5. Drug Wars Update

Mar-16-2012 | Comments Off

Bird’s Eye: It does seem as though this story gets run in Tikkunista, over and over again. But like the glaciers, the drug prohibitions world wide are slowly melting as it gets clearer and clearer that the war on drugs only benefits those who make and run prisons. We look at a method that does seem to work, and at Latin America. And a useful factoid ends the section on a higher note.

* Drug Market Intervention The Economist

Police watched seven people sell drugs in Marshall Courts and Seven Oaks, two districts in south-eastern Newport News, in Virginia. They built strong cases against them. They shared that information with prosecutors. But then the police did something unusual: they sent the seven letters inviting them to police headquarters for a talk, promising that if they came they would not be arrested. Three came, and when they did they met not only police and prosecutors, but also family members, people from their communities, pastors from local churches and representatives from social-service agencies. Their neighbours and relatives told them that dealing drugs was hurting their families and communities. The police showed them the information they had gathered, and they offered the seven a choice: deal again, and we will prosecute you. Stop, and these people will help you turn your lives around…. This approach is known as drug-market intervention (DMI).

* Is It Time To Decriminalise Drugs?  Al Jazeera English (Thanks, Gabe)

With trafficking-related violence increasing across Latin America, leaders call for policy changes.

As drug cartels expand their operations in Central America, the region is seeing the world’s highest homicide rates. Some Latin American leaders now say they are ready to discuss the decriminalisation of narcotics. We look at how the drug war between the military and the narco-traffickers impacts the people of Latin America. 

* Colombia Set To Officially Decriminalization Drug Possession

The government of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is preparing legislation that will set “personal dose” amounts for drugs that will allow for their possession without the possibility of arrest or prosecution, the Bogota newspaper El Tiempo reported Tuesday. The decriminalization legislation could be presented as early this week, the newspaper said in its exclusive report.

Colombia was the first Latin American country to decriminalize drug possession after a ruling by its Constitutional Court in 1994. But during the presidency Santos’ predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, the government amended the constitution to criminalize drug use, effectively re-criminalizing drug possession.

Last year, the Colombian Supreme Court threw out Uribe’s changes, ruling that the possession of small quantities of drugs for personal use was a constitutional right. This pending legislation recognizes last year’s ruling and actualizes it by setting the “personal dose” amounts. The 56-page document seen by El Tiempo sets the “personal dose” amount at five grams for marijuana and one gram for cocaine. It also sets “personal dose” amounts of 200 milligrams, or three pills, for amphetamine-type stimulants, such as methamphetamine and MDMA.

* Useful fact: you would have to consume 1,500 pounds of marijuana in 15 minutes to overdose 

…Simply stated, researchers have been unable to give animals enough marijuana to induce death.



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