Santos spelled out the radical ideas which he hopes will create a fresh approach. He said: "A new approach should try and take away the violent profit that comes with drug trafficking… If that means legalising, and the world thinks that's the solution, I will welcome it. I'm not against it." But he is clear that any initiatives need to be part of a co-ordinated international plan of action and he rules out any unilateral action by Colombia. "What I won't do is to become the vanguard of that movement because then I will be crucified."
The California Medical Association, representing more than 35,000 physicians statewide, questions the medical value of pot and acknowledges some health risk from its use but urges it be regulated like alcohol. It is the first major medical association in the nation to urge legalization of the drug. Dr. Donald Lyman, who wrote the group's new policy, attributed the shift to growing frustration over California's medical marijuana law, which permits cannabis use with a doctor's recommendation. That has created an untenable situation for physicians: deciding whether to give patients a substance that is illegal under federal law.
A Washington State Democrat has introduced a bill to legalize marijuana and sell it in liquor stores. Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson filed House Bill 1550 on Tuesday, which proposes pot be sold to adults aged 21 and up. The bill argues regulation and taxation of weed would "generate revenue for health care programs" and "create jobs in the agricultural sector." It suggests the state's Liquor Control Board could issue licenses for marijuana growing.
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.
Part of the solution to end drug violence in Mexico should include legalizing drugs like marijuana for personal use, according to former President Vicente Fox. "In order to get out of this trap (of drug violence caused by organized crime), I'm specifically proposing the legalization of the drug," Fox said. He also said the Mexican government should "retire the army from the task of combating criminal gangs."
I recently returned from the desert city of Durango, Mexico, where forensic officials are still trying to identify some 240 corpses discovered this year in mass graves. More than 200 other bodies have been found in similar fosas across northern Mexico. All were victims, many of them innocent victims, of the drug-trafficking violence whose barbarity seems bottomless. But it's fueled in large part by the just as endless American appetite for illegal drugs – which itself is due in no small part to the fact that our anti-drug policies are so narrow-mindedly focused on battling supply instead of reducing demand.
Should the use of cannabis be legalised to end the dealing that has poisoned life in France's banlieues, and to guarantee the quality of a substance that is widely consumed but is often of very poor quality? The economist Pierre Kopp, of Paris University, has compared the cost of combating cannabis abuse with its possible cost if legalised. He considers that, as with tobacco use, the key factor in cannabis legalisation would be the duty levied by the state: ideally that duty should be high enough to prevent increased consumption of the substance, while bringing in sufficient revenue to fund prevention.
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.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Monday turned up pressure on the United States to curb demand for illicit drugs, hinting that legalization of narcotics may be needed to weaken the drug cartels. Mexico, which has been racked by a bloody conflict between the government and drug cartels, is paying the price for its proximity to the United States, Calderon said in a speech to the Americas Society and Council of the Americas in New York.
The issue of legalising cannabis is once again making headlines in France following the release of a parliamentary report on Wednesday recommending that the drug should be subject to “controlled legalisation”. One leading critic of international drug policy doubts that the debate will inspire a sea change in French policy.
Napoleon's troops first brought over the mysterious dried leaf called hashish from Egypt in the early 1800s. Soon, it was being sold in pharmacies across France and gaining adherents, especially among the bohemian intellectual crowd. Today, France has some of the most conservative drugs laws in Europe. A high-level parliamentary report released recently concluded that it was impossible to continue "advocating the illusion of abstinence" and recommended that the drug be subject to "controlled legalization."
Juan Manuel Santos, the Colombian president, has called for the global legalisation of marijuana to help combat the trafficking of harder drugs and related violence. "The world needs to discuss new approaches ... we are basically still thinking within the same framework as we have done for the last 40 years," he said. Asked if making marijuana legal could offer a way forward, Mr Santos said it could and that he would support it "provided everyone does it at the same time".
The parliamentary report recommends “controlled legalisation” of the cultivation and consumption of cannabis in France. The report, compiled by a working group of the Socialist Party, headed by the former minister of the Interior Daniel Vaillaint, recommends that the cultivation and sale of cannabis should become a state-controlled activity, like the sale of alcohol and tobacco, and concluded that the government cannot continue to “advocate the illusion of abstinence”.See also: Légaliser le cannabis, mode d’emploi, Journal du Dimanche, 16 Juin 2011 (in French)
Many Americans continue to believe that marijuana should be legalized, but are not supportive of making other drugs readily available, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found. In the online survey of a representative national sample of 1,003 American adults, 55 per cent of respondents support the legalization of marijuana, while 40 per cent oppose it.
Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
06 July 2011
Let's be clear: HR 2306, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011, proposed by Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul, does not "legalize drugs" or even so much as legalize marijuana. Rather, this legislation removes the power to prosecute minor marijuana offenders from the federal government and relinquishes this authority to state and local jurisdictions.
A new coalition of high-profile health, academic and justice experts is mounting a campaign to legalize and regulate marijuana in British Columbia, arguing the policy change would reduce gang violence and convert criminal profits into new tax revenues. The push comes as the federal Conservative government moves to pass polar opposite legislation, an omnibus crime bill aiming to toughen penalties for drug traffickers along with other law-and-order measures. Calling itself Stop the Violence BC, the group released it first report and is pledging to issue further scientific research, poll results and hold public forums in an effort to pressure politicians towards its cause.
GOP presidential candidate Gary Johnson drew headlines earlier this month when he said he would issue a full presidential pardon for anyone serving a prison sentence for marijuana. He elaborated on that promise adding that it's only a matter of time before marijuana is legalized. "Clearly it is when, not if," he said of legalizing cannabis. "When 50 percent of the population says to the other 50 percent, 'You belong behind bars for your actions,' that's not good law, that is just not good law at all."
In a parliamentary debate in the House of Commons, David Cameron said: "I ask the Labour government not to return to retribution and war on drugs. That has been tried and we all know that it does not work." That was in December 2002. And as a member of the home affairs select committee on drug misuse, Cameron supported the following recommendation: "That the government initiates a discussion within the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of alternative ways – including the possibility of legalisation and regulation – to tackle the global drugs dilemma."