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Russia Decriminalizing Domestic Violence

As long as it happens just once a year, doesn't cause serious injury

(Newser) - Domestic violence is inarguably bad—but for nearly 400 members of Russia's parliament, it's not that bad if it only happens once a year and doesn't cause "substantial bodily harm." That's the 380-3 opinion that led to a bill being passed Friday in the... More »

Russia Looks to Decriminalize Domestic Violence

Bill will go before the Duma this week eliminating criminal liability

(Newser) - In Russia, giving one's spouse a slap is nothing extraordinary for many people. This week, the Russian parliament is expected to take a step closer toward decriminalizing it altogether, reports the AP . Battery is a criminal offense in Russia, but a study this month showed that 19% of Russians... More »

Pot Arrests in US Outnumber Violent Crime Arrests

There's a drug arrest every 25 seconds

(Newser) - Law enforcement agencies made more arrests for marijuana possession last year than for all violent crimes combined, despite decriminalization and outright legalization in some states, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch and the ACLU. The report is harshly critical of drug policies that have 137,000 Americans... More »

Amnesty International: Decriminalize the Sex Trade

Group hopes recommendation will improve conditions for sex workers

(Newser) - In a move to stick up for what the head of Amnesty International describes as "one of the most marginalized groups in the world who ... face constant risk of discrimination, violence, and abuse," the organization voted today to recommend decriminalizing that group's line of work: prostitution and... More »

UK Cops to Public: Solve Your Own Crimes

Citizens often told to conduct own investigations for common offenses: report

(Newser) - It's not that British police don't want to help you solve crimes that have victimized you—it's just that they want you to help you solve those crimes. A report released by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary on crime figures and the "use of police... More »

Experts: Decriminalize Drugs—All of Them

Canadian group argues that current policies are ineffective

(Newser) - A coalition of Canadian drug policy experts is calling on the country to decriminalize the use of drugs—not just, say, marijuana or other "soft drugs," but all drugs. Thanks to a "stunning display of unimaginative thinking," Canada has been cracking down on drug users, which... More »

Chicago Cops Won't Arrest You Over a Little Weed

But you'll get still get a ticket under new marijuana policy

(Newser) - Expect to smell some celebratory puffs in Chicago. The city council voted today to approve a policy allowing police to ticket, rather than arrest, anyone found with 15 grams of marijuana or less, NBC Chicago reports. The policy, which is backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel among others, passed by a... More »

Next to Decriminalize Marijuana: Chicago?

No more jail time for small amounts, if city councilmen have their way

(Newser) - As public support for marijuana legalization grows, Chicago may take things one step closer: The city is looking to decriminalize the stuff, meaning users carrying small amounts would pay tickets instead of winding up in jail, the Chicago Tribune notes. Those carrying less than 10 grams would be slapped with... More »

Connecticut Decriminalizes Marijuana

Possession of half-ounce or less now ticketing offense

(Newser) - Possessing a half-ounce or less of pot will soon no longer be a crime in Connecticut. After a spirited discussion, the state's House of Representatives has voted to make Connecticut the 14th state in the nation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, reports the Hartford Courant . Democratic... More »

Why We Must Arrest Child Prostitutes

It may sound cruel, but it could be the only thing that saves them

(Newser) - With the average age of a girl entering prostitution at 13—and getting lower—the idea of decriminalizing childhood prostitution certainly sounds compassionate. After all, isn't arresting a young girl, who's presumably been victimized by a pimp, like punishing her a second time? Precisely the opposite, write Janice Shaw Crouse... More »

Why Proposition 19 Failed

Little funding, lack of young voter turnout, and other factors

(Newser) - Proposition 19 , California’s marijuana legalization measure, went up in smoke yesterday—but why? A few opinions:
  • Pot is already legal: The campaign for Prop 19 was “centered on the injustice and waste of law enforcement resources involved in treating cannabis smokers like criminals,” a point that
... More »

Why We Need to Legalize Pot

Our war on marijuana does more harm than good

(Newser) - What will happen if we legalize marijuana? Simple: Police will be able to “focus on serious crime instead,” writes George Soros in the Wall Street Journal . The liberal billionaire and philanthropist outlines his reasons for supporting California’s Prop 19 , with the bottom line being that “our... More »

Marijuana's Newest, Unlikeliest Fans: Republicans

A surprising number of conservatives are all for legalization

(Newser) - The GOP may or may not be the Party of No, but it's the Party of Yeahhhhh, Man, when it comes to legalizing pot: Nancy Pelosi’s challenger, Ronald Reagan’s speechwriter, and even Glenn Beck are just a few of the Republican faithful who have spoken up in favor... More »

Obama Pot Policy a Victory for States' Rights

Administration takes long-overdue steps to end Bush-era excesses

(Newser) - The Obama administration’s decision to respect state laws on medical marijuana is good policy—and not just because it demonstrates compassion toward cancer and AIDS patients, writes Glenn Greenwald. Despite his critics’ charges of “socialism” and “fascism,” President Obama is showing that his administration, unlike the... More »

India Appeal Likens Gay Sex to Bestiality

Court ruling could recriminalize homosexuality

(Newser) - India’s gay and lesbian community celebrated the Delhi High Court’s decriminalization of homosexual sex last week with lavish parties, but festivities may have been premature, GlobalPost reports. India’s Supreme Court has signaled that it will consider an appeal of the verdict, the climax of an 8-year legal... More »

We've Lost the War on Drugs

It's time for a new approach: Kristof

(Newser) - The war on drugs has been waged for 40 years, but despite spending $44 billion annually, “the drugs have won,” writes Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times. A former police chief notes that “drugs are more readily available, at lower prices and higher levels of potency—... More »

Legalized Pot, Cocaine Work OK in Portugal

(Newser) - Portugal decriminalized drug possession 8 years ago, so it must have high abuse rates, right? Not according to a new study from the Cato Institute, Time reports. Teen drug use and HIV infection from needles have declined, and more addicts now enter treatment programs. "Judging by every metric, decriminalization... More »

End Failed Drug War: Go After Kingpins

(Newser) - The "war on drugs" has been an abject failure—crowded jails and a still-thriving narcotics trade prove that—and it's time for some "visionary" thinking, writes Cynthia Tucker in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The nation's not ready for legalization, but how about some concrete steps: Stop going after "... More »

Decriminalize Incest? Romania Is Not Alone

Bucharest aims to match laws in 3 EU nations

(Newser) - As the Josef Fritzl case echoes across Europe, Romania is considering a new approach to incest: legalizing it, the AP reports. The Justice Ministry is contemplating the move amid wider legal reforms, arguing that decriminalization would sync its stance with EU members France, Spain, and Portugal. “Not everything... More »

Mass. Rep Vows to Legalize Pot

Barney Frank says public is ready for change

(Newser) - Rep. Barney Frank will move to legalize “small amounts” of marijuana, Politico reports, citing Americans who think use of the drug is no big deal. “It's time for the politicians to catch up to the public,” said the Massachusetts Democrat on "Real Time with Bill Maher.... More »

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