Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media

 

  • Personalities urge new ways to tackle drug abuse

    AFP
    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    A group set up by former Latin American leaders and personalities including Virgin chief Richard Branson on Monday recommended that consumers of illicit drugs should not be treated as criminals. The Global Commission on Drug Policies felt that the prevalent repressive approach to drug abuse was failing, members said after their two-day inaugural meeting.

  • Bolivia launches coca leaf diplomatic offensive

    BBC News (UK)
    Friday, January 21, 2010

    Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca is on a European tour in a bid to drum up support for taking coca off a UN treaty on banned drugs. Spanish foreign minister Trinidad Jimenez told Mr Choquehuanca in Madrid that she "understood" Bolivia's demand and would try to mediate with other European countries thought to be considering an objection. Spain has already given its support to the Bolivian campaign. The US sent a letter to the United Nations saying it was opposed to the move.

  • Let them chew coca

    Editorial
    The Economist (UK)
    January 20, 2011

    The constraint on fresh thinking was on shameful display this week. A UN convention, reaffirmed in 2009, imposes a blanket prohibition on drugs. This includes even the traditional use of coca leaves by Andean Indians for chewing and tea. This ban has never been enforced and in 2009 Bolivia asked the UN to lift it—though not restrictions on coca cultivation for cocaine. With a deadline of the end of this month, America has lodged an objection and Britain looks poised to follow (see article). Traditional uses of coca are not addictive and are as much part of Andean culture as a cuppa is in Britain or beer in Texas. One reason for objecting seems to be that approval might open up a wider debate about legalising drugs.

  • The coca leaf: Storm in an Andean teacup

    The Economist
    Thursday, January 20, 2011

    The United States’ State Department’s website recommends coca tea for altitude sickness, and its La Paz embassy has been known to serve it to visitors. The UN’s declaration on indigenous peoples, which the United States endorsed last month, guarantees the protection of “cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions”.

  • Bolivia energises campaign to legalise coca leaf

    Rory Carroll, Latin America correspondent
    The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday, Januay 19, 2011

    Bolivia and the US set for more battles over the coca leaf as Evo Morales attempts to overturn legality of the indigenous plant. US diplomats are due to file a formal objection to Bolivia's attempt to amend a half-century-old UN ban, claiming it would promote the raw ingredient for cocaine and undermine the "war on drugs".

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  • Spain will not object to the Bolivian proposal to remove coca chewing from UN convention on drugs

    Spain will not put forward any objection to the Bolivian proposal to remove the obligation to abolish coca chewing from the 1961 UN Single Convention on drugs. Foreign Minister Trinidad Jiménez said that “Spain has from the very beginning shown its understanding for Bolivia's position” and has “demonstrated this in various fora at European and international level.” Other European countries, such as France, the UK, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and Denmark, are considering submitting formal objections. Because Spain will not object and several other EU countries tend more to the Spanish position, a common European Union position will not be possible. Read the press release of Bolivian embassy in Madrid.

  • Drug experiment

    Keith O’Brien
    The Boston Globe (US)
    Sunday, January 16, 2011

    Faced with both a public health crisis and a public relations disaster, Portugal’s elected officials took a bold step. They decided to decriminalize the possession of all illicit drugs — from marijuana to heroin — but continue to impose criminal sanctions on distribution and trafficking. The goal: easing the burden on the nation’s criminal justice system and improving the people’s overall health by treating addiction as an illness, not a crime.

  • Marijuana advocates debate a new legalization effort

    John Hoeffel
    Los Angeles Times (US)
    Sunday, January 30, 2011

    The campaign for Proposition 19, which lost 54% to 46% in November, wants to start drafting a new initiative in the spring and to complete it by July, turning then to the expensive and time-consuming task of building support and qualifying it for the November 2012 ballot. Prop. 19 lost support of defense attorneys and medical marijuana distributors; its backers hope to write a legal pot initiative with wider appeal. All sides agree it'll be a complicated endeavor.

  • Cannabis clubs plug a gap in Spanish drugs laws

    Member-only clubs spring up as smokers exploit law allowing consumption of cannabis in private
    Giles Tremlett
    The Guardian (UK)
    Tuesday, December 28, 2010

    Private cannabis clubs are at the vanguard of a new movement of pro-cannabis campaigners in Spain. The members spotted a gap in Spain's drugs laws which, they say, makes the activities of private clubs like these entirely legal. Spain does not have a law banning consumption in private and members claim it is safer to use the club than go out to parks and smoke in public. "The club recognises that cannabis is not good for everyone. We propose a responsible form of consumption. Not everyone should smoke. We know there are risks."

  • Ending the futile war on drugs

    Prohibition has failed and we must redirect our efforts to the harm caused by drugs, and to reducing consumption
    Fernando Henrique Cardoso
    Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
    Monday, December 27, 2010

    The war on drugs is a lost war, and 2011 is the time to move away from a punitive approach in order to pursue a new set of policies based on public health, human rights, and commonsense. These were the core findings of the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy that I convened, together with former presidents Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico and Cesar Gaviria of Colombia.

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