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  • The drug industry’s triumph over the DEA

    Amid a targeted lobbying effort, Congress weakened the DEA’s ability to go after drug distributors, even as opioid-related deaths continue to rise
    The Washington Post (US)
    Sunday, October 15, 2017

    In April 2016, at the height of the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history, Congress effectively stripped the Drug Enforcement Administration of its most potent weapon against large drug companies suspected of spilling prescription narcotics onto the nation’s streets. By then, the opioid war had claimed 200,000 lives, more than three times the number of U.S. military deaths in the Vietnam War. A handful of members of Congress, allied with the nation’s major drug distributors, prevailed upon the DEA and the Justice Department to agree to a more industry-friendly law, undermining efforts to stanch the flow of pain pills, according to The Washington Post and "60 Minutes". (See also: Trump drug czar nominee accused of hindering opioid crackdown)

  • Ghana’s bold step away from the ‘war on drugs’

    Could seismic changes in Ghana’s narcotics laws herald a shift in Africa’s drug policy?
    ISS Today (UK)
    Friday, October 13, 2017

    Ghana is poised to become the first African country, and the first country outside of Europe and the Americas, to decriminalise the personal possession and use of all illegal drugs. Ghana’s Narcotics Control Commission Bill, 2017 (the ‘Narcotics Bill’), which will repeal and replace existing drug offences, is expected to be passed later this year. The proposed legislation seeks to address drug use as a ‘public health issue’. Implementing it would mark a significant departure from Ghana’s previous drugs policy, which, like those in other West African countries and around the world, wielded punitive sentencing as a key weapon in a ‘war on drugs’. (See also: Is drug policy in Africa on the cusp of change? The unfolding debate in Ghana)

  • Are UK drug consumption rooms likely?

    The Home Office's own evidence showed that if you want to cut drug deaths, local DCRs can help
    BBC News (UK)
    Thursday, October 12, 2017

    Drug Consumption Room in GreeceWhat does the Home Office really think about drug consumption rooms - safe and supervised places where addicts can inject or inhale illicit substances without fear of prosecution? DCRs are used in other countries to reduce the risk of chronic drug users dying from an overdose or an infection. But the idea of creating spaces where illicit drugs are effectively decriminalised goes against the government's long maintained line that illegal drugs are dangerous, and those who possess them should be prosecuted. National government will not fund or provide drug consumption rooms (too politically risky), but if local health and police chiefs think they were a valuable tool, they could consider them.

  • More than 25 million people dying in agony without morphine every year

    Concern over illicit use and addiction is putting morphine out of reach for millions of patients globally who need it for pain relief
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, October 12, 2017

    More than 25 million people, including 2.5 million children, die in agony every year around the world, for want of morphine or other palliative care, according to a major investigation. Poor people cannot get pain relief in many countries of the world because their needs are overlooked or the authorities are so worried about the potential illicit use of addictive opioids that they will not allow their importation. “Staring into this access abyss, one sees the depth of extreme suffering in the cruel face of poverty and inequity,” says a special report from a commission set up by the Lancet medical journal.

  • Philippine lawyers ask Supreme Court to halt 'illegal' war on drugs

    The petition comes as public scrutiny intensifies on Duterte’s signature campaign
    Reuters (UK)
    Wednesday, October 11, 2017

    Philippine lawyers filed an injunction with the Supreme Court to try to stop President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, calling it as an illegal campaign that lets police kill and circumvent legal procedures. The government’s directive for the fierce 15-month-old crackdown permits police to “negate” and “neutralise” targets, effectively granting them a license to kill suspected users and dealers, without gathering evidence or building a case, the lawyers said. The petition comes as public scrutiny intensifies on Duterte’s signature campaign, which he insists will not stop, regardless of the bloodshed. (See also: Duterte orders PDEA to solely undertake all anti-drugs ops)

  • Recognized for controversy, Vancouver's former drug czar says the fentanyl crisis requires legalizing heroin

    Accepting the 2017 Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy, Donald MacPherson called for local governments to ignore federal narcotics laws and work to end the war on drugs
    The Georgia Straight (Canada)
    Wednesday, October 11, 2017

    Donald MacPherson“Heroin at your corner store.” That was the title of a speech that Donald MacPherson delivered in acceptance of the 2017 Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy. MacPherson argued that to an extent, regional governments can take steps without waiting for Ottawa. “We need to immediately decriminalize possession for personal use. That can be done by instructing the police not to bother anyone for personal possession,” he explained. “I’m hoping the provincial authorities can look into that.” He said the goal should be full legalization, were the government brings the distribution of drugs under its control and regulates supply.

  • The green gold rush: Could Africa be on the verge of a weed race?

    The executive director of the Ghana Standards Authority suggested that state-led cultivation and export of marijuana could generate valuable income
    CNN (US)
    Monday, October 9, 2017

    sa cannabis demoSeveral African governments are considering tapping a lucrative natural resource. More than 10,000 tons of cannabis are produced on the continent each year, according to a UN survey, which advocates believe could be worth billions of dollars in a rapidly expanding global market for legal weed. African governments have not yet followed the trend of legalization seen in Europe and the Americas. But Lesotho's recent announcement of the continent's first legal license to grow marijuana is part of a wider shift toward more liberal policies.

  • New Dutch cabinet to run trials in regulated marijuana production

    The local authorities association VNG also recommended regulated production in 2015
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Sunday, October 8, 2017

    The new cabinet is to sanction experiments with legal marijuana production to be sold in cannabis cafes. Details are still sketchy, but between six and 10 local authority areas will probably be singled out for the experiment, which will lead to council-licenced growers producing marijuana for sale in their own locality. Breda and Eindhoven are among the cities which have already come forward. While officials turn a blind eye to the sale of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, how the drug ends up in licenced coffee shops remains a grey area. Dozens of local authorities have for years argued for licenced production to remove drugs gangs from the entire chain. (See also: Legal cannabis cultivation in Netherlands to test organized crime impact)

  • Is the Philippines violent drug war spreading to Indonesia?

    The war on drugs is popular, even as the bodies pile up
    The Diplomat
    Friday, October 6, 2017

    The Philippine war on drugs, led by President Rodrigo Duterte, has been eviscerated by human rights advocates due to its reliance on extrajudicial killings. Meanwhile, neighboring Indonesia has been much more quietly ramping up its own war on drugs, but here, international attention has been limited outside of two series of high profile executions. But in the past few months, several news outlets have reported that the country’s empowered anti-drug forces have killed alleged drug criminals across the country, another sign that Indonesia is borrowing tactics from it’s neighbor.

  • What a probable Jamaica coalition means for possible cannabis legalisation in Germany

    It is uncertain if either Greens or FDP are willing to make this the hill to die on and spent their limited political capital as junior partners on this issue
    Oxpol (UK)
    Thursday, October 5, 2017

    hanfparade berlin 2016bWith the SPD out of the picture, Merkel will depend on two smaller parties, the Liberal Democrats (FDP) and Green Party (Die Grünen) to form a governing coalition. Such a coalition of CDU/CSU, FDP and Green Party is known as Jamaica coalition because of the parties’ colours – black, yellow and green – which can also be found in the Jamaican flag. Even though a coalition of CDU/CSU, FDP and Green Party is the most probable next Bundesregierung – which means that two parties that have explicitly called for the legalisation of cannabis will form part of it – the possibility that such a Jamaica coalition will bring about legal ganja in Germany seem rather remote.

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