Brendan Ferreri-Hanberry

13
Mar

Questionable drug prosecutions in UK

Drug prosecutions in the UK are apparently expanding their scope. Several recent cases showcase a concerning enthusiasm for prosecuting activities of questionable illegality. A shop on Vicar Lane in Leeds, has been raided on suspicious of selling so-called legal highs, or unscheduled synthetic drugs. Known as Dr. Herman’s, the shop was selling “substances suspected to be the subject of temporary

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3
Mar

Marijuana Reform in the European Union

The momentum of marijuana reform in the US continues to grow, with efforts for medical marijuana, decriminalization, and even legalization accelerating in states around the country. On the opposite side of the Atlantic, the movement also seems to be gaining steam. As Reason reported on Monday, supporters have just last week begun gathering signatures to propose a citizen’s initiative to

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26
Feb

Drug Laws in the Philippines and Southeast Asia

This article first appeared on The Libertarian. In an interesting indication of just how far support for marijuana reform has spread, some lawmakers in the Philippines have expressed interest in legalizing medical marijuana. Others are opposed, making reference to international treaty obligations and claiming the data supporting the drug’s medicinal use is not yet “incontrovertible.” If passed, this reform would

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20
Feb

Daniel Hannan Embodies Growing UK Sentiment on Drug Policy

This post originally appeared at The Libertarian. Daniel Hannan, British Member of the European Parliament for the Conservative Party, has suggested that Great Britain should consider legalizing drugs. Hannan had described himself in 2007 as “liberal” on drugs policy, but stated at that point that “There is no appetite in Britain to move towards a decriminalisation of narcotics, and that

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25
Jan

Ibogaine Still Illegal in US, Despite Medical Potential

This article first appeared at http://the-libertarian.co.uk. Readers are probably familiar with LSD and MDMA (ecstasy), and may have heard of recent research on their medical uses. A lesser-known psychedelic drug, though, also shows potential despite federal prohibition. Ibogaine, extracted from the root bark of the iboga plant, shows great promise in treating drug addiction. Tabernanthe iboga, a tropical shrub, is

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21
Jan

New Hampshire on Marijuana: Catching Up with New England?

This piece was originally published at http://the-libertarian.co.uk. The New Hampshire House of Representatives has narrowly passed a bill that would legalize marijuana in the state. If signed into law, this would put the “Live Free or Die” state ahead of the rest of New England on marijuana reform. Currently, New Hampshire is the only state in New England without a

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20
Jan

What Prohibition Has Taught Us

This article was originally published at The Libertarian. This past Friday marked the anniversary of national alcohol prohibition. Prohibition would have been 94 years old on January 17th; the 18th Amendment first went into effect on that date in 1920. The state of Georgia had tried alcohol prohibition as early as the 18th century, and wisely abandoned it after finding

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12
Jan

On Anniversary of Albert Hofmann’s Birthday, Psychedelics Still Relevant

This weekend marked the birthday of the inventor of LSD. Albert Hofmann, a Swiss chemist, was known for his discovery of both the chemical synthesis process and psychoactive effects of the well-known psychedelic drug. For his achievements, he was named the top living genius, tied with the inventor of the World Wide Web, by The Telegraph in 2007. He would

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6
Jan

David Brooks Fails to Defend Prohibition

Yet another embarrassing attempt at defending marijuana prohibition has been published in a major news outlet. David Brooks at the New York Times makes the usual personal criticisms of marijuana smokers while ignoring the serious issues surrounding prohibition. The old claim that marijuana simply makes the user stupid, apparently invulnerable to scientific evidence, resurfaces again in Brooks’ piece. “Stoned people

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25
Dec

Legalization Enthusiasm on the March in Latin America

In a region where drug possession is already widely decriminalized, there are now signs of enthusiasm for farther-reaching reforms. In the wake of the first marijuana legalization bill passed in Latin America, there are signs that some other countries in the region are interested in following Uruguay’s example. The movement is not limited to poor or relatively wealthy countries, and

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18
Dec

"Cannabis Cafe" Idea Making Strides in Europe

UK drug policy activist Colin Davies plans to open a new “cannabis cafe” in Manchester. Davis emphasizes that the new cafe plans to stay within the bounds of the law. The proposed establishment would not sell marijuana, but would simply serve as a social gathering point for marijuana users. Patrons would be encouraged to bring their own marijuana. Davies is

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14
Dec

Uruguay's Mujica Defends Marijuana Legalization

The President of Uruguay has defended himself against accusations from the United Nations concerning his country’s recent passage of a bill to legalize marijuana. “Tell this old man not to lie,” José Mujica remarked1, in reponse to claims by Raymond Yans, head of the International Narcotics Control Board, that Mujica had refused to meet with a UN delegation to discuss the

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8
Nov

Marijuana Activism Spreading in Ireland

The current wave of marijuana-related activism has spread to Ireland. Both the spread of Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapters and a recent bill in the national legislature should give residents of the UK’s western neighbor reason for optimism. A bill was put to a vote in the national Irish legislature, the Dáil, on Tuesday. The proposed measure would have

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30
Oct

Medical Marijuana in Israel

This blog post originally published on http://the-libertarian.co.uk. Medical marijuana, though not entirely new in Israel, is apparently still a point of contention among some in the country. Dr. Leonid Eidelman, chairman of the Israel Medical Association, has expressed strong opposition to a proposal to treat marijuana like other prescription medications. The proposed bill, introduced by two members of the Knesset

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29
Oct

Marijuana Policy and Personality Type

This blog post originally published at http://the-libertarian.co.uk/ A study recently published in Time gives even more reason for marijuana policy activists in the US to be optimistic. The study, led by a psychologist at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, deals with personality types between US states. The results imply that marijuana policy reform is even more broadly supported

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18
Oct

UK Liberal Democrats Still Pushing Sensible Drug Policy

This article originally published on http://the-libertarian.co.uk/ The UK’s Liberal Democrats may once again propose serious reforms in British policies toward illegal drugs. These will reportedly include legalizing cannabis and possibly even some newly developed “club drugs.” A report by the Home Office, ordered by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and not yet published, is expected to call for dramatic drug policy

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8
Oct

Recent “Ecstasy” Deaths Highlight Need for Reform

This article originally published on http://the-libertarian.co.uk/ Various countries have seen several deaths in recent months in connection with the illicit drug known as “Ecstasy” or “Molly.” Although these terms originally referred to MDMA, what is commonly sold under these names is increasingly cut with other substances, which are generally cheaper and in some cases dramatically more dangerous. This situation is typical

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7
Oct

Switzerland Decriminalizes Cannabis

This article originally published on http://the-libertarian.co.uk/ As of this month, marijuana is now decriminalized in all of Switzerland. The new measure was passed last year and went into effect on the first of this month. Anyone caught with 10 grams or less of the substance will now be free of any threat of criminal penalties, and will only be required to pay

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3
Oct

The Unintended Consequences of Shutting Down Silk Road

This article originally published on http://the-libertarian.co.uk/. In an apparent display of what the US federal government considers “essential” services during an ostensible government shutdown, law enforcement officials have seized the online drug marketplace known as the Silk Road. Ross Ulbricht, a 29-year-old man living in San Francisco, is accused of being the site’s figurehead, commonly known as the Dread Pirate Roberts.

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25
Sep

UK Lagging in Drug Policy Reform

This article originally published at http://the-libertarian.co.uk/. Drug policy has in much of the world become a major issue as of late. Marijuana policy reforms have been successful in numerous US states, and even seem to have accelerated since the 1990s. There also seems to be great interest in the issue recently in many Latin American countries. High-ranking public figures in the

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19
Sep

Mandatory Minimum Sentences: on Their Way Out?

This article was originally published at http://the-libertarian.co.uk/ The United States may be approaching a turning point in one of the many failed policies involved in the War on Drugs. Hearings were held in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on September 18th concerning a bill which would significantly reform sentencing in the criminal justice system. The Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013,

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13
Sep

Ayahuasca, Yet Another Prohibited Medicine

This article originally published at http://the-libertarian.co.uk/ Readers have presumably all heard of LSD and the drug commonly known as ecstasy, and I have written here previously about their medical uses. There is another substance being investigated for the treatment of some of the same medical issues, however, and it is similarly restricted by a severe prohibition in US federal law. Ayahuasca

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29
Aug

On Cannabis's "Toxicity"

This article originally published at the-libertarian.co.uk. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has never exactly had the reputation of an unbiased authority on drug use, and this is not simply because of its name. As CNN’s Sanjay Gupta recently pointed out, the agency is responsible for approving every scientific study on marijuana, and 94% of current studies deal ostensibly with the drug’s

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27
Aug

Psilocybin Restricted Despite Medical Benefits

This article originally published here: http://the-libertarian.co.uk/psilocybin-still-strictly-prohibited-despite-medical-potential/ Two very similar chemicals, psilocybin and psilocin, are the active psychedelic ingredients in many species of mushroom.* Upon seeing the common term “magic mushrooms,” or simply “shrooms,” readers may think of familiar references to the recreational use of the fungi, such as  the Jefferson Airplane song White Rabbit. The former Harvard psychology professor and LSD

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21
Aug

On LSD's Medical Potential

This article originally published at the-libertarian.co.uk. As I mentioned in a recent article, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is funding MDMA PTSD research as its top priority. However, the organization also seeks to allow the medical use of certain other Schedule I drugs. These include the well-known psychedelic drug LSD, so called as an abbreviation for its German name, Lysergsäure-diathylamid

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