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  1. Medical marijuana debate rages among researchers, doctors

    11 December 2011
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    Research into medicinal marijuana is undergoing a surge of interest, with more evidence emerging not only of its ability to ease human suffering, but also of its apparent safety. Some say cannabis may be less toxic to humans than over-the-counter pain relievers. Scientifically controlled experiments have concluded that smoked cannabis can provide moderate relief from chronic, severe non-cancer pain — including HIV-related nerve pain and post-traumatic neuropathy, a condition that can follow an injury or medical procedure. Both are notoriously resistant to conventional treatments. (See also: Ten Years of Medical Marijuana in Canada)

  2. Equal access to medical marijuana eludes Canadians

    09 December 2011
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    Data obtained by the Ottawa Citizen through the Access to Information Act put a face to the typical medical marijuana patient for the first time, 10 years after the federal government — under pressure from a series of legal rulings — was forced to start allowing seriously ill Canadians to apply to use the drug. As Health Canada moves to overhaul the rules governing medical marijuana, its own numbers show sharp disparities in the accessibility and use of the drug across the country as patients scramble to find doctors willing to prescribe. (See also: Ten Years of Medical Marijuana in Canada)

  3. 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.

  4. Thailand

    19 September 2011
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    Trends

    Despite the provisions in the Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Act (2002), laws remain in force which lead to the arrest and charges for offences under previous Acts (1975, 1976, 1979). Thus the policy that stipulates that people who use drugs or are dependent on drugs should be “treated as patients, not criminals” is contradicted by existing legal practices that establish criminal liability for mere consumption of drugs. However, the Thai government is now on the verge of adopting a national harm reduction policy to prevent HIV and other blood-borne virus transmission in the near future.

     

  5. Experts back Liberal Democrat calls for drugs decriminalisation

    13 September 2011
    Other news

    Experts have backed calls to be made at the Liberal Democrats conference this weekend for the decriminalisation of all drugs, saying it would not lead to a surge in drug use. The UK Drugs Policy Commission, which includes Professor Colin Blakemore, former chief executive of the Medical Research Council, and Dame Ruth Runciman, former chair of the Mental Health Act Commission, among its membership, says it backs the broad thrust of the Lib Dem motion to be debated on Sunday.

  6. New California marijuana ballot measure starts circulating

    25 July 2011
    Other news

    A new marijuana legalization ballot measure was cleared Monday to start seeking petition signatures. But its proponents aren't affiliated with the Oakland-based backers of last year's Proposition 19, who intend to mount a 2012 initiative of their own. The state attorney general's official summary says the measure, named by its proponents as "The Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act of 2012," would decriminalize marijuana sales, distribution, possession, use, cultivation, processing and transportation by people at least 21 years old.

  7. Let states enact their own marijuana policies

    Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
    06 July 2011
    Other news

    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.

  8. Let the states decide their own marijuana policies

    Paul Armentano
    28 June 2011
    Other news

    The bipartisan measure -- H.R. 2306, the 'Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011' and sponsored by Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank and Texas Republican Ron Paul prohibits the federal government from prosecuting adults who use or possess personal use amounts of marijuana by removing the plant and its primary psychoactive constituent, THC, from the five schedules of the United States Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

  9. Marijuana bill officially introduced to Congress by Ron Paul, Barney Frank

    23 June 2011
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    Marijuana laws should be set at the state, not federal, level, Reps. Ron Paul and Barney Frank argued in a bill they introduced Thursday. The goal of the bill, HR 2306 or the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011, is not to legalize marijuana but to remove it from the list of federally controlled substances while allowing states to decide how they will regulate it.

  10. Barney Frank and Ron Paul Introduce Bill to End Federal Marijuana Prohibition

    Rob Kampia
    23 June 2011
    Other news

    The bill introduced today would allow states to determine their own marijuana laws -- not just medical marijuana laws -- without federal interference. The bill would also remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Since Congress and President Nixon placed marijuana in the strictest of five schedules in 1970, marijuana has been in the same category as heroin.

  11. Fear and loathing surrounds decriminalisation

    18 June 2011
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    "The war on drugs has failed," said a recent report compiled by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which comprised a former UN secretary-general, former presidents of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, a former US Secretary of State and a host of public intellectuals, human rights activists and politicians.

  12. Netherlands: Pot shops to be off limits to foreign tourists

    06 June 2011
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    The Netherlands plans to ban foreign visitors from pot shops in a move that opponents have labeled "tourism suicide."  The Dutch government is trying to stop drug tourism in the country, according to a recent announcement. Under the plan, the "coffee shops" that sell marijuana will become private clubs limited to adult Dutch citizens who have to show proof of ID and become a member to buy marijuana.

  13. Decriminalise possession of drugs, celebrities urge government

    02 June 2011
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    Dame Judi Dench, Sir Richard Branson, and Sting have joined an ex-drugs minister and three former chief constables in calling for the decriminalisation of the possession of all drugs. The high-profile celebrities together with leading lawyers, academics, artists and politicians have signed an open letter to David Cameron to mark this week's 40th anniversary of the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act. The letter, published in a full-page advertisement in The Guardian, calls for a "swift and transparent" review of the effectiveness of current drugs policies.

  14. 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.

  15. Legal high battle shows need for drugs policy rethink

    16 May 2011
    Other news

    The Demos/UKDPC report Taking Drugs Seriously published today sets out clearly how legal highs have exposed the ancient Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (MDA) as totally inadequate legislation. They propose a whole new range of regulatory controls for the 600 or so drugs (and growing) covered by the act. The report was described by Britain's most senior drugs officer, Chief Constable Tim Hollis, as "a timely and helpful contribution".

  16. Drug laws and bans on legal highs 'do more harm than good'

    14 May 2011
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    The UK's "outdated" drug laws could be doing more harm than good and are failing to recognise that banning some "legal highs" may have negative consequences for public health, according to the leading independent panel set up to analyse drugs policy. On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the Misuse of Drugs Act, the UK Drug Policy Commission warns that the exponential rise in "legal highs" and the availability of substances over the internet is making current laws redundant.

  17. Former mayors speak out for Insite

    11 May 2011
    Other news

    Divided by politics but united by drug policy, five former Vancouver mayors have issued a last-minute plea to Ottawa to drop its appeal of earlier court decisions approving Insite, the city’s supervised drug injection site. “Since opening in 2003, Insite has proven – beyond a doubt – its worth to our community,” the five ex-mayors say in an open letter issued to the federal Conservative government. Open letter supporting Insite from Vancouver mayors.

  18. Review drags drug law into 21st Century

    03 May 2011
    Other news

    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

  19. Study: tens of thousands of Finns have grown their own cannabis

    26 April 2011
    Other news

    An estimated 40,000 – 60,000 Finns have tried growing cannabis at home. The number of active home growers in Finland is about ten thousand, but they have many friends. On in five Finns under the age of 35 say that they know at least one home grower. The estimates are from a study which is being published in Yhteiskuntapolitiikka, the publication of the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

  20. Portland legislator pushes bill to legalize, tax marijuana in Maine

    Randy Billings
    19 April 2011
    Other news

    Imagine walking into a neighborhood store to buy beer, wine, liquor and cigarettes. But on your way home you make one more stop – to buy marijuana, legally. That's the vision Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, will outline at a press conference at Portland City Hall, when she introduces LD 1453: An Act to Legalize and Tax Marijuana. The bill would legalize and regulate marijuana much the same way the state regulates the alcohol and tobacco industries. It would allow adults over 21 to cultivate, possess, purchase and use marijuana within certain limits.

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