Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Banks financing Mexico gangs admitted in Wells Fargo deal

    Bloomberg (US)
    Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    Wachovia made a habit of helping move money for Mexican drug smugglers. Wells Fargo & Co., which bought Wachovia in 2008, has admitted that its unit failed to monitor and report suspected money laundering by narcotics traffickers – including cash used to buy four planes that shipped a total of 22 tons of cocaine. The admission came in an agreement that Wachovia struck with federal prosecutors, and it sheds light on the largely undocumented role of U.S. banks in contributing to the violent drug trade that has convulsed Mexico. (See also: Wachovia's Drug Habit)

  • New UN drugs tsar must be a leader on human rights

    China's likely execution of drug dealers this week should inspire UN to choose a drugs tsar who will avoid complicity in abuses
    Damon Barrett
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    Recently, the UNODC has begun to take notice of the impact of its counternarcotics work on human rights. Antonio Maria Costa, the current executive director, has set out a series of recommendations for internal reform intended to improve the agency's human rights performance. This leadership on human rights is very welcome, and much needed, but it may already be under threat. Costa leaves his post at the end of July. Unfortunately, the current frontrunner for the role of UN drug tsar is the candidate being pushed by the Russian government.

  • El nuevo paradigma sobre las drogas

    Página 12 - Buenos Aires
    17 de junio, 2010

    Rodeada de expertos, colegas y políticos, ayer la fiscal Mónica Cuñarro, encargada de la comisión gubernamental que impulsa la reforma de las políticas de drogas, presentó el libro La política criminal de la droga, elaborado por varios asesores de la comisión. Dijo, entre otras cosas, que en esta obra lograron establecer un mapa criminal “que mostrará cómo es el fenómeno del comercio, distribución, almacenamiento y tráfico de drogas” y que ya fue entregada una copia al procurador general de la Nación, Esteban Righi.

  • Marijuana, Made in Germany

    A booming business in illegal cannabis plantations
    Der Spiegel (Germany)
    Friday, June 11, 2010

    cannabis-plantation-germanyGerman cannabis plantations are now edging imports from Morocco and Afghanistan out of the market. The trend began after the Dutch government began driving growers out of the country. But police in Germany are also cracking down, using helicopters and infrared cameras to ferret out illegal hemp cultivators. Hobby gardeners who grow a few plants in their basements or garden plots for their own use are not the main part of the problem. Authorities such as Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) see far more cause for concern in large-scale operations.

  • Morocco tells Europe: don't go soft on cannabis

    Cannabis revenues fell by two-thirds in 4 years
    Reuters (UK)
    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    morocco cannabis hiliteMorocco has cut cannabis traffickers’ revenue to less than one-third of its 2005 level but its efforts could be undermined if Europe relaxes its policing of the drug, a senior Moroccan police official said. Morocco, which the United Nations once classified as the world’s biggest cannabis exporter, mounted a crackdown on the illegal trade because it strained ties with the European Union, which consumes most of the cannabis that leaves Morocco. “Our efforts against hashish trafficking activity have led to a reduction in the revenue of that illegal business to 4 billion euros ($4.8 billion) in 2009 from 13 billion euros in 2005,” Khalid Zerouali, the Interior Ministry’s official in charge of migration and border surveillance, said.

  • Saturation policing criminalises poverty, activists say

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    The policy of a saturation police presence in the favelas or shantytowns that are home to around 20 percent of the population of Rio de Jnaeiro is merely a means of criminalising poverty, because it does nothing to address the underlying question of social exclusion, which drives the violence, human rights groups complain. A year and a half ago, State Governor Sergio Cabral began to send Pacification Police Units (UPPs), made up of members of the military police, into the slums to wrest control from drug gangs. The UPPs "are just one more way to exercise control over the poor," said Patricia Oliveira, a member of the Community Network Against Violence.

  • Ending drug prohibition: the ultimate austerity measure

    OpEd by Frits Bolkestein, Els Borst c.s.
    NRC Handelsblad (The Netherlands)
    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    bolkestein-opedThe ban on recreational drugs promotes crime and is bad for public health. Austerity measures to cut public spending are a hot topic for debate everywhere in Europe. In the Netherlands, where a new parliament will be elected next month, several proposals to reduce spending by 30 billion euros are on the table. All of these proposals hit where it hurts, but one option could actually be a welcome relief: drug regulation. (See also: Former ministers: legalise all drugs!)

  • 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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