Marijuana is illegal in Israel, but at a government-approved medical marijuana farm at a secret location near the city of Safed, is at the cutting edge of the debate on the legality, benefits and risks of medicinal cannabis. When Zach Klein, a former filmmaker, made a documentary on medical marijuana that was broadcast on Israeli television in 2009, about 400 Israelis were licensed to receive the substance. Today, the number has risen to about 11,000.
Tourists will not be banned from a majority of the Netherlands’ cannabis cafes, despite new residency requirements which came into effect on January 1, according to a survey by NOS television. Coffee shops are required by law to ensure only official residents of the Netherlands are allowed to buy cannabis. However, the legislation gives scope for "local circumstances" to be taken into account. A survey by The Amsterdam Herald found more than a dozen municipalities are not planning to enforce the rule that customers must show evidence that they live in the Netherlands. (See also: Foreigners still welcome in Dutch coffeeshops)
With a boom in crack use over the past decade, Brazilian authorities are struggling to stop the drug's spread, sparking a debate over the legality and efficiency of forcibly interning users. Brazil today is the world's largest consumer of both cocaine and its crack derivative, according to the Federal University of Sao Paolo. Adults can't be forced to stay in treatment, and most leave the shelters within three days. But children are kept in treatment against their will or returned to parents if they have a family.
Human rights groups have urged the UK government to heed the recommendations of an influential parliamentary committee that has told the government to stop funnelling money into anti drug-trafficking programmes in countries that administer the death penalty. Over the past decade, the UK has given millions of pounds to help Pakistan, China and Iran combat drug smuggling. MPs and human rights groups are horrified by credible claims that the increased aid has met with a corresponding rise in arrests which, in turn, has led to more people ending up on death row, including several Britons.
After a decades-long campaign to legalize marijuana hit a high mark in 2012 with victories in Washington state and Colorado, its energized and deep-pocketed backers are mapping out a strategy for the next round of ballot-box battles. They have their sights set on ballot measures in 2014 or 2016 in states such as California and Oregon, which were among the first in the country to allow marijuana for medical use. Although those states more recently rejected broader legalization, drug-law reform groups remain undeterred.
The sequential strategy will look familiar to Coloradans: first, pass a medical-marijuana law; then put dispensaries in place; then go for recreational legalization. The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is pushing medical-marijuana laws in New York, Illinois and New Hampshire, along with contemplating a ballot initiative in Idaho. The true test for marijuana activists will come in 2016, the next presidential election year. That is when MPP hopes to run legalization initiatives in California, Massachusetts, Oregon and Maine.
Exactly a century after ecstasy was first patented, Health Canada has approved the drug’s import for the first Canadian study using the illegal substance in trauma survivors’ therapy. The Journal of Psychopharmacology reported that more than 83% of several PTSD patients treated with MDMA and therapy had completely recovered, “without evidence of harm.” A follow-up study published last month found that the patients still had virtually no symptoms two years later.
A bill calling for tougher sentences for drug possession and mandatory internment of addicts in Brazil has drawn fire from ex-president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a strong advocate of drug decriminalization. "Treating drug use as a police case is useless and disastrous," he said in an interview with the daily O Globo. "Mandatory internment (of addicts) has been internationally condemned as inefficient, stigmatizing and a violation of human rights," said Cardoso who was in office from 1995 to 2002.
L'autoculture de cannabis croît et se multiplie. C'est la tendance observée par l'Observatoire français des drogues et des toxicomanies (OFDT) qui dénombre 200 000 cultivateurs particuliers de marijuana en France. Une culture domestique généralement pratiquée à l'abri des regards et sous les néons d'un appartement. Mais pas seulement. Depuis 2009, certains se réunissent dans des "cannabis social clubs". Des coopératives, calquées sur le modèle espagnol, au sein desquelles les adhérents font pousser et partagent leurs plants.
The decision by voters in Colorado and Washington to legalize marijuana represents a seismic shift in public attitudes. This historic reform will only add urgency to the message of a growing number of law enforcement experts, scientists and politicians: that a new approach to the failed war on drugs is desperately needed. The current punitive approach to marijuana is not effective and squanders valuable public resources that could be directed toward prevention and treatment.
India’s strict narcotics laws have been ineffective. Supply and demand for all narcotic and synthetic drugs has risen rapidly after the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) in 1985. All the police does is arrest the most defenceless in the drug chain — drug users, and those who sell small quantities to pay for their addiction.
Uruguay has been on the vanguard of drug policy reform in the Americas, proposing a state regulatory market for the cultivation and consumption of marijuana. (See Latin America reinventing the War on Drugs). But last week the project’s No. 1 proponent, President Jose Mujica, told Parliament to postpone the vote. Mujica always said he would not go forward with the proposal if a majority of Uruguayans did not accept it. A new poll by the firm Cifra shows 64 percent of those surveyed remain opposed.
Marcus Day of the Caribbean Drug and Alcohol Research Institute believes the time has come for regional governments to legalise marijuana to counteract the spread of HIV. "We encourage the crack smokers that we work with to substitute their crack for cannabis and to smoke cannabis instead. Even though it's probably not the best thing, it's much better than crack smoking."
Rob Kampia, co-founder and executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), has co-authored most of the medical marijuana laws on the books. His group spent years laying the groundwork for the successful legalization initiatives in Washington and Colorado, and the MPP was – by far – the biggest financial backer of the successful campaign in Colorado. He is interviewed about the future of pot prohibition, the role of the feds ...
Let Colorado and Washington be the marijuana trailblazers. Let them struggle with the messy details of what it means to actually legalize the drug. Marijuana is, as a practical matter, already legal in much of California. No matter that its recreational use remains technically against the law. Marijuana has, in many parts of this state, become the equivalent of a beer in a paper bag on the streets.
A showdown over the fate of the country's largest medical marijuana dispensary heads to federal court, and the outcome could hint at what lies ahead as a growing number of states opt for legalization. This fall, Oakland became the first municipality to sue federal prosecutors in an attempt to block them from shuttering a medical cannabis facility.
By legalizing marijuana through direct democracy, Colorado and Washington have fundamentally changed the national conversation about cannabis. As many as 58 percent of Americans believe marijuana should be legal. The political establishment is catching on. Former president Jimmy Carter endorsed taxed-and-regulated weed. In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy suggested "to amend the Federal Controlled Substances Act to allow possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, at least in jurisdictions where it is legal under state law."
Mexico's new president has outlined a security strategy aimed at reducing drug war-related violence that, rhetorically at least, contrasts starkly with the emphasis his predecessor placed on using force to go after the cartels. For all the changes of tone, however, it remains unclear how different the strategy will be on the ground, aside, perhaps, from more funds dedicated to social projects aimed at disadvantaged youths at risk of being sucked into organised crime.
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" summed up the response from the Home Office, and later David Cameron, to the publication of the home affairs select committee's year-long inquiry into drug policy last week. Why waste time on setting up a royal commission into drug policy (something his coalition partners, in contrast, went on to call for) when our current drug policy is working? The key evidence for this, quoted like a mantra by the government, is falling drug use. But the "falling drug use" plank on which the government is walking is a very shaky one.
The Czech Republic already has one of the world’s most liberal approach to recreational drug possession. And it will get more liberal still: beginning next year the government will allow marijuana to be distributed by pharmacies for patients with a prescription. Lawmakers in parliament’s lower house overwhelmingly passed a bill clearing the way for legal, but regulated medical marijuana on December 7.