Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media

 

  • Setting sights on future of drug policy

    Comunidad segura
    August 5, 2009

    Participants of the Seminar "Drugs Policies: Progresses and Retrocessions", held in Rio de Janeiro by Viva Rio and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, recommend drug policy based on respect for human rights, developed from a public health perspective, that favors scientific research and includes strategies to prevent drug addiction. Luciana Boiteux underlined the disparity that exists between the depenalization of drug use and the increased penalization of selling drugs that resulted from the 2006 Law on Drugs.

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  • City trying to ‘hash out’ pot issue

    Decriminalisation of cannabis has moved from public to political debate following the release of a city committee report
    The Copenhagen Post (Denmark)
    Tuesday, July 7, 2009

    A new Social Affairs Committee report on cannabis has recommended that the City Council seriously consider decriminalisation of the substance’s as being a means to curbing gang violence. The Social Liberals, Red-Green Alliance and Socialist People’s Party (SF) at City Hall have all backed the legal sale of cannabis in small quantities for personal use for some time. And in February, the committee was given the green light to review the matter when the council’s largest party, the Social Democrats, gave their support to looking into the issue.

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  • Committee wants coffee shops to cater to locals only

    NRC Handelsblad (Netherlands)
    Thursday, July 2, 2009

    Limit the sale of cannabis to local users, reconsider the distinction between hard and soft drugs, raise the legal age for drinking alcohol from 16 to 18 and appoint a drug czar to overlook policies. These are the most striking recommendations published on Thursday by a committee chaired by Christian democrat Wim van de Donk. The Dutch government had asked the committee to lay the groundwork for a new memorandum on Dutch drug policies to be drafted this fall.

  • Mixed reviews for ‘community policing’ in slums

    IPS
    May 22, 2009

    The police, who used to shoot first and ask questions later in Santa Marta, a Rio de Janeiro shantytown, are now getting on well with the local community – the result of a state government plan that nevertheless has drawn criticism. Out of long habit, many local residents in the Santa Marta "favela" do not dare talk openly about the police who have been permanently posted in their neighbourhood for the past six months, as part of what the Rio de Janeiro state government describes as a plan to "pacify" the slums.

  • 5 Years After: Portugal's Drug Decriminalization Policy Shows Positive Results

    Street drug-related deaths from overdoses drop and the rate of HIV cases crashes
    Brian Vastag
    Scientific American
    Tuesday, April 7, 2009

    In the face of a growing number of deaths and cases of HIV linked to drug abuse, the Portuguese government in 2001 tried a new tack to get a handle on the problem—it decriminalized the use and possession of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, LSD and other illicit street drugs. The theory: focusing on treatment and prevention instead of jailing users would decrease the number of deaths and infections.

  • Coffee shop trial is test for Dutch drugs policy

    NRC Handelsblad (The Netherlands)
    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    The owner and several employees of the biggest coffee shop in the Netherlands are being prosecuted for membership of a criminal organisation. The outcome of the trial can have a huge impact on soft drugs policy in the Netherlands. If Meddy Willemsen, the owner of the mega coffee shop Checkpoint in Terneuzen, is convicted of encouraging illegal cannabis cultivation and running an organised supply chain, more proprietors of coffee shops could face prosecution as gang leaders. (See also: Owner of massive cannabis café cleared of most charges on appeal)

  • Let Me Chew My Coca Leaves

    Evo Morales Ayma
    The New York Times (US)
    March 14, 2009

    evo-morales-coca-unIn 1961, the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs placed the coca leaf in the same category with cocaine — thus promoting the false notion that the coca leaf is a narcotic — and ordered that “coca leaf chewing must be abolished within 25 years from the coming into force of this convention.” Bolivia signed the convention in 1976, during the brutal dictatorship of Col. Hugo Banzer, and the 25-year deadline expired in 2001. Mistakes are an unavoidable part of human history, but sometimes we have the opportunity to correct them. It is time for the international community to reverse its misguided policy toward the coca leaf.

  • Bolivia calls on Obama to back coca campaign

    Reuters
    Wednesday, March 11, 2009

    President Barack Obama should recognize traditional uses of the coca leaf because not all production becomes cocaine, Bolivian President Evo Morales said. Morales, a former coca farmer, also called on participants at a United Nations drug policy meeting in Vienna to lift a ban on coca for some uses.

  • Ecstasy 'no more dangerous than horse riding'

    The risks of horse riding showed that society "does not adequately balance the relative risks of drugs against their harms".
    The Daily Telegraph (UK)
    Saturday, February 7, 2009

    Writing in an academic journal, Professor David Nutt said taking ecstasy was no worse than the risks of "equasy", a term he invented to describe people's addiction to horse-riding. Prof Nutt is the chairman of the Home Office's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs which next week is likely to say that ecstasy should be downgraded to a Class B drug. Campaigners last night called for him to resign, suggesting that he was on a "personal crusade" to decriminalise the drug. "The point was to get people to understand that drug harm can be equal to harms in other parts of life. There is not much difference between horse riding and ecstasy."

  • Banks told to accept cannabis cafe customers

    Finance minister cannot force the banks to accept coffee shop accounts
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Friday, February 6, 2009

    Banks must accept cafes which sell cannabis and marijuana as clients, says finance minister Wouter Bos. The minister fears that if these businesses, known as coffee shops, are refused bank accounts they could turn to the criminal circuit for financial services, reports Friday’s Volkskrant. At present all the banks are turning down these cafes as new customers and terminating existing accounts even though they are legitimate businesses, the paper says. Coffee shops are licenced by local authorities and allowed to sell small amounts of cannabis. Although Bos cannot force banks to accept coffee shops as customers, he has asked the anti-cartel authority to investigate the situation because it seems that the banks are acting collectively.

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