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An overview of drug approaches in Europe

Countries in Europe, even neighbours, have vastly different approaches to combating drug abuse. Here is an overview. CRIMINALISATION OF DRUG USE/CONSUMPTION: - Drug use is a criminal offence in: Norway, Finland, Sweden, France, Hungary, Greece, Cyprus, and Luxembourg (all drugs except for cannabis). - Drug use is a non-criminal offence (a minor offence, misdemeanour or contravention comparable to a parking offence) in: Portugal, Spain, Estonia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Croatia and Luxembourg for cannabis.

Guatemalan president eyes drug legalization proposal in late 2014

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - Guatemala could present a plan to legalize production of marijuana and opium poppies towards the end of 2014 as it seeks ways to curb the power of organized crime, President Otto Perez said on Wednesday. Perez, a conservative retired general who broke ranks with the United States by proposing drug legalization shortly after he took office at the start of 2012, has yet to put forward a concrete plan on how it could be done.

Majority of Americans want to treat, not jail, drug users: survey

By Susan Heavey WASHINGTON (Reuters) - About two-thirds of Americans say drug abusers need access to treatment to address their addiction rather than criminal prosecution that could lead to jail time, according to a poll released on Wednesday that highlights the public's shifting attitude toward illegal drugs in the United States.

Uruguay not seen setting drug liberalisation trend: U.N. official

By Fredrik Dahl and Derek Brooks VIENNA (Reuters) - The United Nations anti-drugs chief said on Friday he did not see - for now at least - Uruguay setting a trend for countries to legalise the cultivation, sale and smoking of marijuana. In a move being closely watched by other nations discussing drug liberalization, Uruguay's parliament in December approved a bill to legalise and regulate the production and sale of marijuana - the first country to do so.

Legalization won't fix world's drugs problem: U.N. official

VIENNA (Reuters) - Legalization will not solve the world's narcotics problem, the U.N. anti-drugs chief said on Monday, indicating disagreement with a decision by Uruguay to allow the growing, sale and smoking of marijuana. In a move that will be closely watched by other nations debating drug liberalization, Uruguay's parliament in December approved a bill to legalize and regulate the sale and production of marijuana - the first country to take such a step.

Drugs body attacks Uruguay, 2 US states over legalising dope

World drugs body INCB on Tuesday warned Uruguay and the US states of Colorado and Washington that legalising the recreational use of marijuana violated international treaties. In its annual report, the UN agency said it saw a "dangerous" trend in Uruguay after President Jose Mujica signed into law in December his government's controversial plan to oversee the production and sale of marijuana.

Leftist Mexican lawmakers present medical marijuana bill

By Lizbeth Diaz MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Left-wing Mexican senators on Tuesday presented an initiative to legalize medical marijuana, saying a new approach was needed to speed up drug liberalization and help end a cycle of cartel violence that has killed tens of thousands.

Nigeria's drug agency warns on funding, overstretch

From heroin stashed in human hair to drugs concealed in tins of sardines, Nigeria's anti-narcotics agency is used to having to deal with increasingly ingenious attempts at smuggling. But where once the west African nation was only a key staging post for getting drugs such as cocaine and heroin around the world, it is now facing a battle to contain a growing problem at home. Nigeria is involved in "all levels of the drugs business", Femi Ajayi, director-general of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), told AFP in an interview.

Italy court strikes down drug law blamed for prison crowding

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's constitutional court on Wednesday struck down a drug law that tripled sentences for selling, cultivating or possessing cannabis and which has been blamed for causing prison overcrowding. The constitutional court said the law, which was passed in 2006 by Silvio Berlusconi's conservative government, was "illegitimate", without giving further details. Some estimates suggest 10,000 people may be released from jail as a result.

Frenchwoman charged with planting cannabis in Malaysia

A Frenchwoman was charged Thursday in Malaysia with growing cannabis, escaping a harsher drug trafficking charge which could have seen her sentenced to death. Melissa Marie Commins, 31, was charged together with a Malaysian, Jon Stephen Mosundu, 24, with planting cannabis at an upmarket condominium unit in Kota Kinabalu on Borneo island, news agency Bernama reported. The penalty for the offence is life in prison upon conviction. A government official with knowledge of the case confirmed the charge.
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