Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media

 

  • Should drugs policy be based on facts or opinion?

    Mark Easton
    BBC News (UK)
    Thursday, September16, 2010

    Should Britain's strategy to reduce the harm from drugs be based on scientific evidence or public opinion? When the issue came up during the course of a Parliamentary debate on "legal highs" last week, there was an interesting insight into how the previous Labour administration viewed matters.

  • US: Report: Illegal drug use up sharply last year

    Sam Hananel
    The Associated Press
    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    The rate of illegal drug use rose last year to the highest level in nearly a decade, fueled by a sharp increase in marijuana use and a surge in ecstasy and methamphetamine abuse, according to the annual report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, was not surprised given "eroding attitudes" about the perception of harm from illegal drugs and the growing number of states approving medicinal marijuana.

  • License cannabis sales, expert says

    Pallab Ghosh
    BBC News (UK)
    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    Policymakers should consider allowing the licensed sale of cannabis for recreational use, says one of the UK's leading researchers of the drug. Professor Roger Pertwee is to make the call in a speech at the British Science Association festival in Birmingham. He is expected to say radical solutions have to be considered because he believes the current policy of criminalising cannabis is ineffective.

  • Spanish ex-premier calls for legalising drugs worldwide

    AFP
    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    Spain's former prime minister Felipe Gonzalez called for an international treaty to legalise drugs as a way to end the deadly wars between trafficking cartels. "I think it will be our only way of confronting" drug trafficking, he told reporters. He acknowleged that "no country can take this decision (to legalise drugs) unilaterally without an extremely serious (political) cost for its leaders. He called for an international conference on the issue, while admitting that it was "unlikely ever to happen."

  • Weary of drug war, Mexico debates legalization

    Tim Johnson
    McClatchy Newspapers
    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    A debate about legalizing marijuana and possibly other drugs — once a taboo suggestion — is percolating in Mexico, a nation exhausted by runaway violence and a deadly drug war. The debate is only likely to grow more animated if Californians approve an initiative on Nov. 2 to legalize marijuana for recreational use in their state.

  • Our 'war on drugs' has been an abysmal failure. Just look at Mexico

    The west's refusal to countenance drug legalisation has fuelled anarchy, profiteering and misery
    Simon Jenkins
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    It is wrecking the government of Mexico. It is financing the Taliban in Afghanistan. It is throwing 11,000 Britons into jail. It is corrupting democracy throughout Latin America. It is devastating the ghettoes of America and propagating Aids in urban Europe. Its turnover is some £200bn a year, on which it pays not a penny of tax. Thousands round the world die of it and millions are impoverished. It is the biggest man-made blight on the face of the earth.

  • Calif. to vote on legalizing marijuana

    Michael W. Savage
    The Washinton Post
    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    For those who have long argued that smoking marijuana should not be a crime, a potentially historic turning point is just weeks away. Voters in California will decide Nov. 2 whether to make their state the first to legalize the growing, selling and recreational use of marijuana. And polls here - the nation's most populous state - suggest that residents are about evenly split on the issue.

  • California's Prop 19, on legalizing marijuana, could end Mexico's drug war

    Héctor Aguilar Camín and Jorge G. Castañeda
    The Washington Post
    Sunday, September 5, 2010

    On Nov. 2, Californians will vote on Proposition 19, deciding whether to legalize the production, sale and consumption of marijuana. If the initiative passes, it won't just be momentous for California; it may, at long last, offer Mexico the promise of an exit from our costly war on drugs. The costs of that war have long since reached intolerable levels: more than 28,000 of our fellow citizens dead since late 2006; expenditures well above $10 billion; terrible damage to Mexico's image abroad; human rights violations by government security forces; and ever more crime.

  • Can California's Legalization Battle Kick-Start a Movement for Change?

    Terrence McNally and Ethan Nadelmann
    AlterNet
    September 5, 2010

    Drug prohibition is remarkably ineffective, costly and counter-productive -- it has cost people their lives, and put millions behind bars. Is the tide turning?

  • What Britain could learn from Portugal's drugs policy

    A decade ago Portugal took a radical new approach to illegal drugs by treating users as people with social problems rather than as criminals. Could it work in the UK?
    Peter Beaumont
    The Observer (UK)
    Sunday, September 5, 2010

    In the midst of the recently resurgent debate in Britain about whether our drug laws are working – or require a major overhaul – the experience of Portugal has become a crucial piece of evidence in favour of a radical approach that has confounded the expectations of even its conservative critics, so much so that in the last month British officials have asked their Portuguese counterparts for advice, with the only caveat being that they avoid mentioning the word "decriminalise".

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