Drugs in the news

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  • Dabbing: the ‘cannabis crack’ that makes skunk seem weak

    If smoking a joint is like drinking a pint of beer, doing a dab of concentrated cannabis oil is like necking a quarter pint of vodka. Time for the inevitable tabloid panic?
    The Guardian (UK)
    Monday, August 31, 2015

    dabbingAs soon as they find out what it is, the tabloids are going to freak out about dabbing. This new technique for getting stoned involves people heating a pinhead of super-concentrated cannabis oil with a blowtorch, then inhaling it through a glass pipe. For detractors, it’s known as “cannabis crack”. Even seasoned smokers are surprised by the strength. Street cannabis has around a 15% concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient. A dab has up to 90%.

  • Region should explore billion-dollar ganja industry, Caricom heads told

    The billion-dollar industry could include research and development and production of medicinal marijuana products
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Monday, August 31, 2015

    The Caribbean Community (Caricom) is considered to have some 'competitive' advantage in the cultivation of the marijuana plant for medicinal purposes and may wish to explore any commercial benefit from a potential multi-billion dollar industry, according to a report now before Caricom heads. The report followed a request by St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and was compiled on behalf of the Caricom Bureau. It has not been officially released but the Jamaica Observer has obtained a copy.

  • Young hands in Mexico feed growing U.S. demand for heroin

    Abusers of prescription pharmaceuticals in America are looking for cheaper highs
    The New York Times (US)
    Saturday, August 29, 2015

    opium-mexicoAs heroin addiction soars in the United States, a boom is underway south of the border, reflecting the two nations’ troubled symbiosis. Officials from both countries say that Mexican opium production increased by an estimated 50 percent in 2014 alone, the result of a voracious American appetite, impoverished farmers in Mexico and entrepreneurial drug cartels that straddle the border. A crackdown on painkiller abuse has made the habit highly expensive. The legalization of marijuana in some U.S. states, has pushed down prices, leading many Mexican farmers to switch crops.

  • Drug sentences rise, while time served for other crimes falls

    A new study finds that drug offenders are serving more time in federal prison while all other sentences are on the decline
    BuzzFeed (US)
    Thursday, August 27, 2015

    pew-prison-graphA Pew study shows that sentences for Americans convicted of federal drug crimes rose 36% — an average of 20 months — in 30 years, while sentences for all other offenders in federal prison declined by 3%. Pew says "the increased imprisonment of drug offenders has helped drive the explosive overall growth of the federal prison system, which held nearly 800 percent more inmates in 2013 than it did in 1980." The jump in inmates has led to huge amounts of increased spending. From 1980 to 2013, federal prison spending increased 595%, from $970 million to more than $6.7 billion.

  • Mexico lost its war on drugs 75 years ago, author claims

    Mexico launched a diplomatic campaign to halt the global trend towards prohibition by addressing the League of Nations about the health benefits of legalisation
    The Independent (UK)
    Wednesday, August 26, 2015

    lazaro-cardenas2Mexico’s drug trade is synonymous with violence, corruption and cartel bosses battling for territory. But it could have been so different, it’s claimed in a new book, had the US not issued an ultimatum 75 years ago which ignited the war on drugs – leading to death and destruction on both sides of the border. Documents in the book reveal that Mexico legalised drugs in 1940, after doctors convinced the then president, Lazaro Cardenas, that prohibition was damaging public health. (See also: The Rise and Decline of Cannabis Prohibition)

  • Pioneer pot states have collected more than $200 million in marijuana taxes

    "It turns out government can be pretty good at this"
    The Huffington Post (US)
    Wednesday, August 26, 2015

    The first two states to legalize recreational marijuana have collectively raked in at least $200 million in marijuana tax revenue, according to the latest tax data -- and they're putting those dollars to good use. In Colorado, after about a year and a half of legal recreational marijuana sales, the state has collected more than $117 million in excise taxes from both the recreational and medical marijuana markets, according to the most recent data from the Colorado Department of Revenue. Washington state got a slower start.

  • Despite petition, government has no plans to legalise cannabis

    Legalisation would ‘send the wrong message’, it says, but large number of signatories means MPs must consider a parliamentary debate
    The Guardian (UK)
    Tuesday, August 25, 2015

    uk-petitionThe government has responded to a 200,000-strong petition calling for the legalisation of cannabis in the UK by saying it has no plans to change the law. In response to the petition, which was hosted on the government’s official e-petitions website, it said: “Substantial scientific evidence shows cannabis is a harmful drug that can damage human health. There are no plans to legalise cannabis as it would not address the harm to individuals and communities.” (See also: Cannabis petition forces MPs to consider debating legalisation)

  • Exploring the Cannabis Clubs of southern Spain, Europe's new weed destination

    Clubs could become far more influential if they worked together politically
    Vice (UK)
    Tuesday, August 25, 2015

    Over the last five years, Spain has come to rival the Netherlands as Europe's cannabis hub. The country's legal framework around weed, which allows its use and sale within private members clubs, has been fully taken advantage of in the north of the country, particularly in the Catalonia region, where clubs reportedly make an estimated $6 million in sales each month. They only allow entry to members and have risen in number from around 40 in 2010 to over 700 today, according to smokers' groups.

  • Ganja growers warned: GET 'LEGIT' TO GET IN IT!

    The right balance has to be struck so as to ensure that the industry is opened for all legitimate competition to come in
    The Gleaner (Jamaica)
    Sunday, August 23, 2015

    Local ganja growers, particularly small farmers, in Jamaica are being urged to enter the formal market to benefit from the decriminalising of the product rather than seeking to operate in the underground economy. With the amendment of the Dangerous Drugs Act, which became law on April 15, 2015, paving the way for the legal introduction of medical marijuana, industrial hemp, and cannabis, the Government is warning that persons who have been profiting from the illicit ganja trade will soon be required to transition into the formal framework or face strong sanctions.

  • Landmark case in Brazil to test hard-line 'war on drugs'

    The Supreme Court is weighing whether to decriminalize possession of small amounts of drugs
    Christian Science Monitor (US)
    Friday, August 21, 2015

    brasil-descriminalizaBrazil’s Supreme Court began hearing a landmark drug case that could change how drug users are punished. Conviction as a "user" in Brazil leads to a criminal record and increased penalties for any future crime, while conviction as a trafficker leads to a minimum of five years. The focus on total prohibition resulted in arbitrary sentencing and overcrowded prisons. Poorer Brazilians have taken a hit from sentencing guidelines that encourage classification of defendants by socioeconomic status, such as the neighborhood where they were arrested to determine if they are a user or a trafficker.

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