Prohibition

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Global: Canada To Advocate Marijuana Legalization At UN Drug Conference

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The long awaited, much anticipated UN General Assembly's Special Session on Drugs will happen April 19-21 at the UN Headquarters in New York City, and Canada is expecting to advocate for abandoning the organization's longstanding prohibition of marijuana.

Just a month before the important UN drug conference begins, Assistant Deputy Minister of Health Hilary Geller, at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting in Vienna this month, said the new Canadian Liberal government headed by Justin Trudeau will be moving away from American War On Drugs policies, as pointed out by Lanny Swerdlow at the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project (MAPP),

The Canadian government plans not only to legalize marijuana, but also to open for safe-injection sites for intravenous drug users and to promote other harm-reduction policies.

Attendees at that conference, made up of government and non-governmental organization officials from around the world, "erupted in applause" mid-way through Geller's address and gave a prolonged ovation.

Geller's presentation was at odds with the policies of the former Canadian government of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose Drug War policies closely followed those of the United States, including implementing mandatory-minimum prison sentences and boosting police narcotics enforcement.

Oregon: Marijuana Prohibitionist Group Insults Medical Marijuana Patients

Oregon marijuana prohibitionist group insults medical marijuana patients.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Oregon chapter of the prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) claimed that "their [sic] is no such thing as 'medical' marijuana" in a March 25 Facebook post, insulting patients that legally use marijuana as medicine. There are several false statements in the post.

Many prohibitionists ridicule the number of patients that use cannabis to treat pain, ignoring that some may be allergic to prescription painkillers, that many patients want to reduce or avoid the use of lethal narcotics, and that painkiller deaths have been reduced in medical marijuana states. They also ignore that suicide rates decrease in medical marijuana states; they have an agenda against a policy that is literally saving lives. You would think that even the most ardent prohibitionist would have more sympathy for patients that have cancer, HIV/AIDS, cachexia and epileptic seizures; but not SAM Oregon.

Following is the text from that Facebook post:

"Oregon legislators this past session passed a bill that will allow some dispensaries to sell Recreational marijuana and Medical marijuana under the same roof. The OLCC however is not pleased with this move because they want regulations to track marijuana "From seed to sale." Medical marijuana dispensaries don' have that regulation and the OLCC feels that this policy will undermine their regulations.

U.S.: Nixon Aide Admits War On Drugs Was To Suppress Left Wing, Blacks

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Former Nixon Administration policy advisor and Watergate defendant John Ehrlichman admitted in a recently unearthed 1994 quote that the War On Drugs was invented to suppress the anti-war Left and African-Americans.

"At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition," Dan Baum writes at Harper's. "I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away.

"'You want to know what this was really all about?' he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect," Baum writes.

"The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people," Ehrlichman told him. "You understand what I’m saying?

"We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities," Ehrlichman said. "We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

"I must have looked shocked," Baum writes. "Ehrlichman just shrugged. Then he looked at his watch, handed me a signed copy of his steamy spy novel, The Company, and led me to the door."

Global: Civil Society Groups Condemn Governments For Failure In Global Drug Policy

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More than 200 civil society groups from all over the world on Monday released a statement condemning governments for failing to acknowledge the devastating consequences of punitive and repressive drug policies as they prepare for a UN summit on the issue next month.

In April 2016, world leaders will gather in New York to decide on the future of global drug policy, at the first UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the topic in two decades. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for this meeting to be a “wide-ranging and open debate that considers all options.”

But as the preparations continue this week in Vienna at an annual meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), it is becoming clear that the ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to rethink the failed ‘war on drugs’ is unlikely to deliver, according to Monday's statement.

“The global community had high hopes for this important opportunity for a considered re-think of how to control drugs, but by denying the realities on the ground and failing to admit a new approach is required, governments are at risk of squandering this rare moment,” warned Ann Fordham, executive director of the International Drug Policy Consortium. “There is still time to rescue the process before the final summit in New York next month, but governments must be honest about the challenges and allow new thinking and new ideas.”

U.S.: Civil Rights, Health, Faith, Justice Groups Call On Obama To End Global Drug War

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More than 225 civil rights, health, faith-based and other organizations sent a letter to President Obama Thursday calling on him to use an upcoming United Nations high-level session on global drug policies to push for a fundamental change in course away from criminalization.

The groups, which include the American Civil Liberties Union, AIDS United, LatinoJustice PRLDEF and #cut50, say that the current US position for the session "takes a short-term approach, stopping short of the crucial reforms called for by UN agencies and US allies, while failing to address new realities."

They want bolder stances from the administration in areas like human rights, public health and development, and for the US to promote initial steps the UN can take toward reforming international drug conventions to reflect moves in the US and elsewhere toward marijuana legalization.

"We believe a stronger US stance on these issues would leave a legacy in global drug policy that is better aligned to the direction you've steered domestic policy," the groups wrote.

The letter was submitted as the UN prepares for its highest level session on drug policy since 1998 – the "UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem," or UNGASS, scheduled for April 19-21 at UN headquarters in New York. US diplomats and drug and crime officials have played a central role in negotiations over the UNGASS Outcome Document, an official product of the meeting that will impact policy.

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