The Drug Debate

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Drugs Laws Around the World

There are different approaches to dealing with drugs around the world. Some countries place a greater emphasis on law enforcement - while others do not. Here is a snapshot of some of the systems in countries where the issue has prompted major public debates.
BBC News (UK)

Mexico Debates Drug Legalisation (Video)

After 28,000 have died in its latest push to fight drug trafficking organizations, and with other tragic consequences of drug prohibition now so evident, Mexico opens the debate on legalizing drugs.
Brisbane Times (Australia)

Drug Truth 08/16/10

Cultural Baggage * Century of Lies * 4:20 Drug War NEWS  *  Time 4 Hemp

Cultural Baggage for  08/15/10 29:00 Gretchen Burns Bergman of Parents for Addiciton Treatment and Healing + Randy Credico senatorial candidate in NY & MJ Borden with Drug War Facts & premiere of "Legalize" by Sloshtown



Century of Lies for  08/15/10  29:00  Judge Maria Lucia Karam (ret) of Rio De Janero regarding impact of drug war in the Americas' + Slice from John Stossel with Neil Franklin of LEAP and drug czar wannabe Paul Chabot



4:20 Drug War NEWS, 08/16 to 08/22/10  Link at on the right margin -

Sun - Randy Credico, running for Chuck Schumer's senate seat in New York, comments on drug law Sat - Cut from John Stossel show with Neil Franklin of LEAP and drug czar wannabe Paul Chabot Fri - Judge Maria Lucia Karam 2/2 Thu - Judge Maria Lucia Karam (ret) of Rio De Janero regarding her opinion piece re drug war, in the Guardian 1/2 Wed - Gretchen Burns Bergman, Dir of A New Path, parents for addiction, treatment and healing Tue - Mary Jane Borden of Drug War Facts: "Is marijuana a pipeline to other drugs?"

Mon - "It's About the Money - Legalize" a broadcast premiere of the new song from Sloshtown

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Hundreds of our programs are available online at, and now at James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.

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Check out our latest videos via  Please become part of the solution, visit our website: for links to the best of reform.  "Prohibition is evil." - Reverend Dean Becker, DTN Producer, 713-462-7981,

Leading Doctor Urges Decriminalization of Drugs

Joining a growing list of medical professionals turning their backs on drug prohibition, Sir Ian Gilmore, former president of the Royal College of Physicians and one of the UK's leading doctors, said the government should consider decriminalizing drugs because the blanket ban has failed to cut crime or improve health. Upon hearing the news, the editor of the British Medical Journal, Dr Fiona Godlee, gave her personal support to Rolles' call for decriminalization.
The Guardian (UK)

Swiss Pol Who Probed Secret CIA Prison System Says Legalize Drugs

In an interview Friday with the Austrian newspaper Kurier and reported in the Swiss newspaper Tagesanzeiger, prominent Swiss politician Dick Marty called drug prohibition a failure. Drugs should instead be legalized, taxed and regulated, he said.

Dick Marty
Marty was the state prosecutor in Ticino for 15 years and in 1987 won an award from the International Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association. He was elected to the Swiss Council of State in 1995 and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 1998. He has hold both positions ever since. Marty gained international prominence when he was appointed by the Council to investigate the collaboration of various European governments in the CIA's secret prison program and issued a damning report in 2006.

Drug prohibition has been "a total bust," Marty said Friday. "It only leads to high prices and corresponding profits for the drug mafia, without diminishing the access to drugs."

Recalling his years as a prosecutor, Marty added that it was only the small-time dealers who got paraded through the courts, while the drug lords were "little bothered" and stayed in luxury hotels. And despite the endless low-level prosecutions, it has never been so easy to get drugs, he added.

Money wasted on enforcing drug prohibition could instead be spent on prevention, and after legalization, governments could control the drug sector through regulation and taxation, as is the case with alcohol and tobacco, Marty said.

Although he conceded that "drug prices will fall" and consumption would rise -- perhaps only temporarily -- if prohibition is ended, Marty said societies must confront the problem of consumption, much as the US did after the end of Alcohol Prohibition. He pointed to a Swiss example, as well: the use of heroin maintenance programs to reintegrate hard-core addicts into the social fabric. "These people are supported medically and they can work again," he said.

Ending prohibition must be a global affair, he said, pointing to the emerging discussion of the theme in Mexico as it is buffeted by prohibition-related violence that has left 28,000 dead in the past 3 ½ years. Still, Marty isn't holding his breath. "Worldwide drug legalization isn't going to happen" in my lifetime, he predicted.

Dick Marty is only 65. Let's see if we can't prove him wrong.


Blast Hits Mexico's Televisa TV Station

Monterrey, NLE
Mexico's largest television broadcaster and the largest producer of Spanish language content in the world, Televisa, has come under attack by drug trafficking organizations in the northern city of Monterrey. Investigators say it was a warning for journalists to stay away from reporting on drug prohibition violence.
Press TV (Iran)

Those Behind Marijuana Dispensaries Aim to Raise Comfort Level of Public

Established, professional medical marijuana dispensaries are trying to create and promote a cannabis distribution model that will be accepted in the heartland of America.
Morning Sentinel (ME)

Nevada Marijuana Initiative Probably Dead in the Water

A Nevada marijuana legalization initiative aimed at the 2012 ballot is on life-support after its primary funder, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), pulled its financial backing from the effort, both MPP and David Schwartz, head of its state affiliate, Nevadans for Sensible Marijuana Laws, told the Chronicle this week.

Nevada clergy press conference supporting the
2006 Nevada marijuana legalization initiative
Under the proposed initiative, people 21 and over could possess up to an ounce of marijuana, as well as pot paraphernalia, but they could not grow their own. Instead, consumers would purchase it from one of 120 authorized retail outlets, who would in turn purchase their supplies from one of 50 authorized wholesale growers. The proposal includes a $50 an ounce excise tax at the wholesale level, and sales tax would apply on retail transactions.

"It's no secret that ballot initiatives are an expensive proposition," said MPP spokesman Mike Meno. "We've had to cut back in a few places, and Nevada is one of them."

"The initiative is definitely in jeopardy," said Schwartz, "It wasn't about whether we could win, but it came down to a lack of funding."

Legalization initiatives in 2002 and 2006 lost with 39% and 44% of the vote, respectively, and just two weeks ago, the current initiative was polled at 42%. Should the initiative find a way to move forward, proponents will have their work cut out trying to shift that percentage between now and November 2012.

MPP had backed the two previous legalization initiatives and signature-gathering campaigns with millions of dollars in support, largely to pay petitioners. Without paid signature-gatherers, proponents of the ongoing effort will have a very difficult time getting the 97,000 valid signatures they need to make the November 2012 ballot.

Nevadans for Sensible Marijuana Laws is closing up shop, but the fight will continue, said Schwartz. "I'm in the process of starting up a new organization, Sensible Nevada, and we will see where to go from here."

United States

Detroit Marijuana Legalization Backers Appeal Ballot Rejection

The Coalition for a Safer Detroit, sponsors of a municipal initiative that would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of pot for adults 21 or over in the Motor City, has appealed a surprise decision Monday by the city's Election Commission that knocked the initiative off the ballot.

Detroit skyline
"If you're on the cutting edge of social change, litigation is just a cost of doing business," coalition leader Tim Beck told the Detroit Free Press yesterday after the group filed an appeal with Wayne County Circuit Court.

The court Friday agreed to hold an expedited hearing on the case. That will occur on August 26.

The coalition handed in more than 6,000 voter signatures earlier this year, and the initiative was approved by the same Detroit Election Commission that killed it Monday. After it was approved, in accordance with city law, the initiative went before the Detroit City Council, which could have voted to make the initiative law. By failing to vote on the initiative, the Council cleared the way for the voters to make their preferences known in November -- or so everyone thought.

But on Monday, the Election Commission voted 3-0 to remove the measure from the ballot. The surprise move came after Detroit Corporation Counsel and commission member Krystal Crittenden told the commission that in the opinion of the city's law department, which she oversees, state law forbidding marijuana possession preempted the measure.

Now, it will be up to the courts to determine whether Detroiters will have the right to vote on the initiative. Stay tuned.

Detroit, MI
United States

U.S., Mexico Drug Policies Need Debate (Opinion)

Daniel Robelo, a research associate at the Drug Policy Alliance, points out that multiple former and current national leaders are calling for a debate about legalizing drugs to reduce the killings in Mexico, and the issue has made front page news and is causing unprecedented debate around the world. Yet, sadly, legalization is not even part of the policy dialogue in D.C. In fact, the U.S. drug czar has repeatedly said it's not even part of his or President Obama's "vocabulary."
Daily News Los Angeles (CA)

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