Lawmakers in five states issue letter telling feds: hands off medical marijuana
On April 2, a bipartisan group of legislators from five medical marijuana states—California, Colorado, Maine, New Mexico, and Washington—issued an open letter to President Barack Obama opposing the federal crackdown and calling upon his administration to “respect our state laws.” The lawmakers underscored that such an aggressive policy “makes no sense” and is “not a good use of our resources,” recalling Obama’s original pledge to de-emphasize enforcement in states with medical marijuana laws.
Colombia: Lawmakers broach decrim of coca, cannabis cultivation
Lawmakers in Colombia proposed decriminalizing cultivation of the coca leaf and cannabis to undercut the narco mafias. Proponents say the move would reduce prices and give peasants more incentive to grow other crops. The bill was introduced late March in the lower house of Colombia’s congress, the Chamber of Representatives. But Colombia’s Justice Ministry says the move would violate the country’s commitments to international narcotics treaties. “We have to be particularly prudent and particularly cautious,” said Justice Minister Juan Carlos Esguerra.
Napolitano defends Drug War; Costa Rica breaking ranks?
US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on Feb. 28 defended the US-backed war on the drug cartels, despite the growing violence in Mexico and Central America. On a five-day tour of the region, Napolitano insisted in a joint press conference with Mexican Interior Minister Alejandro Poire that the US and Mexico would maintain “a continuing effort to keep our peoples from becoming addicted to dangerous drugs.... It’s a different type of crime and it's a different type of plague, but that's also why it is so important that we act not only bi-nationally, but in a regional way, to go after the supply of illegal narcotics.”
Belize broaches decriminalization
Cannabis could soon be decriminalized in Belize following comments by Minister of Police and Public Safety Doug Singh that his ministry is preparing a paper exploring the idea to be presented to the Cabinet. Singh said that he is looking at removing criminal penalties for quantities under somewhere between five to seven grams. He emphasized that under the proposal, those caught with such personal quantities would still face a ticket and fine, and that legalization is not under consideration.
Under current law, those caught even with a small amount of cannabis face arrest and a hefty fine. Failure to pay can result in a prison term, but even those who pay willingly have a permanent criminal record.