How Drug Prohibition Fuels American Carnage

During President Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address, he declared that “in this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” The populist right would do well to apply that formulation to the street violence associated with the drug trade. The War on Drugs is a decades-old federal effort that has failed as consistently and completely as any government initiative in American history. A generation has passed sinceNational Review declared it … [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...]

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...]

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...]

The Price We Paid: Race, Reparative Justice, and the Drug War

To date, President Barack Obama has granted 774 commutations. That is more commutations than the previous nine presidents combined and more commutations than any individual president in nearly a century. The majority of people receiving commutations were convicted of drug offenses and sentenced to egregious mandatory minimum sentences. The announcement of commutations is commonly greeted with floods of adulation from media and advocates for fair sentencing that are laced with rhetoric calling … [Read more...]

Beyond Propaganda: What Would Legalizing Marijuana Look Like in California?

Fear of the unknown and fear of change are often barriers to policy change, even when science diffuses many of the concerns. Not knowing what a change in policy “looks” like can spawn assumptions influenced by propaganda and rhetoric rather than evidence. However, once the change happens and the public sees the reality, fears are often transformed into questions and a desire for information. This has certainly been the case with marijuana policy in the U.S. Although California approved … [Read more...]

Why Conservatives Suddenly Champion Criminal Justice Reform

View image | For decades, conservatives enthusiastically backed ballooning prison budgets as an exception to their opposition to big-government big spending. Why, then, would prominent conservatives including Texas Governor Rick Perry, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and even the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) abruptly discover religious values and fiscal conservatism to reverse their previous get-tough harshness on those most emotionally profitable of … [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...]