War on Drugs

Good point Chris, why do Labour keep going around and around in circles?

Chris Trotter wonders why Labour constantly goes round and round in circles.

WHY DOES LABOUR do it? Why is it forever tying itself up in ethical knots and programmatic contradictions? Its policy-making does not seem to proceed from any discernible core of political principle. On the contrary, it comes across as the sort of haphazard collection of fleeting public obsessions a party guided exclusively by opinion polls and focus groups might present to the electorate.

Voters are prepared to forgive National for this sort ?suck it and see? approach to policy-making. Most of us understand that the only principle that National will never abandon is the one commanding it to remain in office for as long as possible. Everything else is negotiable ? as the Government?s recent swag of policy tweaks and re-adjustments makes abundantly clear.

Nor can the voters object too strenuously to National?s governing style. After all, it is their own likes and dislikes that are being so assiduously fed back to them by the party?s pollsters and marketing specialists.

If democracy is about giving the people what they want, then John Key?s preternatural sensitivity to the slightest change of pitch in the vox populi makes him a democratic leader of no mean ability.

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Can we declare the War on Drugs a loss?

Legal cannabis advocate Victoria Davis said the rally was held in conjunction with the United Nations meeting on international approaches to drugs “to address the dismal failure of the war on drugs”.

“It’s acknowledged by all global experts now that the war on drugs was expensive, ineffective and made criminals out of a lot of ordinary people,” she said.

“If someone is sick it shouldn’t be a crime to make them feel better.

“It’s time to face the realities about this drug, that it’s useful.”

Davis said there was no drug that worked as well as cannabis to ease medical issues such as seizures, glaucoma and anxiety.

“It’s being used [medicinally] already, if it didn’t work people wouldn’t use it.”

A lawyer, Sue Grey also addressed the rally.

She questioned why Peter Dunne wanted to commission further research into the drug when other countries had already done so.

“What research does he think we’re going to do here that will make a difference?” she asked. Read more »

40 years for the War on Drugs…total failure

We have spent forty years on the ‘War on Drugs’ in this country, and not a single positive outcome has occurred.

It is the same around the world and is leading countries to look at alternatives. Portugal is a classic example, that shows that contrary to the nay-sayers, decriminalisation can actually work in addressing the harm of drugs.

So, in New Zealand people are now having to re-think our approach…the problem though is just a single, old fashioned old fool can hold up any real progress.

Drug law reform. Is there any better example of a heart versus head issue? Logic and rationality tells you that the system does not work, that drugs are a medical issue not a criminal one. But your gut says lock all the junkies and potheads up.

It is Ross Bell’s job to wrestle with these dilemmas. For 11 years he has been chief executive of the New Zealand Drug Foundation, a charitable trust charged with preventing and reducing harms caused by drug use.

The irony is that decriminalisation of drugs can reduce harms more effectively than prohibition. This is where the Drug Foundation now finds itself. Bell’s current angle is that our drug law turns 40 this year and is showing its age. Time for an overhaul.

The Misuse of Drugs Act became law in 1975, during the last days of Bill Rowling’s Labour government. It was that long ago, a time of dancing cossacks, disco and Fleetwood Mac. The big drug scares were heroin and LSD.

During the parliamentary debate, Rowling-era police minister Michael Connelly aired the then-fashionable view that cannabis was a gateway drug. Pot smokers would naturally “graduate” to harder drugs.

But New Zealand was really being a follower and getting behind the United States, Bell says. President Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs in 1971. The United Nations agreed on a new drugs treaty in the same year. New Zealand had to keep up. ? Read more »

Has the ‘War on Drugs’ failed?

The US has has a ‘War on Drugs’ for more than 100 years.

A few short years ago John Key and his Chief ‘Science’ Advisor declared a war on drugs too.

But have all these ?wars on drugs worked.

Eric Schneider, author of Smack: Heroin and the American City?shares his thoughts at Politico.

Let?s all pause today to wish a happy 100th?birthday to the War on Drugs. And what a century it?s been!

Twenty-five years ago, the stated goal of the United States? anti-narcotic efforts according to the Department of Justice was to ?disrupt, destroy and dismantle drug trafficking enterprises.? That same year, the U.S. government pumped almost $8 billion into anti-drug efforts, including $600 million in prison construction alone. It was just a typical fiscal year during the height of the drug war. But two and a half decades later, despite this dizzying spending, we don?t need a drug czar to tell us?even though one of them has?the war on drugs, by its own measures, has been a century-long failure.

A hundred years ago this month, the U.S. government started this fight to rid us of the scourge of opiates. Today, not only have we failed to control drug demand, an entirely new breed of opiate epidemic has flourished in the face of the most draconian drug laws in the world. Aided by aggressive Big Pharma marketing and enthusiastic ?pain specialists,? opiate abuse has simply taken on a new shape, moving from urban enclaves and overrunning pockets of New England and the South, from rural Vermont to the suburbs of Dallas, that have little history of widespread drug abuse. Heroin today is cheaper and purer than it was 50 years ago. That?s to say nothing of the 700 percent increase in incarceration of American citizens in the past four decades, the distribution of nearly $450 million worth of military equipment that is used by local and state law enforcement agencies (that ?militarization of the police? you?ve been reading so much about lately), and the creation of a wasteful, labyrinthine bureaucracy dedicated to what has proven a perhaps impossible goal: The eradication of drugs.

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We should try this here

Prison for non-violent drug crimes is a waste of time and money.

More than 46,000 people will be allowed to petition for reduced prison sentences for drug crimes, thanks to a unanimous vote by the U.S. Sentencing Commission on Friday.?

The U.S. Sentencing Commission on Friday voted to make recent guidelines lowering prison sentences for most federal drug offenses fully retroactive to all currently serving federal sentences under the guidelines.

As BuzzFeed?reported?earlier this week, the question before the commission was whether approximately 50,000 drug offenders serving time currently will be able to petition a judge to review their sentences according to the new standards. The Justice Department had opposed making the changes fully retroactive.

The commission unanimously voted yes Friday to make the decision retroactive, although the decision will not allow for release of any prisoners until Nov. 1, 2015. The approximately 50,000 people affected represent around 25% of the total federal prison population ? approximately 210,000 convicts.? Read more »

US looking for substantial savings by reducing drug sentences

The Us is certainly looking like they are dialling back the so-called “war on drugs”.

They are starting to realise that incarceration has failed when it comes to drug use.

Not only is it expensive it is also ineffective.

The Justice Department is formally backing a?proposal?being considered by the U.S. Sentencing Commission that would shorten the amount of time that federal drug offenders currently behind bars would have to spend in prison.? Read more »

Nigella needs special permission while fraudsters can walk right in

Something’s not right here. ?Claire Trevett reports

Nigella Lawson needs special permission to visit New Zealand, but the “Wolf of Wall Street” will be eligible for a visa when he comes next month, despite having been jailed for fraud.

Last week it was revealed that British television cook Lawson had to get a special dispensation to visit New Zealand next month because she had been refused entry to the United States after publicly admitting using cocaine and marijuana.

She will be ineligible for a visa to New Zealand for the rest of her life, despite having no convictions.

However, no such dispensation is needed for Jordan Belfort on his visit to speak at investment seminars. A spokesman said Mr Belfort was yet to apply for a visa, but he was eligible because his sentence was less than five years and the conviction was more than 10 years ago. Only those sentenced to more than five years are ineligible for a visa for life.

There is such a legal bias towards drug related charges in the law. ?There are people in the US imprisoned for life for marijuana possession. ?But ripping off people from their hard earned money? ?Meh. ? Read more »

Understanding Mexico’s drug wars

Are the American’s to blame for the Mexican Drug wars?

This video suggests it may be so:

The video takes a bit of an advocacy bend, arguing that the United States plays a major role in the violence, both because our high levels of drug use fuel the narcotics trade and because our?loose gun controls?make it easy for cartels south of the border to arm themselves.? Read more »

Breaking The Taboo (Trailer)

On December 7th, a documentary will be released on YouTube (yes, released on YouTube, not MSM).

Narrated by Morgan Freeman, this groundbreaking new documentary uncovers the UN sanctioned war on drugs, charting its origins and its devastating impact on countries like the USA, Colombia and Russia. Featuring prominent statesmen including Presidents Clinton and Carter, the film follows The Global Commission on Drug Policy on a mission to break the political taboo and expose the biggest failure of global policy in the last 50 years.

Bookmark this page if you like to view it.

 

Sanity on Drugs

? Sydney Morning Herald

A former top Australian cop talks sense. The war on drugs has failed. We should stop criminals having a monopoly on drugs by regulating and taxing drugs and putting those who break tax laws in jail for a very long time.

The reality is that, contrary to frequent assertions, drug law enforcement has had little impact on the Australian drug market. This is true in most countries in the world.

In Australia the police are better resourced than ever, better trained than ever, more effective than ever and yet their impact on the drug trade, on any objective assessment, has been minimal.

In the?Herald?last week, the opposition health spokesman, Peter Dutton, asserted that ”law enforcement does achieve significant results and is not yet at its peak of effectiveness”. I feel compelled to respond, because frankly the evidence does not stack up. In Australia last year, 86 per cent of drug users said that obtaining heroin was ”easy” or ”very easy”, while 93 per cent reported that obtaining hydroponic cannabis was ”easy” or ”very easy”.

The price of street heroin and cocaine decreased by more than 80 per cent in the US and Europe in the past 20 years. Despite a huge investment by the US in drug law enforcement, northern Mexico has descended into a drug cartel battlefield, driven by the demand for illicit drugs within the US. At the local level, our young people can and do purchase illicit drugs with ease and generally with impunity. If this is an effective policy at work, I am not sure what failure would look like.