Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • 4 Hopeful Signs in the Fight Against Disastrous Drug War, Including a New Bill to End Federal Pot Prohibition

    Although this new bill is largely symbolic, the fact that it's being introduced, and other small victories of late, bode well for a change in tone on this discussion
    Sarah Seltzer
    AlterNet (US web)
    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    It's been forty years since President Nixon declared a "war on drugs." And we're not winning. In local communities, Black and Latino men are being singled out unfairly and fed into the prison system for minor drug offenses; in Mexico, an unspeakably brutal drug war continues with no signs of cessation; sick people continue to be denied legal access to medical marijuana that could ease their pain. But there are signs that things are changing.

  • Closed shops

    Why tourists in the Netherlands may have to stop smoking pot
    The Economist (UK)
    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    In a rolling process, Dutch "coffee shops", where cannabis is freely sold for private consumption, could soon become closed clubs. New government rules may force some 660 coffee shops that now sell cannabis over the counter to become members-only clubs with strict registration procedures, accessible only to Dutch residents. The government says the new policy is a bid to curb the "nuisance" of drug tourists and to fight organised crime.

  • Legalize marijuana in Washington state

    The Seattle Times editorial board supports the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana for Washington state adults
    The Seattle Times (US)
    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Marijuana should be legalized, regulated, taxed and made available for sale to adults. Prohibition has failed. It fuels criminal gangs. It fills the prisons in America and graveyards in Mexico. To end marijuana prohibition at the federal level, several states need to defy federal authority. That is how the politics works. The Legislature will not do it, nor will Gov. Chris Gregoire. But the people of Washington can, through a ballot initiative.

  • Marijuana-initiative backers say state could lead change

    Washington state would be defying federal drug laws if an initiative filed Wednesday with the Secretary of State to legalize and regulate marijuana is adopted
    The Seattle Times (US)
    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Washington state would be defying federal drug laws if an initiative filed Wednesday with the Secretary of State to legalize and regulate marijuana is adopted. But backers said Wednesday that states can take the lead in ending what they call the nation's failed war on drugs, much as individual states, including Washington, repealed Prohibition before the federal government.

  • Former U.S. attorney McKay backs effort to legalize pot in Washington

    The Seattle Times
    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    John McKayA coalition that includes former U.S. Attorney John McKay, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and travel guide Rick Steves is launching an initiative that would legalize marijuana in Washington state. The New Approach Washington group, led by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, decided to push the initiative this spring after Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed most of a medical-marijuana bill that had passed the state Legislature.

  • The Drug War Is the Inevitable Result of Capitalism Gone Mad; Ciudad Juarez Is All of Our Futures

    Narco-cartels are not pastiches of global corporations, nor are they errant bastards of the global economy – they are pioneers of it
    Ed Vulliamy
    AlterNet (US web)
    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    juarezWar, as I came to report it, was something fought between people with causes, however crazy or honourable: like between the American and British occupiers of Iraq and the insurgents who opposed them. Then I stumbled across Mexico's drug war – which has claimed nearly 40,000 lives, mostly civilians – and all the rules changed. This is warfare for the 21st century, and another creature altogether.

  • The fiscal case for legalising marijuana

    It's a no-brainer: ending the 'war on drugs' would create jobs, cut law enforcement costs, raise revenue – and benefit patients
    Samantha McCann
    The Guardian (UK) - Web comment
    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Across the United States, people struggling with chronic illness increasingly are questioning US policy toward marijuana, a homeopathic substance that until 1937 was, for the most part, legal and regulated. Friday marks the 40th anniversary of the "war on drugs". And what do we have as a result?Hundreds of billions of dollars wasted in the midst of a fragile economy, the financial and social cost of imprisoning hundreds of thousands of offenders annually, and patients like Dolin who continue to suffer due to our failed policies.

  • Brazilian demonstrations call for legal marijuana

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    brazil-marchBrazilian demonstrators held marches on the weekend calling for marijuana to be legalized after the country's top court ruled the gatherings could go ahead in the name of freedom of speech. The demonstrations were held in 40 towns and cities late Saturday, according to Brazilian media.

  • Fear and loathing surrounds decriminalisation

    Exploring the "failing" drug war, from the Netherlands to Mexico and California to Connecticut
    Al Jazeera
    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    "The war on drugs has failed," said a recent report compiled by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which comprised a former UN secretary-general, former presidents of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, a former US Secretary of State and a host of public intellectuals, human rights activists and politicians.

  • Russia's punitive drug laws

    The Lancet (UK)
    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    Life is especially difficult for the 6 million drug addicts living in Russia because methadone is banned, and they are reluctant to use the few available needle and syringe exchange programmes for fear of being exposed. New drug laws are being drawn up by the Russian Government in its “total war on drugs”. These will go against the evidence-based treatments endorsed by organisations such as the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, UNAIDS, and WHO.

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