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  • Ex-Officer in Philippines says he led death squad at Duterte’s behest

    At least 3,600 people, and possibly thousands more, have been killed by the police or vigilantes since Duterte became president in June
    The New York Times (US)
    Monday, February 20, 2017

    A retired police officer racked with guilt over the murders of two of his own brothers has reversed himself and confessed to leading the Philippine death squad that killed them, saying that he was acting on the direct orders of Rodrigo Duterte before he became president. The former officer, Arthur Lascañas, said at a news conference that Mr. Duterte had sponsored the killings of drug and crime suspects while he was mayor of the southern city of Davao. Mr. Lascañas has now become the second professed hit man to level such accusations against Mr. Duterte. (See also: Thousands of Filipino Catholics march against death penalty, war on drugs)

  • Trend for ‘home grown’ cannabis in Austria

    Austrian police say that growers are increasingly renting remote industrial premises or houses in order to set up indoor cannabis plantations
    The Local (Austria)
    Monday, February 20, 2017
    cannabis indoorWhen it comes to drugs, Austrians are increasingly turning to cannabis and buying from ‘home growers’ based in Austria, according to a public prosecutor. “People are not buying so many hard drugs, but are increasingly buying cannabis. What’s interesting is that fewer drugs are being imported and the cannabis is frequently grown in the country," public prosecutor Barbara Haider told the Kurier newspaper. The decline in imported cannabis may be due to the fact that the technical equipment for growing cannabis plants is easily obtainable in so-called grow or head shops and stricter border controls along the Balkans route to Austria, as a result of the refugee crisis.
  • Advocacy group calls for reform of Burma’s drug laws and policies

    The key recommendations raised by DPAG included decriminalization of drug use and of small-scale poppy farming by those with limited sources of livelihood
    The Irrawaddy (Myanmar)
    Friday, February 17, 2017

    The Drug Policy Advocacy Group (DPAG) has called for a reform of Burma’s drug laws, demanding new policies focusing on the rehabilitation of drug users. “The 1993 Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law focuses on punishment. But what then, after a drug user is given imprisonment?” asked Dr. Nang Pann Ei Kham, coordinator of DPAG, during a panel discussion in Rangoon. According to the law, anyone found guilty “shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend from a minimum of 5 years to a maximum of 10 years and may also be liable to a fine.” DPAG has been working to develop an advocacy platform for “non-punitive, evidence-based drug policy changes”. (See: 'Found in the Dark' - The Impact of Drug Law Enforcement Practices in Myanmar)

  • Brazil Supreme Court judge calls for drugs legalisation to beat gangs

    Rising fears about the violence plaguing Brazil's overcrowded prisons and city slums
    Reuters (UK)
    Saturday, February 11, 2017

    roberto barrosoA Brazilian Supreme Court justice called for the legalization of marijuana and even cocaine to undo the growing power of drug gangs behind a wave of violence that has shaken Latin America's largest country. Justice Roberto Barroso, a Yale graduate and constitutional law professor, said 50 years of war against drugs had failed miserably, clogging jails with small-time dealers and fuelling a violent gang battle for control of the lucrative trade. "Unlike the United States and Europe where the problem lies in the impact drugs have on consumers, in Brazil the problem lies in the power drug traffickers have over poor communities," Barroso said.

  • A rare survivor of a Philippine drug raid takes the police to court

    The case comes as the antidrug program has been temporarily suspended
    The New York Times (US)
    Friday, February 10, 2017

    philippines duterte delarosaAs the only known survivor of a so-called buy-bust operation, Mr. Morillo has provided a chilling first-person account that challenges the government’s assertion that the thousands of suspects killed in President Rodrigo Duterte’s antidrug campaign were killed by the police in self-defense. And his testimony lies at the heart of the first court case to challenge that campaign. According to his sworn affidavit, none of the five suspects were drug users and none were armed. (See also: Rodrigo Duterte says drug war will go on as police plan purge | Duterte targets Philippine children in bid to widen drug war)

  • In Duterte’s footsteps, Hun Sen launches a drug war

    Cambodia's new war on drugs aims to blunt a spike in addiction and trafficking, but critics see a publicity stunt ahead of crucial provincial elections
    Asia Times
    Thursday, February 9, 2017

    Cambodia’s newly launched war on drugs is in full swing, with nearly 3,000 people arrested in the campaign’s first month of crime-busting. Authorities claim they have confiscated over 9kg of illegal drugs in busts on dealers and users, with more than half the haul being crystal methamphetamine, one of the country’s most prevalent and abused narcotics. Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government announced the campaign in December shortly after a state visit by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has made global waves through his violent execution of an anti-drugs drive that has seen more than 7,000 deaths. (See also: Indonesians fear Duterte-style assassinations, drug war)

  • Peru's Government proposes to legalise medical marijuana

    President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski says plan stems from Lima police raid on house where group of parents were found growing marijuana to make oil to treat children's epilepsy
    The Independent (UK)
    Thursday, February 9, 2017

    Peru's government says it will present to the opposition-dominated legislature a plan to legalise the medical use of marijuana “for the treatment of serious and terminal illnesses.” President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski's administration said the plan was developed after police raided a house in a Lima neighborhood where a group of parents grew marijuana to make oil for treating their children suffering from epilepsy and other diseases. Officials say that trafficking and use of marijuana for other purposes would remain a crime under the proposal.

  • Marijuana, made in Italy

    Italian military dope has less THC but more CBD, compared to its street-bought equivalent
    The Local (Italy)
    Wednesday, February 1, 2017

    The first batches of made-in-Italy pot have just arrived in pharmacies. Its production is just one of the activities of the military's 164-year-old chemical and pharmaceutical institute (ICFM). The body prides itself on the fact that its cannabis was registered as a pharmaceutical product by Italy's medicines agency in September 2015. The quality has to be reliable because the output from the military's Cannabis Project Team is destined for patients, not potheads.

  • Marijuana health trends mostly positive but still bear watching

    Overall marijuana-related hospitalizations have increased since 2008
    Colorado Springs Gazette (US)
    Tuesday, January 31, 2017

    colorado marijuanaMarijuana-related emergency room visits dropped, accidental poisonings are down and recreational marijuana failed to bring a much-feared spike in adolescent pot use. The results were detailed in the latest report by the Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee - a group of epidemiologists, toxicologists, psychiatrists, physicians and public health officials studying health-related marijuana trends in Colorado. The state's chief toxicologist, Mike Van Dyke, called the trends "encouraging," because it signaled that education campaigns by either the state or the marijuana industry appear to be resonating with users."

  • Jailed for a puff

    Why Tunisia's prisons are crammed with cannabis users
    France 24 (France)
    Wednesday, February 1, 2017

    Many Tunisian prisons are overcrowded, some at 150 percent of their capacity — and authorities say one third of the inmates are there only for marijuana use. Under Tunisia’s Law 52, authorities can carry out random urine tests that can lead to convictions for marijuana use or possession and an automatic one-year prison sentence. Law 52 convictions have been on the rise, going from just a few hundred to several thousand over the last 15 years. But in February parliament is set to debate reforms that could cut down on overcrowding. (See also: “All this for a Joint” - Tunisia’s repressive drug law and a roadmap for its reformCannabis in Tunisia)

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