Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Paradigm Shift in Global Drug Policy

Former Presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Switzerland, Prime Minister of Greece, Kofi Annan, George Shultz and Paul Volcker Call for Paradigm Shift in Global Drug Policy.


United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan up...Image via Wikipedia
Commission of World Leaders Urges New Approaches to Failed Drug War, Move from Criminal Justice toward Public Health Approach

Live Press Conference and Teleconference on Thursday, June 2 in New York City

The Global Commission on Drug Policy will host a live press conference and teleconference on Thursday, June 2 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City to launch a new report that describes the drug war as a failure and calls for a paradigm shift in global drug policy.

The Commission is the most distinguished group of high-level leaders who have ever called for such far-reaching changes in the way society deals with illicit drugs – such as decriminalization and urging countries to experiment with legal regulation. 

The Executive Director of the global advocacy organization AVAAZ, with its nine million members worldwide, will present a public petition in support of the Global Commission’s recommendations that will be given to the United Nations Secretary General. (The MildGreens are a signatory too, /Blair)

What: Press Conference and Teleconference to release Global Commission report.
When: Thursday, June 2 at 11 am, EST
Where: The Waldorf Astoria Hotel, 301 Park Avenue, New York (Beekman Suite)
By Phone:
USA: 1-800-311-9404 (Password: Global Commission)
From Outside the USA: 1-334-323-7224 (Password: Global Commission)
Commission Members (Those italicized will be at the press conference. Those speaking are italicized and underlined):
Kofi Annan,former Secretary General of the United Nations, Ghana
Louise Arbour, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, president of the International Crisis Group, Canada
Richard Branson, entrepreneur, advocate for social causes, founder of the Virgin Group, cofounder of The Elders, United Kingdom
Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former President of Brazil (chair)
Marion Caspers-Merk, former State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Health
Maria Cattaui, Petroplus Holdings Board member, former Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce, Switzerland
Ruth Dreifuss, former President of Switzerland and Minister of Home Affairs
Carlos Fuentes, writer and public intellectual, Mexico
César Gaviria, former President of Colombia
Asma Jahangir, human rights activist, former UN Special Rapporteur on Arbitrary, Extrajudicial and Summary Executions, Pakistan
Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria , France
Mario Vargas Llosa, writer and public intellectual, Peru
George Papandreou, Prime Minister of Greece
George P. Shultz, former Secretary of State , United States (honorary chair)
Javier Solana, former European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy , Spain
Thorvald Stoltenberg, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Norway
Paul Volcker, former Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve and of the Economic Recovery Board
John Whitehead, banker and civil servant, chair of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, United States
Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico
An EMBARGOED copy of the report and press release will be made available starting on May 30. Contact Tony Newman (646-335-5384 or  tnewman@drugpolicy.org) to request these materials.
The report and press release are EMBARGOED until 12:01 am GMT on June 2.
To learn more about the Commission, visit: www.globalcommissionondrugs.org
See also
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/29/drugs-trade-drugs
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Getting it right - National Times

President Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1995-2002)Image via Wikipedia''One part of the research was that we interviewed something like 50 senior police, senior magistrates, senior politicians, senior public servants. Every one of them, unanimously, said, 'You are absolutely right and we totally agree with you, we need to move away from prohibition, we need another social policy, and you will never catch me saying that in public'.'' Another world leader on drug policy reform is former Brazilian president Fernando Cardoso. In a recent opinion article in The Age, he said: ''Prohibition has failed and we must redirect our efforts to the harm caused by drugs, and to reducing consumption. The war on drugs is a lost war, and 2011 is the time to move away from a punitive approach in order to pursue a new set of policies based on public health, human rights and commonsense.''
Drugs, legal and illicit, are widely used and effectively regulated in many cases. Crofts and many researchers the world over advocate moving the regulation of currently illicit drugs from the criminal justice system to the health system.


Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/getting-it-right-20110522-1eyt9.html#ixzz1NHs4ug7p


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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Demos/UKDPC: Drug bans outdated for new highs

·    Outdated Misuse of Drugs Act could unintentionally increase harms
·    The rise in new 'legal highs' could be controlled through use of consumer protection legislation
·    In assessing whether to control a new substance, Government should consider the potential benefits as well as the harms of new drugs
·    In the longer term, Government should consider creating a comprehensive Harmful Substances Control Act to align controls of all psychoactive substances, including alcohol and tobacco
Drug Free Zone? Free Drug Zone?Image by byungkyupark via Flickr
The Government should consider using a fundamentally different approach for the control of 'legal highs', according to the think tank Demos and the UK Drug Policy Commission. A new report concludes that the current practice of controlling new synthetic drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act may sometimes cause more harm than good.
Demos and UKDPC call for more use of other regulatory options, such as trading standards regulation, which could be more effective in controlling the impact of some new drugs.
The report also recommends that the Government and its advisors should assess the potential benefits as well as the harms of psychoactive drugs, as is done with alcohol, including the possibility that the use of less harmful substances can prevent people using more dangerous drugs.
Taking Drugs Seriously investigates how the Government and authorities can best protect young people from the rise in new legal highs. It claims that current drug control legislation is no longer fit for purpose in the 21st century in light of the easy accessibility of new substances on the Internet.  It has been 40 years since the UK Misuse of Drugs Act was introduced.
The Demos and UKDPC research underlines a fundamental and growing bias in the political and regulatory system towards prohibition as a 'default' option. This is in spite of the fact that there is no conclusive evidence that classifying a substance through the Misuse of Drugs Act reduces overall harms and it is possible that it can, unintentionally, increase harms. 
The report warns the Misuse of Drugs Act is becoming increasingly unenforceable as the number of substances it controls rises beyond 600 at the same time as the police and other enforcement agencies' resources are coming under growing pressure.
There are also significant concerns that planned temporary banning powers could lead to neglect in considering other control options. Taking Drugs Seriously advises the Government to commit to a full-scale assessment of the use and impact of these powers.
Demos and UKDPC also warn that the range of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and tobacco, are currently controlled with an inconsistent and confusing collection of regulations, which undermine the credibility of the overall system of control especially in the eyes of young people.
The Demos and UKDPC report recommends:
The Government should give greater consideration to controlling the supply of new psychoactive drugs through the wide range of consumer protection legislation already available.
More research needs to be conducted into the benefits and harms of continuing with current UK drug control policy. Further investigation should also be carried out into the effects of new 'legal highs' available on the market.
A comprehensive Harmful Substances Control Act covering the supply of all potentially harmful substances, including alcohol, solvents and tobacco, through a range of different control options in a consistent framework could result in a policy better able to cope with substance control in the 21st century.
The Government should tap into the experience of drug users and front-line workers to help form an 'early warning system' and a real-time information source for emerging drugs.
Jonathan Birdwell, co-author, said:
"The Misuse of Drugs Act has passed its sell-by date. So-called 'legal highs' present an entirely new challenge that needs a more intelligent response. With the aim of being hard-line towards all psychoactive substances, the Government risks making it more, not less, dangerous for young people who want to experiment."
Roger Howard, Chief Executive of the UK Drug Policy Commission, said:
"Forty years ago, the Misuse of Drugs Act was passed in a world where new drugs came along every few years, not every few weeks. The argument about whether to be tough or soft about drugs is increasingly redundant in the era of the internet and global trade: we have to think differently. It might be time to say that those who seek to sell new substances should have to prove their safety, rather than that the government should have to prove otherwise. Controlling new substances through trading standards legislation offers a new vehicle to achieve this."
Tim Hollis, Chief Constable of Humberside Police, and national lead on drugs for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), said:
"The report from Demos and the UK Drug Policy Commission raises new insights into how the challenge of new synthetic drugs can be addressed. It is a timely and helpful contribution to an important debate. Police forces and health professionals across England and Wales are only too aware of the problems that a wave of new drugs can bring. A particular challenge is the speed with which news of legal highs can be circulated on social networking sites and made available via the internet. The idea of Trading Standards officers having a stronger role in controlling substances is one that is worthy of consideration and reinforces the fact that closer partnership working is essential in addressing the issue."
Notes to editors:
There are now over 600 substances controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act in the UK and this number looks set to increase. According to data presented to the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, an unprecedented 40 new substances were produced in the Far East and sold in the UK in 2010.
Analysis of results from drugs testing in the British Army indicates that cocaine use fell by more than half between 2008 and 2009, at a time when mephedrone was becoming increasingly available. Use of cocaine then increased slightly over the course of 2010, following the ban on mephedrone. Analysis of emerging data on drug deaths suggests that between 2007/8 and the first six months of 2009, cocaine-related deaths among the UK population fell by 28%. It has been suggested that the fall in cocaine use and cocaine-related deaths might be due to users switching from cocaine to mephedrone (see Professor Sheila Bird's analysis of army data and cocaine-related deaths).
Consumer protection legislation could limit the numbers of vendors entitled to supply certain controlled substances and require that these vendors demonstrate that their product meets particular standards. These standards could include age restrictions on sales, requirements that they are sold with information on dosage levels and side effects, and controls on marketing and packaging. Civil and/or criminal sanctions could be applied for breaches of legislation, as are currently used for the unauthorised sale of solvents or inhalants under the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985. This Act was passed following concern about the annual number of deaths of young people from 'glue sniffing'. Annual death rates were frequently in excess of 100 and even today are over 35.
A new Harmful Substances Control Act could be created to provide a single framework for controlling all psychoactive substances, including alcohol, tobacco, solvents, new legal highs, and those currently regulated by the Misuse of Drugs Act. This would allow the Government to correct the contradictions that exist in the range of laws currently regulating these substances, and instead control each according to the impact it has, or is likely to have, on users and society. Under this system, new drugs could be controlled according to information available about their impact; this could be adjusted as more information became available.
The New Zealand Law Commission published on 3rd May 2011 its review of the NZ Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, which was closely modelled on the UK Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The Law Commission independently made a number of similar recommendations to those proposed by Demos/UKDPC in Taking Drugs Seriously. These include that a new regulatory regime should be established, which would require new psychoactive substances to be assessed and approved before they can be made available for sale in New Zealand: reversing the existing regime where substances can be sold without restriction until they are proved to be harmful and either regulated or prohibited. The Law Commission also recommended that the government should consider whether the new regime for psychoactive substances should, at a future date, be expanded to include a wider range of non-therapeutic lifestyle and recreational substances intended for human consumption.
Evidence for Taking Drugs Seriously was gathered during workshops and consultations with experts and an international review was carried out by Professor Peter Reuter, Professor of Criminology at the University of Maryland and co-founder of the Rand Drug Policy Center.
Taking Drugs Seriously, by Jonathan Birdwell, Jake Chapman and Nicola Singleton, is published on May 16 2011 and will be available to download for free from www.demos.co.uk and www.ukdpc.org.uk 
This project was funded by the A B Charitable Trust (ABCT).  ABCT is an independent, UK-based grant-making organisation founded in 1990 that is concerned with promoting and defending human dignity. ABCT supports charities that defend human rights, such as freedom from torture and arbitrary imprisonment, and promote respect for individuals whatever their circumstances.
The authors are available for comment and interview. Contact:
Ralph Scott
020 7367 6325
079 33 770498
Leo Barasi
020 7812 3792
07988 054241
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Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Hairs Breadth from Insanity

The Front of the SAMHSA building at 1 Choke Ch...Image via WikipediaOnly in the USA (see hair testing promotion)

Marijuana remains the most abused drug in the United States. A recent SAMHSA report shows that 76% of drug users self report they use marijuana. Without the proper test methods and technology, marijuana poses some unique challenges and is difficult to test in hair.

 While other labs hair tests may find no additional marijuana users than urinalysis tests (and often find less), Psychemedics' hair test typically detects 4 to 7 more times the number of marijuana users than urinalysis. Overall, Psychemedics detects 5 to 10 times the number of drug users for all drug categories tested, when compared to urinalysis in paired data. With a Psychemedics hair test you can be confident in not only superior detection of marijuana, but superior detection of drug abuse across all drug categories.


So remnant metabolites prove abuse of drugs.... clowns, all of them!

Blair Anderson http://mildgreens.blogspot.com
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Potential lethal batch warning of 2c-e

On March 17th in Minneapolis and on May 7th in Oklahoma two groups of 19 people total were hospitalized and 2 people died after the ingestion of 2C-E.  2C-E has been used over 20 years without serious incidents.
Wouldn't happen if we had placed these emerging enthogenics/hallucinogenics under NZ's Class D  restricted substances regulations... instead we get dang fool lawyers suggesting prohibition is a good idea until the drug is proven safe. Show me prohibition is safe....
--
Blair Anderson 
Social Ecologist 'at large'
 ph nz  (643) 389 4065   nz cell 027 265 7219


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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

No Right Turn: The LawCom hates the War on Drugs

Jean-Pierre Galland, French cannabis activist:...Image via Wikipedia No Right Turn: The LawCom hates the War on Drugs


Pity the LC gave no hard data upon which performance measures could be based, no cost benefit analysis of current policy!

Its a bloody fraud.... leaving the recommendations weak and thus ignorable.

Blair Anderson
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Note on the Law Commission Report findings

This is a chart illustrating the amount spent ...Image via Wikipedia
1 These conventions prohibit the manufacture, import, export, sale and supply of a wide range of psychoactive substances specified in the Conventions.
NO, this is incorrect, these conventions do not explain how Portugal can remove criminal sanction across all drugs and still be convention compliant. It is sacrilege to believe these conventions to be infallible. They are accountable for mayhem and injustice that on a global scale makes apartheid look good..
A mandatory cautioning scheme for all personal possession and use offences that come to the attention of the police, removing minor drug offenders from the criminal justice system and providing greater opportunities for those in need of treatment to access it.
A gentler kinder prohibition?
It acknowledges that criminal sanction is a deficit but doesn't explain what to do with the 80% of <33yr old who have done it more than five times.
(ref: Jo Boden PHD, National Addiction Centre,  statistical review of the CHDS, Healthy Christchurch, Sept. 2010)
 A full scale review of the current drug classification system which is used to determine restrictiveness of controls and severity of penalties, addressing
existing inconsistencies and focusing solely on assessing a drug's risk of harm, including social harm.
Whoa!  That was the brief mate, expediently you didn't do what you were asked to do and review the drug conventions efficacy or do the intersectorial analysis, policy impact statement or cost benefit of prohibition of any drug let alone resolve tensions, burdens and heartbreak surrounding prevalence of use and its unitary enforcement. The existing inconsistencies are the double standards applied to benefits and deficits of legal drugs.
 Making separate funding available for the treatment of offenders through the justice sector to support courts when they impose rehabilitative sentences to address alcohol and drug dependence problems;
And the evidence for coercive care is?
 Consideration of a pilot drug court, allowing the government to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of deferring sentencing of some offenders until they had undergone court-imposed alcohol and/or drug treatment;
And what say the current drug courts? Are they not Pilots or is it they are really being whitewashed when the real problem is the blackmarket deviency amplification the law creates.
The Commission's report is to be tabled in Parliament today.
OH Dear... would someone please table a copy at the Serious Fraud Office as well.
As for the Dunne Clause entrenching classification...  'dishonest policy standards'' in the extreme.

--
Blair Anderson 


ph nz  (643) 389 4065   nz cell 027 265 7219

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Sunday, May 01, 2011

As Seen on TradeMe Community

"Marijuana Cigarette"Image via Wikipedia
4:5 Christchurch folk <33yrs old - many of whom have children have smoked pot more than five times [CHDS, Otago School of Medicine], and because they like a recreational joint from time to time they may well have some tucked in the sock drawer. It no more means the person (or couple) are guilty of mistreating a child (that's the reference point here) than someone who has a bottle of wine in the fridge, or 10g of pipe tobacco inside the fly-fishing bag.
What your juicing here is 'narc' culture... exactly the purpose of the new reality television series "Drug Bust". It wouldn't matter a toss if they televised every one of the fifty busts a day in NZ, (though it would expose the racial profiling) it makes no matter... prohibition is what prohibition is, a concept applied in name only.

The chances of getting caught if you're white and rich and keep good company are nearly nil. Whereas the line the cops want you to hear is "if we can only make one more bust the problem will go away". I've news for you... The USA has spent more than a trillion dollars and pot couldn't be more popular if you made it compulsory. So what was it you're trying to achieve again....?
I was at a child custody hearing in Queenstown some years ago and the ex-partner cited 'pot use' as a mitigating factor in insisting on custody. The Honourable Judge retorted, if I had to take the kids off everyone who smoked pot in this town, the schools would be empty and the economy would collapse.

So if a Judge doesn't agree with you... what say you to your perceptions? Perhaps it is time for a reality check.
In that regard, most of the pot smokers I know are a way ahead of you. Just because it is illegal doesn't make it right to 'do harm' where there would otherwise be none. It is after all illegal under the warrant of the minister of health whose guiding principal, despite the law, is first do no harm.
Apartheid was legal once too?
Drug Policy is founded on Racism and White Privilege. It has no place in asset based civil society.
Blair Anderson 


ph nz  (643) 389 4065   nz cell 027 265 7219

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