• 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

    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.

  • Supreme Court decision on sentencing guidelines gives judges more leeway

    The Washington Post (US)
    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Jason Pepper, a former meth addict and drug dealer from the heartland, says he got lucky when he was finally arrested. A sympathetic judge gave him a fraction of the prison time he could have received and, more importantly, sent him to a place where he got extensive drug treatment. Then his luck ran out, when appeals courts said his sentence was too lenient. Even though all acknowledged that he had turned his life around, he was sent back to prison.

  • Dutch city wants to grow cannabis in a cooperative

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    The Dutch city of Utrecht wants cannabis smokers to grow their own marijuana in a cooperative, a move which would go against the Netherlands' drive to discourage soft drug use. It also would be illegal, the government said.

  • Ecstasy does not wreck the mind, study claims

    Previous research was flawed, say experts, but findings will shock those who campaign against the drug's use
    The Observer (UK)
    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    ecstasyThere is no evidence that ecstasy causes brain damage, according to one of the largest studies into the effects of the drug. Too many previous studies made over-arching conclusions from insufficient data, say the scientists responsible for the research, and the drug's dangers have been greatly exaggerated. The study was carried out by a team led by Professor John Halpern of Harvard Medical School and published in the journal Addiction last week. The finding will shock campaigners who have claimed ecstasy poses a real risk of triggering brain damage. They have argued that it can induce memory loss, decrease cognitive performance and has long-lasting effects on behaviour.

  • Washington state should lead on marijuana legalization

    Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes argues that its time to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana. Outright prohibition isn't working
    The Seattle Times (US)
    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    Marijuana prohibition is more than a practical failure; it has been a misuse of both taxpayer dollars and the government's authority over the people. As the steward of reduced prosecutorial dollars, I am the first Seattle city attorney to stop prosecuting marijuana-possession cases and to call for the legalization, taxation and regulation of marijuana for adult recreational use.

  • Drug War Anniversary a Time for Reflection and Action

    Ethan Nadelmann
    The Huffington Post (US)
    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Some anniversaries provide an occasion for celebration, others a time for reflection, still others a time for action. This June will mark forty years since President Nixon declared a "war on drugs," identifying drug abuse as "public enemy No. 1." As far as I know, no celebrations are planned. What's needed, indeed essential, are reflection -- and action.

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