Skip to Content

Latest News

Canada: Supreme Court Rules Against Tough-On-Crime Legislation

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 16 Apr 2016 - OTTAWA- The Supreme Court of Canada has struck down two federal laws from the previous Conservative government's tough-on-crime agenda, ruling both to be unconstitutional. The decisions mean an end to rules for minimum sentences for specific drug crime convictions and limits on credit for pretrial detention in certain conditions where bail is denied, giving trial judges more leeway in how they deal with offenders.
Categories: Latest News

Canada: Court Strikes Down Two Laws

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 07:00
The Sun Times, 16 Apr 2016 - Supreme Court rules two tough-on-crime laws unconstitutional OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has struck down two federal laws from the previous Conservative government's tough-on-crime agenda, ruling both to be unconstitutional.
Categories: Latest News

CN BC: Editorial: Get Serious On Crime At Casinos

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 07:00
The Daily Courier, 16 Apr 2016 - B.C. plans to crack down on money laundering at casinos. We hope the government's heart is truly in its task, given that total government revenues from commercial gambling in 2013-14 totalled $1.17 billion. The move is long overdue. The government has made it easier for organized crime to use B.C. casinos for money laundering and loansharking since it ditched the gambling-crime investigative task force seven years ago.
Categories: Latest News

CN BC: Editorial: Get Serious On Crime At Casinos

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 07:00
Penticton Herald, 16 Apr 2016 - B.C. plans to crack down on money laundering at casinos. We hope the government's heart is truly in its task, given that total government revenues from commercial gambling in 2013-14 totalled $1.17 billion. The move is long overdue. The government has made it easier for organized crime to use B.C. casinos for money laundering and loansharking since it ditched the gambling-crime investigative task force seven years ago.
Categories: Latest News

US NJ: Column: Mr. Christie, 4/20 Is Here Again

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 07:00
The Trentonian, 16 Apr 2016 - Dear Gov. Christie my old pal - we will be puffing outside your office on 4/20 at 4:20 p.m. Take this as a personal invitation from me: NJWeedman. April 20 - The Stoner Holiday is next week and once again here in New Jersey there is a planned civil disobedience demonstration on the steps of the state capitol as a direct challenge to you Gov. Christie and your prohibitionist policies. http://tinyurl.com/CapitolSmokeout - - I personally plan on firing one up in your honor celebrating your demise at the Presidential level, don't stand to my left unless you want to see what you've erroneously and naively railed about. Try it i think youll like it.
Categories: Latest News

US PA: Medical Marijuana May Be Next Big Business In Pa.

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 07:00
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 16 Apr 2016 - Medical marijuana might seem like a cottage industry, but with Pennsylvania the nation's sixth-largest potential market, it's more likely to be big business. Think guys in suits, or maybe lab coats, not dreadlocks and striped baja hoodies.
Categories: Latest News

US OK: Pruitt Tries To Join Anti-Pot Case

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 07:00
Tulsa World, 16 Apr 2016 - Oklahoma, Nebraska Officials Continue a Battle Against Colorado. DENVER - Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is trying a new tactic in his fight to have Colorado's legalization of marijuana for recreational use overturned.
Categories: Latest News

US MA: Group: Baker, Walsh Hypocritical in Opposing Marijuana

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 07:00
Pawtucket Times, 16 Apr 2016 - BOSTON (AP) - A group supporting legalized use of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts said Friday that Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh are being hypocritical by supporting more liquor licenses while opposing the pot initiative. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol leveled the charge one day after Baker, Walsh and other top officials announced formation of a committee to fight a likely November ballot question that would allow Massachusetts residents 21 and older to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana.
Categories: Latest News

US FL: OPED: Alabama Marijuana Sentence Is Wrong

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 07:00
Sun-Sentinel, 16 Apr 2016 - Lee Carroll Brooker, a 75-year-old disabled veteran suffering from chronic pain, was arrested in July 2011 for growing three dozen marijuana plants for his medicinal use behind his son's house in Dothan, Ala., where he lived. For this crime, Mr. Brooker was given a life sentence with no possibility of release. Alabama law mandates that anyone with certain prior felony convictions be sentenced to life without parole for possessing more than1 kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, of marijuana, regardless of intent to sell. Mr. Brooker had been convicted of armed robberies in Florida two decades earlier, for which he served 10 years. The marijuana plants collected at his son's house-including unusable parts like vines and stalks-weighed 2.8 pounds.
Categories: Latest News

US MA: Obit: Howard Marks, 70, Drug Smuggler Turned Author

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 16 Apr 2016 - NEW YORK - Howard Marks, an Oxford-educated drug trafficker who at his peak in the 1970s controlled a substantial fraction of the world's hashish and marijuana trade, and who became a best-selling author after his release from a US prison, died Sunday. He was 70. His death, from colorectal cancer, which he disclosed last year, was confirmed by Robin Harvie, publisher for nonfiction at Pan Macmillan, which released Mr. Marks's final book, "Mr. Smiley: My Last Pill and Testament," in September. No other details were provided.
Categories: Latest News

UK: Police Chief Who'd Legalise Heroin Is Given Top Job

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 07:00
Daily Mail, 16 Apr 2016 - A CHIEF constable who wants to legalise drugs has been charged with overseeing how officers tackle the menace nationwide. Mike Barton believes some Class A and B drugs should be made legal and, in some cases, handed out for free to addicts.
Categories: Latest News

US MA: Walsh Doobie-Ous Of Legal Pot

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 07:00
Boston Herald, 16 Apr 2016 - Mayor: Pro-Marijuana People Must Explain Its Importance Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh responded to criticism from a pro-marijuana legalization group that called him a "hypocrite" for opposing pot legalization while supporting measures they say promote easier access to alcohol - such as keeping bars open later and granting more liquor licenses - by challenging the group to make its case for legalization.
Categories: Latest News

US MA: Editorial: Weed War Gets Wacky

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 07:00
Boston Herald, 16 Apr 2016 - Pot advocates have apparently decided that they can insult their way to victory in November. And so they choose One Boston Day - a day aimed at encouraging random acts of kindness, a day when Gov. Charlie Baker and Mayor Marty Walsh would be laying wreaths in memory of the Boston Marathon bombing victims - to insult and disparage both men.
Categories: Latest News

Beyond UNGASS: Looking Toward 2019 [FEATURE]

Drug War Chronicle - Fri, 04/15/2016 - 16:34

The United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs is set for UN Headquarters in Manhattan next week, and civil society and some European and Latin American countries are hoping to make limited progress in moving toward more evidence- and public health-based drug policies. But, knowing the glacial pace of change at the UN and well aware of how little of substance is likely to emerge from the UNGASS, some eyes are already turning to the post-UNGASS international arena.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Hopes for more forward movement at the UNGASS, always tentative and facing opposition from global drug war hardliners such as Russia, China, and Singapore, were effectively dashed at the run-up meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) meeting last month in Vienna, whose outcome document was described as "quite awful" by leading Canadian drug policy expert Donald MacPherson.

The outcomes document includes some minor progressive movement, but does not challenge the trio of treaties that form the legal backbone of global drug prohibition, while its embrace of "flexibility" emboldens regressive, repressive measures (the death penalty for drug offenses, forced "treatment," criminalization of drug users) in hard line countries, despite being helpful for progressive reforms around the edges of the treaties' prohibition.

MacPherson was one of a handful of international drug policy experts and elected officials who took part in a teleconference last week organized by StoptheDrugWar.org (publisher of this newsletter), a US-based group that has been deeply involved in civil society organizing around the UNGASS. He wasn't the only one looking beyond 2016.

Mexican Senator Laura Angelica Rojas Hernández, chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Organizations, called this year's UNGASS poses "a step" toward examining the objectives of the 2009 Political Declaration and Action Plan on drugs, which will be reviewed in 2019. While the CND outcomes document had good language around the need for embracing multiple approaches, such as public health, human rights, gender, and prevention, it also includes serious shortcomings, she said.

[image:2 align:right caption:true]"There is a lack of recognition of the relative efficacy of demand reduction and harm reduction policies and the absence of an acknowledgement of the high costs that the prohibitionist and punitive approaches have generated," the senator said.

Mexican senators know all too well the high costs of drug prohibition. For the past decade, the country has been battered by brutal prohibition-related violence that has left at least 100,000 dead, tens of thousands more "disappeared," a legacy of human rights abuses by soldiers and police fighting the cartels, and the legitimacy of the state severely weakened.

"The international community should continue to work toward the establishment of indicators that could help measure the impact of drug policies on people's lives and their rights," Rojas said, suggesting this could still happen at the UNGASS.

But she was also looking down the road.

"Something that should be placed on the table in 2019 is a thorough review of the three conventions on drug control that acknowledges the highly detrimental effects of the current approaches," she said. "And we should be more honest about the so-called flexibility of implementation offered by these treaties and acknowledge that there should be a wider range of action for countries to define their own drug policies, taking into consideration their national and cultural context."

[image:3 align:left caption:true]Both Rojas and Canada's MacPherson called for some sort of expert mechanism to guide policymakers eyeing the 2019 meeting.

"Organizations and even some governments are beginning to call for a mechanism post-UNGASS to get real with the modernizing of the treaties," MacPherson said, reflecting frustration with the UNGASS process and prospects. "It's really important that UN member states speak strongly for the need for that mechanism, whether it's an expert committee or some other sort of group. And it needs to happen now -- the next three years are critical coming up to 2019. We really do need to have that process in place to [counter] the kind of intransigence of other countries that use the consensus-based model to hold progress ransom."

"The international community should examine the possibility of establishing an analysis mechanism as a working group of experts, for example, with a mandate to formulate recommendations aimed at the modernization of the international system of drugs for the 2019 review process," Rojas added. "And from a longer-term perspective, we need to see the creation of a special office within the UN Human Rights Council, to follow up and monitor the respect of human rights in the context of the enforcement of the drug policies."

The UNGASS hasn't even gotten here yet, and interested observers are already looking past it. Welcome to politics at the United Nations where most things happen at a snail's pace. The global drug prohibition consensus may be crumbling, but it is crumbling very slowly at the level of international conventions and institutions. The work continues.

[A follow-up story on prospects for marijuana legalization in Canada and Mexico will highlight remarks during the teleconference by Canadian Member of Parliament Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, Aram Barra of Mexico United Against Crime, and StoptheDrugWar.org executive director David Borden.]

Categories: Latest News

Beyond UNGASS: Looking Toward 2019 [FEATURE]

Top Stories (STDW) - Fri, 04/15/2016 - 16:34

The United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs is set for UN Headquarters in Manhattan next week, and civil society and some European and Latin American countries are hoping to make limited progress in moving toward more evidence- and public health-based drug policies. But, knowing the glacial pace of change at the UN and well aware of how little of substance is likely to emerge from the UNGASS, some eyes are already turning to the post-UNGASS international arena.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Hopes for more forward movement at the UNGASS, always tentative and facing opposition from global drug war hardliners such as Russia, China, and Singapore, were effectively dashed at the run-up meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) meeting last month in Vienna, whose outcome document was described as "quite awful" by leading Canadian drug policy expert Donald MacPherson.

The outcomes document includes some minor progressive movement, but does not challenge the trio of treaties that form the legal backbone of global drug prohibition, while its embrace of "flexibility" emboldens regressive, repressive measures (the death penalty for drug offenses, forced "treatment," criminalization of drug users) in hard line countries, despite being helpful for progressive reforms around the edges of the treaties' prohibition.

MacPherson was one of a handful of international drug policy experts and elected officials who took part in a teleconference last week organized by StoptheDrugWar.org (publisher of this newsletter), a US-based group that has been deeply involved in civil society organizing around the UNGASS. He wasn't the only one looking beyond 2016.

Mexican Senator Laura Angelica Rojas Hernández, chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Organizations, called this year's UNGASS poses "a step" toward examining the objectives of the 2009 Political Declaration and Action Plan on drugs, which will be reviewed in 2019. While the CND outcomes document had good language around the need for embracing multiple approaches, such as public health, human rights, gender, and prevention, it also includes serious shortcomings, she said.

[image:2 align:right caption:true]"There is a lack of recognition of the relative efficacy of demand reduction and harm reduction policies and the absence of an acknowledgement of the high costs that the prohibitionist and punitive approaches have generated," the senator said.

Mexican senators know all too well the high costs of drug prohibition. For the past decade, the country has been battered by brutal prohibition-related violence that has left at least 100,000 dead, tens of thousands more "disappeared," a legacy of human rights abuses by soldiers and police fighting the cartels, and the legitimacy of the state severely weakened.

"The international community should continue to work toward the establishment of indicators that could help measure the impact of drug policies on people's lives and their rights," Rojas said, suggesting this could still happen at the UNGASS.

But she was also looking down the road.

"Something that should be placed on the table in 2019 is a thorough review of the three conventions on drug control that acknowledges the highly detrimental effects of the current approaches," she said. "And we should be more honest about the so-called flexibility of implementation offered by these treaties and acknowledge that there should be a wider range of action for countries to define their own drug policies, taking into consideration their national and cultural context."

[image:3 align:left caption:true]Both Rojas and Canada's MacPherson called for some sort of expert mechanism to guide policymakers eyeing the 2019 meeting.

"Organizations and even some governments are beginning to call for a mechanism post-UNGASS to get real with the modernizing of the treaties," MacPherson said, reflecting frustration with the UNGASS process and prospects. "It's really important that UN member states speak strongly for the need for that mechanism, whether it's an expert committee or some other sort of group. And it needs to happen now -- the next three years are critical coming up to 2019. We really do need to have that process in place to [counter] the kind of intransigence of other countries that use the consensus-based model to hold progress ransom."

"The international community should examine the possibility of establishing an analysis mechanism as a working group of experts, for example, with a mandate to formulate recommendations aimed at the modernization of the international system of drugs for the 2019 review process," Rojas added. "And from a longer-term perspective, we need to see the creation of a special office within the UN Human Rights Council, to follow up and monitor the respect of human rights in the context of the enforcement of the drug policies."

The UNGASS hasn't even gotten here yet, and interested observers are already looking past it. Welcome to politics at the United Nations where most things happen at a snail's pace. The global drug prohibition consensus may be crumbling, but it is crumbling very slowly at the level of international conventions and institutions. The work continues.

[A follow-up story on prospects for marijuana legalization in Canada and Mexico will highlight remarks during the teleconference by Canadian Member of Parliament Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, Aram Barra of Mexico United Against Crime, and StoptheDrugWar.org executive director David Borden.]

Categories: Latest News

US NM: Column: The Highs And Lows Of Pot

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/15/2016 - 07:00
The New Mexican, 15 Apr 2016 - Miracle Medication or Dangerous Drug? to Many Using Marijuana, It Can Be Both It is both a plant and a drug, a recreation and a medication, and it is a substance weighed with both pros and cons in our society: marijuana. Some states have decided to legalize it while others have not. Marijuana, also known as weed, ganja, pot, etc., remains one of the most common illicit drugs in the country.
Categories: Latest News

US OH: Details Emerge On Ohio's Medical Marijuana Plan

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/15/2016 - 07:00
Dayton Daily News, 15 Apr 2016 - Second Group Gets Go-Ahead to Gather Signatures for Ballot. COLUMBUS - A second grassroots group got the go-ahead on Thursday to circulate petitions to put a medical marijuana question before voters in November while lawmakers released more details of their plan.
Categories: Latest News

US MA: Walsh Tangles With Advocates Of Pot Legalization

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/15/2016 - 07:00
Boston Herald, 15 Apr 2016 - Advocates for legalizing pot invoked "Reefer Madness" to mock opposition by top elected leaders - prompting Mayor Martin J. Walsh to fire back there is nothing funny about a detox ward. Walsh, Gov. Charlie Baker and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo joined forces yesterday in a public appeal yesterday against legalizing marijuana, warning, "We've learned from the recent experience of other states - legal marijuana leads to higher rates of addiction, lower academic success, and significant health consequences for our kids."
Categories: Latest News

US PA: Editorial: Progress in Harrisburg Is Not a Pipe Dream

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/15/2016 - 07:00
Daily Times, 15 Apr 2016 - Maybe our friends in the state Legislature are tired of being ridiculed. Maybe they're tired of being mocked for their work habits, the fact that nothing ever seems to get done in Harrisburg, or the partisan bickering that seems to gum up everything in the state Capitol. This week they took serious actions to provide relief to groups that have been calling out for help for years.
Categories: Latest News

US PA: Editorial: More Bipartisanship Needed In Harrisburg

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 04/15/2016 - 07:00
The Citizens' Voice, 15 Apr 2016 - Pennsylvania lawmakers and Gov. Tom Wolf have helped to ease some medical patients' suffering by legalizing the use of prescribed medical marijuana. Now, their task is to see if the same rare bipartisan cooperation that led to the new law can ease the commonwealth's pain from polarized, unproductive governance. The bill, which also promotes further research into the medicinal value of marijuana, is a healthy departure from the political paralysis that has produced such debacles as the longest budget impasse in Pennsylvania history.
Categories: Latest News
Syndicate content