Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media

 

  • In booming Brazil, crack strikes late but hard

    The Associated Press
    Monday, July 18, 2011

    About two decades after the U.S. emerged from the worst of its own crack epidemic, Brazilian authorities are watching the cheap drug spread across this country of 190 million people. They have far fewer resources to deal with it, despite a booming economy that expanded 7.5 percent last year. Walter Maierovitch, a former drug czar, proposes programs that offer adults health services and a safe place to use drugs. "Insisting on programs that demand abstinence doesn't work," he said.

  • New federal memo on medical marijuana stirs angst

    The Sacramento Bee (US)
    Monday, July 18, 2011

    In October 2009, medical marijuana advocates celebrated a U.S. Department of Justice memo declaring that federal authorities wouldn't target the legal use of medicinal pot in states where it is permitted. The memo from Deputy U.S. Attorney General David Ogden was credited with accelerating a California medical marijuana boom, including a proliferation of dispensaries that now handle more than $1 billion in pot transactions. But last month brought a new memo from another deputy attorney general, James Cole. And this time, it is stirring industry fears of federal raids on pot dispensaries and sweeping crackdowns on large-scale medical pot cultivation.

  • Seattle to license, tax medical marijuana gardens

    The city of Seattle plans to start taxing and licensing medical marijuana operations like any other business, in response to changes in state law that have left the industry in a legal morass
    The Seattle Times (US)
    Monday, July 18, 2011

    The Seattle City Council unanimously passed rules Monday requiring that medical marijuana operations be licensed, obtain food-handling permits if they sell marijuana-infused cookies or other items, and follow all other regulations such as land use and historic preservation codes. The approach is the opposite of what several other local cities have done - imposing moratoriums on such operations. A spokesman for Mayor Mike McGinn said he expects to sign the measure quickly.

  • Despite Legalization in New Jersey, Medical Marijuana Remains Out of Reach

    The New York Times (US)
    Monday, July 17, 2011

    In the last few months, officials in New Jersey, as well as several other states, have said that mixed signals from the Obama administration have left them unsure whether their medical marijuana programs could draw federal prosecution of the people involved, including state employees.

  • Medical Marijuana: A Science-Free Zone At The White House

    Bill Piper, Drug Policy Alliance
    The Huffington Post (US web)
    Friday, July 15, 2011

    President Obama came into office promising to reverse George W. Bush administration practices and elevate science over politics. He explicitly applied that principle to drug policy, an area long driven by ideology and prejudice. He promoted three evidence-based drug policies: eliminating the ban on states using federal funding for syringe exchange programs to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis; reforming the racially unjust crack-cocaine sentencing disparity that punished crack offenses more harshly than powder offenses; and vowing to end years of federal interference in the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. But as a recent L.A. Times article makes dismayingly clear, the White House is putting the "science-free zone" sign back up.

  • Amsterdam's 'no toking' signs set to become more of a collector's item after legal setback

    The Associated Press
    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    After an only-in-the-Netherlands legal reverse, the city of Amsterdam will likely have to stub out the "no toking" signs it introduced in a crackdown on marijuana-smoking youth. The Dutch government's top legal adviser ruled that the city had no right to establish official zones where smoking weed is banned, since it's already theoretically illegal in the Netherlands. In practice, possession of small amounts of the drug is allowed, and it is sold openly in designated shops.

  • Defending providers of medical marijuana

    The Seattle Times editorial board supports the city of Seattle's move to license and regulate medical marijuana co-ops.
    The Seattle Times (US)
    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    A committee of the Seattle City Council grappled Wednesday with a proposed ordinance for medical-marijuana cooperatives. It would be much easier for Seattle to ban them, as some suburban cities have done — and it would be wrong. Ultimately, marijuana prohibition has to end. The next step is to defend the providers of medical patients. Seattle's job will be to set up a system of regulation that is so clearly reasonable, and supported by people here, that prosecution of licensed suppliers will be a risk the federal government chooses not to take.

  • U.S. rules that marijuana has no medical use. What does science say?

    Maia Szalavitz
    Time Magazine (US)
    Monday, July 11, 2011

    The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ruled that marijuana has "no accepted medical use" and should therefore remain illegal under federal law — regardless of conflicting state legislation allowing medical marijuana and despite hundreds of studies and centuries of medical practice attesting to the drug's benefits. Not only does this decision conflict with state laws, however, it also conflicts with a 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the branch of the National Academy of Sciences charged with answering complex medical questions for Congress.

  • U.S. decrees that marijuana has no accepted medical use

    Los Angeles Times (US)
    Saturday, July 9, 2011

    Marijuana has been approved by California, many other states and the nation's capital to treat a range of illnesses, but in a decision  the federal government ruled that it has no accepted medical use and should remain classified as a highly dangerous drug like heroin. The decision by the DEA comes almost nine years after medical marijuana supporters asked the government to reclassify cannabis to take into account a growing body of worldwide research that shows its effectiveness in treating certain diseases, such as glaucoma and multiple sclerosis.

  • A Puff in Paris

    Danna Harman
    The Huffington Post (US web)
    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    Napoleon's troops first brought over the mysterious dried leaf called hashish from Egypt in the early 1800s. Soon, it was being sold in pharmacies across France and gaining adherents, especially among the bohemian intellectual crowd. Today, France has some of the most conservative drugs laws in Europe. A high-level parliamentary report released recently concluded that it was impossible to continue "advocating the illusion of abstinence" and recommended that the drug be subject to "controlled legalization."

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