Before the Queensland Government goes much further with its tough talk this week about laws designed to smash bikie gangs, it might like to consider a more rational alternative, and one which would enable it to achieve its aim without trashing freedoms and liberties.
On Drugs [Melbourne Free University]
Australians are world leaders in recreational drug use, but we seem chronically incapable of an honest appraisal of the issues this raises. The ‘war on drugs’ paradigm dominates the mainstream while drug-taking subcultures flourish at the margins: something has to give. Through an examination of the history, politics, law, science and culture of drugs and drug use in Australia, this course will stimulate open discussion of this controversial subject.
Weight, it’s a bitter pill to swallow [NT News]
A “hazardous” piece of Territory legislation means anyone busted with one pill of ketamine can be charged with possession of a commercial quantity of drugs and face a maximum of 14 years in jail, a court has been told.
Shock ads to warn teens about drugs [West Australian]
Drug-ravaged faces, a teen in a body bag and details of poisonous ingredients are among the confronting images students are using to warn about illicit narcotics.
New Zealand has seen the enactment of revolutionary policy changes to the norm of drug prohibition that no other country has experienced. While the U.S., Uruguay, and certain European states have taken recent strides in reforming marijuana policy, New Zealand focused on newer, less-known substances. In July, the parliament passed the Psychoactive Substances Bill which allows for the strictly regulated, but legal, sale of a number of synthetic narcotics commonly known as ‘legal highs’ or ‘party pills.’
US law enforcement agencies have raided and closed down the notorious anonymous online marketplace known as the Silk Road and arrested its alleged owner.
Here’s The Seemingly Ordinary Man Who Allegedly Ran The Internet’s Biggest Black Market [Huffington Post]
Online, he went by the name “Dread Pirate Roberts” and ran what authorities called “the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet today.” But his real name, according to an FBI criminal complaint released Wednesday, was Ross William Ulbricht. And despite allegedly operating a sprawling black market bazaar that earned $1.2 billion in sales, the 29-year-old lived a humble lifestyle, paying $1,000 a month for a room in a San Francisco apartment he shared with two roommates.
Misguided optimism: the Silk Road closure and the War on Drugs [The Conversation]
The closure of Silk Road is undoubtedly satisfying payback for law enforcement agencies galled by an international drug operation which had achieved worldwide fame and notoriety. But it will do nothing to make our streets safer as drug consumers and their money are pushed back into the seedy underworld of conventional dealing. Conventional drug distribution, characterised by violence and “dirty” products, seems a vastly poorer alternative to better understood illicit drugs arriving quietly and anonymously in the post. As with many of the so-called “victories” in the War on Drugs, the closure of Silk Road ultimately bears the hallmarks of short-sightedness and harm maximisation: one step forward, two steps back, and more blind progress on the road to nowhere.
Colorado marked a new marijuana milestone Tuesday when it became the first state to begin taking applications from people wanting to open legal recreational-marijuana stores.
The mother of a young man who died in a Lynnwood, WA jail after turning himself in on a minor pot charge last year has given county authorities notice that she intends to file a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit against them.
Ken Cole: medicine man [San Diego City Beat]
During the past couple of years, Cole has emerged as a leader in San Diego’s medicinal-marijuana movement, a community that’s still struggling to be taken seriously by pockets of mainstream society. If Cole can’t command the attention of the remaining holdouts, maybe no one can.
Vets and Seniors Are Ending the Drug War [AlterNet]
Older Americans are one of the two key demographics that explain why, at long last, cannabis prohibition, America’s Longest War and her second Civil War, is finally nearly over.
Latin American leaders bring drug policy debate to the UN [International Drug Policy Consortium]
The governments of Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico all called for developing more effective responses to drug trafficking based on promoting public health, respect for human rights and harm reduction. (Interestingly, all three countries used “reducción de daños” in their speeches, or harm reduction in English, though it was translated into “impact reduction”, “lessening damages” and “damage reduction” in the three speeches respectively.) In doing so, they essentially called for a paradigm shift – from a security approach to a public health and human rights-based approach – in dealing with issues related to illicit drugs. At the same time they recognized the need to reduce the levels of violence associated with the drug trade and reiterated a growing call from the region for increased international efforts to decrease the illegal flow of arms and money that fuel criminal networks.
Illuminati Billionaires Love Marxists & Marijuana [henrymakow]
Last week, Jose Mujica, the president of Uruguay who legalized marijuana consumption in his country, met with David Rockefeller and George Soros in New York, in order to discuss strategie$$$ to expand legalization of drugs in the region.
Switzerland decriminalises cannabis [International Drug Policy Consortium]
A change to the law in Switzerland has decriminalised marijuana, making possession of the drug a minor misdemeanour that will not go on a person’s criminal record.
Romania Legalizes Medical Marijuana [Huffington Post]
Authorized medical patients in Romania may now use marijuana to allay their pain under new provisions in two of the country’s narcotic laws. Romania legalized medical marijuanathis week, becoming the 10th member of the European Union to do so, according to local reports.
Still Think Marijuana Harms The Memory? [Real Farmacy]
A remarkable study published in the journal Molecular Pharmacology in 2006, found that this long vilified plant contains a compound with not one, but two therapeutic properties ideal for addressing both the surface symptom (memory problems) and root cause (brain plaque) of Alzheimer’s disease. This is an ironic finding, considering that the prevailing stereotype is that using marijuana “fries” the brain, leading to debilitating memory issues.