Switzerland and Copenhagen – beyond cannabis tolerance (part two)

8 12 2011

Switzerland and Denmark are considering measures which could lead to the return of decriminalised cannabis in 2012. In both cases, the main reason for the proposed change is to reduce the harm caused by pushing cannabis onto the black market. The simple, inarguable fact is that cannabis will continue to be consumed for its medicinal and recreational properties, so allowing otherwise law-abiding people to grow or purchase it legally is the best way to prevent cannabis sales enriching criminals.

Small-scale cultivation of cannabis

Cannabis plants from an indoor grow dismantled by police in Lausanne, Switzerland (photo by police)

Cannabis plants from an indoor grow dismantled by police in Lausanne, Switzerland (photo by police)

 

Four cantons in the French-speaking part of Switzerland – Geneva, Neuchatel, Vaud and Fribourg – have ratified an agreement to allow small-scale cultivation of cannabis within their borders. Under the new law, which should come into effect on January 1st 2012, adult residents may grow up to four cannabis plants for personal consumption. Houses with more than one adult may cultivate four plants per person, provided that each household member tends their own plants. Anyone wishing to grow more than five plants or to trade in cannabis products is required to seek authorisation from the relevant authorities, but growing four plants or fewer will not need to be reported.

The new law is intended to prevent ‘drug tourism’ between cantons with different laws, and to prevent cannabis being sold on the black market. The other 21 cantons of Switzerland have yet to decide on adopting a similar law.

Adults may legally buy cannabis

Similarly, Copenhagen Council is pushing ahead with its proposal to decriminalise cannabis within the city, and has set up a committee to investigate the best way to regulate the sale of hashish and marijuana. Currently, the favoured option is for 30 or 40 Council-controlled shops across the city in which adults may legally buy cannabis.

The Copenhagen cannabis market is estimated to be worth around €200 million per year, most of which is assumed to be controlled by criminal gangs. Social Democrat councillor Lars Aslan Andersen believes that taking control of this trade would benefit all citizens, whether or not they consume cannabis, not to mention the city itself.

“It’s better that the council distributes hashish and not criminals,” he said. “I hope we get the opportunity to try a new policy because we can’t just continue the current prohibition strategy with hash which is very outdated.”

“We don’t want an Amsterdam model”

Mikkel Warming, the Mayor in charge of Social Affairs pointed out that the Council wanted Copenhagen’s decriminalisation to be further reaching than that of the Netherlands, where the growing and importation of cannabis remains illegal, despite its sale being tolerated in licensed coffeeshops.

“We don’t want an Amsterdam model. We want a way to make it legal to import or grow marijuana,” he said.

The Copenhagen City Council’s proposal still has to be ratified by the Danish parliament, which has blocked similar movements in the past. Proponents of the change believe that a majority of the current parliament could support decriminalisation this time around.

In spite of the current Dutch government’s desire to do away with the tolerance policy adopt a regressive attitude to cannabis, it’s very encouraging that several other countries on the continent seem determined to move forward.

 

Source: Sensi Seeds





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.





Mexico former president advocates for drug legalization

11 08 2010
And here’s one more former politician advocating for legalization of drugs!
It seems that quite a few of them can have a totally different speech once they retire. This double-sided view doesn’t reassure much when you realize these guys have the power, or better to say, they serve it. The organised crime in Mexico has indeed more power than it’s own government when it comes to war.
Maybe that is the lesson Vincente Fox, former president of Mexico, learned since he left his office. Not even a week after the current president Calderon opened the door for discussions about the legalization of drugs, Fox’s comment on his blog shows his support to such initiative.
“We should consider legalizing the production, distribution and sale of drugs,” said Fox, who served as president from 2000 to 2006 and is a member of President Calderon’s conservative National Action Party. “Radical prohibition strategies have never worked.”
“Legalizing in this sense does not mean drugs are good and don’t harm those who consume then,” he wrote. “Rather we should look at it as a strategy to strike at and break the economic structure that allows gangs to generate huge profits in their trade, which feeds corruption and increases their areas of power.”

According to Fox, the government could tax legalized drug sales to finance programs for reducing addiction and rehabilitating users.

Fox, who left office with low approval ratings, came under criticism for starting an anti-cartel crackdown aimed at arresting the gangs’ leaders.
The approach led to power vacuums that fed brutal fighting among rival cartels, bringing violence that has killed more than 28,000 people since Calderon took office.

Drug violence has damaged “the perception and image of the country, and economic activity, particularly in tourism and foreign investment,” Fox said.
Mexico already eliminated jail time for possessing small amounts of cannabis, cocaine, heroin, LSD and methamphetamine in 2009, giving it some of the world’s most liberal drug laws.

Several Latin American countries have decriminalized possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use, but legalization has been slower in coming.

In his blog, Fox harshly criticized widespread drug violence. “The first responsibility of a government is to provide security for the people and their possessions… today, we find that, unfortunately, the Mexican government is not complying with that responsibility.”

He has a point. It seems that their government provided more for the cartels by wasting money on a lost war rather than for the rest of their population.
No wonder why the organised crime is known as the octopus, cut a tentacle and it will grow again! Best way is to starve it to death…




Will California be the pioneer in drug policy changes?

21 07 2010

Legalize-cannabisCalifornia — In 1971 a group of teenagers in San Rafael, north of San Francisco, started meeting after school, at 4:20 p.m., to get high. The habit spread, and 420 became code for fun time among potheads worldwide.

Ever since, California has remained in the vanguard of global cannabis culture. Oaksterdam University in Oakland is today unique in the world as a sort of Aristotelian lyceum for the study of all aspects — horticultural, scientific, historical — of the weed.

Legally, California has also been a pioneer, at least within America. In 1996 it was the first state to allow marijuana to be grown and consumed for medicinal purposes. Since then, 13states and the District of Columbia have followed, and others are considering it.

But this year California may set a more fundamental, and global, precedent. It may become the first jurisdiction in the world to legalize, regulate and tax the consumption, production and distribution of marijuana. Read the rest of this entry »





Hundreds of “pot plant” seized were Horse Mint

29 06 2010

Texas Police Eradicate Patch of (Real) Weeds

Horse mint looks really similar to pot, doesn't it?

We’re not sure if this story from the never-ending War On (Certain) Drugs makes us want to laugh to or cry.

“What was first thought to be one of the largest marijuana seizures in the Corpus Christi, Texas Police Department’s history turned into an embarrassing incident for the cops, as the clueless officers spent a busy and exciting evening harvesting hundreds of horse mint plants from a city park.”

After a teenager riding his bike through the park reported what he thought might be cannabis:

“Police then hauled away 300 to 400 medium-sized plants that they, too, believed were marijuana.

Exhausted officers only stopped collecting the harmless plants because it got too dark to work; they planned to return bright and early in the morning to look around for more marijuana.

Trouble is, after spending more than an hour laboriously removing and tagging hundreds of plants, and then hauling it all to the police department downtown, testing revealed that none of it was marijuana at all. It was just a fairly common type of weed known as horse mint.”

In many ways, this story is no more ridiculous than the ongoing effort to stop people growing cannabis, and funny because at least no-one had their lives ruined because they grew a plant. Better that the cops in question spent an afternoon gardening instead of harassing smokers and growers.

On the other hand, as a commenter on original the article points out “The residents of Corpus [Christi] and Nueces County should seriously be concerned with how their tax dollars are spent. This is the same police department that serves, protects and investigates you.”

Sources: Newsjunkiepost





We declared a war on ourselves, not drugs!

15 06 2010

As the country of origin for the war on drugs, the USA is the perfect example to overview the consequences of such measure.

As some Americans have been, and continue to be, pointing at the utility of such measures, Tony Newmann, communications director for the Drug Policy Alliance gives his view on the conception of drugs:

ALL OF US USE DRUGS, BUT ONLY SOME OF US GO TO JAIL!

Despite a $40 billion a year “war on drugs” that is premised on the goal of creating a “drug-free society,” our country is swimming in drugs.

Most people start using drugs before they even leave the house in the morning.  Yes, that first cup of coffee is what many of us need to start the day.  The next drug that millions of Americans use, sometimes up to 20 times a day, is our nicotine! And then, after a long day of work, many of us head to a local bar or to our refrigerator and pour ourselves a cocktail, ice cold beer or a nice glass of wine.

And I’m just getting started.  There are over 100 million Americans who have used marijuana.  Thirty years after Nancy Reagan told us to “Just Say No,” half of high-school seniors will try marijuana and 75% will try alcohol before they graduate.  And what about the college students who use Ritalin to help them focus and put in long hours at the library? And how about all of the superstar athletes who use performance enhancing substances? What about all of the men ( and women ) who are deeply grateful forthe “little blue pill”? And how about the businessmen who stay up until three in the morning with the help of a “little bump”?

Drugs are so popular because people use them for both pleasure and for pain.  Drugs can be fun.  How many of us enjoy having some drinks and going out dancing? How many of us enjoy a little smoke after a nice dinner with friends? Many people bond with others or find inspiration alone while under the influence of drugs.  On the flip side, many people self-medicate to try to ease the pain in their lives.  How many have us have had too much to drink to drown our sorrows over a breakup or some other painful event? How many of us smoke cigarettes or take prescription drugs to deal with anxiety or stress? Throughout recorded history, people have inevitably altered their consciousness to fall asleep, wake up, deal with stress, and for creative and spiritual purposes.

Read the rest of this entry »





Judge Jim Gray – 6 Groups Who Benefit From Drug prohibition

17 05 2010

In little over 8 minutes Judge Jim Gray from Orange County, California, explains what 6 groups benefit most from drug prohibition AND he gives 6 clear reasons why cannabis should be legal!

The only thing we would like to correct, is that you actually have to be 18 or older (not 16 or older) to buy weed in coffeeshops in the Netherlands (Holland)





Cannabis legal in the Czech Republic?!

28 12 2009

Legalize-cannabisThe Czech Republic is bringing in some very interesting legislation in 2010.

From January 1st, individuals in possession of 15 grams of cannabis or less will not be charged with a crime in the Czech Republic. The new laws, which decriminalize the possession of ‘small amounts’ of most currently illegal drugs, are based on a  Justice Ministry proposal which was approved by the Czech government earlier this month.

Previously, there were few clear definitions of what level of drug possession was treated as ‘small’, since standards were based on internal police directives and could change from region to region. The new legislation clearly defines how much of each substance is considered a ‘small amount’ under the law. Individuals in possession of this amount or less will not be charged with a crime.

Additionally, the new laws seem to make it possible for individuals to grow up to five cannabis plants. However, if current Dutch legislation is anything to go by, this may not necessarily include indoor growing with lamps, nor allow households with several adults to grow five plants each.
In any case, this new legislation is a big step in the right direction and we hope that other European countries will be inspired by the Czech move towards a sane drug policy.

Source:  ceskenoviny.cz





Ex-U.S. attorney: Time to change pot laws

20 11 2009

Three years ago, former U.S. Attorney John McKay was somewhere near the front lines of the nation’s drug war.

Directing federal prosecutions in Western Washington before he was fired in 2006 by the administration that appointed him, McKay’s office sent marijuana smugglers and farmers to prison on decade-long terms. It indicted a loudmouth Canadian pro-pot activist for selling cannabis seeds by mail order.

So the crowd at an Edmonds auditorium could have been forgiven its surprise on Monday when McKay stood on stage with travel author and decriminalization advocate Rick Steves and declared that, of course, he is “against stupid laws.”

“I think there has to be a shift in the paradigm,” said McKay, now a professor at Seattle University. “The correct policy change would be a top-to-bottom review of the nation’s drug laws.”

Read the rest of this entry »





18 negative effects of the ban on cannabis

12 11 2009

Negative effects Cannabis prohabition

Here is a list of some of the negative effects of the ban on cannabis:

  1. The ban on cannabis means that in addition to the coffeeshops and people who grow for their own use, an illegal market in cannabis also exists. There is no possibility of control over this illegal market which leads to criminality, unsafe situations, and events that disturb the peace; and to which underage people have easy access.
  2. The ban on cannabis makes large scale crops and export of the product into a lucrative source of income for criminal organizations which can then use this income for other criminal activities, or ‘wash’ it via money laundering operations that can disturb the legal economy.
  3. The ban on cannabis encourages criminal and antisocial behavior: rules concerning safety and security (for growing and in the marketplace) are easily broken and this goes unpunished. Conflicts are resolved using violence.
  4. The ban on cannabis leads to an increase in prices, as the producer in an illegal market calculates their risk into the price.
  5. The ban leads to a migration of tourists to coffeeshops near the borders of the country, and the operation of ‘drug runners’ to transport the product. Simple solutions for this problem such as the proposal for a so-called ‘Weed Boulevard’ with legal supply logistics are held back by the ban on cannabis.
  6. The ban on cannabis puts enormous pressure on the resources of the police and the justice system, which cannot then devote them to other, more important goals. Some of the methods used to enforce the ban limit the personal freedom of civilians and are a matter of contention in court.
  7. The costs of enforcing the ban on cannabis are not justified by the results. Although the goal of the ban (an essential reduction in supply and demand) fails to come a single step closer, the ban itself is never brought forward for discussion.
  8. The ban on cannabis damages the credibility of the government, given that the use of cannabis continues to be firmly naturalized in society.
  9. The (world-wide) ban on cannabis is one of the pillars of the U.S. dominated War On Drugs, which has led to sizeable global violations of human rights; and severely damages both the environment, and the security of the populations of cannabis-producing lands.
  10. The ban on cannabis impedes the development of the industrial applications of the plant, which is capable of making a very valuable contribution to a sustainable future.
  11. The ban on cannabis makes it impossible to carry out standardized controls on the product. Therefore demands can hardly be placed on the product in terms of consistent quality, health, or accompanying information on the contents and effects of the product.
  12. The ban on cannabis leads to unwelcome and unhealthy practices in production which negatively affect the quality and effects of the product, and thereby damage the health of the consumer.
  13. The ban on cannabis criminalizes the cannabis consumer (over one million Dutch people), with negative social consequences for the people in question, their relationships, their family, and their home and work environment.
  14. The ban on cannabis is a restriction of the right to freedom of expression. It legitimizes information about the supposed evils of cannabis, information that cannot be seriously tested for durability, credibility or truthfulness and yet is used as justification for the active enforcement of the ban.
  15. The ban on cannabis damages the right of the individual to make decisions about his / her own body.
  16. The ban on cannabis damages the right of the individual to possess a medicine that is necessary to maintain or support his or her health and wellbeing.
  17. The ban on cannabis dissuades doctors from prescribing it to patients who could benefit from the effects; and delays the process of recognition of its medicinal applications in the treatment of multiple afflictions such as HIV and AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, cancer, and chronic pain.
  18. The ban on cannabis denies the government the possibility of levying taxes on the product.

Source: hashmuseum.com/cannabis-cultuurprijs/








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