• Czech Republic exemplifies smart and humane drug policy

    Joanne Csete (OSI Global Drug Policy Program)
    Tuesday, July 3, 2012

    prague-clock-tower2There is nothing politically easier in most countries than scapegoating drugs and drug users as the source of all social problems. Politicians can expect a boost in their popularity when they support repressive measures against drugs and are dismissive of public services for people who use illicit drugs.

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  • Cannabis reaches parliament

    The debate on regulating Cannabis Social Clubs in the Basque country
    Martín Barriuso Alonso
    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

    martin-barriuso-pass-flatOn 19 June, 2012, the Ganjazz Art Club in Donostia, one of the oldest Cannabis Social Clubs in Spain, received a visit that was unimaginable a few years earlier: a group of members of the autonomous regional Basque parliament on official business. Its goal was to find out how one of these cannabis users’ associations, that have proliferated over the past few years, operates.

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  • International 'anti-drug' summit in Peru attempts to maintain drug war status quo: Will it succeed?

    Coletta Youngers John Walsh
    Saturday, June 23, 2012

    hasta-la-madreThe global debate on drug policy is getting more interesting, due in no small part to initiatives from Latin America. The Uruguayan government’s June 20 announcement that it will propose legislation to create a legal, regulated market for marijuana is just the latest development to challenge business as usual in the “war on drugs.” The question of alternatives to the drug war took center stage at the Summit of the Americas in Colombia in April, which culminated in an announcement by President Santos tasking the Organization of American States (OAS) with evaluating present policies and laying out other possible options.

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  • Uruguayan government announces unprecedented plan for legal, regulated arijuana markets

    Coletta Youngers
    Saturday, June 23, 2012

    legalizar-uruguay-2012cIn the latest challenge from Latin America to drug war orthodoxy, on June 20, 2012, the Uruguayan government unveiled a proposal that, if adopted by the country’s legislature, would create legal, government-controlled markets for marijuana, as part of a broader strategy to improve citizen security and focus greater attention on the use of harder drugs. The market would be highly regulated, with strict age limits and prohibitions on public use.

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  • Next year we hope to evaluate the implementation of a new Drug Law

    Intercambios
    Friday, June 15, 2012

    intercambios-10“Next year we hope to evaluate the implementation of a new Drug Law”. Graciela Touzé, president of Intercambios, expressed this in the closing remarks of the 10th Conference on Drug Policy that took place this past June 7th in the Senate of the Nation. Throughout the conference it was clear that the officials at the national level are in agreement over decriminalization, that the representatives have come to a consensus on a proposal, and that there exist serious weaknesses in the development of treatments for drug users.

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  • Government opposes Copenhagen City Council on cannabis shops

    In Parliament majority in favour of decriminalization unlikely
    Tom Blickman
    Monday, May 28, 2012

    hash-kobenhavnThe pilot project to have state-run hash and marijuana dispensaries in Copenhagen received a setback after the Justice Ministry turned down the City Council's request to experiment with regulating cannabis in the city. In a letter to the Council, the social-democrat Minister of Justice, Morten Bødskov, wrote that the government will not permit the experiment as they believe that regulating hash and marijuana would likely increase both availability and use, which was unwise given the range of side effects that cannabis has been linked to.

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  • Mérida: continued support for a failed strategy

    Liza ten Velde
    Monday, May 21, 2012

    noSome five years ago, after Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón declared a War on Drugs followed by a firm military crackdown on drug trafficking organizations, the US and Mexico agreed upon the Mérida Initiative; a three-year programme for the provision of US security assistance to Mexico, mainly in the form of security equipment and law enforcement training for police and military. In 2010, the programme was extended, in spite of severe criticism aimed at its support for an anti-narcotics strategy that had by then produced a variety of adverse effects.

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  • Hollande will not go Dutch on cannabis

    No major changes expected on drug policy in France
    Tom Blickman
    Thursday, May 17, 2012

    defense-fumerThe new president of France, François Hollande, is not likely to change cannabis policies. His choice as Minister of the Interior, Manuel Valls, is a declared opponent to any reform on cannabis. During the election campaign, Hollande already opposed the proposal to convert the criminal offence of cannabis use into misdemeanour, put forward by his security adviser and mayor of Dijon, François Rebsamen. Hollande did not want to “give any signal foregoing a deterrent against the use of cannabis."

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  • Just how “new” is the 2012 National Drug Control Strategy?

    John Walsh
    Tuesday, May 8, 2012

    john-walsh-espectador-smallSome have hailed the Obama administration’s 2012 National Drug Control Strategy as a revolutionary shift toward a public health approach to the nation’s drug problems. Others have panned it as nothing new. There are actually advances to applaud in the new strategy and budget, in terms of both rhetoric and substance. Those positive steps should be acknowledged. But the extent to which the 2012 strategy represents a break from the past should not overstated.

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  • Drug-law reform genie freed from bottle at Summit of the Americas

    Coletta Youngers
    Thusrsday, April 19, 2012

    Present international drug control policies are deeply-rooted and change will no doubt come slowly. However, as a result of the Cartagena summit, for the first time a meaningful debate on developing and implementing drug control policies that are more humane and effective is underway. The genie is out and will be very hard to put back in the bottle, as much as U.S. officials might try.

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