WASHINGTON — In a major shift in criminal justice policy, the Obama administration will move on Monday to ease overcrowding in federal prisons by ordering prosecutors to omit listing quantities of illegal substances in indictments for low-level drug cases, sidestepping federal laws that impose strict mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related offenses.
With Jamaica's Ministry of Justice positioning itself to seek approval from Cabinet for the decriminalisation of marijuana, the justice minister Mark Golding said the country is to advance constitutional justification to its international partners for the revision of the law. Golding said the revised law would permit the possession of small amounts of ganja, about two ounces, for recreational use. The House of Representatives gave the nod to a motion calling for the decriminalisation of ganja.
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.
Interpellé mi-février après que la police a saisi à son domicile 126 plants de cannabis et 26 grammes d’herbe, le proces contre Dominque Broc ressemblait plus à un combat politique qu’à une joute juridique. «Les Cannabis Social Clubs prônent une consommation régulée et raisonnable de la marijuana. Ils produisent eux-mêmes ce qu’ils fument pour ne pas recourir au marché noir. Il est donc à tout le moins hypocrite de ne pas poursuivre les faits de production et d’envoyer le prévenu devant la juridiction compétente ! tonne son avocat, Philippe Baron.
The city of Rio de Janeiro has begun a program of involuntary hospitalization for crack users, one month after Brazil’s biggest city São Paulo began a similar program. Critics say that forcing addicts into rehabilitation treatment is ineffective. “When an addict is interned unwillingly, he can remain abstinent as long as he remains hospitalized,” Psychiatrist Dartiu Xavier da Silveira said. “When he returns to his normal life (and his usual problems), the vast majority of users go back to using the drug as before.”
The United States must not turn a blind eye to the recreational use of cannabis in states that liberalize drug laws, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said, urging the country to live up to its treaty commitments. Raymond Yans, president of the INCB, said assurances from the U.S. government in December that growing, selling or possessing the drug remained illegal under federal law were "good, but insufficient".
Alaska voters likely will get a chance next year to make their state the third in the country to approve the recreational use of marijuana by adults 21 and older. Pot backers took the first step toward getting the measure on the August 2014 primary ballot, presenting draft language and 100 signatures to the Alaska lieutenant governor’s office.
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.
Justice Minister Mark Golding says international events and changes in the United States - the chief opponent of Jamaica's decriminalisation efforts over the years - make this the right time for lawmakers to consider changes. He said the recommendations which Cabinet will be asked to consider are standing on the shoulders of the recommendations of the National Commission on Ganja, chaired by the late Professor Barry Chevannes more than a decade ago.
Justice Minister Mark Golding has said consideration is being given to reforming the law relating to ganja in Jamaica to allow its use, but within certain parameters. Those boundaries include possession of marijuana for medical use, scientific research, religious purposes, and possession of small amounts of ganja (that is amounts of up to two ounces) for recreational use. It is also considering permitting the smoking of ganja in private places.
Colombia's Justice Minister, Ruth Stella Correa, has said a new drugs bill would decriminalise personal use of synthetic drugs, such as ecstasy. The proposal would replace current laws, which ban cocaine and marijuana, although people are not prosecuted for possessing small amounts. Colombia's legislation is being re-assessed in an attempt to tackle drug use, trafficking and related issues.
The legal status of kratom is under review in Thailand. Options include making kratom available only by prescription, decriminalizing small amounts and total legalization. “There’s never been a single death associated with kratom,” said Pascal Tanguay, who investigated kratom use for the Transnational Institute. “People have been chewing this for thousands of years with no cases of overdose, psychosis, murder, violent crime. Never in all of recorded history.”
A French man suffering from a muscular disease since childhood had his request to be given the right to use cannabis for medicinal reasons rejected by a French court. To make matters worse he was fined €300 for possession. “I’ve been condemned – my disease is incurable, and only cannabis can give me any relief,” Dominique Loumachi told French TV TF1, before the verdict.
At least 10 of the Netherlands’ local councils have already or will soon submit plans to the justice ministry asking to be allowed to approve commercial marijuana growing. Newspaper Trouw showed councils are highly critical of official government policy on marijuana and say legalised production would remove organised crime from the equation. ‘Marijuana does not fall from the sky,’ said Heerlen mayor Paul Depla. (See also: Plan to ban strong marijuana unworkable, experts say)
The Dutch city of Eindhoven has come up with a proposal it believes will curb the illegal supply of cannabis to the city’s cannabis coffee shops: they suggest growing it themselves. “The Eindhoven municipality has come out in favor of a pilot project regarding the controlled cultivation of cannabis,” Eindhoven’s mayor Rob van Gijzel said in a letter, a copy of which was handed to local media. “This suggestion is aimed at using controlled cultivation to curb the ‘back-door’ problems associated with illegal supply to coffee shops.” (See also: Friesland councillors support move to legalise cannabis production)
Le bras de fer entre le Cannabis social club et les autorités judiciaires a connu un nouvel épisode. Le 4 mars dernier, les membres fondateurs du Cannabis social club français s'étaient rendus à la préfecture d'Indre-et-Loire pour déposer les statuts de cette association dont le but officiel est de fédérer les Cannabis social clubs qui devaient être créés un peu partout en France. Lors d'une audience civile, le procureur de la République de Tours, Philippe Varin, a demandé la dissolution de cette fédération. (Lire aussi: Les Cannabis Social Club assignés à Tours)
Justice Minister Chaikasem Nitisiri said he is considering the possibility of legalising krathom leaves with one of the options being to use the plant as a substitute in drug treatment programmes. But public opinion would need to be gauged first, he said. The idea could materialise if it is backed by scientific research and gains social acceptance. Krathom is classified as a drug in the 5th category of the Narcotics Act, alongside cannabis and psychotropic mushroom species, but has lighter penalties than those drugs.