SPOILEROm spoilers te kunnen lezen moet je zijn ingelogd. Je moet je daarvoor eerst gratis Registreren. Ook kun je spoilers niet lezen als je een ban hebt.Peter Hitchens met een keutel:
Landen met een afwijkend standpunt/beleid wat betreft drugs:
Legale status van marihuana (Wikipedia)
• Uruguay - marijuana sinds 10 april 2014 legaal
• Portugal - drugsgebruik en -bezit sinds 2001 met een boete of niet bestraft
• TsjechiŰ - gebruikershoeveelheden van 15 gram marijuana en 1,5 gram hero´ne zijn toegestaan
• Nederland - half-om-half gedoogbeleid waar productie en handel verboden zijn maar kleine verkoop toegestaan
• Colombia - 20 gram wiet en 1 gram coca´ne zijn officieel gedoogd - in de praktijk betaal je een kleine bijdrage aan de agent en neem je je drugs gewoon mee
• Chili - drugsgebruik, mits niet in het openbaar, is niet strafbaar
• Colorado, Washington - 2 VSAmerikaanse staten die marijuana gelegaliseerd hebben
• ArgentiniŰ - sinds 25 augustus 2009 is persoonlijk bezit en gebruik van marijuana toegestaan
• Alexander Shulgin - ontdekker van vele soorten psycho-actieve en opwekkende drugs, gebaseerd op MDMA (XTC)
• JosÚ Mujica - president van Uruguay - eerste land dat marijuana legaliseerde en eerste winnaar van TIME's Country of the Year - 2013
• Ron Paul - VSAmerikaans senator, libertair
• Jesse Ventura - VSAmerikaans ex-governeur, libertair
• Bill Hicks - VSAmerikaans comedian, overleden 1994
• Noam Chomsky - VSAmerikaans taalkundige en filosoof
• Stefan Molyneux - Canadees radio-host, libertair
• Eugene Jarecki - VSAmerikaans documentairemaker (The House I Live In)
• Otto Perez Molina - president van Guatemala - pleit voor einde van de oorlog die Centraal-Amerika in een onnodige greep houdt
• Timothy Leary (ovl 1996) - VSAmerikaans psycholoog en schrijver
• Ken Kesey (ovl 2001) - VSAmerikaans schrijver
• Terrence McKenna (ovl 2000) - VSAmerikaans filosoof en schrijver
• Ivo O. en Fred T.
• Jan-Peter B.
• JoaquÝn "El Chapo" Guzmßn - leider van het Sinaloa-kartel, gearresteerd in februari 2014
• Willem "de Neus" Holleeder - Nederlands grootste drugsbaas na de dood van
• Klaas "de Dominee" Bruinsma (6 oktober 1953 - 27 juni 1991) - Nederlands grootste drugsbaas tot Willem Holleeder
• Pablo Escobar Gaviria (2 december 1947 - 2 december 1991) - de bekendste drugsbaron tot de Mexicaanse kartels, leider en oprichter van het MedellÝnkartel dat in de jaren 80 en begin jaren 90 zeer bloedige oorlogen vocht tegen het Calikartel, politici en vooral vrienden uit eigen kring
• Hermanos Ochoa - de echte bazen van het MedellÝnkartel
• Gwenette Martha - doodgeschoten 22 mei 2014, Amsterdam
FOK!-informatie over drugs:
• UVT - Space - Drugsoverzicht
Staan ze ook stil bij de negatieve gevolgen die de War on Drugs kan hebben?quote:In beeld: wereldwijd drugs in de fik gestoken | NOS
Het is vandaag Internationale Dag ter Bestrijding van Drugs. En daarom worden er op verschillende plekken in de wereld partijen drugs verbrand.
De dag is in 1987 door de Verenigde Naties vastgesteld vanwege het groeiende drugsprobleem in de wereld. Sinds die tijd wordt er ieder jaar stilgestaan bij de strijd tegen illegale drugshandel en de negatieve gevolgen die drugs kunnen hebben.
En bij de economische effecten van het stelen en vernietigen van grote hoeveelheden drugs (stijging van de prijs, met alle problemen van dien). Zal wel niet, allemaal symboolpolitiek.quote:
quote:Tim Hofman pleit in Tweede Kamer voor openlijker drugsdebat | NU - Het laatste nieuws het eerst op NU.nl
BNN-presentator Tim Hofman, die woensdag namens Spuiten en Slikken te gast was in de Tweede Kamer, pleitte daar voor een openlijker debat over het drugsgebruik en een minder strikt drugsbeleid.
Volgens Hofman is het uit de criminele hoek halen van drugsgebruik een belangrijke bijdrage aan de vermindering van de gevaren ervan.
Hofman was te gast in de Tweede Kamer omdat het programma Spuiten en Slikken 41.000 handtekeningen had verzameld om het drugsbeleid via een zogenoemd burgerinitiatief op de agenda te krijgen. In het "vastgeroeste" debat over drugs wordt volgens Hofman "gestunteld".
Hofman, die zichzelf ziet als een "fervent non-drugsgebruiker", noemde bijvoorbeeld dat festivalgangers nu niet zou gauw naar de EHBO als ze zich niet goed voelen, omdat ze bang zijn voor de gevolgen van hun drugsgebruik. Het bezit van meer dan ÚÚn xtc-pil kan je momenteel namelijk een strafblad bezorgen.
Toch haalde het bezoek aan de Tweede Kamer weinig uit. Justitieminister Ard van der Steur schreef vorig jaar september al naar aanleiding van het burgerinitiatief dat hij geen aanleiding zag het beleid te veranderen en daar blijft hij bij.
Net als vele andere partijen in de Tweede Kamer zag onder andere het CDA niet in waarom er veranderingen moeten komen. "Er rijden ook mensen door rood", zo luidde de conclusie.
Ook de vrees dat iemand door het bij zich hebben van een paar pillen nooit een Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag (VOG) meer zou kunnen krijgen, bleek niet terecht.
quote:Protesters stand up for drug users' rights following the death of Karl Brunner in Bedford | Bedfordshire News
A DEMONSTRATION highlighting how people who use drugs continue to be 'abused and stigmatised' will be held in Bedford on Sunday, inspired by the death of Karl Brunner last month.
As part of the Support, Don't Punish Campaign, the event will take place outside Greyfriars Police Station at midday to pay tribute to the man who died while being arrested by police on the corner of Battison Street and Midland Road on May 12.
READ MORE: Three Bedfordshire cops served with gross misconduct notices following death of Karl Brunner
The Support Don't Punish Campaign claims it is taking action against those tortured, beaten and even killed in the name of the war on drugs.
READ MORE: Karl Brunner's arrest death in Midland Road, Bedford branded a human rights issue
Local drug activist Kevin Jaffray, who is backing the demonstration, said: "Regardless of who or what Karl was, he does not deserve to be dead.
"Turning his death into 'just another drug addict' scenario is completely unfair and that is why we need to stand up and urge police to Support, Don't Punish as part of the event this week."
quote:Hoe Duterte de criminaliteit zijn stad uit kreeg? Een meedogenloos politieapparaat is zijn wapen en, naar verluidt, ook doodseskaders. Meer dan duizend kleine criminelen, drugsgebruikers en handelaren zijn de afgelopen jaren zonder vorm van proces geliquideerd, zeggen mensenrechtenorganisaties als Human Rights Watch. Duterte zelf ontkent elke betrokkenheid, maar pochte onlangs in een interview wel dat het er geen 1.000 maar 1.700 zouden zijn geweest. Duterte geeft toe dat hij onlangs zelf 'een stuk of drie' rovers heeft doodgeschoten. Hij toont zich absoluut niet rouwig om de moorden. De slachtoffers hebben het aan zichzelf te danken, zegt hij. Maar activisten betwijfelen dat.
quote:Trimbos: drinken, roken, blowen neemt af, lachgas zorgenkindje | NOS
Jongeren tussen de 12 en 16 jaar roken, drinken en blowen steeds minder. Het gebruik daalt al jaren, de trend zette ook in 2015 door. Het Trimbos Instituut, dat iedere vier jaar een groot onderzoek uitbrengt naar het gebruik van drugs, alcohol en tabak, waarschuwt wel voor nieuwe verleidingen, zoals lachgas en de e-sigaret.
De daling heeft te maken met een toename van campagnes en veranderde wetgeving. Zo is het sinds twee jaar verboden om alcohol of tabak te kopen onder de 18. Daarnaast zijn er sinds 2006 steeds meer waarschuwingscampagnes gevoerd.
Het heeft ertoe geleid dat het aantal jongeren dat wel eens heeft gerookt, is afgenomen: van 33 procent in 2011 naar 23 procent vorig jaar, staat in de Trimbos-publicatie Jeugd en riskant gedrag 2015. Het aantal jongeren dat dagelijks rookt is gehalveerd van 6 naar 3 procent. Voor cannabis geldt dat in 2015 10 procent blowde, vier procent minder dan in 2011. De populairste harddrug is nog steeds xtc. Ook de alcoholconsumptie liep terug: vorig jaar dronk 38 procent elke maand wel eens alcohol, tegen 26 procent vorig jaar.
Volgens het onderzoeksinstituut geldt: hoe lager het opleidingsniveau, hoe meer scholieren roken, drinken of blowen.
Op andere gebieden is er wel reden tot zorg. Het Trimbos waarschuwt voor lachgas. Bijna een op de twaalf jongeren heeft wel eens lachgas gebruikt, maar welke gevolgen herhaaldelijk kortstondig zuurstofgebrek op jonge hersenen heeft, is onbekend. Lachgas heeft bovendien een positief imago onder jongeren; het wordt niet als drugs gezien, maar als een onschuldig middel.
Een andere ontwikkeling waar het instituut alert op is, is de e-sigaret. In 2015 hebben meer scholieren tussen de 12 en 16 jaar wel eens een e-sigaret of een shisha-pen gebruikt (34%) dan een gewone sigaret gerookt (23%). Een op de tien basisschoolleerlingen heeft wel eens een trekje genomen van een e-sigaret. Ook de populariteit van de waterpijp baart het Trimbos zorgen.
En er is voor het eerst gekeken naar online gokken. Vorig jaar speelde een kwart van de jongeren een online gokspel, vijf procent speelde ook echt voor geld. het populairst zijn sportweddenschappen door jongens.
Staatssecretaris Van Rijn zegt blij te zijn dat het de goede kant uitgaat qua blowen en drinken. Ook hij zegt dat nieuwigheden zoals de lachgas en de e-sigaret goed in de gaten moeten worden gehouden. "Als dat uit de klauwen loopt, grijpen we in."
Wel wil hij meer aandacht voor de omgeving van de jongeren wat betreft alcohol. Driekwart van de jongeren krijgt drank via familie of vrienden. "Maar liefst een kwart gaf aan alcohol meestal van de ouders te krijgen, dit was in 2011 nog 16 procent. Ik vind dit percentage echt heel hoog". Volgens Van Rijn is er nog wel wat werk te verrichten om de bewustwording onder ouders te verbeteren.
quote:A declaration against the war on drugs
Danielle Allen is a political theorist at Harvard University and a contributing columnist for The Post.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one part of the American people to affirm the political bands which connect them to the other parts, and to assume within the nation, the connected and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of their fellow citizens requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to affirm their connection.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among us, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and, if they choose the path of alteration, to abandon old and institute new legislation, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing the powers of government in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that legislation long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience has shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to repudiate the integral connection among Americans, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such legislation, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of African Americans; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to advocate the end of Prohibition. The history of the present War on Drugs is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having as a direct consequence the severing of the connection between African Americans and the rest of the American polity. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
Drug laws are disproportionately enforced against African American and Latino Americans even though Americans of all ethnic backgrounds use illegal drugs at the same rates, with the exception of Asian Americans, who use them somewhat less.
The use of racial profiling as a technique of investigation strips African Americans and Latino Americans of equality before the law and robs them of the presumption of innocence, the purpose of which is to protect all democratic citizens from tyrannical intrusion.
The categorization of minor, nonviolent drug offenses as felonies, combined with the disproportionate enforcement of those laws against African Americans and Latino Americans, has served to strip large numbers of Americans from these communities of their right to vote.
The judicial system is swollen with nonviolent drug offenses, leading to a reduction of resources for investigating and prosecuting homicides, which in turn has dramatically reduced homicide clearance rates in all major cities.
The failure of the criminal justice system to resolve homicides in major cities leads to an acceleration of violence in those cities, and a trigger-happy environment in which police as well as civilians are more likely to misuse lethal force.
Violence in inner cities reinforces negative stereotypes of African Americans as dangerous and threatening, making unarmed African Americans disproportionately vulnerable to police violence and feeding implicit bias that negatively affects the employment prospects of African Americans.
School discipline policies disproportionately punish African American students, even in pre-kindergarten ; although no black-white achievement gap exists at the start of kindergarten, when one controls for socio-economic status, such a gap does exist by the end of that year.
Laws establishing school funding on the basis of property taxes ensure that schools that have an especially high need to provide security, and other ancillary resources, in support of their educational mission, are unable to fulfill their mission, thereby violating for students enrolled in those schools the right to education that is to be found in 49 of 50 state constitutions.
Legal restrictions on employment by minors, combined with low rates of labor opportunity in inner cities, increase the likelihood that 11- and 12-year-olds in the inner city will be recruited into participation in gangs and thereby be almost irremediably cut off from connection to legal employment.
In the most recent stage of these Oppressions, We have Petitioned for a change of orientation on the part of our fellow Americans by arguing that black lives matter, too: Our repeated Petitions have often been answered by repeated insult. Such failures of reciprocity on the part of our fellow Americans call into question whether we the people are fit to govern ourselves as a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our fellow Americans. We serve in the military; we vote at high rates; we meet massacres with calls for forgiveness. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. Episodically, our forefathers have pursued separation — whether in the case of African Americans who sought to return to Africa or segregationists who built a world of “separate but equal.” We denounce such projects of separation and affirm the necessity of connection. We cannot be a people and be at war with ourselves; the War on Drugs must end.
We, therefore, a portion of the American people, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, out of respect for the Name and Authority of the good People of this Country, solemnly publish and declare, That the people of this country ought all to be connected to one another and equal; that all legislation erecting the War on Drugs, and turning the American people against one another, ought to be totally dissolved; that the free and independent states and territories have full power to pursue narcotics control through the tools of public health policy, instead of the criminal justice system; that the free and independent states and territories should so use their powers and do all other Acts and Things by which they may foster a people connected and equal. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
quote:HSBC avoided US money laundering charges because of 'market risk' fears - BBC News
US officials refused to prosecute HSBC for money laundering in 2012 because of concerns within the Department of Justice that it would cause a "global financial disaster", a report says.
A US Congressional report revealed UK officials, including Chancellor George Osborne, added to pressure by warning the US it could lead to market turmoil.
The report alleges the UK "hampered" the probe and "influenced" the outcome.
HSBC was accused of letting drug cartels use US banks to launder funds.
The bank, which has its headquarters in London, paid a $1.92bn (ú1.48bn) settlement but did not face criminal charges. No top officials at HSBC faced any charges.
The report says: "George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, the UK's chief financial minister, intervened in the HSBC matter by sending a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke... to express the UK's concerns regarding US enforcement actions against British banks."
The letter said that prosecuting HSBC could have "very serious implications for financial and economic stability, particularly in Europe and Asia".
Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said a series of factors were considered when deciding how to resolve a case, including whether there may be "adverse consequences for innocent third parties, such as employees, customers, investors, pension holders and the public".
The report also accuses former US Attorney General Eric Holder of misleading Congress about the decision.
The report says Mr Holder ignored the recommendations of more junior staff to prosecute HSBC because of the bank's "systemic importance" to the financial markets.
"Rather than lacking adequate evidence to prove HSBC's criminal conduct, internal Treasury documents show that DOJ [Department of Justice] leadership declined to pursue [the] recommendation to prosecute HSBC because senior DOJ leaders were concerned that prosecuting the bank 'could result in a global financial disaster'," the report said.
Instead, the Department of Justice and HSBC reached the settlement, which some politicians criticised for being too lenient.
Testifying before Congress in 2013 Mr Holder said the size of some financial institutions can make it difficult to bring criminal charges.
He later tried to clarify those remarks telling Congress: "If we find a bank or a financial institution that has done something wrong, if we can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, those cases will be brought."
Congress's report deemed these comments to be misleading in light of emails from Treasury Department staff that recommended criminal charges.
The 2012 settlement with HSBC detailed how the bank violated US sanctions by conducting business for customers in Iran, Libya, Sudan, Burma and Cuba.
HSBC accounts were also used by the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico and Norte del Valle cartel in Colombia to launder $881m.
The settlement allowed the bank to avoid pleading guilty to any wrongdoing.
If HSBC had been proven guilty of criminal action, it could have lost its banking charter in the US.
HSBC and US regulators declined to comment on the report.
The UK Treasury has not commented either.
quote:Haagse agent blijkt mol voor drugsbende | NOS
Een Haagse politieagent die op 1 juni door de Rijksrecherche werd aangehouden voor het lekken van informatie, blijkt die informatie te hebben doorgespeeld aan een Marokkaanse drugsbende.
De agent gaf de bende een tip op het moment dat zijn collega's informatie kregen over een hennepplantage of een opslagplaats van drugs. Hij belde een contactpersoon, waarna deze snel naar de bewuste locatie ging om daar vlak voor de komst van de politie alle hennep te stelen.
Gisteren verlengde de raadkamer van de rechtbank Den Haag het voorarrest van de agent met zestig dagen. De 28-jarige man van Marokkaanse afkomst wordt verdacht van corruptie, schending van het ambtsgeheim, het medeplegen van inbraken en deelname aan een criminele organisatie.
Het is de tweede keer binnen een jaar tijd dat de politie wordt opgeschrikt door een corruptieschandaal met een politiemol. Eerder bleek Mark M. uit Weert gevoelige informatie door te spelen aan allerlei criminelen. De man die nu verdacht wordt, speelde zijn informatie voor zover bekend alleen door aan zijn 'eigen' bende.
Naast de 28-jarige agent zijn nog drie andere bendeleden aangehouden: een 27-jarige man uit Den Haag en twee mannen van 27 en 29 jaar oud uit Leidschendam. Dit drietal zou op aanwijzing van de politiemol de inbraken hebben gepleegd bij hennepkwekerijen en -opslagplaatsen.
Tegelijk met de agent werd ook een 25-jarige vrouw uit Moordrecht aangehouden. Zij is weer vrijgelaten, maar wordt nog wel als verdachte beschouwd.
quote:Autoverhuurbedrijven hand in hand met Brabantse drugscriminelen | NOS
Veel autoverhuurbedrijven in Brabant zijn nauw betrokken bij zware criminaliteit. Dat zegt de politie Zeeland-West Brabant na maandenlang onderzoek. Autoverhuurders verhuren auto's met verborgen ruimten aan criminelen die er drugs, wapens en geld mee vervoeren. Eigenaren en medewerkers van verhuurbedrijven zijn volgens de politie niet zelden verbonden aan criminele organisaties.
Eind vorig jaar stuitten rechercheurs van de politie Zeeland-West Brabant op een opmerkelijk cijfer. Terwijl er in de stad Groningen maar 19 verhuurbedrijven staan geregistreerd, zijn dat er in Tilburg, met ongeveer evenveel inwoners, 34. Daarnaast zijn er nog 22 bedrijven die niet geregistreerd staan. Volgens de Brabantse rechercheurs is het verschil economisch gezien niet te verklaren.
De rechercheurs zijn onderdeel van een speciaal team dat is opgericht om autoverhuurders weerbaar te maken tegen misbruik van hun voertuigen door criminelen. In het onderzoek vonden ze met behulp van speurhonden verborgen compartimenten in verschillende huurauto's. Soms troffen ze drugs, wapens en geld aan in deze ruimtes.
Meestal waren het onopvallende auto's zoals de Fiat Punto, de Volkswagen Polo en de CitroŰn C3. "Met deze middenklassers blijven ze beter buiten beeld van de overheid en kunnen ze anoniem rondrijden", zegt een van de rechercheurs.
Ook ontdekten ze dat er criminele kopstukken zijn die voltijds rondrijden in soms peperdure huurauto's. Het gaat vaak om mensen die geen officieel inkomen hebben, maar wel een uitkering. De huur betalen ze met cash geld. Doordat de auto's niet op hun naam staan, is het veel lastiger om de auto's af te pakken op het moment dat de politie op zoek is naar crimineel verkregen vermogen.
In totaal zijn de afgelopen maanden in West-Brabant en Zeeland 109 personen gecontroleerd die rondrijden in een huurauto, omdat de politie vermoedde dat er iets mis mee was. Zo'n negentig procent van de gecontroleerde inzittenden had inderdaad een crimineel verleden.
Sommigen autoverhuurbedrijven lijken malafide bedrijven te zijn die speciaal zijn opgericht door criminelen voor hun criminele activiteiten en als manier om geld wit te wassen. Als gewone consument kun je daar geen auto huren. Zo is er in Tilburg een autoverhuurbedrijf dat gevestigd is op de zesde verdieping van een flatgebouw. Een autoverhuurbedrijf in Bergen op Zoom is eigendom van een 19-jarige jongen die een paar maanden geleden nog leefde van een studiefinanciering. Bijna alle gecontroleerde klanten van dit bedrijf bleken antecedenten op drugsgebied te hebben.
"Dat zijn vaak bedrijven die voor gewone burgers nauwelijks benaderbaar zijn", zegt een rechercheur. "Ze hebben bijvoorbeeld geen website en hebben vaak een vast klantenbestand."
Maar criminelen huren ook auto's bij filialen van grote bekende verhuurbedrijven. De Brabantse rechercheurs vermoeden dat deze bedrijven op de hoogte zijn van de criminele achtergrond van sommige van hun klanten, maar omwille van het geld een oogje dichtknijpen. Bij enkele bedrijven zien de rechercheurs dat er mensen werken met criminele connecties. Andere bedrijven lijken er geen problemen mee te hebben dat de huur betaald wordt met cash en maken er geen punt van dat klanten formulieren niet goed invullen.
De afgelopen dagen organiseerde een team van onder andere de Nederlandse en Belgische politie, marechaussee en de douane een grote actie waarbij tien autoverhuurbedrijven werden gecontroleerd. Bij een bedrijf in Roosendaal werd vandaag hennepafval en een automatisch vuurwapen gevonden. Een 25-jarige man is aangehouden.
Een ander bedrijf kondigde aan een faillissement aan te vragen, toen tijdens de actie bleek dat vier auto's niet verzekerd waren. Ook werden bij een bedrijf auto's in beslag genomen omdat de herkomst van de voertuigen niet duidelijk was. De administraties van alle gecontroleerde autoverhuurders zijn mee genomen voor onderzoek.
Hoewel het team alleen onderzoek deed in Brabant, is het volgens de rechercheurs niet alleen een Brabants probleem. Eerder al kwam de Amsterdamse politie tot vergelijkbare conclusies. "We wisten al langer dat deze branche gevoelig is voor georganiseerde misdaad", zegt een van de rechercheurs. "Het is voor criminelen een goede manier om zichzelf en hun goederen te vervoeren. En via cash betalingen komen ze van hun zwarte geld af."
Het artikel gaat verder.quote:Italy is about to begin a national debate about legalizing marijuana, and one senior official is promising that, should the country forge ahead in regulating and taxing pot, it could be a blow to the Islamic State and the mafia at the same time.
Legislation will be introduced in the Italian parliament next week to remove criminal prohibitions on marijuana, let Italians grow up to five plants at home, and buy cannabis from a state-run monopoly.
If that bill passes, the smuggling route from the northern tip of Africa could be disrupted, according to Franco Roberti, the country's top prosecutor in charge of fighting both the mafia and terrorism.
"Decriminalization or even legalization would definitely be a weapon against traffickers, among whom there could be terrorists who make money off of it," Roberti told Reuters in April.
Roberti says this is because the mafia and "suspected terrorists" share smuggling routes in North Africa, and collaborate to move product into Italy and then throughout Europe.
"The main smuggling route for North African hash — compressed cannabis resin — now runs from Casablanca, Morocco, through Algeria, Tunisia to Tobruk in eastern Libya," according to Roberti.
De enige overlast bestaat uit het lastig vallen van onschuldige drugsgebruikers door de politie. Legalize!quote:Tientallen boetes voor drugsbezit in Harlingen | NOS
In Harlingen zijn tientallen mensen beboet die drugs bij zich hadden en met de boot naar Terschelling of Vlieland wilden. De politie hield gisteren en vrijdag een controle in de terminal van de veerdienst om overlast op de eilanden te voorkomen.
quote:De meeste van de 33 mensen die gisteren werden aangehouden waren minderjarig. Ze hadden onder meer wiet bij zich, xtc, hasj, GHB, speed en ketamine. Vijf minderjarigen hadden alcohol bij zich.
Vrijdag werden 20 verdachten aangehouden voor het bezit van drugs en/of alcoholische dranken. De meeste van hen waren minderjarig.
Een van hen had een frisdrankblikje bij zich met daarin veertig xtc-pillen, hasj en wiet.
Alle aangetroffen drugs en drank zijn in beslag genomen. De jongeren kregen een geldboete die ze gelijk moesten betalen. Tegen vijf verdachten is proces-verbaal opgemaakt.
quote:Libertarian Johnson: Drug war 'root cause' of police shootings - POLITICO
Gary Johnson believes the tensions between police and minorities that led to two high-profile police shootings and the deaths of five Dallas police officers has a root cause: The long-running war on drugs.
The libertarian nominee for president did not directly tie the drug war to the shooting deaths in Minnesota and Louisiana by police or the sniper killings of five officers in Texas this week. But poor relations between police and African-Americans stems from the criminalization of drug use, he said.
“The root is the war on drugs, I believe. Police knocking down doors, shooting first,” Johnson said in an interview Friday in Washington. “If you are (black and) arrested in a drug-related crime, there is four times more likelihood of going to prison than if you are white. And shooting is part of the same phenomenon.”
“That’s the common thread. Shootings are occurring with black people, black people are dying,” he added. “This is an escalation.”
The former Republican governor of New Mexico is pitching a complete rewrite of the nation’s drug policy as part of his underdog run for the presidency alongside his running mate, former Massachusetts GOP Gov. Bill Weld. Johnson wants to legalize marijuana and find other ways to deal with harder drugs than long periods of incarceration.
He said that will soon happen, predicting that California will vote this fall to legalize marijuana and President Barack Obama will remove cannabis from its listing as a Class 1 drug. "I think Obama’s going to do that going out the door," Johnson said.
“The focus on drugs needs to be as a health issue, not a criminal justice issue. It can be illegal but does it need to be criminal? Do you need to go to jail for drugs?” Johnson said. “I do believe that the root of the militarization, knocking on doors, is a drug war phenomenon.”
The laid-back libertarian, dressed in jeans and an open-collared button-down in a hotel dining room, declined to join Republicans in criticizing Obama for pointing to “powerful weapons” this week as a cause of violence between police officers and minorities. But Johnson said the focus on assault rifles is misguided.
“That is a category of rifle that contains 30 million rifles. If you ban those rifles tomorrow and said hand ‘em in," only half of the weapons would actually be turned over, Johnson said. "And we’re going to have a whole new criminal class of people.”
Johnson said that as president he’d be open to proposals designed to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists and the mentally ill. But he said he’d seen no such workable proposals in Congress, despite unsuccessful attempts by both Democrats and Republicans.
quote:The Netherlands will close 19 of its prisons over the next few years because the cost of maintaining them is too high. The reason why the prisons aren’t cost-efficient, however, is something of a national blessing: thanks to the country’s steadily declining crime rate, thousands of prison cells are going unused.
quote:The Netherlands isn’t the first country to close jails because it doesn’t have enough criminals. Sweden’s prison numbers fell by about 1% per year from 2004 to 2011. Then between 2011 and 2012, they declined by 6%. In 2013, the country announced it would close four prisons and one other correctional facility due to the unusual trend.
One explanation for the decrease in prison numbers, according to the Guardian, was the Swedish supreme court’s 2011 decision to give less harsh sentences for drug offenses, which could have led to inmates spending less time behind bars before going back into society.
quote:You Can't Beat The Market - VolteFace
There has been much comment and controversy on the extent to which the recent UN summit on the world drug problem reflects a more tolerant and less punitive approach, but there is one key area of the outcome declaration that has received much less attention – the review of strategies, and plans for the future, for reducing the supply of drugs.
My reading of these sections of the declaration is that, whatever you think about the value and consequences of supply reduction activities, there is a worrying lack of analysis of the effectiveness of current strategies, and no sign of new ideas and tactics that might produce better results.
Reducing the illicit supply of drugs remains central to global drug control strategies. The much vaunted ‘consensus’ of global prohibition has for decades been based on these principles:
Politicians and diplomats have found it convenient to always return to these principles in their policies and rhetoric, as they represent a clear determination to ‘solve’ a problem that the public is concerned about, and all strategies, initiatives and operational successes can be presented as steps on the road to the achievement of the eventual aim.
But the evidence and experience from decades of implementing these supply reduction strategies at the very least bring these principles into question – at the macro level, despite trillions of dollars of investment, we are no nearer achieving a ‘society free of drug abuse’. Overall levels of illicit drug use have increased massively since the current global drug control system was put in place 50 years ago (with over 250 million current users worldwide), and the latest UN figures estimate that, far from reducing the number of ‘drug abusers’, the estimated numbers of dependent drug users has risen by almost 10% in recent years, from 27 to 29 million.
But, say the champions of supply reduction strategies, these disappointing figures just show that we are not trying hard enough – we need more law enforcement resources, more international co-operation, more deterrence in the form of crackdowns on producers, distributors and consumers, and harsher punishments when they are caught. This seems to be the analysis in the UNGASS declaration, which calls for the international community to:
Basically, business as usual, but with a bit more effort. This commitment to existing supply reduction strategies is also displayed in the declaration’s response to new and emerging challenges – the approach to new psychoactive substances is focused on identifying new substances, and taking action to prohibit them; and the section on internet drug markets assumes that the only task is to close them down. Overall the tone is one of continuing faith in existing strategies, and there is no attempt to assess the extent to which these strategies are achieving their aims, or whether new approaches could give better results.
This is a missed opportunity, as there are many reasons to question whether these traditional law enforcement strategies can ever significantly reduce illicit supply, or reduce the related harms:
Overall, we have clear evidence of the balloon effect – the basic rules of any commodity market dictate that, as long as demand for the product exists, and that demand can be met at a profit, then some form of supply will continue. We have numerous examples of long fought for gains in eradicating crops, seizing large consignments, or disrupting retail markets, that have had no long term impact on the scale and nature of consumption.
It is difficult to see, therefore, how the continuing faith in the same strategies can ever deliver the ambitious results that the UN declaration calls for. Indeed, in the absence of any realistic evidence (or even discussion) that the proposed activities can significantly reduce supply, then we can only view this section of the declaration as a politically and diplomatically convenient cover up of an absence of real belief that illicit drug markets can be significantly curtailed.
But there is another approach that has a much better prospect of success. If we change the overall objectives – away from reducing supply, and towards the reduction of illicit market related harms – our strategies and activities will be much better focused, and we have at least the prospect of achieving something.
There is a reasonable consensus on some of the harms arising from illicit drug markets, that we would all want to see reduced. Here are a few objectives I would suggest for future drug law enforcement:
Many governments, and law enforcement leaders, are already integrating these objectives, and the thinking around them, into their strategies. But as long as the international community clings on to unrealistic objectives, and focuses resources on outdated activities, political leaders and diplomats will have many more years of justifying a lack of progress.
Het artikel gaat verder.quote:Secret Garden Party pioneers drugs testing service for festivalgoers
About 200 people use facility offered by charity The Loop, police and council at Cambridgeshire festival aiming to promote safer drug use
An independent music festival in Cambridgeshire has become the first UK event of its kind to offer people the chance to have their illegal drugs tested to establish their content before they take them.
About 200 individuals took advantage of the unique testing facility, brokered in agreement with the local police and council, at this weekend’s Secret Garden Party, an annual arts and music festival on a Georgian farming estate near Huntingdon.
Freddie Fellowes, who founded the festival 12 years ago, said he was “thrilled” to be able to pioneer the service. “Harm reduction and welfare is a vital part of hosting any event and it’s an area that for too long has seen little development or advancement,” he said.
estivalgoers were offered the tests as part of a 10-minute package of health and safety advice provided by The Loop, an organisation that conducts forensic testing of drugs at festivals and nightclubs and offers associated welfare support.
Fiona Measham, co-founder of the organisation, explains: "The Loop has been conducting forensic testing at events for a number of years, but before now, we've only tested drugs seized by police, dropped in amnesty bins or provided by paramedics as a result of a medical incident. In the past we have been able to use that testing information to inform on-site services and for generalised safety alerts."
Helaas doen we dat in Nederland niet meer.quote:He added that while some festivalgoers had been suspicious of the involvement of local police, many were used to similar testing facilities provided at music events in Germany and the Netherlands.
quote:Italian farmers turning to hemp - Business Insider
Hemp is saving Taranto. REUTERS/Issei Kato
The road into Taranto is dotted with 100-year-old olive trees and low stone houses. The town, in the region of Puglia, is in the heel of the boot-shaped Italian peninsula. “The city between the two seas” straddles the southern Mediterranean, known as the Mar Grande, and a small inlet known as the Mar Piccolo. The air has a heavy metallic scent.
At the edge of town is a farm that has been known, since the 1800s, for its traditional cheeses. People came from all over to buy dairy products handmade in ancient, wood-fired terracotta furnaces. Those days are long gone, owner Vincenzo Fornaro explains, as he stands in a field surrounded by chest-high cannabis plants.
In 2008, local officials forced Fornaro to cull his animals, which were no longer safe for human consumption. They were contaminated with a dangerous cocktail of nickel, lead, and other toxic substances. That was the end of the cheese. The culprit, just over a mile away, is the biggest steel plant in Europe. The cannabis plants have replaced the dairy farm in an attempt to undo the environmental damage.
Fornaro was aware the plant was spewing toxic chemicals into the air and soil, he said, in Italian. “I can see the effects of this horrible factory on me.” When he was 20, he had a kidney removed. He told Italian newspaper La Stampa that his own mother had died after being diagnosed with a tumor.
The Ilva steel plant covers 15 million square meters—nearly three times the size of the city itself. It opened in 1965 and doubled in size by the 1970s. It once churned out almost one-third of Italy’s steel. The plant helped turn Taranto into a grimy industrial city. Smoking chimneys, blast furnaces, and aggregates yards now dominate the once-pastoral town. Even today a giant oil refinery and a huge cement factory welcome visitors.
Production at the plant has declined steadily, from 9 million tons at its height, to 4.7 million tons in 2015. But the environmental effects have been devastating. One study found that 11,000 local residents died as a result of severe toxin poisoning in factory fallout from 2005 to 2012. High levels of lead and dioxins (carcinogenic compounds) were found in the urine and blood of locals who lived near the factory. They had higher rates of heart disease and cancer.
The dilemma is that the plant has dominated the local economy. At its height, it employed 40,000 people, and a European Union report found that the plant made up 75 percent of Taranto’s income in 2008.
Unemployment in the region was almost 20 percent as recently as last year, so for many local residents, the jobs almost make up for the pollution. Initially, the local government didn’t do anything because the steel plant was too important.
“A long time ago, a choice was made to sacrifice this part of Italy, jeopardizing the health of the citizens of Taranto and its community and the biodiversity of the two seas,” said politician Domenico Finiguerra. “It was decided to sacrifice this land in the name of Italy’s economic future, supplying its industry with all the steel it needed.”
Taranto represents an economic model based on cement, steel, and oil, which is no longer sustainable, Finiguerra said. “This poisoned territory urgently needs an ecological regeneration project.”
As the full scale of the environmental devastation became clear, local residents decided to take action. In 2012, the plant was seized by magistrates and put under special administration. Last year, 47 people were indicted for crimes including crimes against public safety, corruption, bribery, abuse of office, and murder and injury by negligence.
Leaves of marijuana plants to extract the hemp fiber that is often used in traditional Japanese clothes and accessories, are seen at Japan's largest legal marijuana farm in Kanuma, Tochigi prefecture, Japan July 5, 2016. Picture taken July 5, 2016. REUTERS/Issei Kato Cultivating hemp for industrial use is legal in Italy. Thomson Reuters
Among those indicted were the powerful owners of the plant, the Riva family, managers at the factory, as well as the former governor of the region and a former mayor of the city of Taranto. Fabio Riva had been on the run since 2012 and had to be extradited from the United Kingdom. His billionaire father died in 2014, after two years of being under house arrest.
The legal action couldn’t save the agriculture sector, however. Since 2012, about 1,000 enterprises have shut down, and there has been a 10-percent decrease in meat production due to the slaughtering of 1,000 animals in the area. The soil is thoroughly contaminated, and farmers are banned from grazing their animals within a 12-mile radius of the steel plant.
Which brings us to hemp.
“We found ourselves at a crossroads, we had to decide whether to leave or to stay,” said farmer Vincenzo Fornaro. “We decided to stay to defend our land.” To do that, he planted marijuana plants, which can absorb toxic substances from the soil and neutralize them. The fist time hemp was used for environmental rehabilitation was after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine.
“We started recovering our land using hemp,” Fornaro said proudly as he stood amid the marijuana plants. When I visited, the three-month-old crop was verdant and fragrant. The strong, sweet scent of marijuana coming from the three-hectare field contrasted strongly with the fumes from the nearby steel plant, which still employs 14,000 people.
Fornaro started cultivating the controversial plant two years ago with the help of CanaPuglia, a local startup founded by hemp enthusiast Claudio Natile. “Hemp is a versatile plant, with strong links to the Italian tradition, with thousands of properties, which over the years has been criminalized,” Natile said.
Hemp was a major Italian agricultural crop for hundreds of years. In the ’50s, the country was the second-largest hemp producer in the world after the Soviet Union. Italian hemp seeds provided some of the most resistant fibers, which were turned into clothing. However, with industrialization and the advent of synthetic fibers such as nylon, hemp started to disappear.
Natile said part of CanaPuglia’s work was teaching people that history. “We went to the schools, spoke to the priests, to the farmers, and even the local military police to explain what we were going to use this plant for. The day we planted the seeds we invited all of them.”
Cultivating hemp is legal in Italy, as long as farmers tell the police that they are planting it for industrial use and plant a legal variety, which has low levels of THC, the mind-altering chemical. (Italy is currently considering legalizing recreational marijuana consumption.)
marijuana plant Hemp can absorb toxic substances from the soil. Jaime Saldarriaga/Reuters
In just five years, hemp production in Puglia has increased from 3 hectares to 300, with about 100 farmers in the area planting seeds. It has even brought new investments to the region such as the first hemp processing plant in Southern Italy, which transforms the hemp into fiber that can be turned into shoes, bags, clothes and even bricks for construction.
Hemp seeds are ground into high-protein, high-fiber, gluten-free flour that can be used for baking as well as to make pasta. But most farmers in the region, like Fornaro, are planting hemp to help clear their land of toxins. Fornaro can sell plant fibers for processing because the toxins don’t show up in the plant itself, but he is not able to sell the seeds (to be ground into flour, for example) because they could be contaminated.
“We have to start giving back what we took from the environment and provide an alternative employment to our children,” said Fornaro. “For now we use hemp only for industrial processing. I hope in the future we can use it also for nourishment. But what is certain is that we will surround the Ilva plant with hemp.”
quote:Field post: 'Honduras has one of the world's highest rates of urban violence'
The situation in hospitals is dire – patients wait hours, sometimes sleeping overnight in corridors to be first in the queue for their injuries to be treated
It is 3pm and yet another patient is brought to the emergency room with a gunshot wound to the chest. He seems to be in his early twenties. For now, he is talking. From the position of the wound on his chest, it is clear he needs to go immediately to the operating theatre. He has almost certainly been shot in the heart. This makes him one of thousands in Honduras who have suffered the consequences of armed violence.
Since 2010, Honduras has had one of the highest rates of urban violence in the world. Most of the violence we see in the emergency room takes the form of gun and knife injuries, often fatal. The treatment of injuries related to violence is considered by local hospital staff as routine. In the heat and humidity of the emergency room, the stench of blood and sweat hangs in the air.
Drug trafficking and extortion are attributed to the activity of powerful gangs; whole neighbourhoods are said to be controlled by armed groups. There are carjackings, kidnappings, murders and sex crimes. Young men and women and their families seem inextricably caught up in the tragedy of bloodshed. Urban existence is compounded by unemployment and poverty. Local media report on a seemingly continuous loop featuring hospitals struggling to cope with the daily influx of wounded. How then is this a “silent emergency”?
An emergency is any situation that requires urgent action to deter a threat to an individual’s health or life. Have we become so accustomed to urban violence and the failure to meet the most urgent health needs of communities that we have gone quiet? I had the privilege again this year of being deployed as a British Red Cross surgeon to work with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Honduras. I work in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, alongside doctors, nurses and medical students who strive day and night to bring the best medical care possible to the injured.
I am astonished every day by the commitment of medical students and interns who carry out tasks in this ICRC-supported hospital – from portering and taking blood, to cleaning and dressing wounds, and documenting exact causes of injury that I need for my research. Surgical teams work 24 hours, operating round the clock on patients. Every piece of equipment is jealously guarded as resources are scarce. They are cleaned, repaired, protected and used again and again. Local humour translates “use once” in English to the Spanish u-s-e o-n-c-e (use 11 times). The standard of care is high, yet the emergency remains. The situation is dire.
Medical facilities used by most of the population are underfunded and overwhelmed. Outpatient queues extend out of hospital buildings. Patients from the city and surrounding countryside wait hours to be seen. They travel all day from the countryside – on foot or hitchhiking. Beneath the cowboy hats, their skin is tough and burned. The lines on their faces tell their stories. Mothers sleep with their children overnight on the stone floor in corridors, hoping to be first in the morning queues for clinics and pharmacies. As if life is not hard enough, the constant threat of dengue, and now Zika, is a daily reality.
Local doctors and nurses keep working. They are well organised, well informed, resourceful and committed to dealing with the continuous emergency of an overburdened health service. They are not silent, but they are considerate in their thoughts and measured in their comments. They explain the situation to me: there are complex problems here. The most vulnerable are the poor. To address their health, communities need to be safe and they need access to education and employment that pays a regular salary sufficient to feed their families.
The young man shot in the chest survived. He went straight to the operating room. We were ready for him. As usual, the team worked in relative silence and calm. After surgery the doctor explained his injuries quietly to his mother. She was crying silently.
I walk back to a heaving emergency room: the clamour and commotion is deafening. There is nothing silent about this emergency.
Zie je wel: De Ware on Drugs richt grote schade aan aan de natuur.quote:Politie de bomen in op jacht naar wiet | NOS
Staatsbosbeheer en de politie hebben in natuurgebied de Biesbosch bij Dordrecht drie grote hennepvelden ontdekt. Een politiehelikopter had foto's gemaakt, maar om de wiet te bereiken was volgens de politie "een ware survivaltocht" nodig. Boswachters en agenten moesten in bomen klimmen om te zien of ze al in de buurt kwamen.
Bij het eerste veld waren drie mannen planten aan het rooien. Zij zijn aangehouden. Na enig zoeken vond de politie nog twee velden. In totaal stonden er zo'n duizend planten.
Het komt vaker voor dat er wietkwekers in de Biesbosch actief zijn. Volgens Staatsbosbeheer en de politie richten zulke activiteiten grote schade aan aan de natuur.
quote:Poll: Majority Of Republicans Now Support Full Marijuana Legalization
Prohibition of cannabis is over. It may not be legally over yet, but in the minds of men and women, it’s over.
A new YouGov poll shows a new record high of Americans now support the legalization of marijuana by a widening gap. Americans that support legalization grew to 55% while those who support prohibition fell to 33%.
The poll showed for the first time a majority of republican voters now support marijuana legalization. Not for medical cannabis, mind you, because a large majority already supported that. A majority of GOP voters now support full legalization for all uses, including recreational.
With several more states voting to legalize cannabis in some fashion this November, expect to see the walls of prohibition continue to crumble.
Read my previous article:
Will Popular Marijuana Strains Become Like Fine Wines?
Marijuana consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and glorified as an All American pastime, booze.
Plain and simple!
Legalize Marijuana Nationwide!
It’s time for us, the majority of The People to take back control of our national marijuana policy. By voting OUT of office any and all politicians who very publicly and vocally admit to having an anti-marijuana, prohibitionist agenda! Time to vote’em all OUT of office. Period. Plain and simple.
Politicians who continue to demonize Marijuana, Corrupt Law Enforcement Officials who prefer to ruin peoples lives over Marijuana possession rather than solve real crimes who fund their departments toys and salaries with monies acquired through Marijuana home raids, seizures and forfeitures, and so-called “Addiction Specialists” who make their income off of the judicial misfortunes of our citizens who choose marijuana, – Your actions go against The Will of The People and Your Days In Office Are Numbered! Find new careers before you don’t have one.
The People have spoken! Get on-board with Marijuana Legalization Nationwide, or be left behind and find new careers. Your choice.
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quote:NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton's Backward Logic on Legal Marijuana - The Atlantic
New York City’s Police Commissioner cites violence associated with the black market in pot as a reason against legalizing the drug.
Earlier this week, New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton made a very confused statement about the increasingly popular movement to legalize marijuana. “Here in New York City,” he declared, “most of the violence we see, violence around drug trafficking, is involving marijuana. And I have to scratch my head as we see many states wanting to legalize marijuana, and liberalization of policies.”
As Jacob Sullum notes, “Bratton is presenting an argument for legalization as an argument against it … what Bratton views as a head-scratcher—that people would want to legalize a business tied to black-market violence—is actually a no-brainer.” Insofar as the marijuana trade is violent, it is because selling the drug is illegal. Prohibition gives rise to highly profitable conspiracies of criminals who vie for territory, using violence to best rivals who cannot turn to the law to defend themselves.
There may be costs to legalizing marijuana. Some people think that they outweigh the benefits. But there’s no question that legalizing marijuana would shift sale of the drug from criminals who sometimes engage in violence to businesses that almost never would. Legalization is the only effective way to eradicate such violence. How can one of America’s most successful police chiefs fail to understand that?
“I don't think it's a matter of stupidity,” a Reason commenter theorizes, trying to understand the logical fallacy. “It's a moral issue. Drugs are bad, so prohibition is good. Any violence resulting from drug prohibition is caused by the drugs, not prohibition, because drugs are bad. To question the premise that drugs are bad is to question his good intentions as a police chief. To say that the violence is caused by the laws that he enforces is a personal insult against his good intentions. So no, I don't think it is stupidity. It is the hell we live in thanks to that road paved with good intentions.”
That’s as charitable an explanation as any.
Fortunately, a majority of Americans have ceased to believe that fallacy, and several states are poised to ease or end anti-marijuana laws in 2016. It’s about time. Weed prohibition has made America more violent than it would otherwise be for decades. And it is immoral to lock human beings in cages for using marijuana. I have to scratch my head at law-enforcement leaders who want to keep it illegal.
quote:Rechter: coffeeshop bij school mag dicht - AT5: de nieuwszender van Amsterdam en omgeving
De gemeente wil met de sluiting het softdrugsgebruik onder jongeren ontmoedigen. Daarom moesten per 1 januari 2014 de eerste coffeeshops de deuren sluiten op schooldagen. Veertien eigenaren gingen tegen dit besluit in beroep, omdat ze meenden dat deze maatregel niet het beoogde effect heeft. Ze mochten namelijk al geen softdrugs verkopen aan minderjarigen. Bovendien vonden ze dat er te weinig tijd was om zich aan te passen aan de nieuwe openingstijden.
Volgens de rechtbank zijn de bevoegdheden van de gemeente op dit gebied heel ruim, omdat er sprake is van gedoogbeleid over de wettelijk nog altijd verboden verkoop van softdrugs. Bovendien zijn de coffeeshops ruim op tijd ge´nformeerd over het nieuwe zogenoemde afstandscriterium, oordeelt de rechtbank.
De gemeente wil dat op basis hiervan 26 zaken uiteindelijk de deuren sluiten. Hiertoe werden vier fases ingesteld, te beginnen met beperktere openingstijden. Hoewel het beroep van de coffeeshophouders in principe alleen over deze aangepaste tijden ging, meent de rechtbank dat de gemeente ook mag overgaan tot de uiteindelijke sluiting.
Inmiddels zijn elf coffeeshops dicht. De resterende hebben nog tot 1 januari de tijd, omdat de gemeente een uitspraak van de Hoge Raad over de landelijke invoering van de wietpas wil afwachten. Dit vonnis komt naar verwachting binnen enkele maanden, liet een woordvoerder van burgemeester Eberhard van der Laan weten.
Den Haag, Utrecht en Rotterdam gingen Amsterdam al voor met de invoering van het afstandscriterium voor de coffeeshops.
quote:UK is biggest online drug dealing country in Europe
While UK is second only to US in number of vendors who deal online, they average almost double the monthly transactions
The UK is home to more online drug dealers than any country in Europe, according to a new report that estimates the value of the monthly trade in drugs through darknet markets to be as much as ú16m a month globally.
British dealers generate more than 16% of the monthly global revenues – about ú1.8m – across the eight largest marketplaces, taking home an average of ú5,200 each, according to research commissioned by the Dutch government.
It found that three years after police in the US seized the Silk Road – the original online drugs marketplace – and arrested its founder, the numbers of drug deals taking place in successors to the site had tripled, revenues had doubled and six times as many product listings were available to buyers.
Researchers from Rand Europe, working in conjunction with academics from the UK and Canada, in January collected data on drug deals from the eight largest darknet markets, which are Amazon-type online marketplaces that can only be accessed with an encrypted connection.
They found that by far the most vendors operated from the US, which hosted 890 drug dealers, with the UK hosting 338. However, British dealers proved to be far busier, averaging almost double the number of transactions each over the month.
Germany and the Netherlands were joint third in the numbers of dealers, with 225 each, although Dutch vendors made fewer but, on average, larger transactions and operated in a far smaller jurisdiction.
The report says: “The Netherlands appears to have a substantial concentration of cryptomarket vendor activity (13.4 vendors per million population) in comparison to the United States (2.8 vendors per million population) and the United Kingdom (5.3 vendors per million population).”
The study found that cryptomarkets had grown substantially “but not explosively” since Silk Road’s takedown.
Despite the massive publicity that the darknet has received, its online markets still only attract a niche among drugs consumers. Its ú16m upper estimate of global drug revenues compares to an estimated monthly offline market for drugs of about ú1.7bn for Europe alone.
Stijn Hoorens, project leader for the team behind the report, said: “It could be explained by some of the challenges that these markets have faced over the years with ‘exit scams’, [which is] administrators who take their sites offline, saying for maintenance or something … in some cases they have just left with all bitcoins that were held in escrow. That has affected trust between the users of the cryptomarkets and the operators.”
However, the research also found evidence that darknet drugs sales may have a role in supplying offline drug markets, with dealers buying stock wholesale for distribution. A quarter of the drug sales were for listings worth more than $1,000 (ú768), the team found, suggesting that these shipments may have been bought for resale.
A further important finding of the study was that most sales and revenues were generated within continents, rather than from sales between far flung jurisdictions, Hoorens said.
“That was somewhat surprising to us, because it’s sometimes claimed that the internet facilitates global trade and I think we’ve shown that, at least thus far, that doesn’t seem to have been the case,” he said.
“It seems that the within North America revenues, within Oceania, and within Europe, revenues are much bigger than those between those continents. We can only speculate about why that is the case but I think if you look at the importance of cannabis still on cryptomarkets … that is often produced locally.”
Cannabis dominated the listings that the Rand team found online, making up 37% of listings across marketplaces, followed by stimulants at 29% of listings and ecstasy-type drugs at 19%. Those figures contrasted with European monitoring centre for drugs and drug addiction estimates for offline drugs sales, which put heroin at 28% of total sales and ecstasy at 3%.
The report says: “A possible explanation for these differences between ‘online’ and ‘offline’ markets may be that cryptomarket purchases typically require an element of planning, which may not suit the daily use of dependent users of, for instance, heroin.”
quote:D.E.A. Keeps Marijuana on List of Dangerous Drugs, Frustrating Advocates
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s decision on Thursday to not remove marijuana from the list of the nation’s most dangerous drugs outraged scientists, public officials and advocates who have argued that the federal government should recognize that marijuana is medically useful.
Reclassifying marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug to a Schedule 2 drug would have made it easier to get federal approval for studies of its uses and paved the way for doctors to eventually write prescriptions for marijuana-derived products that could be filled at pharmacies, like other Schedule 2 drugs such as Adderall, which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Eight Democratic legislators had urged the D.E.A. to reclassify marijuana to a Schedule 2 drug. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts voiced her disappointment with the decision on Twitter. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said in a statement, “It shouldn’t take an act of Congress for the D.E.A. to get past antiquated ideology and make this change.”
Yet in a separate policy proposal also issued on Thursday, the agency handed researchers and advocates a victory in removing a significant roadblock to medical studies of marijuana. The D.E.A. said it will allow universities and even private companies to apply to grow marijuana for scientific research. For many years, the University of Mississippi has had a monopoly on that role as the sole D.E.A.-approved provider of marijuana, and researchers have long complained that the supply of the drug was grossly inadequate, stymying efforts to establish whether marijuana is an effective treatment for many diseases.
Chuck Rosenberg, the acting head of the D.E.A., wrote in the decision that marijuana would remain a Schedule 1 drug because “it has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.” He said these criteria are set out in the Controlled Substances Act, which mandates scheduling decisions based on scientific data.
“Research is the bedrock of science,” he wrote, “and we will — as we have for many years — support and promote legitimate research regarding marijuana and its constituent parts.”
The District of Columbia and 25 states now allow the use of marijuana for a wide variety of medical conditions. The scientific evidence of its effectiveness is thin to nonexistent for many illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis, Tourette’s syndrome and lupus. Reputable studies have shown it can relieve nausea, improve appetite and ease painful spasms.
But there is no drug derived from marijuana that has yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
quote:Cops call for moratorium on new marijuana laws after blizzard of legislation | Colorado Springs Gazette, News
Colorado law enforcement agencies say ever-changing marijuana regulations have them overwhelmed.
They're asking the state for a reprieve.
In May, heads of Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, the County Sheriffs of Colorado and Colorado District Attorneys' Council wrote a letter to the "Members of Legislative Leadership" seeking a two-year moratorium on new marijuana regulations in order to bring all officers into compliance with enforcement expectations.
Officers "cannot keep up with the quantity and speed of constantly changing marijuana laws," their letter said, noting 81 bills have been introduced in the last four years.
Rapid-fire legislation has created what Greenwood Village Police Chief John Jackson, a member of CACP, calls a "cavernous void" between what the state is proposing and the affect it has on the people charged with enforcing those laws.
"There's no cartilage between the bones here," Jackson said. "The legislature is completely responsible for that."
"If legislature keeps slamming out all these bills, they're going to keep law enforcement lost," Jackson said. Some agencies are turning away from training until things "settle down" he said.
He fears the goal may be to cause such "marijuana fatigue" that agencies won't aggressively enforce the laws. And if that's the goal, "that's where we are," Jackson said.
In many cases, those who are loudly cracking down on illegal marijuana activity are criticized, Jackson said, citing Pueblo County Sheriff's Office as an example.
The office has busted about 40 illegal marijuana grows since March, some of which have led to federal indictments. But other agencies are not following their lead.
In a community meeting this week to inform citizens about recent marijuana laws, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder said he was unaware of Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers' promise of "hundreds" of marijuana busts this summer.
Still, the county is conducting them, and working with the Drug Enforcement Administration to do it, Elder said. In fact, "There's thousands of plants being seized, there's hundreds of thousands of grams of refined marijuana seeds," being removed from the market, he said. But "we're not disclosing a total number of busts."
"We're working the problem but we're working at a risk-averse position," Elder said.
With such murky laws, the county fears lawsuits from marijuana growers, according to Elder and his sergeant, Emory "Ray" Gerhart.
Gerhart explained it this way: If authorities seize plants during an arrest but charges are later dropped, there's no property to return to the grower, which exposes police to lawsuits.
"If I come into your house and I take your plants, we're not going to take care of it," Gerhart said. "We're not going to put them in a greenhouse and put them in lights and water."
So far, Pueblo offenders are accepting plea deals, Gerhart said, meaning they don't get their plants returned, but "sooner or later, somebody is going to take that to trial and make some interesting case laws."
"At some point, people are going to get fed up with it (Amendment 64). I'm fed up with it. I'm not fed up with it to the point that I'm willing to risk millions of dollars in lawsuits over marijuana plants," Elder said.
Jackson said those fears could be quelled by better training and an assigned "marijuana expert" to keep local governments up-to-date on new laws, but that requires "involvement and leadership" from the state.
"Anytime you make all these little changes, how do you train 15,000 peace officers," Jackson asked.
Communities are also suffering under the changes, the letter from police organizations said.
Illegal home grows are popping up in neighborhoods across Colorado, officials said. Growers are altering homes, burdening electrical systems, polluting the septic system and smuggling drugs out of state, they said.
Recognizing those issues, Colorado Springs Fire Marshal Brett Lacey recently asked city council to consider stricter regulations on residential home grows to help prevent illegal activity and give the city teeth to prosecute when needed.
The letter also cites concerns about the potency of edibles leading to overconsumption and hospitalizations. That fear is not off the mark.
A study published last week in the online medical journal JAMA Pediatrics found there has been an increase of young kids making emergency room visits after accidentally consuming marijuana. Colorado laws on labeling and child-resistant packaging aren't working as well as advertised, a Denver Post analysis of that study found.
A solution has not yet been offered.
"Doctors who continue to dole out irresponsible extended plant counts" also made law enforcement's list of concerns in their letter. But state officials have started addressing that.
Four Colorado physicians, including one in Colorado Springs, had their licenses suspended this month after the Colorado Medical Board said they wrongfully allowed hundreds of people to grow extra medical marijuana plants. One doctor authorized at least 400 people to grow 75 or more marijuana plants from Jan. 1 to June 12, the Medical Board's suspension order said.
A judge has since blocked those suspensions, allowing the doctors to practice medicine, but a hold on their marijuana prescriptions remains in place.
Problems will only continue to build as everyone tries to make sense of the laws, Jackson said. A moratorium new laws, at the very least, will give people a chance to catch up, he said.
Though the group's letter hasn't received a response, Jackson said they plan to push it again in December, ahead of the start of the next legislative session.
"We're asking the legislature to slow this train down so we can understand it," Jackson said. "This is not an effort to repeal (Amendment 64), we're trying to make this work."
quote:Barack Obama's Daughter Malia Caught Smoking
Washington: Malia Obama, the elder daughter of US President Barack Obama, has been spotted smoking what some suspect to be a cannabis joint.
The 18-year-old, who is set to attend Harvard next year, was at the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago, Illinois, where a nine-second video published by Radar Online, apparently captured her smoking, is doing the rounds on internet and has evoked mixed reactions from public.
The website claimed an eyewitness smelled cannabis in the air, the Telegraph reported.
Cannabis is decriminalised in the state of Illinois and people are allowed to possess up to 10 grams of the drug.
The first daughter missed Hillary Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention last month to go to Lollapalooza.
Previous video had emerged of her "twerking" at the festival.
Her father had previously admitted smoking cannabis as a youth and he was part of a group of friends known as the "choom gang" in Hawaii.
Malia is currently on a gap year before going to Harvard in the autumn of 2017.
At the Democratic Convention, her mother Michelle Obama spoke movingly about her effort to give Malia and younger sister Sasha a normal life.
Sasha Obama, 15, has undertaken a summer job in a fish restaurant in Martha's Vineyard.
quote:Effective Immediately: Illinois Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession
By Brandon Turbeville
Illinois is now the most recent state to show signs that it is beginning to move in the direction of more sensible and responsible drug laws, particularly when it comes to marijuana.
This is because Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation last week which makes Illinois the third largest state in the country to decriminalize minor marijuana offenses. The new law makes having 10 grams or less of marijuana a civil offense as opposed to a criminal one. Thus, the penalty for possession of over 10 grams will be a fine of up to 200 dollars.
The law also sets an official standard for what will be considered too impaired to drive. Previously, any trace amount of marijuana at all was considered impaired, an obviously oppressive and illogical standard since marijuana can remain in a person’s system for several weeks. The new law creates a standard of 5 nanograms of THC in the driver’s blood within two hours of consumption.
The governor had been expected to sign the bill despite the fact that he vetoed a similar piece of legislation last year. At the time of his veto, Rauner said that existing penalties for small marijuana offenses were too harsh and that “criminal prosecution of cannabis possession is also a drain on public resources.” We proudly welcome Governor Rauner to the 21st century.
Laimutis Nargelenas, Springfield Park Police Chief, and former lobbyist for the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, is very concerned. “You’re giving individuals more opportunities for drug usage,” said Nargelenas.
At this point, we would like to make a joke about welcoming Nargelenas to the 18th century, but, interestingly enough, the people of that century had more much more rational views on marijuana than he does. Instead, we will allow Nargelenas to remain in the Twilight Zone where marijuana is dangerous, Prozac is safe and police who are scarcely indistinguishable from the military is a sign that everything is okay.
Many others in the state have praised Rauner’s action, most likely tired of seeing non-violent people having their lives ruined, thrown into cages and otherwise being brutalized – not by the plant they were arrested for – but by the people who are allegedly protecting them from it.
The new Illinois bill will also require municipalities to purge citation records of marijuana possession every six months although it does allow local governments to opt out of this clause. The bill goes into effect immediately.
quote:President Filipijnen dreigt met vertrek uit VN | NOS
De president van de Filipijnen, Rodrigo Duterte, zegt dat zijn land zich misschien uit de VN terugtrekt vanwege de aanhoudende kritiek op de strijd tegen drugs in zijn land. Hij zal dan China en Afrikaanse landen uitnodigen om een een nieuwe organisatie van landen te vormen.
De verklaring volgt op de oproep van twee mensenrechtenexperts van de VN aan de regering in Manilla om een eind te maken aan de executies door doodseskaders van mensen die van drugshandel worden verdacht.
Duterte ontkent dat de regering of de politie daarvoor verantwoordelijk is en zegt dat de experts welkom zijn als ze daar onderzoek naar willen doen. "Ik zal aantonen dat jullie hele stomme experts zijn", zei hij.
Duterte vindt dat de VN zich niet moet druk maken over "lijken van criminelen die zich opstapelen". De volkerenorganisatie kan zich in zijn ogen beter druk maken over zijn eigen falen bij de bestrijding van honger, terrorisme en oorlog. "Weet je, VN, als jullie ÚÚn slecht ding over mij kunnen zeggen, kan ik daar tien slechte dingen over jullie tegenover stellen."
Duterte werd in juli president. Hij won de verkiezingen met de belofte dat hij drugscriminelen eigenhandig zou doden. Sinds zijn aantreden zijn zo'n duizend mensen vermoord. Sommigen hadden een kartonnen bordje om hun nek met de woorden 'ik ben een dealer'.
Onschuldig tenzij bewezen wordt dat je schuldig bent, dat kennen ze niet op de Filipijnen.quote:Filipijnse president op dreef: duizend dode 'drugsdealers' | NOS
"Het zijn duizend dode drugsdealers, waar maken ze zich druk om?" President Rodrigo Duterte van de Filipijnen is de internationale bemoeienis over het optreden van doodseskaders in zijn land zat. "Laat de politie haar plicht doen."
Duterte is amper twee maanden aan de macht en sindsdien worden vrijwel elke ochtend dode 'drugsdealers' gevonden op straat. Soms hebben de doden een boodschap om hun nek, zoals een kartonnen bordje met de woorden 'ik ben een dealer'.
Een deel van hen is geliquideerd door doodseskaders: gemaskerde, gewapende mannen die 's nachts met een lijst op pad worden gestuurd.
"Niemand weet wie ze zijn", vertelt NOS-correspondent Michel Maas. "Waarschijnlijk zijn het agenten die 'een beetje overwerken' in hun vrije tijd." Ze werken een dodenlijst af die is opgesteld door de politie. Samen met buurthoofden wordt een overzicht gemaakt van wie er verdacht wordt van drugscriminaliteit.
"Als je daarop staat, ben je je leven niet meer zeker", zegt Maas. De verdachten worden dag en nacht in de gaten gehouden. Ze worden weggelokt met een smoes en gedood met messen of pistolen.
"Er zijn moeders die op deze manier al hun zoons hebben verloren. Zonder dat ze ook maar eens kans hebben gehad om hun onschuld te bewijzen", zegt Maas.
Naar schatting zijn inmiddels duizend mensen omgebracht die gelinkt waren aan drugshandel. Maas: "Ook drugsgebruikers, arme sloebers die juist hulp nodig hebben. Mensen uit de krottenwijken die alleen kunnen vluchten in de drugs."
Het land met 100 miljoen inwoners kampt al jaren met armoede en corruptie. Daardoor is de drugsproblematiek groot. De dealers en handelaren zijn een plaag voor de Filipijnse bevolking. Dat verklaart ook de grote populariteit van de hardliner Duterte.
"Hij schopt alle heilige huisjes omver en stopt nergens voor. Dat vindt de bevolking geweldig", zegt Maas. "Ze zien dat Duterte meent wat hij zegt en corruptie en drugsproblemen keihard aanpakt."
Duterte had van tevoren een bikkelharde strijd beloofd tegen drugscriminelen. "Klootzakken, ik vermoord jullie", zei hij op tv tegen hen. "Als verdachten zich verzetten, schiet ze dan dood en je krijgt een medaille."
De keiharde aanpak komt Duterte op felle kritiek te staan. Mensenrechtenorganisaties en de Verenigde Naties veroordelen de liquidaties. Studenten protesteren en ook de katholieke kerk veroordeelt de bloedige drugsoorlog.
"Veranderen we nu van een land van drugsgebruikers tot een natie van moordenaars", vroeg een invloedrijke Filipijnse bisschop zich op Twitter af.
Het bloedvergieten heeft ook overvolle gevangenissen tot gevolg. Sinds de doodseskaders in actie komen, hebben zich bij de politie ruim 125.000 mensen gemeld: allemaal verdachten van drugsdelicten die bang zijn om te sterven.
"De gevangenissen zijn zo vol, dat ze zakkenrollers vrijlaten om plaats te maken voor dealers", zegt Maas. Er zijn gevangenissen met plek voor 800 man waar nu 4000 mensen vastzitten. "Elke hal ligt 's avonds vol met slapende gevangenen."
Toch is de steun voor de Filipijnse president stabiel gebleven. "De meeste Filipijnen hopen dat Duterte blijft volhouden. Dan komt een einde aan corruptie, hopen ze."
Duterte heeft lijsten openbaar gemaakt met daarop politici, generaals en hoge ambtenaren die verdacht zijn van corruptie of medeplichtigheid aan drugshandel. "Hij heeft eerder al gezegd: als het hele parlement tegen me is, dan hef ik het op."
Lol, waarom moest het biljet van 500Ą ook alweer verdwijnen, omdat het zo in trek was bij de drughandelaars?quote:
quote:21 August 2016 Last updated at 09:23 BST
Mawaan Rizwan was brought up in a religious family but is no longer practising and feels detached from spirituality.
He visits the Oklevueha Native American Church in Salt Lake City in Utah, America, where people take the Class A drug peyote in the hope of finding religious enlightenment. A powerful hallucinogen, its active ingredient mescaline puts peyote in the same category as heroin. Its effects are like that of LSD. Taking it could put someone at risk if they or a member of their family have suffered from psychosis in the past.
People have been known to harm themselves while under the effects of hallucinogens.
The "medicine man" James Flaming Eagle Mooney and Ohio-based believer Richard say taking traditional medicines like peyote connect them to a higher power.
A sceptical but curious Mawaan joined them on one of their ceremonial retreats in the mountains.
quote:British Police Officers Reveal What They Really Think About the War on Drugs | VICE | United Kingdom
Good Cop, Bad War is the story of an undercover police officer, Neil Woods, who spent over a decade infiltrating Britain's biggest drug gangs. The book, released last week, provides a unique insight into a world of mind games and violence, where the drug trade acts as a production line for the creation of ruthless gangsters. Ultimately, his experiences led Woods to reject the way drugs are policed in the UK.
"The logic of the drugs war only leads one way: the police get smarter, so the criminals get nastier; things can only ever go from bad to worse, from savagery to savagery," says Woods. Now, after having left the force, he is chairman of LEAP UK (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition), a pro-drug legalisation activist group consisting of ex-law enforcement officials.
But to what extent are Woods and his colleagues at LEAP UK – and those currently employed in the police force – rare specimens? How thin on the ground are drug cops who think they are fighting the wrong fight? Expressing sympathy for anything other than hardline prohibition – even to their colleagues – is something of a risk in the black and white, "them and us" world of police culture.
Even so, every now and then drug cops open up about the realities of clearing the streets of dealers and drugs.
I spoke to Mike Fisher*, a senior drugs investigator for Britain's organised crime busting bureau, the National Crime Agency (NCA). He asked for his name to be changed to avoid disciplinary action, as his views will definitely not be found anywhere near the pages of the NCA's annual report.
"If the NCA stopped targeting drug gangs, it would change nothing," he explained. "You would see little change in the high street. Society would not collapse. As it is, drugs are freely available now. All that would happen is that dealing would be more open. But it may give us more of a chance to deal with crimes such as homicide."
On the surface, it's a counter-intuitive line to take for a senior officer working within an agency for which the drug trade is a key target.
"Law enforcement against drugs is completely ineffective and has been since the Misuse of Drugs Act came into force in 1971," says Fisher. "The idea of the state protecting you from yourself just doesn't work. We've spent billions of pounds trying to prohibit drugs, but there's less chance of it working than Canute stopping the waves.
Fisher tells me that arresting people on the streets for drugs is an endless cycle, and that it's the same with the larger fish. "Whenever we remove a big guy, someone else – usually a lieutenant – replaces him within days. The more we try, the harder it gets: increased enforcement keeps these people looking over their shoulder; they become more covert about their activity, and that makes our job harder."
Fisher's solution is to take the Portugal route: decriminalise personal use of all drugs, from cannabis to heroin, and look at legalising production and supply. "I believe consenting adults have a choice as to what they put in their bodies. It will also make it easier for heroin and crack users to get the help they need and free up police time to go out on patrol and deal with other crimes," he says. "Ideally, production should be wrested from organised criminals and managed by governments."
Surprisingly, he tells me around half of Britain's elite drug detectives at NCA have similar "liberal" attitudes to the drugs problem.
But what about those drug cops working below NCA level, in towns and cities across the UK? To gauge what they truly think about their daily task, you need to be a fly on the wall – so that's the exact position that University of Sheffield criminologist Dr Matthew Bacon took. He spent two years embedded with drug detectives in a town and a major city (the identities of which are secret) in the UK and wrote about his experiences in Taking Care of Business, published last month.
Most officers were anti-drugs and fully supported prohibition. Drugs were seen as being behind all that's bad in society. This gave them a "righteousness" in their actions, observed Bacon. But within this, recreational drug users, social dealers and nightclubs were far less of a crime problem than alcohol, a drug which few officers had a problem with.
It's perhaps not surprising, given the police's moral code, that most of the officers he hung around with viewed "junkies" as lazy, undeserving scumbags. In 2012, a former undercover officer who disguised himself as a heroin user-dealer, told me: "It made me realise how bad cops can be to drug addicts. I was abused, assaulted and threatened with being fitted up by having drugs planted on me on a regular basis."
To the anti-drug teams Bacon shadowed, heroin dealers were one of the most despised groups in society, so much so that they were seen as "police property" – objects that police could do with as they wished. "Almost without exception, dealers were depicted as deplorable and dangerous outlaws," says Bacon. "They were made the scapegoat of the drug problem."
Drug cops, who saw themselves as "elite crime fighters", had sufficient respect however for the the Mr Bigs of the drug world. They saw those who ran professional outfits and had families at home as worthy adversaries, and a "good collar" for which they would earn respect among their colleagues.
Despite all this, there was acceptance – often expressed by officers off-duty after a few pints – that they were not waging a "war on drugs", but managing an unbeatable problem in order to "keep the public happy".
One detective sergeant told Bacon: "Sometimes I think we're like those [Japanese] soldiers in World War Two – you know, those ones on the island who just kept fighting because they didn't know the war was over. Only difference is, we'd lost the war before we even started fighting." Another officer told him: "We've thrown everything at it, even the kitchen sink, but drug problems just keep getting worse. In the end, the drugs are still on the streets, no matter how many people we lock up."
There are rebellious notions even among the rank and file. When I went stop and searching in Soho with one of the Met Police's sniffer dog teams in 2013, I was surprised to hear from a regular beat officer and his colleague that they thought cannabis should be legalised entirely. "I say legalise the lot," one said. "Legalise it and tax it," said the other. "If someone wants to turn the sky green and the grass blue, then it's up to them. I can't see the difference between alcohol and cannabis. The official line is that drugs are under control, but they are not."
I call up Simon Kempton, a police sergeant from Dorset who has specialised in drug enforcement and sits on the National Board of the Police Federation, a body that represents rank and file officers. He agrees with Woods – that the drug trade houses the most violent people in the country – but believes prohibition is crucial to taking them out.
"I can't speak for everyone, but in my opinion drug policing is worthwhile, all day, every day," he says. "I get it: it can seem futile when we take out someone knocking out kilos of cocaine, [who's] replaced within two hours. But the reason it's worth doing is because the drug is not just about the drug trade: it's weapons, terrorism, people trafficking, money laundering; it straddles the spectrum of the most serious crimes, such as murder, kidnapping, serious assault – which all go hand in hand with the drug trade.
"We are taking out the worst people in our society. When they assault people it's not just a punch-up outside a pub; we are talking about sending a message through retribution and torture. These people have to protect their trade from others, so they use extreme levels of violence. You have to be the scariest, biggest person on the block, otherwise they will take your money from you.
"Undercover police officers would not take the huge risks infiltrating gangs if they did not think it was worthwhile. Undercover drug policing is not cheap, but it's very cost effective. It's rare to get a not guilty after undercover work because of all the evidence that's been gathered. Yes, people can feel demoralised that they've put themselves on the line, and then someone ends up getting just a coupe of years, but that's the way it is sometimes."
However, Sgt Kempton said that for rank and file officers, policing cannabis was another matter, and that many officers sympathised with the path taken by Durham Police in going easy on low-level cannabis offences: "With dwindling resources, forces are having to focus their limited numbers on areas which represent the greatest harms to wider society. While policing cannabis is still a legitimate action, I believe most officers and the public would support a focus on other areas of crime."
Over the years writing about the drug trade, I've met drug cops who have told me that their job is similar to that of the drug user or trafficker – a series of almost addictive drug bust "hits" that perpetuate the game. There are some who have crossed the line completely to become dependent drug users themselves, and others who are disgusted by the stigmatisation of drug users and even dealers.
One female drug cop I spoke to told me: "There are some pretty nasty pieces of work out there, but some of them are just ordinary people. Behind every user and runner, there's a story," she said. "A lot of people say drug addicts and drug dealers are scum of the earth, but they don't know anything about them."
Woods' book will open the public's eyes to the raw violence and canniness of the drug world, and the lengths police will go to in order to disrupt it. But after years fighting at the apex of the drug war, his conclusion – and that of other experienced officers who have chosen to speak out – must be heeded if we want to find a solution to a problem that has been trashing communities around the world for decades.
Het moet wel een hele ruime interpretatie zijn die je hanteert om drogeringsmiddelen samen te laten vallen met werk, seks of religieuze beleving. Degene die er niet aan onderdoorgaan maar het dus wel recreatief gebruik of faciliteren dragen bij aan het probleem en aan de verdere verbreiding ervan.quote:Op maandag 22 augustus 2016 23:19 schreef Papierversnipperaar het volgende:
Iedereen gebruikt drugs, legaal, illegaal, in de vorm van vloeistoffen of poeders, of in de vorm van gedrag zoals religie, werk of sex. De meeste mensen gaan er niet aan onderdoor. Die paar die wel problemen krijgen help je niet met een War on Drugs.
Het enige wat de War on Drugs doet is geweld en corruptie veroorzaken. Het lost geen enkel probleem op, kost wel bakken met geld.
In een discussie over drugs is een definitie van drugs noodzakelijk. En mijn definitie valt niet samen met de opiumwet.quote:
Na een definitie van drugs, is een juiste probleemstelling noodzakelijk.quote:In wat voor andere vorm zou je de aanpak dan kunnen gieten zonder te kiezen voor het passieve wegkijken voor de problemen die er zijn? En kom niet met legalisering aanzetten dan haal je het uit de illegaliteit maar dit is enkel symptoombestrijding. Wat is een andere aanpak tegen de verbreiding en verspreiding van de drugsproblematiek?
Waarom zijn juist de gevaarlijkste drugs legaal?quote:
quote:Here's Why Cannabis Plants Are Growing Wild All Over Britain's Cities - Reset.me
Courtesy of Feed The Birds.
on March 12, 2015
Cannabis plants have been spotted sprouting in public places up and down the UK, a country where the plant is categorized as a Class B drug and possession alone can lead to a five year prison sentence. The majestic herb can be found humbly sunning itself near some of the nation’s most iconic locations in central London, such as the BBC headquarters, Tower Bridge and The Shard.
Although cannabis can flourish naturally in Britain’s wet, mild climate, as it has done in the past, these seeds were sown with intent. In perhaps one of the most profound acts of resistance in the UK’s legalization movement, the activist group “Feed The Birds” is distributing cannabis seeds across the country as part of a grassroots campaign to draw attention to the ridiculousness of prohibition.
Feed The Birds was founded in early 2014 by a person using the online alias Finn Hemingway. Since the movement germinated, they have accumulated over 23,000 Facebook followers; among these numbers are an estimated 2000 “birders” who contribute to the cause with acts of clandestine, yet highly effective, resistance. Planting, cultivating and harvesting cannabis plants in the UK is highly illegal and could lead to 14 years of imprisonment.
However, as displayed in the name, this movement has discovered and exploited a loophole in the legal system to render what they do perfectly legal. As it appears on the streets, all these activists are doing is throwing seeds around — quite literally feeding the birds. Although the plant itself is illegal to posses, cannabis seeds are not; it is legal to posses, sell and purchase them within the boarders of the UK. As long as they are not intentionally sown and germinated, it is legal to utilize them in a manner of different ways: to eat as food, to bait fish and to feed birds.
Scattering cannabis seeds in a public place with the intention of offering nutritionally dense, mineral and omega fatty acid rich seeds to our feathered friends is not a crime. If said seeds are not detected by hungry birds or banqueting squirrels, they will most likely begin to germinate and grow. Thus, cannabis plants as large and mature as those pictured can flourish in public places without a single person being prosecuted, punished or imprisoned.
“We believe that seeds left to grow highlight the ineffectiveness of prohibition, partly because cannabis grows naturally in the UK and has done for thousands of years, and partly because we feel visual protests are powerful and evocative,” Hemingway told Reset.
Each plant stands as a visual message regarding the skewed and failed drug policies that prohibit the herb.
“Personally, I think cannabis is still illegal because British politicians do not want to be seen as having a ‘weak’ stance on drugs,” Hemingway said. “I would urge all politicians to use a scientific and an economic approach on drug law reform.”
Despite some fierce opposition to cannabis in the UK, many residents acknowledge the plant’s positives — medicinally and economically — and think penalties for its use, cultivation and possession are overly harsh. This becomes especially apparent in light of the U.S. states that have legalized adult use of the plant (there are four in total, plus Washington, D.C.). Since implementing legalization in 2013, Colorado has seen lowered domestic abuse and violent crime rates, and the state benefitted from a staggering $60 million in taxes and fees from cannabis sales in 2014. It has also become a mecca for families with epileptic children. They are migrating by the hundreds from all over the country to Colorado seeking a form of non-psychoactive, concentrated medical marijuana which has shown unprecedented success in mitigating seizures.
Cannabis clubs have sprung up in many towns and cities all over the UK in an attempt to organize collectives — consisting of bankers and barristers to farmers and teachers — to plan peaceful demonstrations, social media campaigns and “bird feeding” events.
When asked how cannabis clubs in the UK can be useful, Hemingway said they are an “important way of showing the authorities and the general population how cannabis clubs reduce harm and increase cannabis user safety.”
Feed The Birds is also spreading awareness about the highly sustainable industrial uses of hemp as well as the medicinal benefits of the plant. Modern science is revealing cannabis is a highly effective treatment for countless different ailments, ranging from cancer to chronic pain.
As well as cannabis seeds, Feed the Birds has given London — and England as a whole — a makeover in the form of message-laden stickers declaring the plants medicinal uses. The stickers are popping up in some eye catching places — like the police vehicle pictured below.
Hemingway said the organization plans to distribute “millions upon millions” of seeds throughout the UK in the coming months — just in time for the upcoming general election. As a suitably modified version of an age old saying goes… “resistance is fertile.”
quote:There’s this weird thing about the French debate. So, France is like the US and Britain in that basically, middle-class white people think drugs have already been effectively been decriminalised. And black people are…you speak to French people of African or Arab descent and they are just constantly harassed. France has the most extreme drug laws in western Europe. You can go to prison for five years for having a single joint, it’s extraordinary. And people do get picked up the whole time, constant harassment.
So partly you have this effect where, and if you look at the biographies of the Kouachi brothers, the guy who did that horrific attack in Nice, almost all the French young men who have been carrying out these atrocious attacks, this is their formative experience of the police. It’s being constantly harassed in a racist way, an explicitly racist way. Police frequently use racist epithets towards these kids. So you have this incredibly racist drug war that makes their neighbourhoods feel like they’re under military occupation and these grotesque and disproportionate punishments. So you partly have that. That’s a factor, right? And I don’t want to overstate it, it is one of many, many factors. But it is a significant factor. So that’s one thing that’s going on.
The second is, how are these people getting guns, right? How do the people who carried out the Bataclan massacre and the others…France has an incredibly intense ‘war for drugs’. So France has a huge drug market, and not coincidently it has the biggest drug war, and also has the worst drug problems. Again, that’s only seen all over the world that these policies not only don’t work, they actually make the problems worse. So France has this very intense drug war and the highest drug use in western Europe. And when you ban drugs, they don’t disappear, obviously. They’re transferred from doctors and pharmacists to armed criminal gangs. And those armed criminal gangs fight for the market.
France has an incredibly intense ‘war for drugs’. I mean it’s come to light, and briefly got news coverage in France, when Manuel Valls – the prime minister – was in Marseille and a gunfight between rival drug gangs just broke out across the street. And at the moment they thought it was a terrorist attack, and then were like ‘no, no, just a typical afternoon in Marseille’, you know. So you have these huge networks of criminals, which these guys are all connected to through drug dealing, that then also supplies violence. Also means these young men grow up in a climate where violence is not only normalised, but actually necessary to operate in this market.
And so they grow up with a training in violence, a training in how to use violence, a training of violence being normalised, a training of being made to think that you are a stranger within the society, that you are under siege, that you are an enemy, an alien, people the police hate, people the police will crack down on really hard, when white people don’t get treated that way. So it just creates a toxic brew that feeds into this wider jihadism. It’s not the main cause, I don’t want to be simplistic about it, but I do think it’s a really significant factor
quote:'I've done really bad things': The undercover cop who abandoned the war on drugs
Neil Woods used to risk his life to catch drug dealers. But as gangs responded with escalating violence and intimidation – some even poisoning users who talked to the police – he started to see legalisation as the only solution
quote:The only dealers the drug squad could reliably catch, he saw, were “low-hanging fruit” – the small-fry dealers, and harmless addicts trying to pay for their habit by selling a bit, who an informant could report with no fear of retribution. “It’s why organised crime is increasingly becoming monopolised, because the most successful organised crime groups are the ones that can be the most terrifying.” Like cold-war nations seeking security in Nato or the Warsaw Pact, small-town dealers are being absorbed into large city gangs. “It’s a classic arms race. Although at least with the cold war you could knock a wall down, and de-escalate it. There’s no wall to knock down with the war on drugs, is there? Brighton is the thin edge of the same wedge destroying Mexico. Mexico’s just the thicker end of it, but it can only go in one direction.”
quote:'Legal highs' removed from more than 300 shops since ban - BBC News
More than 300 UK retailers are no longer selling so-called legal highs, three months after a ban was introduced, the Home Office has said.
A further 24 shops have been closed down altogether, while police have also arrested 186 alleged offenders.
The Home Office said it was "encouraged" that so many retailers had been "denied the chance to profit from this reckless trade".
However, the charity DrugWise said the ban had driven the market underground.
Legal highs became popular on the drug scene around 2008. They contain substances which mimic the effects of illegal drugs such as cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy and go by names such as Spice and Black Mamba.
What are legal highs?
'Legal highs made me punch my own face'
Laws criminalising the production, distribution, sale and supply of the drugs - known as the Psychoactive Substances Act - came into effect at the end of May.
Commander Simon Bray, from the National Police Chiefs Council, said London's Metropolitan Police had also seized nearly 14,000 nitrous oxide or laughing gas canisters since the change.
Mr Bray said although it was difficult to draw firm conclusions about the impact on use of the drugs, "intuitively I think it must have had an effect".
"It will certainly make it less easy for the casual first-time user to get involved in this sort of stuff," he said adding that he believed many people were "lulled into buying these things" thinking they were legal and therefore safe.
The Angelus Foundation, which educates people on the risks of legal highs, said it believed many online traders had also shut down.
Jeremy Sare, director of communications at the charity, told the BBC: "I think the ban has made a big difference and we are supportive of the legislation.
"What we are surprised about is the online supply hasn't surged. Traders seem to have stopped selling. It is still early days and we may look back in 12 months and see more online trading but many look to have closed.
"Many were operating within the law but now the law has gone against them so they haven't continued."
He said the two biggest groups still using the drugs were homeless people and prisoners.
'Ban has changed nothing'
Greg, originally from Essex and now living in west Wales, told BBC Radio 5 live about his experience of a legal high known as Holy Smoke.
"I had just a little bit... My head just started spinning and I had this paranoid feeling. I just wanted to go home and hide but I couldn't walk properly. I honestly thought that I was going to die.
"From what I've heard it is still pretty regularly available. I think most people still think it's legal."
"Alison" a recovering drug user, has also used legal highs. "They've got names like Train Wreck, Black Cobra and Pandora's Box," she said. "It's still really easy to get. You can get three packets for about ú25.
"No prices have changed. Nothing has changed at all. People are still walking around with it and selling it from home. I don't think it [the ban] has made one bit of difference."
However, Harry Shapiro, director of DrugWise, said although the ban may have put off "casual and curious" drug users, it had not deterred those with a serious drug problem and had driven the market underground.
"It's moved from the shops to the street," he said.
The drugs have been linked to 444 deaths since 2010, including two brothers from Scotland.
William McGough, 30, was in the grip of an addiction to the drugs when he drowned in a river in Wick, Scotland, in 2013.
Then, in May, the body of his brother Simon, 37, was found next to a packet of the psychoactive substances.
Their sister, Melanie Downie, 40, spoke publicly about their deaths to highlight the "addictive and destructive" nature of the drugs.
Sarah Newton the government's safeguarding minister, said the drugs "have already cost far too many lives".
"I'm encouraged to see that - three months in - police are using their new powers to take dealers off our streets and that so many retailers have been denied the chance to profit from this reckless trade."
"These drugs are not legal, they are not safe and we will not allow them to be sold in this country," she added.
quote:'Dubai is toevluchtsoord voor Nederlandse criminelen' | NOS
Enkele tientallen Nederlandse criminelen houden zich schuil in Dubai omdat de woestijnstaat geen uitleveringsverdrag heeft met Nederland. Dat meldt De Telegraaf.
Volgens de krant is het de Nederlandse overheid een doorn in het oog dat er geen mogelijkheden zijn om de gevluchte criminelen in Dubai te pakken. Het ministerie van Veiligheid en Justitie zou nog dit jaar met de Verenigde Arabische Emiraten om tafel willen om een uitleveringsverdrag te regelen.
Ook zouden criminelen onderduiken in Dubai als ze bang zijn om geliquideerd te worden door vijanden in de onderwereld. Vanwege de hoge straffen en strenge controles in het land komen huurmoordenaars er liever niet.
Onder de criminelen die zich schuil hebben gehouden in Dubai zijn volgens De Telegraaf hoofdrolspelers in de Amsterdamse 'Mocro-oorlog', een serie liquidaties die in 2012 begon met ruzie tussen twee overwegend uit Marokkanen bestaande drugsbendes.
Ook zou de Turkse Amsterdammer Ali AkgŘn in Dubai hebben gezeten. Hij was een van de hoofdverdachten in het Passage-proces. Dat proces gaat over een reeks liquidaties in de Amsterdamse onderwereld. AkgŘn werd zelf in 2014 in Turkije geliquideerd.
quote:Incredible Row Between Maajid And Peter Hitchens | LBC
Sunday 28th August 2016
This is the remarkable row between Maajid Nawaz and Peter Hitchens live on LBC.
The Mail On Sunday columnist was furious right from the beginning of the interview - and just got angrier and angrier as the discussion went on.
Mr Hitchens labelled Maajid "ignorant" and "moronic" after he suggested that cannabis causes less harm than alcohol and so should be regulated.
The interview started off angry - as Mr Hitchens accuses Maajid at length of not letting him speak and then refuses to even let the host ask him any questions.
The interview continued with the columnist raising his voice more and more, but when he suggested that gangsters selling drugs is no worse than businesses regulating it, Maajid wouldn't let him get away with it.
Maajid said: "Come on Peter, cynical businessmen make money, they don't kill people, that's an absurd thing you've just said.
"Now it's my turn to tell you that you've said something moronic."
Watch the remarkable clash above - and see below for Maajid's monologue that so infuriated Peter.
quote:Cocaine 'worth Ą50m' discovered at Coca-Cola plant - BBC News
Cocaine with a street value of up to 50 million euros (ú42m) has been discovered at a Coca-Cola plant in France.
The drug, hidden in bags among a delivery of orange juice concentrate, arrived in a container from South America.
An investigation is under way in Signes, a village in southern France.
The seizure of 370kg of cocaine makes it one of the largest finds on French soil.
The prosecutor of Toulon, Xavier Tarabeux, said the delivery "has a street value of 50 million euros" and referred to it as "a very bad surprise".
Employees at the Coca-Cola plant have been ruled out of any involvement as investigators attempt to trace the origin of the drug.
"The first elements of the investigation have shown that employees are in no way involved," Jean-Denis Malgras, the regional president of Coca-Cola, told local news website Var-Matin.
In April 2015, French customs officers aided in the arrest of two men caught trying to sail a yacht loaded with 250kg of cocaine to the UK.
The SY Hygeia of Halsa was boarded by French authorities off Martinique and found to be carrying the drug with a street value of some ú40m.
quote:Patent No. 6,630,507: Why the U.S. government holds a patent on cannabis plant compounds – The Denver Post
It may not have quite the same ring to it as a certain seven-digit phone number made famous by a 1980s pop hit, but 6,630,507 has become internet-famous since the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration opted not to reschedule marijuana, leaving it in the category of drugs with no legitimate medical uses.
Since then, proponents of legalization have responded with a storm of social-media posts highlighting U.S. Patent No. 6,630,507, granted in 2003 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and covering the potential use of non-psychoactive cannabinoids to protect the brain from damage or degeneration caused by certain diseases, such as cirrhosis. They’re telling the DEA to “talk to the hand,” writing “6,630,507” on their palms, hashtagging the number and linking to past articles on the topic.
The intent of the posts is symbolic, said Sam Mendez, an intellectual property and public policy lawyer who serves as the executive director of the University of Washington’s Cannabis Law & Policy Project.
“Naturally, it shows that there is a certain amount of hypocrisy that there is ‘no accepted medical use’ for cannabis according to federal law,” Mendez said. “And yet here you have the very same government owning a patent for, ostensibly, a medical use for marijuana.”
Mendez — like patent lawyers, the research arm of the HHS and the New York biopharmaceutical firm that’s working as an exclusive licensee under the patent — cautions that the existence of Patent No. 6,630,507 doesn’t signal that legalization is on the horizon.
“The government is allowed to file and obtain patents, and that has no bearing on the Controlled Substances Act,” Mendez said.
But it does indicate what could result if cannabis were rescheduled: an explosion of marijuana-related patents, Mendez said.
The National Institutes of Health employs roughly 6,000 Ph.D.-level scientists, said NIH special adviser for technology transfer Mark Rohrbaugh, who holds doctorates in biochemistry and law. When one of those scientists invents a new technology or makes a new discovery, the NIH evaluates the result and determines whether to file for a patent.
Over the years, the NIH has conducted and funded research involving cannabis — both as a drug of abuse and for its potential therapeutic properties, NIH spokeswoman Renate Myles said.
In the case of No. 6,630,507, the researchers discovered that non-psychoactive compounds in cannabis may have antioxidant properties that could be beneficial in the treatment of certain neurological diseases, she said.
“This patent describes the therapeutic potential for cannabinoid chemical compounds that are structurally similar to THC, but without its psychoactive properties, thereby treating specific conditions without the adverse side effects associated with smoked marijuana,” Myles said in an e-mail.
The patent doesn’t prove the chemical compound is effective in the stated treatment, Rohrbaugh said. The compound would have to be purified, synthesized in a lab setting, subjected to extensive testing in animals and humans, and ultimately require U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to show that it’s safe and effective for the intended purpose.
The intent behind patenting and licensing NIH discoveries is to keep technology that could potentially benefit the public from sitting idle, he said.
This sometimes requires looping in the private sector, he said. Laws made in the 1980s help entities such as universities and the government to make their discoveries accessible to others who are in a position to further the research and potentially commercialize the developments. The entities behind the discoveries typically receive payments as part of the licensing agreement.
NIH’s Technology Transfer Office advertises patents — including those related to cannabinoids — available for licensing on its website, and officials sometimes conduct outreach as well. The licenses often are packaged with some elements of exclusivity, Rohrbaugh said.
“It’s like a piece of land,” he said. “You wouldn’t build a million-dollar house on a piece of land you wouldn’t have some title to.”
Five years ago, the NIH granted New York-based Kannalife Sciences Inc. an exclusive license for the part of the technology outlined in the patent to develop cannabinoid- and cannabidiol-based drugs for the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy — brain damage that could result from conditions such as cirrhosis. Kannalife also has a non-exclusive license to develop drugs to treat chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a rare and progressive degenerative brain condition likely caused by repeated head trauma, Myles said.
“Other companies may also apply for licenses to use this patented technology to develop drugs to treat other neurological diseases where antioxidant properties of cannabinoid drugs may be beneficial,” she said. “The patent expires on April 21, 2019, after which anyone would be free to develop drugs based on these cannabinoids that, like all drugs, would require FDA approval to demonstrate safety and effectiveness in humans.”
No other companies have licensed portions of the 6,630,507 patent, she said.
Kannalife CEO Dean Petkanas did not disclose the specific terms of the licensing agreement, but he told The Cannabist that the deal includes milestone payments, a percentage of sales as well as royalties in “the six figures” to the government. The patent is valid in several jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom and Australia, he said.
Petkanas said his company “could not have gotten a better ruling” from the DEA.
“We’ve been building our business from the pharmaceutical side from Day One,” said Petkanas, a former executive at the investment firm depicted in the film “The Wolf of Wall Street.” “We want to be on the pharmaceutical side; everything we do has to be by the book.”
Kannalife, recently featured in a football-related Sports Illustrated report regarding its research into therapies for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is about to begin raising $15 million in private investments. The money would allow it to start clinical trials related to hepatic encephalopathy as soon as the first quarter of 2018. Petkanas said Kannalife anticipates eventually seeking orphan drug status — a special FDA designation for treating rare conditions. The company also contemplating conducting chronic traumatic encephalopathy-related trials in Europe.
“Does marijuana have medicinal benefit? Well, yeah,” Petkanas said. “But it can’t be targeted and qualified for repetitive use (without the FDA-approved research).”
That one arm of the federal government is poised to make money from cannabis-derived compounds, and another has approved synthetic cannabinoid drugs such as Marinol and Syndros, tells a story different from the one told by the DEA, which lumped together the hundreds of chemical compounds of cannabis as a Schedule I substance, said Gregory F. Wesner, a Seattle-based patent and trademark attorney for Lane Powell PC.
“The interesting thing here is basically the government being two-faced,” Wesner said.
If and when national legalization comes, it’ll trigger a swarm of new patent applications, said the UW Cannabis Law Project’s Mendez.
“That’s massive growth that does not occur every day or every year That’s the kind of growth you’re talking about once in a generation,” he said of the potential sales growth in the industry. “As part of that, you’re going to see many people and many businesses research this far more intensely and file for patents.”
An analysis conducted by Christopher Freerks, a Lane Powell patent administrator, shows that the PTO already has granted at least four dozen cannabis-related utility patents, including No. 6,630,507. The analysis does not include plant patents, which have been tougher to come by for some cultivators.
San Diego patent attorney Dale C. Hunt, an Open Cannabis Project board member who has degrees in botany, genetics and biology, said one would need to develop a completely new strain in order to land a patent.
If marijuana is rescheduled, it’s realistic to believe that the innovation could carry on in the laboratories of NIH scientists, he said. But for now, the federal government’s technology transfer and patenting actions around cannabis do not appear to be widespread.
“(Tech transfer) happens all the time,” Hunt said. “It obviously doesn’t happen all the time in cannabis.”
quote:Wat je moet weten als je hard gaat op de legale partydrug 4-FA | NOS
Waarom aan de xtc op een festival als je ook aan de 4-FA kunt? Veel minder heftig, en ernstige bijwerkingen zijn niet bekend. 4-FA en xtc zijn vergelijkbaar qua effect, maar volgens gebruikers is 4-FA minder intens en houden ze meer controle. Ook was er nog weinig bekend over schadelijke effecten.
Het Trimbos Instituut waarschuwt dat de designer drug gevaarlijker kan zijn dan we dachten. Dit voorjaar meldde het instituut dat je er misselijk van kan worden en een hoge hartslag en hoofdpijn van kan krijgen.
Inmiddels zijn er meldingen gekomen van een hersenbloeding en hartproblemen na het gebruik van 4-FA. Ook zijn er mogelijk doden door gevallen, maar dat kan het instituut niet bevestigen. Het is onduidelijk of dat in combinatie met andere middelen is gebeurd.
4-FA, ook wel bekend als 4-FMP, is in principe legaal. Het valt sinds een uitspraak van het Europees Hof van Justitie niet meer onder de Geneesmiddelenwet en staat (nog) niet op de Opiumlijst.
Hoewel het bezit en gebruik van 4-FA dus niet strafbaar is, kan handel erin wel via de Warenwet aangepakt worden. Daardoor wordt 4-FA vooral online gekocht en via dealers.
De vraag die nu leeft: moet de drug dan maar verboden worden? En waar komen de problemen vandaan? We belden daarover met drugsonderzoeker Daan van der Gouw van Trimbos en Ronald van Litsenburg van Event Medical Service.
Bij de laatste zien ze ook een stijging van het aantal meldingen van gezondheidsklachten. Bij EHBO-organisaties en andere medische diensten kwamen vorig jaar 160 meldingen binnen over 4-FA. In de eerste zeven maanden van dit jaar waren het er 132.
Het aantal incidenten moet je wel in perspectief zien, vindt Trimbos-drugsonderzoeker Van der Gouwe. De populariteit van de drug is sterk toegenomen het afgelopen jaar. Het is dus niet gek dat het aantal incidenten ook toeneemt, zegt de onderzoeker.
Het is wÚl opmerkelijk dat de incidenten ernstiger worden.
De problemen doen zich vooral voor bij hogere doseringen. "Mensen pakken te veel bij of nemen de eerste keer meer dan een normale, gemiddelde dosering", vertelt Van der Gouw. Mensen gebruiken gemiddeld 75 tot 150 milligram, blijkt uit gegevens van gebruikers.
En wat ook speelt: het duurt bij sommige mensen soms een paar uur voordat de effecten optreden. "Veel gebruikers zijn op feesten vaak ongeduldig", zegt Van der Gouw. "Ze zijn geneigd om dan bij te nemen. Het komt ook voor dat ze niets merken en na twee uur ineens enorm beginnen te zweten, braken of misselijk worden."
Het Trimbos Instituut noemde gebruikers van 4-FA een paar maanden geleden al proefkonijnen. "Nu zie je dat er hersenbloedingen en andere ellende kan optreden", zegt Van der Gouw. "Dat maakt dat de stoffen in 4-FA niet minder schadelijk zijn dan bijvoorbeeld xtc, coca´ne of speed. Dit middel is geen xtc-light, zoals het soms wordt genoemd, want het heeft wel degelijk risico's."
In oktober komt het Co÷rdinatiepunt Assessment en Monitoring nieuwe drugs bij elkaar. Zij maken dan een nieuwe risicoschatting van 4-FA en geven advies aan de minister: moet de drugs op een lijst komen met illegale drugs?
Als het op de lijst van verboden middelen komt, dan zou dat volgens Van Litsenburg een signaal afgeven. "Er zijn bepaalde mensen die zich niet verder informeren en de drugs zonder kennis slikken. Als-ie op een verboden lijst staat, is de boodschap ineens heel helder: dit is niet goed."
Dat denkt Van der Gouw ook, maar het is volgens hem niet per se positief als 4-FA wordt verboden. Want, zo waarschuwt hij, het gebruik is dan niet ineens voorbij. "Het is vooral een maatregel voor de overheid om handel aan te pakken. Maar mensen die drugs gebruiken, blijven dat toch wel doen. Xtc staat ook op de lijst en is nog nooit zo populair geweest."
Een bijeffect van een verbod zou kunnen zijn dat mensen die 4-FA links laten liggen, overstappen op middelen waar de drugsonderzoekers minder van weten.
"Met alle ellende van dien", zegt Van der Gouw. "Je hebt ook 3-FA, 2-Fa en nog honderden designer drugs die een euforische werking hebben. Soms is het nadelig als een stof verboden wordt, omdat we dan minder goed kunnen monitoren wat de risico's en effecten zijn. Bij nieuwe middelen is het maar de vraag hoe het gaat uitpakken. Een verbod klinkt leuk, maar je moet genuanceerd praten over wat je ermee bereikt."
Het Trimbos raadt aan om ook als je lichte klachten hebt, zoals hoofdpijn, direct naar de medische dienst te gaan. "We zien vaak dat mensen bij de EHBO komen met relatief lichte klachten, zoals hoofdpijn. Maar het verergert als ze daar zijn. Dat is opmerkelijk."
Volledige interview op de site.quote:The psychedelic drug that could explain our belief in life after death | Little Atoms
Scientists have discovered DMT, the Class A hallucinogenic, naturally occurs in the body, and may contain a clue to what happens when we die and why people see fairies
DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) is the most powerful hallucinogenic drug around. The class A psychedelic is so potent that under the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances its manufacture is strictly for scientific research and medical use and any international trade is very closely monitored. But it also naturally occurs in the human body. Now a Senior Psychologist at Greenwich University, Dr. David Luke, is trying to undercover a link between DMT and 'near death experiences' to explain elves, tunnels of light and centuries old folklore. On July 8th he’ll talk about his research at an event in conjunction with SciArt collaboration Art Necro at The Book Club in London.
I am a psychologist at the University of Greenwich and I teach a course on the psychology on the exceptional human experience, which looks at extraordinary phenomenon of human beings. It’s all about mythical experiences, psychedelic experiences, personal paranormal experiences, mysticism, spiritual experiences, those sorts of things.
I’m interested in DMT is because of my interest in psychedelics and the phenomenology of psychedelic use. DMT is of particular interest because it’s an extremely powerful psychedelic substance. But what’s more interesting than that, is that DMT naturally occurs in many plants, animals and in humans. It’s endogenous, meaning it’s made within the human body. So it’s more than just a natural plant psychedelic - it’s in us. That makes it extremely curious.
quote:Long-term marijuana use is not associated with a raft of physical health problems, says study | The Independent
Researchers in the US say that marijuana use has no negative effect on health, aside from a link with gum disease. Christopher Ingraham considers what this means for the legalisation of pot
Long-term marijuana use is not associated with a raft of physical health problems, according to a new study, with one surprising exception: gum disease.
Researchers led by Madeline H Meier of Arizona State University tracked the marijuana habits of 1,037 New Zealanders from birth to middle age to see what effect those habits have on some common measures of physical health, including lung function, systemic inflammation, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, body weight, blood sugar and dental health.
What they found was surprising: After controlling for other factors known to affect health, especially tobacco use and socioeconomic status, marijuana use had no negative effect on any measure of health, except for dental health. People who smoked more weed had a higher incidence of gum disease.
The cause is something of a mystery. Meier and her colleagues did find that heavy pot users were less likely to brush and floss than their not-pot-using peers. But even after controlling for dental hygiene, the relationship between marijuana use and poor dental health persisted.
“In general, our findings showed that cannabis use over 20 years was unrelated to health problems in early midlife,” the study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, found. “Across several domains of health (periodontal health, lung function, systemic inflammation, and metabolic health), clear evidence of an adverse association with cannabis use was apparent for only one domain, namely, periodontal health.”
So, something interesting happens to weed after it’s legal. In some domains, marijuana use was associated with better health outcomes: “Findings showed that cannabis use was associated with slightly better metabolic health (smaller waist circumference, lower body mass index, better lipid profiles, and improved glucose control),” the study determined. However, these associations were fairly small and by no means strong enough to recommend regular bong hits as a weight management strategy.
The findings were more striking when measured against the effects of tobacco use over a similar period. “By comparison, tobacco use was associated with worse periodontal health, lung function, systemic inflammation, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and glucose levels in early midlife, as well as health decline from ages 26 to 38 years,” the study found. Despite some public health concerns about legal weed being “the next Big Tobacco,” marijuana's toll on physical health appears to be far smaller.
Having been reclassified in 2009 from a Class C to a Class B drug, cannabis is now the most used illegal drug within the United Kingdom. The UK is also, however, the only country where Sativex – a prescribed drug that helps to combat muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis and contains some ingredients that are also found in cannabis - is licensed as a treatment
Although many people believe the consumption of cannabis in North Korea to be legal, the official law regarding the drug has never been made entirely clear whilst under Kim Jong Un’s regime. However, it is said that the North Korean leader himself has openly said that he does not consider cannabis to be a drug and his regime doesn’t take any issue with the consumption or sale of the drug
In the Netherlands smoking cannabis is legal, given that it is smoked within the designated ‘smoking areas’ and you don’t possess more than 5 grams for personal use. It is also legal to sell the substance, but only in specified coffee shops
Although in some states of America cannabis has now been legalised, prior to the legalisation, police in the U.S. could make a marijuana-related arrest every 42 seconds, according to US News and World Report. The country also used to spend around $3.6 billion a year enforcing marijuana law, the American Civil Liberties Union notes
Despite cannabis being officially illegal in Spain, the European hotspot has recently started to be branded, ‘the new Amsterdam’. This is because across Spain there are over 700 ‘Cannabis Clubs’ – these are considered legal venues to consume cannabis in because the consumption of the drug is in private, and not in public. These figures have risen dramatically in the last three years – in 2010 there were just 40 Cannabis Clubs in the whole of Spain. Recent figures also show that in Catalonia alone there are 165,000 registered members of cannabis clubs – this amounts to over 5 million euros (ú4 million) in revenue each month
In December 2013, the House of Representatives and Senate passed a bill legalizing and regulating the production and sale of the drug. But the president has since postponed the legalization of cannabis until to 2015 and when it is made legal, it will be the authorities who will grow the cannabis that can be sold legally. Buyers must be 18 or older, residents of Uruguay, and must register with the authorities
Despite the fact that laws prohibiting the sale and misuse of cannabis exist and is considered a habit only entertained by lower-income groups, it is very rarely enforced. The occasional use of cannabis in community gatherings is broadly tolerated as a centuries old custom. The open use of cannabis by Sufis and Hindus as a means to induce euphoria has never been challenged by the state. Further, large tracts of cannabis grow unchecked in the wild
In 2001, Portugal became the first country in the world to decriminalize the use of all drugs, and started treating drug users as sick people, instead of criminals. However, you can still be arrested or assigned mandatory rehab if you are caught several times in possession of drugs
Although the use of cannabis is currently illegal, it is said that Puerto Rico are in the process of decriminalising it
The US state became the first in the country to legalise marijuana in January 2014. In February 2015, President Obama recently said he expects to see more states "looking into" legalisation. However, it is illegally to grow more than six cannabis plants and to possess more than 28 grams of the drug
Oaksterdam in Oakland, California, is the world's only university dedicated to the study and cultivation of cannabis. If you are court in California with anything up to an ounce of cannabis, you will be fine $100, but you will not get a criminal record, nor will you have to appear in court
Cannabis is grown in the wild and has been used to treat conditions such as gout and malaria. But, officially the substance is illegal to consume, possess and sell
This, too, is something of a mystery, but it may be at least partly a question of volume: a heavy marijuana user may light up several joints over the course of a day, but a heavy tobacco user may go through several packs of cigarettes in a day. In other words, a heavy cigarette smoker is inhaling a lot more smoke than a heavy pot user. And all that smoke may take a steeper toll on health.
“The general lack of association between persistent cannabis use and poor physical health may be surprising,” Meier and her colleagues write. In part, this is because other studies have shown a link between marijuana use and poor health in middle age, especially cardiovascular health.
But Meier's research is unique in that it uses longitudinal data, tracing the health of the same individuals from birth in the early 1970s to age 38. Many other studies on the physical health effects of marijuana use rely on observations at a single point in time, which is useful but less reliable for tracking effects over a lifetime. Many of these other studies also use respondents' self-assessments of health, which can sometimes be unreliable. But in Meier's data, the study participants had their health assessed by trained professionals in a laboratory setting every few years.
It's also worth pointing out that this particular study looked at the impact of long-term marijuana use on physical health, but not on mental health. Meier has in fact used this same data set to explore questions of mental health effects, famously finding evidence of declining IQ among persistent marijuana users. But a number of follow-up studies by other researchers found no similar evidence of cognitive decline related to marijuana use.
quote:Krijg je straks mdma bij de psycholoog? | NOS
Therapeutisch trippen om nieuwe inzichten te krijgen en zo van je depressie of stressstoornis af te komen. Onderzoekers van over de hele wereld komen dit weekend bij elkaar in Amsterdam om te praten over de effecten van psychedelische drugs. Ze zijn verboden, maar kunnen misschien wel helpen bij het behandelen van psychische problemen.
Over de effecten van lsd en paddo's tijdens behandelingen spraken we eerder met de Britse onderzoeker Robin Carhart-Harris. Maar volgens organisator Joost Breeksema van de conferentie over psychedelica gaan de meeste onderzoeken op dit moment over mdma. "Lsd klinkt sexiŰr, maar behandelingen met mdma zijn in een relatief vergevorderd stadium."
Therapeuten zeggen ja tegen MDMA
Kim Kuypers van de Universiteit Maastricht doet al dertien jaar onderzoek naar de effecten van mdma. Ze besloot niet alleen te kijken naar de slechte effecten, maar ook naar de positieve.
"Mdma kan mensen meer open maken en sociale angst remmen, maar dat kan een beetje alcohol ook", vertelt ze. "Toch is het met geen ander middel te vergelijken: het is intens, het creŰert een gevoel van ÚÚn zijn met anderen en het verhoogt het gevoel van empathie."
Mdma kan dus goed werken in de behandelkamer: je voelt een sterkere band met je therapeut en bent bovendien minder bang om over je problemen te praten. "Het kan bijvoorbeeld helpen bij het behandelen van posttraumatische stressstoornissen."
PatiŰnten moeten volgens Kuypers tussen de 75 en 125 mg mdma krijgen om het beste effect te krijgen. Dat is een stuk minder dan de hoeveelheid die in de gemiddelde xtc-pil zit die je op straat tegenkomt: daar zit volgens het Trimbos Instituut 140 mg in.
PatiŰnten pillen mee naar huis laten nemen heeft geen zin, want alleen in de behandelkamer heb je er iets aan, zegt Kuypers. "Het gaat puur om het contact met je behandelaar."
"Het is niet makkelijk om onderzoek te doen met bijvoorbeeld mdma", zegt Breeksema. Dat heeft vooral te maken met de strenge wetten. "Soms zit er jaren tussen het idee en het daadwerkelijke onderzoek. Logisch ook: je moet een ontheffing hebben, het bedrijf dat de stof maakt moet een vergunning hebben en de plek waar het ligt moet goed beveiligd zijn."
Volgens Breeksema is patiŰnten behandelen met mdma toekomstmuziek, maar heel lang zal het volgens hem niet duren. "In de VS gaan ze volgend jaar naar de laatste fase van het onderzoek. Ze testen daar nu al op patiŰnten, in de nieuwe fase is dat grootschaliger: met meer patiŰnten en op meer plekken. De verwachting is dat er over vijf jaar voldoende bewijs en ervaring is dat mdma werkt in de behandeling van bijvoorbeeld posttraumatische stressstoornissen."
Je kunt het dan niet ineens bij de apotheek halen. "Het blijft een verboden middel dat alleen onder zeer strenge voorwaarden mag worden gebruikt", verwacht Breeksema. "Bovendien moeten de behandelingen anders ingericht worden en moeten therapeuten getraind worden op het werken met patiŰnten die onder invloed zijn. Maar het is dichterbij dan je denkt."
quote:Anti-Marijuana Politician Charged With Possession of Marijuana - Counter Current News
A New York State Republican assemblyman who opposed medical marijuana legislation at every turn was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. The police found the marijuana after they pulled him over for speeding.
A statement released shortly after the March 2013 incident, law enforcement officials reported that state police discovered Steve Katz had a “small bag” of marijuana on him.
A New York State Trooper said that the 59-year-old assemblyman had been driving 80 miles per hour in 65 mph zone. He noticed the marijuana and took Katz into custody, charging him with possession before he was finally bailed out.
Katz had voted against the legalization of medical marijuana back in June.
The New York Times noted that the Republican assemblyman also sits on New York’s Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee.
Katz said that this was merely an “unfortunate incident” during a press conference.
“This should not overshadow the work I have done over the years for the public and my constituency,” Katz said to reporters. “I am confident that once the facts are presented that this will quickly be put to rest.”
Watch the local report that aired in March of 2013 (article continues below).
Now here’s where the story gets really interesting…
After the arrest, the Republican politician flipped his position on marijuana, even joining the investor network of San Francisco-based marijuana investment and research firm The ArcView Group.
ArcView CEO Troy Dayton said that Katz is “gung-ho” about marijuana.
He says that he hopes to help pool millions of dollars of investment capital and fund marijuana-related start-ups.
“For me, entering this industry at this time is a dream come true from a child of the Sixties all grown up,” Katz said, completely ignoring his history as an opponent of medical marijuana.
“I decided to vote what I believed to be the vote of my constituents. The day after that I told my wife, ‘Next year, I really don’t care. I’m voting for medical marijuana because that’s what I believe in and I’m not comfortable with what happened.’ … I knew how I was going to vote and I felt great about it. I knew how I was going to vote a year before the police incident.”
The marijuana bust was “an epiphany,” he explained. “‘You’re turning me into a criminal? You got to be kidding.’”
Katz says he knows doctors, lawyers, businessmen and pillars of their community who all use marijuana.
“We’re all criminals? This is ridiculous,” he emphasized.
The arrest he faced “didn’t change anything other than make me decide that I was going to not only be a champion for medical marijuana, and for its total legalization, I was going to become part of the wave that’s building in the industry itself. ;It’s a great feeling. It’s very liberating;.”
“Steve Katz is not an anomaly,” Dayton said. “In the last few months numerous very prominent and seemingly unlikely investors have joined our investor group. People from all walks of life are realizing that cannabis may be the next great American industry.”
quote:Politie vindt wapens en xtc-apparatuur bij invallen | NOS
De politie heeft bij invallen op zeventien plekken in de regio Den Haag synthetische drugs, chemicaliŰn, wapens en explosieven gevonden. Er zijn acht verdachten aangehouden.
Bij het doorzoeken van een huis in Scheveningen werden gisteren een kalasjnikov en een handgranaat gevonden. Ook op andere plekken vond de politie vuurwapens, drugs, geld, dure sieraden, valse identiteitsbewijzen en apparatuur om xtc te produceren.
Zo werd er bij een van de invallen een mobiel laboratorium gevonden en in zeecontainers lagen chemicaliŰn opgeslagen. De hoeveelheid mdma die werd gevonden, was groot genoeg om miljoenen xtc-pillen te maken.
Bij de invallen waren 120 politiemensen betrokken. De politie kwam de bende op het spoor dankzij de vondst van een drugslaboratorium in De Lier (Zuid-Holland) in januari. Naar aanleiding daarvan werd een groot onderzoek opgezet met de invallen en arrestaties van gisteren tot gevolg.
De politie wil niet zeggen waar in de regio Den Haag de invallen zijn gedaan, omdat het onderzoek nog loopt. Meer arrestaties worden niet uitgesloten.
quote:One of Britain’s best known nightclubs, Fabric, has been forced to close permanently after its licence was revoked following the drug-related deaths of two people.
After deliberation that lasted into the early hours of Wednesday morning, the local council decided that searches by security staff at the London venue had been “inadequate and in breach of the licence”.
“People entering the club were inadequately searched,” Islington borough council’s decision read.
It added that covert police operations suggested people were openly buying and taking illegal drugs on the premises and that staff should have been aware of it. “Staff intervention and security was grossly inadequate in light of the overwhelming evidence that it was abundantly obvious that patrons in the club were on drugs and manifesting symptoms showing that they were.
“This included sweating, glazed red eyes and staring into space, and people asking for help.”
Leading figures who played at the venue, one of the most important for fans of electronic music, joined regulars in expressing their sorrow at the decision. A Change.org petition to halt the closure of the club had reached almost 150,000 signatures.
Jacob Husley, who initiated the petition and has worked at the club’s Sunday night party for the past eight years, said of the decision: “We are in shock. I am feeling a mixture of disbelief and anger and sadness … It would be a devastating blow for London and culture, and clubs across the UK. It sets a precedent.”
He did not know whether the club’s owners would appeal but said he hoped “we are not finished with this”.
Others wondered if the site now faced the same prospect as other legendary music venues such as Manchester’s Hašienda – now luxury flats.
Het artikel gaat verder.lquote:Fabric had called the deaths of the two teenagers a tragedy and closed its doors temporarily to allow an investigation to take place. Prior to that, it had “operated without incident” for two years, it said.
“We’ve always had a fantastic relationship with police and particularly the council. Only eight months ago, a judge tested all our systems and said we’re a beacon of best practice,” the club’s co-founder Cameron Leslie told the Guardian earlier this week.
“Eleven weeks ago another licensee, from a venue that had a death, was sent to visit us to see how we managed things. How can this suddenly have changed overnight in such a damning way?”
quote:Drug-related deaths hit record levels in England and Wales last year, official figures have revealed, with experts saying the increasing purity of illegal substances may be behind the rise.
Deaths involving opiates, cocaine and amphetamines, including MDMA, have all reached peak levels, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics, whose relevant records date back to 1993.
The rise in deaths comes despite the number of people taking illegal drugs being at a historical low, according to recent crime survey data, and has led to calls for an overhaul of the drug treatment system.
The ONS said the mortality rate from drug misuse was the highest ever recorded, at 43.8 deaths per million of the population. Overall, a record 3,674 drug poisoning deaths involving both legal and illegal substances were registered in 2015. Of these , 2,479, or two-thirds, involved illegal drugs only.
quote:Release’s executive director, Niamh Eastwood, said: “Since 2010, we have seen a worrying implementation of abstinence-based treatment under the government’s ideologically driven ‘recovery’ agenda.
“This goes against all the evidence for best practice in drug treatment, and is contributing, we believe, to this shameful rise in deaths. Such a hostile environment means people simply don’t want to access treatment.”
quote:The pair met during after-work drinks in the City of London and went back with a group of Green’s colleagues to the StratX stockbrokers’ offices near Monument, where he had recently started work.
While there, partygoers danced on desks, drank champagne and took lines of cocaine into the early hours, the court heard.
quote:Jailing Green, Recorder Michael Wood QC told him: “I do not punish you for what seems to be [the] City culture of excessive drink and casual use of drugs when you go out socialising.”
quote:How America Gets Its Deadliest New Drug | Fast Company | Business + Innovation
Websites and international smuggling rings are fueling a surge in overdoses thought to be due to the elephant-strength opioid carfentanil.
Carfentanil is an analog of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, shown here in molecular form, and is thought to be 100 times more potent.
In the past few months, a string of overdoses across the U.S. has been linked to an opioid drug so potent that it’s not intended for human consumption.
Carfentanil is the world's most powerful commercial opioid, considered to be 100 times more potent than its relative fentanyl, the carefully controlled prescription painkiller linked to Prince's death, which itself is 50 times stronger than heroin.
Originally synthesized in the 1970s, carfentanil is marketed under the name Wildnil as a general anaesthetic for large animals like elephants, and was never intended for humans. But like any number of new synthetic drugs, it’s easily finding its way from clandestine labs and into the illicit drug supply through the mail. Sold openly on the web or through drug markets on the anonymous Tor network, the drug is being added to heroin and counterfeit pain medication by traffickers and often taken by users who don't know exactly what they're consuming.
"We’re seeing a lot of the activity take place over the internet through anonymous relationships between a consumer and the drug manufacturer or source of supply," says Russ Baer, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration. The agency has warned communities across the country to be on alert for the drug, and has told first responders to wear protective gloves and masks, since the drug can be dangerous to someone who simply touches it.
Both drugs, along with a growing cornucopia of illicit synthetics, are largely being manufactured in China, Baer says, and smuggled into the United States both over land and through the U.S. Postal Service. In June, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it had seized almost 200 pounds in fentanyl and other synthetic opioids—that is, those made purely in labs, rather than from the opium poppy—compared to only 8 pounds the previous year.
In recent months, hundreds of drug overdoses have been linked to carfentanil and fentanyl, a related opioid said to be 100 times the strength of morphine and commonly used to treat severe pain in cancer patients. The drug has showed up on the Gulf Coast of Florida, in western Pennsylvania, central Kentucky, and in Ohio, where, in one county this August, at least 96 heroin users overdosed in a single week.
Cursory internet searches turn up options to order the drug from Chinese sellers on numerous e-commerce websites and through dark web markets on the Tor network, where users can trade largely anonymously using bitcoin and purchase other controlled substances, from ketamine to cocaine.
Dark web vendors contacted about their supplies didn't respond to requests for comment, and one Chinese vendor advertising carfentanil on a Korea-based e-commerce site responded only with a price quote—$300 for 200 milligrams—ignoring questions about how the product would be shipped.
Vendors often use discreet packaging for the drug. Last month Canadian border officials reported seizing one kilogram of the drug labeled as printer accessories, with agents wearing hazmat suits to handle the highly potent chemical.
The risks of the drug have also led some vendors to limit who can purchase the substance and to caution users about its dangers. In one recent listing, a vendor offering the drug pledges to only make it available to users who’ve already tried fentanyl or a related drug.
"Again, we can’t stress this enough, carfentanil is meant to be purchased by *only* experienced fentanyl users with a high tolerance," wrote one dealer on a hidden site. "This stuff is NO JOKE."
Another vendor, offering to ship the drug from China, warns users on safe handling instructions, which mirror those used by the veterinary industry.
"You need to wear mask and gloves to handle this chem," the seller writes. "Accidental contact can result in OD."
Authorities say the drug is often shipped from China, an epicenter of synthetic chemical manufacturing and the source, according to the DEA, of the ingredients that Mexican drug traffickers use to make most of the methamphetamine consumed in the U.S. Drug officials have complained of "thousands" of clandestine labs in China, and said that despite the country's strict drug laws, authorities there have been slow to address the problem.
"We aim to help and support other countries in any way we can," Liu Yuejin, China's assistant minister of public security, has said about the government's commitment to international cooperation against drug traffickers.
Chinese officials have acknowledged that the country produces "a substantial" share of the newer synthetic drugs on the global black market and have been stepping up efforts to control the traffic. Last year the country's courts handled nearly 140,000 drug-related cases, up 30% from 2014, according to official data. DEA officials are also in ongoing discussions with their counterparts in China about how to stem the tide of opiate imports, Baer says.
Many of the country's illicit labs attempt to stay one step ahead of laws that ban illicit synthetic drugs simply by altering a few molecules of the chemical compound, creating new and not-yet-illegal drugs. While some countries, like the U.S., have banned whole ranges of chemicals that mimic illegal drugs, many nations have not.
Following a ban last fall of more than 115 synthetic drugs, including various analogs of fentanyl, a new, unregulated analog, furanyl fentanyl, began to appear in the U.S., according to U.S. drug officials, who subsequently moved to ban the drug stateside. At least one Chicago man died from an overdose of the drug.
"Fentanyl and fentanyl-related compounds, whether we’re speaking about fentanyl analogs such as a carfentanil, or compounds that haven’t been scheduled—for example U-47700—for the most part are originating in China," Baer says.
Since Baer spoke to Fast Company, the DEA has announced plans to move U-47700, a powerful experimental opioid discovered in the 1970s but never approved for use in humans, into the same legal category of drugs as heroin and LSD, effectively banning it.
Legal chemicals to manufacture the drugs are also being smuggled from China into Mexico and ultimately being used to strengthen heroin or make counterfeit versions of pain pills like oxycodone, Baer says. In some cases, those precursor chemicals are stolen from licensed labs in Mexico and end up in the hands of drug traffickers.
"As far as the precursor chemicals go, you’ve got a legitimate drug manufacturing company in China shipping a precursor chemical to a legitimate chemical handler in Mexico," says Baer. "Once they arrive in Mexico, these precursor chemicals are often then diverted to these Mexican trafficking organizations."
Carfentanil isn't often sold to users on its own, but rather significantly diluted and sold as heroin. One dark web listing contains a recipe for China White—a term used for potent varieties of heroin—that suggest mixing 100 milligrams of carfentanil with 100 grams of a cutting agent. Carfentanil prices on the site and elsewhere online range from $800 to about $2,500 per gram, while a report last year from the Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network found heroin for sale in the Cleveland area for roughly $90 to $120 per gram, and similar prices are available through the dark web.
But if one gram of carfentanil equivalent can be used to produce the equivalent of 1,000 grams of heroin—in line with the recipe and published reports of the drug's potency—carfentanil is still orders of magnitude cheaper per dose than heroin.
Since an equivalent dose is smaller and easier to smuggle without necessarily being much more expensive to manufacture, more potent drugs can be easier and cheaper to distribute, says Steven Kurtz, the director of Nova Southeastern University’s Center for Applied Research on Substance Abuse and Health Disparities. But, he says, retail-level dealers, let alone the rising number of people affected by what’s been called an epidemic of opioid addiction, often don’t even know what’s in a particular packet sold as heroin. Most of those who overdose on carfentanil likely don't even know they've ingested it.
"It’s very lucrative," he says. "The good thing about high potency from a distribution network standpoint is it can be shipped in very small containers, but the problem from a user standpoint is you have no idea what you’re taking."
After a rash of deaths in Cincinnati over the Labor Day weekend, the city’s coroner said she believed that the area was being used as a "test tube" by drug dealers who were cutting carfentanil into fentanyl and heroin.
Since the drug was until recently so rare outside of specialized veterinary practice, scientists aren’t entirely sure what the lethal human dose of the drug is—though experts have speculated it could be less than the weight of a grain of sugar. Only 19 grams of the drug were legally produced in the U.S. last year, according the DEA, though more than 50 times that amount was found in just one shipment from China seized by Canadian authorities in late June.
In 2010, the authors of a paper in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine reported what they called the first confirmed case of poisoning with the drug. They described a veterinarian who, while sedating elk for a tuberculosis test, accidentally splashed his face with carfentanil while pulling a misdirected tranquilizer dart from a tree trunk. Within two minutes, he became drowsy and had to be treated with an opioid antidote kit that’s kept on hand when the drug is used. He recovered without serious incident, according to the report.
And while the drug is increasingly available to drug traffickers and dark web buyers, it’s still hard to come by for law enforcement officials who need samples to compare against seized substances and to determine the cause of death of overdose victims.
"When we first started talking about fentanyl in July, we were unable to actually get a sample [of carfentanil] for testing, so we reached out to the zoo," said Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco, the coroner of Ohio’s Hamilton County, which includes Cincinnati, in a Tuesday press conference. "It is a compound that is used for large animal sedation and opiate use, but we weren’t able to get any from our zoo—they didn’t have any. So we reached out to our fellow coroners in Franklin County, Summit and Cuyahoga County, and nobody had enough."
Only by working with Senator Rob Portman and the DEA was Sammarco’s office able to obtain a sample of the drug and confirm it had killed at least eight people in the county since July. Since carfentanil is still rare, and many labs don't yet have the ability to test for it, it's difficult to know how many deaths are attributed to the drug. But Centers for Disease Control researchers have said fentanyl-related deaths in Ohio rose 526%, from 84 to 526, between 2013 and 2014, as synthetic opioids first began to appear in the state in large numbers.
County officials are also worried about the efficacy of naloxone, or Narcan, the opioid antidote that helps users recover from a heroin overdose. While emergency responders typically use one or two shots to counteract a heroin overdose, carfentanil can require six or even more. A spokesman for the city of Cincinnati told the local Fox affiliate that a typical Narcan dose costs about $32, a cost that's increased in recent years from $15 a dose.
Senator Portman is part of a group of lawmakers who introduced legislation to require more digital information for packages shipped internationally in an effort to make it harder to import drugs through the mail. The Postal Service currently receives less electronic information about packages before they arrive in the U.S. than private carriers such as UPS and FedEx do, making it harder to detect suspicious shipments, he said in a statement.
"That includes information like who and where it is coming from, who it’s going to, where it is going, and what’s in it," he said. "Having this information in advance will enable CBP to better target potential illegal packages, and that will help ensure that dangerous drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil don’t end up in the hands of drug traffickers who want to harm our local communities."
The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee, though it's unclear, assuming it passes, whether it will do much to limit the flow of synthetic drugs or simply drive smugglers to get them into the country by other means.
According to Baer, much of the carfentanil and other strong opioids causing overdoses are likely delivered through more traditional channels. In the case of Cincinnati, it's thought that the drug is mostly coming in through heroin shipments that flow north on Interstates 71 and 75.
"Traditional smuggling methods are being used in terms of the bulk smuggling activity," he says.
And while opioid addicts are likely increasingly aware of the dangers posed by chemicals of unpredictable potency, they're often left with limited alternatives.
"People in communities that are using the drugs are becoming more and more aware that they can’t necessarily trust the potency of what they’re taking," says Kurtz. "At the same time, opioid addiction is extremely powerful, so having them stop isn’t usually an option."
Fast Company & Inc ę 2016 Mansueto Ventures, LLC
quote:Opioid Maker Donates to Help Halt Marijuana Legalization in Arizona
As if fentanyl’s public relations aren’t bad enough.
Anti-marijuana advocates attacking pushes toward legalization often deliberately villainize capitalism in their efforts. They warn that the demand for legal weed will lead to the rise of "big marijuana," which they compare to "big tobacco" and other large corporations that have earned the ire of a decent-sized chunk of the citizenry. The argument doesn't seem to be working, if polls are any indication, but it looks like that's what organizations like Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) are going to use to oppose initiatives on the ballot this fall in several states.
Coincidentally, you know who else pisses off average Americans? "Big pharma." In actuality, the anger should be directed at both the pharmaceutical industry and the federal government. As we've learned from the $600 EpiPen scandal, it's the government's role in protecting medical monopolies that helps drive up prices.
Here's where things get awkward for organizations like SAM. A pharmaceutical company based out of Arizona has donated $500,000 to the effort to oppose a marijuana legalization effort in that state. Let's make it even more awkward. The drug manufacturer, Insys Therapeutics Inc, produces a cancer pain relief spray with an active ingredient that's currently high profile in the drug wars: fentanyl.
Fentanyl is the opioid driving the latest of the drug war panics, heightened by Prince's recent death. Even as criminal justice reformers are attempting to reduce or eliminate drug-related federal mandatory minimum sentences, lawmakers are trying to enhance sentences for fentanyl-related crimes.
Steven Nelson at U.S. News and World Report noted the donation and researched Insys' offerings. Subsys is the only drug they have on the market right now, but they do have an interesting past:
From 2011 through at least last year, Insys also sold a second product: a generic equivalent to Marinol, a synthetic version of the cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which the Food and Drug Administration allows for treatment of cancer and HIV-related symptoms like nausea and loss of appetite, which cannabis advocates say the raw plant material can treat without a corporate middleman. Insys said in its August filing it has no plans to resume those sales.
The end result of all of this is that it's the pro-marijuana side now claiming that big industry is trying to thwart the will of the public and influence the vote. The head of the pro-initiative group in Arizona said the Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy (the anti-legalization group) is now "tainted" by the donation. The anti-legalization group told Stevens they're keeping the money with the argument that Insys is at least based out of Arizona, unlike some of the donors who are giving money to pass the initiative.
Obviously, this means that Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy are openly embracing their opposition to legalization of marijuana as a protectionist defense of entrenched business interests, and not because of any sort of public health reasons. This probably doesn't come as a surprise to many. But citizens should know that this sort of attitude that blocks alternative treatment options is exactly why the EpiPens are so expensive.
Read more about the donation here. Current polls in Arizona have legalization support up by 10 percentage points, but there's also a significant number of undecided voters who could change the outcome.
quote:BREAKING NEWS: The U.K Parliament Endorses Duterte’s Drug War - World Trendings
LONDON, UK — The British Parliament on Friday after series of debates and discussions endorsed Duterte’s war on drugs.
The house took into consideration the effects of drugs on the ordinary citizen and the vulnerability of the poor to the activities of drug pushers.
The house therefore endorsed the crackdown of drugs pushers and drug lords in the Philippines and assured Duterte of its full support in nipping the situation in the bud.
Duterte, after taking office initiated a war to sweep away all who have to do with drugs trade in the country. The operation which has cost the deaths of over 2000 people has received both praises and criticisms.
quote:Why America Can't Quit the Drug War - Rolling Stone
After 45 years, more than $1 trillion wasted, and the creation of the world's largest prison system, America still lacks the political will to change its failed drug policy
In March, the commander in chief of the War on Drugs stood in front of a crowd of policymakers, advocates and recovering addicts to declare that America has been doing it wrong.
Speaking at the National Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta – focused on an overdose epidemic now killing some 30,000 Americans a year – President Barack Obama declared, "For too long we have viewed the problem of drug abuse ... through the lens of the criminal justice system," creating grave costs: "We end up with jails full of folks who can't function when they get out. We end up with people's lives being shattered."
Now that states have started legalizing recreational marijuana, will the president continue the government’s war on weed?
Touting a plan to increase drug-treatment spending by more than $1 billion – the capstone to the administration's effort to double the federal drug-treatment budget – Obama insisted, "This is a straightforward proposition: How do we save lives once people are addicted, so that they have a chance to recover? It doesn't do us much good to talk about recovery after folks are dead."
Obama's speech underscored tactical and rhetorical shifts in the prosecution of the War on Drugs – the first durable course corrections in this failed 45-year war. The administration has enshrined three crucial policy reforms. First, health insurers must now cover drug treatment as a requirement of Obamacare. Second, draconian drug sentences have been scaled back, helping to reduce the number of federal drug prisoners by more than 15 percent. Third, over the screams of prohibitionists in its ranks, the White House is allowing marijuana's march out of the black market, with legalization expected to reach California and beyond in November.
The administration's change in rhetoric has been even more sweeping: Responding to opioid deaths, Obama appointed a new drug czar, Michael Botticelli, who previously ran point on drug treatment in Massachusetts. Botticelli has condemned the "failed policies and failed practices" of past drug czars, and refers not to heroin "junkies" or "addicts" but to Americans with "opioid-abuse disorders."
"One of the biggest reasons why people don't seek care is shame and stigma," Botticelli told reporters last year. "What we've been trying to do is change the language."
Despite strides toward a more sane national drug policy, the deeper infrastructure of the War on Drugs remains fundamentally unaltered under Obama. Work focused on public health has not replaced paramilitary anti-trafficking efforts, known as interdiction, at home or abroad. Rather – much like an "all of the above" energy strategy that embraces solar while continuing to remove mountaintops in pursuit of coal – the new policies supplement the old.
As a result, the Drug War is costing taxpayers more than ever. Obama's 2017 drug budget seeks $31 billion, an increase of 25 percent from when he took office. This year, the federal government is spending more than $1,100 per person to combat the habit of America's 27 million illicit-drug users, and 22 million of them use marijuana.
The blinkered drug-warrior culture in the ranks of the departments of Justice, State and Defense remains similarly entrenched. The acting chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration calls medical marijuana "a joke." The State Department's top drug official insists, "Our objective remains ... eliminating the use of marijuana in the United States." With pot, such knee-jerk commitment to prohibition might be amusing. With harder drugs, it has deadly ramifications. At home, the administration's early crackdown on prescription opioids helped drive the current spike in heroin deaths. South of the border, cartel violence rages unabated, despite the recapture of Mexico's most notorious drug lord; the country's homicide rate in February spiked to 55 murders a day.
The futility of the greater Drug War was laid bare in recent Senate testimony by top admirals charged with combating global narcotraffic. They confessed they had no solution to halt the flow of heroin from Mexico; admitted global drug suppliers would invariably service U.S. demand; and pressed the government to steel itself for a 30-year nation-building effort in drug-ravaged Mexico and Central America.
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida), the senior member of the Armed Services Committee, sought to put a rosy spin on proceedings. "At least we got El Chapo," he said. "So that was a step in the right direction."
Forty-five years on, America is still grappling with the dark origins of the Drug War, launched in 1971 by President Richard Nixon – for political purposes.
Nixon's domestic-policy adviser, John Ehrlichman, in an interview published posthumously in Harper's this year, revealed the true aim of the Drug War was to criminalize the administration's "two enemies: the anti-war left and black people." As Ehrlichman explained, "We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings and vilify them night after night on the evening news."
Nixon himself wove anti-Semitism into the mix. "Every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish," Nixon groused to his chief of staff, Bob Haldeman, in a conversation recorded in the Oval Office in May 1971. "What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob?" Nixon asked. "By God, we are going to hit the marijuana thing, and I want to hit it right square in the puss."
More than $1 trillion later, Nixon's war has hollowed out urban black communities, visited death upon downtrodden whites in rural America and unleashed horrific violence from Bogotß to Ciudad Juarez. In Mexico, since 2007, as many as 80,000 civilians have been murdered in drug violence. Despite the carnage, prohibitionist policies enforced through military interdiction and domestic incarceration have done little to curb the American drug habit – which fuels $64 billion a year in cartel profits, according to an estimate by the Treasury Department.
America remains the world's top consumer of illicit drugs. The government's National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2015 found nearly one in 10 Americans over the age of 12 had used an illicit drug in the previous month. The surge in Drug War spending notwithstanding, American drug use is up modestly – the highest since 2002.
By the government's own metrics, the Drug War is failing. In December, the Government Accountability Office published a report titled "Office of National Drug Control Policy: Lack of Progress on Achieving National Strategy Goals." GAO found that "none of the goals" of the Obama drug strategy have been met, and significant progress can be seen only in a slight reduction in drug use among teens.
Obama's Drug War leadership has been uneven, an evaluation shared by drug warriors and reformers alike. Beyond big-picture objectives – softening mandatory-minimums, ensuring drug treatment and avoiding a firestorm over marijuana – the first six-plus years of the administration were marked by the president's lack of interest in the nuts and bolts of the Drug War. "I don't think it's controversial by any stretch of the imagination to say that drug policy was not a priority," says Kevin Sabet, a senior adviser in Obama's ONDCP from 2009 to 2011.
The administration's previous drug czar, gruff former Seattle police chief Gil Kerlikowske, reported to Vice President Joe Biden, who had made his bones as one of the Senate's top drug warriors. Obama did not even introduce the National Drug Strategy in 2010. "This was the 'president's drug strategy,'" laments one of its drafters, "and there just wasn't interest."
As a result, much of the Drug War continued on a glide path. Obama even carried over George W. Bush's DEA chief, Michele Leonhart, who would refuse to admit, under House grilling in 2012, that marijuana is a less dangerous drug than crack cocaine.
Obama's inattention also sparked infighting among reformers and hard-liners in the policy ranks – explaining the whipsaw treatment of medical marijuana during Obama's first term. A 2009 Justice Department memo, interpreted in the states as a green light for commercial-scale medical marijuana, was unceremoniously revoked in 2011 – after rearguard action by career drug warriors, including Sabet: "I pushed very hard behind the scenes to get a clarifying memo in 2011, saying, 'Oh, wait a minute, you guys took it the wrong way.'" The new directive sparked a resurgence of marijuana prosecutions, above all in California.
Even the historic decision to condone pot legalization in Colorado and Washington in 2013, insiders say, reflected a White House desire to sidestep a political fight, rather than to provide bold leadership. Sabet calls the legalization decision "Obama's 'don't ask, don't tell'" – a reference to the clumsy compromise under President Clinton to allow gays to serve in the military, provided they stayed in the closet.
Only recently, confronted by a deadly spike in heroin overdoses nationwide, has Obama taken a hands-on approach to drug policy. Kerlikowske took a new position as the head of customs enforcement, and was replaced at ONDCP by his deputy Botticelli.
A study in contrasts from his cop predecessor, Botticelli is the first drug czar with experience in recovery: He's an alcoholic 27 years sober. And as the former head of treatment services in Massachusetts, he pioneered the deployment of overdose-reversal drugs to police on the front lines of the opioid crisis.
"There's a reason why my drug czar is somebody who came not from the criminal justice side but came really from the treatment side," Obama told the crowd at the Atlanta heroin summit. "The only way that we reduce demand is if we're ... thinking about this as a public-health problem.
"It is so much more expensive," Obama said, "for us not to ... do the right thing on the front end."
That is a lesson the White House learned at high cost. The administration's first effort to crack down on opioids – focusing on Rx pills – contributed to the deadliness of today's epidemic.
During the George W. Bush presidency, the death toll from prescription-opioid abuse, driven by easy access to drugs like OxyContin, tripled – approaching 15,000 in 2008. As Kerlikowske took the reins at ONDCP in 2009, he was determined to reduce the supply of painkillers available for abuse. "People were dying from OxyContin. We had to do something," Sabet recalls, to stop "the carnage."
The crackdown included a DEA campaign to shutter pill mills in states like Florida, where unscrupulous doctors liberally supplied opioids to addicted patients. The feds ratcheted up prescription monitoring to stop patients from stockpiling pills from multiple providers. The administration also forced drug companies to introduce abuse-resistant reformulations of drugs like OxyContin and Opana so they couldn't be crushed and snorted.
These reforms showed early promise – slowing the rise in prescription-overdose deaths. But the administration failed to plan for the unintended consequences of restricting the prescription-drug supply: Americans desperate for a fix would turn to heroin instead. "No one considered the fact that these people aren't going to go away," says Theodore J. Cicero, a top academic opioid researcher at Washington University in St. Louis. "You make their drug harder to get, they don't just stop taking drugs. That's a very naive assumption. They switch to something else. Heroin has turned out to be a very inexpensive, readily accessible alternative."
"The United States, when it thinks something is right or important, it doesn't hesitate to stand alone. Why not drug policy?" asks Rep. Earl Blumenauer
The consequences of that switch turned out to be deadly. And the overdose epidemic is now deadlier still because dealers often cut heroin with fentanyl, a fast-acting synthetic drug up to 40 times as powerful as heroin itself. "From a public-health perspective, we've gone in a reverse direction," says Cicero. "We've generated a big problem from opiate-overdose deaths because we're shifting people into heroin." Today, about 75 percent of heroin users are former prescription-drug users.
The data tells the story: Heroin-overdose deaths surged, more than tripling from 2009, rising to 10,500 in 2014, driving an "epidemic," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "More persons died from drug overdoses in the United States in 2014," the agency reports, "than during any previous year on record." After a short plateau, prescription ODs have also spiked again, to nearly 19,000. The 30,000 combined opioid deaths now rival the carnage from car crashes (33,804) and gunshots (33,636).
Drug stats in America skew by race. But unlike arrests and incarceration, overdose deaths hit whites at nearly twice the rate of black Americans and three times the rate of Hispanics. Obama is now using this fact to push for a culture shift. "I'm going to be blunt," he said in Atlanta. "Part of what has made it previously difficult to emphasize treatment over the criminal justice system has to do with the fact that the populations affected in the past were ... stereotypically identified as poor, minority, and as a consequence, the thinking was it is often a character flaw in those individuals ... and it's not our problem they're just being locked up. And I think that one of the things that's changed in this opioid debate is a recognition that this reaches everybody."
The severity of the epidemic has worn down historic Republican resistance to public-health-driven drug policy. In the 2016 federal budget, Republicans lifted a decades-long prohibition on most of the federal funding for needle exchanges.
On a conference call with reporters in March, Botticelli praised such programs as being "a great intervention point for out-of-treatment injection-drug users." Answering a question from Rolling Stone, Botticelli even expressed openness to safe-injection sites – now being considered in cities from San Francisco to Ithaca, New York – where opioid users can shoot up under medical supervision, often with prescription-grade heroin.
"We haven't taken a formal position on safe-injection sites," Botticelli says. This is a startling about-face from past ONDCP pronouncements. Bush drug czar John Walters blasted safe injection as "state-sponsored suicide"; Kerlikowske has called these programs "a failure."
Botticelli continued: "Taking a close look at these programs becomes very important for us – not only in terms of reducing overdose and infectious disease, but also how these programs might or might not [be] an entryway into treatment. It will be very interesting to see how these programs develop over the years."
War on Drugs
Police raid an opioid pill mill in Tampa in 2010. Edward Lin/Alamy
The administration's increasingly enlightened approach to opioid addiction stands at odds with its confounding approach to a drug at the other end of the harm spectrum, marijuana.
Pot is far and away America's illicit drug of choice, with 22.2 million users. (Texas, by comparison, has 27 million residents.) Marijuana use is increasing modestly – driven by a surge of adult use during the Obama years.
The administration's hands-off approach to state legalization has broken the Berlin Wall of prohibition. Recreational pot is now legal in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and the District of Columbia. And, not surprisingly, marijuana is a boom business: Colorado pot sales topped $1 billion last year, producing $135 million in tax revenue, including $35 million for school construction. The research firms Arcview and New Frontier project that the national legal market (recreational and medicinal) will be $7.1 billion in 2016.
The American public has never been more pro-cannabis: According to an AP poll, a supermajority 61 percent favor legalization – including 47 percent of Republicans. And legalization is expected to advance on the 2016 ballot. In California, the campaign for the Adult Use of Marijuana Act is funded by Facebook billionaire Sean Parker and backed by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who says the Drug War is an "abject – and expensive – failure." Legalization proponents also point to promising November ballot initiatives in Nevada and Arizona.
Vermont may move sooner to become the first state to legalize through the legislative process. "The War on Drugs has failed when it comes to marijuana prohibition," Gov. Peter Shumlin told lawmakers in January, promoting a bill to tax and regulate recreational pot. "Vermont can take a smarter approach."
Prohibition took another blow this year when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took power in Canada after campaigning in part on a legalization platform. According to a lawmaker close to the effort, Canada is likely to implement a regime for legal marijuana by 2017.
In the face of this progress, however, federal policymakers are redoubling prohibition efforts. In March, assistant secretary of state for drugs and law enforcement William Brownfield declared, "Our objective remains that of limiting and eventually eliminating the use of marijuana in the United States of America because of its harm and its dangers."
Although he touts "evidence-based" drug policy, Botticelli cites risks to young users to advocate for pot prohibition. This is a phantom menace. State legalization is not creating a generation of underage potheads: Marijuana use is flat among 12- to 17-year-olds, nationally, and there has been no spike in teen usage in legal states.
Michele Leonhart, the holdover DEA administrator, was finally pushed out in 2015 in the wake of a sex scandal in her ranks. (An inspector general discovered that DEA agents attended cartel-affiliated sex parties with prostitutes in Colombia, but had received no more than 10 days suspension.) The acting director, Chuck Rosenberg, is no reformer. A former senior FBI official tapped by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Rosenberg insists pot is "bad" and "dangerous" and told reporters in November, "Don't call it medicine – that is a joke."
Now legal in 24 states and Washington, D.C., medical marijuana is scientifically effective as a treatment for nausea and nerve pain, and for symptoms of multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Crohn's disease and PTSD. It has also shown potential against diseases as serious as diabetes and cancer. On the House floor, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) blasted Rosenberg as "an example of the inept, misinformed zealot who has mismanaged America's failed policy of marijuana prohibition." A paper by the Brookings Institution called out the administration for having "paralyzed science and threatened the integrity of research freedom" on medical marijuana.
There are hints, however, that the DEA is not fully impervious to the shifting reality on pot. In a first, the agency's acting chief acknowledged that "heroin is clearly more dangerous than marijuana." The DEA has also said it hopes to produce, by July, the results of a five-year review to determine whether pot should remain with heroin on the most restrictive drug schedule.
Federal enforcement for marijuana is also shifting: In 2010, the DEA seized nearly 726,000 kilograms of pot in domestic raids. By 2014, the latest data available, that fell to just 74,000. Domestic DEA pot arrests are also down sharply – from nearly 7,000 in 2010 to around 4,000 in 2014 – "due in part," the agency explains, "to state-approved marijuana measures."
The drop in federal busts is sharper, in fact, than the decline in marijuana arrests by local cops. According to the latest FBI figures, the feds arrested almost 620,000 Americans for pot possession in 2014 – down from a 2007 high of 775,000, but still comprising 40 percent of all drug arrests, and five percent of total arrests. Yet treating marijuana possession as a crime continues to disrupt lives and drain city budgets. As recently as 2010, states spent $3.6 billion enforcing marijuana laws.
The unequal enforcement of pot laws also lays bare the racism latent in the American justice system. Despite roughly equal use rates, blacks are 3.7 times more likely to be arrested than whites. This pattern persists even in legalization states: Marijuana arrests have fallen 90 percent in pot-legal Washington, but blacks are still busted at twice the rate of whites.
On any given day in America, nearly 470,000 people are behind bars for drug offenses. That represents a fifth of the total incarcerated population of 2.2 million and the equivalent of every man, woman and child in Kansas City, Missouri. The United States remains the world's largest jailer by a wide margin.
Prison; War on Drugs
Inmates at a state prison in Lancaster, California, that was operating at more than twice its capacity. Gary Friedman/Getty
But the mass incarceration of drug users may have finally peaked. At the federal level, historic – though far from sweeping – drug-sentencing reforms have significantly reduced the population of drug prisoners. The Fair Sentencing Act, passed by Democrats in 2010, eliminated the federal mandatory minimum for crack possession and reduced the unjustifiable sentencing disparity for possessing powder versus crack cocaine – shaving an average of 2.5 years off sentences for more than 7,500 crack offenders.
Obama's first attorney general, Eric Holder, championed a pair of similar measures to reduce drug sentences. In 2013, Holder instructed U.S. attorneys to not specify drug quantity in the prosecution of nonviolent offenders if doing so would trigger a mandatory minimum. Holder also embraced a reform called "drugs minus two," which lowered the sentencing guidelines judges use for drug crimes by two degrees of severity across the board. Made retroactive in 2014, this reform spurred the early release of nearly 6,000 drug inmates at the end of 2015.
Ethan Nadelmann: The Real Drug Czar
The most influential man in the battle for legalization is a wonky intellectual in dad jeans
From a peak of 101,000 in 2012, the number of federal drug prisoners has dropped to 85,000 in March, according to data obtained from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Despite this progress, the federal government imprisons as many drug offenders as it did in 2003, during Bush's first term. And drug cases continue to clog the courts: 32 percent of the district-court caseload, with marijuana accounting for more than one in four drug cases.
States – red and blue alike – are also reducing their drug incarceration numbers, emboldened by low crime and the strapped budgets of the Great Recession. Forty states eased drug-sentencing laws between 2009 and 2013, according to Pew Research. Cumulatively, such reforms have driven a 20 percent reduction in drug imprisonment. From 2004 to 2014, the number of drug inmates held by states decreased by 60,000, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, to 208,000. Of these, more than 160,000 are locked up for trafficking and other drug offenses, while more than 47,000 serve time for possession.
The third, and likely largest, population of American drug offenders is in jail – city and county lockups where people serve short sentences or await trial. Nearly a quarter of the roughly 744,000 Americans now in jail – 184,000, according to the Sentencing Project – are locked up for drugs.
Of all states, California is taking the most aggressive lead on jail reform. Prop 47, passed by voters in 2014, downgraded most personal-use offenses to misdemeanors. Rather than being jailed to await trial, drug users are now typically cited and released. According to research by the Public Policy Institute of California, jail bookings for possession charges have fallen by 68 percent.
For taxpayers, the Drug War imposes huge costs: nearly $55 billion a year. Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, in a study published by CATO in 2010, found state enforcement of drug prohibition – accounting for cops, judges, jails and prisons – costs more than $25 billion a year, with more than $5 billion spent fighting pot.
Federal Drug War spending has now topped $30 billion. ONDCP divides its spending in two buckets: one for "supply reduction" (global interdiction and law enforcement) and the other for "demand reduction" (prevention and treatment). When Obama took office, 60 percent of Drug War spending targeted supply. In 2016, the administration touts that "for the first time" the drug czar's office is seeking "more funding for demand-reduction efforts than those focused on supply reduction."
War on Drugs; Michael Botticelli
Director of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli is a recovering alcoholic working to change what he calls the "failed policies" of the Drug War. Mandel Ngan/Getty
But this increase in demand-reduction spending has not come at the expense of the draconian supply side, which has held steady. Instead, the Obama administration ballooned the Drug War budget by more than a quarter.
On the supply-reduction side, there has been reorganization. International funding has been slashed from $2.5 billion in Obama's first budget to $1.6 billion in the current request. These cuts have downsized the role of the State Department and the Department of Defense in combating the international drug trade – reducing funding for drug eradication and military equipment in countries like Afghanistan, Colombia and Mexico. The DEA's international footprint, in contrast, has grown slightly and now accounts for about one-sixth of the agency's $2.8 billion budget.
The Drug War budget has grown by billions on the demand-reduction side, from $9.1 billion to $15.8 billion. Prevention funding is actually down; the administration killed a feckless $300 million education grant to the states in 2010. But the drug-treatment budget has nearly doubled – from $7.2 billion to $14.2 billion in the latest request. The biggest driver of this spending is Obamacare, which mandates drug-treatment coverage under both private insurance and government programs.
The transformation of Medicaid from its traditional focus on poor mothers and children to a broad-based health program covering low-income Americans is making drug treatment available to millions for the first time. In several states, expanding Medicaid has doubled the population of people with substance-abuse disorders now able to seek treatment. Studies going back decades demonstrate that treatment spending saves money in the long run, with every $1 spent on treatment saving as much as $7 in social costs. "Dollar for dollar, best thing they could do," says Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.
Still, Obama insists that treatment remains "grossly under-resourced" because Republican leaders in 19 states have blocked Medicaid expansion – denying health coverage to millions. As a workaround, the president's latest ONDCP budget has added nearly $1 billion in targeted treatment funding, including for states that haven't expanded Medicaid, but are being hit hard by the opioid epidemic. "We've got to make sure," Obama said, that people "can get the treatment when they need it."
The changes to the War on Drugs under Obama are historic, and many appear irreversible, but the hard-line ideology of the Drug War is not everywhere in retreat. In many states, the conflict is being waged as though Nixon were still in power. Maine's Republican governor, Paul LePage, said in January that his strategy to curb the opioid crisis is to toughen penalties for out-of-state traffickers. Recalling the worst rhetoric of the Drug War's past, LePage vilified dealers as "guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty." LePage has endorsed Donald Trump, who paints Mexicans as drug dealers and rapists. Trump promises to curb the heroin epidemic by walling off the border with Mexico. "You have a tremendous problem with heroin and drugs," he told voters in New Hampshire. "We're gonna have borders again and ... help you solve that very big problem."
The trouble with Trump's proposal is the problem at the root of the War on Drugs itself: A wall is no more a barrier to addiction than a war is an effective treatment.
In fact, Trump's wall would be of no value against heroin traffickers, who cross the most fortified parts of the Mexican border every day. Take it from Adm. Bill Gortney, head of U.S. Northern Command. In Senate testimony in March, Gortney told the Senate Armed Services Committee that "a wall will not solve the immense problems" of narcotraffic.
The most dangerous drugs, the admiral told senators, are not entering the United States through the open desert, as in years past. "Heroin and fentanyl are coming through ... the legal entry-control points across our border," he said. The drugs are smuggled in "very, very small shipments, which is very, very difficult for our partners to be able to detect." The best U.S. counternarcotics strategies and technology, Gortney testified, have been "circumvented by a very adaptable enemy."
In its full scope, the admiral's testimony underscored the futility of the war effort – a lesson that should not have taken the world's leading capitalist society 45 years and more than $1 trillion to learn: Military might is no match for market economics.
"If there's a demand" for drugs, Sen. John McCain posed to the admiral, "there's going to be a supply."
quote:Eten met bijpassend wijntje? Wietje zul je bedoelen - rtlz.nl
We kennen de wijnsommelier al sinds mensenheugenis, de biersommelier is al lang niets nieuws meer en zelfs in het proeven van water kun je je bekwamen. In de VS maakt nu ook de wietsommelier zijn intrede.
Nu in de VS steeds meer staten het recreatief gebruik van marihuana toestaan, ontstaat er ook een nieuw vak: de wietsommelier. Sommige bedrijven bieden er zelfs een heuse cursus in aan.
Het idee, schrijft Quartz, is dat iedere wietsoort zijn eigen smaak en structuur heeft en dus zijn eigen effect heeft op de zintuigen. Het Trichome Institute biedt cursussen aan om de smaken en onderscheidende kwaliteiten van wietsoorten te leren kennen.
En die kennis heeft in ieder geval ÚÚn restauranthouder al omgezet in een nieuw businessplan. Philip Wolf, een ondernemer uit Colorado, houdt een restaurant draaiende waar de gasten een bijpassend stickie bij hun eten krijgen geserveerd.
Voor een gemiddeld drie-gangendiner betaal je bij Wolf zo'n 125 dollar per persoon. Hij biedt zijn arrangementen aan voor 1250 dollar, daarmee moeten tien personen zowel lichamelijk als geestelijk te voeden zijn, schrijft Bloomberg.
Maar Cultivating Spirits, zoals het bedrijf heet, pakt het ook nog veel groter aan. Als je je trouwdag echt onvergetelijk wilt maken kun je voor 10.000 dollar een all-in pakket afnemen.
Ook in Nederland bestaat sinds 2014 iets vergelijkbaars. Bij The Green House Kitchen in Amsterdam mag je je eigen wiet meenemen, die je via een vaporizer (een apparaat waarin je kruiden of wiet kunt opwarmen met hete lucht) kunt inhaleren tijdens het eten. Het restaurant verkoopt zelf geen wiet, maar kan voor groepen bijvoorbeeld wel voorstellen welke wiet goed past bij het diner dat geserveerd wordt. The Green House Kitchen verkoopt wel kruiden die je kunt ‘vapen’ tijdens het eten.
Billy, van coffeeshop Andersom in Utrecht, begrijpt wel dat het gebruik van marihuana tijdens het eten een goed idee kan zijn. "Ik denk wel dat er meer besteld wordt", lacht hij. "Maar als je onbeperkt eten aanbiedt ben je denk ik duurder uit als ondernemer."
quote:Marine doet grote drugsvangst in Caribisch gebied | NOS
De Nederlandse Koninklijke Marine heeft in het Caribisch gebied 2000 kilo coca´ne onderschept. De drugs zaten verstopt in een verborgen ruimte van een vissersboot. Vijf opvarenden zijn aangehouden en overgedragen aan de Amerikaanse kustwacht.
Marineschip Zr. Ms. Groningen werd ingeseind nadat de bemanning van een Amerikaans patrouillevliegtuig de vissers spotte. Een speciaal team ging aan boord en vond de drugs na ongeveer tien uur zoeken.
De drugsactie aan boord van het schip werd bemoeilijkt toen een van de motoren uitviel. Daardoor maakte het water en was haast geboden. Uiteindelijk is de vissersboot gezonken.
Zr. Ms. Groningen is in het Caribisch gebied in de strijd tegen drugssmokkel. Het wordt voornamelijk ingezet voor de Koninklijke Marine en de kustwacht. Volgende maand keert het marineschip terug naar Nederland.
quote:Wherever you go in the Chapare — one of Bolivia's two coca-growing regions — you hear similar stories of life in the 1990s and early 2000s: narco-slayings, police violence and rapes, and coca-grower protests ending in violence and death.
You also hear gratitude that Bolivia has replaced a strategy of eradication with one of regulated production to meet historic national demand for coca.
quote:The 2004 legalization ushered in a close working relationship with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, whose estimates of land dedicated to coca in the three countries where the plant is grown — Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia — are widely used to calculate how much cocaine is circulating in the world.
The UN agency helps the Bolivian government track land used for coca with satellite images and backs on-the-ground visits by a small army of inspectors. According to the agency's annual survey of Bolivia's coca sector, published in July, the country's area of production dropped slightly in 2015 to 20,200 hectares. That's the lowest level since the agency began monitoring Bolivia's coca harvest in 2003 and roughly a third down from the total during the DEA's last year in Bolivia. It is also almost exactly at the national target of 20,000 hectares — enough to meet local demand for the plant while still ensuring minimal leakage into cocaine production.
It might look like success, but Bolivia's ground-breaking coca reform is not popular in Washington.
Earlier this month, President Barack Obama underlined US disapproval when he officially declared, through a State Department memo, that Bolivia has "demonstrably failed" to live up to its international counter-narcotics commitments. The only other countries on the list were Venezuela and Burma.
A State Department spokesperson told VICE News in an email that Bolivia had "undertaken some successful counter-narcotics activities," but added that the country has not destroyed enough coca plants nor seized enough cocaine in transit to merit US approval.
Morales has made it clear he doesn't care what the US thinks.
"We in Bolivia, without US military bases and without the DEA, even without the shared responsibility of drug-consuming countries, have demonstrated that it is possible to confront drug trafficking with the participation of the people," he said earlier this year.
quote:Washington's continued chastising of Bolivia stands in contrast to its routine approval of the eradication-based anti-narcotics efforts of staunch regional allies Colombia and Peru, which both grow far more coca. Strategies in those countries can seem like a whack-a-mole game in which destroying crops in one area leads to them popping up somewhere else. Critics warn eradication does nothing to reduce demand for coca for the production of cocaine, nor poverty among the growers.
The UN crime office reported that Peru had 40,300 hectares of coca in 2015, almost exactly the same amount it registered in 2001 -- the earliest year the agency compiled statistics for the nation. Colombia, meanwhile, saw its coca production soar 40 percent last year, according to the agency, to 96,000 hectares. That's still down by roughly one-third from 2001, but it continues a sharp uptick since Colombia's coca low point in 2013.
quote:One of the most popular arguments against the legalization of marijuana is that pot is a “gateway” drug with the potential to turn the great American populous into a nation of dope fiends. But today the country’s leading law enforcement official denounced this common misconception by admitting that the consumption of marijuana does not lead to the use of harder drugs.
As part of what President Obama has declared National Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week, U.S Attorney General Loretta Lynch appeared at town hall meeting this morning in Richmond, Kentucky to discuss the dangers of opioid abuse with a group of teens.
In her opening statement, Lynch was adamant that the leading culprit behind Kentucky’s heroin epidemic was the use of prescription drugs.
“When you look at someone that, for example, has a heroin problem, it very often started with a prescription drug problem. Something totally legal. Something in every medicine cabinet. Something you can have prescribed to you in good faith by a doctor,” Lynch saidbefore taking questions from the audience.
It did not take long before the discussion turned to the issue of marijuana.
Tyler Crafton, a student at Madison Central High School, took the opportunity to ask Lynch whether she thought the recreational use of marijuana among high school kids would lead to opioid abuse.
Shockingly, Lynch, the top dog at the U.S. Department of Justice, did provide the young man with a response straight out of the federal government’s propaganda handbook.
“There a lot of discussion about marijuana these days. Some states are making it legal, people are looking into medical uses for it, and I understand that it still is as common as almost anything,” Lynch replied. “When we talk about heroin addiction, we unusually, as we have mentioned, are talking about individuals that started out with a prescription drug problem, and then because they need more and more, they turn to heroin. It isn’t so much that marijuana is the step right before using prescription drugs or opioids.”
For a moment, it sounded as though the Attorney General was preparing to backtrack on her statement to some degree, adding that, “if you tend to experiment with a lot of things if life you may be more inclined to experiment with drugs.”
But then Lynch followed up with what should be considered one of the most important statements a federal official has made in 2016.
“It’s not as though we are seeing that marijuana is a specific gateway,” she said.
The attorney general’s admission that marijuana is not a gateway drug is fairly consistent with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which finds “the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, “harder” substances. Yet many of marijuana’s opposing forces are going up against ballot measure in several states this election season by trying to convince the general public that legal weed will cause the opioid epidemic to spin further out of control.
Interestingly, an investigational report published earlier this week by the Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity found that lobbyists for the drug makers responsible for the same prescription drugs that Attorney General Lynch says is responsible for the opioid epidemic have spent $880 million legally bribing state representatives and senators to vote against legislation concerning the restricting of opioid use. It stands to reason that these lobbyists are also responsible for getting federal lawmakers to turn a blind eye to marijuana.
Attorney General Lynch will be speaking at more than250 events this week in support of Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week. It will be interesting to see if she offers additional comments about the safety of marijuana.
quote:Philippines at UN tells world not to interfere | Daily Mail Online
The Philippines' foreign secretary on Saturday pushed back against criticism of President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war, telling the United Nations not to interfere.
"We urge everyone to allow us to deal with out domestic challenges in order to achieve our national goals, without undue interference," Perfecto Yasay told the UN General Assembly.
There has been growing international alarm over the rising death toll from Duterte's crackdown on crime, with human rights groups saying that security forces are engaging in extrajudicial killings.
Duterte won elections in a landslide in May after vowing to eradicate the illegal drug trade in six months, and promising that 100,000 criminals would be killed in the process.
Since he took office on June 30 about 3,000 people have been killed, about a third of them suspects shot dead by police and the rest murdered by unidentified attackers, according to police statistics.
"We have not and we will never empower our law enforcement agents to shoot-to-kill individuals suspected of drug crimes," the foreign secretary told the General Assembly.
"Extrajudicial killings have no place in our society, and in our criminal justice system."
The top diplomat told the General Assembly that Duterte enjoyed a 92-percent approval rating at home for his stance and suggested that his campaign was misunderstood.
"Our actions, however, have grabbed both the national headlines and international attention for all the wrong reasons," he said.
He argued that corruption and drugs had "torn apart many of our communities, destroyed our families and snuffed out the hopes and dreams of our people -- young and old -- for a bright future."
Invoking the UN's new sustainable development goals adopted last year, Yasay said his country would not be able to meet those goals without tackling corruption and drugs.
Relations between Duterte and the United Nations have been tense after the newly-elected leader launched several tirades against the world body for its criticism of his tactics, even threatening to pull out- a threat he later withdrew.
Earlier this month, Duterte declined a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the sidelines of a meeting in Laos of South East Asian leaders.
quote:More than 82 million U.S. residents will have the chance to cast ballots on marijuana measures when they go to vote for president come Election Day in November. Marijuana laws – whether it be to legalize or decriminalize – have been added to the ballot in nine states. Here's everything you need to know about the marijuana proposals voters will decide on come Nov. 8.
The feds might not realize it yet, but legal weed is a fait accompli. Recreational marijuana is already legal in four states plus the District of Columbia, and it's decriminalized in 14 more states. Legalizing medical marijuana has the support of nine in 10 Americans — a shocking unanimity in this partisan age — and various pot-related initiatives will be on the ballot in a record nine states this November.
We're still hammering out the peace accords, but the war against pot prohibition has been won. Now it's time to turn our attention to an inevitably harder fight for legalizing harder drugs, the most pressing of which, from a public health perspective, is undoubtedly heroin.
The U.S. government should legalize heroin.
The last five years have seen heroin overdose deaths dramatically spike in the United States, from just over 3,000 in 2010 to more than 10,500 in 2014, the latest year for which the National Institutes of Health provides data. In fact, drug overdose deaths now outpace car crashes in taking American lives, and about half those overdoses are attributable to heroin and other opioids.
Heroin was once seen as an urban, minority problem — think 1980s Baltimore — that was subjected to a rotation of stigma, punishment, and silence. Today, heroin users are overwhelmingly white, working class, and rural. This demographic shift has helped catapult the heroin epidemic to national attention, but arguably accomplished little in the way of meaningful political change. (The cynical might be tempted to suggest this stagnation has something to do with the present unpopularity of the white working class among the political establishment, yet even their supposed champion, Donald Trump, has been mostly quiet on this point.) As much as we hear of white voters demanding a "gentler war on drugs," substantial reform has been slow to nonexistent.
Sure, the White House has requested (and so far not received) $1.1 billion to expand treatment options and educational efforts. But harsh mandatory minimum sentences have gone unchallenged, as has the basic assumptions that keeping heroin illegal and punishing possession with jail time are the best ways to prevent the devastation heroin wreaks.
That is a dangerous and callous mistake. Recent history and present practicalities alike make clear that the best way to cut down on heroin abuse is to legalize it — or at the very least, decriminalize it.
The crown jewel of evidence for this point is the experience of Portugal, whose culture and form of government are similar enough to our own to make comparison reasonable. In 2001, Portugal decriminalized all drugs. All drugs.
A decade later, hard drug abuse had dropped by half. Drug overdose deaths in Portugal are now all but nonexistent: just three for every million people each year. (Were overdose deaths happening in America at a Portuguese rate, we'd see fewer than 1,000 die annually, more than a 90 percent drop from the current numbers on opioid-related deaths, let alone total overdose deaths.) Portuguese use of sketchy "legal" substitutes is way down, too, because there’s no need to mess with dangerous unknowns when you’ll only get a small fine and maybe a rehab referral if you’re caught with the real thing.
Heroin addiction — suffered by fully 1 percent of Portugal's population pre-decriminalization — is estimated to have dropped by about half, and most of those who are still addicted are on substitution treatment and in no statistical danger of overdose.
By contrast, here in the States, strict prohibition has utterly failed to prevent drug use rates at world-record levels. Drug war spending is perhaps the only thing to spike faster than heroin addiction, and we have nothing to show for it. In 2016, Rolling Stone notes, "the federal government is spending more than $1,100 per person to combat the habit of America's 27 million illicit-drug users, and 22 million of them use marijuana." With more than $1.5 trillion down the drain, U.S. addiction rates have utterly failed to improve.
If anything, the drug war makes illicit opioid use more dangerous than it otherwise would be. Heroin abuse often begins as an extension of opioid addiction fostered by over-prescription, and once users get their supply from the street instead of the pharmacy, prohibition produces tainted and mislabeled products that make overdose more likely — just like it did with alcohol nearly a century ago.
Criminalizing the heroin supply chain produces a risky and therefore lucrative market for violent criminals, leading to casualties far beyond the toll of drug abuse itself. To argue for legal heroin "does not, at first blush, appear to put one on the side of the angels," explains Harvard's Danielle Allen, but "the war on drugs drives violent crime, which in turn pushes up incarceration and generates other negative social outcomes. You just can't move $100 billion worth of illegal product without a lot of assault and homicide."
Prohibition even makes safe treatment less likely for addicts who know they have a problem and actively want to change their lives. After decriminalization, Portugal saw the rate of people seeking addiction treatment nearly double, because now there is essentially no downside to doing so. With a looming threat of jail or coercive court-mandated rehab stints shaped as much by policy goals than each individual's unique health care needs, the same cannot be said here.
My own advocacy for ending the drug war stems largely from convictions about personal choice and bodily autonomy. But the health care argument actually may be the most persuasive case for legal heroin. The vast majority of Americans support legalizing medical marijuana because they’ve come to understand what a source of relief it can be for people suffering from cancer, epilepsy, and other chronic diseases.
Heroin addicts need relief too — relief from their addiction itself, yes, but also from dangerous products, organized crime, and a government eager to lock them up in a prison environment hardly conducive to improving physical or mental health. Of course, there is an element of choice in opioid abuse that is missing from a cancer diagnosis. Still, the heroin epidemic is a health crisis, and legalization is a viable and practical solution that compassion dictates we must consider.
quote:Common Sense Proposal Would Treat Marijuana Like Tobacco in New Jersey - Hit & Run : Reason.com
A New Jersey state lawmaker has introduced a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in the state and regulate it like tobacco, making it available at grocery stores and gas stations.
State Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll, R-Morris, tells Politico he "never quite understood the allure" of marijuana, but believes legalizing pot makes a lot more sense than continuing a destructive and counter-productive fight against it.
"The whole point here is to get the government out of the business of treating at least marijuana use as a crime and treat it instead as a social problem," Carroll told Politico. "To me it's just not a big deal. It's already ubiquitous. Anybody who thinks this is somehow going to increase the availability of marijuana has never been 19."
Carroll's bill would allow retailers to sell marijuana to anyone over the age of 19 (the legal age for buying cigarettes in New Jersey) and includes civil penalties for vendors who sell to underage customers. The bill would not include any limits on the amount of marijuana that an individual can possess and, importantly, it would allow past marijuana-related offenses to be expunged from criminal records.
Another bill introduced in the state legislature this week would regulate marijuana like beer—making it legal to be sold in liquor and grocery stores to anyone over the age of 21. That bill is being sponsored by state Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Mercer.
"I think what's really exciting is that folks across the political spectrum have realized that prohibition isn't working in New Jersey and they are looking to follow the good example set by Colorado and other states," said Kate Bell, legislative council for the Marijuana Policy Project.
If Carroll's bill is passed into law, New Jersey would have some of the most liberal marijuana laws in the country. But making pot available in convenience stores could create complications with federal policy, since marijuana is still listed as a Schedule I drug.
As a result, any convenience store selling marijuana would be unable to deduct business expenses from their taxes under IRS policy, Bell said in an interview with Reason on Friday. Like marijuana retailers in Colorado and elsewhere, stores selling pot in New Jersey might find themselves cut-off from banks as well.
Hopefully those problems will be addressed at the federal level—delisting marijuana would be the best way to do it, Bell says—as New Jersey and other states work to remove limitations on where and how marijuana can be sold.
The other major stumbling block, in New Jersey, is Gov. Chris Christie, who has vowed to veto any bill decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana and who promised during the 2016 GOP primary to "crack down" on states that have legalized recreational marijuana if he were elected president.
Christie is in his second term and cannot seek re-election in 2017 due to term limits preventing a governor from serving more than two consecutive terms.
To Christie's credit, he did sign a bill in 2010 to allow residents of New Jersey suffering from certain diseases to access medical marijuana. On Thursday, Christie signed a new bill adding PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions for what the state calls "cannibis therapy."
A third bill in the New Jersey legislature would legalize marijuana only in Atlantic City and is being pitched as a possible way to revitalize the economically struggling city. It would allow the cultivation, sale and consumption of marijuana by adults over age 21 and would have the state regulate pot the same way it regulates gaming.
That bill, also introduced by Gusciora, would put the issue in front of voters as a statewide referendum, but has so far not received a vote in the legislature.
Eric Boehm is a reporter at Reason.com.
Het artikel gaat verder.quote:Tests were being conducted to figure out which drugs were involved in the deaths, which happened on Saturday, Cuyahoga County medical examiner Thomas Gilson said. Officials believe the drugs involved were either heroin or fentanyl.
“This cluster of deaths is deeply concerning,” Gilson said in a statement. “Although there is no clear link between the individuals, this number clearly raises the possibility of a very deadly drug in our community.”
Gibson issued a warning to take extreme caution and advised people not to use illicit drugs.
The deaths were reported across the county – in both Cleveland and its suburbs – and were not limited to one area, Chris Harris, a spokesman for the medical examiner, said on Sunday.
The deaths came after 52 people died from heroin or fentanyl during August in the Cleveland area. The opioid deaths last month were the most in the county’s history, the medical examiner’s office said.
Cuyahoga County, which has about 1.2 million residents, is on pace to record more than 500 overdose deaths from heroin or fentanyl this year, Cleveland.com reported.
quote:justitie :: Politie heeft geen zicht op dumpingen drugsafval
De politie heeft geen zicht op dumpingen van drugsafval. Dat blijkt uit het rapport “Elke dump is een plaats delict” van de stichting Politie & Wetenschap dat in handen is van Eenvandaag.
Het is voor het eerst dat onderzoekers het dumpen van drugsafval in kaart hebben gebracht. Hoeveel er wordt gedumpt en geloosd in Nederland is “een dark number”, aldus het rapport dat morgen officieel verschijnt.
Onderzoekers spraken met betrokkenen bij politie en gemeenten en keken naar de illegale dumpingen en lozingen in de periode 2010-2015. Vanaf 2010 loopt het aantal aangetroffen dumpingen en lozingen sterk op van 32 naar 176 in 2014.
Maar in 2015 is er sprake van een lichte daling (zie tabel hieronder). Dat betekent overigens niet dat er ook daadwerkelijk minder dumping is. De cijfers gaan alleen over de dumps die zijn gemeld bij de politie:
De inschatting van de politie is dat de aangetroffen dumpingen in vaten en jerrycans slechts het topje van de ijsberg vormen en dat er buiten zicht van politie veel drugsafval wordt geloosd.
Het rapport heeft ook gekeken naar de wijze waarop wordt gedumpt en geloosd. Naast de klassieke vatendump, bedenken criminele bendes steeds meer creatieve vormen van dumping.
Zo zijn er lozingen geconstateerd in autowasstraten en ook in gierkelders van boerderijen. Dat was al bekend, maar uit het onderzoek blijkt dat dit “meer dan incidenteel plaatsvindt”. Inmiddels zijn er al amfetaminesporen aangetroffen in voedermais.
Nederland produceert vooral amfetamine en XTC (MDMA). Het afval van deze productie bevat schadelijke chemicaliŰn, die bij blootstelling kunnen leiden tot ernstige gezondheidsklachten zoals hoofdpijn, misselijkheid ernstige brandwonden, stuiptrekkingen en bewusteloosheid.
Nu blijkt dat 10 procent van alle dumpingen heeft plaatsgevonden in of nabij een Natura 2000 gebied. En in Brabant en Limburg heeft 20 procent van het aantal geregistreerde dumpingen plaatsgevonden bij een grondwaterbeschermingsgebied, waar drinkwaterwinning plaatsvindt.
Wat de gevolgen van deze dumpingen zijn, is onduidelijk. Het rapport concludeert dat het “zeer wenselijk” is om nader onderzoek te doen naar de impact van lozingen op de drinkwaterwinning en op de kwetsbare natuurgebieden.
Het rapport heeft kritiek op de werkwijze van de politie. Dumpingen worden nog teveel gezien als ge´soleerd delict. Dat is een gemiste kans, want dumpingen kunnen ook informatie verschaffen over de bendes achter de dumping. Het rapport adviseert om de dumpplek meer te beschouwen als een plaats delict, inclusief bijbehorend tactisch en forensisch onderzoek.
Ontwikkeling van geregistreerde dumpingen/lozingen
EenVandaag besteedt vandaag aandacht aan het rapport in de TV en radio uitzendingen. In Radio EenVandaag een gesprek met Yvette Schoenmakers, de maakster van het rapport.
quote:Een vrouw heeft geprobeerd een kind van 3 softdrugs de gevangenis in Vught te laten binnensmokkelen. De beveiliging heeft dat weten te voorkomen.
Dat meldt een wijkagent op Twitter. Volgens Omroep Brabant is jeugdzorg ingeschakeld voor de peuter. Wat de relatie van de vrouw tot de peuter is, is onduidelijk.
De penitentiaire inrichting in Vught omvat onder andere een extra beveiligde inrichting, een huis van bewaring en een psychiatrisch centrum.
Wie op bezoek komt bij de inrichting, wordt streng gecontroleerd. Zo moet de bezoeker door een detectiepoort lopen. Het binnenbrengen van drugs (of alcohol) is ten strengste verboden.
Ach, alcohol is geen drugs natuurlijk.quote:Alcoholgebruik kost Nederland jaarlijks 2,5 miljard euro | NOS
Alcoholgebruik kost de Nederlandse samenleving elk jaar ongeveer 2,5 miljard euro. Dat staat in een rapport van het RIVM, dat vandaag is gepubliceerd.
De totale kosten van alcoholgebruik waren ruim 8 miljard euro, maar alcoholgebruik leverde ook geld op. Onder de streep blijft er aan kosten ongeveer 2,5 miljard euro over, zegt het RIVM.
Het meeste geld, ruim twee miljard euro, gaat op aan vroegtijdige sterfgevallen. Elk jaar overlijden bijna drieduizend mensen aan kanker door alcohol. Ook kost alcoholgebruik bedrijven geld; werknemers zijn minder productief als ze gedronken hebben. Ook de inzet van politie en justitie brengt volgens het RIVM behoorlijk wat kosten met zich mee.
Aan de andere kant levert alcoholgebruik ook geld op. Zo komt er elk jaar ongeveer een miljard euro accijns binnen en ondernemers verdienen aan de verkoop van alcohol. Ook worden zorgkosten bespaard doordat matig alcoholgebruik volgens het RIVM een gunstig effect heeft op hart- en vaatziekten en diabetes type 2.
Het ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport neemt de uitkomsten van dit onderzoek mee in de evaluatie en discussie over de drank- en horecawet. Die wordt later dit jaar of begin volgend jaar besproken in de Tweede Kamer.
quote:Seattle plans to open safe spaces for addicts to use heroin — and that's smart
Nearly every major city across the United States has been affected by a wave of heroin abuse and overdoses in recent years, but none have responded with the radical — but proven — approach that Seattle-area officials now plan to take.
A county-level heroin task force recommended Thursday that the city and surrounding municipalities open places where addicts can inject or smoke opioids without fear of arrest and with access to clean needles and treatment.
After unveiling a 99-page report on the subject, which outlined the myriad public health benefits from similar experiments elsewhere in the world, King County Executive Dow Constantine told reporters why he decided to endorse "safe consumption" sites.
"If this is a strategy that saves lives, if there are people who are going to die if we do not do this," he said, "then regardless of the political discomfort, I think it is something we have to move forward with."
Nearly every key local official and agency is on board with the plan, including Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, who reportedly did not say precisely when or where the facilities would open, but vowed to fight the potential "blowback" at the neighborhood level.
Lindsay LaSalle, a senior staff attorney at the Drug Policy Alliance, said that while cities such as New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Baltimore have all inched in the same direction with harm reduction programs, Seattle is the first to fully commit to establishing supervised injection sites.
"It's thrilling," LaSalle said. "The support of someone like a mayor is pretty groundbreaking."
Heroin and illicit opioid use will still technically be illegal at the facilities, but police and prosecutors are willing to stop arresting people there and pressing charges. It's the same principal that led to the establishment of syringe exchanges, which are now fairly common across the US. But while some syringe swaps have what LaSalle called "an active bathroom," where users are tacitly allowed to get high, this will the first local government to sanction use.
Related: Severe opioid addicts can now get heroin prescriptions in Canada
"It's just an exercise of discretion we see law enforcement make all the time," said Patricia Sully, a member of the task force and a staff attorney at Seattle's Public Defender Association. "The public health authority has the power to operate a facility like this as a public health emergency measure."
The argument for safe spaces is that it's better for both users and the public to have addicts injecting indoors in a place where they won't die, rather than in a high-risk place like a park, alley, sidewalk, or indoors alone. In addition to providing sterile needles, staff members at safe injection sites typically carry the overdose antidote naloxone.
Just a few hours north of Seattle in Vancouver, British Columbia is Insite, North America's first and only supervised injection facility. Insite has seen its guests inject more than 3 million doses of street drugs since it opened in 2003, according to spokesperson Anna Marie D'Angelo, and it has not had a single fatal overdose. Insite also works closely with Vancouver's police, D'Angelo said.
"They'll put out resources saying 'There's a bad batch, go to Insite, don't inject alone,'" she said. "There's a partnership."
Related: America's new deadliest drug is fentanyl
But as advocates like Sully point out, "supervised consumption sites don't exist to prevent just overdoses." Insite visitors are offered comprehensive medical care under Canada's public health system, and, beyond reducing fatal overdoses in Vancouver by nearly 10 percent, the program reversed what one researcher called "the most explosive epidemic of HIV infection that had been observed outside of sub-Saharan Africa." British Columbia now has one of Canada's lowest HIV infection rates.
Seattle is expected to place its facilities at locations where users can already access rehab programs, clean syringes, and basic health care. A recent survey of Washington syringe exchange participants found that 75 percent were interested in getting help reducing or stopping their use, but only 14 percent were enrolled in treatment. The city and nearby areas saw 132 overdose deaths last year, a slight decrease from 2014 but still way up from 49 opioid-related deaths just five years prior.
The supervised consumption sites in Seattle aren't being pitched as a panacea — the heroin task force report suggests a comprehensive approach that includes county-wide expansions of treatment and prevention programs — but the Drug Policy Alliance's LaSalle says that if the facilities prove successful, they could catch on nationwide.
Related: Here's how zero-tolerance drug policies have damaged public health worldwide
The mayor of Ithaca, New York proposed opening injection facilities earlier this year, but his plan has faced resistance from some local officials and state lawmakers. Opponents claim giving addicts a place to get their fix will only lead to more drug use, but research from Vancouver's Insite has shown this fear to be largely unfounded.
"It seems like a really radical idea, but we need to help people to understand that it's an incremental step," LaSalle said. "[Users] are already going to exchanges to get clean needles, [but] they're still walking out the door and using somewhere. It makes a lot of sense both medically and politically to reduce all the nuisances around public injection. You improve public safety, and there's all these health benefits for the users themselves."
Legalisering wietteelt door Tweede Kamer gaat lang niet ver genoeg: free drugs!quote:Op vrijdag 23 september 2016 09:58 schreef Basp1 het volgende:
Zou het dan toch ooit nog gaan gebeuren in nederland?
quote:Laten we van dit tijdelijke moment van helderheid gebruik maken om een ander gevaarlijk drugsbeleid af te schaffen: legaliseer partydrugs als xtc ook, en zorg ervoor dat (vooral!) jongeren deze producten zonder risico’s kunnen kopen Ún gebruiken.
Bronquote:Jellinek voorzichtig optimistisch over Filipijns drugsbeleid
Verslavingskliniek zet in op combinatie cognitieve gedragstherapie en doodseskaders
7 oktober 2016 door Jan van Tienen en Laura van der Haar
Gijsbert Kranenborgh van Jellinek vindt het nog te vroeg om van een doorslaand succes te spreken, maar kan niet anders dan de Filipijnse aanpak van drugsverslaafden met groeiende interesse aanschouwen.
“De cijfers spreken voor zich”, zegt Kranenborgh, “daar is iets groots gaande! Volgens de statistieken zijn in de afgelopen twaalf weken al ruim 3500 gebruikers definitief gestopt. Zulke resultaten, daar kunnen wij in Nederland nog een puntje aan zuigen.”
Een belangrijk onderdeel van de Filipijnse success story zijn volgens Kranenborgh de zogenaamde doodseskaders. “Dat zijn een soort in het zwart geklede verplegers, zo heb ik begrepen. Het aantal terugvallen van de gebruikers na een contactmoment staat op nul. Bovendien is er geen sprake van wachtlijsten, ingewikkelde aanmeldingsprocedures en de behandelkosten zijn aanzienlijk lager.”
Kranenborgh is al bezig stappen te zetten om de Filipijnse methode te integreren in de behandelmethoden van het Jellinek. “Momenteel hebben we grofweg drie methoden: cognitieve gedragstherapie, de Minnesotabehandeling en de groepsbehandeling. We denken dat met name een koppeling van gedragstherapie aan doodseskaders snel vruchten af zal werpen.”
Het instituut geeft toe dat het nog niet echt storm loopt qua aanmeldingen voor het programma. “Maar we zijn van plan een proactieve houding jegens onze doelgroep aan te nemen”, besluit Kranenborgh. “We roeien het verslavingsprobleem voor eens en altijd uit!”
Legalize!quote:Tientallen vuilniszakken met wietafval gedumpt in Lelystad | NOS
In natuurgebied Het Hollandse Hout in Lelystad zijn meer dan vijftig zakken met wietafval gevonden. Staatsbosbeheer heeft de zakken vanochtend opgeruimd, meldt Omroep Flevoland.
Volgens de boswachter wordt er wekelijks illegaal gedumpt afval gevonden in natuurgebieden in Lelystad, maar zoveel als nu is uitzonderlijk.
Staatsbosbeheer vermoedt dat het afval 's nachts in het natuurgebieden is geloosd. De politie weet nog niet wie hiervoor verantwoordelijk is.
quote:Slikken, spuiten en snuiven kan nu ook veilig voor Parijse junks | NOS
Er was een speciale wet voor nodig, maar nu kunnen Franse drugsverslaafden op een veilige plaats hun drugs gebruiken. Gisteren is er voor hen een speciale gebruikersruimte geopend in de buurt van station Gare du Nord in Parijs. Het is de enige plek in het land waar drugs niet verboden zijn.
In de zaal lopen artsen en maatschappelijk werkers rond, die de mensen kunnen helpen van hun verslaving af te komen. "Daarnaast is er medische hulpverlening aanwezig voor verslaafden die bijvoorbeeld aids hebben", zegt correspondent Frank Renout. Ook krijgen gebruikers een pakket met onder meer steriele injectienaalden, ontsmettingsdoekjes en een band om hun arm mee af te binden.
Renout bracht een bezoek aan de wijk en de gebruikersruimte. In de buurt van het ziekenhuis staan ook automaten waar verslaafden injectienaalden uit kunnen halen. Op straat liggen gebruikte naalden en veel bloed. Een horeca-ondernemer is het zat: "Recht voor mijn raam wordt gedeald, doen verslaafden hun behoefte en zijn er dagelijks vechtpartijen. Dat zorgt voor een onveilig gevoel."
Over de locatie van de ruimte is lang gediscussieerd. Uiteindelijk koos de gemeente voor een pand naast een ziekenhuis bij station Gare du Nord. In die buurt is drugsgebruik een groot probleem.
Toch zijn veel buurtbewoners niet blij met dat de ruimte wordt geopend. "De meeste mensen zijn vooral heel bang dat er nu juist meer verslaafden en dealers naar de wijk komen", zegt Renout. "De belangenvereniging van de wijk heeft de zaal wel het voordeel van de twijfel gegeven. Die club hoopt vooral dat de verslaafden van de straat worden gehouden."
Voorlopig blijft het bij een experiment en wordt er gekeken of de overlast in de buurt afneemt. Hulpverleners gaan daarnaast de straat op om verslaafden te benaderen. Ook zal de politie meer toezicht gaan houden in de buurt, om zo dealers op te kunnen sporen.
quote:Two leading civil rights organizations are calling for the complete decriminalization of personal drug use in the US in a comprehensive new report released on Wednesday.
The report, published by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch, concluded that last year someone was arrested every 25 seconds on drug use or possession charges.
The research catalogues the enforcement of laws that criminalize personal drug use, for which police make more arrests than any other crime. The organizations’ stand is one of the most forceful yet in the ongoing conversation about the country’s sprawling criminal justice system and the lasting effect that low-level drug offenses can have on Americans.
“This is first time both organizations have come together and made such a strong call for [decriminalization],” said Tess Borden, the report’s author.
The report, titled Every 25 Seconds, after the frequency of drug arrests, looks specifically at personal drug use, and not trafficking or other drug crimes. Last year, more than 1.25 million arrests were made by local law enforcement for drug use or possession alone, and about half of those were for marijuana use or possession, according to the report.
Tyler Marshall, a Louisiana man who spoke to Human Rights Watch using a pseudonym, was charged with marijuana possession in 2015 and sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty. The report quotes court transcripts of Marshall entering his guilty plea, as most drug cases are resolved. After Marshall’s defense attorney instructs him to plea guilty, he tells the court: “Oh, I have to? Yeah. But I’d be lying though.”
The large majority of drug cases are resolved through plea deals. In New York, for example, the report found that 99.8% of adults convicted of drug possession in a five-year period accepted plea deals.
Marshall told Human Rights Watch that his wife has a disability, and was two months behind on rent without him to help support her. “My wife, I cook for her, clean for her, bathe her, clothe her,” he said. “Now everything is on her, from the rent to the bills, everything.”
The rate of drug arrests varies widely by state, although data indicates that non-marijuana drug use is largely consistent throughout the country.
As with other areas of the criminal justice system, arrest data for personal drug crimes shows a sharp racial disparity. According to the report’s findings, black adults are two and a half times as likely as white adults to be arrested for drug possession. Borden said the report was unable to analyze any disparities in arrest rates for Latinos because the FBI does not track data for Latinos arrested.
Other policy experts and international groups, including the World Health Organization, have called for the complete decriminalization of personal drug use. Several states have already decriminalized marijuana, with five more set to vote on the issue in November. Borden said the organizations’ call for complete decriminalization “takes the mainstream drug conversation a step further”.
“We’ve driven drug use underground with criminalization and we’ve failed to provide communities who are dealing and struggling with dependence issues the help and the treatment that they have a right to,” she said.
Arrest data also indicates that people charged with drug possessions are often carrying just trace amounts of an illicit substance, according to the report.
Among the other case studies highlighted by Borden is that of Matthew Russell, who was arrested in Texas for an amount of methamphetamines so small that the lab technician described it as a “trace” amount and couldn’t give the amount a precise measurement.
In March Russell, who maintains his innocence, faced 20 years for the possession charges because of previous felony convictions. Russell, who also used a pseudonym, said the previous convictions were also related to his drug dependence.
“I’m so stressed out that some days it almost makes me want to kill myself … [20 years,] that scares me,” he told Human Rights Watch.
In August, Russell was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
quote:‘Fuck It, I Quit’: Charlo Greene Faces 54 Years In Prison
AUSTIN, Texas — Charlo Greene, the local news anchor from Alaska who became a viral sensation for quitting her job while voicing her support for cannabis legalization during a live broadcast, now faces decades in prison on a growing list of drug-related charges.
“Fuck it, I quit,” Greene famously declared live on KTVA on Sept. 22, 2014 at the end of a report on the Alaska Cannabis Club. In addition to revealing that she was actually the owner of the club, she said she was leaving the station to work on the business and push for cannabis law reform full-time.
In the November 2014 election, Alaska became the third state to legalize recreational cannabis, but Greene stands accused of illegally selling the drug in the time between when the vote to legalize took place and the state fully implemented the law. Alaskan police conducted multiple raids and undercover investigations of the club.
On Sept. 29, Sam Levin, a U.S. reporter for The Guardian, explained the loophole police used to charge Greene:
Initially, Greene was charged with eight separate counts of violating drug laws, which added up to a maximum sentence of 24 years in prison. However, on Sept. 29 — soon after the media began to cover her story — the Alaska State Attorney General’s office added an additional six drug-related charges, bringing her total possible sentence to a staggering 54 years in prison.
— Charlo Greene (@IamCharloGreene) September 29, 2016
Greene called the charges a “modern day lynching” in a Sept. 7 blog post. Although 25 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational or medical cannabis, data released by the FBI shows police made a cannabis-related arrest every 49 seconds in 2015. Other data shows that minorities are still disproportionately targeted for arrest.
Greene, who is 28 years old, told Levin:
The news anchor-turned-legal cannabis advocate is fighting back against her charges, taking to social media to promote an online petition asking for the state to drop the charges and raise money for cannabis law reform. As of Thursday afternoon, the petition had 733 signatures.
In an Oct. 5 interview with Tess Koman, an associate editor at Cosmopolitan, Greene said she sometimes struggles with feeling like she lacks support from the local community. Under the terms of her bail, she can no longer be present at her own club.
“In spite of me giving up everything I had and was to fight for Alaskans, it seems absolutely no one here is standing by me in my time of need,” Greene said.
Still, she told Koman she stands by her decisions and encouraged others, especially women, to join the fight for cannabis law reform. Greene told Koman:
“Know that you’re fighting for what’s right. Know that what you’re doing is going to bring about so much good, not just you or your immediate family member you’re fighting for, but to your community and generations to come.”
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quote:in totaal 48 kilo drugs, 231.000 euro cash
WHOEHAHAHAHAHAquote:Vanwege de grote hoeveelheid drugs die werd gevonden, denken agenten dat de verdachten het pand gebruikten als een soort groothandel.
quote:Openbaar Ministerie niet-ontvankelijk in ontnemingsvordering
Het gerechtshof Amsterdam heeft op 17 oktober 2016 het Openbaar Ministerie niet-ontvankelijk verklaard in een ontnemingsvordering. Het eventueel genoten wederrechtelijk voordeel kon niet kon worden vastgesteld door ondeugdelijke verslaglegging met betrekking tot de inbeslaggenomen administratie door de politie.
De politie heeft onderzoek gedaan in 2 coffeeshops in Amsterdam. Daar werd een grote hoeveelheid softdrugs en financiŰle administratie in beslag genomen. De rechtbank heeft de eigenaren van de coffeeshops in 2010 onherroepelijk veroordeeld voor het bezit van een grote hoeveelheid softdrugs. Het Openbaar Ministerie heeft een vordering ingediend ter ontneming van het voordeel dat zij zouden hebben verkregen uit de verboden handel in softdrugs. De rechtbank heeft in 2013 beide verdachten veroordeeld tot betaling van in totaal ruim een miljoen euro.
Toerekenbare tekortkomingen bij de inbeslagname
De politie heeft bij de doorzoeking van de coffeeshops ten aanzien van de financiŰle administratie niet volgens de regels geverbaliseerd. Daardoor blijkt niet wat er precies in beslag genomen is, waar dit is gebeurd en op welke wijze en plaats de inbeslaggenomen goederen uiteindelijk zijn opgeslagen/bewaard. De ontnemingsvordering was gebaseerd op een rapport van de Belastingdienst, waaruit evenmin bleek waarop diens berekening was gebaseerd; over welke stukken men de beschikking heeft gehad en of dat de volledige in beslaggenomen administratie betrof. Het OM is in hoger beroep een aantal keren in de gelegenheid gesteld hierover duidelijkheid te verschaffen, maar deze bleef uit.
Geen adequate verdediging mogelijk
De ontnemingsvordering was hierdoor voor het hof niet controleerbaar en toetsbaar. Bovendien was het voeren van een adequate verdediging nagenoeg onmogelijk. Het hof oordeelt dat geen sprake is van een eerlijk proces, omdat het wederrechtelijk verkregen voordeel niet kan worden vastgesteld en evenmin of de veroordeelde eigenaren van de coffeeshops daadwerkelijk wederrechtelijk verkregen voordeel hebben genoten. Het hof vindt in dit geval de niet-ontvankelijkheid van het Openbaar Ministerie de enige passende sanctie, gezien de grove veronachtzaming van de belangen van de verdediging.
Serie documentaires van de VPRO.quote:De plaag: drugsproblematiek in Vermont
Komt Amerika terug op zijn repressieve drugsbeleid? In Rutland, Vermont helpen ze verslaafden met afkicken in plaats van ze achter slot en grendel te gooien. Ook wordt er ge´nvesteerd in de huizen in hun buurt.
quote:Het kleine Vermont met haar biologische landbouw en serene vergezichten is een schoolvoorbeeld van het pittoreske, landelijke Amerika. Maar achter die facade heerst een vernietigende drugsepidemie. In het stadje Rutland lijkt elke inwoner persoonlijk te zijn getroffen. Rutland besloot nu eens niet voor de klassieke Amerikaanse aanpak van drugsoverlast te kiezen - arresteren en opsluiten - maar zocht de oplossingen in een andere hoek. Het blijkt te werken: de gemeenschap als collectieve afkickkliniek.
In deze korte clip legt politieagent Matthew Prouty uit hoe je een buurt kunt decriminaliseren en verslavingsproblematiek kunt bestrijden door de huizen van verslaafden op te kalefateren - met en door de verslaafden zelf. 'Wanneer je ergens in hebt geinvesteerd, zul je er waarschijnlijk ook voor blijven zorgen.' De zogenoemde broken window-theory.
quote:Police in Bristol have stopped arresting people for possessing Class A drugs
Police in Bristol have stopped arresting people for possessing Class A drugs
Hundreds of people caught by police with drugs – even Class A cocaine and heroin – are not being arrested or put through the criminal justice system after police chiefs quietly began a trial in Bristol.
Since April, Avon and Somerset police have been operating 'diversion' schemes which mean those caught with drugs are offered a workshop which lasts three and a half hours and sees the case against them dropped.
Some arrested might otherwise be facing up to seven years in prison, but can swap the threat of that for three and a half hours in a drug education workshop.
Since April, when the pilot study began, around 215 people caught in the Bristol area have been offered the course instead of being arrested and put through the criminal justice system.
The revelation was made by drugs expert and author Max Daly, writing for VICE, who said not only was it the first time in Britain for 100 years that someone found with Class A drugs did not face arrest, but that it appeared to 'fly in the face of the Home Office's official anti-drug reform mantra'.
"Anyone can be offered the diversion, regardless of their past criminal record, including previous cannabis warnings and drug convictions," he said.
Read more: Bristol Year 7 pupil found with a three-inch knife in school classroom
According to VICE, police are reporting that around 80 per cent of those found with drugs in Bristol take up the offer and complete the workshop. Those with crack cocaine and heroin are least likely to do so, because they are more used to the criminal justice system and many may actually prefer being sent to prison.
The pilot has been extended to April next year and has been going on in Durham too, but those given the course only get the opportunity once – if they are caught again, they will be arrested.
"Over half of those diverted onto the scheme were picked up for possession of cannabis, and a quarter were stopped carrying either cocaine or MDMA," said Mr Daly. "Others have come onto the scheme after being caught with heroin, crack cocaine, speed, ketamine, magic mushrooms and 2CB."
Read more: Man 'snapped' and went to neighbour's armed with a knife after ball landed in his garden
Paul Bunt, Avon and Somerset Police's drug strategy manager, devised the scheme. "In schools, drug education is patchy – it's not taken seriously," he told VICE.
"Being arrested for drug possession is a shock. When someone gets detained by a police officer it's a scary experience for those who have not been arrested before.
"But I wanted a process where I could deal with low-level drug offences without getting people involved in the criminal justice system. As of yet we are not aware of anyone being arrested again after attending one of these workshops," he added.
Drug experts and those involved in the issue said police chiefs at the sharp end of implementing drug laws were more willing to try new things in the 'war on drugs' than politicians.
"The fact that police forces are recognising the futility of criminalising those who use drugs and are willing to implement alternative approaches shows that they are well ahead of the government when it comes to recognising what good public policy can look like," Niamh Eastwood, executive director of drug law charity Release, told VICE.
"We hope that the government takes note and learns from local policing initiatives – such as those in Bristol and Durham – so that they can inform a much-needed shift in national policy," she added.
quote:Kratom reversal an optimistic sign for changing drug policy
In an interesting, but positive turn of events, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has listened to the outraged voices of the citizens and has temporarily lifted the ban of kratom in the United States. Kratom, a plant native to Southeast Asia and used as a painkiller or safe alternative to prescription or illegal opiates, was previously assumed to be assigned as a Schedule I drug as of Sept. 30 due to an emergency scheduling order.
However, the DEA has surprisingly announced that it has not reached a final decision and is allowing a public discussion period. This is extremely important for recovering addicts who rely on kratom to keep from using heroin, which has increasingly been laced with the even deadlier drug fentanyl. This decision also shows promise for future communication between the public and the DEA, which is especially important in the midst of sporadic marijuana legalization, but also possibly for other incorrectly scheduled drugs such as psychedelics.
The DEA had intended to ban kratom as an, “Emergency scheduling order,” which is a misleading way of saying it did not do its research and made this decision out of fear. Supposedly, a small number of deaths were linked to kratom usage; however, in these rare cases other drugs were also used.
However, this, along with its increasingly widespread usage and association with heroin, seemed like enough reason for the DEA to move to emergency classify it as Schedule I for a minimum of two years.
The mandatory wait time to make this move after deciding was 30 days, which was set to be up on Sept. 30. Since announcing this, the DEA has received numerous protests and unending criticism. Points raised included the safety of kratom, the danger of prescription painkillers and the heroin epidemic. The DEA seemed somewhat surprised by the backlash, and has decided to wait and allow for public discussion. The public comment period will go until Dec. 1.
If the DEA recognizes that the people appreciate being involved in the decision-making process, appreciate being trusted to have valid judgment on what they do with their own bodies and appreciate the value of the possibility of research, then this could have positive implications for the discussions surrounding other incorrectly scheduled drugs as well.
This included marijuana, which is sporadically legalized in some states for recreational use, and in others for medicinal use, but also for psychedelics such as LSD. Many of these drugs are placed in Schedule I, the level supposed to be reserved for drugs with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
However, marijuana, for example, clearly has medicinal value. Many psychedelics were used in experimental psychotherapy treatments with positive results. Additionally, addiction to these drugs is nearly if not outright impossible and overwhelmingly the users of these drugs report positive, not negative, effects on their lives.
The majority of the negative impacts on people’s lives come purely from the fact that they are illegal. At this scheduling level, it is extremely difficult to do research to even prove that the drug were incorrectly scheduled. Hopefully, this discussion period for kratom sets a positive example for the DEA to look to in its future decisions. We can only hope.
quote:Every 25 Seconds
The Human Toll of Criminalizing Drug Use in the United States
quote:Every 25 seconds in the United States, someone is arrested for the simple act of possessing drugs for their personal use, just as Neal and Nicole were. Around the country, police make more arrests for drug possession than for any other crime. More than one of every nine arrests by state law enforcement is for drug possession, amounting to more than 1.25 million arrests each year. And despite officials’ claims that drug laws are meant to curb drug sales, four times as many people are arrested for possessing drugs as are arrested for selling them.
As a result of these arrests, on any given day at least 137,000 men and women are behind bars in the United States for drug possession, some 48,000 of them in state prisons and 89,000 in jails, most of the latter in pretrial detention. Each day, tens of thousands more are convicted, cycle through jails and prisons, and spend extended periods on probation and parole, often burdened with crippling debt from court-imposed fines and fees. Their criminal records lock them out of jobs, housing, education, welfare assistance, voting, and much more, and subject them to discrimination and stigma. The cost to them and to their families and communities, as well as to the taxpayer, is devastating. Those impacted are disproportionately communities of color and the poor.
This report lays bare the human costs of criminalizing personal drug use and possession in the US, focusing on four states: Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and New York. Drawing from over 365 interviews with people arrested and prosecuted for their drug use, attorneys, officials, activists, and family members, and extensive new analysis of national and state data, the report shows how criminalizing drug possession has caused dramatic and unnecessary harms in these states and around the country, both for individuals and for communities that are subject to discriminatory enforcement.
There are injustices and corresponding harms at every stage of the criminal process, harms that are all the more apparent when, as often happens, police, prosecutors, or judges respond to drug use as aggressively as the law allows. This report covers each stage of that process, beginning with searches, seizures, and the ways that drug possession arrests shape interactions with and perceptions of the police—including for the family members and friends of individuals who are arrested. We examine the aggressive tactics of many prosecutors, including charging people with felonies for tiny, sometimes even “trace” amounts of drugs, and detail how pretrial detention and long sentences combine to coerce the overwhelming majority of drug possession defendants to plead guilty, including, in some cases, individuals who later prove to be innocent.
The report also shows how probation and criminal justice debt often hang over people’s heads long after their conviction, sometimes making it impossible for them to move on or make ends meet. Finally, through many stories, we recount how harmful the long-term consequences of incarceration and a criminal record that follow a conviction for drug possession can be—separating parents from young children and excluding individuals and sometimes families from welfare assistance, public housing, voting, employment opportunities, and much more.
Families, friends, and neighbors understandably want government to take actions to prevent the potential harms of drug use and drug dependence. Yet the current model of criminalization does little to help people whose drug use has become problematic. Treatment for those who need and want it is often unavailable, and criminalization tends to drive people who use drugs underground, making it less likely that they will access care and more likely that they will engage in unsafe practices that make them vulnerable to disease and overdose.
While governments have a legitimate interest in preventing problematic drug use, the criminal law is not the solution. Criminalizing drug use simply has not worked as a matter of practice. Rates of drug use fluctuate, but they have not declined significantly since the “war on drugs” was declared more than four decades ago. The criminalization of drug use and possession is also inherently problematic because it represents a restriction on individual rights that is neither necessary nor proportionate to the goals it seeks to accomplish. It punishes an activity that does not directly harm others.
Instead, governments should expand public education programs that accurately describe the risks and potential harms of drug use, including the potential to cause drug dependence, and should increase access to voluntary, affordable, and evidence-based treatment for drug dependence and other medical and social services outside the court and prison system.
After decades of “tough on crime” policies, there is growing recognition in the US that governments need to undertake meaningful criminal justice reform and that the “war on drugs” has failed. This report shows that although taking on parts of the problem—such as police abuse, long sentences, and marijuana reclassification—is critical, it is not enough: Criminalization is simply the wrong response to drug use and needs to be rethought altogether.
Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union call on all states and the federal government to decriminalize the use and possession for personal use of all drugs and to focus instead on prevention and harm reduction. Until decriminalization has been achieved, we urge officials to take strong measures to minimize and mitigate the harmful consequences of existing laws and policies. The costs of the status quo, as this report shows, are too great to bear.
Het artikel gaat verder.quote:Wouldn't it be cool if all drugs were legal? It's not just an idle question the 16-year-old version of yourself asked -- a groundbreaking report from two of the world's leading human rights groups calls for states and the federal government to decriminalize drug use. Like, ALL drugs.
With the opioid epidemic spiraling out of control -- overdoses happen so frequently in public, even librarians are equipped with the overdose antidote Narcan -- Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union argue that resources should be spent on treatment and prevention, rather than incarceration and legal battles.
It's not just opioids; all illegal drugs, even marijuana in some states, are creating generations of people who will spend the majority of their lives behind bars for even the slightest drug offense. Instead, the ACLU and HRW urge the focus to shift to "prevention and harm reduction."
"Until decriminalization has been achieved," the report states, "we urge officials to take strong measures to minimize and mitigate the harmful consequences of existing laws and policies. The costs of the status quo, as this report shows, are too great to bear."
quote:Amsterdammer (64) dealt harddrugs vanuit bejaardencomplex | NOS
De Amsterdamse politie heeft een man van 64 opgepakt die vanuit zijn woning in een bejaardencomplex harddrugs verkocht. Agenten kwamen hem op het spoor na meldingen van buren over overlast. "Er kwamen af en aan mensen uit die woning", zegt een politiewoordvoerder.
De Amsterdammer zou ook op straat vanuit zijn invalidenvoertuig de drugs aan de man hebben gebracht. Het gaat daarbij om coca´ne en hero´ne.
In de woning van de man, in het oosten van de stad, is een voorraad harddrugs gevonden, evenals een stroomstootwapen en methadonpillen.
"Ik ben vanaf begin jaren 80 politieman en ik heb nog nooit meegemaakt dat iemand vanuit een bejaardencomplex aan het dealen is. We gaan het meteen de kop indrukken, want het is natuurlijk onacceptabel."
Er zal melding van gemaakt worden bij de gemeente. "Het is gebruikelijk dat de woning van mensen die vanuit huis dealen dichtgetimmerd worden", zegt de politiewoordvoerder.
quote:The number of 18 to 24-year-olds in England entering treatment for addiction to heroin has plummeted 79% in 10 years, as the stigma surrounding the drug and changing tastes in intoxication have made it increasingly unfashionable.
In the year to March, 2,367 people from that age group presented with heroin and opiate addiction at the approximately 900 drug treatment services in England, compared with 11,351 10 years earlier, according to statistics from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS).
They constituted a tiny fraction of the 149,807 opiate addicts who came for help to kick their habit throughout the year, a number that is itself 12% down on a peak of 170,032 who came for treatment in 2009-10. The median age of those users was 39, the statistics showed.
Michael Linnell, the coordinator of UK DrugWatch, a network of drug treatment professionals, said many of the heroin users currently accessing treatment would have become addicted during a boom in the drug’s popularity in the late 1980s. Young addicts were “as rare as hen’s teeth”, he said.
“For the Thatcher generation who didn’t see a future and there were no jobs or employment and the rest of it, it was an alternative lifestyle in that you were really, really busy being a heroin user: getting up, scoring, nicking stuff to get the money to score and the rest of it,” Linnell said.
“There was a whole series of factors until you got to that point where people from those communities – the poorest communities – where you were likely to get heroin users, could see the visible stigma of the scarecrow effect, as some people called it.
"They didn't want to aspire to be a heroin user because a heroin user just had negative connotations, rather than someone who was rebelling against something."
quote:Amount of cocaine seized in UK at highest level for a decade
Authorities confiscated over 4,000kg of the drug in 2015/16, a rise of a quarter on previous year
The amount of cocaine seized by the police and Border Force has surged to the highest level in more than a decade, despite an overall fall in the numbers of seizures, new figures show.
Authorities confiscated 4,228kg (9,321lb) of the class A drug in England and Wales in 2015/16, a rise of a quarter on the previous year and the largest quantity since 2004, according to Home Office data published on Thursday.
The amount of herbal cannabis seized has also surged, more than doubling from 15,105kg (33,300lb) to 30,493kg (67,226lb) – the highest level since 2008/09. However, there were sharp falls in the quantities of ecstasy, heroin, LSD and amphetamines picked up.
The jump in the quantity of cocaine seized was driven by a 31% increase in the quantity seized by Border Force officials, which was likewise the case with the quantity of herbal cannabis seized.
By comparison, the change in the amount of cocaine picked up by police forces was not statistically significant, while the amount of herbal cannabis seized on the streets of England and Wales actually fell 28%. The report said the large increase in overall cannabis seizures was down to a 159% rise in Border Force seizures.
Overall, the number of drug seizures fell by just over 10% to 148,553 in 2015/16 – the fourth consecutive annual fall. Total seizures of cannabis and cocaine fell by 12% and 1% respectively, the figures showed.
The report said the total number of drug seizures each year is “highly correlated” with the number of drug offences recorded by police. In 2015/16, there was a 13% fall in drug offences logged by forces, with the number dropping by 39% since a peak seen in 2008/09.
The Home Office would not comment on the reason behind the sharp increase in the amount of cocaine stopped at the border. The department stressed that the amount of drugs seized should not be taken as a measure of prevalence.
A spokesperson said: “Drugs seizures are just one part of our strategy to tackle the harms caused by drugs. Our approach remains clear – we must prevent drug use in our communities and help dependent individuals recover, while ensuring our drugs laws are enforced.
“We have seen a reduction in drug misuse among adults and young people compared with a decade ago and we are working with other government departments and key partners to develop a new drug strategy, which will be published in the coming months.”
quote:The Disastrous Impacts of Legalizing Recreational Marijuana
PHOENIX (Nov. 1) – Sunday night, CBS’ ’60 Minutes’ ran a story, “The Pot Vote,” highlighting the devastating public health and safety impacts on Colorado since the legalization of recreational marijuana.
The segment – which features the firsthand experiences and expertise of doctors, law enforcement, and prevention advocates, and CO Governor John Hickenlooper – serves as a cautionary tale to Arizonans considering legalizing recreational marijuana in our state. We can and should heed their warning.
NOT WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED:
“It’s affecting the emergency room, it’s affecting the operating room, it’s affecting just about every aspect of medicine that you could think of,”
“In the first nine months of this year, 27 babies born at this hospital tested positive for THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. That’s on track to be about 15 percent higher than last year.”
“In the first 10 months of this year, 71 teenagers came into the emergency room at this hospital with marijuana in their system, which is on track to be about 70 percent higher than last year.
That worries Dr. Simerville because evidence is emerging that heavy teenage use – using 4 to 5 days a week – may be linked to long-term damage in areas of the brain that help control cognitive functions like attention, memory and decision-making.”
BUSTING THE “SAFER COMMUNITIES” MYTH:
“They said the black market will disappear. Well I can tell you the black market is alive and well and thriving. In fact, it’s exploding.”
“There’s huge differences between alcohol and marijuana and that’s one of the things the public really needs to understand. They think ‘Well, we can take all the rules and everything we’ve set up for alcohol and just transfer them over.’ And they can’t do that.”
GOV. HICKENLOOPER CAUTIONS STATES WITH LEGALIZATION ON THE BALLOT:
“I urge caution. My recommendation has been that they should go slowly and probably wait a couple of years. And let’s make sure that we get some good vertical studies to make sure that there isn’t a dramatic increase in teenage usage, that there isn’t a significant increase in abuse like while driving. We don’t have enough data yet to make that decision.”
Safer communities? False.
No public health risks? False.
The marijuana industry’s take on the Colorado experience clearly does not reflect Colorado’s reality.
Arizona, let’s learn from the mistakes of our neighbors in Colorado, and VOTE NO ON PROP 205.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE 60 MINUTES SEGMENT
quote:U.S. Attorney General says pot is not a gateway drug, prescription opioids are
Speaking at a Kentucky high school in September, 2016, U.S. Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, iterated to the kids that marijuana is not the gateway drug it has been made out to be.
She, instead, went on to blame prescription drugs as the main introduction to opioids in modern society. These, she says, are the main factor of things leading young people to harder drugs like heroin.
“In so many cases, it isn’t trafficking rings that introduce a person to opioids,” she said. “It’s the household medicine cabinet. Something you can have prescribed to you in good faith by a doctor. That’s the source.
“It isn’t so much that marijuana is the step right before using prescription drugs or opioids," she continued. "It is true that if you tend to experiment with a lot of things in life, you may be inclined to experiment with drugs, as well. But it’s not like we’re seeing that marijuana as a specific gateway."
The announcement by the Attorney General that pot is not a gateway drug breathes new life into the legalization movement that is sweeping around the country. The feds have already backed off of state rights regarding the matter and now, high profile members of the administration are acknowledging that the dangers of pot have been overstated.
Overdose deaths in the US have increased 137 percent between 2000 and 2014. We no longer have the luxury of ignorantly blaming the hemp plant; we seriously have to investigate the medical industry's profit-pushing method of delivering hard pills to people on a whim.
Niet de meest geloofwaardige persoon natuurlijk, maar wat ze hier zegt klopt wel degelijk.quote:
quote:Jerrycans en tonnen met drugsafval gevonden in Rotterdam | NOS
In Rotterdam zijn meer dan 100 jerrycans en vaten gedumpt. Er zaten resten aceton in, een stof die nodig is voor het maken van xtc.
Het afval werd vanochtend gevonden, maar het is niet duidelijk hoe lang het er al lag.
Voetballers die in de buurt een wedstrijd speelden, werden tijdelijk van het veld gehaald. Na metingen van de brandweer bleek dat er geen gevaar was, schrijft RTV Rijnmond.
0quote:It’s high time: If we can legalize marijuana, why can’t we end the misguided War on Drugs? - Salon.com
America's wasted more than $1 trillion on demonizing drugs, many of which, like weed, have real medical benefits
On Election Day, my home state of California voted to legalize recreational cannabis, as did Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada. So the 2016 elections represented a substantial victory for the legalization movement, which has managed to pass referendums in seven states. With 57 percent of the country now supporting marijuana legalization, according to Pew, it seems likely there will be a nationwide victory sometime in the next few years. However, the War on Drugs is far from over.
Even if marijuana is legalized throughout the United States, there will still be numerous drugs in this country that remain very much illegal, and Americans will suffer because of this. Drugs like psilocybin mushrooms, LSD and MDMA have all demonstrated great potential when it comes to medical benefits, and shown little potential for harm. Still, the idea of legalizing those drugs any time soon seems as likely as Donald Trump hosting a quincea˝era.
“LSD, psilocybin and MDMA, when combined with psychotherapy, have tremendous medical potential for treating psychiatric illnesses in people for whom other treatments have failed,” Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), told me in an email. “These psychedelic drugs need to be legalized, both through scientific drug development studies designed to obtain FDA approval for prescription use and through political means so that they are legalized for non-medical purposes like personal growth, spirituality, couples therapy, creativity, innovation, and celebratory experiences.”
Researchers in Switzerland found in 2014 that LSD can be helpful for patients dealing with end-of-life anxiety related to a terminal illness. The same sort of conclusion has been drawn for psilocybin. Psilocybin has also proven useful for treating severe depression. MDMA has shown great promise for treating PTSD, when used alongside psychotherapy. All of the drugs remain illegal in the United States, and there has been little effort to change that.
Let’s not stop there, though. The War on Drugs has cost America well over $1 trillion since it began under Richard Nixon. This war has been the main cause of our country’s mass incarceration problem. As it is often noted, we have 5 percent of the world’s population and roughly 25 percent of its prisoners. You cannot have a War on Drugs, you can only have a war on people. As Gore Vidal famously used to say of the War on Terror, you cannot have a war on a noun, as that is like saying you’re at war with dandruff. Too many can’t get jobs because of criminal records or lose decades of their lives over small offenses.
We must legalize all drugs. You cannot regulate a drug that is not legal, and you cannot stop addiction by throwing citizens in cages and putting in no effort to rehabilitate them. I am not arguing for the selling of meth and heroin at your local Target store, but I am arguing for a scenario where you are not put in cuffs for having one of those drugs in your pocket.
Portugal decriminalized all drugs nearly decades ago, and the country has not spiraled into hellfire and cannibalism. In fact, drug use decreased, drug-related deaths went down and the instances of HIV infections decreased severely. Of course, the country also initiated harm-reduction programs and invested in reducing addiction, but it appears decriminalizing the drugs didn’t turn every corner into a wanton cocaine party. Perhaps we could learn from this example.
Thanks to abuse of prescription painkillers, this country faces a widespread opioid crisis — and all those drugs are legal. While we divvied out legal pills that people didn’t really need to fill the pockets of greedheads, as Hunter S. Thompson called them, we locked up people using a different version of the same drugs. Many who got addicted to painkillers while on prescription turned to heroin when they couldn’t be prescribed them any more or couldn’t afford them. The whole system is toxic.
I’m calling for a true legalization movement. No longer should lives be ruined because of some minor drug experimentation or because a citizen who needed to make an extra buck sold some substances to a willing buyer. The legalization of marijuana will be a milestone, especially since it’s the most popular drug out there, but we cannot stop there. We should murder the War on Drugs and burn its cadaver. This “war” has been one of the biggest policy failures in American history, and we’ve known this for quite some time. Let’s grow up and move forward. We cannot call ourselves the land of the free when we represent the land of the detained.
quote:Police to investigate Keith Vaz over alleged drug offences
Former chair of home affairs select committee to be investigated after allegations that he paid for male escorts and offered to pay for cocaine
Conflict of interests? Het lijkt me alleen maar logisch als je niet tegen drugs bent dat je dan pleit voor legalisatie. Of mag je alleen de politiek in als je het eens bent met de huidige wetgeving?quote:Police are investigating suspected drug offences after allegations were made against the former chair of the influential home affairs select committee, Keith Vaz.
A Sunday Mirror article on 4 September this year said he had paid male escorts and had been secretly recorded offering to pay for cocaine if it was brought to a future meeting, though he stressed that he did not want any himself.
He was also accused of encouraging others to use poppers. The select committee he formerly chaired has criticised moves to ban the legal high and has investigated prostitution, leading to accusations of a conflict of interest.
quote:Sheriff Admits He Issued a False Alarm About THC-Tainted Halloween Treats - Hit & Run : Reason.com
Bureau County Sheriff's OfficeBureau County Sheriff's OfficeJames Reed, the Illinois sheriff whose Halloween alert confused Crunch Choco Bars with THC-tainted treats, now admits the error, reporting that laboratory analysis contradicted a field test that supposedly showed the Japanese candy "was positive for containing cannabis." In a press release issued last week, the Bureau County Sheriff's Office says "the suspicious candy bars...were found to be imported from Japan, and the design on the wrapper is actually a Japanese Maple Leaf, which closely resembles a cannabis leaf." It adds that "there was no intention of any harm to children in this matter, and the bars have been deemed safe for consumption."
Instead of apologizing for unnecessarily scaring parents and lending credibilty to the mythical menace of marijuana-infused Halloween candy, Reed offers lame excuses. "This product, while very uncommon to our area, can be purchased online," the statement says. Yet the sheriff's office claims "we decided to adopt these precautionary measures" because "attempts to locate [the candy] on the internet were unsuccessful." It is hard to imagine what those attempts entailed, since a Google image search for "Crunch Choco Bars" immediately revealed Reed's confusion.
Despite his embarrassing mixup, Reed implies that parents still need to worry about strangers with candy who are trying to get kids high. "Sheriff Reed would like to thank everyone who took initiative to research this product and contacted us with information related to this candy," the press release says. "There are numerous products, including candies, cookies, and beverages, containing THC/cannabis that we have encountered. We are extremely relieved that this particular candy was not one of them." Far from being a close call, this incident was a completely bogus scare, a fictional example of a nonexistent phenomenon. Had Reed's warning proved accurate, it would have been the first-ever documented case of cannabis candy distributed to trick-or-treaters in the two decades since California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use.
Prohibitionists immediately latched onto Reed's false alarm, pointing to it as proof of a menace they had already been citing as a reason to vote against medical marijuana in Florida and recreational marijuana in Nevada. "The cruel and unfortunate incident highlights the very real dangers legal marijuana has on children," the Drug Free America Foundation declared. "These children were intentionally targeted by adults that were not their parents with the malicious intent of poisoning them." Fortunately, voters saw through this save-the-children nonsense.
Colorado Marijuana Enforcement DivisionColorado Marijuana Enforcement DivisionIn Colorado, the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, the supposed threat of edibles in trick-or-treat bags never materialized, but kids do occasionally consume them by mistake. Hospital visits and poison center calls involving children unintentionally exposed to marijuana rose sharply after legalization. Marijuana still accounts for a minuscule share of hospital visits and poison center calls, and the outcomes are rarely serious. The problem nonetheless has attracted a lot of political attention. While keeping kids away from marijuana edibles is mainly a parental responsibility, legislators have tried to help by requiring child-resistant packaging, warning labels, and recently implemented markings on the products themselves (see above). None of these precautions can entirely prevent accidental ingestion, but it does not happen very often. Last year there were fewer than 50 poison center calls involving kids younger than 9.
Politicians in the Aspen area recently backed away from proposals to restrict or ban edibles in the name of child protection after discovering that unintentional cannabis consumption is not as common as they had been led to believe. "The problem we talked about initially might not be as rampant as we thought," Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo told county commissioners this week, seven months after they asked him to investigate the danger posed by edibles. "The reason it took so long was we kept looking for something we couldn't find." Comparing local edible sales to marijuana-related hospital visits involving patients 19 or younger, The Aspen Times Weekly calculated that "0.004 percent of sales led to the poisoning of a child."
0quote:The British Medical Journal declares the war on drugs a failure and backs policy reform | The Beckley Foundation
Welcome to The Beckley Foundation and our new website.
The beginning of the week saw the publication of an editorial piece in the British Medical Journal calling for doctors and medical professionals to take the helm of drug policy reform. Arguing that the war on drugs has failed and that prohibition leads to less safe drug consumption, they urge health professionals to use their authority to demand “pragmatic reform informed by science and ethics”.
The article cites the prevalence of drug use worldwide (1in 20 adults having consumed an illegal drug in 2014, and a quarter of 15-year olds in the UK having taken an illegal substance of unknown quality and potency) and points to the increasing number of drug related deaths in the UK . It asserts that rather than being a war on drugs, prohibition is a war on “the millions of people who use drugs, and disproportionately on people who are poor or from ethnic minorities”. The article also importantly highlights the fact that current drug laws impede research into the medical use of cannabis and other prohibited drugs despite evidence of potential benefits.
Joining the Royal Society for Public Health and the Faculty for Public Health, who published a report in June this year urging policymakers to stop treating drug use as a criminal issue and make it an issue of public health, this editorial is an important indicator of a changing sentiment among medical professionals in the UK. This year, the British Medical Association (BMA), who have repeatedly rejected calls for the regulation of cannabis, called for the Department of Health to take responsibility for UK drug policy and for “legislative change” to prioritise treatment over punishment of drug users this year.
The status quo is being challenged from numerous sides and a growing medical voice in this debate helps highlight the flaws of the United Nations treaties, whose aim is to “advance the health and welfare of mankind” by prohibiting the non-medical use of some drugs. It is assumed by prohibitionists, including the current UK government, that prevalence of use is an indicator of drug policy success. Politicians and policymakers frequently cite declining or stabilising drug use as progress, ignoring prevalence of problematic drug use or drug related deaths, figures that are arguably more important.
The UK government continues to proclaim the success of its drug policy in spite of the fact that 2015 saw the highest number of drug related deaths ever recorded in England and Wales. Drug related deaths and emergency incidents have increased sharply since 2010, despite crime surveys reporting a lower incidence of illicit drug use. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), heroin-related poisonings have more than doubled from 579 deaths in 2012 to 1,201 in 2015. Deaths from cocaine rose for the fourth year in a row and have increased from 112 in 2011 to 320 in 2015. Amphetamine-related deaths, including MDMA poisonings, have risen from 56 in 2010 to 157 in 2015.
The increased presence of British medical professionals in this debate is indicative that change is in the air. Although seemingly strides behind countries such as Portugal, the Czech Republic, the US and Uruguay, who are progressing towards liberalisation of drug policies, the UK position will become harder to preserve in the face of a rallying cry from public health organisations and medics in support of evidence-based health-promoting policies.
quote:VVD wijzigt koers en wil wietteelt slimmer reguleren | NOS
Een meerderheid van het VVD-partijcongres heeft gestemd voor het slimmer reguleren van de wietteelt. Op het congres in Noordwijkerhout werd een amendement met die strekking aangenomen. Meer dan 80 procent van de leden stemde voor.
De partij wil een nieuwe landelijke aanpak van het softdrugsbeleid en "af van de vreemde situatie" waarbij de teelt en inkoop van cannabis illegaal is, maar de verkoop wordt gedoogd.
De VVD blijft tegen de experimenten van verschillende gemeenten met wietteelt. Wat slimmere regulering van de wietteelt in de praktijk betekent, is nog niet duidelijk.
Politiek verslaggever Wilma Borgman noemt het "een opvallende koerswijziging" van de VVD.
Liberale fractievoorzitters uit het zuiden riepen anderhalve week geleden nogmaals op tot aanpassing van het huidige gedoogbeleid. Gemeenten in Noord-Brabant en Limburg hebben veel last van het huidige gedoogbeleid.
De Vereniging van Nederlandse Gemeenten adviseerde vorig jaar al om de wietteelt te reguleren.
In september diende D66 een initiatiefwet in om de wietteelt te legaliseren. Dat voorstel kreeg steun van onder andere regeringspartij PvdA, maar niet van de VVD. Minister Van der Steur (VVD) en premier Rutte reageerden toen negatief op het voorstel.
Voorzitter Joachim Helms van de Bond van Cannabis Detaillisten noemt de koerswijziging van de VVD goed nieuws en hoopt dat de coffeeshophouders na de verkiezingen betrokken zullen worden bij de uitwerking.
"Ik begrijp dat de VVD die regulering graag landelijk wil regelen", zegt Helms. "Dan moeten we kijken naar bijvoorbeeld Canada. Daar hebben ze een paar hele grote kwekers, maar je moet ervoor zorgen dat er ook een heleboel kleinere zijn." Volgens hem moet de consument centraal staan, en ging dat in Canada niet goed.
quote:In Nederland mag je sinds 1976 hasj of wiet kopen bij coffeeshops. Die mogen het onder strenge voorwaarden verkopen. Hoe de shops aan hun softdrugs komen, is formeel een raadsel: de teelt is verboden. Het einde van dit omstreden gedoogbeleid lijkt nabij.
Een meerderheid binnen de VVD wil af van "de vreemde situatie" waarbij de teelt en inkoop van cannabis illegaal zijn, maar de verkoop wordt gedoogd. Daarmee lijkt er nu een forse meerderheid in de politiek om af te rekenen met het huidige softdrugsbeleid.
In september was er voor het eerst een Kamermeerderheid voor het reguleren van de wietteelt. Ook de Vereniging van Nederlandse Gemeenten, ruim 20 burgemeesters en een groep hoogleraren zijn voorstander van het plan. Uit een enquŕte van onderzoeksbureau Motivaction bleek dat zeventig procent van de Nederlanders voor de legalisering van wietteelt is.
De VVD blijft fel tegen een experiment met legaliseren van de kweek. Over een alternatief zijn de critici van het gedoogbeleid het nog niet eens. Ze vinden wel dat er iets moet veranderen.
Hoe zit het nu?
Nederlanders mogen vanaf 18 jaar per dag vijf gram wiet of hasj kopen bij een coffeeshop. De shops (ongeveer 600 in 100 gemeenten) mogen een maximale handelsvoorraad van 500 gram softdrugs in huis hebben. In de praktijk is dat voor een deel van de coffeeshops te weinig om aan de vraag te voldoen.
Daarom wordt de voorraad van sommige coffeeshops meerdere keren op een dag aangevuld. Vanuit een geheime locatie wordt dan een nieuwe lading wiet naar een shop gebracht. De totale jaaromzet van alle coffeeshops wordt geschat op 1,7 miljard euro. Ongeveer 1,7 miljoen gemiddeld per shop.
Kweken onder dwang
Naar schatting verdwijnt de helft van al het geld in het illegale circuit. Vooral Limburg en Brabant kampen met georganiseerde misdaad die zich op grote schaal bezighoudt met wietteelt. Het komt voor dat mensen onder dwang van criminelen illegaal wiet verbouwen in hun huis of op hun grond.
Jaarlijks rolt de politie in Nederland gemiddeld elke dag zo'n 16 illegale plantages op. Vorig jaar waren dat er bijna 6000 in totaal, naar schatting een vijfde van het totale aantal kwekerijen.
Het buitenland kan wellicht als inspiratiebron dienen voor een nieuw beleid. Zo wordt in de Amerikaanse staten Colorado en Washington het gebruik en de teelt van cannabis toegestaan. Niet de staat maar commerciŰle investeerders zijn de eigenaren van de kwekerijen.
Cannabisclubs in Spanje
In Uruguay is wiet ook legaal en mogen gebruikers zelf kweken of lid worden van wietclubs. Soortgelijke cannabisclubs zijn er ook in Spanje. Het idee is dat er gezamenlijk wiet wordt gekweekt zonder winstoogmerk. Het gebruik is toegestaan zolang dat niet in het openbaar gebeurt.
Legaliseren, experimenteren of verbieden: een definitief besluit zal waarschijnlijk pas na maart komen. Dan zijn de Tweede Kamerverkiezingen geweest en kan een nieuw kabinet het oordeel vellen over 40 jaar gedoogbeleid.
quote:The decapitated bodies and heads of nine men have been found dumped on a roadside in the Mexican state of Guerrero, prosecutors said, bringing the number of bodies found over the weekend in the state to 14.
Roberto ┴lvarez, the state security spokesman, issued a statement on Monday saying the nine bodies showed “visible signs of torture”.
“This event shows that there is a strong battle between rival criminal groups who use extreme violence,” ┴lvarez said, referring to two drug cartels that operate in the area.
Some of the bodies had been dumped with their hands and feet bound, while others were hacked up and placed in plastic bags. They were found late on Sunday near the town of Tixtla.
The area has been the scene of brutal drug cartel slayings, often as part of turf battles between the Ardillos and the Rojos gangs
The grisly discovery came just hours after the dismembered bodies of three other men were found in five plastic bags on a roadside near the town of Teloloapan, in another part of Guerrero state.
┴lvarez said the three men had been reported kidnapped on 4 November from a town near Teloloapan – an area known for opium poppy production that has been the scene of drug gang conflict.
Also on Sunday, two other bodies were found near the Pacific coast port city of Acapulco. One belonged to an off-duty member of the navy.
It was not the first time that military personnel had been targeted in Acapulco.
In late October, two off-duty military men in civilian clothing were abducted from a market, and their bodies were found later in the city.
The military has been part of a stepped-up law-enforcement campaign in Acapulco, the once-glamorous resort that has been the scene of lengthy drug gang violence. But it was unclear if the killing of military personnel was part of a reprisal for that crackdown.
quote:Among the most consequential of Donald Trump’s Cabinet appointees so far is Jeff Sessions, the former federal prosecutor from Alabama who would take over the Department of Justice if he is confirmed as attorney general by his Senate colleagues. As Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern wrote on Friday, Sessions could use his immense power to reverse decades of advances in civil rights. His potential to influence policy on the enforcement of criminal law deserves scrutiny as well.
Sessions would take over a Justice Department that, under the leadership of Loretta Lynch and Eric Holder before her, has been oriented toward making the criminal justice system less punitive—especially toward people accused of drug crimes. Sessions has been a vocal skeptic of those efforts, defending the use of harsh mandatory minimum sentences, attacking Obama’s campaign to grant clemency to federal prisoners serving excessively long sentences, and using his influence in the Senate to help kill the once-promising legislative push to reform the federal justice system.
It’s a record that should dismay anyone who believes the United States holds too many people in prison (about 210,000 in the federal system and 1.4 million more in the states) or that the war on drugs has ruined the lives of too many people who needed help rather than punishment. To find out what Sessions would actually be able to do as attorney general to advance his severe vision of justice, I called Mona Lynch, a professor of criminology and law at the University of California–Irvine and the author of a new book called Hard Bargains: The Coercive Power of Drug Laws in Federal Court. Our conversation, which has been edited and condensed for clarity, follows below.
quote:Verschillende bedrijven in de Rotterdamse haven zeggen dat de douane containers zonder controle doorlaat, schrijft het AD. Dat komt doordat er problemen zijn met het elektronisch aangiftesysteem van binnengekomen containers.
Vanwege die problemen is er een noodsysteem van kracht. Logistieke bedrijven moeten nu per e-mail aangifte doen. Ze krijgen dan vaak binnen ÚÚn of twee minuten al toestemming om een container door te laten. Medewerkers van die logistieke bedrijven zeggen dat de inhoud in zo'n korte tijd nooit kan zijn gecontroleerd. Het zou al weken zo gaan.
De douane zou vanwege het risico op bederf vooral containers met groente en fruit snel doorgang verlenen, terwijl die juist vaak gebruikt worden om drugs in te verstoppen. Regelmatig worden tussen de dozen bananen of andere tropische vruchten honderden kilo's drugs gevonden.
'Er zijn geen extra collega's'
Een woordvoerder van de douane bevestigt in het AD dat er problemen zijn met het aangiftesysteem. Ze spreekt echter tegen dat ladingen ongecontroleerd worden doorgelaten.
De krant haalt een bron binnen de douane aan die zegt te vrezen dat drugscriminelen op de hoogte zijn van de problemen. "Die zullen proberen hiervan te profiteren. Extra collega's inzetten kan niet, want die zijn er niet."
Er zijn al langer problemen in de haven met de aanpak van drugssmokkel. Het OM, de politie en de Rotterdamse burgemeester zeiden begin deze maand te vrezen dat door bezuinigingen bij de haven en de douane er straks onvoldoende capaciteit is om de smokkel aan te pakken. Ook zijn er zorgen over corruptie onder douaniers.
quote:OM: grote partijen drugs worden gedumpt in Europa | NOS
De Rotterdamse haven wordt overspoeld met drugs. Dit jaar is al meer dan 12.000 kilo coca´ne onderschept en daarmee dreigt 2016 een recordjaar te worden.
Ondanks de recordvangsten komen er nog veel drugs het land binnen. Volgens het Openbaar Ministerie komt dat onder meer doordat in Europa grote partijen drugs uit Zuid-Amerika worden gedumpt.
Opvallend is dat drugscriminelen regelmatig partijen van honderden of zelfs duizenden kilo’s versturen. Dat wijst er volgens sommigen op dat criminelen er veel vertrouwen in hebben dat de risico’s op ontdekking klein zijn, dankzij de hulp van corrupte havenwerkers en douanemedewerkers. Juist vandaag werd zestien jaar cel geŰist tegen douanier Gerrit G., die een belangrijke rol zou hebben gespeeld in de smokkel.
Volgens bronnen in het criminele milieu wordt gemiddeld een op de vier of vijf partijen drugs onderschept. Dat er nog veel drugs binnenkomen, blijkt uit de prijzen op de criminele markt.
In het criminele milieu in Rotterdam kost een kilo coca´ne momenteel 23.000 tot 25.000 euro, zeggen bronnen. Dat was tot voor kort nog 37.000 euro. Omdat het niet waarschijnlijk is dat het gebruik is afgenomen, is de enige logische verklaring voor de gedaalde prijs dat het aanbod is toegenomen.
Burgemeester Aboutaleb, het OM en de politie spraken onlangs hun zorgen uit over de reorganisatieplannen bij de douane. Hun vrees is dat er straks onvoldoende capaciteit is om de drugssmokkel in de Rotterdamse haven aan te pakken.
"Het ligt meer voor de hand om de opsporingscapaciteit in de Rotterdamse haven uit te breiden dan terug te brengen", zegt officier van justitie Barbara van Unnik.
quote:In a new interview with Rolling Stone, President Obama comes as close as he ever has to endorsing marijuana legalization, saying, "I am not somebody who believes that legalization is a panacea. But I do believe that treating this as a public-health issue, the same way we do with cigarettes or alcohol, is the much smarter way to deal with it."
quote:It sounds like Obama plans to push marijuana reform "as a private citizen." It's too bad he did not do more to advance the debate as president.
En wat kost het als je het gewoon koopt van iemand die het wil verkopen?quote:
quote:Magic mushroom ingredient psilocybin could be key to treating depression - studies
Immediate reduction in depression and anxiety for up to eight months seen in patients with advanced cancer given a single dose of psilocybin
A single dose of psilocybin, the active ingredient of magic mushrooms, can lift the anxiety and depression experienced by people with advanced cancer for six months or even longer, two new studies show.
Researchers involved in the two trials in the United States say the results are remarkable. The volunteers had “profoundly meaningful and spiritual experiences” which made most of them rethink life and death, ended their despair and brought about lasting improvement in the quality of their lives.
The results of the research are published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology together with no less than ten commentaries from leading scientists in the fields of psychiatry and palliative care, who all back further research. While the effects of magic mushrooms have been of interest to psychiatry since the 1950s, the classification of all psychedelics in the US as schedule 1 drugs in the 1970s, in the wake of the Vietnam war and the rise of recreational drug use in the hippy counter-culture, has erected daunting legal and financial obstacles to running trials.
“I think it is a big deal both in terms of the findings and in terms of the history and what it represents. It was part of psychiatry and vanished and now it’s been brought back,” said Dr Stephen Ross, director of addiction psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center and lead investigator of the study that was based there.
Around 40-50% of newly diagnosed cancer patients suffer some sort of depression or anxiety. Antidepressants have little effect, particularly on the “existential” depression that can lead some to feel their lives are meaningless and contemplate suicide.
The main findings of the NYU study, which involved 29 patients, and the larger one from Johns Hopkins University with 51 patients, that a single dose of the medication can lead to immediate reduction in the depression and anxiety caused by cancer and that the effect can last up to eight months, “is unprecedented,” said Ross. “We don’t have anything like it.”
The results of the studies were very similar, with around 80% of the patients attributing moderately or greatly improved wellbeing or life satisfaction to a single high dose of the drug, given with psychotherapy support.
Professor Roland Griffiths, of the departments of psychiatry and neuroscience who led the study at Johns Hopkins University school of medicine, said he did not expect the findings, which he described as remarkable. “I am bred as a sceptic. I was sceptical at the outset that this drug could produce long-lasting changes,” he said. These were people “facing the deepest existential questions that humans can encounter - what is the nature of life and death, the meaning of life.”
But the results were similar to those they had found in earlier studies in healthy volunteers. “In spite of their unique vulnerability and the mood disruption that the illness and contemplation of their death has prompted, these participants have the same kind of experiences, that are deeply meaningful, spiritually significant and producing enduring positive changes in life and mood and behaviour,” he said.
Patients describe the experiences as “re-organisational”, said Griffiths. Some in the field had used the term “mystical”, which he thought was unfortunate. “It sounds unscientific. It sounds like we’re postulating mechanisms other than neuroscience and I’m certainly not making that claim.”
Ross said psilocybin activates a sub-type of serotonin receptor in the brain. “Our brains are hard-wired to have these kinds of experiences - these alterations of consciousness. We have endogenous chemicals in our brain. We have a little system that, when you tickle it, it produces these altered states that have been described as spiritual states, mystical states in different religious branches.
“They are defined by a sense of oneness – people feel that their separation between the personal ego and the outside world is sort of dissolved and they feel that they are part of some continuous energy or consciousness in the universe. Patients can feel sort of transported to a different dimension of reality, sort of like a waking dream.”
Some patients describe seeing images from their childhood and very commonly, scenes or images from a confrontation with cancer, he said. The doctors warn patients that it may happen and not to be scared, but to embrace it and pass through it, he said.
The commentators writing in the journal include two past presidents of the American Psychiatric Association, the past president of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, a previous deputy director of the Office of USA National Drug Control Policy and a previous head of the UK Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority.
The journal editor, Professor David Nutt, was himself involved in a small trial of psilocybin in a dozen people with severe depression in the UK in May. The ten commentators in the journal, he writes in an editorial, “all essentially say the same thing: it’s time to take psychedelic treatments in psychiatry and oncology seriously, as we did in the 1950s and 1960s.”
Much more research needs to be done, he writes. “But the key point is that all agree we are now in an exciting new phase of psychedelic psychopharmacology that needs to be encouraged not impeded.”
The studies were funded by the Heffter Research Institute in the USA. “These findings, the most profound to date in the medical use of psilocybin, indicate it could be more effective at treating serious psychiatric diseases than traditional pharmaceutical approaches, and without having to take a medication every day,” said its medical director George Greer.
quote:Canada's marijuana task force completes major federal report
Analysts predict Canada could have $4.5 billion industry by 2021; marijuana task force wraps up extensive report that is expected to include recommendations on everything from age limits to medical marijuana, safety and home grows
Canada’s marijuana task force announced Wednesday that it has fulfilled its mission and soon will deliver a final report to the government outlining recommendations for the country’s legal cannabis framework.
The report is being translated and will be provided to federal ministers and the public by mid-December, once it is in both official languages of English and French, according to a statement released Wednesday by Anne McLellan, chair of the Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation.
“It has been an honour for us, along with the other members of the Task Force, to have had the opportunity to engage with Canadians across the country who generously shared their expertise and perspectives on how the government should approach the legalization and regulation of cannabis,” she said in the statement. “We are pleased to announce that the Task Force has completed our work.”
The report — which is expected to include recommendations on a variety of topics such as age limits, medical marijuana, safety and home grows, according to CBC News — follows five months of research and consultations that included 30,000 responses to an online questionnaire, meetings with provincial and territorial governments, interviews with experts across a variety of fields, conversations with medical patients, and visits internationally to states such as Colorado and Washington.
Earlier this week, McLellan told the Globe and Mail that adapting to marijuana legalization will take a significant psychological shift by law enforcement, governments and residents:
Right now, production and possession of marijuana is illegal unless it has been authorized for medical purposes, but the government estimates the illegal marijuana industry’s size at $7 billion ($5.2 billion U.S.), annually.
Ottawa has committed to introducing legislation in the spring that will move marijuana “from a criminal regime, where this was an illegal substance with criminal sanctions – some of them very serious – to a legalized product in a regulated marketplace,” Ms. McLellan said. It’s important to move slowly, and deliberately, in implementation, she added.
“Most Canadians think it’s time to move away from the system we have. But they are less clear about words like ‘decriminalization’ and ‘legalization.'”
As Canada marches closer to legalizing marijuana, the country could have a $4.5 billion industry on its hands by 2021, financial analysts project.
Canaccord Genuity analysts Matt Bottomley and Neil Maruoka published a note this week estimating that by 2021, Canada will have 3.8 million legal recreational marijuana users and a demand for 575,000 kilograms, or roughly 1.27 million pounds, of recreational and medical marijuana, according to a Bloomberg report.
If Canada legalizes in 2017 and sales begin in 2018, the initial demand is estimated to be about 400,000 kilograms, or 882,000 pounds, the analysts said.
Canaccord’s Bottomley and Maruoka did not respond Wednesday to a request from The Cannabist for further comment.
Canada is poised to become the second country in the world to legalize marijuana, behind Uruguay, which legalized in 2013. Colorado was the first locale to allow legal sales of recreational marijuana, starting in 2014.
quote:Corrupte douanier gaat ondanks proces door met z'n praktijken | NOS
Vorig jaar oktober kwam de van corruptie verdachte douanier Gerrit G. vrij uit voorlopige hechtenis, omdat zijn vrouw ernstig ziek was. Het proces tegen hem liep door en mondde vorige week uit in een strafeis van 16 jaar cel. In de tussentijd ging G. gewoon door met zijn praktijken, blijkt uit stiekem opgenomen gesprekken die in handen zijn van de NOS.
Dit najaar voerde G. - inmiddels weduwnaar, maar nog steeds op vrije voeten - gesprekken met een vertegenwoordiger van drugsleveranciers uit Zuid-Amerika. Daarin vertelde hij onder meer dat een van zijn medeverdachten, drugscrimineel RenÚ F., achter de 'vergismoord' van 1 januari 2014 in Berkel en Rodenrijs zit.
Verder geeft hij volop smokkeltips en laat hij merken dat hij tegen betaling nog altijd bereid is om te helpen bij de invoer van drugs in de Rotterdamse haven. De gesprekspartner nam de gesprekken op.
Volgens het OM verdiende G. als douanier miljoenen door ervoor te zorgen dat containers met drugs niet werden gecontroleerd. Als medewerker van de afdeling pre-arrival had hij daarop veel invloed. In de zaak tegen hem staan ook RenÚ F. en Dennis van den B. terecht. Tegen hen eiste het OM 8 jaar en 12 jaar cel wegens drugssmokkel en omkoping.
Het opgenomen gesprek is bijzonder omdat G. tijdens zijn proces niet wilde praten. Hij beriep zich op zijn zwijgrecht. Tegen de vertegenwoordiger van de drugsleveranciers praatte G. wel honderduit, niet wetend dat zijn gesprekspartner alles opnam. Het eerste gesprek vond dit najaar plaats in een appartement in Rotterdam-Zuid.
G. lijkt niet erg onder de indruk te zijn van de aanklacht tegen hem wegens corruptie. Hij geeft in het gesprek gewoon weer smokkeltips. "Ik kan je verschrikkelijk veel vertellen. Ik weet hoe ze werken. Ik werk er al 35 jaar", zegt hij. Grote partijen drugs sturen, meer dan 500 kilo, is volgens hem onverstandig. "Want die worden in 99 procent van de gevallen al gemeld door de DEA of de politie vanuit het land van herkomst."
Een goede smokkelmethode is het verstoppen van kleinere partijen in lege containers, geeft G. als advies. Lege containers worden niet gecontroleerd en een partij van 150 tot 250 kilo merkt de kraanmachinist niet. En drugs verstoppen in schroot gaat ook vaak goed, concluderen de twee mannen. Wekelijks komen zo drugs de Rotterdamse haven binnen.
Luister hier naar het fragment waar G. verschillende smokkeltips geeft. De geluidskwaliteit is niet kraakhelder, maar goed te verstaan.
G. biedt in het gesprek ook zijn oude werkcomputer van de douane aan. Die was in beslag genomen bij zijn arrestatie, maar tot zijn eigen verbazing teruggegeven. Wellicht kun je die kraken en ermee inloggen in het computersysteem van de douane, oppert G. Luister hier naar het fragment over de computer van G.
Als hem wordt gevraagd wat er is gebeurd met vier containers met drugs, stelt G. voor iemand in het systeem te laten kijken of de containers in beslag zijn genomen. Dat is volgens hem niet zo moeilijk. "Er werken 1500 man bij de douane en iedereen kan kijken."
In een tweede gesprek bij hem thuis geeft G. aan dat hij nog steeds contacten heeft binnen de douane. Als tegen G. wordt gezegd dat er in de haven nog een container met verf en drugs staat, geeft hij tips hoe iemand zonder op te vallen in het douanesysteem kan kijken of de container gecontroleerd is. "Ik ga mijn uiterste best doen", zegt hij als hem 30 procent van de waarde wordt aangeboden.
Niet beseffend dat ook dit gesprek wordt opgenomen, vertelt G. dat hij vanaf 2012 samenwerkte met RenÚ F. en Dennis van den B. Hij zegt ook dat hij op verzoek van een man uit het Westland een partij van 10.000 liter grondstof voor xtc uit China heeft doorgelaten. Hij zou hiervoor anderhalf miljoen euro krijgen, maar heeft dat nooit gekregen.
G. heeft ook van RenÚ F. en Dennis van den B. nog een groot bedrag te goed, zegt hij. Uit het gesprek wordt duidelijk dat de twee ook nog miljoenen schuldig zijn aan de drugsleveranciers uit Zuid-Amerika. Hun vertegenwoordiger heeft de gesprekken met G. vermoedelijk opgenomen en laten uitlekken om de druk op F. en Van den B. te verhogen.
Het is nog onduidelijk wat de consequenties van de uitgelekte gesprekken zijn voor het proces tegen G. en zijn medeverdachten. Het OM is al gekomen met een strafeis, maar formeel is het proces nog niet ten einde. In een reactie zegt het OM dat het de opgenomen gesprekken ook in handen heeft. "We hebben een bestand gekregen en dat gaan we nu onderzoeken", zegt de woordvoerder.
De advocaat van Gerrit G., Jan-Hein Kuijpers, wil eerst nader onderzoek naar de authenticiteit van de opnamen voordat hij op de inhoud wil reageren. "En bovendien zal ik de rechtbank vragen om de man uit Colombia als getuige te horen."
0quote:Silk Road Case Sets Precedent for Total Government Control of Currency | Fliuch Off Irish Water Ltd
By Alice Salles
The pursuit of justice in the United States has never been easy — or cheap.
In 2014, Texan Ross Ulbricht was convicted of founding and running the black market site known for drug sales, the “Silk Road,” under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts.” Due to his alleged involvement with the site, Ulbricht was convicted of drug trafficking and other charges in February 2015. Following a trial riddled with inconsistencies and likely corruption, he was sentenced to two life sentences.
While charges associated with an alleged murder-for-hire scheme were eventually removed from the indictment, a separate charge of “procuring murder” is still pending trial in Maryland. However, Ulbricht and his lawyers have always dismissed these charges, arguing there were multiple individuals who used the “Dread Pirate Roberts” name and that, regardless, no murders ever took place.
In order to help the Ulbricht family raise the $14,000 required to appeal Ross’s double life sentence for nonviolent charges, a group of free-thinking and libertarian-leaning economists, policy researchers, artists, authors, journalists, politicians, and entrepreneurs held a “Free Ross-a-thon” on Sunday, December 4th.
While the main goal of the event was to pool enough money to ensure the “printing and binding” of the “appeal documents for the court,” the event also sought to bring awareness to Ulbricht’s case and its context, which is deeply entrenched in the drug war.
During the event, many of the participants touched on drug prohibition — the ongoing federal and state governments’ effort to target all drug use and commerce. But one of the most compelling arguments linking Ulbricht’s case and the drug war came from Roger Ver, a bitcoin angel investor who supports him.
“The question isn’t: should drugs be legal or illegal,” Ver told viewers. “The question should be: Does each individual human being own their own body?”
Implying Ulbricht’s case is solely about an individual breaking immoral drug laws, Ver told the group and viewers he is “probably the only person on this call who has actually spent time in federal prison.” Ver continued that as a federal prisoner, “[he] got to see firsthand somewhere between 70 and 90 percent of the people [he] was there with were there for victimless crimes,” including individuals who were handed 15-year sentences for selling marijuana.
“Did morality change when politicians wrote down different words on a piece of paper?” Ver asked, answering his own question by arguing the problem is not what’s in the law. Rather, he argued, the problem has always been that the “laws were wrong to begin with.”
During the pro-Ulbricht event, Ross’s mother, Lyn Ulbricht, discussed other implications of the Silk Road case, drawing the conversation toward Bitcoin, a currency used heavily on the dark web exchange (establishment media has linked Bitcoin to dangerous online drug sales).
“I know you’re known for Bitcoin,” Mrs. Ulbricht told Bitcoin angel investor Roger Ver while thanking him for being such an important part of the Free Ross movement, “but you’re [also] a freedom fighter. You’re someone who cares about liberty and that is something I think is even more important than Bitcoin,” she continued.
“The reason I got involved in Bitcoin is because I’m interested in voluntaryism and voluntary human interaction,” he told Mrs. Ulbricht. After all, he continued, “that’s how everybody deals with everybody else, … with one giant, glaring exception and that’s the state.”
“If Starbucks uses some of its money to drop bombs, I wouldn’t shop there so why would I support the American empire,” he added, evoking the words of activist and radio host Derrick J. Freeman.
At the end of the day, the Silk Road provided a voluntary platform for drug sales using technology including Bitcoin, and his actions worked to subvert the government’s anti-drug policies.
While many have always insisted that the Free Ross movement is misguided, claiming they somehow have done a “great disservice” to efforts to end the drug war, in an article for the Foundation for Economic Education, economist Robert Murphy confirms that — with the exception of the murder-for-hire charges — all crimes Ulbricht is accused of committing are “victimless.” This has prompted libertarians and those who agree with libertarian principles to call for Ulbricht’s release.
That’s why this case and the subsequent coverage and debate are important: because they force us to discuss the drug war.
If Ulbricht did create a market that was, for some time, free from government interference, he helped countless consumers gain access to drugs they wouldn’t be able to obtain in a ‘normal’ setting, making him yet another victim of the drug war — after all, he wouldn’t have ventured into the deep web if it hadn’t been for the restrictions imposed by prohibitionist policies.
Ulbricht never personally sold drugs on his decentralized exchange, but rather, provided a platform for others to do so. Still, the U.S. justice system considers the fact that he might have created this marketplace at all to be a much more sordid crime than drug trafficking. As he was handed a double life sentence for what libertarians often call “victimless crimes,” many began to question the harsh ruling, pointing out New York City Federal Judge Katherine Forrest’s claims regarding Ulbricht’s double life term; she said the harsh sentence was “meant to serve as a message to discourage other people from following in Ulbricht’s path.”
But that’s not the only reason this case is relevant. It’s also important because it forces us to question the government’s intrusive tactics in pursuing particular cases, especially considering Ulbricht’s case sets a precedent that paves the way for the prosecution of digital currency users and entrepreneurs.
The Tech Side of Ulbricht: How the Silk Road Case Sets a Precedent
After the Ulbricht trial, two Silk Road investigators were convicted of using “pseudonyms to steal bitcoins from the site, [attempting] to extort money from Ulbricht, and also [having] sold him law enforcement information.” One secret service agent on the case confessed to stealing $800,000 worth of the digital currency. These facts alone serves as an example that despite the widespread coverage, few bring up the involvement of the corrupt agents in the justice system — and the possibility they may have tampered with evidence electronically by hacking into Ulbricht’s alleged account.
Recently, lawyers defending Ulbricht pointed out that a third corrupt agent may have been discovered in the case.
In recently unveiled private chats, Ulbricht’s pseudonym, Dread Pirate Roberts, talks to a user known as “albertpacino,” “alpacino,” or “notwonderful,” who offers “information about the law enforcement investigation into Silk Road” to the Silk Road creator in exchange for weekly payments.
Claiming these “chats didn’t appear in earlier versions of the forum logs shared by the prosecution and defense,” Ulbricht’s lawyers have suggested that “someone in law enforcement tampered with evidence to cover up those conversations.”
As the Ulbricht family gears up for yet another round of appeals in light of new evidence, it’s important to analyze Ross’s case in light of how the state has used him as an example to discourage similar subversive behavior from others.
With libertarianism and free association becoming more popular across the country, the idea that an individual accused of refusing to comply with the rules of the system could be set free certainly poses a threat to state dominance.
It’s clear that many agents within the government may have had incentives to push Ulbricht’s sentence to the limit. Nevertheless, these are just theories. We can only say for certain that there is something foul about this case once evidence is unearthed.
Until then, it’s important to discuss the obvious drug war-related themes associated with the case without forgetting to stress the importance of putting an end to an immoral set of laws like those that comprise, which only creates more deadly black markets. In the process, let’s not forget to bring awareness to how this case sets a precedent in other fields, one that may put other entrepreneurs and digital currency users in grave legal danger.
You can learn more about Ulbricht’s case and donate to his cause here.
This article (Silk Road Case Sets Precedent for Total Government Control of Currency) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alice Salles and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article to [email protected].
quote:'Verbod op partydrug 4-FA vooral gebaseerd op aannames' | NOS
De drug 4-FA is vanaf 1 april 2017 verboden. Maar waarom eigenlijk?
4-FA lijkt een blijvertje onder drugsgebruikers. Het aantal mensen dat dit jaar de designer drug liet testen bij het Trimbos-instituut is "flink gestegen" ten opzichte van 2015: toen ging het om 708 mensen. De officiŰle cijfers komen in januari.
Voor de zomer stond de drug nog bekend als 'xtc-light'. Volgens gebruikers is 4-FA, ook wel bekend als 4-FMP, minder intens dan xtc en hou je meer controle. Het onschuldige karakter van de drug verdween begin september: er kwam naar buiten dat mensen mogelijk hersenbloedingen hadden opgelopen na het gebruik van de drug.
Maar dat 4-FA nu door de overheid verboden wordt, is gebaseerd op aannames, zegt onderzoeker Tibor Brunt van het Trimbos. "Keihard bewijs over de schadelijkheid ontbreekt. Deze manier van verbieden is op dit moment vaak de enige weg voor beleidsmakers. Eigenlijk moet je iets pas verbieden na zorgvuldig onderzoek, maar dat duurt vrij lang."
Brunt is nu nog bezig met een onderzoek naar nieuwe drugs, waaronder 4-FA.
Bij artsen bestaat een sterk vermoeden dat afgelopen zomer twee mensen zijn overleden door het gebruik van 4-FA. Al blijft het altijd de vraag of 4-FA Úcht de doodsoorzaak was. "We gaan vaak af op wat een arts in kwestie kan concluderen", zegt Brunt. "Als hij iemand met ernstige verschijnselen ziet en daarbij wordt de drug in kwestie gevonden, kan het soms toch zijn dat de drug ten onrechte als doodsoorzaak wordt gezien."
"De arts kan niet in de celletjes kijken en zien dat die drug ook echt de fatale prikkel was. Zo goed kan je stoffelijke overschotten niet onderzoeken. Misschien heeft iemand wel net in het hooggebergte gezeten, had iemand zich slecht voorbereid op z'n drugsgebruik of is iemand genetisch kwetsbaar. Dat maakt zo'n conclusie heel tricky."
In de praktijk betekent het dat onderzoeksresultaten dus niet altijd worden afgewacht en een drug als 4-FA daarom gewoon wordt verboden, stelt Brunt. Op de zaken vooruitlopend dus.
Dat het Trimbos tˇch waarschuwt, heeft alles te maken met de functie van het onderzoeksinstituut. Better safe than sorry, is de gedachte. "Omdat er doden zijn gevallen, kunnen we niet anders dan de stof verbieden."
Maar, zegt Brunt, we moeten ook niet te panisch en paniekerig gaan doen. "Drugs zijn nooit 100 procent veilig. Ik mag hopen dat elke gebruiker dat wel weet en anders bij ons informatiemateriaal zoekt over wat de risico's zijn. Het is ook niet zo dat elke keer als je iets neemt, je dan Russische roulette speelt."
Nee, het is inderdaad niet gek dat het Trimbos met zulke waarschuwingen komt, zegt hoogleraar verslavingszorg Wim van den Brink bij de UvA. "Het instituut vindt de lol die je ervan hebt niet opwegen tegen de risico's."
Voor veel gebruikers is 4-FA een vervanger van xtc. Als het aan Van den Brink ligt, wordt xtc gelegaliseerd. Dan heb je volgens hem een experimentele drug als 4-FA niet meer nodig. "Ik kijk anders tegen xtc-doden aan. Als je kijkt naar het aantal mensen dat xtc gebruikt en eraan doodgaat, dan is het niet zo heel gevaarlijk."
"Mensen moeten zelf uitmaken wat voor risico's ze willen nemen. Dat betekent dat mensen zich mogen beschadigen, als ze maar helder hebben wat de risico's zijn. Daar moet je als maatschappij zo weinig mogelijk tussen zitten."
Reguleren Ó la cannabis, dat zou voor Van den Brink ideaal zijn. "Via een coffeeshopachtige constructie. De mdma (de werkzame stof van xtc) kan dan door de staat zijn gecontroleerd of geproduceerd. Iedereen weet dan wat er in de pil zit en daar kan dan een bijsluiter bij." Op deze manier verwacht Van den Brink dat er minder incidenten zullen zijn en dat een deel van de criminaliteit verdwijnt.
Brunt is niet heel enthousiast. "Xtc is gewoon een gevaarlijk middel. Er is een groep die er extreem gevoelig voor is. Cannabis is een ander verhaal: daar vallen niet zo snel doden. Die risico's moet je niet over ÚÚn kam scheren."
quote:Legal pot could still land buyers and sellers in jail | Local News | gloucestertimes.com
Friday, Dec. 2
BOSTON — A voter-approved law makes it legal to possess marijuana next week but buyers and sellers still face arrest — and possible prosecution.
The law allows residents 21 and older to have up to an ounce of marijuana in public and up to 10 ounces at home, and to grow up to 12 plants on their property. It also authorizes retail sales and growing facilities, but those aren’t expected to open until 2018 or later.
Law enforcement from state police to local departments say they’ve received little direction from state officials ahead of the date when the law takes effect, on Dec. 15.
“There’s a lot of confusion because it’s going to be legal to possess something that you can’t legally purchase yet,” said Mark Leahy, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Police Chiefs. “We’ll have to see how this all plays out because there’s been no guidance.”
Under current law, possession of an ounce or less of marijuana is considered a civil infraction that carries a fine up to $100. Buying and selling pot is illegal, regardless of amount.
The Class D controlled substance also remains illegal under federal law.
Leahy said he expects police to continue making arrests for street sales of marijuana, deferring to prosecutors about whether to press charges.
“We don’t have any choice but to enforce the law as it exists and let the courts decide what to do,” he said. “That’s the only approach we can take because we can’t turn our back on it.”
It’s unclear if district attorneys will pursue cases for small pot deals. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Maura Healey said her office is “closely monitoring the situation” but hasn’t issued guidelines to prosectors.
State lawmakers are expected to propose a slew of bills aimed at regulating the pot industry, but that won’t happen until next year when the new legislative session convenes.
Jim Borghesani, spokesman for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which pushed legalization, urges police to exercise discretion between when the law takes effect and when state-regulated retail sales are up and running.
“I don’t think it would be wise to arrest or prosecute people for something that is legal,” he said. “It’s not going to go anywhere in courts, so it would be a big mistake to bring cases forward.”
Borghesani said other states that legalized marijuana — including Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and Washington — experienced “gray areas” when possession was legal before sales were, and police did not target street-level deals.
“If they catch someone with 10 pounds, it’s different,” he said. “That’s trafficking and illegal.”
Legalization advocates worry about talk on Beacon Hill of pushing back the timeline for opening retail shops, which would prolong the uncertainty, he said.
“We think the timelines work,” he said. “We put them into the law for the very reason, that we didn’t want this to turn into the rollout of medical marijuana, which took years to get going.”
Question 4 passed with more than 53 percent of the vote, even with bipartisan opposition that included Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and Healey, a Democrat, as well as an organized, anti-legalization campaign.
Lt. Edward Guy, a spokesman for the Andover police, said his department has been sending officers to train on the new law’s requirements and how to detect impaired drivers.
Unlike a Breathalyzer that detects blood alcohol levels, there is no device for gauging marijuana impairment.
“It’s a strange situation because there are so many unknowns,” he said. “It’s a whole new world.”
As for street-level sales, Andover police will continue to make arrests and refer cases to the Essex District Attorney’s office, Guy said.
“Marijuana is still illegal under federal law,” he said. “That’s the way we’re going to look at it.”
Matt Allen, field director for the Massachusetts chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said voters who approved Question 4 “clearly sent a message that they wanted to see an end to the costly war on drugs … because it doesn’t work.”
“Arrests and prosecutions for marijuana offenses create criminal records that are barriers to housing, education and work,” he said. “Law enforcement should be looking at the big picture and not finding loopholes to continue going after people for low-level marijuana offenses.”
Allen said arrests for pot possession dropped nearly 93 percent in the six years after the state decriminalized marijuana possession under an ounce in 2008.
But as of two years ago, he noted, African-Americans were arrested for pot possession at a rate 3.3 times higher than whites, even though use is similar across racial and ethnic groups.
Peter Elikann, a Boston-based defense attorney, said the state needs to quickly regulate marijuana sales to clear up any confusion.
“Eventually there will be regulations on the sale of marijuana, similar to alcohol and cigarettes,” he said. “But until then it’s going to be hard to prosecute, because the law is so vague.”
Christian M. Wade covers the Massachusetts Statehouse for the Gloucester Times and its sister newspapers and websites. Email him at [email protected]
quote:Mexican military not meant to serve in drug cartel crackdown, top general says
Gen Salvador Cienfuegos encouraged soldiers to return to barracks a decade after being surrogates for police in conflict full of violence and human rights abuses
A decade after Mexico sent its soldiers into the streets to combat drug cartels, the country’s top general has said troops should head back to their barracks, arguing their role is ill-defined and counterproductive.
“Do you want us [back] in our barracks? Let’s do it. I would be the first to raise both hands so that we do our constitutional duties,” Mexican defence secretary Gen Salvador Cienfuegos said to the press. “We didn’t ask to be there [in the streets]. We don’t take any pleasure in it. None of us …. were trained to pursue criminals.”
The general’s rare and candid comments on Thursday came just days before the 10th anniversary of then-president Felipe Calderˇn’s decision to deploy the armed forces against drug cartels and organized crime.
The conflict, launched 11 December 2006, has cost almost 200,000 lives and left an estimated 28,000 missing. Soldiers have regularly been accused of human rights violations in the course of the crackdown, which has exposed shortcomings in Mexican policing and failed to establish order in many of the troubled corners of the country.
Calderˇn’s successor, President Enrique Pe˝a Nieto, initially tried to turn the page on the drug war – mostly by staying silent on the subject and talking up other agendas such as the economy and structural reforms.
But soldiers still stayed in the street – something analysts attribute to public support for the crackdown and politicians’ failure to find alternative policies or successfully reform the police.
Mexico’s military has traditionally enjoyed high public approval, thanks to its role in responding to natural disasters and poor perceptions of police.
“We would love that this would have been resolved, that the police did the job that they are there to do, that they are paid to do, but don’t do,” Cienfuegos said. “There’s no rush. There has not been any rush for many years and we’re the ones confronting these problems.”
He added: “This isn’t something that can be solved with bullets; it takes other measures and there hasn’t been decisive action on budgets to make that happen.”
The army’s role in the crackdown on cartels has proved polemic at times, especially as the defence secretariat has resisted attempts at having soldiers face civilian justice for excesses committed.
After soldiers killed 22 suspects in an apparent summary execution in the town of Tlatlaya in 2014, only one soldier was convicted for disobedience and sentenced to a year in prison, while six others were declared not guilty,
The army’s activities on the night of 26 September 2014 – when 43 students were kidnapped and presumably killed by cops acting in cahoots with criminals – have also come under scrutiny. Cienfuegos, however, has denied investigators access to soldiers stationed nearby that night.
A 2015 survey of trust in Mexican institutions ranked the army third most trustworthy, trailing only universities and the Catholic church. The police, the president’s office, politicians and political parties ranked among the worst.
quote:Opnieuw vaten met drugsafval gevonden in Limburg | NOS
In het buitengebied niet ver van Heerlen zijn vanochtend op een aantal plekken vaten met drugsafval ontdekt. Eind november werden een paar kilometer verderop ook al vaten met afval van illegale drugsproductie gedumpt.
L1 meldt dat op drie verschillende plaatsen drugsafval is gevonden, zowel bij Heerlen als bij Nuth. Het is nog onduidelijk of de vaten afkomstig zijn van hetzelfde illegale drugslaboratorium als op 26 november. Toen werden, ook op een zaterdagochtend, op een parkeerplaats aan de Dokter Koolsstraat in Heerlen zeven grote vaten, tien kleinere vaten en aantal jerrycans met drugsafval gevonden.
Een half jaar geleden werden in de haven van Maasbracht zeventig vaten met drugsafval gedumpt.
In alle gevallen inspecteert de brandweer de vaten en stelt de omgeving veilig. Bij de vondst langs de Dokter Koolsstraat in Heerlen bleek dat uit een aantal vaten een onbekende vloeistof lekte. De brandweer heeft daarom de bestrating rond de vaten schoongespoten en het riool doorgespoeld.
quote:Nobel Peace Prize: Santos calls for 'rethink' of war on drugs - BBC News
The President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, has used his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech to call for the world to "rethink" the war on drugs.
He said the zero-tolerance policy might be "even more harmful" than all the other wars being fought worldwide.
Mr Santos' government and the country's biggest rebel group, the Farc, signed a peace deal last month.
The conflict it ends has killed more than 260,000 people and left millions internally displaced.
Accepting the prize for his efforts in the peace process, Mr Santos paid tribute to the families of victims of the conflict.
Has the war on drugs been lost?
Juan Manuel Santos: From hawk to dove
He said the "great paradox" of peacemaking was that "the victims are the ones who are most willing to forgive, to reconcile and to face the future with a heart free of hate", even while "many who have not suffered the conflict in their own flesh are reluctant to accept peace".
In a deviation from his prepared remarks, he asked the representatives of the victims present to stand and be recognised for their own efforts in the peace process, to much applause.
"I have served as a leader in times of war - to defend the freedom and the rights of the Colombian people - and I have served as a leader in times of making peace," he said. "Allow me to tell you, from my own experience, that it is much harder to make peace than to wage war."
Mr Santos said it was "time to change our strategy" on drugs, and that Colombia had "paid the highest cost in deaths and sacrifices" in the so-called war on drugs.
The term, coined by US President Richard Nixon more than four decades ago, refers to US-led efforts to stop drug production at its source. In Latin America this has included on-the-ground policing, and fumigation of coca fields from the air.
"We have moral authority to state that, after decades of fighting against drug trafficking, the world has still been unable to control this scourge that fuels violence and corruption throughout our global community," he said.
"It makes no sense to imprison a peasant who grows marijuana, when nowadays, for example, its cultivation and use are legal in eight states of the United States.
"The manner in which this war against drugs is being waged is equally or perhaps even more harmful than all the wars the world is fighting today, combined."
The Colombian government's peace deal with the Farc was struck after many years of negotiations.
It hit a surprise hurdle in October this year when 50.2% of voters rejected it in a referendum.
Just four days after the unexpected referendum result, it was announced that Mr Santos would receive the prize. In his speech, he said the nomination was "equally surprising" and "came as if it were a gift from heaven".
Working alongside the no campaigners, the government wrote a new deal which was signed last month.
Berit Reiss-Andersen, a member of the award committee, said the Nobel Peace Prize 2016 was "also intended as a tribute to the Colombian peace" who had "never given up hope of a just peace", and the negotiators and Farc guerrilla leaders also deserved "thanks and tribute".
There were many armed groups involved in decades of conflict in Colombia, including left-wing rebel groups and right-wing paramilitaries. In October the government announced it would start peace talks with the second-largest rebel group, the ELN.
Het artikel gaat verder.quote:In the Drug Enforcement Administration's annual survey of the nation's law enforcement agencies, heroin remained the top concern in 2016 — head-and-shoulders above all other illicit drugs — while marijuana was a drug of negligible concern. Only 4.9 percent of law enforcement respondents named it their most worrisome drug, down slightly from 6 percent last year.
Concern or not, marijuana remains illegal for all purposes under federal law, a policy the DEA emphatically reiterated this past summer. To that end, the DEA devoted 22 pages of its Drug Threat Assessment to pot — considerably more real estate than it devoted to, say, prescription painkillers (16 pages), which kill more than 14,000 people per year.
Many of those 22 pages on the idiosyncrasies of state-level medical and recreational marijuana laws, as well as marijuana use trends in legalization states and nationwide. Most of that information will be familiar to anyone who has been following the legalization story closely.
However, the DEA makes the interesting claim, not present in last year's Threat Assessment, that “media attention” to marijuana issues is making it more difficult to enforce marijuana laws and prosecute people who violate them. The agency also appears to blame the media for spreading inaccurate information about the legality and effects of marijuana use.
quote:Bewoners zien de laatste jaren hun buurt verslechteren terwijl het aantal prostitutiepanden ruim een kwart is afgenomen.
Uit de veiligheidsindex van de Voortgangsrapportage Project 1012 van dit jaar blijkt dat de Burgwallen te boek staan als de minst veilige buurt van Amsterdam. De onveiligheid kwam tachtig procent hoger uit dan het gemiddelde in de stad.
quote:De afgelopen weken vonden verschillende geweldsplegingen op de Wallen plaats. Tegelzetter Robert Gerritsen uit Voorthuizen werd er doodgeslagen en afgelopen zaterdag ontstond opnieuw een vechtpartij. Donderdag ontstond op de Wallen een vechtpartij waarbij een man een vuurwapen trok en, tevergeefs, de trekker overhaalde.
Door het 1012-beleid van de şgemeente wordt het aantal prostitutieramen, coffeeshops en andere ongewenste bedrijven fors teruggedrongen. Terwijl de traditionele ondernemingen in de hoerenbuurt slinken, schieten nieuwe toeristische bedrijfjes die teren op het roemruchte seksverleden van de Wallen - prostitutiemusea, red light tours, rederijen, en rondwandelingen door de hoerenbuurt - als paddenstoelen uit de grond.
Het artikel gaat verder.quote:Responding to a sharp rise in the number of heroin-related deaths in recent years, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs said maintenance of drug treatment programmes was essential to prevent further increases.
Overdoses hit record levels in England and Wales last year, exceeding the number of deaths from road traffic accidents, according to official figures published in September, sparking criticism of the government’s approach to drugs and addiction services.
The ACMD’s recommendations come as the government plans deep cuts to local authority public health grants, the money which funds drug treatment services.
In a letter accompanying Monday’s report, the ACMD chairman, Les Iversen, told Amber Rudd, the home secretary: “The ACMD is of the view that death is the most serious harm related to drug use.
“In recent years, there have been substantial increases in the number of people dying in the UK where illicit drugs are reported to be involved in their death. The largest increase has been in deaths related to the misuse of opioid substances; 2,677 opioid-related deaths were registered in the UK in 2015.”
He added: “The most important recommendation in this report is that government ensures that investment in OST of optimal dosage and duration is, at least, maintained.”
However, drug treatment experts leapt on the report’s recommendations for the introduction of heroin-assisted treatment – where users are prescribed heroin to allow them to safely maintain their habit – and medically supervised injecting rooms.
Niamh Eastwood, executive director of Release, said that heroin prescription had been successfully trialled for addicts who had proved resistant to OST, and that the results of a similar policy in Switzerland had been positive. “It can be helpful in stabilising [addicts]; it keeps them away from the black market and allows them to maintain relationships with family,” she said.
Het artikel gaat verder.quote:Zoveel drugs zit er in ons afvalwater | VTM NIEUWS
De Antwerpenaars zijn bij de grootste druggebruikers van Europa. Dat blijkt uit het jaarlijks rapport van het Europese Agentschap voor Drugs en Drugsverslaving (EMCDDA) dat waarden meet van het afvalwater in meer dan zestig Europese steden. Nergens werden meer sporen van coca´ne en amfetamines aangetroffen dan in de Scheldestad. Ook wat betreft het gebruik van MDMA staat Antwerpen in de Europese top twee.
In Antwerpen wordt 914,8 milligram coca´ne per 1.000 inwoners per dag geconsumeerd, zo leert een analyse van het afvalwater die in 2015 werd uitgevoerd. Daarmee is Antwerpen de ‘coke capital’ van Europa en gaat het steden vooraf als Londen en Barcelona. Brussel eindigt als elfde stad.
quote:Rioolonderzoek: meer coca´ne gesnoven in Utrecht en Eindhoven | NOS
Het gebruik van coca´ne in Utrecht en Eindhoven is dit jaar fors gestegen. Dat zeggen wetenschappers die onderzoek deden naar drugs in het rioolwater van grote steden. Vandaag publiceert het Europese Agentschap voor Drugs en Drugsverslaving (EMCDDA) de resultaten van het jaarlijks rioolonderzoek in meer dan zestig Europese steden, waarvan drie in Nederland.
Opvallend is dat in Utrecht en Eindhoven het coca´negebruik na een jarenlange afname weer sterk is toegenomen. De meest actuele cijfers van Amsterdam, de derde stad in Nederland die werd onderzocht, zijn nog niet beschikbaar. Vorig jaar was de hoofdstad nog koploper van Europa.
In Utrecht zijn twee keer zoveel coca´neresten teruggevonden in het riool als vorig jaar. Volgens onderzoekers wordt er gemiddeld een halve kilo coke per dag gebruikt in die stad. In Eindhoven is dat zelfs nog iets meer, terwijl de stad minder inwoners telt.
Waarom het coca´negebruik in de twee steden is toegenomen, kunnen de onderzoekers niet verklaren. "Het zou ermee te maken kunnen hebben dat de prijs van coca´ne dit jaar is gedaald en er meer dan ooit in omloop lijkt te zijn", oppert hoogleraar milieuchemie Pim de Voogt.
Het Trimbos Instituut kan niet bevestigen dat dit jaar daadwerkelijk meer coca´ne wordt gebruikt. "Afgaand op wat wij horen, zijn zowel het gebruik, de kwaliteit als de straatprijs stabiel", zegt Daan van der Gouwe van Trimbos.
Uit het rioolwateronderzoek blijkt verder dat xtc onverminderd populair is. In Nederland worden meer xtc-pillen geslikt dan in andere Europese landen. De synthetische drug methamfetamine (crystal meth), die al jaren populair is in de VS, wordt hier nog steeds nauwelijks teruggevonden.
Criminelen blijven ook drugsafval dumpen in het riool. In de week dat de onderzoekers metingen deden, werd in Eindhoven vijftien kilo speed weggespoeld. Omdat ook in voorgaande jaren lozingen werden geconstateerd, vermoeden de onderzoekers dat het wegspoelen van drugsafval het hele jaar door, week in week uit, gebeurt.
Hoogleraar De Voogt vindt dat het rioolwateronderzoek in alle Nederlandse gemeenten gedaan zou moeten worden. Volgens hem kunnen gemeenten deze resultaten dan vergelijken met andere lokale gegevens over drugsgebruik en zo beter beleid maken. "Toch merk ik dat dergelijk onderzoek nauwelijks prioriteit heeft", zegt De Voogt.
Tot nu toe hebben vijftien van de 390 Nederlandse gemeenten rioolmetingen laten doen. Eerder dit jaar gebeurde dat in een aantal kleinere gemeenten in de regio Utrecht. Daaruit bleek bijvoorbeeld dat in Oudewater veel meer speed wordt gebruikt dan in omliggende plaatsen.
quote:From glamour to gunfire: the tourist city of Acapulco torn apart by violence
In the 1950s Acapulco was a refuge for A-list celebrities; now the resort known as Mexico’s most violent city is struggling to cope under the strain of gang warfare. Is there anything the mayor can do to reverse its fortunes?
quote:Machine-gun carrying police officers...organised crime groups...dumping bodies in public places...Mexico’s most violent city in 2016...
quote:A reporter yells out: “Has the protective barrier around the tourism zone failed?”
“I think we have to reinforce it,” Velßzquez says. “We have to review and strengthen it.”
“Will there be an effect from the Playa Angosta incident?”
“The port is still an option for tourists,” the mayor replies. “We won’t take a step backwards. We’ll keep going.”
quote:impossible odds...terrifying incidents...trucks full of police and soldiers...drug distribution...¨
Ik ben daar dit jaar nog geweest en voelde me totaal niet onveilig. Heb wel begrepen dat er delen van de stad zijn waar je beter kunt wegblijven.quote:
...die dienders.quote:Gesprek douanier Gerrit G. opgenomen door politie-informant | NOS
Een informant van de criminele inlichtingendienst van de politie TCI heeft in augustus belastende gesprekken met de van corruptie verdachte douanier Gerrit G. opgenomen. Dat gaf het Openbaar Ministerie toe in het proces tegen de douanier en drie medeverdachten.
Tegen hen zijn straffen tot zestien jaar geŰist. Ex-douanier G. zou miljoenen hebben verdiend door containers met drugs door te laten in de Rotterdamse haven.
Begin deze maand werd hij opgepakt nadat in het geheim opgenomen gesprekken waren uitgelekt tussen G. en een man die zich voordeed als vertegenwoordiger van een drugskartel uit Colombia. G. gaf smokkeltips aan zijn gesprekspartner.
Het gesprek tussen Gerrit G. en informant Paul werd afgelopen augustus gehouden in een appartement in Rotterdam. De officier van justitie erkende vanochtend dat justitie voor het appartement heeft betaald.
Een opsporingsbevel dat tegen de informant was uitgevaardigd wegens een veroordeling, werd tijdelijk opgeschort. De relatie met informant Paul zou afgelopen oktober zijn verbroken omdat de man onbetrouwbaar bleek.
De advocaat van G. zegt dat zijn cliŰnt in de val is gelokt. Jan-Hein Kuijpers beschuldigt de TCI en het Openbaar Ministerie van "ongeoorloofde opsporingsmethoden". G. zou daarom vrijgelaten moeten worden, zegt de advocaat.
Kuijpers verwees naar de opsporingsmethoden die zijn gebruikt in de jaren 90 in de IRT-affaire. Die leidden tot een parlementaire enquŕte onder leiding van Maarten van Traa. "Als het waar is wat Paul mij heeft verteld, dan heeft justitie een heel groot probleem. Dit riekt naar Van Traa", zei de advocaat vanochtend.
De informant zou Kuijpers hebben verteld dat containers met coca´ne opzettelijk worden doorgelaten, net zoals in de IRT-affaire gebeurde met hasj. Kuijpers wil dat de informant een vrijgeleide krijgt om te getuigen.
Informant Paul zou werken voor het Colombiaans drugskartel in MedellÝn. "MedellÝn is boos", zei Kuijpers die contact zou hebben gehad met het kartel. Afspraken tussen het drugskartel en de opsporingsautoriteiten zouden volgens de advocaat zijn geschonden.
quote:Vaten met drugsafval gedumpt in woonwijk Kaatsheuvel | NOS
In een woonwijk in Kaatsheuvel is een vrachtauto met drugsafval gevonden. Volgens de politie gaat het waarschijnlijk om afval dat overblijft bij de productie van amfetamine.
In de Duitse truck, die gestolen bleek, staan zeker twee vaten van 2000 liter. Het is volgens de politie uniek dat er zo veel drugs op deze manier in een woongebied worden achtergelaten.
Een buurtbewoner zag de vrachtwagen vanochtend in de straat. "Ik vond het verdacht dat de wagen om 07.00 uur in de straat stond en belde daarom de politie," zegt hij tegen Omroep Brabant.
Toen agenten kwamen kijken, openden ze de truck en kwam er een enorme stank vrij, een acetonachtige geur. De straat werd afgesloten om mensen op afstand te houden en het afval te kunnen bemonsteren en opruimen.
Noord-Brabant is de hotspot voor drugscriminaliteit. Onderzoekers van het Programma Politie & Wetenschap maken zich zorgen: een op de vijf drugsdumpingen vindt plaats in waterwingebied. Dat brengt de kwaliteit van drinkwater in gevaar.
quote:Teenagers Dismay Prohibitionists by Consuming Less Cannabis - Hit & Run : Reason.com
At a Senate hearing last April, Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump's choice for attorney general, worried about the message that marijuana legalization sends to the youth of America. "I can't tell you how concerning it is for me, emotionally and personally, to see the possibility that we will reverse the progress that we've made," he said. "Colorado was one of the leading states that started the movement to suggest that marijuana is not dangerous. And we're going to find it, in my opinion, ripple through the entire American citizenry, and we're going to see more marijuana use." We have been hearing similar warnings from drug warriors for two decades. When teenagers see that states have legalized medical or recreational marijuana for adults, prohibitionists predicted, they will be more inclined to smoke pot. But as survey data released yesterday confirmed once again, there is no evidence that is happening.
According to the Monitoring the Future Study, marijuana use by eighth- and 10th-graders fell this year. It rose slightly among 12th-graders but was still less common than in 2012, the year Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize marijuana for recreational use, and about the same as in 2014, when two more states and the District of Columbia joined them. The 2016 legalization campaigns, four of which were successful, likewise did not seem to spur much new interest in pot among teenagers. Nor did the legalization of medical marijuana in 28 states, starting with California in 1996. This is not the pattern you would expect to see if loosening state marijuana laws encouraged underage consumption by improving the drug's reputation among teenagers:
"I don't have an explanation," said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which sponsors the survey. "This is somewhat surprising. We had predicted based on the changes in legalization [and] culture in the U.S. as well as decreasing perceptions among teenagers that marijuana was harmful that [use] would go up. But it hasn't gone up."
quote:Mexico kidnap victim's wife: 'Your mother for my husband' - BBC News
Vigilantes in a Mexican village have seized the mother of a local gang leader and proposed swapping her for a kidnap victim taken on Monday.
After seizing alleged collaborators of the gang, including the mother of the leader "El Tequilero", the locals have recorded video messages for the gang.
"In return for my husband's life, I will deliver your mother," says the kidnap victim's wife in one video, which has been broadcast on local TV.
Police have been sent to the village.
"We have your mother here, mister known as El Tequilero," says Yadira Guillermo Garcia, whose husband, an engineer, was seized by the gang, addressing the gang leader.
"I request an exchange.... I want him safe and sound."
In another video, residents of San Miguel Totolapan, carrying guns, explain that they have suffered for too long from the violence and intimidation meted out by El Tequilero and his gang, which is feared for carrying out mass kidnappings.
"They have humiliated us, they have killed our families and we won't let it happen again," one of them says.
Police have been trying to track down El Tequilero, whose real name is Raybel Jacobo de Almonte, for weeks now.
At the end of November, police used helicopters to search the mountainous area in Guerrero state where he is believed to be hiding but failed to catch him.
The governor of Guerrero state, Arturo Astudillo, said more than 200 police officers and soldiers had been sent to San Miguel Totolapan to defuse the stand-off.
He said the villagers had released five of the people they were holding but that El Tequilero's mother was not among them.
Guerrero state officials said that a team had been set up to negotiate between the vigilantes and the gang.
"The goal of the team is to ensure that no injury is done to the missing person, nor to the mother of the head of the Tequileros gang, who has apparently been taken by the self-defence forces," a statement read.
Guerrero state is a hotbed of gangs and violent crime, where local gangs fight for control of the opium trade, and disappearances and kidnapping for ransom are common.
In a number of towns and villages, residents have created vigilante groups in response, but human rights groups say these have only further contributed to the spiral of violence.
quote:Honderden kilo's coca´ne gevonden in Rotterdamse haven | NOS
In de haven van Rotterdam zijn in de afgelopen dagen meerdere drugsvangsten gedaan. Het zou om honderden kilo's coca´ne gaan. Ook zijn er minstens tien mensen aangehouden. Dat gebeurde na de grote drugsactie en extra controles van 150 containers met fruit, meldt RTV Rijnmond.
Er is onder andere een auto met 300 kilo coca´ne gevonden. De drie inzittenden zijn aangehouden.
Volgens het OM in Rotterdam zijn er bij een bedrijf zeker honderd containers doorzocht. Bij andere bedrijven zouden nog eens vijftig containers zijn bekeken. In totaal werd 25 kilo coca´ne gevonden.
Truckers hebben vanochtend en de afgelopen dagen douaniers met kogelwerende vesten en drugshonden gezien. De truckers moesten langer wachten door de controles van de politie en de douane.
De extra controles werden gedaan nadat er bij containers insluipers waren gesignaleerd. Daarop zijn de containers apart gezet en onderzocht met drugshonden.
quote:He said: "I killed about three of them... I don't know how many bullets from my gun went inside their bodies. It happened and I cannot lie about it."
His statement came hours after his spokesman denied that Mr Duterte had personally killed anyone.
The recent controversy began on Wednesday at the president's palace.
He told a group of business leaders gathered there: "In Davao I used to do it [kill] personally. Just to show to the guys [police] that if I can do it why can't you.
Een hypocriete moordenaar.quote:Mr Duterte denied that he was a drug addict himself, despite using the powerful pain killer Fentanyl.
"I'm not an addict," he said. "Only when it is prescribed. Addiction is only with regularity, my friend."
Mr Duterte has admitted to using the drug, saying he had migraines and issues with his spine.
Mr Andanar dismissed claims that the president was suffering from the side effects of Fentanyl, which can cause confusion, anxiety and even hallucinations.
quote:Senator's Solution To The Opioid Crisis Is To 'Declare A War On Drugs' -- Seriously | The Huffington Post
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) says that a new “war on drugs” is needed to combat the opioid crisis ravaging his home state ― a reference to a policy boondoggle that has spanned four decades and cost the U.S. more than $1 trillion, while destroying millions of lives and cementing America’s position as the world’s leading jailer.
“We need to declare a war on drugs, on illicit drugs,” Manchin told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead” when asked what President-elect Donald Trump should do to address the opioid epidemic.
West Virginia has been hit especially hard by substance abuse and addiction. A recent report by West Virginia’s Charleston Gazette-Mail detailed how drug companies have poured 780 million opioid painkillers into the state and cashed in while ignoring warning signs that the opioid epidemic was spreading as overdoses spiked.
But the drug war, first declared by President Richard Nixon in 1971 when he characterized illicit substance use as “public enemy number one,” has in recent years become widely derided as a public policy failure.
The U.S. spends about $51 billion a year enforcing the war on drugs, and arrests nearly 1.5 million people for drug violations, according to Drug Policy Alliance, a drug policy reform group. The U.S. is now home to nearly 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, despite having less than 5 percent of its population. Harsh and lengthy sentences for nonviolent drug possession or distribution crimes have helped bolster that figure. Meanwhile, as drug control spending has ballooned over the decades, addiction rates have remained relatively steady.
The public’s attitude has also shifted dramatically on drug policy since the drug war’s inception. About two-thirds of Americans believe illegal drug use should be met with treatment instead of incarceration, according to a 2014 Pew study.
In an attempt to explain how drug users in his state got addicted to opioids, Manchin told Tapper that they “started out as a kid, smoking what we call recreational marijuana. Then from there that led to prescriptions ... and before you know it ... they were just hooked. Then heroin comes on. Now we have fentanyl coming on. It’s just been unbelievable.”
Manchin is discussing what’s known as the “gateway” theory, a widely debunked criticism of marijuana use that suggests drug users begin with marijuana before graduating to harder drugs over time. The Gazette story also suggests that Manchin is drastically oversimplifying the causes of the epidemic. This catastrophe was driven in large part by corporate greed. (Manchin’s daughter, Heather Bresch, is chief executive of Mylan, a large pharmaceutical company that makes generic versions of off-patent opioids, as well as other drugs.)
With the opioid crisis devastating communities across the nation, leading to a drastic increase in overdose deaths in recent years, the U.S. needs real solutions, multiple drug policy experts told HuffPost. But it shouldn’t consider doubling down on failed drug policy, they said.
“A drug war is not the answer,” said John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who writes extensively on drug policy. “Empty rhetoric that is insensitive to historical drug policy realities is not the answer. Comprehensive, thoughtful, public health-driven national reforms are the answer.”
Lindsay LaSalle, senior staff attorney for Drug Policy Alliance said a new drug war would only “doom the residents” Manchin represents to further death and despair.
“Indeed, criminalization actually amplifies the risk of fatal overdoses and diseases, increases stigma and marginalization, and drives people away from needed treatment, health, and harm reduction services,” LaSalle said. “Forty years of failed prohibitionist policies have taught us this much.”
LaSalle said that what West Virginians struggling with opioid addiction really need is increased access to the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone, medication-assisted treatment to help with recovery, and syringe exchange programs to prevent the spread of intravenous disease.
“Focusing on arrests and incarceration has made the U.S. the world’s leading incarcerator, and it didn’t stop what’s happened with opioids,” said David Borden, executive director of StoptheDrugWar.org. “Instead, Sen. Manchin should call for a public health approach.”
quote:Tien jaar cel voor drugsbestrijder die hasj smokkelde | NOS
Een oud-chef van de drugspolitie in de Finse hoofdstad Helsinki moet tien jaar de gevangenis in. De man heeft 900 kilo hasj uit Nederland zijn land binnengesmokkeld.
Volgens de rechtbank heeft de vroegere politiebaas zijn positie misbruikt en het vertrouwen in de politie ondermijnd. De man werd twee jaar geleden gearresteerd, maar hij ontkent dat hij drugs heeft ge´mporteerd.
De zaak is uniek, want Finland is een van de landen met de minste corruptie.
quote:Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to throw corrupt officials from helicopters mid-air, saying he has done it before.
"If you are corrupt, I will fetch you using a helicopter to Manila and I will throw you out," said Mr Duterte, who is waging war on corruption and drugs.
It's the latest claim by the president that he has personally carried out extra-judicial killings.
His spokesman played down the remarks, which he described as "urban legend".
Earlier this month another spokesman Martin Andanar said his blunt-speaking boss should be taken "seriously but not literally" when he said he had shot dead three men while mayor of Davao.
Mr Duterte made his latest comments in a speech to victims of a typhoon in the central Philippines on Tuesday. A video clip of his remarks was posted by his office.
He threatened the helicopter punishment for anyone who might steal the financial aid he was promising.
"I have done this before, why would I not do it again?" he said to applause.
He suggested his victim or victims were kidnappers who had murdered a hostage. It is not clear when or where the incident took place.
On Thursday, the president appeared to distance himself from his earlier remarks.
"Helicopter to throw a person? And if that is true, I will not admit it," he said in an interview with ABS-CBN news.
The president has made a similar claims in the past - and has a history of contradicting himself.
On 16 December he told the BBC he had shot dead three criminal suspects while he was mayor of Davao.
"I killed about three of them... I don't know how many bullets from my gun went inside their bodies. It happened and I cannot lie about it."
He made a similar claim to business leaders in Manila a few days earlier, when he said he used to cruise Davao on a motorbike "looking for a confrontation so I could kill."
Mr Duterte was mayor of the southern city of Davao for two decades, presiding over a big fall in crime but also being accused of sponsoring death squads.
As president he has pledged to root out drugs and corruption in the Philippines, at the cost of millions of lives if necessary.
Nearly 6,000 people are said to have been killed by police, vigilantes and mercenaries in the Philippines since Mr Duterte launched a war on drugs after being elected in May.
Opposition politicians and human rights groups have called for his impeachment, but he remains very popular with voters who want him to clean up the country.
Last week the Philippines independent human rights watchdog said it would investigate President Duterte's claims that he personally killed drug suspects.
quote:It was not an isolated case. A review by The New York Times of thousands of court records and internal agency documents showed that over the last 10 years almost 200 employees and contract workers of the Department of Homeland Security have taken nearly $15 million in bribes while being paid to protect the nation’s borders and enforce immigration laws.
These employees have looked the other way as tons of drugs and thousands of undocumented immigrants were smuggled into the United States, the records show. They have illegally sold green cards and other immigration documents, have entered law enforcement databases and given sensitive information to drug cartels. In one case, the information was used to arrange the attempted murder of an informant.
The Times’s findings most likely undercount the amount of bribes because in many cases court records do not give a tally. The findings also do not include gifts, trips or money stolen by Homeland Security employees.
Throughout his campaign, President-elect Donald J. Trump said border security would be one of his highest priorities. As he prepares to take office, he will find that many of the problems seem to come from within.
quote:The Answer to the 2016 Spike in Cop Deaths is Ending the Drug War
Police officers across the country are on high alert following the latest disturbing report from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund which showed that 136 officers tragically lost their lives in the line of duty this year. The figures also show the number grew 10 percent from 2015’s figure of 123. Not a huge spike, but enough to grab the attention of the nation’s cops.
Contrary to what some readers of The Free Thought Project have expressed in comments and messages, TFTP is not anti-cop, anti-police, or anti-law-and-order. On the contrary, while we focus on police corruption, police brutality, badge abuse, and policies which enable such actions and behaviors, we grieve with the families of those who’ve lost their lives in the line of duty. At the same time, we realize our work is to highlight the reasons we believe police officers’ lives are in jeopardy on a daily basis, and why the system works against their safety.
As Matt Agorist of TFTP explained reflecting on the summer of 2016’s killing of eight police officers by domestic terrorists, “these attacks do nothing to stop police violence against citizens. In fact, it has the exact opposite effect. Now, when cops needlessly kill someone, their actions will be under less scrutiny from the public. All the police have to say now is ‘Dallas’ or ‘Baton Rouge.'”
Tragically, while 136 souls perished in the line of duty in 2016, it could be worse, and historically speaking, has been much worse. In 1930, the population of the United States was a third of what it is today. In that year, 324 police officers lost their lives in the line of duty. To put it into perspective, if the same percentage of police officers who lost their lives in 1930, had lost their lives in the line of duty in 2016, the number of police officers killed would have exceeded 850. One might be tempted to ask why so many officers of the law perished in 1930. The answer is found in one simple word; prohibition.
According to History, “The ratification of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution–which banned the manufacture, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors–ushered in a period in American history known as Prohibition,” a time in U.S. history when alcohol was completely banned. The reasons for prohibition were many.
According to PBS, after the civil war, the country had experienced an influx of immigration, many of whom brought their hard-drinking customs with them. “The brewing business boomed as German-American entrepreneurs scaled up production to provide the new immigrants with millions of gallons of beer.” Heavy drinking gave way to, “distraught wives and mothers whose lives had been ruined by the excesses of the saloon.” Those wives and mothers then joined hand in hand to fight the evil they believed alcohol represented. “Thousands of women began to protest and organize politically for the cause of temperance. Their organization, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), became a force to be reckoned with.”
The birth of the “widespread temperance movement during the first decade of the 20th century” enabled lobbyists to demand that the federal government outlaw alcohol. But soon, problems emerged. “Prohibition was difficult to enforce,” yet lawmen were undaunted by threats against their lives from those who profited from the illegal production, distribution, and sale of booze. “The increase
“The increase of the illegal production and sale of liquor (known as ‘bootlegging’), the proliferation of speakeasies (illegal drinking spots) and the accompanying rise in gang violence,” all flourished under prohibition. But by the end of the roaring 20’s and at the start of the 1930’s, Americans had enough of prohibition and in 1933, “Congress adopted a resolution proposing a 21st Amendment to the Constitution that would repeal the 18th. It was ratified by the end of that year, bringing the Prohibition era to a close.”
The loss of police officer lives was inextricably connected with the prohibition of alcohol. In fact, the percentage of police officers killed in the line of duty was greater during prohibition than at any other time in U.S. history. All of which brings this current discussion to the failed War on Drugs. The
The number of Americans being held in prison has skyrocketed since President Richard Nixon declared an official War on Drugs — which not coincidentally was the second deadliest year for police in American during which 200 cops lost their lives at the onset of the drug war. In 1930, only 100 out of every 100,000 Americans were incarcerated. In 2016, after a forty-five-year war against drug users and dealers, that number now hovers around 1,000 per 100,000 citizens.
To put these numbers into perspective, nine out of every 100 Americans are incarcerated in the “prison industrial complex,” a new industry born out of mass incarcerations. And that may be the only reason why the number of police officer deaths are so low, compared to the percentage from 1930. These state-manufactured criminals who are most angry at the police are often behind bars, the casualties of the failed war on drugs.
Those who are comfortable with nearly 10 percent of their fellow citizens being behind bars may need to ask themselves if it could be better. The answer is that it has been better. Kidnapping, caging, and killing offenders does not appear to be the way forward. The United States represents only 5 percent of the world’s population but houses 25 percent of the world’s inmates.
Something has to change, and we at TFTP believe there’s a direct correlation between the growing number of prisons and prisoners with the prohibition of drugs like marijuana and police deaths. The United States cannot jail its way out of drug use and abuse. It cannot penalize enough people to end the nearly 50,000 deaths by opiates, heroin, and other drugs every year. Even while mortality statistics show that almost no one dies from using marijuana, the justice system in the United States continues to focus on marijuana users for punishment. As TFTP has reported on numerous occasions, “police made more arrests for simple marijuana possession than for all violent crimes combined.”
In 1930, police attempted to ban a substance. In 2016, police attempt (along with the substances) to ban a group of people, drug users. In 1930, prohibition resulted in violence, gang activity, and police officer murders. In 2016, drug prohibition has resulted in violence, gang activity, police officer murders and the mass incarceration of millions of Americans involved in the illegal drug trade — as well as a slew of innocent civilians caught in the middle of this deadly drug war.
It took a brave Congress to repeal prohibition. It will take a brave Congress to end the War on Drugs. Only after Congress repealed the 18th amendment was law and order restored. Only after Congress disbands the DEA, ends mandatory sentencing for drug possession and distribution, and allows states to decide how they will deal with drug abuse — will law and order be restored.
The eyes of millions Americans are being opened to the health benefits of natural medicine, which also includes marijuana, cbd, and kratom. Only when Americans are unafraid of law enforcement do fewer officers lose their lives in the line of duty. With that in mind, we are calling on President-elect Donald Trump, and his pick for Attorney General Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), following 28 U.S. States, to end marijuana prohibition at the federal level, decriminalize marijuana possession nationwide, release non-violent drug offenders system-wide, terminate the DEA, and focus the attention of the justice department on solving violent crimes, and crimes against children.
These actions, as proven in other countries who’ve already ended their drug wars, diminish the prison population, lead to fewer assaults on police officers, fewer officer-involved shootings, and reestablish trust between police and the public, and lead to a more tolerant society.
As Dionne Wilson, wife of slain California officer Nels “Dan” Niemi, bravely said, “I don’t think that anyone can tell me that had we invested in people over prisons, my husband wouldn’t be here today.”
Instead of focusing on why people “reenter” the prison system, Wilson advocates for the revolutionary policy of “no entry.” Wilson now pushes the radical but logical idea “that people never enter the system, that we stop feeding this system of mass incarceration. Stop punishing people for self-medicating trauma with drugs and alcohol, stop punishing people for mental illness. These policies don’t work. The promise of public safety has not helped.”
quote:Hollywood heel even 'Hollyweed' | NOS
Bewoners van Hollywood in Los Angeles waren vandaag heel even inwoners van Hollyweed. Onbekenden hebben vannacht de twee o's van het beroemde bord op de bergen ten noorden van het stadsdeel met doeken omgetoverd tot twee e's.
Volgens lokale media willen de mensen achter de actie de nieuwe legalisering van marihuana in CaliforniŰ vieren. De politie beschouwt het als vandalisme en zoekt de daders.
De onbekenden hebben zich waarschijnlijk laten inspireren door eenzelfde soort grap in 1976. Toen werden de letters ook al veranderd in Hollyweed nadat de wet over het gebruik van cannabis in de staat was versoepeld.
De letters zien er inmiddels weer normaal uit.
quote:Meisjes in Zwanenburg ziek na opeten drugs die op straat lagen | NOS
In het Noord-Hollandse Zwanenburg zijn twee meisjes vanavond onwel geworden nadat ze drugs hadden geslikt die ze op straat zouden hebben gevonden. Het zijn meisjes van 11 en 12 jaar.
"Een van hen is er slecht aan toe en is naar het ziekenhuis gebracht", zegt een politiewoordvoerder. "Het andere meisje is wat warrig."
Welke soort drugs ze hebben gegeten, is nog niet bekend. De gekleurde pilletjes zaten in een zakje en lagen in de buurt van de Domineeslaan.
"Het lijken net snoepjes", zegt de politie. "We zoeken met politiemensen en honden of er meer van die rotzooi genotsmiddelen op straat ligt."
quote:The legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado has led to some interesting developments in the war on drugs. According to a video segment on Fox News, seizures of marijuana flowing out of Colorado into neighboring states has risen from 58 in 2008, to 394 in 2015. This indicates Colorado has unwittingly become an exporter of legal weed, found to be illegal in many adjoining states.
Sitting in for Fox News’ Shepherd Smith, Gregg Jarrett asked FNC reporter Alicia Acuna if neighboring states were fighting a losing battle. Acuna responded by saying 8 states already have recreational marijuana, and another couple dozen states have some form of medical marijuana at work. Mason Tvert, of the Marijuana Policy Project, told FNC, “If anything, what’s happening is no different than it was before. People are still using marijuana, it’s just that they’re more likely to be using marijuana that didn’t come from a Mexican drug cartel.”
According to FNC and University of San Diego professor David Shirk, that fact has now been confirmed. It seems, as marijuana proponents asserted, the Mexican cartels are getting out of the illegal marijuana trade. Shirk says the cartels are turning their backs on marijuana in favor of other “more predatory criminal activities” such as, “kidnapping, extortion, larceny…stealing petroleum from petroleum lines,” Shirk stated.
FNC reported what proponents have been saying for years. If you make marijuana legal, the illegal, criminal elements, such as Mexican drug cartels, will find other means to sustain their income. However, it is important to note that the reason these cartels exist in the first place is because of the drug war. Attempting to claim we need the war on drugs to keep the cartels from kidnapping people is like saying we need people to murder each other so police can have a job to do.
Had drugs not been illegal in the US, the cartels would have been extremely hard pressed to amass the money and power they now have. Rest assured, however, that kidnapping and larceny are not nearly as sustainable as the drug industry as it is much easier for politicians to look the other way on drug smuggling than it is for them to ignore children being stolen from parents. That's why, rather than kidnap people, the Mexican cartels are still capitalizing on the American drug war.
One such way the Mexican drug cartels have reportedly upped the ante is to produce a drug which is much more addictive than just heroin alone. They mix heroin with Carfentanil, which "is a synthetic opioid so strong that just a few granules the size of grains of table salt can be lethal. Since mid-August, roughly 300 people in at least four states have overdosed on heroin linked to Carfentanil and the less powerful compound fentanyl," Time reports.
If heroin were decriminalized in the US, overdoses would plummet and so would its use. This is not an assertion, it is fact.
One positive coming out of Colorado's legalization of marijuana is the fact that the drug task forces which were previously engaged in going after marijuana, can now turn their attentions to going after the organized criminal element such as the cartels, which have no regard for the patient seeking medicine for whatever ails them.
FNC concluded their marijuana segment by saying President-elect Donald Trump doesn't seem to have a problem with medicinal marijuana but added he does not approve of recreational marijuana. Whether or not Trump will allow the continuation of progress in the legalization of marijuana is yet to be seen. Certainly, Colorado will put up a fight if the newly named Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeks to overturn CO's legal weed business as it's now providing millions of dollars to help fund the educational system in that state.
The FNC segment confirms what TFTP has been saying for months now, legal weed does more to stop the cartels than the official war on drugs. As we reported to you in March, "in the past seven years (seizures of marijuana at the Mexican-American border have dropped) from 4 million pounds in 2009, to just 1.5 million pounds last year."
Het structurele probleem is natuurlijk het verbod op sommige drugs.quote:Hij verwijt het Openbaar Ministerie en ook de politie een afwachtende houding. 'Het structurele karakter van dit probleem komt niet op tafel.
Ja, de rechten van burgers zijn alleen maar lastig. In een dictatuur zou de War on Drugs wel een succes zijn natuurlijk.quote:Bos ervaart de privacywetgeving als een ramp. Ze zegt: 'Ik ben continu de mist in gegaan met die privacyregels.'
quote:Politici willen opheldering over informant 'Paul'
Tweede Kamerleden willen opheldering van de minister over de verklaringen van drugscrimineel ‘Paul’, afgelopen vrijdag in EenVandaag. De Amsterdamse crimineel zegt dat grote hoeveelheden coca´ne met medeweten van de politie het land in worden gesmokkeld.
'Paul' (een schuilnaam die hij kreeg van Team Criminele Inlichtingen, kortweg TCI) woont in Colombia. Daar is hij gelieerd aan een groot drugskartel in Medellin. Tegelijkertijd geeft hij al jaren gedetailleerde tips aan de geheime politie TCI over containers met coke die vanuit Zuid-Amerika naar Nederland worden vervoerd. Hoogleraar criminologie Toine Spapens reageert in EenVandaag op het dossier.
Kameraden Kees Verhoeven (D66), Gert-Jan Segers (ChristenUnie) en Michiel van Nispen (SP) willen opheldering van de minister en dienen kamervragen in. “Veel vragen zijn nog niet beantwoorden, maar zoals het er nu naar uitziet heeft de politie onrechtmatig gehandeld. Ik wil alle details boven water om zeker te weten dat de politie niet zijn boekje te buiten is gegaan,” aldus van Nispen.
Informant 'Paul' duikt in december op in het megaproces rond de corrupte douanier Gerrit G. en een aantal drugsbazen. Volgens Paul moeten de Rotterdamse smokkelaars die zaken hebben gedaan met de platte douanier nog schulden betalen aan het kartel in Colombia waar hij voor werkt. Het totale bedrag dat nog open staat is 21 miljoen euro.
quote:Canada vreest "Fentanyl-epidemie" | NOS
De Canadese autoriteiten bereiden zich voor op een flinke toename van het aantal doden door een overdosis Fentanyl. De minister van Gezondheid spreekt zelfs van een epidemie. Fentanyl is een pijnstiller die de ademhaling verzwakt of helemaal kan stilzetten.
In Canada zijn in 2015 bijna 700 mensen overleden na inname van de drug. Dat is 70 procent meer dan in 2014. De cijfers over vorig jaar zijn nog niet beschikbaar, maar vermoedelijk liggen die nog veel hoger.
In Vancouver rukken de hulpdiensten 20 tot 30 keer per avond uit voor gebruikers die buiten bewustzijn zijn geraakt. De belastingen zijn zelfs met een half procent omhoog gegaan om de hulp te bekostigen, volgens het radioprogramma Bureau Buitenland op NPO radio 1.
Ook in de VS is het gebruik van Fentanyl een groot probleem. Daar is het aantal doden onder gebruikers het afgelopen jaar verdubbeld. Ook zanger Prince overleed na inname van het middel.
De Canadese minister van Gezondheid overweegt om gebruikersplekken in te richten, waar medisch personeel de drug gecontroleerd kan toedienen. De politie is een campagne begonnen om te waarschuwen voor de gevaren.
Fentanyl wordt medisch gebruikt als pijnstiller, onder meer bij de behandeling van kanker en bij narcose. Dat gebeurt alleen in combinatie met een tegengif, waardoor de ademhaling geen gevaar loopt. In meerdere steden in Canada wordt het tegengif al gratis verstrekt op straat aan gebruikers van Fentanyl.
Het spul is vijftig tot tachtig keer sterker dan morfine en is net zo verslavend als hero´ne. Het merendeel van de gebruikers is verslaafd geraakt na een medische behandeling of na inname als partydrug. In het illegale circuit is Fentanyl voornamelijk verkrijgbaar als pil en als poeder.
quote:Mismoedige rechercheur stopt onderzoek: het is water naar de zee dragen | NOS
Een rechercheur had het precies uitgevogeld: wie er achter hennepkwekerijen zat, hoe de criminele organisatie was opgebouwd, hoe de winst werd weggesluisd naar het buitenland. Toch werd er geen onderzoek opgestart. Te weinig mensen en de zaak had geen prioriteit. De rechercheur: "Uiteindelijk ben ik maar gestopt met het opmaken van dit soort rapportages. Het is water naar de zee dragen."
De anekdote staat in een vertrouwelijk rapport van de top van de politie en het Openbaar Ministerie, dat vandaag uitlekte. In het stuk wordt een beeld geschetst van onmachtige opsporingsautoriteiten, die de strijd tegen criminelen dreigen te verliezen.
Volgens officiŰle cijfers daalt de criminaliteit in Nederland. Maar de politie, het OM en gemeenten hebben een ander beeld. Volgens hen neemt de misdaad helemaal niet af. Zij zeggen dat er op een groot deel van de criminaliteit gewoon geen zicht is.
Vaak gaat het om kleine delicten, zoals vandalisme of een fietsendiefstal. De politie heeft er geen weet van omdat er geen aangifte van wordt gedaan. Dat geldt ook voor digitale criminaliteit, zoals phishing of oplichting via Marktplaats.
Maar ook zwaardere vormen van criminaliteit blijven buiten beeld, omdat niemand er naar zoekt. Daarbij valt te denken aan fraude, corruptie en drugshandel. De greep van de georganiseerde misdaad op bepaalde gemeenten is groot, bleek eerder deze week nog.
Toch hebben politie en justitie te weinig capaciteit en expertise om diepgravend onderzoek te doen naar netwerken en geldstromen. In plaats daarvan proberen ze vooral te 'scoren' in eenvoudiger onderzoeken.
Mogelijk miljoenen delicten. Het rapport stelt dat slechts een op de vijf misdrijven officieel geregistreerd wordt. In 2015 waren er bijna een miljoen aangiften. Dat verhoudt zich niet tot het aantal mensen dat zegt slachtoffer van criminaliteit te zijn geweest. Volgens het rapport ligt dat – omgerekend – op zo’n 4,5 miljoen mensen.
Dan zijn er ook nog zaken waar de politie wel van op de hoogte is, maar die niet worden opgepakt. Het kan gaan om vermoedens van het downloaden van kinderporno, sporenonderzoek naar een inbraak of het opnieuw nalopen van een cold case.
In de regel wel. Maar de politie heeft het razend druk gekregen. De afgelopen tijd waren agenten druk met de vluchtelingenstroom en de maatschappelijke onrust die daarmee gepaard ging. Spanningen waren er bijvoorbeeld ook na de coup in Turkije, waarbij de politie ook in Nederland demonstraties in goede banen moest leiden.
Verder slokten verwarde personen veel kostbare tijd op en was de politie volop bezig met jihadisten. Rechercheurs moesten soms letterlijk al hun andere zaken loslaten om zich acuut bezig te houden met onderzoeken naar mogelijk terrorisme.
Ook hier schetst de notitie geen rooskleurig beeld. Van alle aangiften wordt meer dan de helft meteen terzijde geschoven. De politie ziet geen reden voor nader onderzoek. Er is dan bijvoorbeeld geen enkel aanknopingspunt om de zaak op te lossen. Mogelijk is dat in enkele tienduizenden zaken ten onrechte, stelt het rapport.
Uiteindelijk leidt een op de vijf aangiften daadwerkelijk tot vervolging van een verdachte. Opvallend detail: vooral als het gaat om oplichting via internet worden bijna alle zaken direct afgewezen door het Openbaar Ministerie. Een verklaring geeft het rapport daarvoor niet.
Heel erg, volgens het rapport. Het risico is dat mensen hun vertrouwen verliezen in het strafrecht. Wat bij criminelen het gevoel versterkt dat ze ongestraft hun gang kunnen gaan.
De grotere boeven verschuilen zich ook nog eens achter ingewikkelde financiŰle constructies in het buitenland en doen hun duistere zaken online, ver buiten het bereik van de Nederlandse opsporingsdiensten. Worst case scenario: politie en OM verliezen definitief de strijd tegen de misdaad.
0quote:Colombia Restarts Controversial Glyphosate Fumigation of Coca | News | teleSUR English
In 2015, Colombia became the last country in the world to suspend the fumigation of crops with glyphosate, after 15 years of use.
Colombia started fumigating crops with glyphosate again, the government announced Wednesday, after the technique was suspended in 2015 over health and environmental concerns.
The fumigations began on Jan. 2, said Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas at a press conference, adding the fumigation of the controversial Monsanto-produced herbicide was focused in the northern province of Catatumbo and the southeastern provinces of Nari˝o and Putumayo. Unlike previous fumigation, which was aerial, the new coca erradication plan consists of manual, land-based spraying.
Launched in 1994, the spraying program was long treated as sacrosanct by Colombian officials, who gladly accepted billions of dollars in funding from Washington to fumigate farmland throughout the countryside, often spraying all crops, leaving campesinos with no livelihood.
But after the World Health Organization warned in March 2015 that glyphosate was "probably carcinogenic," Santos' Cabinet suspended the air fumigations. Colombia became the last country in the world to suspend aerial fumigations of glyphosate, after 15 years of use.
But right-wing sectors, which are also opposed to peace with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, have been pressuring the government to renew the practice since it was suspended.
Critics of aerial fumigation argue that Monsanto's product is not only dangerous to the health of residents, contaminating sources of water and neighboring crops, but also useless to limit the expansion of coca crops in the long term.
Plan Colombia Has Been a Nightmare for Women
Colombia's Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez sparked a national controversy in September by urging the government to resume aerial fumigation of coca crops, arguing that the reemergence of illicit crops had doubled in the past four years.
But both the health and justice ministries rejected the measure at the time.
Justice Minister Jorge Londo˝o Ulloa told reporters that 2007 was the year with the largest amount of illicit coca crops, despite continuous aerial fumigations.
He also highlighted that it would be juridically impossible to implement the measure again, given that Colombia's constitutional court backed the government's decision in a historic ruling.
Moreover, the suspension of aerial fumigation was a central point of the peace negotiations between the FARC and the government, which also outlines crop susbstitution programs to help farmers move away from illicit crops to legal production.
Nevertheless, the Colombian government has resumed the fumigation, while the U.S. continues to apply pressure, being a strong supporter of aerial fumigation both for political and economic reasons.
quote:Er moeten veel meer slachtoffers vallen in de Nederlandse strijd tegen cannabis. De vijf verhalen die ik vond, laten heel duidelijk zien wat er mis is met de Nederlandse strijd tegen wiet.
quote:Hoe vaak mensen landelijk om minder dan vijf planten uit huis worden gezet, wordt niet bijgehouden. Wat wel bekend is, is dat tussen 2011 en 2013 - recentere cijfers zijn niet openbaar - de politie minimaal 581 keer een 'hennepplantage' heeft opgerold van vijf planten. Als het een huurhuis betrof, kreeg de verhuurder het te horen. Ging het om een woningcorporatie, dan is dat huishouden vrijwel zeker op straat gezet.
quote:Recordjaar drugsvangsten in Rotterdamse haven | NOS
In de Rotterdamse haven is vorig jaar een recordhoeveelheid van 13.312 kilo coca´ne onderschept. Het oude record uit 2013 stond op 9800 kilo coca´ne. Opvallend is dat het aantal drugsvangsten niet is toegenomen, maar de omvang ervan wel.
Het speciale HARC-team dat de drugssmokkel in de Rotterdamse haven bestrijdt, onderschepte in 2016 ook 720 kilo marihuana en 406 kilo hero´ne. Er zijn veertig verdachten aangehouden.
De onderschepte partijen coca´ne variŰren van anderhalf tot bijna vierduizend kilo. De laatste partij zat verstopt tussen ananassen uit Costa Rica. Volgens het OM zijn er aanwijzingen dat vanuit Zuid-Amerika grote partijen drugs worden gedumpt op de markt.
Hoeveel drugs de grenzen onontdekt passeert, blijft moeilijk in te schatten. Volgens bronnen in het criminele milieu wordt ÚÚn op de vijf of zes partijen drugs onderschept. Dat zou betekenen dat vorig jaar tienduizenden kilo's coca´ne met succes het land in zijn gesmokkeld. Een indicatie dat er inderdaad grote partijen coca´ne Nederland inkomen, is de sterk gedaalde marktprijs van coca´ne.
Het OM, de politie en de gemeente Rotterdam luidden vorig jaar de alarmklok over de capaciteit bij de douane om de drugssmokkel in de haven aan te pakken. Ze reageerden daarmee op plannen van minister van FinanciŰn Dijsselbloem om het aantal douaniers te verminderen.
quote:Waterzuivering Baarle-Nassau ontregeld door drugsafval | NOS
De rioolwaterzuivering in Baarle-Naussau in Brabant is de hele week ontregeld geweest omdat de toevoer was vervuild door drugsafval. Politieonderzoek leidde naar een drugslab in Baarle. De 42-jarige eigenaar van de schuur is aangehouden.
Waarschijnlijk zijn de chemicaliŰn direct in het riool geloosd. De vervuiling van het water werd maandag ontdekt. De zuurgraad van het water was zo hoog dat de bacteriŰn die gebruikt worden om het water te zuiveren dood gingen. De installatie werd stilgelegd omdat die moest worden gereinigd. Dat duurde een paar dagen.
Het rioolwater moest daarom even ergens anders worden gezuiverd. Tankwagens reden heen en weer naar een andere waterzuivering. De riolering functioneerde de afgelopen dagen normaal. Mensen konden gewoon douchen en hun wc gebruiken.
quote:PatiŰnten die al jarenlang medicinale wiet gebruiken zitten met de handen in het haar. Vanaf dit jaar vergoeden de meeste zorgverzekeraars de cannabis die ze via de apotheek krijgen niet meer.
Er zou onvoldoende wetenschappelijk bewijs zijn dat wiet als medicijn werkt. Terwijl patiŰnten met bijvoorbeeld MS, reuma, kanker of hiv zeggen er veel baat bij te hebben. De wiet vermindert hun klachten. Ze moeten het nu zelf betalen en dat kan oplopen tot honderden euro’s per maand.
Opvallend is dat het Zorginstituut Nederland - dat minister Schippers van Volksgezondheid adviseert over vergoedingen - zegt dat er geen wetenschappelijk bewijs is voor de werking van medicinale cannabis.
Dit is in tegenstelling tot wat het Bureau Medicinale Cannabis beweert. Dat is de overheidsorganisatie verantwoordelijk voor de productie van cannabis voor medische doeleinden. Dit bureau stelt in hun informatiefolder dat medicinale wiet wel degelijk werkt.
Daarnaast exporteert de Nederlandse overheid steeds meer medicinale wiet naar Duitsland. Bij de oosterburen is het zo populair dat het parlement daar afgelopen week het gebruik van medicinale wiet heeft gelegaliseerd en zorgverzekeraars het moeten vergoeden voor zwaar zieke patiŰnten.
Duitsland maakt zelf te weinig wiet om aan de grote vraag te voldoen. De Nederlandse overheid heeft als regel dat het maximaal 100 kilo wiet per jaar per land mag exporteren. Maar op verzoek van de Duitsers maakt minister Schippers nu een uitzondering: zij mogen de komende jaren 700 kilo wiet afnemen, zeven keer zoveel. Dat zegt ze in een Kamerbrief.
‘Tegenstrijdig beleid’ zeggen gedupeerde patiŰnten in Nederland. EenVandaag spreekt met Lilian Flanderijn, een MS-patiŰnt die aan het afbouwen is, omdat ze de wiet zelf niet kan betalen. Ook zijn we bij Marian Hutten en Serge de Bruijn van de patiŰntenvereniging Medicinale Cannabis Gebruikers. Zij hebben het voordeel dat ze in Tilburg wonen, waar de burgemeester toestaat dat ze - onder voorwaarden - zelf wietplantjes voor medicinaal gebruik kweken.
Zorgverzekeraar ONVZ reageert ook op alle commotie.
Minister Schippers heeft in antwoord op vragen van EenVandaag laten weten dat ze het Zorginstituut zal vragen om opnieuw advies uit te brengen over medicinale cannabis op basis van nieuwe en internationale onderzoeken.
quote:Drugsoorlog in BraziliŰ, bendes steken gevangenis in brand | NOS
Ruim 150 gevangenen van een half open inrichting in de Braziliaanse stad Bauru zijn ontsnapt. Ze maakten gebruik van de chaos die uitbrak nadat opstandige gevangenen brand hadden gesticht in de gevangenis. Het merendeel van de ontsnapten is inmiddels weer opgepakt, enkele tientallen zijn nog voortvluchtig.
Urenlang was er paniek in Bauru, in de Braziliaanse deelstaat SŃo Paulo. In de wijken rond de gevangenis beroofden voortvluchtige gevangenen mensen van hun auto. De politie raadde omwonenden aan binnen te blijven.
Het is de jongste gevangenisopstand in BraziliŰ in een reeks. Eerder deze maand kwamen al 138 gevangenen om het leven bij gewelddadige opstanden. De situatie in Braziliaanse gevangenissen is gespannen, vanwege een oorlog tussen de twee grootste bendes van het land. De opstand in Bauru bleef relatief vreedzaam: er vielen voor zover bekend geen doden of gewonden.
Dat is een groot verschil met de opstand in de Alcašus-gevangenis in Natal, in het noord-oosten van het land. Daar lijkt na bijna twee weken de opstand eindelijk onder controle. Op 14 januari braken er gevechten uit tussen rivaliserende bendeleden. Zeker 26 mensen kwamen om het leven.
Er komen steeds meer gruwelijke details naar buiten van de opstand in de Alcašus-gevangenis. Er circuleren bijvoorbeeld beelden op internet van gewapende gevangenen die beweren dat ze stukken vlees van een vermoorde medegevangene roosteren. Het is voorlopig nauwelijks te verifiŰren, omdat de politie pas sinds gisteren de controle over de gevangenis lijkt te hebben.
Urenlang kamden gewone agenten en leden van de oproerpolitie de cellencomplexen uit, op zoek naar wapens. Om de rivaliserende bendes uit elkaar te houden, werd een metershoge muur gebouwd van containers.
Het geweld in de Braziliaanse gevangenissen maakt pijnlijk duidelijk hoe groot de problemen zijn. BraziliŰ telt ruim 600.000 gedetineerden; het is daarmee na de VS, China en Rusland het land met de meeste gevangenen. Maar hoewel het aantal gedetineerden de afgelopen jaren alleen maar is toegenomen, werden er weinig nieuwe gevangenissen gebouwd. Bestaande inrichtingen zijn vaak oud, er zijn te weinig bewakers en er is veel corruptie.
Daardoor is de rol van de cipiers meestal beperkt tot het voorkomen van ontsnappingen.
Binnen de gevangenismuren hebben bendes het voor het zeggen. De twee grootste criminele organisaties van het land ontstonden in de gevangenis: het Rode Commando (CV) uit Rio de Janeiro en de machtigste bende van het land, het Eerste Commando van de Hoofdstad (PCC) uit SŃo Paulo.
De twee drugsorganisaties waren jarenlang bondgenoten van elkaar, maar vorig jaar brak er oorlog uit. Die wordt voor een groot deel uitgevochten in de gevangenissen.
Waarom de bendes hun jarenlange samenwerking hebben verbroken is niet zeker, maar heeft vermoedelijk te maken met pogingen van de PCC om de belangrijkste drugsroutes te domineren. BraziliŰ is de laatste jaren een belangrijk doorvoerland geworden voor coca´ne uit de buurlanden, bestemd voor de Europese markt.
quote:How Santos’ New Peace Deal Aggravated Colombia’s Drug War | Americas Quarterly
Despite a tumultuous 2016, Colombia ended the year on a hopeful note. On Dec. 10, President Juan Manuel Santos accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to broker peace with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country’s largest rebel group. In his acceptance speech, Santos said that “the impossible had become possible” – after more than 50 years of fighting, conflict with the FARC was officially over.
Implementing that peace will put Santos’ words to the test. Just days before his speech in Oslo, Congress approved a revised peace deal after an earlier version had been rejected by voters in a plebiscite in October. In order to get the new deal passed, Santos was forced to make concessions to opponents of the original agreement – even on the points seemingly most important to him. That meant revisiting provisions for land reform, transitional justice and, of particular relevance to Santos’ Nobel Prize speech, drug policy.
Santos’ lecture in Oslo constituted a landmark rebuke of the global approach to the so-called war on drugs. He forcefully reiterated earlier calls for the world to “urgently rethink” the way it addresses the global drug trade, noting the high price that Colombia had paid in “deaths and sacrifices” in those efforts.
“We (Colombians) have a moral authority to state that, after decades of fighting against drug trafficking, the world has still been unable to control this scourge that fuels violence and corruption throughout our global community,” Santos said.
The chapter devoted to “solving the drug problem” in the first version of Santos’ peace agreement was far from perfect. But it was the first time that a peace accord had included a section that addressed all aspects of the illicit drug phenomenon. The initial version also provided for methods such as voluntary eradication of coca crops, a consultation process with peasant communities to jointly define with the government a substitution plan, and the decriminalization of drug use.
The new agreement, by contrast, attempted to appease some early opponents by reintroducing the option of forced eradication of coca and limiting the consultation process with coca-growing communities. Even more worrying is the additional mention of faith-based therapeutic communities, though not scientifically proven, as legitimate effective recovery programs. This measure opens the door for Evangelicals to make enormous profits and exert abuses upon drug users in the name of treatment.
The potential limits to Santos’ re-imagining of the war on drugs don’t end there. Just two days after his Oslo speech, Colombia's National Council on Narcotics, headed by the justice ministry, announced it would reinstate the manual forced eradication of coca crops using the spray-chemical glyphosate, an herbicide that was listed in 2015 by the World Health Organization as potentially carcinogenic. This use of the chemical has not only proven costly and ineffective, but also of great risk to the eradicators themselves due to exposure to the herbicide and the risk of stepping on landmines planted to protect coca crops.
One has to hope that the moral authority bestowed upon Santos through the Nobel Peace Prize – and even other forms of recognition of the country’s efforts at peace, such as The Economist’s decision to name Colombia it’s “country of the year” for 2016 – would help foster more productive approaches to control the global drug trade. This is especially true when that prize-winner is a sitting president who ended a half-century long conflict partially fueled by the illegal production and trade of drugs.
But there is also a risk that talk of rethinking the war on drugs becomes limited to elegant prose aimed at a global elite – while the compromise of peacebuilding simply reinforces the status quo. At the international level, Santos has suggested in his speech and elsewhere that a precondition of peace is the need to address the drug trade in a new way. But the concessions he has made domestically would continue to suppress the supply of drugs using the same outdated and ineffective tactics of the “war on drugs.” It seems that even a deserving Nobel Prize winner can have trouble translating a call to action into actual motion.
quote:Georgia eases draconian law on cannabis use
Until recently, anyone caught with cannabis twice in 12 months in Georgia faced up to 14 years behind bars. Today you can carry enough for more than 200 joints, after the constitutional court in effect decriminalised possession of the drug.
The landmark ruling follows the case of 27-year-old Beka Tsikarishvili, who was arrested in 2013 with 65 grams of cannabis, which he said was for his own use. Facing a long sentence, he argued imprisonment was unlawful because it infringed his human dignity.
Surprisingly, the judges agreed and in October scrapped the incarceration law for buying, smoking, and carrying small amounts of marijuana, calling the law itself “unconstitutional.”
While possession of drugs with intent to sell still comes with a heavy penalty, the court declared that people who had previously been locked up for smoking marijuana could not be arrested again for using the drug. Activists say that more than 100 people imprisoned for possession have had their sentences commuted.
Most of the cannabis smoked in the country is homegrown and those who grow it still face lengthy sentences, but on Wednesday a court will open proceedings to decide if these punishments are also too harsh. A final verdict is expected to take at least two months.
“Public pressure was a major factor behind the court’s ruling,” said David Subeliani, the leader of White Noise, a regional group campaigning for the decriminalisation of all narcotics.
He is optimistic about the relaxation of the penalty for growing cannabis and hopes prison as a punishment will be declared unconstitutional.
White Noise estimates that the authorities’ zero tolerance to drugs has seen more than 300,000 people – almost 10% of Georgia’s 3.7 million population – forced to take urine tests over the past seven years. In 2015, 56-year-old Levan Abzianidize died after officers allegedly made him take diuretic pills for a test, fuelling violent protests in the capital, Tbilisi.
Despite the apparent decriminalisation, people still face a fine of 500 lari (ú150) if they are found with THC – the active chemical in cannabis –in their urine. Subeliani said fewer forced urine tests had been carried out since the court ruling.
On New Year’s Eve 2016 police officers visited the offices of Georgia’s liberal party, the New Centre – Girchi, after its members potted 84 cannabis seeds as part of their campaign to decriminalise drugs and legalise weed. Officers confiscated the plants but party’s leader, Zurad Japaridze, and his colleagues are yet to be charged with a criminal offence.
Japaridze argues that smoking cannabis is not only a human right, it’s also an answer to his homeland’s financial woes – in the final quarter of 2016 the economy grew by just 2.3%. Using the US state of Colorado, which legalised cannabis in 2014, as a model Girchi claims legalisation could raise $1.6bn in GDP (10% of Georgia’s budget) and $63m through tourism and taxing growers.
“We have some other economic reforms but they will only bring change in four, five, 10 years. Marijuana reform is the only thing we can do now in 2017... I definitely imagine a number of weed cafes in Tbilisi,” said Japaridze.
The politician also holds up Portugal as an example of how legalising drugs can help improve public health. “Half the number of people there are now dying from heroin overdoses since the country decriminalised all drugs in 2001,” he said. “Diseases passed by intravenous drug users have also dropped dramatically. ”
Despite the court ruling Girchi still faces stiff opposition, not only from the ruling centre-left Georgian Dream coalition, which vehemently contests liberal ideas, but also the Orthodox church.
“This is an issue of principle, and we are obliged to realise its deplorable consequences,” said Irakli Garibashvili, who recently resigned as prime minister. “I am personally, completely, categorically against it.”
Though the moves to decriminalise cannabis have been welcomed by cannabis smokers, legalisation campaigners and liberal politicians, deep-rooted conservatism in the country means the “Amsterdam of the former Soviet Union” title may be further away than some hope.
0quote:DEA 'Chief Propagandist' Says Agency Knows Pot is Safe, Keeps it Illegal for Profit
A former “chief propagandist” for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), now turned cannabis advocate, made startling comments at the recent Marijuana for Medical Professionals Conference in Denver, Colorado. There, Belita Nelson described what many of us suspected – the DEA is corrupt to the bone and full of lies.
“Marijuana is safe, we know it is safe. It’s our cash cow and we will never give up,” Nelson said to the audience of doctors and nurses, describing the modus operandi of the DEA.
Illegally Healed reports:
“Nelson represented the DEA in the international media from 1998 to 2004. She did regular appearances on the talk show circuit, including the Oprah Winfrey show and Nightline, espousing the dangers of cannabis. Today she advocates for its medical use, specifically in the treatment of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in professional football players through an organization she founded: The Gridiron Cannabis Foundation.”
It didn’t take long for Nelson to realize that cannabis has medical benefits. In 2000, she was watching her close friend suffer from late-stage cancer, losing more than 50% of his weight and no longer being able to eat or sleep.
Being aware of cannabis’ ability to treat these symptoms, Nelson procured some for her friend, who, along with a better diet, was able to live nine more years. Nelson even grew the cannabis herself, knowing that black market products were potentially unsafe.
In 2004, Nelson was investigating a heroin epidemic in Plano, Texas and discovered that some addicts were kicking their opioid addictions by turning to cannabis. At this point she could no longer continue pushing propaganda for the DEA when it was clear to her cannabis was a life-saving plant.
Nelson resigned in 2004, and went out with a bang.
“[When they hired me] they forgot to get me to sign a confidentiality agreement—and boy did I know the dirt. They called me in and said ‘name your price, $10,000 a month? $20,000? What do you want Belita?’”
She said she left the office screaming, “You know this is safe and you are keeping it from people who are sick! I am not taking your money and you better worry about what I am going to say!”
Sure enough, Nelson turned her passion into something positive. She moved to Colorado and began advocating for medical cannabis. In 2014, she focused her energy on using cannabis to help treat CTE, setting up a holistic clinic with former Denver Broncos player Rick Upchurch.
CTE, a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated head trauma, kills many former football players. The Gridiron Cannabis Foundation hopes to convince the NFL to allow players to use medical cannabis to counter the onset of CTE.
Regarding her time at the DEA, Nelson has a succinct way to describe the agency.
The DEA refused to reschedule cannabis from a Schedule 1 drug last year when it had the opportunity, somehow concluding that ‘more research is needed’ to show cannabis has medical benefits. The only explanation for maintaining the absurd classification for this miraculous healing plant is to protect Big Pharma, which knows cannabis is a threat to their profits.
As we reported recently, DEA continues to tell 25 lies on its website about the purported dangers of cannabis, even though they refuted these very lies in 2016. This willful deception is in violation a federal law called the Information Quality Act.
The DEA is the biggest obstacle standing in the way of freedom and health. It is abundantly clear that corruption and lies – not the interest of the American people – is what drives this agency to continue its tyranny.
quote:Philippines to suspend drug war to clean up 'corrupt' police - BBC News
Philippine police are suspending their controversial war on drugs until after the "corrupt" police force has been "cleansed".
Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa said on Monday that anti-drug units would be dissolved.
It comes after the murder of a South Korean businessman inside police headquarters. He had been kidnapped and killed by anti-drug police.
More than 7,000 people have been killed since the crackdown on drugs began.
The death toll and President Rodrigo Duterte's hardline stance against drugs have attracted intense criticism from human rights groups and Western countries, although the president continues to enjoy a high level of support among Filipinos.
Speaking on Monday, Mr Dela Rosa said Mr Duterte "told us to clean the organisation first".
"We will cleanse our ranks... then maybe after that, we can resume our war on drugs."
Mr Duterte has made tackling drug use in the Philippines a central part of his presidency.
He had initially promised to eradicate the problem by December, then extended the deadline to March this year.
But he told reporters at a press conference late on Sunday: "I will extend it to the last day of my term... March no longer applies." Mr Duterte's term ends in 2022.
He said he had underestimated the depth of the drug problem.
For eight months President Duterte has been unrepentant as the death toll from his drug war has risen. He has repeatedly promised to support, even pardon, any police officers accused of unlawful killing, and been unmoved even by the clear evidence of police involvement in the drug trade, and the murder of important drug suspects in police custody.
But the shocking murder of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo last October has forced Mr Duterte to acknowledge that the Philippines National Police are too tainted to continue running the anti-drugs campaign.
Mr Duterte now accuses the police force of being "corrupt to the core". He has ordered all tainted officers to be sent to front-line duty in the conflict-wracked southern Philippines.
Even if this happens, though, it will not necessarily bring the drug killings to an end. More than 4,000 of the deaths are blamed on unidentified hit squads, although many of those are believed to be run by the police. And the president's promise to extend the anti-drug campaign to the end of his term of office suggests he may try to revive it once the fuss about the murdered South Korean dies down.
Senator Leila De Lima, Mr Duterte's most vocal critic, said the president and the police chief "should categorically give the order to end the killings".
She said the dismantling of the police anti-narcotics operation meant "they are aware that the very men involved in anti-drug operations... are involved in illegal activities under the guise of the so-called war on drugs," she told ANC television.
Mr Duterte also railed against the police force on Sunday and vowed to "cleanse" it, in response to the killing of Jee Ick-joo.
Jee Ick-joo was seized from his home in Angeles city, near Manila, under the pretence of a drug raid, the Department of Justice said. After strangling him, his killers pretended he was still alive in order to collect a ransom from his family.
"You policemen are the most corrupt. You are corrupt to the core. It's in your system," Mr Duterte said, adding that he thought up to 40% of policemen were used to corruption.
Mr Duterte had sanctioned extra-judicial killings previously, saying he would pardon policemen who kill criminals and civilians in the line of duty.
"When I said I'll protect the police, I'll protect the police. But I won't protect lying," he said.
quote:In een schuur bij een rijtjeshuis in de Fabritiusstraat in Bergen op Zoom is maandagochtend een drugslab gevonden. Het gaat om een XTC-lab. De politie spreekt over een behoorlijk groot laboratorium. De 47-jarige bewoner is aangehouden.
De politie kwam het drugslab op het spoor na een anonieme tip. In het laboratorium zijn meerdere grondstoffen gevonden. Hoeveel pillen er in het lab gemaakt kunnen worden, is nog niet bekend.
Onder leiding van de rechter-commissaris wordt onderzoek gedaan. De politie is met zo'n vijftoen man in huis aanwezig om sporen veilig te stellen. Ook een speurhond is ingezet.
Het rijtjeshuis is beveiligd met camera's.
quote:War On Drugs Causes Human Rights Violations In Worldwide Scale, Study Says : Science : iTech Post
A study suggests that the war on drugs causes major human rights violations and public health disturbance across the world. Researchers reveal that many people suffer in inhumane facilities and harsh treatments. They added that mass incarceration of drug users had devastating effects in the justice system. Meanwhile, the strict drug laws prevent the medicinal use of some drugs to relieve pain.
War on drugs is an American term which defines the government's efforts to prohibit illegal drugs using strict laws or military intervention. The term was popularized in 1971 after former US President Richard Nixon declared drug abuse as public enemy number one. The term has since been adopted in other countries which utilized tough drug enforcement laws.
BMJ released three researches explaining the devastating effects of war on drugs. UN special rapporteur on the right to health Dainius Puras, revealed that harsh drug laws undermine human health. He said some people were identified as drug users without due process which left them suffering in facilities with inhumane conditions. The drug war has overburdened the justice system, as a result, it failed to eliminate drug use and trafficking.
On the other hand, Katherine Pettus of the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care argued that the harsh law of drugs has prevented the medicinal use of drug. Eighty percent of the population has limited or no access to drugs used as pain killers such as morphine. This leads to a "pandemic of untreated cancer pain," she said according to Science Daily.
Pettus said that some countries are trying to adapt using these types of pain medicine but the change is too slow. She added that the safe distribution of drugs for clinical needs has been distorted by the war on drugs. Lastly, Michel Kazatchkine, UN secretary general special envoy on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, revealed that drug users deny evidence-based treatments due to strict drug enforcement laws.