from the world's big
Mexico plans to decriminalize all illegal drugs
"Prohibitionist strategy is unsustainable," reads the policy plan.
- Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has long called for reformations to the nation's drug laws.
- The five-year policy plan calls for prescribing treatment programs instead of punishments to drug users.
- It's unclear what effects the laws would have on Mexican cartels, which make the bulk of their money selling drugs in the U.S.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador wants to decriminalize illegal drugs in in the nation, where drug-use rates have soared over the past decade and thousands die every year in drug-related murders.
The five-year policy outline wouldn't make drugs legal, but it would offer users treatment instead of punishment by redirecting "the resources currently destined to combat their transfer and apply them in programs — massive, but personalized — of reinsertion and detoxification," Obrador's policy statement read.
It's "generally positive" news for drug law reformation advocates like Zara Snapp of the Instituto RIA and the coalition #RegulacionPorLaPaz, though she told Marijuana Moment that some are concerned that the language of the law stigmatizes drug users, many of whom don't necessarily need treatment.
Obrador repeatedly called for reformation to the country's drug laws during his presidential campaign, with slogans like "Hugs, not gunshots." He says the decades-long "war on drugs" isn't working, and decriminalization paired with rehabilitation programs is the only feasible solution.
"Public safety strategies applied by previous administrations have been catastrophic: far from resolving or mitigating the catastrophe has sharpened it," his statement read, adding that "prohibitionist strategy is unsustainable."
The move reflects shifting attitudes in the U.S., where marijuana is becoming increasingly legal across the 50 states. Currently, a bill that's set to legalize cannabis is working its way through the country's federal government.
"The war on drugs has been extremely costly, not just in terms of government resources, but also human lives, and it has failed to accomplish its objective," Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, told Newsweek. "Prohibition policies have, by and large, caused more harm to people and communities than the drugs they were intended to eliminate, and they haven't come anywhere close to eliminating the supply or the demand."
Obrador said he wants to pursue drug law reform in conjunction with the United Nations and the U.S., where it's estimated that $19 to $29 billion worth of Mexican cartel drugs are sold each year.
Why not legalize drugs altogether in Mexico?
Some have suggested that completely legalizing drugs in Mexico and the U.S. would cripple the cartels. But the Trump administration has said it would refuse to support any such legislation in Mexico or "anywhere."
"I can say that we would not support the legalization of all drugs anywhere and certainly wouldn't want to do anything that would allow more drugs to come into this country," said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.
It's also worth noting that cartels don't only make money through drug trafficking.
"Before, we had organized crime, but operating strictly in narcotrafficking," Eduardo Guerrero Gutiérrez, a consultant and former presidential advisor, told Foreign Policy. "Now we have a type of mafia violence… and they are extorting from the people at levels that are incredibly high — from the rich, from businesses."
Still, decriminalization and regulation of some parts of the drug market in Mexico could help to shine a light on corruption.
"A regulated drug market provides a great opportunity to lift the curtain on all the corruption we know already exists around drugs," Snapp told Vox. "It can force transparency."
Join us at 2 pm ET tomorrow!
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.
A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.
- The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
- Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.
COVID-19 and the brain<p>A growing body of research reveals alarming neurological complications among COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday, for example, researchers from University College London published a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/doi/10.1093/brain/awaa240/5868408" target="_blank">study</a> in the journal Brain that describes how some patients have suffered temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage, and other neurological problems concurrent with COVID-19.</p><p>Some patients suffered brain inflammation as a result of a rare disease called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which can cause numbness, seizures, and confusion. One patient in the study even hallucinated monkeys and lions in her home.</p>
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images<p>A separate study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198407/" target="_blank">Journal of Clinical Neuroscience</a> notes that some COVID-19 patients have also suffered neurological complications like impaired consciousness and acute cerebrovascular disease. The study notes that past viruses like MERS and SARS also seemed to cause neurological problems.</p><p>A troubling finding among this growing body of research is that some patients seem to suffer neurological damage even when respiratory symptoms aren't obvious. Additionally, scientists aren't sure whether damage from the disease will be permanent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," Dr. Ross Paterson, joint first author of the University College London study, said in a <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/ucl-iid070620.php" target="_blank">press release</a>. "Doctors needs to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."</p><p>If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 and want to enroll in the study, visit <a href="https://www.cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study" target="_blank">cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study</a>.</p>
Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.