Independent, 02 Oct 2015 - Former Lib Dem Leader Hopes to Build Support for New Approach at 2016 UN Meeting Nick Clegg launches a campaign today to persuade EU leaders to back global reform of drugs laws, warning that the current punitive approach has failed to curb the multibillion trade in illicit substances and has criminalised millions of young people.
Independent, 02 Oct 2015 - We are losing the war on drugs. But there are reasons to be hopeful. In recent years, a global movement for reform has been building. Led in particular by the governments of countries in Latin America that have suffered most, politicians and policymakers around the globe have started to question the status quo. This isn't a headlong rush to legalisation, but a patient, rational debate about alternative approaches which might reduce overall harm. In the United States, zero tolerance and mass imprisonment has given way to a willingness to allow states to experiment with alternative regulatory models as Colorado, Washington, Oregon and others are doing with cannabis - and a growing disquiet at the injustice and social impacts of imprisoning hundreds of thousands of young, mainly black, men for drug offences.
The Guardian, 02 Oct 2015 - The three young men climbing into the pickup close to the Oregon border cheerfully acknowledged they were about to break federal law. Anthony, Daniel and Chris had just bustled out of a marijuana shop in Vancouver, Washington, clutching bags of marijuana as they headed home a short drive over the bridge to Portland, Oregon. Crossing state lines with drugs is a federal offence not that it has discouraged the steady stream of customers from Portland taking advantage of Washington's legalisation of recreational marijuana sales last year. As of yesterday, Oregon joined Washington and Colorado to become the third US state to permit the sale for anyone over 21. "I've been coming across since they legalised it here," said Anthony. "But it'll be closer and it's going to be much cheaper in Portland. And I won't haveh to cross the bridge. Not that I've ever seen the cops lining up to catch us." The open sale of recreational mar marijuana has come more swiftly to Portland than many expected. Legalisation was only approved in a ballot measure last November whereas Washington state took 18 months to open its first shops.
Irish Independent, 25 Aug 2015 - Regarding Jillian Godsil's article about the alleged War on Drugs ( Irish Independent, August 21), apparently it is over. When was it ever happening? So ferocious has the State's war on drugs been that drugs are bought and consumed with gay abandon. There has been de facto decriminalisation of drugs in this country since the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977, so closely modelled on the UK's equivalent Act of 1971. Ms Godsil knows perfectly well that people who have lung cancer cannot choose to stop having lung cancer. People who take drugs can and do choose to stop. Ms Godsil admits that she smoked cigarettes for 20 years. If her "addiction" was incapable of being defeated then, surely she could never have stopped? But she did. She chose to stop.
Irish Independent, 21 Aug 2015 - Portugal went the whole hog and decriminalised drugs. There was an outcry at the time, but the country is doing well. Criminal gangs are displaced, and money once spent on policing the bad guys (including the addicts) is now spent on helping them NOT for the first time, Peter McVerry has called it. The war on drugs is over, he says. They're available on every street corner. He even prefers the option of legalising drugs, not merely decriminalising them, opting for the methadone distribution model which has in effect decimated the criminal sales of methadone as well, ensuring the quality of the product available. Fr Peter McVerry believes the war on drugs cannot be won using current battle plans
Commercial Appeal, 16 Aug 2015 - In "Romeo and Juliet," the lovelorn hero proclaims that "Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs." The line may have actually been inspired by the fumes of cannabis, according to a recently published paper on William Shakespeare and his smoking habits.