United Nations Appoints Leader Known for Decriminalizing Drugs
With the American election still dominating headlines, it was easy to miss the appointment of António Guterres as the top man at the United Nations. Guterres was sworn in as the Secretary-General on Jan 1.
While the power of the U.N. Secretary-General is indeed limited, this one is very much worth watching.
Guterres is the former prime minister of Portugal, a country famous among activists for decriminalizing personal use of all drugs—yes, all of them, including coke, heroin and meth—instead, focusing on harm reduction and addiction recovery as an alternative to criminalizing a public health issue. Guterres was instrumental in getting this change passed, and the results have been spectacular.
As of July 2001, possession of up to a 10-day supply of any illegal drug changed from a criminal offense to an administrative one. Which means that if caught by cops, users will not be arrested, although their stash will be confiscated, and they will be issued a summons to be interviewed by a Commission for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction (Comissões para a Dissuasão da Toxicodependência), comprising of a psychiatrist, a lawyer and a social worker. The commission can levy fines, restrict or ban some forms of travel and revoke licenses for some professions like doctors or professional drivers, but their main goal is to get addicts and users into rehab programs.
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Marijuana Legalization In Europe: Is France Next?
Judge Rules Insurance Company Must Pay for Injured Worker’s Medical Marijuana
In what could become a precedent-setting decision, New Jersey Judge Ingrid French ordered an insurance company to pay for medical marijuana for an injured worker who suffers from lingering neuropathic pain after an accident involving a power saw at an 84 Lumber outlet in 2008.
The worker, 39-year-old Andrew Watson, was seeking reimbursement for MMJ he’d bought in 2014 after enrolling in the New Jersey’s medical marijuana program. He also sought to be covered for the treatment in the future.
French found that Watson’s intractable neuropathic pain fell under New Jersey’s list of qualifying conditions.
The judge took into account testimony from a psychiatrist/neurologist who said medical marijuana was an appropriate treatment for Watson to reduce prescription opiates to treat his complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), an uncommon form of chronic pain.
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