As Obama embarks on the third year of his second term, here are some of the ways in which Obama has begun to deliver on his promises of a more rational, less punitive approach to psychoactive substances. Obama's most significant drug policy accomplishment may be letting states go their own way on marijuana legalization. Even if our next president is a Republican drug warrior, he will have a hard time reversing that decision, especially given the GOP’s lip service to federalism.
In mehreren Schweizer Kantonen sind Diskussionen im Gang, ob und wie der Konsum von Cannabis legalisiert werden könnte. Eine Vorreiterrolle spielt Genf. Dort hat eine Kommission um alt Bundesrätin Ruth Dreifuss der Kantonsregierung Vorschläge für ein Pilotprojket vorgelegt. «Es sollte Vereine geben», sagt die Vorsteherin der Genfer Suchtkommission, die frühere Bundesrätin Ruth Dreifuss. In den Vereinen sollte der Cannabiskonsum dereinst legal sein, so das Ziel der Arbeitsgruppe. Bis dahin ist es aber noch ein weiter Weg.
While in the Americas cannabis policy reform is taking off, Europe seems to be lagging behind. At the level of national governments denial of the changing policy landscape and inertia to act upon calls for change reigns. At the local level, however, disenchantment with the current cannabis regime gives rise to new idea.
Some European countries prescribe heroin for the most severe cases of addiction. Patients taking heroin are less likely to use illicit drugs and drop out of treatment than those who use methadone, a substitute. Vancouver’s eagerness to follow is not surprising. It has long had Canada’s most liberal drug policies, and it has a big problem. Addicts congregate in Downtown Eastside, two derelict blocks right next to tourist attractions and the financial district. In the late 1990s the city had the highest rate of HIV infection outside sub-Saharan Africa.
Last week, NBC’s Today Show giddily announced an exclusive: Privateer Holdings, the Seattle marijuana company long acclaimed locally for its straight, corporate image and Ivy-League-educated bosses, was launching “the first global pot brand” based on the legacy of Bob Marley. The company is likely to start selling pot overseas, says Privateer public-relations director Zack Hutson, previously a spokesperson for Starbucks. “We’re in discussions with a distributor in Israel” – a country with a federally legal medical-marijuana system. Hutson also cites Uruguay and the Netherlands as potential early markets.
In Uruguay, licensed cannabis clubs of up to 45 members will be allowed to grow a maximum of 99 plants each year. In August, growing up to six plants of cannabis at home became legal. Each club member can produce no more than 480g of cannabis each year and the club's growing fields cannot be within 150m of a school, college or a drug rehabilitation centre. Legalising cannabis has been a sensitive issue in Uruguay, where voters will be going to the polls in a second round of presidential elections on 30 November. Both presidential candidates have said they will tinker with the new laws if elected.
Two U.S. states have legalized recreational marijuana, and more may follow; the Obama administration has conditionally accepted these experiments. Such actions are in obvious tension with three international treaties that together commit the United States to punish and even criminalize activity related to recreational marijuana. The administration asserts that its policy complies with the treaties because they leave room for flexibility and prosecutorial discretion.
Farmers in the Bekaa Valley are not ashamed of growing marijuana. It is neither a disgrace nor a mistake, “We grow it to survive” they say candidly. While some may view cannabis as an illness, farmers consider it as a cure for their problem, the same problem spreading all over the Bekaa: poverty and deprivation. The decline of marijuana profits may cause an economic problem in the Bekaa, since many families depend on planting and selling hashish to survive.
Catalonia is drawing up rules to allow the use of marijuana for the treatment of patients suffering from conditions with symptoms such as pain and loss of appetite, the region's health minister Boi Ruiz has said. The move would open the way for the drug to be prescribed to cancer and AIDS patients, among others. The plan was partly designed to stop Barcelona's increasingly popular cannabis clubs from controlling the supply of medical marijuana, Ruiz said.
Peter MacKay, the Minister of Justice, is broaching the prospect of a marijuana bill that would verge on decriminalization. Well, better late than never. If such a bill were to become law, Canadian police would be able to ticket anyone smoking pot in public. But possession wouldn’t necessarily be a crime. It is a waste of the police’s time to criminally charge people for possession of small amounts of marijuana, and the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs have said as much. (See also: Looser marijuana laws still possible, Peter MacKay says)
The attorney general, Patrick Atkinson, must move with dispatch to determine, as the justice minister, Mark Golding, suggests, whether the police can proceed by issuing summonses to, rather than arresting, persons who are to be prosecuted for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The idea makes sense in the face of the Government's declared policy to decriminalise ganja use, but has added urgency following last week's death, apparently the result of a severe beating while in a Montego Bay police lock-up, of Mario Deane, who was arrested for a ganja cigarette. (See also: Ganja decision should not be based on votes)
In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize the production and sale of marijuana. But this pioneering decision is presenting a number of challenges when it comes to implementation. The new law states that cannabis can be grown at home, acquired with a prescription at a pharmacy for registered users, or bought through cannabis clubs. While marijuana production is on the rise, the government has yet to put any of these legal frameworks in place. Meanwhile, home-growing is on the rise in anticipation of the final measures being introduced.
Many myths surround coca. Every day press accounts around the world use the word coca in their headlines, when in fact they refer to cocaine. TNI's Drugs and Democracy Team exposes the myths and reality surrounding the coca leaf.
The dynamics of reform in the Americas continues. This time, the momentum comes from the Caribbean region. Jamaica and other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states are now moving to change their marijuana laws. Among the proposed changes discussed in Jamaica were the decriminalisation of possession of small amounts of ganja for recreational and religious use and cultivating it for medicinal purposes.
Depuis la dissolution le 20 juin 2013 de la fédération des Cannabis social clubs par le tribunal de grande instance de Tours (Indre-et-Loire), les groupes vivent dans la clandestinité. Alors qu’on pourrait croire que la répression les aurait conduits à l’explosion, les Cannabis clubs continuent d’exister, comme si de rien n’était ou presque. « La dissolution n’a pas changé grand-chose, elle nous a permis de mieux nous organiser », affirme Dominique Broc. Pourtant cette opération de cannabis clubs a un petit côté pétard mouillé.