Category Archives: international

international

Breaking : Uruguay challenges drug warriors with courageous armistice plan; in US, dollars challenge democracy

The Uruguayan government voted to establish a publicly overseen system of growing and distributing legal cannabis late last night after hours of debate in the legislature’s house.  

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica

The government plan would allow individuals to grow their own cannabis, form non-profit cooperatives to grow the medicine and recreational substance  and allow private companies to grow the plant for sale  only directly to the Uruguayan government that would then sell the substance through a network of government run pharmacies.

The measure, which has the mixed support of  Uruguayan citizens, was  narrowly passed by the Uruguayan House reflecting the country’s leaders  courageous attempt to shatter the worldwide paradigm where drug warring nations fund militarized police actions and drug kingpins reap billions. 

The measure was supported by a broad coalition of non-profit groups that undertook a nationwide education program to convince Uruguayans that prohibiting cannabis is not worth the crime, death and suffering that have been the historical consequences of the standoff between drug warriors and drug kingpins, and their country had to take a step that challenges the current paradigm at it’s core by eliminating the cannabis black market.

In other news, the medical marijuana industry has begun a lobbying blitz in Washington DC, working, as described by the UPI, ” to head off general legalization of marijuana in the United States.”  A spokesperson for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws suggested to Politico that the lobby groups are more concerned with profits than patients, stating; “There are people who are benefiting financially and would prefer to see nothing change.”

international

Australian policy director calls for bongs to help right alcohol’s wrongs

The head of the governmental office in Australia that is charged with researching the dangerous legal drug alcohol, Australia’s Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, recently called for legalizing cannabis in Australia as a mechanism to countervail the national scourge of binge drinking.

The agency’s director, Professor Robin Room, told the Australian national newspaper The Herald Sun that legalized cannabis would certainly curtail incidents where teens are injured as a consequence of binge drinking. In addition, Room said that legalizing cannabis for personal consumption would and ensure that otherwise normal well-adjusted teens are not permanently stigmatized throughout their adult lives by a drug arrest that would negatively affect education and employment opportunities.

Room suggested that cannabis be sold legally in Australia for personal consumption, in a market that is controlled by the government, where sales can be effectively tracked, where the legal product is not sold in supermarkets and where advertising the product would not be allowed.

Room told the Herald Sun that, though “Cannabis is not without harm,” but its dangers are “substantially less than alcohol and tobacco in terms of social harm.”

Because of its association with loss of physical coordination and senseless aggression and violence, Room said that Australian teens would be “better off” tempering their intake of alcohol with cannabis. “If you are adding the cannabis to an equal amount of alcohol, then in some ways you’d be probably less likely to be aggressive but it’s a bad idea to add it on if you want to drive a car,” professor Room told the Herald Sun.

Director Room also recommended creating a government controlled monopoly for the sale of alcohol, limiting the number of liquor stores in areas and devising tax policies that would increase the cost of liquor in the effort to limit purchases by Australian teens. Australia is in the midst of an epidemic of social problems caused by binge drinking that range from increased incidents of violence to an up-surge in alcohol related hospital admissions.

international

psychiatrists ask why lawmakers ignore alcohol’s harms

A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology that calls for a “more balanced drug policy” from law enforcement and lawmakers asked the simple and profound question, ‘why do law and policy makers treat illegal drugs as if they were more harmful than the worlds most abused drug, alcohol?’ 

Jan van Amsterdam of the Laboratory for Health Protection Research in the Netherlands and psychiatrist Wim van den Brink said that law writers failure to recognize that ”alcohol abuse is more harmful for public health and society than illicit drug use” was “unjustified.” 

The authors pointed out the fact that, in absolute numbers, alcohol abuse is vastly more prevalent in society as a whole than drug abuse.  The overwhelming majority of people seeking health assistance for addiction problems are alcohol abusers.  The report also reiterated what a study by the National Institutes of Health found, that alcohol is as addictive as heroin and crack cocaine. 

The authors said that alcohol’s “high harm score” required that it be given a higher relevance in determining drug policy.  The authors of the study called on legislatures to assume a balanced approach as they write laws, and highlight harm reduction instead of criminalization.

The Centers for Disease Control attributes 80,000 deaths each year to alcohol.  Last year 800,000 people were arrested in the US for possessing cannabis.

international

doctors reduced to begging prohibitionist US candidates to end harmful ‘war on drugs’

Dr. Evan Wood

An advertising campaign launched last month by a broad based group that includes doctors, political leaders and industrial leaders implores the two candidates vying for the US presidency to stop the dangerous demagoguery that characterizes the national discussion on drug laws. 

 
The coalition called on candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama to write laws that are based upon scientific evidence rather than propaganda, because, “You can’t end AIDS unless you end the ‘war on drugs’.  Its dead simple,” people are dying.
 
The advertisement challenges American law makers, including the presidential candidates specifically, to show “leadership” and “courage” and to “do the right thing” by ending the failed and increasingly militarized ‘war on drugs’ that has done nothing to end drug addiction and has stymied the world-wide mission to end AIDS.

Dr. Evan Wood, a British Columbia based AIDS specialist said that popular opinion has shifted to understand that “addiction should be treated more as a health issue than a criminal justice issue.”   Dr. Wood said that the several state ballot measures across the US  in this year’s elections are a signet of the growing popular support for rational, health based and economically sensible drug laws in the US.

Dr. Wood said that caring for Canadians afflicted with AIDS cost $500,000 per patient.  The US has spent more than $1 trillion engaged in the a-scientific and amoral ‘war on drugs’ since its inception.

international

Uruguayan government proposes marijuana legalization bill

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica

The President of Uruguay Jose Mujica has entered a bill for consideration in the country’s congress that calls for the public sale of marijuana for personal use by the government.  Mujica is one of the several elected leaders in Central and South America who has criticized the international ‘war on drugs’ as a failure and acknowledged that the ill conceived effort, primarily promoted by and  financed by the United States, has caused more harm than good over the course of the 50 years that it has been waged.  The bill was presented to the Uruguayan congress on August, 15.

The bill proposes that the Uruguayan government be the sole grower and seller of legal marijuana for both medical and recreational use.  Marijuana is legally consumed in Uruguay, but selling marijuana is illegal.  The Uruguayan government projects that the marijuana sold on Uruguay’s black market nets between $30 and $40 million for criminals each year.

In a letter describing the legislative intent of the proposed law, Diego Canepa the pro-secretary of the presidency, wrote that one of the objectives of legalizing the government sale of marijuana for personal consumption by Uruguayan adults is to “contribute to the reduction of risks and potential dangers that people who use marijuana for recreation or medical reasons face.”

“What is happening is that the foundation of the type of policy that we have followed for more than 50 years in this country has not had the expected results”, Canepa wrote of the costly and failed ‘war on drugs’, concluding that,  “the worst thing that can happen to public policy is to not act when the evidence shows that persisting on the same path will not obtain different results.”  As it stands, says Canepa, the ‘war on drugs’ causes significantly more harm to Uruguayans than legalized marijuana ever could.

The proposed legislation stands in stark contrast to US law enforcement’s agressive and coordinated crackdown on medical marijuana and personal use advocates.  Although President Obama cynically manipulated sick Americans who have found medical relief from their use of marijuana by stating when he ran for a US Senate seat in Illinois in 2004 , “the war on drugs has been an utter failure. We need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws. We need to rethink how we’re operating the drug war,” Obama’s Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske  recently set forth the administration’s current spin on the legalization of marijuana by stating simply, “legalization is not a policy.”

With the presidentially promoted bill calling for legislating the sale of medical and recreational marijuana now presented to it’s lawmakers, Uruguay is fast on it’s way to proving that statement to be no more than a sop to drug warriors.  Uruguay estimates that it will need to grow 27 tons of marijuana yearly to supply its adult marijuana smoking population.