Results have been posted online from the first controlled trial of LSD in more than 40 years. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease published results Tuesday from a Swiss study that tested the effects of the drug as a complement for talk therapy for 12 people nearing their end of life. Most of the subjects suffered from terminal cancer, and several died within a year of the trial, but researchers said the psychedelic drug apparently eased their fears as they faced the unknown. “Their anxiety went down and stayed down,” said Dr. Peter Gasser, who conducted the therapy. The patients met with Gasser for a couple of sessions before taking LSD at two sessions a couple of weeks apart. Each session lasted about 10 hours, Gasser said, and the patients were permitted to sleep afterward at the office under the care of a therapist or assistant.
[...] Researchers around the world are trying to bring hallucinogens back under the umbrella of mainstream psychiatry after decades of neglect or outright bans. “We want to break these substances out of the mold of the counterculture and bring them back to the lab as part of a psychedelic renaissance,” said Rick Doblin, executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which has financed many of the studies. Doctors had previously tested LSD for its effect on a variety of conditions, including end-of-life anxiety, before such research was prohibited in 1966. But psychiatrists have been working in recent years alongside government officials and medical ethics boards to life restrictions on psychedelic research, including Ecstasy-aided therapy for post-traumatic stress.
Appearing on NBC’s Meet The Press, California Governor Jerry Brown said that he was not prepared to completely legalize marijuana in his state. Asked by host David Gregory if legalizing marijuana was “a good idea or a bad idea for California?”, Brown replied that he would like to wait and see what happens in Colorado and Washington, two states that recently liberalized their marijuana laws.
“Well, we have medical marijuana, which gets very close to what they have in Colorado and Washington,” he said. “I’d really like those two states to show us how it’s going to work.” The governor then cautioned against the state giving marijuana ‘legitimacy’.
“The problem with anything, a certain amount is okay. But there is a tendency to go to extremes. And all of a sudden, if there’s advertising and legitimacy, how many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation? The world’s pretty dangerous, very competitive,” Brown explained. “I think we need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together.
Archaeologists working in the western desert of Egypt have discovered a school dating back about 1,700 years that contains ancient Greek writings on its walls, including a text about ancient drug use that references Homer’s “The Odyssey.”
The school — which contains benches that students could sit on to read, or stand on and write on the walls — dates back to a time when the Roman Empire controlled Egypt, and Greek was widely spoken.
In use for less than 20 years, the school structure eventually became part of a large house that contained colorful art, including images ofthe Olympian gods, the researchers said.
The president of Uruguay has been nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. According to his advocates, José “Pepe” Mujica’s much talked-about marijuana legalization is in fact “a tool for peace and understanding.”
For the second year in a row, the Drugs Peace Institute, which has supported Mujica’s marijuana legalization drive since 2012, insisting that the consumption of marijuana should be protected as a human right, has endorsed his candidacy, along with members of Mujica’s leftwing political party the Frente Amplio, the PlantaTuPlanta (Collective of Uruguayan growers) and the Latin American Coalition of Cannabis Activists (CLAC).
Despite an avalanche of global criticism, in late December Uruguay became the first country in the world to fully legalize the production and sale of the popular herbal drug. Under the new law, which comes into full effect in early April, Uruguayans will have several options to gain access to it. The Drugs Peace Institute said that Mujica’s stand against the UN-led prohibition of mind-altering substances is a “symbol of a hand outstretched, of a new era in a divided world.”
Mexico essentially legalized the country’s growing “self-defense” groups Monday, while also announcing that security forces had captured one of the four top leaders of the Knights Templar drug cartel, which the vigilante groups have been fighting for the last year.
The government said it had reached an agreement with vigilante leaders to incorporate the armed civilian groups into old and largely forgotten quasi-military units called the Rural Defense Corps. Vigilante groups estimate their numbers at 20,000 men under arms.
The twin announcements may help the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto find a way out of an embarrassing situation in the western state of Michoacan, where vigilantes began rising up last February against the Knights Templar reign of terror and extortion after police and troops failed to stop the abuses.
The operators of two exchanges for the virtual currency Bitcoin have been arrested in the US.
The Department of Justice said Robert Faiella, known as BTCKing, and Charlie Shrem from BitInstant.com have both been charged with money laundering.
The authorities said the pair were engaged in a scheme to sell more than $1m (£603,000) in bitcoins to users of online drug marketplace the Silk Road.
The site was shut down last year and its alleged owner was arrested.
The U.S. State Department possesses just under 100 helicopters and more than 30 fixed-wing aircraft and deploys them all over the world, mostly as part of the America’s international drug war.
The Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs’ Office of Aviation—a.k.a., the INL Air Wing—employs contractors and foreign government aviators to fly these aircraft in seven countries: Afghanistan, Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, Iraq, Pakistan and Peru.
The main mission of the Air Wing is to assist friendly states in their own fights against illegal drugs and narco-terrorism. However, with its large fleet—larger than the air forces of some NATO members—the Air Wing also trains allied governments and provides general aviation support, including transportation for diplomatic missions.
An investigation by El Universal found that between the years 2000 and 2012, the U.S. government had an arrangement with Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel that allowed the organization to smuggle billions of dollars of drugs while Sinaloa provided information on rival cartels.
Sinaloa, led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, supplies 80% of the drugs entering the Chicago area and has a presence in cities across the U.S.
But the El Universal investigation is the first to publish court documents that include corroborating testimony from a DEA agent and a Justice Department official.
Noam Chomsky recently took part in a video conference with Foundation Degree students about the legacy of the American Civil Rights movement, where he described the war on drugs as a “race war” against poor minorities.
When a student asked how “important Martin Luther King was to the movement,” Chomsky replied by saying “that’s almost like asking how important Nelson Mandela was to the anti-apartheid movement.” He then returned to a point he had made earlier, that the assassination of Black Panther Fred Hampton was the most significant of the period.
“Hampton was a very effective organizer…the most energetic and effective leader,” and he was killed by the FBI and operatives for the United States government, which Chomsky claimed created a necessarily adversarial relationship between “liberation movements” and the government.
Of course, he continued, that’s not the story the government wants citizens to believe, so they were “blanked out.”
“There are things,” Chomsky said, “the white liberal establishment just doesn’t want to be part of history.”
Even though present-day Afghanistan flies under the news radar, it remains to be the longest military quagmire in US history. Aside from troops still occupying the country, thousands of private contractors are on the ground that the Pentagon can’t even account for. Considering how Obama’s foreign policy strategy has been to replace ground troops with drone strikes, the administration’s logic behind continuing the occupation remains unclear.
War has always been about resources and control. Alongside the supposed surprise discovery of Afghanistan’s $1 trillion wealth of untapped minerals, the Taliban had successfully eradicated the opium crop in the Golden Crescent before the US invasion. Now, more than 90% of the world’s heroin comes from the war torn country.
As reported by Global Research:
“Immediately following the October 2001 invasion, opium markets were restored…By early 2002, the opium price (in dollars/kg) was almost 10 times higher than in 2000. In 2001, under the Taliban opiate production stood at 185 tons, increasing to 3400 tons in 2002 under the US sponsored puppet regime of President Hamid Karzai.”
After more than twelve years of military occupation, Afghanistan’s opium trade isn’t just sustaining, it’s thriving more than ever before. According to a recent report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, 2013 saw opium production surge to record highs:
“The harvest this May resulted in 5,500 metric tons of opium, 49 percent higher than last year and more than the combined output of the rest of the world.”
Wow, that’s a lot of opium – and a lot of money being made. So… who is reaping the spoils?
On July 15, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) sent 13 law-enforcement officers to execute a paramilitary raid on a no-kill animal shelter in Kenosha. The crime? The shelter was harboring a fawn that had been abandoned by its mother and named Giggles by shelter volunteers. The shelter intended to turn the animal over to a wildlife reserve the next day, but that was not good enough for the DNR. Wisconsin law forbids the possession of wildlife, so DNR sent the heavily armed team to capture and euthanize Giggles.
Eleven days later and less than 100 miles away, staff at a nursing home in the Chicago suburb of Park Forest called paramedics after 95-year-old World War II veteran John Wrana, suffering from a delusional episode, refused medical treatment. The paramedics in turn called the police, which further agitated Wrana, who threatened them with his cane and a knife. The police responded by shooting Wrana with stun guns and bean bags fired from a shotgun. Wrana died from internal bleeding shortly thereafter.
A generation ago, it is unlikely that either of these situations would have elicited such a violent response from law enforcement. But over the last 40 years, police have moved steadily towards increasing levels of force and militarization with little regard for the situation. Journalist Radley Balko has been documenting this phenomenon for nearly a decade, and in Rise of the Warrior Cop he explains how America has been transformed into a country where police conduct something on the order of 50,000 SWAT raids a year.
Marijuana dispensaries in Colorado are finding it impossible to keep up with the demands of recreational users.
The first five days of days of legalized sales of marijuana have been big business for dispensary owners — so much so that some shops even closed early last Wednesday, the first day on which such sales were legal.
Supply simply can’t keep up with demand.
“We are going to run out,” Toni Fox, owner of the 3D Cannabis Center, told the Colorado Springs Gazette. “It’s insane. This weekend will be just as crazy. If there is a mad rush, we’ll be out by Monday.”
Mexico is in the grip of a murderous drug war that has killed over 150,000 people since 2006. It is one of the most violent countries on earth. This drug war is a product of the transnational drug trade which is worth up to $400 billion a year and accounts for about 8% of all international trade.
The American government maintains that there is no alternative but to vigorously prosecute their zero tolerance policy of arresting drug users and their dealers. This has led to the incarceration of over 500,000 Americans. Meanwhile the flood of illegal drugs into America continues unabated.
One thing the American government has not done is to prosecute the largest banks in the world for supporting the drug cartels by washing billions of dollars of their blood stained money. As Narco sphere journalist Bill Conroy has observed banks are ”where the money is” in the global drug war.
HSBC, Western Union, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase&Co, Citigroup, Wachovia amongst many others have allegedly failed to comply with American anti-money laundering (AML) laws.
The Mexican drug cartels have caught the headlines again and again due to their murderous activities. The war between the different drug cartels and the war between the cartels and government security forces has spilled the blood of tens of thousands of innocent people. The drug cartels would find it much harder to profit from their murderous activity if they didn’t have too big to fail banks willing to wash their dirty money.
[...] The disconnect between narrative and reality when it comes to the Obama administration’s drug policy can be partly traced to a memo released by the Justice Department in October 2009. Raids on dispensaries and growers had already picked up following Obama’s inauguration, despite his campaign promise to cease targeting state-legal pot clubs. But this memo, colloquially referred to as the Ogden memo, was supposed to change that. It stated that medical marijuana would not be a priority for federal law enforcement unless it was being grown or sold in conjunction with a larger criminal enterprise.
The memo inspired celebration among medical marijuana advocates, and a sense of relief in state and local lawmakers. Yet less than a year later, DEA agents raided the home of 68-year-old Joy Greenfield, a Mendocino County, California, resident who grew marijuana with the blessing of her local sheriff. Agents destroyed Greenfield’s plants and seized her money and computer. As they have many times since, the DEA and US Attorneys then had the records sealed—a common practice in cases where releasing information might reveal the identity of a tipster or jeopardize an investigation, but hard to understand in the case of Greenfield, whom officers didn’t even bother to arrest. If the real goal is to conceal the extent to which agents have targeted small-time growers with no ties to cartels or interstate trafficking operations, however, sealing such records is an effective way to do so.
A June 2013 report issued by Americans for Safe Access found that the DEA had carried out some 270 medical marijuana raids under Obama—twelve more than had been conducted in the previous twelve years combined. It calculated that the Obama administration had spent $300 million “interfering” with state medical marijuana laws in the last four and a half years, outspending the Bush administration (both terms) by $100 million.
The Ogden memo was not only supposed to prevent these raids; to those in the medical marijuana industry, it had sent a message encouraging the industry’s growth. Indeed, some have said that the reason the number of raids carried out under Obama spiked is due explicitly to the sheer number of dispensaries that set up shop after the memo’s release.
- Colorado Pot Shops Raided In The Face Of Historic Marijuana Milestone
- Support for marijuana legalization spikes to 58 percent
- Why The War On Drugs Looks Even Stupider When You See What Other Countries Do
- Marijuana may be contaminated with mold, mildew
- Get Ready for the Rise of Evil Cannabis Megacorporations
A study in the August edition of The Journal of School Health finds that the generations old theory of a “gateway drug” effect is in fact accurate for some drug users, but shifts the blame for those addicts’ escalating substance abuse away from marijuana and onto the most pervasive and socially accepted drug in American life: alcohol.
Using a nationally representative sample from the University of Michigan’s annual Monitoring the Future survey, the study blasts holes in drug war orthodoxy wide enough to drive a truck through, definitively proving that marijuana use is not the primary indicator of whether a person will move on to more dangerous substances.
An internal United Nations draft document leaked last weekend has offered outsiders a rare look at longstanding disagreements between member states over the course of U.N. drug policy.
The document, first publicised by the Guardian and obtained by IPS, contains over 100 specific policy recommendations and proposals from member states, many at odds with the status quo on illicit drug eradication and prohibition.
It confirms a widespread belief that discontent is growing among national governments and in the corridors of New York and Vienna, where the leak originated from the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
[...] Despite recent moves in Latin America and Europe towards policies of harm reduction, U.N. reforms remain mired in mid-20th-century dogmas and perennial horse-trading between member states.
As prices drop for drugs that are purer by the year, governments continue to spend 100 billion dollars annually on enforcement measures. The U.N. estimates the illicit drug trade has grown to over 350 billion dollars per year. And by 2050, the number of illicit drug users is set to rise by 25 percent.
Uruguay’s move to legalise the production and sale of marijuana breaks international law, the world drugs body said Wednesday, warning it would encourage addiction.
“Uruguay is breaking the international conventions on drug control with the cannabis legislation approved by its congress,” said the International Narcotics Control Board, a UN agency that oversees the implementation of international treaties on drugs.
INCB president Raymond Yans added he was “surprised” that Montevideo had “knowingly decided to break the universally agreed and internationally endorsed legal provisions of the treaty.”
Uruguay became the first country to legalize the growing, sale and smoking of marijuana on Tuesday, a pioneering social experiment that will be closely watched by other nations debating drug liberalization.
A government-sponsored bill approved by 16-13 votes in the Senate provides for regulation of the cultivation, distribution and consumption of marijuana and is aimed at wresting the business from criminals in the small South American nation.
Backers of the law, some smoking joints, gathered near Congress holding green balloons, Jamaican flags in homage to Bob Marley and a sign saying: “Cultivating freedom, Uruguay grows.”
Cannabis consumers will be able to buy a maximum of 40 grams (1.4 ounces) each month from licensed pharmacies as long as they are Uruguayan residents over the age of 18 and registered on a government database that will monitor their monthly purchases.
When the law is implemented in 120 days, Uruguayans will be able to grow six marijuana plants in their homes a year, or as much as 480 grams (about 17 ounces), and form smoking clubs of 15 to 45 members that can grow up to 99 plants per year.
Registered drug users should be able to start buying marijuana over the counter from licensed pharmacies in April.
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- As Colombia’s presidential race heats up, peace talks take center stage
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- FARC peace may cut Colombia cocaine, but synthetic drugs new scourge
- Famed ex-hostage runs for Colombia president
- Colombia uncovers Farc plot to kill ex-president Uribe
- In Honduras, Washington Supports Corruption, Military Repression, and Fraudulent Elections
- Honduras’s defiant left asks for presidential election recount
- Castro to call mass protests over Honduras vote ‘theft’
- Hundreds of protesters confront cops after ‘stolen’ Honduran election
- Violent Intimidation and Alleged Fraud Mar Elections in Honduras
- Security, military police dominate Honduras vote
- Political Repression Intensifies Ahead of Honduran Presidential Election
- The US Govt’s Dangerous Dance with Honduras
Almost 80% of the Bitcoins received by Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR), the pseudonymous head of the Silk Road digital black market, may not have been seized by the FBI, according to new research by two Israeli computer scientists.
When the FBI seized the Bitcoin wealth of DPR, believed to be 29-year-old San Franciscan Ross Ulbricht, it published the address to which it moved the money. Now, Dorit Ron and Adi Shamir have examined the “blockchain”, the public record of every Bitcoin transaction ever made, and identified not only the accounts from which the FBI transferred the 144,000 Bitcoins (presently worth $115m) it seized from DPR, but also several other accounts which appeared to be under his control.
Around a third of the Bitcoins which entered the accounts the FBI seized were moved back out of those accounts prior to the seizure. Some will have been spent, on running Silk Road and paying DPR’s living expenses. But the researchers also believe that he had other accounts which the authorities have failed to access entirely.
For the months of May, June and September 2013, the DPR-run accounts received no income from the Silk Road itself. As the site operated on a commission model, taking around 7% of each sale, they conclude that the money for those months must be hidden elsewhere.