• Legalise it, part two

    The Copenhagen Post (Denmark)
    Thursday, November 24, 2011

    Legalising pot, we wrote in this space back in July 2009, would have two obvious benefits: generating revenue and dragging a shady business out into the light. Nearly three years later those arguments remain stronger than ever – the state is running at a deficit and the flare-ups between the gangsters that deal the stuff have become routine. Unfortunately, despite the change in government, the message coming from parliament also remains the same: no.

  • Could legalising pot clean up the rot?

    Politicians question whether we would be better off if the state were the dealer
    The Copenhagen Post (Denmark)
    Thursday, November 24, 2011

    The City Council of Copenhagen has been pushing to legalise the sale of marijuana in the city. The council’s vote which would pave the way to establishing up to 40 state-owned dispensaries, is the second attempt in two years to experiment with state-sanctioned marijuana shops. The experiment is far from becoming a reality, however, and the vote simply sent an application to the Justice Ministry requesting the city proceed. A similar request was proposed in 2009, but despite broad support in the city council, it was shot down by parliament. (Let us light-up: Smokers voice their support for legal pot)

  • Four former Vancouver mayors back call for an end to pot prohibition

    The Vancouver Sun (Canada)
    Thursday, November 23, 2011

    Four former Vancouver mayors have endorsed a coalition calling for an end to pot prohibition in Canada that they blame for rampant gang violence. Larry Campbell, Mike Harcourt, Sam Sullivan and Philip Owen all signed an open letter to politicians in B.C. Wednesday claiming a change in the law will reduce gang violence. The former mayors support the position of the Stop the Violence BC coalition, which recently released a survey showing most B.C. residents favour an end to the current marijuana laws. (See the complete text of their manifesto)

  • Portugal and the drug war

    The decriminalisation of drugs in Portugal has been a success, but austerity measures may threaten drug treatment
    Helen Redmond
    Al Jazeera
    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Portuguese drug policy and the drug treatment system are not without challenges and problems. No system is perfect and operates within a constantly changing economic, social and political environment. Some of the CDTs have been understaffed and the wait for treatment has increased. The economic crisis has hit Portugal hard and the unemployment rate is 12 per cent. The right-wing government is pushing through austerity measures that would cut health and social services and staff. These cuts would have a direct and negative impact on the availability of drug treatment services.

  • Medical Marijuana Industry Is Unnerved by U.S. Crackdown

    The New York Times (US)
    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    An intensifying federal crackdown on growers and sellers of state-authorized medical marijuana has badly shaken the billion-dollar industry, which has sprung up in California since voters approved medical use of the drug in 1996, and has highlighted the stark contradiction between federal and state policies. Federal law classifies the possession and sale of marijuana as a serious crime and does not grant exceptions for medical use, so the programs adopted here, in 15 other states and in the District of Columbia exist in an odd legal limbo.

  • Rope a Dope: U.S. Anti-Terrorism Labs Enlisted in the War on "Legal" Synthetic Drugs

    Arkansas deploys facilities built to detect chemical and biological weapons to keep tabs on ever-evolving synthetic pot products
    Scientific American (US)
    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    A worldwide arms race has erupted between inventive street chemists who concoct "legal" highs and government officials who wish to regulate and interdict the proliferation of synthetic cannabis products that can send their users to an emergency room or the morgue. In Arkansas officials view the problem as severe enough that they have now deployed a network of federally funded laboratories within their state (in collaboration with state and private laboratories) to keep tabs on the protean ingenuity of street chemists, who reformulate these drugs faster than governments can pass regulations to control them.

  • Legal marijuana gets one step closer

    While Copenhagen City Council pushes ahead with a plan to allow the sale of marijuana, it is uncertain whether parliament would approve the measure
    The Copenhagen Post (Denmark)
    Monday, November 21, 2011

    hashA committee has now been established to determine the best way to legalise the sale of hashish, with special stores owned by the council presenting itself as the preferred candidate. The sale, consumption and cultivation of marijuana is illegal in Denmark, all of which can be punished with warnings, fines or jail time. Despite this there is a strong black market for the drug generating 1.5 billion kroner a year and controlled entirely by criminal gangs. 

  • Former city Rep. Beto O'Rourke and city Rep. Susie Byrd's book offers new view on controlling pot market

    El Paso Times (US)
    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Two prominent El Paso political leaders argue, in their new book, that the United States' war on drugs is not working despite a $1 trillion infusion of federal money over the past 40 years. Former city Rep. Beto O'Rourke and city Rep. Susie Byrd co-authored the recently published book, "Dealing Death and Drugs." The book is billed as "an argument to end the prohibition of marijuana." The authors contend the only rational alternative to the multi-billion dollar war on drugs is to end the present prohibition on marijuana.

  • State's effort to legalize pot faces legal pitfalls

    The Seattle Times (US)
    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    An effort to decriminalize and tax recreational marijuana sales for adults in Washington state has won some high-profile endorsements — including from two former Seattle U.S. attorneys and the former head of the FBI here — and its sponsors are well on their way to collecting enough signatures to place the measure before the Legislature. But even if backers gather enough signatures for Initiative 502 and the measure ultimately becomes law, the effort is a gamble because, in the event of a conflict with federal statutes, the feds would trump.

  • Ecstasy is back in clubs as newly potent drug is taken with 'legal highs'

    The drug of choice in the Nineties rave scene is coming back as a powder that can be shared socially like cocaine and distinguishes its more fashion-conscious users from 'pill heads'
    The Observer (UK)
    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    raveEcstasy, the drug of choice for the clubbers of the early 1990s, is making a comeback. Once synonymous with the rave scene, its popularity declined as the diminishing amount of methylenedioxymethamphe-tamine, or MDMA, the potent chemical once found in ecstasy tablets, saw a new generation of clubbers seek alternative substances. At the peak of its popularity, ecstasy was rarely out of the news with the designer drug blamed for a spate of deaths, often wrongly.

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