MEXICO CITY - On June 17, 1971, President Richard Nixon stood in front
of the White House press corps and made his historic declaration of a
new type of war. "Public Enemy No. 1 in the United States is drug
abuse," he said. "In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it's
necessary to wage a new all-out offensive."
It would be a government-wide effort, and rally the United States's
power abroad to stem the supply of drugs. Among the countries targeted
was Mexico, which was home to abundant marijuana production and had
been resistant to aerial crop spraying.
[continues 939 words]
Next year will mark 50 years since President Richard Nixon declared
drugs "public enemy number one," launching a new war on drugs that has
pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into law enforcement, led to
the incarceration of millions of people - disproportionately Black -
and has done nothing to prevent drug overdoses. In spite of the
widespread, growing opposition to this failed war, made clear yet
again on Election Day, punitive policies and responses to drug use and
possession persist. As President-elect Joe Biden and Vice
President-elect Kamala Harris prepare to take office, it is abundantly
clear that they have a mandate from the electorate to tackle this issue.
[continues 802 words]
All eyes were on Philadelphia this month, as the outcome of the
election rested in poll workers' hands. It's not surprising that the
citizens of Philly were ready for change - they've faced a
disproportionately heavy toll as a result of the current
administration's ineffective coronavirus policies. And that toll has
tragically included an increased rate of deadly opioid overdoses.
But Philly isn't alone - overdoses tragically have increased in
communities across the nation, from San Francisco to Burlington, Vt.
[continues 914 words]
One of America's greatest mistakes over the last century was the war
on drugs, so it's thrilling to see voters in red and blue states alike
moving to unwind it.
The most important step is coming in Oregon, where voters easily
passed a referendum that will decriminalize possession of even hard
drugs like cocaine and heroin, while helping users get treatment for
addiction. The idea is to address drug use as a public health crisis
more than as a criminal justice issue.
[continues 773 words]
Americans were still waiting for clarity on the presidential race
Wednesday morning. Perhaps lost in the frantic haze of election night
was the legalization of recreational marijuana in four states.
Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota and Montana all passed legislation
Tuesday permitting the possession of weed by adults, which means 15
states have legalized recreational weed or voted to legalize it.
South Dakota and Mississippi passed initiatives to allow medical
marijuana, which means 36 states permit the legal distribution of
medical weed, according to a tally by NORML, a nonprofit marijuana
public advocacy group.
Oregon became the first state in the nation to decriminalize the
possession of all illegal drugs and also legalize the use of
psilocybin-the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms-for
mental health treatment, after voters passed a pair of ballot measures
Both are the first of their kind in any U.S. state and represent the
next frontier in the relaxation of drug laws beyond marijuana.
With results from 76% of precincts reporting early Wednesday morning,
59% of Oregonians approved Measure 110, the drug decriminalization
referendum, and 56% voted for Measure 109 on psilocybin therapy,
according to the Associated Press.
[continues 576 words]
43.5 per cent of study participants who used marijuana as a substitute
for alcohol decreased the frequency of their drinking.
Authorized medical marijuana patients who began using cannabis to help
reduce their drinking report experiencing a reduction or even
discontinuation of alcohol use, notes new research out of the
University of Victoria.
The finding reflects feedback from 2,102 patients registered with
Tilray, a medical cannabis research and production company in Canada.
The input was received as part of the Canadian Cannabis Patient Survey
2019, which gathered details on patient demographics, patterns of weed
use and self-reported use of prescription drugs, alcohol, tobacco and
illicit drugs before and after starting medical cannabis.
[continues 612 words]
Oregon has an addiction problem. Pockets of rural poverty, chronic
homelessness and cities with lots of young people have given the state
one of the highest rates of substance abuse in the nation. It is also,
because there is so little money allocated to it, one of the toughest
places to get treatment.
A proposed solution on the ballot next week would be one of the most
radical drug-law overhauls in the nation's history, eliminating
criminal penalties entirely for personal use amounts of drugs such as
heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine. Tax revenues from drug sales
would be channeled toward drug treatment.
[continues 1164 words]
Do you have the heart to safely smoke pot? Maybe not, a growing body
of medical reports suggests.
Currently, increased smoking of marijuana in public, even in cities
like New York where recreational use remains illegal (though no longer
prosecuted), has reinforced a popular belief that this practice is
safe, even health-promoting.
"Many people think that they have a free pass to smoke marijuana," Dr.
Salomeh Keyhani, professor of medicine at the University of
California, San Francisco, told me. "I even heard a suggestion on
public radio that tobacco companies should switch to marijuana because
then they'd be selling life instead of selling death."
[continues 1034 words]
A victory for the Democratic Party in next month's presidential
election would be a game changer for the cannabis industry. Despite
their reputation for overexuberance, pot investors are reacting with
Since mid-August, the 10 largest North American pot stocks by market
value are up 20%, according to Viridian Capital Advisors. This is
relatively muted compared with the 83% rally seen in the three months
before the 2016 election.
Americans have been buying a lot of pot during the Covid-19 pandemic,
which may also explain why stocks are rising. Sales in seven large
states where cannabis is legal, tracked by research company Headset,
were up 51% from January through September compared with the same
period of 2019. Consumers have had more leisure time at home and
federal stimulus money to spend. Alcohol companies have enjoyed
[continues 297 words]
YAMOUNEH, Lebanon - In a Lebanese farming village of rocky soil and
stone villas, cannabis grows everywhere.
It fills the fields that surround the village and lines nearby roads
where the army operates checkpoints. It sprouts in the weedy patches
between homes and is mixed with other colorful blooms in flower beds.
There is a cannabis crop near the mosque, and down the road from a
giant yellow flag for Hezbollah, the militant group and political
party whose leaders forbid its use on religious grounds.
[continues 1133 words]
It's been fascinating to watch the debate over cannabis law reform in
New Zealand from Canada, especially the arguments based on how well or
how poorly legal regulation has been playing out in my country. It's
also interesting - and amusing - to read the sometimes apocalyptic or
pollyannaish predictions about what will happen in New Zealand if
voters endorse the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill (CLCB), with
no regard for evidence from overseas.
It might have appeared out of the blue when Canada legalised cannabis
almost two years ago, but we were finally following the unanimous
recommendations of a non-partisan senate committee from 2002.
[continues 533 words]
Re "Parents' Little Helpers" (Sunday Styles, Oct. 4):
To be a Black mother is to be in a constant state of alertness when it
comes to protecting your family from the government. As a Black woman,
mother and lawyer, I am no different in that regard.
Most Black mothers wouldn't publicly label themselves a "wine mom" or
admit to smoking pot. No one remotely aware of the government's racist
practice of separating Black families for such behavior through the
so-called child welfare system would.
[continues 111 words]
For two years, New Jersey lawmakers had failed to mobilize enough
support to pass a bill to fully legalize marijuana. Instead, they
agreed in December to put the question directly to voters: "Do you
approve amending the Constitution to legalize a controlled form of
marijuana called 'cannabis'?"
Then March roared in, and the world turned upside down.
The coronavirus took a firm hold in the United States and Black Lives
Matter protesters filled streets from coast to coast.
More than 16,000 New Jersey residents have since died from the virus.
Unemployment has soared. Ballots for November's election, which is
being conducted almost entirely by mail, have already begun to arrive
at voters' homes.
[continues 1424 words]
7:51 p.m.: It's exactly 125 days tomorrow. I am pretg drink.
7:52 p.m.: Drunk.
7:52 p.m. I can tell. :-)
I have a years-long WhatsApp message group with a handful of fellow
mothers of small children from across the United States and Canada.
Since the pandemic began, what I refer to as "mom chats after dark"
start at around 7:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. That's when the
children are asleep, and a wave of inebriation begins on the shores of
the Atlantic and crashes across the continent. The above message was
from July, when we hit 125 days of lockdown.
[continues 1901 words]
SYDNEY, Australia - The question from the debate moderator in New
Zealand was simple and to the point: "Jacinda Ardern, have you ever
"Yes I did," said Ms. Ardern, the country's popular prime minister, "a
long time ago."
The moderator paused, looking surprised. Then the audience
Ms. Ardern later declined to say whether she supported the
legalization of marijuana, which New Zealanders will decide in a
referendum with the national election on Oct. 17. But by that point in
the debate on Wednesday, she had already won another smiley-face emoji
from the global left, while reminding voters that she hadn't always
been so earnest.
[continues 865 words]
In July, the Canadian province of British Columbia experienced its
fifth straight month with more than 100 overdose deaths - and its
third above 170 lives lost.
Globally, the World Health Organization reports approximately 500,000
deaths from drugs, over 70 percent of them tied to opioids. In Canada,
from January 2016 through December 2019, more than 15,000 people died
from apparent opioid-related causes. In 2019 alone, there were over
21,000 "suspected opioid-related overdoses" across nine provinces and
territories, excluding Quebec (for which data wasn't provided). The
opioid crisis clearly persists at home and abroad.
[continues 696 words]
GIGANTE, Costa Rica - There was a ghostlike quality to Rudy Gonsior,
an American former Special Forces sniper, on the morning he arrived at
a jungle retreat to see if a vomit-inducing psychedelic brew could
undo the damage years of combat had done to his mind.
Glassy-eyed and withdrawn, he barely spoke above a whisper and was
much quieter than the six other veterans who had come to dredge up
painful memories of comrades fallen in battle, thoughts of suicide and
the scar that taking a life leaves on the psyche.
[continues 2306 words]
Johns Creek officials disagreed on decriminalization of marijuana
during a Monday meeting. City Council members opposed to a reduced
penalty for simple possession said they were concerned that marijuana
is a gateway to more dangerous drugs.
Council members Chris Coughlin, Erin Elwood and Stephanie Endres
proposed that a person in possession of less than one ounce of
cannabis face no jail time and a fine of not more than $75.
The current fine for simple possession is up to one year in prison and
a $1,000 fine.
[continues 298 words]
Harry J. Anslinger's pioneering work as head of the Federal Bureau of
Narcotics has largely been unsung, though experts see him as the
founding father of America's war on drugs.
In 2014, the Drug Enforcement Administration raised his profile with a
symposium that focused on the decades he spent creating national drug policy,
starting in the 1930s. Following that, in 2015, the agency's museum opened an
exhibition: "A Life of Service: Harry Jacob Anslinger, 1892-1975."
When that closed in 2017, the D.E.A. Museum & Visitors Center created
a virtual version, which is displayed on its website.
[continues 1148 words]