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’.
In the long term we have to transcend capitalism as it cannot ensure a decent livelihood for all nor is it compatible with preserving necessary ecological balances. In the short-term we must start out with basic social democratic demands.
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.
The Transnational Institute (TNI), in cooperation with the Municipal Services Project (MSP) and the Latin American Programme for Distance Education in Social Sciences (PLED) is offering a free web-based course on Alternatives to Privatisation: Non-Commercial Public Services Options in the Global South. The course will begin on 8 October 2012 and will comprise a series of eight weekly sessions.
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.
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?
While the Uruguayan president has endorsed a bill which would create a legal, state-run marijuana industry, congressmen in Chile are pushing a bill to legalize the cultivation of marijuana for personal use. Uruguayan President Mujica sent congress a proposal for a bill that would establish a legal, state-run monopoly on marijuana cultivation and sales. Two Chilean lawmakers submitted bill that would legalize small-scale cultivation of marijuana for personal and therapeutic use.
A plan by Uruguay's leaders to turn the government into the nation's marijuana dealer has been presented to Congress, where the idea faces an uncertain fate. President Jose Mujica's entire Cabinet signed onto the proposed law, which aims to take over an illegal marijuana trafficking business estimated to be worth $30 million to $40 million a year. The law would have government control marijuana imports, production, sale and distribution, creating a legal market for people to get pot without turning to riskier illegal drugs.
The initiative to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in Washington, Initiative 502, was estimated on Friday to raise up to $1.9 billion in new tax revenue over five years — or zero. The wild swing, included in an analysis by the state Office of Financial Management, reflects broad uncertainty about the potential federal intervention in an initiative that would set up the nation's first regulated market for recreational marijuana use.
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.
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."
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?)
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."
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.