The War On Drugs Has Failed!

7 06 2011

The global war on drugs has failed, a high-level commission comprised of former presidents, public intellectuals and other leaders studying drug policies concluded in a report released Thursday.

International efforts to crack down on drug producers and consumers and to try to reduce demand have had “devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world,” the report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy said.

The commission, which includes former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, challenges the conventional wisdom about drug markets and drug use.

Among the group’s recommendations:

End of criminalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but do not harm others

— Encourage governments to experiment with drug legalization, especially marijuana

— Offer more harm reduction measures, such as access to syringes

— Ditch “just say no” and “zero tolerance” policies for youth in favor of other educational efforts.

The theory that increasing law enforcement action would lead to a shrinking drug market has not worked, the report says. To the contrary, illegal drug markets and the organized criminal organizations that traffic them have grown, the group found.

The report comes as countries such as Mexico suffer from widespread drug-related violence. More than 40,000 people have been killed in Mexico in the past four years as rival cartels battle each other over lucrative smuggling corridors and as the army fights the cartels.

The commission’s findings add more high-profile voices to a growing movement calling for a radical approach to drugs. Other leaders, such as former Mexican President Vicente Fox, have called for drug legalization as part of a solution to his country’s woes.





Why Medicinal Marijuana Is Here to Stay

6 06 2011

“We are not far from a time when pot will be hailed as a wonder drug.”

The following is the text of a speech by Lester Greenspoon, M.D. recently delivered to the 2011 NORML conference.

Lester Grinspoon on Medicinal MarijuanaIn 1967, because of my concern about the rapidly growing use of the dangerous drug marijuana, I began my studies of the scientific and medical literature with the goal of providing a reasonably objective summary of the data which underlay its prohibition.  Much to my surprise, I found no credible scientific basis for the justification of the prohibition.  The assertion that it is a very toxic drug is based on old and new myths.  In fact, one of the many exceptional features of this drug is its remarkably limited toxicity.  Compared to aspirin, which people are free to purchase and use without the advice or prescription of a physician, cannabis is much safer: there are well over 1000 deaths annually from aspirin in this country alone, whereas there has never been a death anywhere from marijuana.  In fact, when cannabis regains its place in the US Pharmacopeia, a status it lost after the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, it will be seen as one of the safest drugs in that compendium.  Moreover, it will eventually be hailed as a “wonder drug” just as penicillin was in the 1940s.  Penicillin achieved this reputation because it was remarkably non-toxic, it was, once it was produced on an economy of scale, quite inexpensive, and it was effective in the treatment of a variety of infectious diseases.  Similarly, cannabis is exceptionally safe, and once freed of the prohibition tariff, will be significantly less expensive than the conventional drugs it replaces while its already impressive medical versatility continues to expand.

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