• Vancouver's safe injection site cuts overdose deaths

    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Monday, April 18, 2011

    insite-injecting2The number of drug-overdose deaths on Vancouver’s notorious downtown Eastside fell sharply after the opening of a safe injection site, new research shows. The study, published online Monday in the medical journal The Lancet, shows that fatal overdoses dropped 35 per cent in the vicinity of Insite in the two years after it opened. By comparison, OD deaths dropped only 9 per cent in the rest of Vancouver in that same period.

  • Ruling brings optimism for medical marijuana users

    Bradley Bouzane and Jordan Press
    Postmedia News (Canada)
    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    The Ontario Superior Court in Canada declared the rules that govern medical marijuana access and the prohibitions laid out in sections 4 and 7 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act “constitutionally invalid and of no force and effect,” effectively paving the way for legalization. If the government does not respond within 90 days with a successful delay or re-regulation of marijuana, the drug will be legal to possess and produce in Ontario, where the decision is binding.

  • Jamaica panel to review pot decriminalization

    David Mcfadden
    Associated Press
    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    cannabis-plantTop government officials will review recommendations to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal and religious use in Jamaica. Six Cabinet ministers in Prime Minister Bruce Golding's administration will evaluate a 2001 report by the National Commission for Ganja -- as marijuana is known locally. The commission, which included academics and doctors and was appointed by a government led by the current opposition, argued that the drug was "culturally entrenched" in Jamaica and that moderate use had no negative health effects on most users.

  • How a big US bank laundered billions from Mexico's murderous drug gangs

    As the violence spread, billions of dollars of cartel cash began to seep into the global financial system
    The Observer (UK)
    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    "Wachovia's blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations," said a federal prosecutor. Yet the total fine was less than 2% of the bank's $12.3bn profit for 2009. The conclusion to the case was only the tip of an iceberg, demonstrating the role of the "legal" banking sector in swilling hundreds of billions of dollars – the blood money from the murderous drug trade in Mexico and other places in the world – around their global operations.

  • Drug laws 'may make matters worse'

    Mark Easton
    BBC News
    Thursday, March 31, 2011

    Police efforts to fight drug gangs tend to lead to more violence and an increase in murders, according to a new international study. The authors, writing in the International Journal of Drug Policy, admit they were surprised by their own findings. Their hypothesis was that the results "would demonstrate an association between increased drug law enforcement expenditures or intensity and reduced levels of violence". But that's not what they showed. Instead, they report: "From an evidence-based public policy perspective and based on several decades of available data, the existing scientific evidence suggests drug law enforcement contributes to gun violence and high homicide rates and that increasingly sophisticated methods of disrupting organisations involved in drug distribution could paradoxically increase violence."

  • Pot Politics on Capitol Hill: Proponents Aim to Shift Industry's Image

    Supporters Step up Lobbying Efforts, Tout Economic Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana
    ABC News (US)
    Wednesday, March 30, 2011

    Supporters of decriminalizing marijuana are hoping to build momentum on Capitol Hill after a historic election that saw the politics of pot take center stage in four states. Forty-six percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana, a new high, according to a survey conducted by Gallup in October. The trend has shifted upward in recent decades while opposition to such a move has declined. For medical marijuana use, the support is even higher. Seventy percent of Americans said they favored making marijuana for medicinal purposes legally available.

  • Drug sentencing public consultation launched

    BBC News (UK)
    Monday, March 28, 2011

    A public consultation on the sentencing of drugs offenders in England and Wales has been launched. The consultation, launched by the Sentencing Council, proposes new guidelines to cover offences in both the crown and Magistrates' courts.

  • A sensible approach to marijuana legalization that protects young people

    Roger Roffman
    The Seattle Times (US)
    March 27, 2011

    The marijuana-legalization debate can too quickly become polarized. Guest columnist Roger Roffman argues that both sides need to tone down the rhetoric at look at ways youth can be protected if adult marijuana use becomes legal in Washington state. A full discussion requires not only that the proponents of change acknowledge the risks of trying a new approach, but also that those opposing change acknowledge the harms of current policies and the potential of alternative strategies. They may find it's possible to implement a policy that accomplishes both protecting youth and ending the criminalization of responsible adult marijuana use.

  • UN drugs chief sticks to punitive policy despite major failings

    The Independent (UK)
    Friday, March 25, 2011

    International efforts to tackle the "global threat" of illicit drugs must be "rejuvenated" in accordance with a 50-year-old convention despite a series of major failings, said the head of the UN drugs and crime agency Yury Fedotov. Champions of drug-policy reform agree that trafficking is a major global problem, but some worry that a call to invigorate the convention could be interpreted as a call to reinforce punitive approaches to drug problems.

  • Medical marijuana market worth $1.7 billion a year

    Reuters
    Thursday, March 24, 2011

    The medical marijuana market in the U.S. generates $1.7 billion a year but a new report suggests that number could multiple as more U.S. states legalize it for treating a variety of illnesses. The study says that of the nearly 25 million Americans who are potentially eligible to use medical marijuana based on their diagnoses, fewer than 800,000 currently do.

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