New York Times, 20 Nov 2020 - 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.
The Hill, 16 Nov 2020 - 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. Today there are more than 1.35 million arrests per year for drug possession, with 500,000 arrests for marijuana alone. By comparison, there are less than 500,000 arrests per year for violent crimes. Every 25 seconds a person is arrested for possessing drugs for personal use, and on average, a Black person is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person, even though Black and white people use marijuana at similar rates. At least 130,000 people are behind bars in the U.S. for drug possession, some 45,000 of them in state prisons and 88,000 in jails, most of the latter in pretrial detention.
New York Times, 08 Nov 2020 - 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.
Wall Street Journal, 05 Nov 2020 - 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 this week. 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.
New York Times, 27 Oct 2020 - 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.
New York Times, 27 Oct 2020 - 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.
Wall Street Journal, 21 Oct 2020 - 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 level heads. 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.
New York Times, 19 Oct 2020 - 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.
Gisborne Herald, 15 Oct 2020 - 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.
New York Times, 06 Oct 2020 - 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.
New York Times, 04 Oct 2020 - 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. :-)
New York Times, 02 Oct 2020 - SYDNEY, Australia - The question from the debate moderator in New Zealand was simple and to the point: "Jacinda Ardern, have you ever used cannabis?" "Yes I did," said Ms. Ardern, the country's popular prime minister, "a long time ago."
Washington Post, 15 Sep 2020 - 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.