While the United States has conditionally tolerated the regulated use of marijuana in two states – Washington and Colorado – national drug policy is at odds with the international drug control regime, said panelists at an Oct. 17 discussion at the Brookings Institution.
Despite the political gridlock on Capitol Hill on a range of highly charged issues, there's a surprising amount of consensus in drug policy reform, said a health and drug policy analyst.
Citing the readiness of aging vessels, delays in getting new vessels and sequestration, the Coast Guard has generally missed its established targets for removing illicit drugs – mainly cocaine – in a 6-million-square-mile area known as the "transit zone" that it patrols, a Government Accountability Office report said.
A high-ranking U.S. Coast Guard officer told a House transportation subcommittee June 18 that the service doesn't have enough funding to modernize its fleet and support systems, making it challenging to fulfill its complex and broad mission.
The global drug market for new psychoactive substances is increasing at an "unprecedented pace," finds a new report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. "The variety of substances available on illicit drug markets is higher than ever," says the report.
Colombia, the Balkans, the Caucasus and other regions that were at one point overwhelmed by crime and violence provide lessons for Mexico, but none of their situations are really analogous, concludes a report from the Rand Corp.
The heads of the Coast Guard and Southern Command said April 29 that their counternarcotics efforts are far more cost-effective than those of domestic law enforcement, even though the latter receive the bulk of the funding.
Many maritime smugglers use panga boats, 20-40 foot fishing vessels that are made of fiberglass and difficult to detect. "This, coupled with the sheer size of California's coastline, means that most panga discoveries are made either through tips or by happenstance," says a report issued by California Attorney General Kamala Harris.
"They're very polite to me, but every now and again when they're not so polite, the term 'hypocrite' gets into the discussion," Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, the SOUTHCOM commander, told the House Armed Services Committee.
News of the Saturday arrest by Mexican authorities of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán, the long-sought billionaire leader of the country's preeminent transnational crime organization, was met quickly by calls among some U.S. federal officials and politicians that he be tried in the United States.