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12 items
  1. Drug sentencing public consultation launched

    28 March 2011
    Other news

    A public consultation on the sentencing of drugs offenders in England and Wales has been launched. The consultation, launched by the Sentencing Council, proposes new guidelines to cover offences in both the crown and Magistrates' courts.

  2. Russia defies growing consensus with declaration of 'Total War on Drugs'

    08 June 2011
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    "Sending more people to prison will not reduce drug addiction or improve public health," said Anya Sarang, president of the Andrey Rylkov Foundation, an advocacy group for people with HIV which works with injecting drug users (IDUs). "Russian prisons are terrible places full of HIV, tuberculosis and other diseases. Drugs are often even more accessible there than anywhere else." She added: "What we need instead of this harsh drug control rhetoric is greater emphasis on rehabilitation, substitution treatment, case management for drug users and protection from HIV."

  3. Federal judge rules Florida drug law unconstitutional

    29 July 2011
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    A federal judge has declared Florida's drug law unconstitutional, potentially throwing thousands of criminal cases into jeopardy. U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven of Orlando issued a ruling Wednesday that struck down the state's Drug Abuse Prevention and Control law, saying it violates due process because it doesn't require that prosecutors prove that a person knew he or she possessed illegal drugs. See also: Attorneys seek dismissal of hundreds of local drug cases

  4. The punishment must fit the crime, even for drug users

    Gino Vumbaca
    02 November 2011
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    The case of the Australian boy arrested on drug charges in Bali offers the opportunity to review our nation's own response to drug use, both here and abroad. While empathy for the boy's family is warranted and genuine, the case should also raise the question of what would happen to someone in Australia caught with a similar small amount of cannabis or other illicit drug.

  5. Drugs and the law: state of confusion

    02 June 2011
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    Forty years after the introduction of the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, more than 2.8 million people report using illicit drugs every year in England and Wales. While cannabis remains overwhelmingly the most popular, this Home Office total also includes 800,000 mainly young adults who put the country at the top of the European league table for powder cocaine use.

  6. Pot Penalties May Be Modernized

    David Downs
    18 May 2011
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    Sponsored by San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, AB 1017 aims to give prosecutors more discretion in how they charge weed growers and processors, called "trimmers." According to the bill's author, Mendocino County District Attorney C. David Eyster, mom-and-pop trimmers — many of them economically desperate victims of the country's recession — currently face a felony punishable by sixteen months, or two or three years in prison for manicuring buds. That's because existing law "requires that every person who plants, cultivates, harvests, dries, or processes any marijuana, or any part thereof, except as otherwise provided by law, be punished by imprisonment in the state prison."

  7. Justices to Decide on Fairness in Drug Sentences

    28 November 2011
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    The Supreme Court agreed to resolve a question that has vexed the lower federal courts since Congress enacted a law to narrow the gap between sentences meted out for offenses involving two kinds of cocaine. Selling cocaine in crack form used to subject offenders to the same sentence one would get for selling 100 times as much in powder. The new law, the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, reduced the disparity to 18 to 1, at least for people who committed their offenses after the law became effective on Aug. 3, 2010.

  8. Congress on Speed

    Eric E. Sterling, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation
    01 November 2011
    Other news

    If Congress were functioning properly, it would take the time to consider the many potential improvements in drug policy that could save lives by preventing overdose, reducing the spread of HIV, and lessening violence, preventing crime, and saving money. With a commitment to governing, instead of grandstanding, Congress could make a careful analysis and weigh the alternatives.

  9. Supreme Court decision on sentencing guidelines gives judges more leeway

    14 March 2011
    Other news

    Jason Pepper, a former meth addict and drug dealer from the heartland, says he got lucky when he was finally arrested. A sympathetic judge gave him a fraction of the prison time he could have received and, more importantly, sent him to a place where he got extensive drug treatment. Then his luck ran out, when appeals courts said his sentence was too lenient. Even though all acknowledged that he had turned his life around, he was sent back to prison.

  10. Review drags drug law into 21st Century

    03 May 2011
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    New Zealand’s 35-year-old Misuse of Drugs Act should be consigned to the rubbish heap of history and replaced with a modern, flexible, health-focussed law fit for purpose for the 21st Century, said the New Zealand Drug Foundation today. The Drug Foundation was responding to the Law Commission’s recommendations for reforming the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, which was tabled today in Parliament.  The report makes 144 recommendations for a new legislative and policy approach to reducing the country’s drug problem, and is a result of a comprehensive 2 year review of New Zealand’s obsolete drug law.

    See: New Zealand Law Commission report: Controlling and Regulating Drugs – A Review of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975

  11. A Call to Shift Policy on Marijuana

    Jim Dwyer
    14 June 2011
    Other news

    More people are arrested in New York City on charges of possessing small amounts of marijuana than on any other crime on the books. Nearly all are black or Latino males under the age of 25, most with no previous convictions. Many have never been arrested before. Last year, the police in New York City arrested more than 50,000 people on the marijuana possession charge, New York State Penal Law 221.10, which makes it a misdemeanor to openly possess pot.

  12. Jeremy Sare on drug sentencing

    Jeremy Sare
    18 April 2011
    Other news

    Most drug users are not addicted. Most suppliers of drugs are not dealers. These central truths about patterns of drug use in Britain are incompatible with the policies adopted by those in power who believe ever more muscular enforcement will somehow steer young people away from taking them. In drugs policy, there remains an unparalleled disconnect between power and knowledge. And power means both ministers and media who, on drugs policy, are intertwined in a deadly embrace.