Lib Dems' Conference Decision Is a Totemic Policy That Would Also
Raise Ukp 1bn Tax, Says MP Norman Lamb
The Liberal Democrats have become the first major party to support
the legalisation of cannabis, a move, they argue, that will reduce
drug- related crime and raise around UKP 1bn in tax revenue.
The policy was overwhelmingly approved by delegates at the Lib Dems'
spring conference in York yesterday.
It follows a review of soft drugs set up by the former health
minister Norman Lamb, one of the eight MPs who survived the party's
general- election rout last year, and chaired by Steve Rolles, a
senior policy analyst from the Transform Drug Policy Foundation.
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The Hippies Drug of Choice Was Banned in 1966 but Is Now Undergoing
Trials As a Cure for Depression and Addiction. Charlie Cooper Spoke
to Some Volunteer Users.
LSD is often associated with trippy songs such as "Lucy in the Sky
with Diamonds", "Purple Haze" and "White Rabbit". But before it
became the drug of choice for the 1960s counterculture, lysergic acid
diethylamide had a previous existence - as an experimental medicine
for a broad spectrum of psychological problems ranging from
depression and addiction, to schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder.
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While Federal Law Says Possession and Sale Is Still Illegal, You Can
Now Buy Recreational Marijuana in Four US States
Last year, on New Year's Day, I spent two hours queuing in the bone-
chilling cold of a Denver January to be one of the first few people
in the world legally to buy recreational cannabis over the counter.
The drug has traditionally been tolerated in the Netherlands, but
never truly legal. Portugal decriminalised it more than a decade ago.
California legalised medical marijuana in 1996, and has since been
followed by 22 other US states and Washington, DC.
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While in Malta the political sector of the country is greatly engaged
in the debate as to whether or not drugs should be decriminalised, it
would be wise to propose the Church's view on the subject.
As we all know, if the Church simply ignores her golden input she
would be betraying one of her main roles in the world, namely that of
forming people's consciences. In order that this great ideal is
lovingly realised, I shall be offering Pope Francis' teaching on the matter.
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Regarding Alison Bezzina's column entitled Let's talk about drugs
(TMIS, 13 July), the global drug war is largely a war on cannabis, by
far the most popular illicit drug. There is a big difference between
condoning cannabis use and protecting children from drugs.
Decriminalisation acknowledges the social reality of cannabis and
frees users from the stigma of lifeshattering criminal records. What
is really needed is a regulated market with age controls.
Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical. As long as
organised crime controls cannabis distribution, consumers will
continue to come into contact with sellers of hard drugs like cocaine
and heroin. This 'gateway' is a direct result of cannabis prohibition.
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Two-Year Survey Uncovers 'Problematic Substance Abuse' Among Lgbt Community
Whether it is a coping mechanism in the face of homophobia or just
hectic partying is not clear, but new figures suggest that gay people
are seven times more likely to take illegal drugs than the general
population, with one in five of those surveyed showing signs of
dependency on drugs or alcohol.
More than a third of gay, lesbian and bisexual people took at least
one illegal drug in the last month, according to the largest study of
its kind. Whether drug use is a psychological crutch, a way of
integrating into the "scene" or perhaps both, that figure compares to
5 per cent of the wider population who admitted using a drug in the
last month in the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW).
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Crackdown on Irresponsible Addicts Could Affect Motorists WHO Take
Prescribed Painkillers Daily
Motorists using prescribed painkillers such as morphine and codeine
could be charged with "drug driving" under a new law designed to keep
dangerous hard drug users off British roads, doctors and campaigners
Ministers have confirmed that the "opioid-based medicines" may be
covered by the new offence of drug-driving, even if they have been
supplied by a doctor and the recommended dose is taken. At present,
motorists and their doctors must be satisfied of their fitness to
drive before they get into a car.
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A crowd of about 300 people participated in a lively demonstration in
Valletta yesterday, organised by the group 'Legalise it, Malta!' which
is calling for the decriminalisation, classification and the eventual
legalisation of cannabis.
The demonstrators, consisting mainly of people in their 20s, walked
along Republic Street, chanting "Legalise it, legalise it" and "We're
no criminals" to the beat of bongos as they stopped in front of the
Law Courts building before proceeding to Palace Square.
Reactions from onlookers were varied. While some people looked
worried, some simply smiled, while others commented about the negative
effects of any drug, irrespective of whether it was cannabis, heroin,
ecstasy or anything else.
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After 40 Years, Washington Is Quietly Giving Up on a Futile Battle
That Has Spread Corruption and Destroyed Thousands of Lives
After 40 years of defeat and failure, America's "war on drugs" is
being buried in the same fashion as it was born - amid bloodshed,
confusion, corruption and scandal. US agents are being pulled from
South America; Washington is putting its narcotics policy under
review, and a newly confident region is no longer prepared to swallow
its fatal Prohibition error. Indeed, after the expenditure of billions
of dollars and the violent deaths of tens of thousands of people, a
suitable epitaph for America's longest "war" may well be the plan, in
Bolivia, for every family to be given the right to grow coca in its
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Huge Blaze in California Is Traced to Cannabis Farm and Prompts New
Calls for the Drug to Be Legalised
Marijuana has been accused of causing depression, triggering cancer
and turning sparkly teenagers into apathetic couch potatoes. Now it
is being held responsible for a heinous new misdemeanour: setting the
state of California on fire.
Police investigating a vast wildfire that burned almost 90,000 acres
of the Los Padres National Forest around Santa Barbara last weekend
have announced that it was started by a group of marijuana growers.
More than 30,000 plants were seized after the vast blaze, which had
filled the sky with orange smoke as far south as Los Angeles, 150
miles away, was traced to the cooking area of a cannabis plantation
on public land in a remote corner of the Sierra Madre mountains.
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The Canadian City Has Been Named The Best Place In The World To Live.
But Those Halcyon Days Are Over
Once upon a very recent time, Vancouver had a clean, safe image.
Nestled between a spectacular bay and snow-capped mountains, this
Canadian city, which is twice the size of Birmingham, was described
by The Economist as the most liveable in the world. Not any more. As
it prepares to host the 2010 Winter Olympics, what it's got now is
not cuddly, eco-friendly publicity, but blood-spattered streets
littered with shell casings and corpses.
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Escalating Violence Is Forcing Hollywood And US Tourists To Stay Away.
Mexican drug cartels don't like rivals treading on their territory;
they don't like the police poking around; and now, it seems, they
don't much care for Hollywood taking an interest in their business.
Producers of a film about the murder of a cocaine smuggler, which
would have starred Eva Mendes, Josh Hartnett and Sir Ben Kingsley,
have been forced to abandon filming on the Mexican coast after the
movie-makers received death threats.
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Private clinics struggle to get funding as government policy favours
less effective - but cheaper - methadone clinics.
Britain's rehab services are facing collapse. No fewer than 15 of the
UK's 100 rehab centres have closed in the past 15 months, despite an
increase in the number of people seeking help for addictions.
Because of changes in government health policy, private rehab centres
are finding fewer and fewer health authorities are willing to foot the
bill for addicts to have residential treatment, despite that fact that
it is much more effective in getting them off drugs, according to the
Addiction Recovery Foundation.
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Britain's answer to the FBI, the Serious Organised Crime Agency
(Soca), has been branded a disaster by the law enforcement chief whose
proposals in 2003 led to its creation.
Terry Byrne, former director-general for law enforcement at Customs &
Excise, said the agency was failing and its performance was "dismal".
He added: "The agency is claiming to have seized 84 tons of cocaine
across the world, yet the availability of cocaine in the UK is at an
all-time high and street prices at an all-time low. This is not the
agency I envisaged and I would not have proposed the transfer of
Customs drugs responsibilities and resources to such an organisation
if I had known how it was going to be so ill-directed."
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What the West London Siege Tells Us About Class
When the police shot and killed a man in London on Tuesday evening,
the news was greeted with disbelief. First, the siege happened in
Chelsea, an affluent area of London. Second, the dead man was white
and a barrister. Third - which got into headlines - he was an Oxford
graduate. We have become used to hearing of black kids being shot in
Kilburn or Brixton, but it just doesn't happen to people like Mark
Saunders. Prosperous lawyers aren't supposed to become distraught and
open fire across one of London's desirable squares; they're supposed
to belong to the right clubs, make money and become QCs.
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The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) will set itself on
a collision course with the Government tomorrow when it seeks to
persuade the Home Secretary that cannabis should remain at its
current status as a class C drug.
The council's refusal to go along with the Government's commitment to
crack down on cannabis may count against it when it comes under
scrutiny as part of a review later this year. A Home Office
spokesperson reiterated last week that the council's role is confined
to providing advice on classification.
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'Startling and Shocking' Figures Alarm Experts Who Say Cities Are
Awash With Heroin and Cocaine
Street prices for class A drugs have halved since Labour came to
power, dropping almost every year since 1997, government figures
confirm. Newly released statistics show that heroin cost as little as
UKP40 a gram in 2007, just over half the price it was 10 years ago.
Cocaine was UKP45 a gram, down from UKP71.
The shadow home affairs minister, James Brokenshire, says the
figures, released in the same week as a UN warning that governments
need to do more to tackle international drug gangs, show "10 years of
failure" of government drug policies. "The figures are startling and
shocking and show the reality of drug use in Britain. It's an
indictment of government strategy over the last decade. Sadly, there
is not much prospect of improvement," he said.
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The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith will target drug dealers with new
powers designed to attack the profitability of their illicit trade.
The move is certain to face criticism from civil rights advocates.
The 10-year Drug Strategy will give police and other enforcement
agencies the right to seize dealers' assets once they have been
arrested in connection with inquiries. A Home Office spokesman last
night explained that the hard-line proposals would "send a blunt
warning to criminals that we will not allow them to benefit from their
crimes", as part of a campaign to double the value of seized assets to
UKP250m a year by 2009-2010.
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Poppy seeds in food, common over-the-counter medications and traces
of banned substances are enough to warrant four-year prison sentences
in the United Arab Emirates, travellers were warned today.
Visitors to Dubai and Abu Dhabi are now being advised to "take
extreme caution" and "avoid arrest for 'possession' of a controlled substance".
The advice, issued by the legal charity Fair Trials International,
follows a recent spate of arrests and imprisonment.
The charity, which assists those facing trial abroad, has urged
travellers to ensure they are completely free of any substances
prohibited by the country they are visiting.
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The former home secretary said: "Rather than affecting practice on
the ground, classifying cannabis back to class B now would simply
Defending his decision to downgrade the drug, a move likely to be
reversed by Jacqui Smith, the current Home Secretary, Mr Blunkett
said his desire for "honest" policing played a part in his decision
to reclassify cannabis in 2004.
"Classifying cannabis as class C is a much more honest approach both
politically and in terms of how the drug is policed, rather than
tackling what was a class B drug with a class C approach, as happened
in the past."
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