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...]

Legal Marijuana, Death Penalty Initiatives: How Should Innercity Communities React?

Justice Revival Offers Spiritual, Legislative Criminal Justice Reform Solutions When: Thursday, October 6, 2016 Where: First AME Church of Los Angeles, 2270 So. Harvard Blvd., Los Angeles RSVP Here Overflow Parking & Shuttle Service: Holman United Methodist Church, 3320 West Adams Blvd Los Angeles America's decades-long "War on Drugs" and "War on Crime" have too often been morphed into a grotesque War on Blacks and Browns. Michelle Alexander's seminal work, "The New Jim Crow: Mass … [Read more...]

DEA Keeps Head in the Sand; Refuses to Reschedule Marijuana

This week, the DEA announced that it was not rescheduling marijuana. Earlier this year it was reported that the DEA was considering rescheduling marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II, a move that would have shown the federal government believes marijuana has an “accepted medical use.” This would have been a very symbolic move – something that marijuana law reform supporters have pursued for many years. Unfortunately the scandal-ridden DEA is keeping its head in the sand for now. However, … [Read more...]

Report from DC: A New Birth of Freedom?

Every two years the Drug Policy Alliance brings together activists and thought leaders from the broader movement against repression and racism and ignorance regarding drug policy and incarceration. It’s an international gathering, but much attention is naturally given to the biggest problem country when it comes to prohibition and repression: the United States. I was privileged to attend the last big DPA gathering, held in Denver, which was stimulating and informative. But this year’s … [Read more...]

REACH Goes Live This Week

Justice Not Jails supporters and readers of this newsletter will receive the first issue of a special new publication on race, religion, and marijuana reform this Thursday, Octoctober 1. You can easily subscribe or unsubscribe depending on what you think. We want to alert you that it's coming. JNJ has never made marijuana legalization a priority, and we know that legalization controversial to some in faith community leadership. REACH (Religious Educators & Advocates for Community Health) … [Read more...]

Is It Possible to Let More People Out of Prison, and Keep Crime Down?

President Obama has made incarceration reform a White House theme this week. On Monday, he commuted the sentences of 46 mostly nonviolent drug offenders; and on Tuesday, he spoke about reducing the prison population in a speech to the NAACP. "The United States is home to 5 percent of the world's population but 25 percent of the world's prisoners," Obama said. "Think about that. Our incarceration rate is four times higher than China's." And Thursday he'll become the first sitting president … [Read more...]

Civil Asset Forfeiture: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Imagine going back home one day to find an empty house and all your belongings gone; or even worse, imagine being in your house and having your door suddenly smashed open by law enforcement officers in masks and being told at gunpoint that your personal possessions are being taken away. It might sound like a trailer for the latest action film, but this is what happened to Annette Shattuck, a mother of four and a registered marijuana caregiver in Michigan. As she recently testified to the … [Read more...]

Policing For Profit Gone Wild

Above the Law: New DPA Report Finds 'Policing for Profit' Gone Wild Did you know police are allowed to seize and keep your cash, cars, real estate, and any other property – even if you’re never convicted or even charged with a crime?  It’s called civil asset forfeiture – and if it sounds like legalized burglary, that’s because it is. In cities and small towns across the country – Baltimore jumps to mind at the moment – law enforcement has lost the trust of the communities they are supposed … [Read more...]

Parent Activists and Overdose Prevention Groups Cheer Groundbreaking State Legislation

California Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) introduced an overdose prevention bill that many are hailing as the first of its kind in the state. The bill, AB 831, asks the legislature to take action to address California’s growing accidental drug overdose problem by establishing a funding source for overdose prevention programs, as well as convene a state task force of overdose prevention experts and other public health officials to study the issue and create a series of comprehensive … [Read more...]