The Copenhagen City Council is pushing ahead with a proposal to decriminalise cannabis, and has set up a committee to investigate the best way to regulate the supply and distribution. The favoured option is for 30 or 40 cannabis shops controlled by the city in which adults may legally buy cannabis. By a margin of 39 votes to nine, the City Council decided to draw up a detailed outline of how the plan would work. Subsequently, the resulting proposal still has to be ratified by the Danish parliament, which has blocked similar movements in the past. But after the national elections in September 2011 the current parliament could support decriminalisation this time around.
A measure to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Washington State is likely to be on the November 2012 ballot, after the secretary of the state's office certified the initiative, saying the campaign had turned in enough valid petition signatures. Initiative 502 now goes to the Legislature, but lawmakers are not likely to take up the issue during the short 60-day session that ends on March 8, meaning it would automatically appear on the ballot in the fall election.
A quarter-century after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first prescription drugs based on the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, additional medicines derived from or inspired by the cannabis plant itself could soon be making their way to pharmacy shelves, according to drug companies, small biotech firms and university scientists.
Efforts to legalize marijuana for recreational use are gaining momentum in Washington state and Colorado, despite fierce opposition from the federal government and a decades-long cultural battle over America's most commonly used illicit drug. Officials in Washington state said an initiative to legalize pot has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in November. In Colorado, officials are likely this week to make a similar determination about an initiative there.
In response to an opinion piece in Politiken newspaper, in which a former Christiania resident encourages residents of the commune to stand up to the gang members that control its hash market, the chief inspector of the Copenhagen Police says the enclave’s future is threatened by the criminality. “The hash trade is accompanied by violence and other serious crimes to an extent that Christiania is threatened,” chief inspector Jørn Aabye said to the newspaper.
Who is going to clean up the mess OxyContin has left behind in Ontario? Health Minister Deb Matthews' move to delist the addictive prescription painkiller from the provincial drug benefits program - just as a new, more difficult to abuse, formulation is coming on the market - is a start. But it is also a stark admission of the health system's failure to properly control a drug that was once aggressively marketed as something of a miracle cure for pain - and is depended on by many who need it - but has unleashed an addiction nightmare, especially in Ontario's North.
Over half of EU countries, as well as the United States and Canada, ban the stimulant qat, a sort of mild amphetamine. But attempts to do so in Britain, most recently in 2005, left experts unconvinced that the stuff was so harmful to mind, body or society that dealing in it should be made a crime. Thinking may now be changing. Is banning qat the right move? Probably not. It has not broken into the mainstream.
Federal agents struck at the heart of California's medical marijuana movement, raiding the nation's first pot trade school and a popular dispensary, both run by one of the state's most prominent and provocative activists, Richard Lee. The raids in Oakland by the Internal Revenue Service and Drug Enforcement Administration sent a shudder through the medical cannabis trade and angered the plant's devotees, who believe the federal government is trampling on California law and the wishes of voters who approved medical marijuana use nearly 16 years ago.
A new national poll shows a clear majority of Americans in favor of legalizing and regulating marijuana – "the strongest support ever recorded," according to one pro-marijuana activist. The Rasmussen poll found that 56 percent of respondents favored legalizing and regulating marijuana similar to the way alcohol and tobacco cigarettes are currently regulated. Thirty-six percent were opposed. Critics dismissed the survey, saying its questions were asked in a leading fashion – a charge Rasmussen contests. Experts who track the issue say the poll is consistent with the overall trend of steadily rising acceptance of marijuana use.
For the first time ever, a solid majority of Americans supports legalizing marijuana for recreational use: 56%, according to the most recent Rasmussen poll. Support for legalization has been growing steadily since the 1990s; in 1994, just 25% were in favor. Culturally, marijuana's become hardly more than a punchline. But in reality, U.S. marijuana policy is no joke; it causes great harm, both directly and indirectly. Here are the 10 most important reasons our marijuana laws deserve serious reconsideration.
Uruguay's government plans to start growing marijuana soon after a law legalizing sales of the drug passes Congress, but a ban on selling to foreigners will stop the country becoming a drug tourism hot-spot, officials say. The government announced plans to legalize the marijuana market as part of a drive to stop rising crime, arguing that the drug is less harmful than the black market where it currently trades.
It is a remarkable statement - the rock musician and drugs activist credited with spawning the global legal highs industry is now calling for new laws in Britain to protect the millions of young people who take the substances. "It is clearly possible to regulate. The level of regulation should be commensurate with the level of risk, and the majority of these drugs carry a level of risk far lower than the risks associated with many other normal daily activities including driving a car, swimming off the beach and drinking alcohol."
When she was 66 years old, Alicia Castilla was put in jail for three months for cultivating marijuana, which she used to help her sleep better. In this video testimony, she talks about the suffering caused by her imprisonment in Canelones (an Uruguayan prison) and her experience with the justice system in Uruguay.
Should pot be outlawed, controlled, or just legalised? For anti-addiction experts, regulating consumption would counter a drug market associated with violent crime and lead to better public health and safety. But not everyone agrees. This year, Parliament agreed on the principle that adult cannabis users should be fined and not subjected to criminal charges. (See also: Growing cannabis at home)
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?)
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."
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.
A report by a group of prominent Australians that recommends Australia rethink its criminalisation of illicit drugs has been backed by the Victorian branch of the Australian Medical Association. The report recommended that cannabis and ecstasy be decriminalised for people aged 16 and older, who are willing to be recorded on a national confidential user's register. Users would be able to purchase drugs from an approved supplier, likely a chemist.