Newsbriefing – Week of 11 February

The World Health Organization (WHO) has suggested the reclassification of cannabis as Schedule 1 of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. At least half of the 53 members of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs will have to ratify the proposed amendments, for the proposition to be accepted. However, many of these countries prohibit the use of medical cannabis.

On February 11, the coalition Acciones para el Cambio published a document called “The Colombian Experience of Drug Policy in the Last Decade”. This report shows that the strategies Colombia has used to reduce illicit drug use have not been efficient although mobilising large sums of money (US $ 6.4 billion).

On Tuesday, Joaquin «El Chapo» Guzman was convicted by the jurors of the Brooklyn Federal Court, where the trial of the Sinaloa cartel’s leader has been going on for nearly three months. This verdict carries a mandatory term of life in prison for «El Chapo» who will be sentenced on June 25.

In Venezuela, the economic and humanitarian crisis drives many unemployed people, including former fishermen, to engage in acts of maritime piracy. According to the sources of the NGO One Earth Future, 71 assaults of this type were recorded in the Caribbean in 2017, most of them on the Venezuelan coast.

Three seizures of high-powered weaponry have been reported in Venezuela since the beginning of February. The authorities are reportedly investigating on the groups responsible for this traffic, although no suspect was arrested yet. These weapons seizures come amid a political crisis between the government of Maduro and the opposition.

In Nigeria, the presidential and legislative elections scheduled for 16 February were postponed during the night before the polling stations opened. Nigerian citizens vividly reacted to the announcement, as many had traveled to their original regions in order vote.