June 7, 2013 |
Vermont has become the latest state to remove criminal penalties for the possession of small quantities of marijuana with legislation signed into law. Civil fines will replace criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana or 5 grams of hashish. “This change just makes common sense,” Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said in a statement after signing the legislation on Thursday. “Our limited resources should be focused on reducing abuse and addiction of opiates like heroin and meth rather than cracking down on people for having very small amounts of marijuana.” Possession under the age of 21 will be treated the same as underage possession of alcohol -- a court referral for a first offense, possible civil penalties and/or license suspension, and criminal penalties for a third offense.
May 17, 2013 |
BOGOTA, Colombia - The Organization of American States said Friday that countries should consider decriminalizing drug use, a shift backed by several Latin American leaders but opposed by the United States. Decriminalization could be one of many “transitional methods” in a public health strategy that could include “drug courts, substantive reduction in sentences and rehabilitation,” according to a report released by the OAS on the possible liberalization of drug polices. The report, presented by OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza in Bogota, was commissioned during the April 2012 Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, in response to many leaders' complaints that U.S.-driven drug prohibition policies of recent decades had failed to stem the illicit drug business.
July 3, 2012 |
On Monday night, the always-opinionated director Oliver Stone paid a visit to “Piers Morgan Tonight” to promote his latest film, “Savages,” which tells the story of two pot-growing Southern California friends who clash with a Mexican drug cartel. Not surprisingly, the conversation turned to the subject of the war on drugs, which Stone opposes. “Fifty percent of our prison system is victimless crimes,” he claimed. “People who've never hurt anybody, they're in for marijuana and it has nothing to do with punishment.
April 13, 2012 |
CARTAGENA, Colombia - President Obama will highlight trade and business opportunities in Latin America at a regional summit in Colombia this weekend, but other leaders may upstage him by pushing to legalize marijuana and other illicit drugs in a bid to stem rampant trafficking. Obama, who opposes decriminalization, is expected to face a rocky reception in this Caribbean resort city, which otherwise forms a friendly backdrop for a U.S. president courting Latino voters in an election year.
March 25, 2012 |
A conclave of Central American presidents meeting in Guatemala to discuss a major overhaul of their drug laws — including legalization or decriminalization — failed to arrive at a consensus Saturday and agreed to meet again soon in Honduras. Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina had invited five counterparts to discuss what he described as growing frustration with Washington's anti-drug policy, which many in the region say is exacting too high a price in crime and corruption.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 11, 2012 |
Heroin shooters, speed users, pot smokers and even some men and women who now are drug-free convene regularly in this city's gritty Tenderloin district — not for treatment, but to discuss public health policy and share their experiences free from shame or blame. On this particular evening, the dozen or so in attendance had some pressing questions, including how those heading to a users' conference in Oregon this fall would obtain their methadone or safely procure other drugs to use in a supervised injection room.