Canada's war on drugs has caused serious harm, particularly for the nation's most vulnerable, according to a Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) policy paper. The report, A New Approach to Managing Psychoactive Substances, calls for the decriminalization of drugs such as marijuana, heroin and cocaine, as well as strategies to reduce harm and address the social conditions underlying problem substance use.
In February, the Italian Constitutional Court ruled that most of the 2006 drug law norms were unconstitutional. Following this pronouncement, at the end of May, the Court of Cassation decided that people sentenced and incarcerated under the illegitimate norms have the right to be resentenced. The decision may affect about 10.000 prisoners detained for cannabis crimes.
A strong majority of Canadians think the federal government should either legalize marijuana or decriminalize the possession of small amounts, according to a Department of Justice poll, kept secret by the Conservatives for months. Of the 3,000 respondents, 37.3 per cent said the government should legalize marijuana, while 33.4 per cent said the possession of small amounts should be decriminalized. Only 13.7 per cent of respondents supported the status quo, while 12 per cent said they believe Ottawa should impose harsher penalties.
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) call for the decriminalisation of drugs will be taken up by Danish politicians in the autumn. In the WHO report, which focused on international HIV prevention, the UN agency encourages countries to stop criminalising the use of drugs. “Countries should work toward developing policies and laws that decriminalise injection and other use of drugs and, thereby, reduce incarceration,” the report read. (See also: Liberal Alliance: Legalise all drug possession)
Jamaica, Uruguay, Colorado, Washington—more and more places are rebelling against the UN conventions that established the criminalisation of narcotics half a century ago. But the latest organisation to weigh in against the UN’s line is rather surprising. It is a branch of the UN itself. The report, Consolidated guidelines on HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for key populations, published by the World Health Organisation, an agency of the United Nations, makes a discreet but clear call to decriminalise drugs. And not just cannabis—the report goes as far as recommending the decriminalisation of injecting drugs, which implies the harder sort.
A call has been made for the government to declare an amnesty on all arrests for the possession of under one pound of marijuana. The plea from the Ganja Future Growers Producers Association was made following the death of Mario Deane who was in the custody of the State. Deane was arrested and held at the Barnett Street police station lock-up in western Jamaica for possession of a marijuana spliff. While in custody, he was beaten and died in hospital a few days later.
In Canada there appears to be "just a lack of enthusiasm on the part of police" to enforce possession laws."There's a huge amount of discretion. It's kind of the new vagrancy charge, really," said Neil Boyd, professor and director of Simon Fraser University's school of criminology. A phone survey conducted by Ipsos Reid between Jan. 30 and Feb. 7, 2014, suggested that 70 per cent of 3,000 Canadians polled want to see pot possession either legalized or decriminalized.
Around 2,000 inmates convicted of low-level drug offences could be released in Ecuador under a new criminal code, as countries across the Americas slowly move away from harsh punishments for minor drug crimes. In an interview with El Comerico, Ecuador's chief public defender, Ernesto Pazmiño, said that thousands of people convicted of drug possession, street sales or acting as "mules" (couriers) will have their cases reassessed after the country's new Integrated Penal Code comes into force.
In Saint Vincent and across the Caribbean, marijuana is illegal, yet it is widely used, freely sold and openly puffed. It’s evidence of the shifting attitudes over pot. Now, for the first time, Caribbean leaders — much like a growing number of American and Latin American lawmakers — are considering loosening restrictions to control and capitalize on the popular crop.
Around 3 million Germans regularly smoke marijuana. Some 14 million are estimated to have tried the drug at least once. It's not punishable by law in Germany to use pot, but it is to sell and grow it. Several legal experts believe that criminal prosecution of cannabis users doesn't serve the desired purpose. They have called on the Bundestag to discuss the issue. Merkel's coalition is skeptical.
Cannabis-Konsum soll in Vereinen mit Mitgliederbeitrag legal werden. Das fordert ein überparteiliches Genfer Komitee. Im Genfer Projekt können sich Erwachsene, die im Kanton Genf wohnhaft sind, in einem Verein einschreiben, um legal eine vorbestellte Menge an Cannabis zu beziehen. Der Genfer Soziologe Sandro Cattacin leitet die Arbeitsgruppe des Projekts. Er spricht über dessen Signalwirkung an Jugendliche und die Reaktion des Bauernverbandes.
Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino said he was in favour of decriminalizing cannabis, calling for a national and international reform on drug laws in order to fight organized crime. said he was “in favour of the possibility of the liberalization of cannabis for medical or personal use.” He was speaking at the Eighth Annual Conference of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy in Rome. Beyond the capital he also advocated broader reform of drug laws both in Italy and abroad. (See also: Italy relaxes cannabis penalties)
At the first Cannabis Conference held at the University of the West Indies, stakeholders have called for the criminal records of persons convicted for smoking small amounts of ganja to be expunged and are calling for the laws to be amended to allow for the personal use of small amounts of ganja in private. But while they want ganja to be decriminalised for personal use by adults and for religious purposes, Government must maintain its ban on the smoking of all substances in public and must put in place safeguards and education programmes to reduce juvenile use and demand for ganja.
The West Africa Commission on Drugs says drug cartels are undermining the region by using it to transit cocaine. The commission, headed by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, says the cartels should be tackled but that punishing the personal use of drugs does not work. It argues that current policies incite corruption and provoke violence. Drug trafficking and consumption have become major issues in West Africa since the turn of the century. (See also: West Africa needs to look at partially decriminalising drugs, says thinktank)
The Jamaican government has approved proposed amendments to the law that will decriminalise the possession of small amounts of ganja. Justice Minister Mark Golding says the government will soon table a bill in Parliament that will seek to expunge the criminal records of persons convicted for possession of small amounts of ganja. Speaking at a Jamaica House press conference a short while ago, Golding said Cabinet has approved proposed changes to the Dangerous Drugs Act to make possession of up to two ounces (57 grams) or less a non-arrestable offence. (See also: Jamaica government announces major changes to drug laws)
The Institute of National Problematics of the University of San Carlos in Guatemala recently presented a new publication “Despenalization of drugs: Realities and Perspectives in Guatemala”. The new tendency towards legalization and/or decriminalization in the hemisphere stirred an internal debate about the need to revise drug policies in Guatemala towards policies with an emphasis on prevention and treatment of problematic use of drugs.
Minister of Justice, Senator Mark Golding, tabled the much-anticipated Bill proposing the automatic expungement of convictions for certain minor ganja-related offences in the Senate. The Bill, officially titled An Act to Amend the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders), also provides that conviction for a minor offence of ganja possession, which involves a fine of $1000 (or such other amount as may be prescribed), or for smoking ganja, shall not be entered into the criminal record of the offender.
The Caribbean trade bloc Caricom has created a commission to study whether the region's roughly 15 million people should be allowed to use medical marijuana and how courts should handle possession of small amounts of the drug. Leaders said that the commission is expected to submit reports by Caricom's next summit, scheduled for February 2016. A recent preliminary report from Caricom found that decriminalizing medical marijuana could help boost the region's economy. (See also: Opposition says Jamaica does not need Caricom ganja comm)