• Morocco tells Europe: don't go soft on cannabis

    Cannabis revenues fell by two-thirds in 4 years
    Reuters (UK)
    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    morocco cannabis hiliteMorocco has cut cannabis traffickers’ revenue to less than one-third of its 2005 level but its efforts could be undermined if Europe relaxes its policing of the drug, a senior Moroccan police official said. Morocco, which the United Nations once classified as the world’s biggest cannabis exporter, mounted a crackdown on the illegal trade because it strained ties with the European Union, which consumes most of the cannabis that leaves Morocco. “Our efforts against hashish trafficking activity have led to a reduction in the revenue of that illegal business to 4 billion euros ($4.8 billion) in 2009 from 13 billion euros in 2005,” Khalid Zerouali, the Interior Ministry’s official in charge of migration and border surveillance, said.

  • Saturation policing criminalises poverty, activists say

    IPS
    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    The policy of a saturation police presence in the favelas or shantytowns that are home to around 20 percent of the population of Rio de Jnaeiro is merely a means of criminalising poverty, because it does nothing to address the underlying question of social exclusion, which drives the violence, human rights groups complain. A year and a half ago, State Governor Sergio Cabral began to send Pacification Police Units (UPPs), made up of members of the military police, into the slums to wrest control from drug gangs. The UPPs "are just one more way to exercise control over the poor," said Patricia Oliveira, a member of the Community Network Against Violence.

  • Ending drug prohibition: the ultimate austerity measure

    OpEd by Frits Bolkestein, Els Borst c.s.
    NRC Handelsblad (The Netherlands)
    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    bolkestein-opedThe ban on recreational drugs promotes crime and is bad for public health. Austerity measures to cut public spending are a hot topic for debate everywhere in Europe. In the Netherlands, where a new parliament will be elected next month, several proposals to reduce spending by 30 billion euros are on the table. All of these proposals hit where it hurts, but one option could actually be a welcome relief: drug regulation. (See also: Former ministers: legalise all drugs!)

  • Former ministers: legalise all drugs!

    RNW (The Netherlands)
    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    'Save the country, legalise drugs.' Under this striking banner, two former Dutch government ministers (for foreign affairs and health) are launching their revolutionary plan. They estimate that more than half of all the costs of crime are related to drugs. They argue that by regulating their production and sale and imposing strict government supervision, drug crime will disappear. And they say that would lead to unprecedented savings for the police and judiciary.

  • Berlin set to relax cannabis laws

    High Times in the German Capital
    Der Spiegel (Germany)
    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    cannabis-packageA new marijuana policy could make it legal for individuals to posses up to 15 grams (0.5 ounces) of the drug in the German capital. The regulation would make Berlin among the most cannabis-friendly in Europe. German federal law prohibits the possession of marijuana beyond a "small amount" but leaves it up to the states to determine exactly what that amount should be. Most states, including Brandenburg, which surrounds Berlin, define a "small amount" as 6 grams.

  • Crack untamed: treat users, kill the market

    Flávia Resende
    Comunidad segura
    May 7, 2010

    crack-minasBrazil will soon have a special police task force targeting crack-cocaine. Meanwhile, the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais proposes its own drug fighting alternatives to address crack on the domestic front. Crack is a risk factor in urban violence, contributing to homicides and robberies in Brazilian cities. However, it is not the chemistry involved in crack, but the crack market that is increasing the crime and violence. How can rising crack use effectively be addressed, other than through mere suppression?

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  • European court weighs cannabis ban for foreigners

    NRC Handelsblad (The Netherlands)
    Monday, May 3, 2010

    A Dutch city has banned foreigners from its cannabis selling coffee shops. A European court will now decide whether this is legal. The continuing struggle of Dutch border towns against drug tourism could soon take a new turn, as the European Court of Justice (ECJ) prepares to hand down a ruling regarding one of the most severe measures employed in this battle so far. The ECJ heard arguments in Josemans v. Maastricht. (See also: Court backs Dutch ruling on coffee shops)

  • Dry spell: Hashish prices skyrocket, users fret amid shortage

    The notion of a "dry" Egypt is so unfathomable that even following mainstream reports of the crackdown, many are still seeking an explanation for the hash shortage
    Egypt Independent (Egypt)
    Thursday, April 1, 2010

    egypt-hashFor the past two months local drug consumers in Egypt – which the most conservative estimates place at around 7 million – have been in the throes of what has become the talk of the town: the ongoing hashish shortage and its resultant price hikes. The majority of Egypt's hashish is imported from Morocco, while a smaller percentage is brought from Lebanon. Many have now turned to illicit pharmaceuticals, such as opiate-based analgesics like Tramadol, Altadol (street name: strawberries) and Epidural, the prices of which have marginally increased recently.

  • Coffee shop owner sentenced for running criminal organisation

    NRC Handelsblad (The Netherlands)
    Thursday, March 25, 2010

    The owner of the Netherlands' largest cannabis-selling coffee shop was convicted for running a criminal organisation that purchased large quantities of drugs and processed and stored them. Meddy Willemsen, of the Checkpoint coffee shop in the southern border town Terneuzen, was given a 10 milion euro fine.The Middelburg district court ruled the cafe regularly had more than the legal limit of 500 grammes of cannabis on its premises. (See also: Coffee shop trial is test for Dutch drugs policy | Owner of massive cannabis café cleared of most charges on appeal)

  • Jury still out on government’s hash crackdown

    Politicians generally agree that the past years’ police raids on Christiania’s hash trade have been unsuccessful, but they differ on forwarding a viable solution
    The Copenhagen Post (Denmark)
    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    It was exactly six years ago this week that police conducted their first full-scale raid on Pusher Street, the famed road in the city’s Christiania area where people could openly buy hashish. The raids were the result of the Liberal-Conservative government’s decision to crack down hard on the area’s hash trade. But today, both police and politicians admit that the trade still thrives on the street, if in a somewhat more discreet fashion.

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