Drugs to be regulated around Europe

This year started with a few interesting news about actions to regulate drugs. Here is a glimpse from the news from three European Union countries.

Icelandic Government Proposes Drug Decriminalisation

In the second part of January, the Icelandic government has proposed the decriminalisation of drugs for personal use by adults and launched a consultation exercise to gauge public opinion on the matter. The public consultation is open until 31 January.

The initiative, led by Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir, is intended as a harm-prevention measure. It includes the provision of additional resources to support users, with particular focus on more marginalised members of society.

This new approach is based on regarding users as patients rather than criminals and follows the minister’s successful introduction last year of a bill to provide safe spaces for drug injection.

The original article is available following this link>>>.

Malta will allow users to grow cannabis plants for personal use

Prime Minister on Malta Robert Abela, on 18 February when speaking to journalists, announced that cannabis users should not go to jail and will be able to grow a limited amount of plants as he fleshes out some aspects of government’s proposed reform. Abela said Cabinet will shortly be discussing a White Paper that will be published for public consultation. The reform is being piloted by Reforms Parliamentary Secretary Rosianne Cutajar.

He said the reform will end police arrests for people caught in possession of a small amount of cannabis and hinted that the current limit of 3.5g allowed at law would increase.

It was a Labour Party electoral pledge to initiate a discussion on the legalisation of cannabis but so far, no formal proposals have been put forward despite ongoing consultations.

The original article is available following this link>>>.

Norway to Decriminalize Personal Drug Use in ‘Historic’ Shift

Norway plans to decriminalize the personal use of illegal drugs in small quantities, citing recommendations from the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

The Nordic country will abolish criminal liability “for the use of drugs and the acquisition and possession of a small amount of drugs for own use,” according to legal proposals by the health-care ministry to lawmakers, published on Friday. The acts will be illegal, but not punishable.

Norway, along with its Nordic neighbours, has some of Europe’s highest drug-induced mortality rates. In contrast, the region’s welfare systems rank among the best globally. Norway had 66 cases of drug-related deaths per million adults in 2017, compared with an average of 23.7 for the European Union, according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

The police will confiscate the below-threshold drugs found on any person, who will then be ordered to appear at a municipal advisory unit.

The original article is available following this link>>>.

 

A momentous day in US drug policy reform

Tuesday 3 November 2020 was the Election Day in the United States of America. The tensions of this important election threw into a shade some important decisions that were at the vote in several federal states. Important state-level votes took place on decriminalising all drugs, legalising cannabis and decriminalising psychedelics.

ALL of the key votes have passed, including:

  • Oregon decriminalisation of all drugs. The measures outlined would see people found in possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use given the option of paying a $100 fine or attending a free “drug addiction treatment and recovery program”, which would be funded in part out of the state’s cannabis tax revenue fund.
  • Arizona, South Dakota, Montana, New Jersey legalising cannabis. Cannabis is already legally regulated for non-medical purposes in 11 US states, although it remains illegal at a federal level.
  • Mississippi, South Dakota legalising medical cannabis. Medical cannabis is already legal in 33 US states, with many medical markets now well established.
  • Oregon legalising medical use of psilocybin. The measure allow Oregonians over the age of 21 to purchase and consume psilocybin at a ‘psilocybin service centre’ under the supervision and guidance of trained facilitators. It would be the first-of-its-kind in the US, and hopefully move the debate forward on psychedelic treatment worldwide.
  • Washington, DC decriminalising psychedelics. While not technically fully decriminalising psychedelics, the measure would clearly drastically reduce the scope for the criminal law to intervene in personal activities. Criminal laws would nominally remain on the books, but be unlikely to be used, effectively a form of de facto decriminalisation.

These developments are part of a broader effort to scale back the war on drugs. The new measures may be the beginning of a broader push in the next few years, similar to what the US has already seen with marijuana.