The National Governors Association has a plan for dealing with drug overdoses, Peru and the US have renewed an agreement to force down drug smuggling aircraft, and more.
South Dakota Activists to Try Again with 2024 Marijuana Legalization Initiative. Local activists are hoping the third time is the charm when it comes to legalizing marijuana possession in the state. A 2020 legalization initiative was approved by voters only to be shot down by a state Supreme Court acting at the behest of Gov. Kristi Noem (R) and her political allies, and a 2022 legalization initiative was narrowly defeated at the polls.
Now, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws has filed initial papers for a 2024 legalization initiative. This measure would legalize the possession of up to two ounces by people 21 and over and allow for the home cultivation of up to six plants. The initial draft contains no mention of taxed and regulated marijuana commerce.
The public now has until August 21 to comment on the draft. Once state authorities have okayed petitions for circulation, supporters will need 17,509 valid voter signatures by May 7, 2024 to qualify for the 2024 ballot.
National Governors Association Releases Roadmap for Tackling Drug Overdose Epidemic. The National Governors Association (NGA) released a roadmap to help support Governors and state officials in developing policy solutions to address unprecedented opioid overdose rates. Titled Implementing Best Practices Across the Continuum of Care to Prevent Overdose, the roadmap outlines concrete solutions across the full spectrum of health services: foundations, prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery.
Developed in coordination with the O'Neill Institute at Georgetown University Law Center, the roadmap is based on the contributions of more than 30 subject matter experts and 20 states and territories -- providing Governors with 17 specific, actionable recommendations to prevent overdose across five pillars of the Substance Use Disorder Continuum of Care.
An update to NGA's 2016 roadmap, the new publication reflects the evolving nature of the ongoing drug overdose epidemic and includes strategies specific to the rise of illicitly manufactured fentanyl. The roadmap highlights 10 states' initiatives that exemplify best practices and innovative strategies in overdose prevention.
Vivek Ramaswamy Breaks with GOP Pack on Drug Decriminalization. Republican presidential nomination contender Vivek Ramaswamy is creating some space in a crowded field by edging away from the Republican consensus on a hardline drug policy. While on the campaign trail, he has frequently addressed issues around the war on drugs and the toll of fentanyl overdose deaths.
"You don't hear me talk about the war on drugs. I'm not a war on drugs person," Ramaswamy said while appearing at an event in New Hampshire in June. "I am probably the only person in the modern history" of the party to talk about "off ramps" for people trying to get off drugs, including the use of "psychedelics, from ayahuasca to ketamine," he said.
"I'm eyes wide open and willing to be bold in crossing boundaries we haven't yet crossed to address the demand side of this as well," Ramaswamy said. "I think in the long run, and I'm talking about over a long run period of time, decriminalization, serially, is an important part of the long run solution here… That's gotta be part of the solution," he later added.
Similarly, last month, he said that rather than being "a war on drugs guy," he was "actually a path to legalization guy for a lot of different drugs, and a path to reasonable decriminalization. Many veterans are dying of fentanyl. I think fewer would be dying if there was access to ayahuasca, if there was access, legal access, to psychedelics more broadly. We can talk about, we can have a reasonable conversation about ketamine and others. So, I'm in that direction," he said.
He also argued that marijuana should be decriminalized now. "We got to catch up with the times. It's not a popular position in the Republican Party, but I'd just, again, I guess I'm going to speak the truth. Whether you vote for me or not is your choice. I think the time has come to decriminalize it," he said.
Peru, US Revive Air Security Agreement to Combat Drug Trafficking. The government of President Dina Boluarte has announced an air security agreement with the US that aims to prevent drug smuggling aircraft from entering Peruvian airspace. The agreement revives a bilateral security agreement with the US that was ended 20 years ago after Peruvian fighter jets downed a civilian aircraft with American missionaries aboard, killing one missionary and her infant daughter.
It will different this time, said Peruvian Defense Minister Jorge Chaves, who emphasized that any interdictions of aircraft under the agreement will be carried out through nonlethal means.
"With this, Peru will be able to exercise and use non-lethal air interdiction. Drug gangs and cartels are notified," said Alberto Otárola Peñaranda, President of the Council of Ministers. "The country will start an intense fight against the entry of illegal planes that violate our sky. We will act without contemplation to intercept them," he stressed.
Swiss Court Rules That Small Amounts of Drugs Should No Longer Be Confiscated. The Federal Tribunal, the country's highest court, ruled recently that people caught with "small amounts" of illicit drugs should be able to keep them. The decision came in a marijuana case, but is likely to also be applied to other drugs, such as cocaine, according to Swiss legal experts.
It is unclear, however, what "small amounts" means for different drugs. And it is important that the different cantons develop coordinated definitions and approaches since they are the government units that will implement the changes.
(This article was prepared by StoptheDrugWar.org's 501(c)(4) lobbying nonprofit, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays the cost of maintaining this website. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)