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  1. Cannabis fields in Bekaa destroyed for second day

    23 July 2012
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    Authorities continued efforts to eradicate cannabis fields in the Bekaa, east Lebanon, as normal activity in the region remained subdued due to reports of prowling gunmen. Two bulldozers were used in the operation in addition to 17 tractors after 15 tractors were sabotaged by gunmen a day earlier. The operation is proceeding with caution, especially following reports of armed men in the vicinity. (See also: Farmers, government battle over hashish in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley)

  2. Legal marijuana debated as Belize joins regional push on drugs

    16 July 2012
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    Marijuana possession may be decriminalized in Belize as the Central American nation joins a list of countries from Mexico to Uruguay whose leaders have called for alternatives in the U.S.-led war on drugs. Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s government has appointed a committee to evaluate the decriminalization of up to 10 grams of marijuana. (See also: Support continues to flow for decriminalization of marijuana possession)

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    Democratise from below and save Europe's Economy

    16 February 2012
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    As the EU Commission, pressured by big business, perpetuates rather than resolves economic and democratic crises, where can we look for alternatives, and for action? What should Greece do to resist? What can we learn from the radical political movements of the 1960s and '70s, and from the new movements that are gaining momentum across Europe? How can we stop the next wave of commodification of the atmosphere under the guise of a "green economy"

  4. Q&A: “Pacification of favelas not a real public policy yet”

    17 September 2012
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    The "pacification" of the favelas in this Brazilian city, aimed at driving out armed groups and fighting drug trafficking, has not yet become a fully effective public policy, says Eliana Sousa Silva, who has lived in one of Rio’s shantytowns for nearly 30 years. The pacification process begins when elite military police battalions are sent in to crack down on drug trafficking gangs. Once the drug mafias have been run out of the favela, permanent "Police Pacification Units" (UPPs) are installed to carry out community policing.

  5. Latin America looks to Europe for drug fighting models

    17 November 2012
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    Latin American countries are turning to Europe for lessons on fighting drugs after souring on the prohibition-style approach of the violent and costly U.S.-led war on drugs. Until recently, most Latin American countries had zero-tolerance rules on drugs inspired by the United States. But now countries from Brazil to Guatemala are exploring relaxing penalties for personal use of narcotics, following examples such as Spain and Portugal that have channeled resources to prevention rather than clogging jails.

  6. The American Public Is Doing a 180 on Marijuana Prohibition...

    08 November 2012
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    The election results this week from Washington, Colorado, Massachusetts and Arkansas demonstrate that public opinion about cannabis has moved much faster than the positions of elected officials. Despite what the voters in Washington and Colorado did, growing and selling marijuana will remain federal felonies. The federal reaction is crucial, and at the moment unpredictable. We probably won’t know until a new attorney general takes office.

  7. Les “cannabis social clubs” arrivent en France

    18 June 2012
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    Si PS et UMP pensaient avoir enterré le débat sur le cannabis avec la fin de la campagne des législatives, ils se sont trompés. Des militants viennent en effet d’afficher leur détermination à faire évoluer la législation en annonçant, lors d’un Appel du 18 Joint anticipé à Tours, la création de nombreux “Cannabis social club” un peu partout en France, rapportent nos confrères de la Nouvelle République. Illégaux dans l’Hexagone, ces “clubs” n’en resteront donc, pour l’instant, qu’au stade de groupes informels d’amateurs d’herbe ne réunissant chacun pas plus d’une dizaine de membres.

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

    03 October 2012
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    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).

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    Latin American nations push UN to drop zero tolerance on drugs

    04 October 2012
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    Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico – hardly liberal bastions – have taken the matter a step further. The Latin American countries, each threatened by drug violence, sent a clearly worded declaration to the United Nations, inviting member states to undertake a consultation process to come up with more effective drug policy strategies. They urged the UN to “exercise its leadership…. to conduct deep reflection to analyze all available options, including regulatory or market measures, in order to establish a new paradigm,” the declaration states, translated into English by the Guatemala Times.

  10. Leaders in Latin America call for review of drug policy after 2 U.S. states vote to legalize marijuana

    12 November 2012
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    A group of Latin American leaders declared that votes by two U.S. states to legalize marijuana have important implications for efforts to quash drug smuggling, offering the first government reaction from a region increasingly frustrated with the U.S.-backed war on drugs. The declaration by the leaders of Mexico, Belize, Honduras and Costa Rica did not explicitly say they were considering weakening their governments' efforts against marijuana smuggling, but it strongly implied the votes last week in Colorado and Washington would make enforcement of marijuana bans more difficult.

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

    08 October 2012
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    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.

  12. Central American drug summit inconclusive

    24 March 2012
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    A conclave of Central American presidents meeting in Guatemala to discuss a major overhaul of their drug laws — including legalization or decriminalization — failed to arrive at a consensus Saturday and agreed to meet again soon in Honduras. Some sort of policy declaration was expected after the meeting, yet at day's end there was no reason given for its absence. But a disappointing turnout may have been a factor: Panama's Ricardo Martinelli and Costa Rica's Laura Chinchilla attended; the presidents of Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua stayed home.

  13. Land grabbing and Human Rights

    26 October 2012
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    The TNI newsletter of 25 October 2012

  14. UK could become 'smuggling hub' for herbal high khat

    25 January 2012
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    The UK could become a hub for smuggling the herbal stimulant khat, European police and politicians have warned. The Netherlands is the latest country to outlaw the sale of the plant, which is now banned in sixteen EU member states and Norway. Khat is freely sold in the UK and observers say the UK's isolated stance could make it the main base for Europe's khat trade. The British government has commissioned a new review of khat use.

  15. Support growing for medical marijuana in Israel

    01 November 2012
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    More than 10,000 patients who have official government permission consume marijuana in Israel, a number that has swelled dramatically, up from serving just a few hundred patients in 2005. The medical cannabis industry is expanding as well, fuelled by Israel’s strong research sector in medicine and technology – and notably, by government encouragement. Unlike in the United States and much of Europe, the issue inspires almost no controversy among the government and the country’s leadership.

  16. Western banks 'reaping billions from Colombian cocaine trade'

    Ed Vulliamy
    01 June 2012
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    While cocaine production ravages countries in Central America, consumers in the US and Europe are helping developed economies grow rich from the profits, a study claims. The vast profits made from drug production and trafficking are overwhelmingly reaped in rich "consuming" countries – principally across Europe and in the US – rather than war-torn "producing" nations such as Colombia and Mexico. And its authors claim that financial regulators in the west are reluctant to go after western banks in pursuit of the massive amount of drug money being laundered through their systems.

  17. Law Could Hamper Drug Tourism in the Netherlands

    01 April 2012
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    While there are many attractions that draw visitors to Amsterdam nearly a quarter of this city’s more than four million foreign tourists a year will visit its coffee shops, where the sale of small quantities of cannabis is tolerated. But Amsterdam’s days as a destination for hazy holidays may be numbered. Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s right-wing coalition government is pushing to sharply restrict the operations of the coffee shops and to prohibit the sale of the drugs to nonresidents. If the measures survive a court challenge and the opposition of local officials, the first phase would begin May 1.

  18. U.S. says drug abuse needs treatment, not just jail

    23 May 2012
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    The United States sees drug abuse as a public health problem as much as a crime issue and is seeking to learn from countries in Europe and elsewhere about how to treat addiction as a disease, Barack Obama's drugs policy chief Gil Kerlikowske said. He noted what he described as a "somewhat successful" fresh approach in Portugal, where since 2001 authorities have dispensed with arrests, trials and prison for people carrying a personal supply of any drug from marijuana to heroin and focused their efforts on prevention messages and treatment.

  19. Netherlands bans tourists from buying marijuana

    03 May 2012
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    For visitors to the Netherlands who enjoy the relaxing effects of marijuana, life has just become a little less easy going, particularly for those Germans living just west of the border who used to just pop over for a fresh supply. New legislation is restricting the sale of cannabis to residents of the country and banning tourists from purchasing the drug at the coffee shops, famous for selling it.

  20. Small Dutch city is hub for European khat sales

    25 January 2012
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    A small Dutch city less than 20 kilometres from Amsterdam's Schiphol airport has become the hub of Europe's sales of khat, a plant chewed for its stimulant qualities, soon to be banned in the Netherlands. In a discreet warehouse tucked away in the city of Uithoorn, around a hundred Somalis and Yemenis were haggling over the latest delivery: a tonne of khat. But 15 of the European Union's 27 states and Norway have already listed khat as an illegal narcotic and the Netherlands too announced earlier this month it would ban khat.

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