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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
The last few years have witnessed a boom in new cannabis user associations in Spain. Although there are no reliable figures for them, most are known to have been created for the collective cultivation of marihuana crops, and are now several hundred-strong. They are mainly found in Catalonia, which is also home to the largest of them: some have existed for only a short time but already have several thousand members.
A majority of Danes believe that sales of cannabis should be controlled by the state, according to a Gallup poll for metroXpress. According to the poll, 53 per cent of those asked fully agreed or agreed that cannabis should be state-controlled; 22 per cent had no view on the issue while 23 per cent disagreed or fully disagreed. Social Democratic Justice Minister Morten Bødskov recently rejected the idea of a trial arrangement in Copenhagen.
As a participant at last week’s 19th International HIV/AIDS Conference, I was reminded of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s and UNDP Administrator Helen Clark’s call to arms earlier in July that there is a new prescription for the AIDS response: ‘courage is needed’.