Carnival Cruise Line To Continue Using Drug Dogs Amid Prevalence of Pot

Carnival Cruises will continue to deploy drug detection dogs to search for pot and other drugs, according to a brand ambassador who confirmed the cruise line’s drug policy Tuesday.

Don’t plan on smoking if you’re vacationing on a cruise: Carnival Cruise Line (CCL), Royal Caribbean (RCL), Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH), and every other major cruise line operating or departing U.S. ports bans cannabis consumption on-board. Most display “Drug Free Zone” signs aboard and employ a zero tolerance policy.

Cruise lines follow federal law, which trumps state laws, even though their ships are not flagged in the U.S., so cannabis is prohibited in nearly every circumstance. The open seas are not actually lawless and laws typically extend miles from shore, and most cruises stop in multiple countries.

The Gwinnett Daily Post reports that Carnival Cruise won’t be changing its policy on cannabis anytime soon, after a brand ambassador clarified the cruise line’s efforts to control cannabis use on-board.

“As for the drug detection dogs, well let me say that they have, along with our no tolerance rules and enforcement, made a massive difference to the problem of people thinking it is legal and allowed to use marijuana on their cruise. It isn’t,” Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald posted on his Facebook page on May 23. 

Some cruise guests complained of the weed smell that is common on cruises. Passengers say they get it while ships dock on ports and when they venture into the city.

“They really need more drug dogs when we are getting back on the ship because people pick up drugs in ports and that is when I smell marijuana on the balconies,” a commenter named Janet replied on Heald’s page.

Problems with Drug Sniffing Dogs and Cannabis

There are a handful of problems with using dogs to sniff out drugs and pot. Commenters raised concerns about allergies to dogs that might be interfering with privacy.

Heald continued, “These uber intelligent and highly trained dogs are used at embarkation and occasionally, not every cruise on every ship will sail as well with their handlers. Again, the ships are large enough for this [to] not be a concern for anyone who is allergic…”

It turns out that the Washington Post asked this same question last March, and a CCL representative confirmed the cruise line’s cannabis policy.

“In case there’s any confusion, let me remind guests that while marijuana and cannabis products may be legal in some states, we are required to follow federal law irrespective of the law in the state where you may be boarding your ship,” CCL President Christine Duffy told the Washington Post.

Since dozens of states have legalized cannabis in one form or another, drug dogs in general are losing their jobs in droves. In other cases, drug-sniffing dogs are getting trained to ignore cannabis. Why? A major exposé from The Chicago Tribune in 2011 claimed that drug-sniffing dogs can pick up on and follow the biases and prejudices of their handlers. 

It’s not just dogs. China enlists drug-sniffing red squirrels, while honeybees could soon be the next natural drug locator. Researchers at the University of Cologne in Germany recently published a study in the journal Plos One, entitled “Detection of Illicit Drugs by Trained Honeybees,” showing the promise they have in law enforcement.

Cruise passengers who are caught with cannabis are typically punished quickly, and often kicked off the cruise at the next port.

The post Carnival Cruise Line To Continue Using Drug Dogs Amid Prevalence of Pot appeared first on High Times.

U.K. Police Chiefs Call for Decriminalization of First-Time Drug Offenses

A group of police chiefs in the United Kingdom is developing a plan to effectively decriminalize the possession of drugs including cannabis and cocaine. If adopted by the government, the use and possession of small amounts of recreational drugs would be treated as a public health issue for first-time offenders, rather than a criminal offense subject to prosecution and jail time or other punishment.

The proposals, which were developed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing, would effectively decriminalize the possession of Class A drugs including cocaine and Class B substances such as marijuana. Under the plan, individuals caught with illegal drugs would be offered an opportunity to attend drug education or treatment programs, rather than being subjected to prosecution. 

Police would take no further action against those who agree to complete the program, giving them a chance to avoid a criminal record. Those who fail to complete the drug program or who are subsequently caught with illicit drugs would still be subject to criminal prosecution.

Jason Harwin, the former NPCC lead on drugs and a former deputy chief constable, is working with the College of Policing on the new partial decriminalization strategy.

“We should not criminalize someone for possession of drugs,” he said in a statement quoted by The Telegraph. “It should be diversion to other services to give them a chance to change their behaviors.”

Fourteen of the U.K.’s 43 police forces have already adopted policies similar to the drug decriminalization proposal from the nation’s police chiefs. But the plan is at odds with the country’s Conservative Party government, which has floated proposals to stiffen the penalties on recreational drugs including cannabis.

In October, U.K. Home Secretary Suella Braverman revealed that she was considering tightening the classification of cannabis under the nation’s drug laws over concerns that marijuana is a gateway drug and can lead to serious health problems. Braverman’s review followed calls from law enforcement leaders to reclassify cannabis as a Class A drug, the same category assigned to substances including heroin, cocaine, and ecstasy.

Braverman is against the decriminalization of cannabis, saying that efforts to reform cannabis policy send a “cultural” symbol that marijuana use is acceptable, according to a report from The Times. The home secretary is also concerned about evidence that cannabis use can lead to serious physical health problems including cancer and birth defects and mental health conditions including psychosis.

The more strict Class A drug designation for cannabis would make penalties for marijuana offenses more severe, including prison terms of up to seven years for possession and penalties of up to life in prison for marijuana producers and suppliers. An unidentified source close to Braverman told The Times that the home secretary believes the more severe penalties are justified because they would serve as a deterrent to cannabis use and trafficking.

“We’ve got to scare people,” she reportedly said.

In July, then-Home Secretary Priti Patel announced proposed new sanctions on users of cannabis and other drugs that include the confiscation of driver’s licenses and passports under a new three-strikes policy for illicit drug use. 

“Drugs are a scourge across society. They devastate lives and tear communities apart,” Patel said in a statement from the government. “Drug misuse puts lives at risk, fuels criminality and serious and violent crime and also results in the grotesque exploitation of young, vulnerable people.”

Under the proposal, which was detailed in a white paper drafted by the Home Office, those caught with illegal recreational drugs would face fines and mandatory drug education. They could also be banned from nightclubs and other entertainment venues.

“Drugs ruin lives and devastate communities which is why the Government is committed to tackling both the supply and demand for drugs, as set out in the 10-year Drug Strategy,” a Home Office spokesperson said in a statement to the press. “Our White Paper on new, tougher penalties for drug possession set out proposals for tackling demand and we have welcomed views on this. We will be publishing our response in due course.”

But drug policy reform advocates and health professionals are resisting the government’s proposed tougher approach to drug use. On Sunday, more than 500 public and health and drug organizations issued an open letter to the U.K. government expressing “serious concerns” about the plan, which they said would likely criminalize young and vulnerable people while diverting scarce police resources from more serious problems.

Professor David Strain, the chairman of the British Medical Association’s board of science, said the Government’s plans appeared “to be doubling down on a failed model by promoting ever harsher sanctions that perpetuate the stigma and shame already acting as a barrier to individuals seeking help, and ultimately discouraging drug users from seeking the healthcare services they need.”

The post U.K. Police Chiefs Call for Decriminalization of First-Time Drug Offenses appeared first on High Times.

Australian Capital Territory Decriminalizes Possession of Illicit Drugs

The government of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has passed new legislation to decriminalize low-level possession of illicit drugs, making the federal district the first jurisdiction in the nation to make such a move. Under the law approved late last month, those caught with small amounts of drugs including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine would be subject to a fine rather than punishment by the criminal justice system. The ACT, which includes the Australian capital city of Canberra and the surrounding area, decriminalized cannabis in 2020. Under those rules, adults aged 18 and older are permitted to possess up to 50 grams (nearly two ounces) of dried cannabis and grow up to two plants

The new drug decriminalization law, which will go into effect after 12 months, penalizes possession of small amounts of drugs considered consistent with personal use with a fine of up to $100, which can be waived if the individual chooses to attend a drug diversion program. The law does not apply to trafficable quantities of illicit drugs, and police will still be permitted to target the illegal drug trade in Canberra. The new policy follows recommendations of a Legislative Assembly inquiry into the proposal from Labor Party member Michael Pettersson, who also spearheaded the drive to decriminalize cannabis in the ACT, making the territory the first and only government in Australia to do so.

The new law also reduces the maximum penalty for possession of several other controlled substances not decriminalized by the measure to six months behind bars. Prior to the passage of the reforms, the maximum penalty for drug possession convictions was two years in prison. Civil fines and diversion programs were not available for those charged with drug possession offenses.

The inclusion of methamphetamine in the ACT’s drug decriminalization law was controversial, with some lawmakers objecting to the proposal. But Pettersson argued that people who use the drug are often most in need of support from the health system.

“People that use recreational drugs are taking a risk, and certain drugs cause more harm than others,” he said. “If people are using a substance like methamphetamine, we need to make sure that we do not continue to criminalize them and make it even easier for them to come forward and access the support that they might need.”

New Drug Decriminalization Law Supports Harm Reduction

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said that the goal of the reforms is harm reduction and that the changes were developed with input from the advocacy group Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform, the substance abuse treatment community and those with lived experience as people who use drugs.

“We know that the ACT has a progressive community and supports evidence-based changes, and the evidence to support decriminalization of the possession of small amounts of a range of drugs is there,” Stephen-Smith said.

The health minister said that treating drug abuse as a health issue rather than a criminal offense reduces harm for people who use drugs and builds stronger communities.

“It both reduces harm associated with engagement with the criminal justice system – which is a harm in itself – [and] reduces the stigma associated with drug use and encourages people to come forward for the support and treatment that is going to help them recover from their dependence,” she said. 

Stephen-Smith noted that the new decriminalization policy will not take effect until October of next year to give police a 12-month transition period to prepare for the change and allow the community to learn the scope of the new rules, saying that this “is responsible, progressive change absolutely in line with the national drug strategy commitment to harm minimization.”

“Harm minimization has three pillars: harm reduction, supply reduction and demand reduction. This is about harm reduction, but we also remain committed to supply reduction,” she said. “We are not encouraging people to use drugs and we are not facilitating the trafficking or dealing of drugs with this change, all we are doing is ensuring that those people who have a small amount of drugs in their possession for personal use are treated with a health response, not a criminal one.”

However, not everyone approves of the ACT government’s decision to decriminalize the possession of illicit drugs. The Canberra Liberal Party opposed the legislation and party representatives have said that they will work to repeal the new law. Deputy leader Jeremy Hanson said the “radical reform” would cause several new problems while making existing ones worse.

“It wasn’t taken to the community, it’s going to lead to more crime, it’s going to lead to more carnage on our roads,” he said. “It’s not going to change the number of people going into the criminal justice system, and it’s not going to fix the problem that we have now which is not enough people being able to access treatment.”

The post Australian Capital Territory Decriminalizes Possession of Illicit Drugs appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, February 2, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Three US senators announce plans for major federal marijuana reform (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Virginia Marijuana Legalization Bills Sail Though Committees As Key Friday Deadline Nears (Marijuana Moment)

// Black entrepreneurs are underrepresented in Michigan’s recreational marijuana industry (Detroit Metro Times)

These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical and adult use marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 350,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to to learn more about this very cool company!

// Top Minnesota Lawmakers File Marijuana Legalization Bill For 2021 (Marijuana Moment)

// West Virginia awards medical cannabis dispensary licenses many to MSOs (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Biden’s USDA Takes First Meeting With Hemp Industry To Learn About Market Needs (Marijuana Moment)

// Arizona’s new recreational cannabis firms see strong sales possible supply issues on horizon (Marijuana Business Daily)

// New Jersey Lawmakers Approve Clean-Up Marijuana Bill To Resolve Governor’s Underage Concerns (Marijuana Moment)

// Idaho Lawmakers Approve Resolution That Would Quash 2022 Marijuana Legalization Initiatives (Marijuana Moment)

// Oregon first U.S. state to decriminalize possession of hard drugs (CTV News (AP))

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Transport Canada Bars Crews From Consuming Cannabis for 28 Days Before Flying

Rules would apply to air traffic controllers too. Members of the Canadian aviation industry are forbidden from consuming cannabis for at least 28 days before going on duty, according to new rules now in force. Canadian Aviation Regulations require that pilots, cabin crew, and air traffic controllers must have a certain level of “fitness for duty” on the job, Transport Canada said Thursday. That means they cannot use or be “under the influence of any…