after Canada legalized the medical use of marijuana, most doctors are still refusing to sign the declarations patients need to get legal access to pot - meaning patients in pain risk being jailed if they use a drug that helps them function. It's a predicament that threatens to become worse because of proposed changes to how Health Canada regulates access to the drug.

  • Viewpoints: Patient safety is priority in medical pot policy

    The Sacramento Bee (US)
    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Recently, the California Medical Association, representing more than 35,000 physicians, the largest statewide physician organization in America, boldly decided to adopt a different, more pragmatic approach to the polarizing issue of marijuana decriminalization. The decision – the result of a carefully considered process, painstakingly researched and debated for more than one year – is centered on one concern above all others: patient safety.

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