Drug Policy

What Michelle Alexander calls the “roundup” of youth of color rests very heavily on arrests for low-level nonviolent drug possession. Although whites use drugs at roughly the same levels, the people who are picked up and sent to jail for drug use are overwhelmingly people of color, African Americans in particular. To stop the roundup we need to reform the drug laws and also bar racist law enforcement that selectively targets some communities and not others.

The GOP Healthcare Bill Will Doom Millions of People Struggling with Addiction

"You are only as sick as your secrets,” we say. People in recovery from struggles with addiction know this line by heart. To be open and honest about my years of problematic substance use, and my 4 years of recovery, is key to keeping me alive. This morning, after weeks of backroom drafting and repeated calls for information — sometimes from their own party — the Senate released the text of their healthcare bill, an amended version of the Affordable Health Care Act passed recently in the … [Read more...]

Legal Weed’s No. 1 Warrior Puts Down His Pipe

For drug-policy reformers, it is the best of times, it is the worst of times. Marijuana legalization seems to have hit a tipping point, and even Republicans now regard opioid addiction as a health crisis rather than a criminal one. Yet here comes Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a drug warrior from a generation ago, determined to turn back the clock. There’s no more influential drug-policy reformer than Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, who is stepping down after … [Read more...]

While Jeff Sessions Escalates the War on Drugs, Drug Policy Reform Surges Ahead in California

The Drug Policy Alliance had another successful day in the California state legislature, with two more bills passing through the first house committee, AB 1578 and SB 180. These bills join the agenda with two others bills that passed through their first house committees in preceding weeks. While U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions escalates the war on drugs, drug policy reform surges ahead in California, joining states such as Washington and New York, where similar innovative approaches to … [Read more...]

Do Not Delay: Implement Marijuana Legalization in California

On time and intact implementation of California’s Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, is critical to realizing the benefits of legalization and reducing the harms from decades of prohibition that have resulted in the mass incarceration and criminalization of low-income people of color, and utterly failed to protect public health and public safety. Efficient implementation of Prop. 64 is urgent. While Prop. 64 legalized possession and consumption of cannabis products for adults 21 … [Read more...]

Trump’s Distortions of Crime, Violence, Drugs and Youth

How does a rigorously fact-based organization respond to President Donald Trump, who shows no interest in factual discussion of serious American issues like crime, violence, and drugs? In his February 28, 2017, address to Congress, Trump declared, “The murder rate in 2015 experienced its largest single-year increase in nearly half a century.” In fact, 2015’s murder increase (up six percentage points from 2014, coming after a 47 percentage point decline in the murder rate since 1990 to … [Read more...]

The Liberator: Susan Burton on the War on Drugs, Black Motherhood and Freedom

In 1981, Susan Burton’s 5-year-old son, her baby, ran into the street outside their home in South Los Angeles and was killed when a Los Angeles police officer struck him with his car. And he kept going. “The policeman never even stayed around,” Burton, 64, told The Root. “It was almost like it was a hit-and-run. And all I knew is when I was sitting in the hospital, a whole army of police officers descended into the hospital. “They never ever ever even said, ‘Ms. Burton, I’m sorry,’” … [Read more...]

Trump’s Vague, Failed Rhetoric Has Potential to Unleash New Harm

Recent executive orders are yet another example of President Trump’s fear mongering; using falsehoods, misinformation and coded rhetoric to push through his extreme and intolerant agenda. The Drug Policy Alliance's work to end the war on drugs connects the dots on these kinds of attacks on civil and human liberties. Trump’s vague “reduce crime” policy and creation of a new taskforce to strategize explicitly on illegal immigration, drug trafficking and violent crime, are nothing but throwback … [Read more...]

Better Solution Than a Border Wall? End Drug Prohibition

What does a multi-billion dollar mistake look like? He looks like a 70 year-old demagogue politician who occupies the White House. And it appears we will have a big-ass wall to remind us of it. If President Donald Trump follows through with his promise to build a ridiculous wall under the pretext of stopping migrants and drugs from entering the U.S., we will have a constant reminder when our tax dollars build his wall. Regarding immigration I’m no expert on that matter. That said, … [Read more...]

Drug Enforcement Declines After Proposition 47

A new report finds arrests and citations for drug possession have decreased in Los Angeles and San Diego counties after Prop 47: Declining Drug Enforcement Report. n November 2014, California took a significant step toward reforming mass criminalization and over-incarceration by passing Proposition 47, a ballot measure that changed certain low-level crimes from potential felonies to misdemeanors; prioritizing drug treatment over punishment. In 2015, the first full year after Prop 47, felony … [Read more...]

Marijuana Legalization Must Also Focus on Racial Justice

The following excerpts are from “Marijuana Legalization Without Racial Justice Risks   Being Another Extension of White Privilege” by Bill Piper, Senior Director of National Affairs for the Drug Police Alliance.  Written before last November’s elections, Piper argues marijuana legislation must also include racial justice- which has not been part of the marijuana legalization discussion. “The trend to legalize marijuana for medical use is good news because it reduces marijuana arrests and the … [Read more...]