Over half of EU countries, as well as the United States and Canada, ban the stimulant qat, a sort of mild amphetamine. But attempts to do so in Britain, most recently in 2005, left experts unconvinced that the stuff was so harmful to mind, body or society that dealing in it should be made a crime. Thinking may now be changing. Is banning qat the right move? Probably not. It has not broken into the mainstream.
Who is going to clean up the mess OxyContin has left behind in Ontario? Health Minister Deb Matthews' move to delist the addictive prescription painkiller from the provincial drug benefits program - just as a new, more difficult to abuse, formulation is coming on the market - is a start. But it is also a stark admission of the health system's failure to properly control a drug that was once aggressively marketed as something of a miracle cure for pain - and is depended on by many who need it - but has unleashed an addiction nightmare, especially in Ontario's North.
In response to an opinion piece in Politiken newspaper, in which a former Christiania resident encourages residents of the commune to stand up to the gang members that control its hash market, the chief inspector of the Copenhagen Police says the enclave’s future is threatened by the criminality. “The hash trade is accompanied by violence and other serious crimes to an extent that Christiania is threatened,” chief inspector Jørn Aabye said to the newspaper.
Efforts to legalize marijuana for recreational use are gaining momentum in Washington state and Colorado, despite fierce opposition from the federal government and a decades-long cultural battle over America's most commonly used illicit drug. Officials in Washington state said an initiative to legalize pot has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in November. In Colorado, officials are likely this week to make a similar determination about an initiative there.
A measure to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Washington State is likely to be on the November 2012 ballot, after the secretary of the state's office certified the initiative, saying the campaign had turned in enough valid petition signatures. Initiative 502 now goes to the Legislature, but lawmakers are not likely to take up the issue during the short 60-day session that ends on March 8, meaning it would automatically appear on the ballot in the fall election.
A quarter-century after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first prescription drugs based on the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, additional medicines derived from or inspired by the cannabis plant itself could soon be making their way to pharmacy shelves, according to drug companies, small biotech firms and university scientists.
New psychoactive substances (commonly known as legal highs) are spreading across Europe with growing speed. Between 1997 and 2010 the early-warning system of the European Monitoring Agency on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) identified more than 150 legal highs, 65 in the past two years (24 in 2009 and 41 in 2010). These drugs pose a significant challenge to service providers, policy makers and law enforcement officials – and to the whole drug control system in general. It seems we need more than supply reduction and law enforcement to stop the flow of cheap research chemicals from China and India - an HCLU report on legal highs in Hungary.
Khat has been consumed for thousands of years in the highlands of Eastern Africa and Southern Arabia.Strict bans on khat introduced in Europe ostensibly for the protection of immigrant communities have had severe unintended negative consequences.
The Copenhagen City Council is pushing ahead with a proposal to decriminalise cannabis, and has set up a committee to investigate the best way to regulate the supply and distribution. The favoured option is for 30 or 40 cannabis shops controlled by the city in which adults may legally buy cannabis. By a margin of 39 votes to nine, the City Council decided to draw up a detailed outline of how the plan would work. Subsequently, the resulting proposal still has to be ratified by the Danish parliament, which has blocked similar movements in the past. But after the national elections in September 2011 the current parliament could support decriminalisation this time around.
Backers of an effort to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana use in Washington state submitted more than 340,000 signatures Thursday to try to qualify their initiative, a move protested by some legalization supporters who say the proposal would hurt medical-marijuana patients. About a dozen protesters carried signs that read "Legalize, not penalize," and shouted as members of New Approach turned in signatures for Initiative 502 to the Legislature.
The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) traveled to California and attended the International Drug Policy Reform Conference in LA to find out what are the latest development of the battle for legal marijuana in the US. We interviewed activists from several organizations, asked questions about the chances of state level ballot initiatives, we even saw how people will use cannabis in the 21st Century. Welcome to the future of US marijuana regulation - please watch and share HCLU's new movie.
Health officials of the Basque Country, an autonomous region of Spain, announced that they will introduce a bill to regulate the "cultivation, sale and consumption" of hashish and marijuana. The bill, which will be presented to the regional parliament next year, was put forward on December 12, 2011, by regional health officials during the presentation of the regional addictions plan. Several media outlets broke the news as an intent to legalise cannabis use, while in fact the proposed legislation only aims to regulate cannabis user associations that cultivate for personal use.
The Basque Parliament will approve a law bill in the first few months of 2012 on drug addiction, which will regulate "the growing, sale and consumption of cannabis". For the new ruling, for which "technical and legal studies have been undertaken", the regional government wants to "open a debate" with associations in favour of consumption and to "shape their rights".
Imagine an extremely expensive government policy proven to be completely ineffective at achieving its stated objectives. Consider also that whenever this policy is subjected to any kind of impact assessment, the government’s own data clearly show that the policy has been ineffective, expensive and fuelled the growth of organized crime. Finally, imagine this remarkable set of circumstances persisting for decades — at great cost to taxpayers and community safety — and yet elected officials say and do nothing to address the status quo.
A committee has now been established to determine the best way to legalise the sale of hashish, with special stores owned by the council presenting itself as the preferred candidate. The sale, consumption and cultivation of marijuana is illegal in Denmark, all of which can be punished with warnings, fines or jail time. Despite this there is a strong black market for the drug generating 1.5 billion kroner a year and controlled entirely by criminal gangs.
The former head of MI5 believes the "war on drugs" has proved fruitless and it is time to consider decriminalising the possession and use of small quantities of cannabis. Eliza Manningham-Buller has backed calls for the government to set up a commission to examine how to tackle the UK's drug culture and consider the highly controversial move of relaxing the law. She was speaking at a meeting held by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform.
Marijuana legalization in Washington has been an activist's pipe dream for decades, but a new campaign with deep pockets and prominent supporters is poised to force the state Legislature to vote on the issue or send it to the 2012 presidential ballot.The group, New Approach Washington, is the strongest mainstream campaign to date, since former federal prosecutor John McKay backed the campaign.
The California Medical Association made news when it became the first state medical association to recommend the legalization and regulation of cannabis. The CMA's Council on Scientific and Clinical Affairs noted in its recommendations that there is an increasing body of evidence that marijuana may be useful in the treatment of a number of medical conditions, but research to determine both risks and benefits is hampered in the United States because marijuana still is classified as an illegal drug.
In 1976 the Netherlands adopted a formal written policy of non-enforcement for violations involving possession or sale of up to 30 g of cannabis. The ‘gateway theory’ has long been seen as an argument for being tough on cannabis, but interestingly, the Dutch saw that concept as a rationale for allowing retail outlets to sell small quantities. Rather than seeing an inexorable psychopharmacological link between marijuana and hard drugs, the Dutch hypothesized that the gateway mechanism reflected social and economic networks, so that separating the markets would keep cannabis users out of contact with hard-drug users and sellers.