Uruguay's unprecedented plan to create a legal marijuana market has taken its critical first step in the lower house of Congress. All 50 members of the ruling Broad Front coalition approved the proposal just before midnight on Wednesday in a party line vote, keeping a narrow majority of the 96 MPs present after more than 13 hours of passionate debate.
George Soros has called for an end to the West's "war on drugs". Soros has thrown his weight behind a push by Guatemalan President Perez Molina, who recently declared that prohibition should be abandoned. Speaking at the World Economic Forum, Soros said that the narcotics trade threatened stability in many countries. President Molina said he would organise a meeting of Latin American leaders next June to discuss the issue. Costa Rica, Mexico and Colombia have opened talks with U.S. officials to prepare for the legalization of marijuana in some U.S. states, Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla declared.
Les Cannabis Social Clubs (CSC) sont en plein bad trip. Ces coopératives d’autoproducteurs avaient lancé en mars une vaste opération de désobéissance civile, sommant le gouvernement «de prendre ses responsabilités» sur la dépénalisation de la marijuana. Le tribunal de grande instance de Tours a prononcé, hier, la dissolution de la structure fédérant l’ensemble des Cannabis Social Clubs français. Ses membres ont désormais l’interdiction de se réunir.
US Attorney General Eric Holder told America to expect a decision "soon" on how he'll respond to the recent legalization of pot by Colorado and Washington state. Legislative committees in New Mexico and Hawaii approved bills to decriminalize marijuana possession and Oregon lawmakers introduced a legalization bill. Rhode Island legislators held a hearing on a bill to legalize and tax marijuana. In California, where Holder's Justice Department has spent months trying to shut down respected medical-pot dispensaries, a Field Poll showed that 67 percent of state voters oppose the move.
Ils sont chefs d’entreprises, éducateurs spécialisés, universitaires, produisent eux-mêmes le cannabis qu’ils fument, et entendent «renverser la prohibition». De la marijuana, ils prônent un usage modéré et régulé sans en nier les dangers, surtout pour les jeunes. Pour ce faire, ils ont copié un modèle qui existe depuis vingt ans en Espagne: le Cannabis Social Club (CSC). Associations officieuses à but non lucratif. (Lire aussi: Les politiques restent accros à la répression)
The exponential proliferation of the number of associations, clubs and other groups that distribute cannabis among their members and create new spaces for socialising, has surprised even the most optimistic advocates of more reasonable drug policies. In a short time, and in spite of those in government, civil society has provided a response to a problem that realpolitik has been unable to tackle.
Uruguay is poised to become the first nation in the world to create a legal, regulated marijuana market. .. but is this the right way forward? Martin Jelsma is a leading expert on Latin America and international drugs policies. He told Vatican Radio's Susy Hodges that he's in favour of the new law in Uruguay and says it is not intended to liberalize the cannabis market but instead regulate it.
In his final state of the city address as Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, announced that anyone caught in possession of marijuana would no longer have to spend a night in jail. Effective next month, anyone who is arrested for marijuana possession will still be taken to the police station, fingerprinted and so on, but if there are no pending warrants, they will be released with a summons to appear in court. This is a small step in the right direction.
Many people arrested on low-level marijuana-possession charges in the nation’s largest city will no longer be booked and held hours for arraignment, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. Starting next month, people who get picked up on charges of having a small amount of marijuana will be released with appearance tickets if they have identification and no open warrants, Bloomberg said, spotlighting the issue in his State of the City address amid debate over the tens of thousands of such arrests in the city each year. (Bloomberg: I oppose legalizing marijuana)
Authorities in Switzerland decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis earlier this month with the introduction of a 100-franc fine but a pot smokers group is already dispensing advice on how to avoid the penalty. The Zurich-based group Legalize it! believes the law is still too harsh on pot smokers and in a German-language brochure it advises users to lie to police to avoid paying the fine.
The week got off to an ominous start on Monday with the release of a survey by Cifra, Uruguay's leading pollster, showing that around two-thirds of the country has remained consistently opposed to marijuana regulation since it was first proposed a year ago. The poll found that 63 percent of over 1,000 respondents from around the country said they were in disagreement with "the bill to regulate the cultivation and consumption of marijuana in Uruguay," as the initiative was presented. Just 26 percent said they were in favor of it. This is identical to the degree of support it had in December 2012, when President Jose Mujica halted the bill's progress and called for a national debate on the matter after the release of a Cifra poll on December 18.
The bill will now be taken up in Uruguay’s Senate—where the governing Frente Amplio coalition also holds a majority—and could soon arrive on the desk of President José Mujica, who has supported the proposal since its introduction in 2012.
Building on a long history and culture of tolerance, the Dutch responded to illicit drugs with decades of pragmatic measures free of judgment. A central element of modern Dutch drug policy was a crucial decision to establish a legal and practical separation of cannabis—judged to pose "acceptable" risks to consumers and society—from hard drugs associated with unacceptable risk. This policy effectively decriminalized possession and use of cannabis and opened the door for tolerated outlets for small-scale cannabis sales that eventually took the form of the well-known Dutch "coffee shops."
What was originally a small group of friends, has become a feasible alternative to the cannabis black market in the north of Belgium. Our guest author guides us through Antwerp’s cannabis social club. Belgium legalised the possession and use of small amounts of cannabis for personal use a decade ago. Since that time, smokers can not only carry up to 3 grams in public but can also legally grow one plant per person at home.
In the wake of the marijuana legalization victories in Colorado and Washington last November, and buoyed by a series of national public opinion polls showing support for pot legalization going over the tipping point, marijuana reform legislation is being introduced at state houses across the land at levels never seen before. According to a legislative activity web page maintained by the Marijuana Policy Project, decriminalization bills have been introduced in 10 states.
A majority of Texas voters support marijuana legalization, according to a recent survey. Public Policy Polling found that 58 percent of Texans "support making marijuana legal for adults and regulating it like alcohol." Even more – 61 percent – were in favor of decriminalizing marijuana possession and instead punishing violations with a civil citation. Texas law currently views possession of marijuana, even on a minute scale, as a criminal offense, punishable by $2,000 in fines and up to a year of jail time.
Speaking at a meeting of the hemisphere's security ministers in Medellin, United States Attorney General Eric Holder touted the Obama administration's efforts to curb mandatory minimum sentences. He also backed a more heterodox approach to citizen security, a sign of a subtle shift in the U.S.-backed 'War on Drugs' in the region. Holder delivered his address at the Fourth Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas (MISPA IV), a biannual OAS-sponsored conference designed to promote policy coordination on the issue. (See also: Open letter to Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas)
Legislators in Mexico City, the largest city in North America, are preparing to push through certain measures that would decriminalize and regulate the consumption of marijuana in the Mexican capital, a move that may speed pot legalization elsewhere in the continent. Proposals include the setting up of cannabis clubs to grow herb for their members and tolerance of anyone carrying up to 30 grams, or just over an ounce, of marijuana.