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Study Shows Legal Marijuana Sales Reduce Crime and improve walkability just like restaurants
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MATT AGORIST–“I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana—so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful,” President Donald Trump’s darling Attorney General, Jeff Sessions said earlier this year. “Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.” While any sane person with half a brain can easily see how ignorant and outright irresponsible Sessions’ comments are, a new study on marijuana shops shows just how asinine this man’s policy actually is. Contrary to the fear mongering from the champion of the prison industrial complex, legal weed actually reduces crime. In the study, titled, “Going to pot? The impact of dispensary closures on crime,” researchers Tom Y. Chang from the USC Marshall School of Business, and Mireille Jacobson from The Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine, looked at what happens with the government forced medical marijuana dispensaries to close. What they found was immediately following a closure of a dispensary — crime rates went up. “Contrary to popular wisdom, we found an immediate increase in crime around dispensaries ordered to close relative to those allowed to remain open,” Jacobson told Science Daily. The researchers noted that dispensaries actually increase the ‘walkability score’ of a neighborhood which deters criminal activity. “The connection between restaurants and MMDs is that they both contribute to the ‘walkability score’ of a given area. Areas with higher scores have more ‘eyes upon the street’ a factor that is proven to deter some types of crime,” said Jacobson. READ MORE: VIDEO: Massive Bully Cop Smashes Innocent Teacher into Car, Dangles Her Over the Road Directly challenging Sessions ignorance on the matter, the researchers explicitly noted the opposite of what he says is true. RELATED: How to Fix Neural Imbalances and Cure Insomnia “Our results demonstrate that the dispensaries were not the crime magnets that they were often described as, but instead reduced crime in their immediate vicinity,” said Jacobson. What this study illustrates is that Sessions’ policies of bringing back D.A.R.E., continuing to clamp down on pot, and removing state’s rights, would not only be detrimental to fighting the opioid epidemic, but it would also create more crime. This study, while it may not be groundbreaking to those who pay attention to the effects of the war on drugs, is certainly a landmark on the path to legal weed. As the Free Thought Project has reported numerous times, government outlawing substances is a catalyst for criminal behavior. When the government makes certain substances illegal, it does not remove the demand. Instead, the state creates crime by pushing the sale and control of these substances into the illega [...]
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video: Tulsi Gabbard Introduces Bill to End Federal Marijuana Prohibition
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Representative Tulsi Gabbard is teaming up with Rep. Tom Garrett (R) to end the federal prohibition of marijuana. They've introduced a bill that would delega... [...]
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Two More States Legalize Hemp, Setting Foundation to Nullify Federal Prohibition in Practice
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Lost in the shuffle on Election Day, voters in two states legalized industrial hemp, setting the foundation to further nullify federal prohibition in practice. Provisions authorizing the cultivation of industrial hemp were included in the voter initiatives legalizing marijuana in California and Massachusetts. The new Massachusetts law prohibits any state interference with hemp production in the state. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, except as otherwise provided in this chapter, a person 21 years of age or older shall not be arrested, prosecuted, penalized, sanctioned or disqualified and is not subject to seizure or forfeiture of assets for possessing, producing, processing, manufacturing, purchasing, obtaining, selling or otherwise transferring or delivering hemp. The new law does not require any license to grow hemp, and it creates no state regulatory structure. This will have a similar effect as a bill passed in Connecticut last year removing hemp from the state’s list of controlled substances. In short, the state will treat industrial hemp like other plants, such as tomatoes. By ending state prohibition, residents of Massachusetts have an open door to start industrial farming should they be willing to risk violating the ongoing federal prohibition. Provisions in California’s Prop 64 allow the cultivation of industrial hemp as an agricultural product for agricultural or academic purposes. The law also creates a structure to regulate hemp production in the state. The California law does not require growers to get federal permission to cultivate hemp in the state. FEDERAL FARM BILL Early in 2014, President Barack Obama signed a new farm bill into law, which included a provision allowing a handful of states to begin limited research programs growing hemp. The “hemp amendment” …allows State Agriculture Departments, colleges and universities to grow hemp, defined as the non-drug oil-seed and fiber varieties of Cannabis, for academic or agricultural research purposes, but it applies only to states where industrial hemp farming is already legal under state law. In short, current federal law authorizes the farming of hemp – by research institutions only, for research only. Farming for commercial purposes by individuals and businesses remains prohibited. The new California and Massachusetts laws ignore federal prohibition and authorize commercial farming and production anyway. OTHER STATES By rejecting any need for federal approval, state legalization of hemp sets the stage to nullify the federal hemp ban in practice. California and Massachusetts join with other states – including Colorado, Oregon, Maine, Vermont and others – that have simply ignored federal prohibition and legalized industrial hemp production within their state borders. While prospective hemp growers would still have to take federal law into consideration, by eliminating the state requirement for federal pe [...]
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Denver first city in US to allow marijuana in bars, restaurants
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Denver has approved a first-in-the-nation law allowing people to use marijuana at bars, restaurants and other public spaces such as art galleries or yoga studios. The catch: Patrons could use pot as long as it isn't smoked and the locations would have to seek the approval of neighbors. Denver voters approved Proposition 300 as eight other states legalized marijuana for medical or recreational purposes last week. The Denver vote was so close that it took an entire week for supporters to claim victory and opponents to concede. "It's the sensible thing to do," said Emmett Reistroffer, a Denver marijuana consultant and campaign manager for the pot-in-bars measure. "This is about personal responsibility and respecting adults who want to have a place to enjoy cannabis." The city measure takes effect immediately, but it has a lot of caveats. First, interested bars and restaurants would have to show they have neighborhood support before getting a license to allow marijuana use. In addition, patrons would have to bring their own weed to comply with state law banning the sale of both pot and food or drink at a single location. Patrons at participating bars could use pot inside as long as it isn't smoked. The law does provide for the possibility of outside smoking areas under restrictive circumstances. Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the national Marijuana Policy Project and a Denver proponent of the consumption law, said the measure would reduce instances of tourists smoking pot on sidewalks and in parks because they have nowhere private to consume weed. A Denver billboard promoting the measure featured a large arrow pointing to a sidewalk below, telling voters that without a provision for social pot use, folks will keep smoking pot in plain view. "We are setting up a system that is still more restrictive than what we see with alcohol consumption," Tvert said. Supporters of the measure had no guess on how many establishments would apply for the permits or how long it would take for them to demonstrate community acceptance and receive permits. So it could take many months before Denver sees any Amsterdam-style coffee shops. The measure sunsets in 2020, unless city officials renew the licenses or voters make the pot-in-bars measure permanent. Current Colorado law does not allow or ban public marijuana use. The result is a hodgepodge of local ordinances related to marijuana clubs. Denver is the first city to allow use in bars and restaurants. The state Legislature is expected to consider a bill next year to clarify that communities can allow on-site pot consumption if they wish. Alaska is the only state that allows on-site consumption at pot retailers. However, the state doesn't allow use in bars or restaurants, and it's still working on rules for how those pot shop "tasting rooms" would operate. California's recreational marijuana measure approved last week specifically allows pot clubs, and legalization measures approved in Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada don' [...]
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States across US, including Florida and California, vote to legalize marijuana
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© Andres Stapff California has voted to sanction cannabis for recreational use, and Florida has approved the use of the drug to alleviate symptoms of illness, as a raft of US states endorsed loosening their marijuana legislation through ballot initiatives. Needing at least 60 percent approval to pass, Amendment 2 received 71 percent of the votes from Floridians. “This is a major tipping point,” said Tom Angell, from the pro-legalization group Marijuana Majority. “With Florida’s decision, a majority of states in the U.S. now have laws allowing patients to find relief with medical marijuana, and these protections and programs are no longer concentrated in certain regions of the country like the West and Northeast." Nearly two-thirds of the voters in North Dakota backed Measure 5, which allows doctors to prescribe cannabis. Arkansas passed a similar law. Montana previously ratified the use of medical marijuana and has now voted to liberalize the oversight of doctors prescribing the drug. Fifty-five percent of voters in California approved the recreational use of marijuana in a state which first allowed its medical use in a ballot two decades ago. Recreational use legislation was approved in Massachusetts and Nevada as well. Arizona voted against the measure while Maine is currently backing the proposal by a margin of 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent with 89 percent of votes counted. California, Massachusetts, Maine, Arizona and Nevada were among the 25 US states that already allow the use of medical marijuana, which voted on whether to join four states, and the District of Columbia, which already allow recreational use. Voters cast ballots as early absentee voting began ahead of the U.S. presidential election in Medina, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. October 12, 2016. © Aaron Josefczyk Death, taxes and condoms: Bonanza year for hot-button ballot issues The various propositions, separately drafted in each voting region, allow the use of cannabis by adults aged 21 and older. All five sought to legalize possession of small quantities for personal use, and sanction residents to grow a personal supply at home. Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota, where cannabis remains illegal, voted on the first step towards legalization, which allows its medical use for serious conditions such as AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis and [...]
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Prison Company Combats Legalization of Marijuana: Big Surprise – PRISON FOOD CONTRACTORS FUNDED EFFORTS TO COMBAT MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION
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Food Services of America, a subsidiary of Services Group of America is funding efforts to keep marijuana illegal. It makes sense, considering that a vast majority of America’s prisoners are locked in prison on marijuana charges, and the company stands to gain a lot of business from the laws staying the same. The influence that the alcohol and pharmaceutical industries have on keeping marijuana illegal has been well documented, but the influence of prison contractors is rarely discussed. The prison industry is one of the fastest growing and top-earning businesses in the United States. In the past three decades, this enterprise has grown into a monstrous system of oppression that now houses over 2 and a half million people in the US. This number is, by far, the largest prison population in the world. No country on earth has as many inmates as the “land of the free.” Ironic isn’t it? Since 1991 the violent crime rate in America has dropped at least 20%, while the amount of people in prison has increased by 50% in that time. These numbers show that the rapid growth in the prison population is primarily due to over prosecution of nonviolent crimes. This has nothing to do with “cleaning up the streets” or making our society safer — it is all about money and control. The prison system as it stands now does not make our society any safer but instead turns average nonviolent offenders into hardened criminals by exposing them to such a harsh environment. The sad truth is that the way our prison system has been structured has actually outlawed more than half of the US population. Nonviolent offenders have no place behind bars. The savage conditions of prison will turn most people into violent offenders once they get out. Which is exactly what the prison establishment wants – return customers. This establishment is the collection of state and quasi-state/private industries that make up the “prison industrial complex.” Billions of dollars are made every year in this industry. One company, Wackenhut Corrections, makes over a billion dollars a year and they aren’t even the biggest prison service in the country. These numbers also don’t take into consideration the many satellite businesses that surround this industry. There are over 1,000 vendors that specifically sell correctional paraphernalia. Even local phone companies cash in on the operation. The companies install payphones for free because those phones can generate $15,000 per year from each inmate making a phone call every day. Those companies are just the tip of the iceberg. That isn’t even counting the police, lawyers, wardens, politicians and food distributors that line their pockets through the incarceration of peaceful Americans. All of these organizations have a distinct interest in keeping nonviolent people in jail. So, it should come as no surprise a prison contractor is working to keep marijuana illegal. [...]
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Hells Angels Members Protest Legalization of Marijuana in Canada
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Canada: Hells Angels Members Protest Legalization of Marijuana OTTAWA | As Canada’s newly elected Liberal government is on the verge of legalizing marijuana, thousands of Hells Angels members have taken the Parliament by storm yesterday to protest the new proposition. The legalization of marijuana could cost the organized crime hundreds of thousands of jobs, believes the spokesman for the Canadian chapter of the Hells Angels, Jean-Roch Fournier. “We estimate that Prime minister Justin Trudeau’s radical proposition to legalize marijuana could cost us over a hundred thousand jobs” says the former lawyer. “From growing operations, to trimming, packaging, transportation and selling, this new legislature will threaten the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of Canadian workers” he warns. Newly elected Prime minister Justin Trudeau’s proposition to legalize marijuana has enraged members of the Canadian chapter of the Hells Angels who believe legalization could destroy “hundreds of thousands of Canadian jobs” A multi-billion dollar industry The legalization of marijuana could bring in between 5 to 12 billion dollars to the Canadian economy each year, reveals a recent 2014 joint study by the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. “Our research suggests more than 7,366,000 people in Canada use pot and we estimate the Canadian pot industry is worth between $5 billion and $12 billion a year, depending on suggested prices” explains Economics professor, Zahir Mahalik. “Our study evaluated not only the legalization of cannabis on a recreational use basis but also for its inherit potential in the medical and pharmaceutical business, which explains the high numbers” he acknowledged. “It is obvious the legalization of marijuana will cause major profit losses to organized crime organizations nation-wide” he told local reporters. A massive blow to organized crime Many members of organized crime fear they will lose their way of life if legalization is implemented. Gino Ouellet, Hells Angels member for 36 years, fears legalization could put him out of work “I’ve been selling weed since I’m 12 years old” admits Gino Ouellet, aged 56 and Hells Angels member for the past 36 years. “Do you think I’m going to want to go work at Wal-Mart or McDonalds at minimal wage? I don’t think so” he told reporters. “Who’s going to want to give me a job? I’ve got tattoos all over my body and all over my face” asks another protester, Bob Wilkinson, condemned in 1977 for triple homicide. “It’s not the job of the federal government to regulate illegal drugs, they should take care of their own business and leave that to us” he argues. If marijuana were legalized in Canada, it would be a first among developed nations. In the US, [...]
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After Legalizing Recreational Weed, Colorado Has Lowest Teen Use in the Country
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(Carey Wedler) Cannabis prohibitionists have long cautioned that legalizing the plant will inevitably lead to increased use among teens, couching their restrictive beliefs in concern for the youth. While some of these concerns may be genuine, a recent survey from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment demonstrates — for the second year in a row — that youth in Colorado do not use cannabis any more than teens in other parts of the country. In fact, by at least one measure, they use less. The Healthy Kids Colorado survey is a “voluntary survey that collects anonymous, self-reported health information from middle and high school students across Colorado,” according to the initiative’s website. Over 17,000 middle- and high-schoolers throughout the state were randomly selected to participate. The survey is conducted every other year, and the 2015 version, released this week, confirmed the 2013 findings that marijuana use among teens in Colorado had fallen flat. As the Denver Post reported: “The 2013 version of the survey found that 19.7 percent of teens had used marijuana in the past month. The 2015 version puts that number at 21.2 percent, but Larry Wolk, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said that increase is not statistically significant — meaning it could be a wiggle in the data and not a meaningful increase. In 2009, at the beginning of the state’s boom in medical marijuana stores, the rate was 24.8 percent.” The survey analysts found 78 percent of teens, roughly four out of five, had not used cannabis in the last month. In addition to the survey’s conclusions that cannabis use among youth failed to skyrocket — as detractors from legalization predicted it would — the survey found cannabis use among teens in the state was actually lower than teens around the country, solidifying prior research that has found teen use does not increase with legalization. Whereas 21.7 percent of teens across the country currently use cannabis, 21.2 percent do so in Colorado. While the difference is small — and therefore attributable to statistical variables — at the very least, the rates are nearly identical, indicating legalizing the plant does not create a cavalcade of teenage stoners wantonly puffing dope on the streets. Rather, the most widely-used drug, the survey found, was alcohol, with 59 percent of Colorado teens saying they had used it at least once (compared to 63 percent across the rest of the country). In contrast, just 38 percent of Colorado teens said they had used cannabis, tying with the teens across the rest of the country. Colorado teens’ use of alcohol fell several percentage points from the 2011 and 2013 surveys, both for teens who had ever used the drug and those who had binged on it — five or more drinks in a day — in the last 30 days. Nevertheless, alcohol remained the most commonly used drug, with 30 percent of teens admitt [...]
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Americans imprisoned for marijuana, while feds get patents on the drug
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The federal government has secretly withheld information regarding the medical benefits of marijuana in an attempt to control the market by waiting for the right time to legalize and eventually sell the drug on their terms. While dozens of states have progressed towards marijuana freedom, nearly 700,000 Americans are arrested each year for possession of pot because the federal government still considers it a Schedule I substance, placing it next to drugs like heroin, LSD and meth. amzn_assoc_placement = "adunit0"; amzn_assoc_search_bar = "true"; amzn_assoc_tracking_id = "marajuana-20"; amzn_assoc_ad_mode = "manual"; amzn_assoc_ad_type = "smart"; amzn_assoc_marketplace = "amazon"; amzn_assoc_region = "US"; amzn_assoc_title = "My Amazon Picks"; amzn_assoc_linkid = "9f2a69cee3a618de637d280900b48b28"; amzn_assoc_asins = "1936807238,B00P6YWUVW,B01BW5FA06,B007YJ1CNO"; The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), along with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), says marijuana is one of the most dangerous drugs out there, and that it has no medical benefits and a high potential for abuse. Publicly, government says marijuana is bad; privately, they’re moving to control the industry While publicly the government insists pot is bad, privately they’re patenting it. In 2003, a patent titled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants” was awarded to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a taxpayer-funded agency. The patent, which was originally filed for in 1999 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), specifically focuses on cannabidiol (CBD), a compound found in marijuana that provides medical effects but doesn’t make you “stoned,” the feeling that comes from the compound THC. The patent provides the government with exclusive rights on using cannabinoids for treating neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and stroke, as well as arthritis, diabetes, Chrohn’s disease and heart attacks. It only covers a specific application of cannabinoids and not overall production or use of marijuana or cannabinoids, according to Leaf Science. The government has released many studies to the public detailing the negative effects of cannabis, while secretly withholding government-funded science that’s unlocked many of the positive effects of marijuana. Federal government moves to shut down marijuana businesses, while filing for patents on the drug There truly is no finer example of hypocrisy, or cronyism. Despite new state regulations legalizing recreational and medical marijuana, the federal government is still harassing and jailing individuals for pot-related offenses, including those seeking the plant for medical use. The government is also actively working to shut down marijuana businesses through an IRS tax loophole in states like Colorado, where recreational pot is legal. Because marijuana remains a Schedule I substance under federal law, a tax code passed in 1982 called Section 2 [...]
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The Failed Promise of Legal Pot
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It’s just after four o’clock on a hot Seattle afternoon, and Thomas Terry is standing in the parking lot of a Jack in the Box. Known for fights that end with police sirens and sometimes ambulances, it’s a spot some locals half-jokingly call “Stab in the Box,” but today the scene is quiet. A man is walking up the street toward Terry and a few other young men who are gathered in the shade of a brick wall where the parking lot meets the sidewalk. As he draws near, one of them opens his mouth, and the words tumble out: “Kush? You want some weed?” amzn_assoc_placement = "adunit0"; amzn_assoc_search_bar = "true"; amzn_assoc_tracking_id = "marajuana-20"; amzn_assoc_ad_mode = "manual"; amzn_assoc_ad_type = "smart"; amzn_assoc_marketplace = "amazon"; amzn_assoc_region = "US"; amzn_assoc_title = "My Amazon Picks"; amzn_assoc_linkid = "9f2a69cee3a618de637d280900b48b28"; amzn_assoc_asins = "1936807238,B00P6YWUVW,B01BW5FA06,B007YJ1CNO"; Whether the man does or not, he says nothing, and keeps walking. It’s the middle of August, two years and eight months after voters in Washington passed an initiative to permit both the possession and sale of recreational marijuana—making the state the second in the nation to do so. In large part, the law was aimed at eliminating the black market for marijuana and redirecting those sales from parking lots and living rooms into stores, where the state could monitor and tax the transactions. Yet, although legal marijuana has generated real declines in arrests, the presence of Terry and the young men on the corner points to a hitch not just in the nuts and bolts of marijuana sales but in one of legalization’s most touted goals. Asking to be identified only by his initials, D.C., one of the young men on the corner, breaks it down. Business has fallen since the law passed, but enough people think they can score a bargain, or simply don’t trust the shiny new stores, to keep things moving. The police know about it—they always have—and they still bust dealers. Sometimes they do sweeps, D.C. says, referring to a well-publicized raid downtown. The cops are definitely more relaxed about it, he says, but sometimes they still show up and bust whoever’s around. A few days later, the corner is empty. The reason is a Ford SUV, painted black, blue, and white, idling at the curb a few feet away; a police officer’s arm hangs out the window as he surveys the faces passing by. A few hours later he is gone, and the crowd is back. Mostly, the crowd is black. Mostly, the cops who will bust them are white. Mostly, on the corner it’s hard to see how anything was changed by a movement that aimed to change everything. The dream of legal marijuana as it is being sold to the American public is that it will not only give states a chance to reap a tax windfall off of a drug millions of Americans already use; it will end the back-and-forth tussle among cops, users, and dealers, and shift poli [...]
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‘Legalise all drugs,’ business and world leaders tell UN
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A British billionaire, three former presidents and a renowned Aids researcher have called for all drugs to be decriminalized at a press conference that was sharply critical of the United Nations’ latest drug policy agreement, adopted this week. Leaders of the Global Commission on Drug Policy said the UN’s first special session on drugs in 18 years had failed to improve international narcotics policy, instead choosing to tweak its prohibition-oriented approach to drug regulation. “The process was fatally flawed from the beginning,” said Richard Branson, the head of the Virgin Group, adding that it may “already be too late” to save the international drug law system. Russia's 'cold turkey' approach highlights global divide over drug treatment at UN Read more This week’s United Nations general assembly special session, UNgass, clearly displayed the deep divisions between member states over narcotics: while a growing number of countries, including several states in the US, have moved towards decriminalizing or legalizing drugs, others continue to execute people convicted of drug crimes. Three UN conventions prohibit drug use that is not medical or scientific. The meeting, held Tuesday through Thursday in New York City, was billed as a forum to debate drug laws, called for by Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala in 2014. All three countries suffered disproportionate violence from cartels controlling drug supplies to the north. In Mexico alone, the government estimates164,000 people were the victims of homicide related to cartel violence between 2007 and 2014. On Thursday, Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, announced plans to legalize marijuana-based medicines and proposed raising the amount of the drug that can be legally carried. Activists for drug policy reform had already warned there was little hope that UNgass would provide a forum for serious debate of the issue. Activists criticized the process by which the meeting’s agreement – known as the “outcome document” – was drafted and negotiated. Some accused countries with repressive drug control policies, such as Russia and Egypt, of exerting undue influence on the outcome. Meanwhile, provisions advocates hoped for, such as a ban on capital punishment for drug crimes and a reference to “harm reduction”, were left out. Within the general assembly, the divide between countries over drug policy was in stark relief. Though the outcome document was immediately adopted after the session opened, many liberal nations called its conclusions “insufficient” and vowed to fight for reform at the next drug meeting, in 2019. Over the past two decades, nations from [...]
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