The Guardian, 28 Jul 2014 - As revolutions go, it is hardly an overnight Leninist coup. National statutes, UN protocols and who knows how many luckless souls bolted up in cells round the world affirm that the old prohibitionist order has not collapsed. But the wheel on drug policy is slowly beginning to turn, both within the United States and further afield.
Daily Mail, 22 Jul 2014 - Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson has used his address at the international AIDS conference in Melbourne to once again call for an alternative approach to prohibitionist drug laws. Sir Richard, a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which in a 2011 report concluded that drug prohibition has been an abject failure, said that while some countries have virtually eliminated drug-related HIV transmissions, drug war policies in the US, Russia and certain South East Asian countries are still causing needless infections and AIDS deaths.
The Irish Times, 21 Jul 2014 - Sir, - Further to Simon Carswell's "The highs and lows of legalised marijuana" (July 12th), which examined the legal status of the drug in the US, it is clear that the days when politicians could get away with confusing the drug war's tremendous collateral damage with a comparatively harmless plant are coming to an end. If the goal of marijuana prohibition is to subsidise violent drug cartels and open a gateway to the harder drugs they sell, prohibition is a grand success. The drug war distorts supply and demand dynamics so that big money grows on little trees. If the goal is to deter use, marijuana prohibition is a catastrophic failure. Consider the experience of the former land of the free and current record holder in citizens incarcerated. The United States has almost double the rate of marijuana use as the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available. The criminalisation of people who prefer marijuana to martinis has no basis in science. The war on marijuana consumers is a failed cultural inquisition, not an evidence-based public health campaign. Ireland should follow the lead of Colorado and Washington state. It's time to stop the pointless arrests and instead tax legal marijuana. - Yours, etc,
Independent on Sunday, 20 Jul 2014 - While in Malta the political sector of the country is greatly engaged in the debate as to whether or not drugs should be decriminalised, it would be wise to propose the Church's view on the subject. As we all know, if the Church simply ignores her golden input she would be betraying one of her main roles in the world, namely that of forming people's consciences. In order that this great ideal is lovingly realised, I shall be offering Pope Francis' teaching on the matter.
Independent on Sunday, 20 Jul 2014 - Regarding Alison Bezzina's column entitled Let's talk about drugs (TMIS, 13 July), the global drug war is largely a war on cannabis, by far the most popular illicit drug. There is a big difference between condoning cannabis use and protecting children from drugs. Decriminalisation acknowledges the social reality of cannabis and frees users from the stigma of lifeshattering criminal records. What is really needed is a regulated market with age controls. Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical. As long as organised crime controls cannabis distribution, consumers will continue to come into contact with sellers of hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. This 'gateway' is a direct result of cannabis prohibition.
The Courier, 15 Jul 2014 - CANNABIS COULD be used to reduce tumour growth in cancer patients, scientists have said. New research reveals the drug's main psychoactive ingredient - tetrahydrocannabino ( THC) - could be responsible for its success in shrinking tumours.
Independent, 13 Jul 2014 - Luckily, most of us don't do drugs. Unfortunately this makes us think that drug legislation has nothing to do with us. As a result very few seem to be concerned with what is being proposed in the new Drug Law reform. The truth is however, that we should all be very concerned about drug-related laws because somehow or another they will, and do, affect all of us - from users, to family members, from the state of our health systems, to the state of our justice system, from higher taxes to higher insurance premiums as a result of drug-related crimes; like it or not, in one way or another, we're all affected. I'm certainly not an expert in the field and my opinion is usually based on that of real experts, like Caritas. Let's face it they work with drug users and abusers every single day and they face drug problems all the time, so compared to my little exposure in all this, their opinion should be taken by far more seriously. Having said that, it doesn't take an expert to realise that Malta's drug laws are among the harshest in Europe - some drug related crimes carry life sentences and the law makes no distinction between hard and soft drugs. So yes, even a non-expert like me can see that a change is definitely necessary; the question is 'what sort of change?'
The Irish Times, 12 Jul 2014 - Decriminalised in Brooklyn and Legal in Washington State, the Drug Has Had a Big Week in the US Buying marijuana in the United States for recreational (read: fun) purposes may be legal in two American states now but for some it is far from acceptable, as security guard Mike Boyer learned to his cost.
The Irish Times, 12 Jul 2014 - The outgoing Minister of State for Primary Care Alex White has removed legal impediments to the use of medicinal cannabis . In one of his final acts in the Department of Health before moving to his new role as Communications Minister, Mr White signed regulations enabling the sale of products that alleviate symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Independent, 08 Jul 2014 - Cultivation of Cannabis to Remain Illegal White Paper on the decriminalisation of drugs suggests the introduction of medical use of marijuana and new ways how to tackle users who are caught with small amounts of the drug.
New York Times, 11 Jul 2014 - MARIJUANA CLUBS RISE OUT OF DECADES-OLD SPANISH LAWS BARCELONA, Spain - On a recent evening, two vacationing German college students, armed with addresses they had gotten off the Internet, were trying to get into one of Barcelona's new marijuana clubs.
The Irish Times, 11 Jul 2014 - Regulations to allow for the prescribing of medicinal cannabis are to be finalised within the next week. The regulations will permit the prescribing of cannabis-based medicines to relieve muscle spasm symptoms in people with multiple sclerosis. Minister of State for Health Alex White said he was hopeful he would be able to sign the regulations before the end of the week.
Independent, 29 Jun 2014 - The government has already declared its intention to decriminalise substance abuse but up to now one cannot understand exactly to where the new drugs' policy is pointing: will it lead to a liberal progressive quasi legalisation of drugs for recreational purposes on the basis of a created civil right or will it lead to the humane system of depenalisation and rehabilitation, albeit still recognising that illicit drug consumption is not necessarily a desirable thing? The Prime Minister's declarations seem to lead to the former, while his Social Policy Minister seems to be at least emphasising the latter. The controversy of what should be regarded as the legitimate or illegitimate use of drugs was rekindled following a speech by ex-Minister of Health Godfrey Farrugia. It was also the subject of a conference organised by the OASI Foundation that brought together policy-makers, experts, opinion-makers, professional practitioners and addicts to discuss the issue on the International Day against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking and on the eve of the government's publication of its White Paper on Drugs Policy Reform.
Columbus Dispatch, 27 Jun 2014 - Global cannabis use seemed to have decreased, reflecting a decline in some European countries, but a lower perceived risk has led to more use in the United States, a U.N. report says. VIENNA - More Americans are consuming cannabis as their perception of the health risks declines, the U.N. drugs agency said yesterday, suggesting liberalization could further increase its use among the young.
The Times, 27 Jun 2014 - Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna has challenged the politicians to deny that the decriminalisation of drugs would help the drug barons. Alternattiva Demokratika, which has consistently opposed the criminalisation of people who are in possession of drugs for their own use, would like to take up the challenge.
Independent, 26 Jun 2014 - A man has been arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle a drug out of Britain less than a day after it was made illegal. The 20-year-old, detained during a routine check at the Channel Tunnel at Folkestone at 7.40am yesterday, is believed to be the first person in the country to be arrested for possession of newly designated class-C drug khat, which has amphetamine-like qualities. - --- MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom
Daily Telegraph, 26 Jun 2014 - CANNABIS "scratch and sniff" cards are to be handed out to the public so they can recognise the smell and alert the police to local drug factories and dealers. Tens of thousands of the cards are to be put through letterboxes in a campaign run by Crimestoppers.
Cape Times, 25 Jun 2014 - Britain has become the latest nation to formally outlaw the herbal stimulant khat, the bushy leaf chewed by many Somalis, Yemenis, Kenyans and Ethiopians. Under a new law that came into effect yesterday, khat is now a "class C drug", making possession punishable by up to two years in jail and supply and production punishable by up to 14 years.
The Guardian, 25 Jun 2014 - The former UK ambassador to Afghanistan, Sir William Patey, has come out in favour of legalising drugs after acknowledging the failure of British-led efforts over the last 10 years to eradicate poppy crops in the country. Patey, one of the most experienced diplomats of his generation, with a string of postings that include Iraq, Sudan and Saudi Arabia, becomes one of the highest profile figures in Britain to back legalising and regulating drugs.