Drugs such as LSD and MDMA should be decriminalised and sold in pharmacies, the government's former chief drug advisor has said. Professor David Nutt said that many substances currently banned are no more toxic than alcohol and that the potential penalty and criminal record which go with them amount to more harm than the drugs themselves. He added that he was not in favour of full legalisation and "selling heroin in supermarkets" but said a system whereby drugs - including Class A substances - were sold in pharmacies could work.
The United States sees drug abuse as a public health problem as much as a crime issue and is seeking to learn from countries in Europe and elsewhere about how to treat addiction as a disease, Barack Obama's drugs policy chief Gil Kerlikowske said. He noted what he described as a "somewhat successful" fresh approach in Portugal, where since 2001 authorities have dispensed with arrests, trials and prison for people carrying a personal supply of any drug from marijuana to heroin and focused their efforts on prevention messages and treatment.
The startling, unprogrammed, and rebellious discussion about drugs that took place among hemispheric leaders in April at a summit in Cartagena, Colombia, barely mentioned addiction, because it’s too late for that. The discussion that for the first time in forty years challenged the United States’ dominance on drug issues focused urgently instead on the ways that the financial health, political stability, and national security of virtually every country in the Americas has been undermined by the drug trade.
New Jersey took a step toward decriminalizing marijuana possession today when an Assembly panel unanimously approved a bill that would allow offenders to pay fines instead of going to jail. Under the terms of the measure, anyone arrested with fewer than 15 grams of marijuana — just under a half-ounce or slightly more than 30 joints — would be subject to a $150 fine for a first offense, a $200 fine a second time and a $500 penalty for a third and subsequent offenses.
The new president of France, François Hollande, is not likely to change cannabis policies. His choice as Minister of the Interior, Manuel Valls, is a declared opponent to any reform on cannabis. During the election campaign, Hollande already opposed the proposal to convert the criminal offence of cannabis use into misdemeanour, put forward by his security adviser and mayor of Dijon, François Rebsamen. Hollande did not want to “give any signal foregoing a deterrent against the use of cannabis."
State-run hash and marijuana dispensaries won't be popping up in Copenhagen any time soon after the Justice Ministry this weekend turned down Copenhagen City Council's request to experiment with legalising cannabis in the city. In a letter to the council, the justice minister, Morten Bødskov (Socialdemokraterne), wrote that the government could not permit the experiment as they believed that legalising hash and marijuana would likely increase both availability and use, which was unwise given the range of side effects that cannabis has been linked to.
In the year 2000, as the president of Poland, I signed one of Europe’s most conservative laws on drug possession. Any amount of illicit substances a person possessed meant they were eligible for up to three years in prison. Our hope was that this would help to liberate Poland, and especially its youths, from drugs that not only have a potential to ruin the lives of the people who abuse them but also have been propelling the spread of HIV among people who inject them. We were mistaken on both of our assumptions.