England: British Lib Democrats to Call for Drug Decriminalization

The British Liberal Democratic Party, junior partner in a coalition government with the Conservatives, is expected to pass a motion calling for an independent panel to study the decriminalization of the possession of all illicit drugs and for a regulated marijuana market, according to various British press reports.

England: British Liberal Democrats to call for drug decriminalization and regulated marijuana market.

The motion is to be voted on at the party's annual conference next month. The motion also calls for the inquiry to review the impact of the Misuse of Drugs Act and whether the government should seriously consider heroin maintenance programs. It cites the success of the Portuguese decriminalization model, as well as the call for reform from the Global Commission on Drug Policy, and the findings of Britain's own Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which called for the decriminalization of drug possession during the national review of drug strategy last year.

Greece: Greek Government Proposes Drug Decriminalization

The Greek government is proposing to decriminalize the possession of drugs under a bill sent to parliament by Justice Minister Miltadis Papioannou, the British web site Talking Drugs reported this week. Under the bill, drug possession would be decriminalized as long as the drug use does not affect others.

The bill is a response to continuing high drug overdose numbers -- more than 300 deaths a year in recent years -- and high levels of imprisonment. Some 40% of Greek prisoners are doing time for drug or drug-related offenses. Under the proposed bill, drug possession for personal use would qualify only as "misconduct" instead of a more serious criminal offense. The decriminalization provision would also apply to people growing marijuana for their personal use.

The bill would also guarantee the right to drug treatment, including for people currently imprisoned. People deemed "addict offenders" by the courts would be provided treatment instead of being jailed.

USA: Poll on legalization

A majority of Americans support the legalization of cannabis, according to a poll from Angus Reid Public Opinion published on 9 August.

The representative survey of 1,003 adults found that 55 per cent supported legalization, while 40 per cent opposed it.

USA: Majority in Colorado Poll Want Marijuana Legalized

A new Public Policy Polling survey shows support for marijuana legalization in Colorado at 51%, with 38% opposed.

The poll comes as activists there are prepare to put at least one marijuana legalization initiative on the November 2012 ballot.

USA: Arizona AG Files Suit Against Medical Marijuana Clubs

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne filed a lawsuit Monday asking a state court to close down "compassion clubs" where medical marijuana patients pay a fee to become members and in return obtain their medicine. The civil suit seeks both a temporary and a permanent injunction to shut them down.

Although some 6,000 Arizonans are registered as medical marijuana patients under the voter-approved law, no dispensaries are operating because state officials have put that portion of the law on hold while Gov. Jan Brewer's federal lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment on the legality of the dispensary language moves forward. Lawyers for the US government last week filed a motion to have that suit dismissed. The compassion clubs sprung up as a response to pent up patient demand. Now, Horne wants to shut down that distribution avenue, too.

UK/Germany: Sativex trial

A trial on the effectiveness of the cannabis spray Sativex of the British company GW Pharmaceuticals in managing chronic cancer pain has been expanded from the USA to European countries (Germany and the UK).

It is intended to include more than 1000 patients worldwide in the study.

Brought to you by The Greenish Warbler

August 15th 2011

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