The three UN Drug Conventions of 1961, 1971 and 1988 currently impose a ‘one-size-fits-all’ prohibitionist approach to drug policy throughout the world. This new report explains in detail how the Conventions could be amended in order to give countries greater freedom to adopt drug policies better suited to their special needs.
L'autoculture de cannabis croît et se multiplie. C'est la tendance observée par l'Observatoire français des drogues et des toxicomanies (OFDT) qui dénombre 200 000 cultivateurs particuliers de marijuana en France. Une culture domestique généralement pratiquée à l'abri des regards et sous les néons d'un appartement. Mais pas seulement. Depuis 2009, certains se réunissent dans des "cannabis social clubs". Des coopératives, calquées sur le modèle espagnol, au sein desquelles les adhérents font pousser et partagent leurs plants.
India’s strict narcotics laws have been ineffective. Supply and demand for all narcotic and synthetic drugs has risen rapidly after the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) in 1985. All the police does is arrest the most defenceless in the drug chain — drug users, and those who sell small quantities to pay for their addiction.
The Czech Republic already has one of the world’s most liberal approach to recreational drug possession. And it will get more liberal still: beginning next year the government will allow marijuana to be distributed by pharmacies for patients with a prescription. Lawmakers in parliament’s lower house overwhelmingly passed a bill clearing the way for legal, but regulated medical marijuana on December 7.
Divisions between David Cameron and Nick Clegg over Britain's "war on drugs" emerged on Friday after the Liberal Democrat leader said that current policy was not working and accused politicians of "a conspiracy of silence". He said Cameron should have the courage to look at issues such as decriminalisation or legalisation of drugs. (See also: Nick Clegg calls for royal commission on drugs reform)
The Home Affairs Select Committee in the United Kingdom report on drug policy draws on lessons from Portugal’s decriminalisation of drug possession and puts forward a case for the UK reconsidering its own policies. Alex Stevens assesses the situation in Portugal, noting that while decriminalisation has coincided with a fall in the most problematic forms of drug use, it is not the only factor. (See also: Portugal: Ten Years After Decriminalization)
In 2001, a small European country, Portugal, took a brave step, changing its drug policies and refocussing its efforts away from arresting and criminalising drug users, towards smart public health interventions. How did the political establishment of a Catholic-Conservative country come to such an agreement about decriminalization? How does the system work? Is it effective?
Marijuana is one of the primary reasons why California experienced a stunning 20 percent drop in juvenile arrests in just one year, between 2010 and 2011, according to the San Francisco-based Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice (CJCJ). The center recently released a policy briefing with an analysis of arrest data collected by the California Department of Justice’s Criminal Justice Statistics Center. The briefing, “California Youth Crime Plunges to All-Time Low,” identifies a new state marijuana decriminalization law that applies to juveniles, not just adults, as the driving force behind the plummeting arrest totals.
Latin American drug policies have made no dent in the drug trade; instead they have taken a tremendous toll on human lives. In 2009, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the Transnational Institute (TNI) embarked on an ambitious project to document the real impact of Latin America’s “war on drugs” and to show its human cost through the video testimonies of the victims themselves.
Two years ago, California’s bid to legalize marijuana—Proposition 19—achieved great notoriety in Latin America, but ultimately fell short at the ballot box. Next Tuesday, voters in the state of Washington appear ready to do what Prop 19’s supporters could not quite achieve—an Election Day victory.
In September 2012, the mayor of Bogotá, Gustavo Petro, launched the first centre for drug addicts in the Bronx, a marginalised city-centre neighbourhood. Called the Medical Care Centre for Dependent Drug Users (Centro de Atención Médica a Drogodependientes - CAMAD), it is staffed by psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors and nurses. The people given care in these centres are in an at-risk situation and socially excluded due to their high levels of drug dependency.
In recent years there has been much talk of the so-called “Portuguese model,” based on an initiative that led to the use of illicit drugs being decriminalised in 2001. In fact, it is often said that Portugal was the first country in Europe to decriminalise drug use de jure, while Spain, for example, took that step de facto for the first time in 1974, except that it was not through a specific law but rather as a result of a Supreme Court ruling.
Brazil has been struggling with drug violence for years. The problem got so bad that the country passed a law in 2006 to distinguish between dealers and users in handing out sentences, meant to reduce the overwhelming pressure on the justice and jail systems and to better single out dealers. But since then, the number of Brazilians in prison for drug charges has more than doubled and its total prison population has grown by 37 percent.
What should be researched is not drugs policy but drugs politics, the hold that taboo has on those in power, and the thrall that rightwing newspapers have over them. This has nothing to do with public opinion, which is now strongly in favour of reform. Most sensible people find the present regime disastrous and want drugs regulated, rather than the wild west that is the urban drug scene today. It is politicians who think "soft on drugs" implies some loss of potency. It is the greatest single failure of modern statecraft.
Speaking on radio France Inter, Vincent Peillon said, "This is a major issue. I now see almost every night on television reports of illicit trafficking in our suburbs and the danger in which our people live, including school children. Of course, it can be fought by law enforcement. I am absolutely in favour of that, but at the same time, I can see that the results are not very efficient. The question (of decriminalization) has been asked and I hope we can move to seriously address it,” reports 20minutes.fr. (RFI: Outrage after French education minister hints cannabis should be legalised)
Last week, delegates at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention voted in support of the decriminalization and taxation of marijuana. This vote was in accordance with the principles of the Sensible Policing Act put forward by the Sensible B.C. Campaign, which aims to decriminalize the possession of marijuana, regulate its use (i.e., prohibit minors from using it, just as we do with tobacco and alcohol) and call on the federal government to allow B.C. to investigate how to best tax it for revenue.
British Columbia’s municipal politicians, sensing shifting emotional attitudes towards marijuana and a possible major new revenue source, voted to lobby Ottawa to decriminalize pot and study the benefits of taxing and regulating cannabis. The mayors and councillors from across the province clapped and cheered after voting to support marijuana decriminalization during a stirring debate in a crowded hall at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention. (See also: B.C. mayors vote to decriminalize pot: That was the easy part)
Former B.C. attorney general Geoff Plant said the debate comes as Washington looks at a tax and regulation plan, and this is an opportunity for a coordinated strategy on both sides of the border. "The old argument that we can't do anything here in Canada because we can't get too far ahead of American public policy is increasingly no longer relevant."