Politicians in Denmark have closed their eyes and the cannabis market has gone completely out of control. The criminalization of cannabis has not led to lower consumption. On the contrary. The naive ban caused only more crime and greater use, especially among young people. The cannabis market in Denmark should be legalized, says an editorial in the centre-left Danish newspaper Politiken. And it should be an obvious task for a government that sees itself as both responsible and progressive. (Note: Google translation of OpEd in Danish)
After some initial difficulty, Miguel Angel Vega, a writer for the Sinaloa-based Rio Doce newspaper, was able to gain access to the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains located in the heart of the Golden Triangle, Mexico’s key drug producing region. The region, which spans three of Mexico’s 32 states, is known as the epicenter of marijuana and poppy production in the country. As Vega writes, the region’s rough terrain combined with the inherent danger of the job breeds hardy locals.
A referendum to repeal a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles appears to be headed for the ballot, with pot shop supporters saying that they have collected nearly twice the signatures required to force a citywide vote and key City Council members signaling that they won't try to stop it. Medical cannabis supporters plan to turn in the names of 50,000 voters who want the referendum included on the March ballot. If the signatures prove valid, officials will be required to temporarily suspend the ban, which was approved with much fanfare last month and was due to go into effect Sept. 6.
Heavy marijuana use is associated with cognitive decline in about 5% of teens, according to a new study, which suggests that the heaviest users could lose 8 IQ points, according to a report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. If the link is real, the effects on cognition could be dramatic. But intelligence and cognition is affected by a plethora of other factors, including genetic, social and environmental influences that may supersede any influence from drug use.
Should marijuana be legalized for recreational use by adults? That is the question that voters in three states are considering this November. Colorado, Washington and Oregon all have ballot measures that, if passed, would end marijuana prohibition in their state. Colorado's Amendment 64 which seeks the legalization of marijuana for adults age 21 and older appears to be popular among voters. A recent poll from Rasmussen showed that 61 percent of likely Colorado voters are in favor of legalizing marijuana if it is regulated the way that alcohol and cigarettes are currently regulated.
Enforcing marijuana laws cost Washington more than $211 million last decade, according to a new study released as the state's voters consider whether to legalize and tax marijuana for recreational use. The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington released the figure Tuesday, accompanied by an interactive map showing the costs by county.
Starting September 1, the police will be stepping up efforts to cull Pusher Street’s estimated one billion kroner organised cannabis trade through the creation of a new task force. Past police efforts in Christiania have failed to curtail the illegal drug trade, and renewed police efforts in Christiania are also going against current public sentiment. A newspaper poll indicated that nearly 65 percent of the public supported state-controlled cannabis distribution, while Enhedslisten (EL) commissioned a Gallop survey in early August that conveyed that 53 percent agreed or strongly agreed that the state should take over the sale of cannabis.
Colombia's chief public prosecutor has called for a referendum on whether to legalise drug consumption, in response to plans to set up a network of public centres where users can consume illicit drugs under supervision. The so-called “controlled consumption centres” are part of a drive by Gustavo Petro, the mayor of the capital, Bogotá, to reduce drug-related crime in the city.
The world-wide debate over cannabis reform appears to be gaining uncommon speed and unexpectedly it is in Latin America that the winds of change have greatest force. So where is Mexico in this panorama? There are currently eight Bills on the question of marihuana gathering dust in the annals of various parliamentary commissions.
Once crack was introduced about six years ago, Mandela and the surrounding complex of shantytowns became Rio's main outdoor drug market, a "cracolandia," or crackland, where users bought the rocks, smoked and lingered until the next hit. Hordes of addicts lived in cardboard shacks and filthy blankets, scrambling for cash and a fix. Dealers have stopped selling the drug in Mandela and nearby Jacarezinho in a move that traffickers and others say will spread citywide within the next two years. The drug bosses, often born and raised in the very slums they now lord over, say crack destabilizes their communities.
Judging from what Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica told me in an extended interview last week, there is a real possibility that people in his country will soon be able to buy marijuana legally from a state-regulated company that will be in charge of marketing and selling the drug. Earlier this month submitted Mujica a bill to congress that may be the boldest marijuana legalization proposal anywhere in the world. It calls for the state to "take over the control and regulation of activities related to the importation, production, acquisition, storage, marketing and distribution of marijuana."
A medical marijuana trade group and 11 patients sued the city of Los Angeles, seeking to block enforcement of an ordinance that would shut down most of the city's storefront pot dispensaries in three weeks. The lawsuit, which says users are protected by California's 1996 legalization of medical marijuana and the U.S. Constitution, seeks an immediate injunction to keep Los Angeles officials from shuttering dispensaries starting on September 6.
A recent study that found cocaine use in big Swiss cities is among the highest in Europe comes as no surprise to experts, who say it is easy to find and affordable. The results go along with Switzerland’s reputation for illicit drug use. While many agree cocaine is popular in Swiss cities, there are question marks over the precise figures and sewage analysis methodology. "We have to be careful with these results as they are not really comparable."
Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch, director of Open Society Foundations Global Drug Policy Program
16 August 2012
It’s sad that drug policy reform must always be wrapped tragedy but alas – in the context of drugs – crisis has historically been the mother of invention. It was in the face of thousands of overdoses and the highest HIV prevalence in Western Europe that Switzerland introduced effective heroin-prescription programmes, safe injection facilities, needle and syringe-exchange programmes and low-threshold methadone services.
Illicit drugs are easily and quickly accessible to users in Vancouver despite decades of aggressive drug law enforcement efforts aimed at suppressing drug supply, according to a new study from the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. Researcher Evan Wood said the easy access means current drug policies are not succeeding in stopping the availability and use of illegal drugs. "If supply reduction is the foundation of Canada's drug strategy, we really need to have an impact assessment and evaluation of what we're actually getting from that investment."
The marijuana reform community in Washington State has become severely fractured, with various groups running competing initiatives and taking opposing positions on whether the state should be in the dispensary licensing business. The most recent debate is over I-502 by New Approach Washington, which tried to tailor it to receive the most possible support. In addition to setting up a state licensing system for marijuana production and sales, it would criminalize driving with more than 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood in the system. Some medical marijuana patients oppose that, saying it's an arbitrary limit and they'd never be able to drive. (See also: Legalize marijuana? Like this?)
Portugal's famously liberal drug policy has been held up as a model for other countries - Norway is considering adopting parts of it and countries as far afield as Argentina have expressed interest. But experts warn that budget cuts and the threat of more cuts to come - combined with an increase in hard drug abuse - risk turning it into a shadow of its former self. "We have a certain responsibility to maintain the essential despite the recession," said Joao Goulao, the national drugs agency chief. "Other countries do look at us and seek our expertise."
President Sebastián Piñera signed the new Drug and Alcohol Prevention Act into law on Monday, which sets up an educational program to warn schoolchildren against the dangers of drugs and alcohol. The president took the opportunity to break his silence over the renewed debate over drug decriminalization, taking a decidedly anti-decriminalization stance. "At a time when some are promoting the legalization of drugs, this administration is committed to fighting against it, not only for children but also the entire population," Piñera told reporters.