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  • Drug controls are 'absolutely pathetic,' activist says regulation will save lives

    The cost of not making changes to update and modernize our drug laws has cost thousands of citizens across the country their lives
    CBC (Canada)
    Tuesday, April 25, 2017

    A Vancouver based drug policy researcher has been working for decades to get the federal government to regulate illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine. Don MacPherson authored the groundbreaking Four Pillars Approach to Drug Problems in Vancouver in 2001 — calling for this kind of regulation. Now, 16 years later, and in the midst of a year-long public health emergency in B.C. centred around overdose deaths, MacPherson continues to try to convince politicians that this is the only way out of the overdose crisis. "It's clear that every thing we are doing is not working. It's absolutely pathetic that we can not move beyond this paradigm that we have supported for so many years and at the cost of so many lives." (See also: And the band played on: Overdoses, death and a resistance to change)

  • It’s time to kick our addiction to the war on drugs

    Expecting the criminal justice system to solve a health crisis does more harm than good
    Stat (US)
    Tuesday, April 25, 2017

    As New Jersey Governor Chris Christie takes the lead in crafting the Trump administration’s response to the opioid crisis, he and his colleagues need to understand that we can’t fix the problem until we kick our long-term addiction to the war on drugs and accept overdoses for what they are: a health issue. Although the majority of Americans who consume illicit drugs do so without addiction, opioid overdose has become a deadly reality. Every day, 120 to 140 people in the US die from drug overdoses, more than from gunshot wounds or car accidents. About 90 of these are due to opioids.

  • The No. 1 reason why Trump’s wall won’t fix the drug problem

    Smuggling drugs in cars is far easier than carrying them on the backs of people through a really harsh desert terrain
    The Washington Post (US)
    Tuesday, April 25, 2017

    Experts on the drug trade say a border wall, even one as big and beautiful as Trump promised, would be near-impotent in stemming the supply of illegal drugs. The primary reason? Drugs that flow across the Southwest border, like heroin, are primarily transported through existing border checkpoints via cars and trucks. Those checkpoints will be there whether the wall gets built or not. Mexican drug cartels “transport the bulk of their drugs over the Southwest border through ports of entry (POEs) using passenger vehicles or tractor trailers,” the DEA writes in its 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment.

  • Tough marijuana position from national prosecutors could influence Trump policy

    The perspective in many instances draws upon information provided by the anti-marijuana group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, or SAM
    The Gazette (US)
    Tuesday, April 25, 2017

    A federal group of prosecutors in the United States has criticized efforts at the US state level to legalize marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes, saying that legalization has led to greater access by children to pot and created further challenges for impaired driving enforcement. Earlier this year, the National District Attorney’s Association was charged with advising the newly formed Trump administration on law and policy changes regarding marijuana, and last week, the NDAA delivered its report, entitled, Marijuana Policy: The State and Local Prosecutors’ Perspective.

  • Tunisia parliament votes to ease harsh drug law

    Between 2011 and 2016, the number of trials under the law shot up from 732 to 5,744
    The Daily Star / AFP (Lebanon)
    Tuesday, April 25, 2017

    Tunisia's parliament voted to ease the country's harsh law on drugs, in a move that could see offenders like youths caught smoking marijuana escape jail terms. The North African country has faced mounting calls from rights groups and civil society to reform the law. Law 52, dating back to the rule of toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, imposes a mandatory one-year jail sentence for narcotics use, ruling out any mitigating circumstances. Judges were obliged to apply the law, with offenders facing sentences of up to five years in jail. The amendment grants judges the power to use their own discretion and take into account mitigating circumstances.

  • Swiss group launches new initiative to legalize cannabis

    Legalize It has long campaigned to legalize the drug but all previous attempts have failed
    The Local (Switzerland)
    Monday, April 24, 2017
    The Swiss public could have another chance to decide if cannabis consumption should be legalized after the group Legalize It launched a popular initiative to that effect. Cannabis is illegal in Switzerland though the law was relaxed in 2013. Instead of facing criminal proceedings, adults caught with ten grams or less of pot can be subjected to a 100-franc spot fine, though that is enforced to varying degrees across the country. This new popular initiative proposes cannabis consumption and production for personal use should be made legal – except for minors – and that its sale should be regulated and taxed by the government, reported the Tages Anzeiger.
  • Canada and eight US states have done it. Why can't NSW legalise cannabis?

    Legalising cannabis is not an issue dominated by the left or the right
    The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
    Monday, April 24, 2017

    australia cannabisIn Australia the long arm of the law still has a long reach, waging a war on drugs. Last year, there were more than 26,000 criminal incidents of cannabis possession in NSW. These made up more than half of all drug possession offences and more than all other drugs combined. These failed attempts to wipe out cannabis use continue to drag people through the criminal justice system causing unnecessary harm to them and their families while also wasting limited police resources. Australian National University's 30-year election study published this year found less than a third of people support the current system of criminalisation.

  • Charge Rodrigo Duterte with mass murder, lawyer tells The Hague

    The court may take cases only under certain conditions, including when a nation’s own judicial system is unable or unwilling to investigate or prosecute
    The New York Times (US)
    Monday, April 24, 2017

    Filipino lawyer Jude Josue Sabio asked the International Criminal Court in The Hague to charge President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 other Philippine officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity in the killings of thousands of people. Sabio said in a 77-page complaint that Duterte was the “mastermind” of a campaign that has killed more than 9,400 people, mostly poor young men, since 1988, when Mr. Duterte was first elected mayor of Davao City. The court has the authority to accept cases brought by individuals as well as by nations and the United Nations Security Council. (See also: Why not decriminalize drug use? VP urges gov’t to study Portugal move Why do many young, liberal Filipinos support Duterte’s drug war?)

  • ‘An awful lot of expertise’

    Black market marijuana growers shouldn’t be shut out of legal market, says task force chair
    The Financial Post (Canada)
    Monday, April 24, 2017

    Black market marijuana growers should be included in the legal market as they can provide valuable expertise as it evolves, Anne McLellan, chair of the federal government’s task force on legalization, said. The Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, whose recommendations were broadly adopted in the government’s proposed Cannabis Act, concluded that previous criminal convictions during marijuana’s century of prohibition “shouldn’t be an automatic bar to them coming into the legal system.” The task force’s November report called on the federal government to set up a system that allows various-sized producers to participate, including independent and craft growers.

  • Too much ‘dilly dallying’ around ganja issue, says minister

    No public official should be allowed to stand in the way of the industry’s careful development
    Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
    Friday, April 21, 2017

    As the debate over the legalisation of ganja for medical use heats up, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley has thrown down the gauntlet to his colleagues to speed up the process. Dr Wheatley told the House of Representatives that there was too much “dilly dallying” around the issue. “We have to take a conscious decision where we want to go, as it relates to medical marijuana,” he said. “It is either that we support it or we are going to just sit by and let it pass by. We have to start leading from the front because we have a crop with significant medicinal nutraceutical value, which is lying idle because we are not serious in relation to the direction in which we would like to go with medical marijuana.” (See also: Stop wasting time with Jamaica’s ganja, Canadian urges)

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