Uruguay’s experiment with legal domestic cannabis cultivation is about to enter a new phase, marking a key opportunity for the country to demonstrate what an effective enforcement model for the law will look like in the future.
For the first time, the General Social Survey – a large, national survey conducted every two years and widely considered to represent the gold standard for public opinion research – shows a majority of Americans favoring the legalization of marijuana.
For more than two decades crop dusters have buzzed the skies of Colombia showering bright green fields of coca with chemical defoliant as part of a US-funded effort to stem the country’s production of cocaine. Farmers across the country have long complained that indiscriminate spraying also destroys legal crops, and that the chemical used – glyphosate – has caused everything from skin rashes and respiratory problems to diarrhoea and miscarriages.
Calling it an issue America can’t afford to ignore, President Barack Obama laid out an expansive vision for fixing the criminal justice system. “In far too many cases, the punishment simply doesn’t fit the crime,” Obama told a crowd of 3,300 in Philadelphia. Low-level drug dealers, for example, owe a debt to society, but not a life sentence or 20-year prison term, he said. The United States needed to reevaluate an “aspect of American life that remains particularly skewed by race and by wealth.” Working in Obama’s favor: tentative but optimistic signs of common ground between Republicans and Democrats. (See also: President Obama for the prisoners)
A new UN study showing a steep rise in the cultivation of the leaf used to make cocaine offers fresh support to Colombia’s recent decision to end the aerial spraying of drug crops with herbicides. Justice minister, Yesid Reyes, said the report showed that the aerial aspersion strategy was ineffective. After spraying 1.5m hectares in the past 12 years, the total reduction of coca crops was just 12,000 hectares, Reyes said. Paraphrasing Albert Einstein, he added: “Insanity is to continue doing the same thing and expect different results.”
The Portuguese justice minister, Paula Teixeira da Cruz, said she agreed with decriminalizing the use of soft drugs, in an interview to TSF radio, so “there is no highly organised crime or money laundering”. The prime minister has said that the decriminalisation of light drugs “is not on the government programme” and said that the comments made by the justice minister about this matter were made “personally”.
In a dispute that pits the war on drugs against global health needs — and one UN agency against another — a pair of Canadian researchers is spearheading a last-ditch bid to keep a widely used anesthetic from being declared an illicit narcotic.
A year into the experiments with legal, taxed marijuana sales, Washington and Colorado find themselves wrestling not with the federal interference many feared, but with competition from medical marijuana or even outright black market sales.
The Annual Report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), released today, calls upon States that ‘continue to impose the death penalty for drug-related offences to consider abolishing the death penalty for such offences’.
Hanna Wagenius, chair of Sweden's Centre Party's youth wing, thinks that Sweden should take its lead from several places around the world which have legalized cannabis, such as the Netherlands and a number of US states. Sweden has a highly regulated sale of liquor, with government-owned chain Systembolaget (literally translated as 'the System Company') being the only retail store allowed to sell alcoholic beverages that contain more than 3.5 percent alcohol. Wagenius has something similar in mind for cannabis. (See also: Center Party youth vote to legalize marijuana)
The Cairo and Giza Tobacco Merchants Association submitted a proposal to the Cabinet to legalize the use and trade of hash, arguing the measure could prove an effective means to reduce the state budget deficit, according to Al-Masry Al-Youm.