Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media

 

  • Seattle's Marijuana-Garden Ordinance: The New Don't Ask, Don't Tell

    Seattle Weekly (US)
    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    Like every section that's left of the mostly vetoed medical-marijuana-reform law that passed in April, section 403 is vague, confusing, and inadequate to the task of regulating cannabis. Section 403, however, might be the single most important scrap of law to survive Gov. Chris Gregoire's veto pen. It's from this section, after all, that the City of Seattle, just three days ago, effectively legalized medical-marijuana gardens and dispensaries (city officials prefer the term "access points").

  • "The war against drugs has failed"

    A report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy has concluded that the war on drugs has failed, triggering a heated debate in the United States
    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    branson-dreifuss The report, written by a high-profile panel including former Swiss cabinet minister Ruth Dreifuss, criticises the repressive approach in the US and calls for the legalisation of some drugs and an end to the criminalisation of drug users. Dreifuss recalled the “powerful experience” of Switzerland, “an experience in public health which leads to police and criminal interventions increasingly connected with the policies of social integration and which has given excellent results under very serious scientific supervision, for example the almost total elimination of overdoses and the remarkable drop in petty crime”.

    French version: "Guerre contre la drogue… un constat d’échec"

  • Coca is not Cocaine

    Thomas Grisaffi, Fellow in the Department of Social Anthropology
    Comment and opinion
    London School of Economics
    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    On June 22nd under instruction from President Evo Morales (an ex-coca grower and leader of Bolivia’s powerful coca federation), Bolivia’s congress voted to withdraw from the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The government’s decision to step out of the most important international legal framework for drug control generated unease in international government and policy circles. Opposition parties in Bolivia responded to the news by claiming that the government had caved into pressure from drug traffickers. Meanwhile The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime classified the decision as ‘worrying’. Contrary to these voices the Bolivian government has very good reasons to abandon the convention.

  • Bolivia drops out of UN drug pact to protect its coca chewers

    Bolivia intends to reapply to the UN Convention on Narcotic Drugs, but with a reservation that it does not recognize the ban on chewing the coca leaf, a practice with a long national tradition
    The Christian Science Monitor (US)
    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Bolivia has presented a denunciation to the UN that seals its resignation from the United Nations 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which bans chewing the coca leaf. The denunciation responds to “the need to guarantee respect for the human rights of indigenous peoples, and all who chew coca as a traditional cultural practice,” said Bolivia’s foreign minister David Choquehuanca of the country’s unprecedented resignation from the convention.

  • In booming Brazil, crack strikes late but hard

    The Associated Press
    Monday, July 18, 2011

    About two decades after the U.S. emerged from the worst of its own crack epidemic, Brazilian authorities are watching the cheap drug spread across this country of 190 million people. They have far fewer resources to deal with it, despite a booming economy that expanded 7.5 percent last year. Walter Maierovitch, a former drug czar, proposes programs that offer adults health services and a safe place to use drugs. "Insisting on programs that demand abstinence doesn't work," he said.

  • New federal memo on medical marijuana stirs angst

    The Sacramento Bee (US)
    Monday, July 18, 2011

    In October 2009, medical marijuana advocates celebrated a U.S. Department of Justice memo declaring that federal authorities wouldn't target the legal use of medicinal pot in states where it is permitted. The memo from Deputy U.S. Attorney General David Ogden was credited with accelerating a California medical marijuana boom, including a proliferation of dispensaries that now handle more than $1 billion in pot transactions. But last month brought a new memo from another deputy attorney general, James Cole. And this time, it is stirring industry fears of federal raids on pot dispensaries and sweeping crackdowns on large-scale medical pot cultivation.

  • Seattle to license, tax medical marijuana gardens

    The city of Seattle plans to start taxing and licensing medical marijuana operations like any other business, in response to changes in state law that have left the industry in a legal morass
    The Seattle Times (US)
    Monday, July 18, 2011

    The Seattle City Council unanimously passed rules Monday requiring that medical marijuana operations be licensed, obtain food-handling permits if they sell marijuana-infused cookies or other items, and follow all other regulations such as land use and historic preservation codes. The approach is the opposite of what several other local cities have done - imposing moratoriums on such operations. A spokesman for Mayor Mike McGinn said he expects to sign the measure quickly.

  • Despite Legalization in New Jersey, Medical Marijuana Remains Out of Reach

    The New York Times (US)
    Monday, July 17, 2011

    In the last few months, officials in New Jersey, as well as several other states, have said that mixed signals from the Obama administration have left them unsure whether their medical marijuana programs could draw federal prosecution of the people involved, including state employees.

  • Medical Marijuana: A Science-Free Zone At The White House

    Bill Piper, Drug Policy Alliance
    The Huffington Post (US web)
    Friday, July 15, 2011

    President Obama came into office promising to reverse George W. Bush administration practices and elevate science over politics. He explicitly applied that principle to drug policy, an area long driven by ideology and prejudice. He promoted three evidence-based drug policies: eliminating the ban on states using federal funding for syringe exchange programs to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis; reforming the racially unjust crack-cocaine sentencing disparity that punished crack offenses more harshly than powder offenses; and vowing to end years of federal interference in the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. But as a recent L.A. Times article makes dismayingly clear, the White House is putting the "science-free zone" sign back up.

  • Amsterdam's 'no toking' signs set to become more of a collector's item after legal setback

    The Associated Press
    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    After an only-in-the-Netherlands legal reverse, the city of Amsterdam will likely have to stub out the "no toking" signs it introduced in a crackdown on marijuana-smoking youth. The Dutch government's top legal adviser ruled that the city had no right to establish official zones where smoking weed is banned, since it's already theoretically illegal in the Netherlands. In practice, possession of small amounts of the drug is allowed, and it is sold openly in designated shops.

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