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  • April 7, 2021 at 12:00am
    Wall Street Journal, 07 Apr 2021 - PUERTO CACHICAMO, Colombia-The pandemic closed the only school in this remote hamlet, long a stronghold for Marxist guerrillas. With no internet connection for virtual classes, 16-year-old Danna Montilla told her family she was leaving to find work, but instead authorities say she joined a narco-trafficking rebel group. Last month, Colombia’s military bombarded the group’s jungle camp, killing Danna, another underage girl and 10 others. Residents here said her death underscored a grim reality: Armed gangs have found fresh recruits from an ample pool of youths who, like Danna, have been out of school because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • April 1, 2021 at 12:00am
    New York Times, 01 Apr 2021 - PHOENIX - When Arizonans voted to legalize recreational cannabis in November, it seemed plausible that sales would begin sometime in the spring. But on Jan. 22, less than three months after the vote, the Arizona Department of Health Services started quickly approving applications, allowing dispensaries to sell cannabis to adults 21 and older immediately.
  • March 26, 2021 at 12:00am
    New York Times, 26 Mar 2021 - State lawmakers finalized a deal on Thursday to legalize recreational marijuana in New York, paving the way for a potential $4.2 billion industry that could create tens of thousands of jobs and become one of the largest markets in the country. Following several failed attempts, lawmakers in Albany struck an agreement with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older, a move that officials hope will help end years of racially disproportionate policing that saw Black and Hispanic people arrested on low-level marijuana charges far more frequently than white people.
  • January 14, 2021 at 12:00am
    Wall Street Journal, 14 Jan 2021 - In a referendum in November, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and LSD. The move was inspired by a 2001 law in Portugal that removed incarceration as a penalty for drug possession. To judge by “Drug Use for Grown-Ups,” Carl Hart welcomed this news, which came too late for him to mention in his provocative and enlightening book. He opens with the announcement: “I am an unapologetic drug user.” Mr. Hart, a professor of psychology and a neuroscientist at Columbia University, asserts that “recreational drugs can be used safely to enhance many vital human activities.” He bases his claim on decades of research on the behavioral and physiological effects of drugs in humans, coupled with his personal use. Thanks to drugs, he says, “I am a happier and better person.” He asks that we think about drugs in a more nuanced way, even at a time when opioid abuse is still headline news. Thus his book represents a calculated risk-namely, that by portraying drug use as so potentially rewarding for responsible users, it may inadvertently seduce non-grown-ups into hazardous use.
  • November 20, 2020 at 12:00am
    New York Times, 20 Nov 2020 - MEXICO CITY - On June 17, 1971, President Richard Nixon stood in front of the White House press corps and made his historic declaration of a new type of war. “Public Enemy No. 1 in the United States is drug abuse,” he said. “In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it’s necessary to wage a new all-out offensive.” It would be a government-wide effort, and rally the United States’s power abroad to stem the supply of drugs. Among the countries targeted was Mexico, which was home to abundant marijuana production and had been resistant to aerial crop spraying.