Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media

 

  • Portugal's drug policy pays off; US eyes lessons

    Barry Hatton & Martha Mendoza
    The Associated Press
    Sunday, December 26, 2010

    The United States, which has waged a 40-year, $1 trillion war on drugs, is looking for answers in tiny Portugal, which is reaping the benefits of what once looked like a dangerous gamble. White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske visited Portugal in September to learn about its drug reforms, and other countries – including Norway, Denmark, Australia and Peru – have taken interest, too.

  • Juries are giving pot defendants a pass

    In cases involving small amounts of marijuana, some people aren't willing to uphold the law in court
    Kim Murphy
    Los Angeles Times (US)
    Friday, December 24, 2010

    Prosecutors say they are increasingly mindful of as marijuana use wins growing legal and public tolerance: Some jurors may be reluctant to convict for an offense many people no longer regard as serious. "It's not on a level where it's become a problem. But we'll hear, 'I think marijuana should be legal, I'm not going to follow the law.' "

  • All parties must see that the drugs war has failed

    Bob Ainsworth is not alone in craving a rational debate
    Editorial
    The Observer (UK)
    Sunday, December 19, 2010

    It is clearly expecting too much of Westminster that, when a recently retired cabinet minister calls for mature debate on drugs policy, a mature debate might actually follow.

  • At least Bob Ainsworth dares to speak about drugs

    Our leaders are too addicted to power to upset voters by demanding we have a proper debate about the possible legalisation of narcotics
    Nick Cohen
    The Observer (UK)
    Sunday, December 19, 2010

    People often say we have the prohibition of drugs in Britain. But illegal drugs are not prohibited, they are everywhere. What we have is a prohibition of political debate on what to do with them and that is the greatest drug crime of all.

  • Court backs Dutch ruling on coffee shops

    The European Court of Justice today upheld rules in the Netherlands preventing non-Dutch residents from entering coffee shops that sell soft drugs
    European Voice
    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    The European Court of Justice (ECJ) said that a municipal regulation imposed by the city of Maastricht prohibiting local coffee-shop owners from admitting non-residents of the Netherlands was justified as it aimed to reduce drug tourism and public nuisance.

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  • Ex-minister Bob Ainsworth: Make drugs legally available

    BBC News (UK)
    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    Bob Ainsworth, a Home Office minister under Tony Blair, said successive governments' approaches had failed, leaving criminal gangs in control. The MP wants to see a system of strict legal regulation, with different drugs either prescribed by doctors or sold under licence.

  • One toke over the line

    The assertion that Prop. 19 is contributing to a rise in teenage marijuana use is unfounded
    Editorial
    Los Angeles Times (US)
    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    After an annual survey of teen drug use nationwide found that marijuana smoking is on the rise among eighth- through 12th-graders, Kerlikowske attributed the uptick to California's Proposition 19 and other states' initiatives to legalize medical marijuana. "Mixed messages about drug legalization, particularly marijuana, may be to blame," he said in a news release. "Such messages certainly don't help parents who are trying to prevent kids from using drugs."

  • Systems Overload: Drug Laws and Prisons in Latin America

    Portada-Sistemas_sobrecargadosAn unprecedented one-year comparative study of the drug laws and prison systems in eight Latin American countries – Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay – was released on Thursday, December 9, 2010, during a conference with high-level policy analysts and the study's country-researchers at the Universidad de Palermo in Buenos Aires, Argentina, by the Transnational Institute (TNI) and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).

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  • Proposals for banning drugs are more draconian than they seem

    Campaigners have spotted sub-clauses in the UK government's new bill that effectively remove respect for individual liberty when prohibiting particular drugs
    Drevan Harris
    The Guardian (UK)
    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    The plan to remove the requirement for scientists or experts on the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) as proposed in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill is controversial for the reasons set out on this blog yesterday. But further study of the bill reveals more cause for concern. Another shocking proposal in its pages seeks to shift the target of selective drugs prohibition from a duty to protect society from the harmful effects of drugs, to the goal of directly limiting the freedom of the individual.

  • David Nutt: 'The government cannot think logically about drugs'

    The former government adviser on drugs explains why his latest research named alcohol as the most dangerous drug
    Decca Aitkenhead
    The Guardian (UK)
    Monday, December 6, 2010

    If someone were to invent a perfectly safe ecstasy pill, what would be done about it? It's the sort of scenario clubbers like to speculate about, usually at around 6am, a little the worse for wear after a big night out. It's less common to hear it from a neuropsychopharmacologist and former government scientist – but it is, Professor David Nutt says earnestly, "the key question". So what does he think the government would do?

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