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  1. How powerful synthetic drugs will upend drug markets globally

    01 December 2014
    Other news

    Illicit drugs made from plants (e.g., cocaine, heroin) are being replaced in some national drug markets by those that are synthesized (e.g., methamphetamine, fentanyl). The U.S. has had a parallel experience in the past decade with the rise of illicit consumption of synthetic opioids and cannabinoids. If illicit drug markets continue to separate from an agricultural base, it would upend traditional understandings of drug markets and drug policy.

  2. Legal pot in the U.S. may be undercutting Mexican marijuana

    30 November 2014
    Other news

    Made-in-America marijuana is on a roll. More than half the states have now voted to permit pot for recreational or medical use, most recently Oregon and Alaska. As a result, Americans appear to be buying more domestic marijuana, which in turn is undercutting growers and cartels in Mexico. "Two or three years ago, a kilogram of marijuana was worth $60 to $90," says Nabor, a 24-year-old pot grower in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa. "But now they're paying us $30 to $40 a kilo. It's a big difference." (See also: DEA: Cartels now smuggle U.S. pot into Mexico)

  3. Selling cannabis regulation

    • Emily Crick, Mark Cooke, David Bewley-Taylor
    29 November 2014
    Policy briefing

    In 2012, voters in the US states of Washington, Colorado and Oregon were given the opportunity to vote in ballot initiatives for the creation of legally regulated cannabis markets. Washington’s Initiative 502 and Colorado’s Amendment 64 both passed with 55.7% and 55.3% of the vote respectively. Oregon’s Measure 80 failed with 53.4% of those voting rejecting the measure. As calls for and legal processes towards the initiation of cannabis policy reform become more common within US states, it is a timely and useful exercise to reflect upon the campaigns for reform in Washington (WA), Colorado (CO) and Oregon (OR) and examine why the public supported cannabis policy reform in some instances and not others.

  4. Some pols pushing to legalize pot before voters do

    27 November 2014
    Other news

    Some state lawmakers say it’s high time Massachusetts hashes out a bill to legalize and tax marijuana, or, if left to voters, risk repeating the awkward ballot-to-reality rollout that’s plagued the fledgling medical marijuana industry. “It’s almost certain to be on the ballot in 2016, I think people are going to vote for it, and I think we have the responsibility to do it right,” said state Sen. Will Brownsberger, chairman of the Legislature’s judiciary committee. “I don’t think it’s wisest to leave it to whoever is writing the ballot question.”

  5. Into the breach: Drugs, control, and violating bad laws in good ways

    Rick Lines
    27 November 2014
    Opinion

    An October statement on drug control from the US State Department has prompted much comment and speculation at home and abroad. Delivered by Ambassador William Brownfield, the ‘Brownfield Doctrine’, as it has been named by some commentators, lays out a four pillar approach the United States will follow in matters of international drug control.

  6. Marijuana’s big-money Marley Brand makes a splash

    24 November 2014
    Other news

    Last week, NBC’s Today Show giddily announced an exclusive: Privateer Holdings, the Seattle marijuana company long acclaimed locally for its straight, corporate image and Ivy-League-educated bosses, was launching “the first global pot brand” based on the legacy of Bob Marley. The company is likely to start selling pot overseas, says Privateer public-relations director Zack Hutson, previously a spokesperson for Starbucks. “We’re in discussions with a distributor in Israel” – a country with a federally legal medical-marijuana system. Hutson also cites Uruguay and the Netherlands as potential early markets.

  7. Marijuana industry sets its sights on the mainstream

    24 November 2014
    Other news

    Marijuana is growing up. As Colorado and Washington’s recreational marijuana industries blossom and new markets in Oregon and Alaska begin to take shape, so-called ganjapreneurs are looking for ways to take cannabis mainstream. Before long, they hope, marijuana products will be as widely available as alcohol – and just as socially acceptable. While marijuana businesses may have dreams of mass market sales and global domination, for the moment, they seem to be taking the "go slow" approach.

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    Justicia transicional para la reforma del régimen de prohibición de drogas

    23 November 2014
    Other news

    La instrumentación del régimen global de prohibición ha tenido una historia centenaria de violaciones a los derechos humanos y extorsión a la soberanía de México desde principios del siglo XX. Ante el costo humano de la Guerra contra las Drogas, diversos grupos ciudadanos han pugnado separadamente por 1) la reforma de las políticas contra las drogas mediante su regulación y la instrumentación de políticas de reducción de daño y 2) garantizar el acceso a la justicia y la reconciliación de las comunidades y personas que han sido víctimas de la violencia relacionado con la Guerra, mediante redes sociales, actos públicos y litigios estratégicos.

  9. Pro-marijuana groups eye Northeastern states, including Maine

    22 November 2014
    Other news

    Marijuana advocates want to take their legalization drive — so far the province of Western states — to the Northeast, and they say the first state to do it here might be Maine. The Pine Tree State has a long history with cannabis — Maine voters approved medical marijuana legalization 15 years ago, becoming the first New England state to do so. Now, national marijuana advocates say, the state represents a chance for pro-marijuana forces to get a toehold in the Northeastern states they have long coveted.

  10. The great American relapse

    21 November 2014
    Other news

    The face of heroin use in America has changed utterly. Forty or fifty years ago heroin addicts were overwhelmingly male, disproportionately black, and very young. Most came from poor inner-city neighbourhoods. These days, the average user looks different. More than half are women, and 90% are white. The drug has crept into the suburbs and the middle classes. And although users are still mainly young, the age of initiation has risen: most first-timers are in their mid-20s. The spread of heroin to a new market of relatively affluent, suburban whites has allowed the drug to make a comeback, after decades of decline.

  11. Du Río de la Plata au Lac Léman

    • Frank Zobel, Marc Marthaler
    19 November 2014
    Policy briefing

    La politique vis-à-vis du cannabis est en rapide évolution. Ainsi, les citoyens de l'Alaska et de l'Oregon, comme ceux de Washington DC, la capitale des Etats-Unis, viennent à leur tour de légaliser la possession de cannabis et, pour les deux premiers, d'autoriser un marché régulé pour cette substance. Des expériences de ce type sont depuis peu en cours ailleurs aux Etats-Unis et dans le monde. Quelles leçons peut-on déjà en tirer? Addiction Suisse propose une vue d'ensemble des développements les plus récents dans les Amériques, en Europe et en Suisse.

     

  12. Du Río de la Plata au Lac Léman

    • Frank Zobel, Marc Marthaler
    19 November 2014
    Report

    La politique vis-à-vis du cannabis est en rapide évolution. Ainsi, les citoyens de l'Alaska et de l'Oregon, comme ceux de Washington DC, la capitale des Etats-Unis, viennent à leur tour de légaliser la possession de cannabis et, pour les deux premiers, d'autoriser un marché régulé pour cette substance. Des expériences de ce type sont depuis peu en cours ailleurs aux Etats-Unis et dans le monde. Quelles leçons peut-on déjà en tirer? Addiction Suisse propose une vue d'ensemble des développements les plus récents dans les Amériques, en Europe et en Suisse.

     

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    Atracción fatal: la doctrina de la flexibilidad de Brownfield y la reforma global de las políticas de drogas

    Martin Jelsma, Damon Barrett
    19 November 2014

    Las reformas estatales sobre el cannabis, que han cobrado impulso este mes, han puesto al descubierto la incapacidad de los Estados Unidos para atenerse a las disposiciones del fundamento jurídico del sistema global de control de drogas: la Convención Única de 1961 sobre Estupefacientes. Esto es algo que debería propiciar un diálogo muy necesario sobre la reforma de unos acuerdos internacionales que tienen ya muchos años. Pero aunque aparentemente ‘acoge con satisfacción’ el debate sobre la reforma de las políticas de drogas a escala internacional, se trata de un diálogo que el Gobierno federal estadounidense de hecho desea evitar.

  14. All the progress made on marijuana legalization could vanish with a new president

    18 November 2014
    Other news

    The movement to end marijuana prohibition has made significant progress recently, but it could all be undone when the next president takes office in 2017. Harvard economist Jeff Miron, a supporter of marijuana policy reform, highlighted the precarious nature of state marijuana laws in an op-ed for CNN on why Congress needs to act now on federal marijuana policy. "Federal law still prohibits marijuana, and existing jurisprudence (Gonzales v. Raich 2005) holds that federal law trumps state law when it comes to marijuana prohibition," Miron wrote.

  15. Why Congress should legalize pot

    18 November 2014
    Other news

    Federal law still prohibits marijuana, and existing jurisprudence (Gonzales v. Raich 2005) holds that federal law trumps state law when it comes to marijuana prohibition. So far, the federal government has mostly taken a hands-off approach to state medicalizations and legalizations, but in January 2017, the country will have a new president. That person could order the attorney general to enforce federal prohibition regardless of state law. Whether that will happen is hard to forecast. If more states legalize marijuana and public opinion continues its support, Washington may hesitate to push back.

  16. Pot luck

    18 November 2014
    Other news

    Smoking, growing, buying, selling or merely possessing cannabis is a criminal offence, according to America's federal government. Ask the states, however, and you will get almost 50 different answers. In 13 of them possession of the drug has been decriminalised, meaning that tokers face only minor penalties if caught. In 23 it has been legalised for medical use. And in four—including, following ballot initiatives earlier this month, Alaska and Oregon—cannabis has been legalised outright. In all only 22 states, fewer than half the total, continue to treat the drug as criminal contraband under all circumstances.

  17. Fatal attraction: Brownfield's flexibility doctrine and global drug policy reform

    Martin Jelsma, David Bewley-Taylor, Damon Barrett
    18 November 2014
    Article

    State-level cannabis reforms, which gathered steam this month, have exposed the inability of the United States to abide by the terms of the legal bedrock of the global drug control system; the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This is something that should force a much-needed conversation about reform to long- standing international agreements. But while ostensibly 'welcoming' the international drug policy reform debate, it is a conversation the US federal government actually wishes to avoid.

  18. Is ‘Big Marijuana’ inevitable?

    18 November 2014
    Other news

    It looks like the use of recreational marijuana is heading down the path of legalization across the country. Voters in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia approved legalizing measures on Nov. 4, but with key differences. Some say a profit-driven model for legalization runs the risk of increasing marijuana use, while others argue that a regulated market is the best way to keep use safe for consumers. What’s the right approach to legalizing recreational marijuana?

  19. Stir it up: Bob Marley to headline corporate cannabis brand

    17 November 2014
    Other news

    The Marley family and a Seattle-based private equity firm announced the creation of Marley Natural, "a premium cannabis brand rooted in the life and legacy" of one of marijuana’s most devoted sons. Marley Natural will look like a modern consumer product, cleanly packaged and marketed with the help of the same agency that branded New Balance and Starbucks Coffee. The cannabis will be sold as "loose packed" buds, oils or concentrate. "This is what the end of prohibition looks like," said Brendan Kennedy, CEO of Privateer Holdings, which owns Marley Natural. (See also: Riding high: Is pot poised for a (legal) business boom | Marley Natural: The weed that manages to sell out both Bob Marley and Jamaica)

  20. California’s Attorney General thinks legal weed is inevitable

    17 November 2014
    Other news

    California was one of the first to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, but so far hasn’t legalized it for recreational use, like Colorado, Washington. “I am not opposed to the legalization of marijuana. I’m the top cop, and so I have to look at it from a law enforcement perspective and a public safety perspective. I think we are fortunate to have Colorado and Washington be in front of us on this and figuring out the details of what it looks like when it’s legalized,” she said. “I don’t think it’s gonna take too long to figure this out,” Harris said. “I think there’s a certain inevitability about it.”

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