The last few decades have witnessed a dramatic capture of public policy by transnational corporations (TNCs) which has undermined democracy and increased the profits of a small few at the expense of the vast majority of people and the environment. The Transnational Institute has challenged corporate power for several decades, setting up the Transnational Information Exchange in 1978, leading struggles against privatisation of water and carbon by corporations, and in recent years working with allies in Europe and Latin America to hold Permanent Tribunals to expose corporate crimes.
The secretive and lucrative world of international investment arbitration has enriched a small coterie of multi-billion dollar international firms, which actively promote and even help finance litigations against states and have fought fiercely to prevent changes to an unjust international investment regime.
Despite warnings from opponents of medical marijuana, legalizing the drug for medical purposes does not encourage teens to smoke more pot, according to new research that compared rates of marijuana use in Massachusetts and Rhode Island after the latter state changed its laws. Rhode Island legalized medical marijuana in 2006, but Massachusetts did not.
A Dutch city has lost income worth £26 million a year to its economy after banning French drug tourists from buying marijuana in legal cannabis cafés. The reduction in turnover in the popular "coffee shops", where cannabis can legally be purchased and smoked, is equivalent to the loss of 345 full-time jobs. As from October 1 this year the city's cannabis cafés have only been allowed to serve Dutch, Belgian and German customers in a bid to drive away millions of French drug tourists. The Association of Licensed Maastricht Coffee Shops has warned that cannabis users are being driven onto the streets, where marijuana smoking is a criminal offence, after getting Dutch people to buy drugs for them.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday he would not be rushed into decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana because doing so creates its own set of problems that other cities have been forced to correct. The mayor shined the light on his deliberations on the hot-button issue as Chicago aldermen formally introduced their decriminalization plan after releasing ward-by-ward statistics that show minorities bear the brunt of marijuana arrests.
Alderman Danny Solis introduced an ordinance to the City Council that would make possession of small amounts of marijuana a ticketable offense with a $200 fine rather than a misdemeanor that carries jail time. He estimates the change would generate $7 million a year and, since the vast majority of such cases are dismissed, would save police and courthouse workers money and time.
A former project of TNI, aimed to provide a durable body of research which ensures that a holistic and justice-based analysis of climate change and environmental policies is not forgotten or compromised. They are now an independent group. Here you will find articles, reports and information on their work while at TNI.
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.
Susan George, Fiona Dove, Yiorgos Vassalos, Dominique Plihon, Kenneth Haar
02 November 2011
In a podcast debate, four activist researchers debate why the European Union is wedlocked to economic policies that will only worsen the crisis and further undermine democratic control of public budget.
The film crew of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) attended the first meeting of the European Harm Reduction Network (EuroHRN) in Marseille, France. We interviewed professionals and activists from several countries to give you an overview of the current state of harm reduction in Europe – please watch and share our movie!
A decade after Canada legalized the medical use of marijuana, most doctors are still refusing to sign the declarations patients need to get legal access to pot - meaning patients in pain risk being jailed if they use a drug that helps them function. It's a predicament that threatens to become worse because of proposed changes to how Health Canada regulates access to the drug.
The occupy movement has achieved an incredible and much-needed shake-up of a long-standing political stasis in the US and elsewhere, but it is crucial now to highlight the connection between failed foreign policy, bloated military spending and illegal wars, and the economic crisis at home.
Recently, the California Medical Association, representing more than 35,000 physicians, the largest statewide physician organization in America, boldly decided to adopt a different, more pragmatic approach to the polarizing issue of marijuana decriminalization. The decision – the result of a carefully considered process, painstakingly researched and debated for more than one year – is centered on one concern above all others: patient safety.
Eric E. Sterling, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation
01 November 2011
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.
Last year, Chicago Police officers arrested more than 23,000 people on misdemeanor marijuana charges, and most of those cases were dropped. From 2006 through 2010, cases for possession of less than 2.5 grams of marijuana were dismissed 97 percent of the time. Eighty-four percent of pot possession cases involving 2.5 grams to 10 grams were tossed out of court; and 57 percent involving 10 to 30 grams met the same end, according to the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court.
In 1976 the Netherlands adopted a formal written policy of non-enforcement for violations involving possession or sale of up to 30 g of cannabis. The ‘gateway theory’ has long been seen as an argument for being tough on cannabis, but interestingly, the Dutch saw that concept as a rationale for allowing retail outlets to sell small quantities. Rather than seeing an inexorable psychopharmacological link between marijuana and hard drugs, the Dutch hypothesized that the gateway mechanism reflected social and economic networks, so that separating the markets would keep cannabis users out of contact with hard-drug users and sellers.
As Amsterdam hosts its first International Water Week, TNI and its allies will be actively promoting Water Operators’ Partnerships (WOPs) between public water utilities as the best means to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
The ancient discussion about the purposes of wealth and the conflict between oligarchy – rule of the rich – and democracy – the rule of the demos/the people comes to the fore once again with the Occupy protests.