The police blitzes in this Olympic city’s biggest slums are meant to show the world that Rio is winning the fight against violent drug gangs that have ruled the shantytowns for decades. With this weekend’s occupation of the Rocinha slum, home to 100,000 people, authorities secured key areas near athletic events planned for the 2016 Games. Since the security program began three years ago, 19 permanent “police pacification units,” or UPPs, have been created. The problem is of such scale that even the main architect of the program acknowledges that policing alone will not halt the drug trade. Instead, the goal of the invasions is to win back strategic territory and take guns away from the gangs.
In a parliamentary debate in the House of Commons, David Cameron said: "I ask the Labour government not to return to retribution and war on drugs. That has been tried and we all know that it does not work." That was in December 2002. And as a member of the home affairs select committee on drug misuse, Cameron supported the following recommendation: "That the government initiates a discussion within the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of alternative ways – including the possibility of legalisation and regulation – to tackle the global drugs dilemma."
Santos spelled out the radical ideas which he hopes will create a fresh approach. He said: "A new approach should try and take away the violent profit that comes with drug trafficking… If that means legalising, and the world thinks that's the solution, I will welcome it. I'm not against it." But he is clear that any initiatives need to be part of a co-ordinated international plan of action and he rules out any unilateral action by Colombia. "What I won't do is to become the vanguard of that movement because then I will be crucified."
In a decision that could have immediate fallout for medical marijuana dispensaries, a state appeals court has ruled that California law allows cities and counties to ban the stores. The contentious issue has bounced through the state courts for years, but the opinion issued Wednesday is the first published one that directly tackles it and does so in unambiguous language. The decision could embolden more cities and counties to enact their own. It also could spur those that have bans to be more aggressive about seeking court orders to close defiant dispensaries.
A former federal prosecutor and two former judges who have not only observed but also enforced marijuana laws at the federal, state and local levels ask that these laws be changed. It is time for a different, more effective approach. That's why they endorse Initiative 502, which would decriminalize marijuana in our state and make a long-overdue change for the better in public policy.
This contradicts one of the central tenets of the War on Drugs, which is that the psychopharmacological effects of drug use lead to criminal behavior. Most studies show that it's in fact the competition of an unregulated market that encourages the majority of violent crime. This concept was evidenced during the prohibition era in the 1920s, a time that coincided with an increase in crime, corruption, and contempt for law.
GOP presidential candidate Gary Johnson drew headlines earlier this month when he said he would issue a full presidential pardon for anyone serving a prison sentence for marijuana. He elaborated on that promise adding that it's only a matter of time before marijuana is legalized. "Clearly it is when, not if," he said of legalizing cannabis. "When 50 percent of the population says to the other 50 percent, 'You belong behind bars for your actions,' that's not good law, that is just not good law at all."
Marijuana is now legal under state law for medical purposes in 16 states and the District of Columbia, encompassing nearly one-third of the American population. More than 1,000 dispensaries provide medical marijuana; many are well regulated by state and local law and pay substantial taxes. But though more than 70 percent of Americans support legalizing medical marijuana, any use of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Mr. Obama briefly showed a willingness to challenge the drug-war mind-set that permeates the federal drug-control establishment. He needs to show leadership and intervene now, to encourage and defend responsible state and local regulation of medical marijuana.
A huge gap is opening up in the country's illicit drugs market, as cash-strapped users switch to generic stimulants while wealthier buyers in search of a high opt for "premium" products. A paper to be published in the online edition of Drugs and Alcohol Today has found that young adults are turning to unidentified white powders following the ban on mephedrone, the former "legal high", and the decline in the purity of popular street drugs such as cocaine.
Marijuana legalization in Washington has been an activist's pipe dream for decades, but a new campaign with deep pockets and prominent supporters is poised to force the state Legislature to vote on the issue or send it to the 2012 presidential ballot.The group, New Approach Washington, is the strongest mainstream campaign to date, since former federal prosecutor John McKay backed the campaign.
Lawsuits were filed today in federal courts in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego in a move to block efforts by U.S. attorneys to crack down on medical marijuana dispensaries in California. "A massive organized effort is now going to be launched to bring the issue to federal courts across the state to get some judges to look at this," said San Francisco lawyer Matt Kumin, one of the attorney's representing plaintiffs in the lawsuits.
Junior Health Minister Roisin Shortall, who is in charge of Ireland’s drugs strategy, said she had an "open mind" in relation to Portugal’s model. She said she was "particularly interested" in the country’s "yellow card" system, which warned users about their behaviour and tried to steer them away from drugs. Dr Joao Goulao, Portugal’s National Drugs Co-ordinator, said decriminalisation of drugs for personal use did not itself lead to benefits. "There is not a causal effect between decriminalisation and these results — it is due to a comprehensive response. But decriminalisation did not affect negatively the evaluation of the phenomenon."
The California Medical Association made news when it became the first state medical association to recommend the legalization and regulation of cannabis. The CMA's Council on Scientific and Clinical Affairs noted in its recommendations that there is an increasing body of evidence that marijuana may be useful in the treatment of a number of medical conditions, but research to determine both risks and benefits is hampered in the United States because marijuana still is classified as an illegal drug.
Fifteen years after the first state legalized medical marijuana — and set up a confrontation with federal law that keeps cannabis illegal — federal law enforcement's position on medical-marijuana businesses remains something of a mystery. Two memos written in the past two years that attempt to explain the federal position have not answered medical-marijuana advocates' questions. Indeed, federal raids in the past month in Colorado and California have only generated more.
Problematic use of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) has become a significant health and social problem in East and Southeast Asia, in particular the use of methamphetamine, the most potent amphetamine derivative and most widely used substance in the region, known as yaba or yama.
While banks and European leaders negotiate the next public bail out of private greed, and the financial speculation that caused the crisis continues unheeded, Europeans have shown that like many people around the world, from Tahrir to Syntagma Square and Wall Street, they are not going to take more neoliberal austerity lying down. The question already being asked by many observers is - where to now for the popular demonstrations?
TNI's work on Burma began in 2003 as part of our Drugs and Democracy programme, through an investigation of opium farming in the country, but has since extended through our partnership with the Burma Center Netherlands to analysis more exclusively focused on the country's long-standing ethnic conflict.