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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?

  • Government proposes to scrap need for scientific advice on drugs policy

    Amendment removes requirement to appoint at least six scientists to Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs
    Sunday, December 5, 2010

    Ministers will not be required to seek the advice of scientists when making drug classification policy in future, under new government proposals. The police reform and social responsibility bill, published last week, contains an amendment to the constitution of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) that would remove the requirement on the home secretary to appoint at least six scientists to the committee.

  • Conquering Complexo do Alemão

    A big step towards reclaiming Rio de Janeiro from the drug dealers
    The Economist (UK)
    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    It was a moment that residents of Rio de Janeiro thought would never come. For decades many of the city’s favelas have been ruled by drug traffickers or militias. Sporadic flare-ups would see the police go in to these self-built settlements seeking revenge, only to pull back leaving bodies scattered and the gangs to return to business. But last month when the city’s two main drug gangs began hijacking and torching vehicles at gunpoint, this time the authorities’ response was different.

  • The only winner in the 'war on drugs'

    The real effect of militarising drugs policy in Latin America has been to cement the hegemony of the US Southern Command
    Juan Gabriel Tokatlian
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    The outcome of this militarisation of drugs policy has been overwhelmingly negative. Military involvement in such an irregular war was not only unrealistic, but has also proved counterproductive. Every once in a while, a momentous triumph is announced in one or another country. But within a few years, the proliferation of front lines in the "war on drugs" reveals that such "success" was, at best, a pyrrhic victory. Meanwhile, democracy deteriorates, national insecurity spreads and human rights violations worsen.

  • Police occupation hurts improved relations with favelas

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    Reports of human rights abuses committed during the police and military occupation of several favelas in this Brazilian city are jeopardising local residents’ newfound support for the security forces and posing challenges within the police. "I have never felt so humiliated," a local woman who takes in people’s laundry for a living told IPS. Asking to be identified merely as "D", she talked about what happened during the massive joint police and armed forces incursion in the Complexo do Alemão, a series of favelas or shantytowns on the north side of Rio de Janeiro.

  • Calif. Pot Proponents Gird for 2012

    John Hoeffel
    The Washington Post (US)
    Sunday, November 28, 2010

    Despite Proposition 19's loss at the polls this month, marijuana-legalization advocates in California are already working on their comeback plan for 2012 and are almost giddy about their prospects. They see the election as a trial run that could lead to a campaign with a better message, a tighter measure and more money. Both the winning and losing sides say California's voters rejected this specific initiative but remain open to legalizing the easily obtainable drug.

  • Portugal's Drug Experience: New Study Confirms Decriminalization Was a Success

    Time Magazine (US)
    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    From the perspective of drug warriors, the criminal laws against drug possession are all that protect Americans from a deluge of drugs, an orgy of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine use that would kill children, destroy productivity and basically leave America a smoking hulk of wasteland populated by brain-dead zombies. New research on Portugal's drug policy suggests that this isn't necessarily so.

  • Liberal Dutch marijuana policy taking another hit?

    The Associated Press
    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    The new conservative Dutch government wants to force the country's marijuana cafes to become "members only" clubs, a move that would effectively block foreigners from buying the drug. If the idea ever becomes reality — it would be legally complicated and politically divisive — it would be the latest of the country's liberal policies to be scrapped or curtailed as the Dutch rethink the limits of their famed tolerance. While marijuana is technically illegal in the Netherlands, it has been sold openly in designated cafes for decades, and police make no arrests for possession of small amounts.

  • A hunger strike divides Switzerland

    Swissinfo (Switzerland)
    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    rappazImprisoned cannabis farmer Bernard Rappaz has been on hunger strike for more than 80 days in protest at a prison sentence he considers too high. Doctors have refused orders from the authorities to force feed him. In the latest twist to the story, the Federal Court rejected Rappaz' appeal for his imprisonment to be suspended. Rappaz, who is well known as someone who has fought for the legalisation of cannabis, received a prison sentence of five years and eight months for violating the federal drugs law.

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