Author Archives: Avinash Tharoor

The author with former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan

Kofi Annan: We must change the way people think about drugs

Kofi Annan: We must change the way people think about drugs

In 2013, Kofi Annan – the former Secretary General of the United Nations, who hails from Ghana –

Marijuana plant

The burning conservative case for legalising cannabis

Pressure for cannabis law reform is gaining international momentum – and Britain is no exception. Last week saw over 100,000 people petitioning the government to introduce a legal and regulated cannabis market. Meanwhile Durham’s police commissioner, Ron Hogg, stated a preference for deprioritising tokers and small-scale growers to “break that cycle [of criminalisation] whilst also

Johann Hari's new book, Chasing The Scream

Interview: Johann Hari, Author of Chasing The Scream

Johann Hari, journalist and writer, has spent the past three years travelling the world to discover the origins, uncover the secrets, and debunk the myths, of the War on Drugs. Along the way, he encountered a host of fascinating individuals – from drug policy reformists, to cartel gangsters, to police chiefs, to addicts – and

Professor David Nutt

Psychiatry, Psychedelics, and Propaganda: An Evening with Professor David Nutt

The prohibition of psychedelic drugs is “the worst censorship of science ever”, Professor David Nutt declared yesterday during a lecture at the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP). “I don’t think you can understand the brain,” he asserted, “without understanding the psychedelic experience”. As I sat among some of Britain’s most distinguished psychiatrists, it was odd

Pills from the dangerous ecstasy batch.

Prohibition to Blame for UK Ecstasy Deaths

A father-of-three from the West Midlands is among four young men who have died in the UK during the past ten days after using ecstasy. Police suspect that Daniel Bagnall, 27, Gediminas Kulokas, 24, John Hocking, 20, and Eustace Ropas, 22, had all consumed ecstasy from a certain batch – in which the pills (pictured)

The Parliament of the Victoria state government in south Australia.

Move to Legalise Medical Marijuana in Australian State

Legislators are beginning the process of introducing a medical marijuana programme in Victoria, one of Australia’s most populated states. The Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, has begun working alongside the Law Reform Commission to devise a bill which will be presented to the state’s Parliament in 2015. If successfully passed, the new law would allow

Police stop-and-search a man in Brixton. Photo: Thomas Wright

The War on Drugs is a tool of state oppression

Punishment falls harder, and more regularly, on the poor than the privilege. Drug prohibition – the illegality of many psychoactive substances – is an accepted norm in the UK, although this hasn’t been the case for long. In 1971, Parliament passed the Misuse of Drugs Act; the first major national prohibition legislation, and the cornerstone

A poster supporting marijuana legalisation in Washington DC

Marijuana Legalised in Washington DC, Alaska, and Oregon

As voters went to the polls yesterday across the United States, they affirmed their opposition to the War on Drugs in a variety of momentous manifestations. Voters in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington DC approved legislation to legalise recreational marijuana, voters in California and New Jersey approved legislation to reform punitive sentencing for existing drug laws,

Contrary to common belief, marijuana is not legal in the Netherlands, but decriminalised.

What is the difference between legalisation and decriminalisation?

In the debate over drug policy reform, we often hear the words ‘decriminalisation’ and ‘legalisation’ being used. Both are alternatives to prohibition, however they vary significantly. Below are some of the key differences. (Note: Specific legislation may vary by jurisdiction) [table id=2/]

Police exercise stop-and-search among London youths

UK Government Report Describes Futility of Drug Laws

The UK government has released a report illustrating the inability of punitive drugs laws to curb drug use. Additionally, a parliamentary debate – led by Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas – has taken place to consider the effectiveness of contemporary drug legislation and alternative approaches. The Home Office – the British governmental department responsible for

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