Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media

 

  • Former ministers: legalise all drugs!

    RNW (The Netherlands)
    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    'Save the country, legalise drugs.' Under this striking banner, two former Dutch government ministers (for foreign affairs and health) are launching their revolutionary plan. They estimate that more than half of all the costs of crime are related to drugs. They argue that by regulating their production and sale and imposing strict government supervision, drug crime will disappear. And they say that would lead to unprecedented savings for the police and judiciary.

  • Berlin set to relax cannabis laws

    High Times in the German Capital
    Der Spiegel (Germany)
    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    cannabis-packageA new marijuana policy could make it legal for individuals to posses up to 15 grams (0.5 ounces) of the drug in the German capital. The regulation would make Berlin among the most cannabis-friendly in Europe. German federal law prohibits the possession of marijuana beyond a "small amount" but leaves it up to the states to determine exactly what that amount should be. Most states, including Brandenburg, which surrounds Berlin, define a "small amount" as 6 grams.

  • Crack untamed: treat users, kill the market

    Flávia Resende
    Comunidad segura
    May 7, 2010

    crack-minasBrazil will soon have a special police task force targeting crack-cocaine. Meanwhile, the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais proposes its own drug fighting alternatives to address crack on the domestic front. Crack is a risk factor in urban violence, contributing to homicides and robberies in Brazilian cities. However, it is not the chemistry involved in crack, but the crack market that is increasing the crime and violence. How can rising crack use effectively be addressed, other than through mere suppression?

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  • European court weighs cannabis ban for foreigners

    NRC Handelsblad (The Netherlands)
    Monday, May 3, 2010

    A Dutch city has banned foreigners from its cannabis selling coffee shops. A European court will now decide whether this is legal. The continuing struggle of Dutch border towns against drug tourism could soon take a new turn, as the European Court of Justice (ECJ) prepares to hand down a ruling regarding one of the most severe measures employed in this battle so far. The ECJ heard arguments in Josemans v. Maastricht. (See also: Court backs Dutch ruling on coffee shops)

  • Dry spell: Hashish prices skyrocket, users fret amid shortage

    The notion of a "dry" Egypt is so unfathomable that even following mainstream reports of the crackdown, many are still seeking an explanation for the hash shortage
    Egypt Independent (Egypt)
    Thursday, April 1, 2010

    egypt-hashFor the past two months local drug consumers in Egypt – which the most conservative estimates place at around 7 million – have been in the throes of what has become the talk of the town: the ongoing hashish shortage and its resultant price hikes. The majority of Egypt's hashish is imported from Morocco, while a smaller percentage is brought from Lebanon. Many have now turned to illicit pharmaceuticals, such as opiate-based analgesics like Tramadol, Altadol (street name: strawberries) and Epidural, the prices of which have marginally increased recently.

  • Coffee shop owner sentenced for running criminal organisation

    NRC Handelsblad (The Netherlands)
    Thursday, March 25, 2010

    The owner of the Netherlands' largest cannabis-selling coffee shop was convicted for running a criminal organisation that purchased large quantities of drugs and processed and stored them. Meddy Willemsen, of the Checkpoint coffee shop in the southern border town Terneuzen, was given a 10 milion euro fine.The Middelburg district court ruled the cafe regularly had more than the legal limit of 500 grammes of cannabis on its premises. (See also: Coffee shop trial is test for Dutch drugs policy | Owner of massive cannabis café cleared of most charges on appeal)

  • Jury still out on government’s hash crackdown

    Politicians generally agree that the past years’ police raids on Christiania’s hash trade have been unsuccessful, but they differ on forwarding a viable solution
    The Copenhagen Post (Denmark)
    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    It was exactly six years ago this week that police conducted their first full-scale raid on Pusher Street, the famed road in the city’s Christiania area where people could openly buy hashish. The raids were the result of the Liberal-Conservative government’s decision to crack down hard on the area’s hash trade. But today, both police and politicians admit that the trade still thrives on the street, if in a somewhat more discreet fashion.

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  • Mephedrone: the class D solution

    The urge to criminalise 'legal highs' is understandable – but could lead to even more dangerous experimentation
    David Nutt
    The Guardian online (UK)
    Wednesday, March 17 , 2010

    The deaths of two young men in Scunthorpe last Monday that have been linked to the new "legal high" mephedrone (colloquially known as plant food, meow meow, m-cat, or bubbles) has raised a great deal of public concern and loud calls for it to be made illegal. I support the government's position that to rush into controlling mephedrone is premature, as previous claims of fatalities from this drug have turned out to be false alarms. To make it illegal without proper evidence of harm would be wrong and might have unwanted consequences, such as a switch to more dangerous drugs or alcohol.

  • US waves white flag in disastrous 'war on drugs'

    After 40 years, Washington is quietly giving up on a futile battle that has spread corruption and destroyed thousands of lives
    Hugh O'Shaughnessy
    The Independent (UK)
    Sunday, January 17, 2010

    dealingAfter 40 years of defeat and failure, America's "war on drugs" is being buried in the same fashion as it was born – amid bloodshed, confusion, corruption and scandal. US agents are being pulled from South America; Washington is putting its narcotics policy under review, and a newly confident region is no longer prepared to swallow its fatal Prohibition error. Indeed, after the expenditure of billions of dollars and the violent deaths of tens of thousands of people, a suitable epitaph for America's longest "war" may well be the plan, in Bolivia, for every family to be given the right to grow coca in its own backyard.

  • MP: Approval for city ‘coffee shop’ plan unlikely

    Justice Minister to consider proposal to set up state-sanctioned cannabis stores in Copenhagen
    The Copenhagen Post (Denmark)
    Friday, January 15, 2010

    The Copenhagen City Council’s plan to set up shops selling cannabis as a way to remove the market from the control of gangs is not likely to be embraced enthusiastically in parliament, according to a Conservative Party politician. A broad majority of council members have voted for a proposal to run a three-year trial in which stores staffed by healthcare professionals would sell cannabis in small quantities at about 50 kroner per gram – similar to the current street price. Only city residents would be able to buy the cannabis thus preventing Amsterdam-style ‘marijuana tourism’.

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