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  1. Portugal progresses toward integrated cannabis regulation

    Martín Barriuso Alonso
    25 October 2012
    Article

    In recent years there has been much talk of the so-called “Portuguese model,” based on an initiative that led to the use of illicit drugs being decriminalised in 2001. In fact, it is often said that Portugal was the first country in Europe to decriminalise drug use de jure, while Spain, for example, took that step de facto for the first time in 1974, except that it was not through a specific law but rather as a result of a Supreme Court ruling.

  2. Could drug decriminalization save Brazil’s slums?

    24 October 2012
    Other news

    Brazil has been struggling with drug violence for years. The problem got so bad that the country passed a law in 2006 to distinguish between dealers and users in handing out sentences, meant to reduce the overwhelming pressure on the justice and jail systems and to better single out dealers. But since then, the number of Brazilians in prison for drug charges has more than doubled and its total prison population has grown by 37 percent.

  3. Dutch 'weed pass' law driving cannabis trade underground

    08 October 2012
    Other news

    Maastricht - formerly a mecca for drug tourists from across western Europe - has called for police reinforcements to handle "aggressive" street pushers, who have taken over almost all trade in marijuana and cannabis since authorities introduced tighter controls on legal outlets. The Dutch town's Mayor Onno Hoes wants to double the number of dedicated police officers in order to control the black market, which has benefited from the region's draconian "weed pass" law.

  4. Compromise on cannabis club passes 'on its way', says AD

    17 October 2012
    Other news

    The compromise would end the obligation on cannabis cafe owners to register users and would allow people to buy soft drugs all over the country. However 'foreigners' would be refused entry. Labour and the VVD are currently in talks on forming a new government and the wietpas is one of the areas where agreement still has to be reached. The VVD wants to press on with the new system but the Labour party is opposed. (See also: Soft drugs in the Netherlands)

  5. Bientôt des «cannabistrots» ?

    07 October 2012
    Other news

    Le modèle du «Cannabis social club» (CSC), sorte de coopérative régulant la production et la distribution du cannabis, vient de Belgique et d’Espagne. Dans ces pays, la culture du cannabis est dépénalisée en-dessous d’une certaine quantité [5 plants par personne en Espagne, ndlr]. En France, sur les trois derniers mois, 150 «Cannabis social clubs» se sont montés, ce qui représente entre 1200 et 1500 consommateurs.Un adhérent commente l’essor de ces associations autogérées de consommateurs qui entendent peser dans le débat sur la dépénalisation.

  6. Pot dispensaries clouding medical marijuana's image

    Maureen O'Hagan, Jonathan Martin
    05 October 2012
    Other news

    Seattle's first-ever Medical Cannabis Cup — part gourmet weed contest, part trade show, part smoke-in — showcased the entrepreneurial drive and explosive growth of the local medical-marijuana industry. From dispensaries offering dozens of marijuana varieties to new potency-testing labs to makers of cannabis-infused capsules and candy corn, storefronts displaying the trademark green cross dot nearly every Seattle neighborhood. The city estimates there are at least 150 marijuana-related businesses here, more ubiquitous than Starbucks.

  7. Guatemala, Colombia, Mexico Urge UN to Review Global Drug Policy

    03 October 2012
    Other news

    Colombia, Mexico and Guatemala delivered a landmark declaration to the United Nations Secretary General calling on the organization to lead a debate on alternative approaches to the current war on drugs, though it is likely to fall on deaf ears. The statement, issued to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on October 1, contains 11 points outlining the three countries’ views on the current state of organized crime and counternarcotics policy in the Americas (see declaration in English here, and in Spanish here).

  8. First Survey of Illegal Drug Users in Mexico City

    • Carlos Alberto Zamudio Angles, Lluvia Castillo Ortega
    23 October 2012

    The principal motivation for implementing this survey was the lack of existing information regarding the relationship between drug users and their social networks. There is a lack of quality indicators that provide detailed information regarding the consumption of drugs, particularly when faced with the traditional dichotomy of user-addict. This dichotomy fails to see the complexity of the consumption of illegal drugs and reiterates the notion that the drug using population will inevitably move into addiction, thus ignoring the diversity of existing patterns of consumption.

     

  9. Cannabis pass abolished? Not really

    Tom Blickman
    30 October 2012
    Article

    The new coalition government of conservative liberals (VVD) and social-democrats (PvdA) presented its coalition agreement on Monday. They agreed to abolish the cannabis pass, but access to coffeeshops remains limited to residents of the Netherlands. Customers need to identify themselves with an identity card or a residence permit together with a certificate of residence. Non-resident foreigners are still banned. In other words, there will be no cannabis pass, but the policy continues.

  10. Coffeeshop, partita aperta

    Tom Blickman
    02 October 2012
    Article

    Contrariamente alle aspettative, le elezioni olandesi di settembre non sono state decisive per il futuro dei coffeeshop. I partiti a favore delle restrizioni ai coffeeshop (o addirittura per la loro abolizione) hanno ottenuto 77 seggi su 150, mentre i contrari al cannabis pass e/o a favore della fornitura legale di cannabis ai coffeeshop ne hanno ottenuti 73. E per governare c’è bisogno di una coalizione.

  11. The impact of Alternative Development in Burma and Laos

    Ernestien Jensema
    25 October 2012
    Article

    At the Asia-Europe People’s Forum (AEPF) in Vientiane, Laos, from 16 to 19 October 2012, the Transnational Institute (TNI) organised a workshop on alternative development and crop substitution programmes in Northern Burma and Laos. The final declaration of the AEPF should also be looked upon as a helpful guideline for the International Conference on Alternative Development (ICAD) in Peru next month. TNIs Ernestien Jensema attended the workshop and reflects on its outcomes.

  12. How International Aid for Drug Enforcement Fuels Human Rights Abuses

    Damon Barrett
    02 October 2012
    Article

    It is increasingly clear that there is a fundamental lack of oversight of how international aid – provided by the US, Europe and the United Nations to poorer countries – is used to pursue anti-drug efforts. In this article Damon Barrett highlights some of the systematic human rights abuses this aid is facilitating.

  13. Portugal progresses toward integrated cannabis regulation

    Martín Barriuso Alonso
    31 October 2012
    Article

    The “Portuguese model” of drugs decriminalisation has clearly demonstrated that greater tolerance to drug users does not lead to an increase in consumption. Nevertheless it is a model with immense loopholes and contradictions.

  14. The Dutch election result and the coffeeshops

    Tom Blickman
    04 October 2012
    Article

    The Dutch elections were hailed as decisive for the future of the coffeeshops. The result however is inconclusive given that a coalition government has to be formed.

  15. Medical Marijuana: Will Colorado's "green rush" last?

    20 October 2012
    Other news

    When people go to the polls two weeks from now they won't just be voting for candidates, in some states, they'll be passing judgment on social issues. In Oregon, Washington and the Rocky Mountain state of Colorado it's the legalization of marijuana. Part of this has to do with cash-starved governments looking for new things to tax for more revenue. But much of it has to do with the growing acceptance or at least tolerance for a drug that was once considered the devil's weed and a flashpoint for cultural and generational warfare.

  16. L.A. repeals its ban on pot stores

    01 October 2012
    Other news

    After struggling for years to regulate storefront pot shops, the Los Angeles City Council retreated Tuesday, voting to repeal the carefully crafted ban on medical marijuana dispensaries it approved a few months ago. The move shows the political savvy of the increasingly organized and well-funded network of marijuana activists who sought to place a referendum overturning the ban on the March ballot, when the mayor and eight council seats will be up for grabs.

  17. Marijuana only for the sick? A farce, some Angelenos say

    06 October 2012
    Other news

    One year after federal law enforcement officials began cracking down on California’s medical marijuana industry with a series of high-profile arrests around the state, they finally moved into Los Angeles last month, giving 71 dispensaries until Tuesday to shut down. At the same time, because of a well-organized push by a new coalition of medical marijuana supporters, the City Council last week repealed a ban on the dispensaries that it had passed only a couple of months earlier.

  18. Study: Pot arrests cost state $300 million in past 25 years

    10 October 2012
    Other news

    A new crime-data analysis has found that 241,000 people in Washington were arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession over the last quarter-century, adding fuel to a campaign seeking to make this state the first to legalize recreational marijuana sales. The analysis estimates those arrests translated to nearly $306 million in police and court costs — $194 million of it the past decade. African Americans were arrested twice as often as whites for possession in Washington in the past 25 years, even though whites use marijuana more.

  19. Oakland sues U.S. to halt closure of marijuana dispensary

    10 October 2012
    Other news

    The city of Oakland has sued to block U.S. authorities from closing down a medical marijuana dispensary that bills itself as the world's largest, marking the latest clash with federal authorities over California's cannabis industry. The lawsuit, which was filed by Oakland's city attorney in U.S. District Court, seeks an injunction to halt efforts by federal prosecutors to shut down Harborside Health Center through civil forfeiture actions they filed in July against two properties where the clinic operates.

  20. Drug legalization in Latin America: Could it be the answer?

    Gene Bolton
    15 October 2012
    Other news

    Washington’s hard-lined anti-legalization position is unlikely to waiver regardless of who wins the upcoming U.S. presidential election. A more important question lies in Washington’s loss of influence within the region over the last ten years. As a result, the potential for legalization makes the overall political ramifications unpredictable for the region. This is especially true when it comes to Uruguay, a country that will soon be voting on the world’s first legalization legislation.

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