Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Can California's Legalization Battle Kick-Start a Movement for Change?

    Terrence McNally and Ethan Nadelmann
    September 5, 2010

    Drug prohibition is remarkably ineffective, costly and counter-productive -- it has cost people their lives, and put millions behind bars. Is the tide turning?

  • What Britain could learn from Portugal's drugs policy

    A decade ago Portugal took a radical new approach to illegal drugs by treating users as people with social problems rather than as criminals. Could it work in the UK?
    Peter Beaumont
    The Observer (UK)
    Sunday, September 5, 2010

    In the midst of the recently resurgent debate in Britain about whether our drug laws are working – or require a major overhaul – the experience of Portugal has become a crucial piece of evidence in favour of a radical approach that has confounded the expectations of even its conservative critics, so much so that in the last month British officials have asked their Portuguese counterparts for advice, with the only caveat being that they avoid mentioning the word "decriminalise".

  • Prague high

    Despite partial decriminalization, marijuana is still illegal in the Czech Republic
    Prague Daily Monitor (Czech Republic)
    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    Although the partial decriminalization of cannabis at the beginning of this year didn't transform the capital into the new Amsterdam, as some headlines suggested, the accessibility of soft drugs has secured the Czech Republic one of the highest rankings in Europe regarding cannabis use, according to National Drug Coordinator, Jindřich Vobořil. According to a 2009 report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, for the third time in a row, Czechs rank among top four heaviest cannabis users in Europe, and almost half of those aged between 15 and 24 have used marihuana at least once. The possession of more than the allowed 15 grams of cannabis is subject to a fine of up to CZK 15,000, or imprisonment of up to one year.

  • Cannabis farmers take up arms to defend crops in booming trade

    Police say drug gangs are arming themselves with machetes, shotguns and dogs as crop seizures double
    The Guardian (UK)
    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    cannabis-plantsIllicit cannabis factory farmers are arming themselves with sawn-off shotguns, CS sprays and machetes and even setting booby traps to protect their crops from rival gangs, according to a police study published today. The report for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) reveals there has been a boom in cannabis production across Britain in the last two years, with nearly 7,000 illegal farms and factories uncovered in 2009/10 alone.

  • Leading doctor urges decriminalisation of drugs

    Former president of the Royal College of Physicians says blanket ban has failed to cut crime or improve health
    The Guardian
    Monday, August 16, 2010

    One of the UK's leading doctors said today the government should consider decriminalising drugs because the blanket ban has failed to cut crime or improve health. "I'm not saying we should make heroin available to everyone, but we should be treating it as a health issue rather than criminalising people," said Sir Ian Gilmore, former president of the Royal College of Physicians.

  • Thinking the unthinkable

    Amid drug-war weariness, Felipe Calderón calls for a debate on legalisation
    The Economist
    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Since marijuana provides the Mexican gangs with up to half their income, taking that business out of their hands would change the balance of power in the drug war. Californians will vote in November on whether to legalise and tax the sale of marijuana to adults. Were the proposal to pass it would render Mexico’s assault on drug traffickers untenable, reckons Jorge Castañeda, a former foreign minister. “How would you continue with a war on drugs in Tijuana, when across the border grocery stores were selling marijuana?” he asks. 

  • Has the time come to legalize drugs?

    The Oppenheimer Report
    Andres Oppenheimer
    The Miami Herald
    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Legalization of drugs -- long an issue championed mainly by fringe groups -- is rapidly moving to the mainstream in Latin America.  Last week's surprise statement by former Mexican President Vicente Fox in support of "legalizing production, sales and distribution" of drugs made big headlines around the world.

  • A war on drugs? No, this is a war on the Mexican people

    29,000 dead, human rights leaders murdered, the constitution violated – the price of President Calderón's popularity bid
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday 12 August 2010

    Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico, began his administration in 2000 with a popular festival. Felipe Calderón, who took over in 2006, began his with a show of military force. His affinity for uniforms, army brass bands and public events with the armed forces makes an overt connection between the military and the executive that was unusual in Mexican politics before his presidency.

  • Mexico rethinks drugs strategy as violence escalates

    Rising fatalities spur calls for legalisation as president admits military tactics are failing.
    The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday 11 August 2010

    Mexico's  president, Felipe Calderón, launched his presidency three and a half years ago with an unprecedented military-led offensive against the country's drug cartels. Since then 28,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence that continues to escalate, with little sign that the power of the traffickers has been reduced.

  • Ex-Mexico president calls for legalizing drugs

    The Associated Press
    Sunday, August 8, 2010

    Former President Vicente Fox is joining with those urging his successor to legalize drugs in Mexico, saying that could break the economic power of the country's brutal drug cartels. Fox's comments, posted Sunday on his blog, came less than a week after President Felipe Calderon agreed to open the door to discussions about the legalization of drugs, even though he stressed that he remained opposed to the idea.

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