Bolivia's government has informed the United Nations it is renouncing the world body's anti-drug convention because it classifies coca leaf as an illegal drug, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday. Bolivia's decision comes after a proposal by President Evo Morales to remove language obliging countries that have signed the convention to ban the chewing of coca leaves was rejected following U.S. objections.
Since time immemorial, Mexicans have argued that were it not for U.S. demand for illicit substances, Mexico would have a manageable drug problem. More recently, we have also contended that absent the U.S.'s laxity on arms sales and its tolerance for the possession of extraordinarily dangerous weapons, the violence in our country would not be what it has become. Lately our leaders have added a new gripe: Americans are hypocrites because they support prohibitionist and costly drug-enforcement policies — yet, through the specious fallacy of medical marijuana, are legalizing drugs without saying so.
Bolivia initially proposed an amendment to article 49, deleting the therein contained obligation that “coca leaf chewing must be abolished”. The article allowed countries only a temporary exemption, but coca chewing had to be phased out in any case within 25 years which expired end 1989 (the 1961 Convention entered into force in December 1964). By the closure of the January 31, 2011, deadline to file objections to the Bolivian amendment, 18 objections were submitted (though the one from Ukraine seemingly did not arrive in time).
The bipartisan measure -- H.R. 2306, the 'Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011' and sponsored by Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank and Texas Republican Ron Paul prohibits the federal government from prosecuting adults who use or possess personal use amounts of marijuana by removing the plant and its primary psychoactive constituent, THC, from the five schedules of the United States Controlled Substances Act of 1970.
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, has called for a new approach, having identified an unlikely ally. She wants to exploit the localism agenda of communities secretary Eric Pickles, the no-nonsense cabinet bruiser from Bradford, to decriminalise drug use in the city. If Lucas, the first Green MP in England, gets her way, a town which has gained a reputation as one of the most tolerant in the country will become a pioneer in liberal drugs policy as well.
Press conference by H.E. Pablo Solon, Permanent Representative of the Plurinational State of Bolivia on the theme, "denounce and rejoin the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, with respect to coca leaf chewing”.
Bolivia is set to withdraw from an international narcotics convention in protest at its classification of coca leaves as an illegal drug. President Evo Morales, who is also the leader of one of the country's main coca producers' unions, has asked Congress to pass a law that would take Bolivia out of the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The government says that the convention contravenes the Bolivian constitution, which states that the country is obliged to preserve and protect the chewing of coca leaves as a cultural heritage and ancestral practice.
"If you can't control drugs in a maximum security prison, then how can you control drugs in a free society?" Those are my words that close Breaking theTaboo, a poignant new film about the global drug war. Breaking the Taboo is a stark and honest portrayal of the global war on drugs and its failure to resolve the many issues that derive from prohibition. The main character of the film is the former President of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
Once praised lavishly by the United States for waging a war on drugs, Mexico's last two presidents now say legalizing them may be the best way to end the rising violence the U.S.-backed campaign has unleashed. Though public support for some legalization is growing on both sides of the border, resistance is firmly entrenched in the U.S. government and analysts say Mexico is very unlikely to liberalize its drug laws without Washington's approval.
Marijuana laws should be set at the state, not federal, level, Reps. Ron Paul and Barney Frank argued in a bill they introduced Thursday. The goal of the bill, HR 2306 or the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011, is not to legalize marijuana but to remove it from the list of federally controlled substances while allowing states to decide how they will regulate it.
The bill introduced today would allow states to determine their own marijuana laws -- not just medical marijuana laws -- without federal interference. The bill would also remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Since Congress and President Nixon placed marijuana in the strictest of five schedules in 1970, marijuana has been in the same category as heroin.
It's been forty years since President Nixon declared a "war on drugs." And we're not winning. In local communities, Black and Latino men are being singled out unfairly and fed into the prison system for minor drug offenses; in Mexico, an unspeakably brutal drug war continues with no signs of cessation; sick people continue to be denied legal access to medical marijuana that could ease their pain. But there are signs that things are changing.
In a rolling process, Dutch "coffee shops", where cannabis is freely sold for private consumption, could soon become closed clubs. New government rules may force some 660 coffee shops that now sell cannabis over the counter to become members-only clubs with strict registration procedures, accessible only to Dutch residents. The government says the new policy is a bid to curb the "nuisance" of drug tourists and to fight organised crime.
Marijuana should be legalized, regulated, taxed and made available for sale to adults. Prohibition has failed. It fuels criminal gangs. It fills the prisons in America and graveyards in Mexico. To end marijuana prohibition at the federal level, several states need to defy federal authority. That is how the politics works. The Legislature will not do it, nor will Gov. Chris Gregoire. But the people of Washington can, through a ballot initiative.
Washington state would be defying federal drug laws if an initiative filed Wednesday with the Secretary of State to legalize and regulate marijuana is adopted. But backers said Wednesday that states can take the lead in ending what they call the nation's failed war on drugs, much as individual states, including Washington, repealed Prohibition before the federal government.
A coalition that includes former U.S. Attorney John McKay, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and travel guide Rick Steves is launching an initiative that would legalize marijuana in Washington state. The New Approach Washington group, led by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, decided to push the initiative this spring after Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed most of a medical-marijuana bill that had passed the state Legislature.
War, as I came to report it, was something fought between people with causes, however crazy or honourable: like between the American and British occupiers of Iraq and the insurgents who opposed them. Then I stumbled across Mexico's drug war – which has claimed nearly 40,000 lives, mostly civilians – and all the rules changed. This is warfare for the 21st century, and another creature altogether.
Across the United States, people struggling with chronic illness increasingly are questioning US policy toward marijuana, a homeopathic substance that until 1937 was, for the most part, legal and regulated. Friday marks the 40th anniversary of the "war on drugs". And what do we have as a result?Hundreds of billions of dollars wasted in the midst of a fragile economy, the financial and social cost of imprisoning hundreds of thousands of offenders annually, and patients like Dolin who continue to suffer due to our failed policies.
Brazilian demonstrators held marches on the weekend calling for marijuana to be legalized after the country's top court ruled the gatherings could go ahead in the name of freedom of speech. The demonstrations were held in 40 towns and cities late Saturday, according to Brazilian media.
"The war on drugs has failed," said a recent report compiled by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which comprised a former UN secretary-general, former presidents of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, a former US Secretary of State and a host of public intellectuals, human rights activists and politicians.