Posts Tagged ‘war on drugs’

Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson: End The Drug War Now

Gary Johnson US flagFormer New Mexico governor and presidential hopeful Gary Johnson has a plan for cutting government spending.

The libertarian-minded Republican’s campaign released a Web ad Friday that declares the war on drugs is a waste of taxpayer dollars. Mr. Johnson has repeatedly called for the legalization of marijuana. Here’s the video:

Legalize Marijuana to Decrease Usage

Legalize it!by Jeremiah Vandermeer - Wednesday, August 3 2011

The latest stats show the number of Americans who use marijuana has gone up since last year. If the government really wanted to reduce marijuana use, they would legalize it.

The AFP reports:

SAMHSA also looked at Americans’ marijuana use and found that numbers using pot in the past month were up for the two years covered by the report: 6.4 percent of Americans aged 12 and older said they had used marijuana in the past month compared to six percent in 2007-2008.

In the 12- to 17-year age group, marijuana use fell, but seven percent of US teens still use cannabis, the report said.
The 10 states that saw the highest use of marijuana were Alaska, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Medical marijuana is legal in all of those states except for Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Perceptions of the dangers associated with marijuana use were lowest in the 10 states where the drug was used the most, according to the study.

Drug Warriors love to shout in booming voices that if we legalized marijuana, stoners would begin coming out of the woodwork and cause an epidemic of bong-rips and bloodshot eyes. Scientists completely disagree, and say that marijuana law reform does not lead to an increase in usage.

In fact, they say just the opposite. Evidence from countries like Portugal and the Netherlands shows that liberalizing drug laws actually leads to a decrease in usage. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Drug Warriors.

Don’t believe me? Listen to The Young Turks:

NAACP Joins Call To End War On Drugs

Photo: The Daily Record
Benjamin Jealous, NAACP president and CEO:
“These flawed drug policies that have been mostly enforced in African American communities must be stopped”

​The NAACP has just joined the list of prominent organizations and individuals calling for a major paradigm shift away from the failed and punitive “War On Drugs” and toward a health-based approach with a historic resolution passed Tuesday at the organization’s national conference in Los Angeles.

“Today the NAACP has taken a major step towards equity, justice, and effective law enforcement,” said Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP. “These flawed drug policies that have been mostly enforced in African American communities must be stopped and replaced with evidence-based practices that address the root causes of drug use and abuse in America.”
Neill Franklin, an African American former narcotics cop from Baltimore and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), had presented a talk on the need to end the War On Drugs at the NAACP conference on Monday.
“The NAACP has been on the forefront of the struggle for civil rights and social justice in this country for over a century,” Franklin said Tuesday about the passage of the resolution.
“The fact that these leaders are joining others like the National Black Police Association in calling for an end to the ‘war on drugs’ should be a wake up call to those politicians — including and especially President Obama — who still have not come to terms with the devastation that the ‘drug war’ causes in our society and especially in communities of color,” Franklin said.
The resolution was voted on by a majority of delegates at the 102nd NAACP Annual Convention. The overall message of the resolution is captured by its title: A Call to End the War on Drugs, Allocate Funding to Investigate Substance Abuse Treatment, Education, and Opportunities in Communities of Color for A Better Tomorrow.
The resolution outlines the facts about the failed Drug War, highlighting that the U.S. spends more than $40 billion annually on the War On Drugs, locking up low level drug offenders — mostly from communities of color.
African Americans are, in fact, 13 times more likely to go to jail for the same drug-related offense than their white counterparts.
“Studies show that all racial groups abuse drugs at similar rates, but the numbers also show that African Americans, Hispanics and other people of color are stopped, searched, arrested, charged, convicted, and sent to prison for drug-related charges at a much higher rate,” said Alice Huffman, president of the California State Conference of the NAACP.
“This dual system of drug law enforcement that serves to keep African Americans and other minorities under lock and key and in prison must be exposed and eradicated,” Huffman said. “Instead of sending drug offenders to prison, the resolution calls for the creation and expansion of rehabilitation and treatment programs, methadone clinics, and other treatment protocols that have been proven effective.”
“We know that the war on drugs has been a complete failure because in the 40 years that we’ve been waging this war, drug use and abuse has not gone down,” said Robert Rooks, director of the NAACP Criminal Justice Program.
“The only thing we’ve accomplished is becoming the world’s largest incarcerator, sending people with mental health and addiction issues to prison, and creating a system of racial disparities that rivals Jim Crow policies of the 1960s.”
Once ratified by the board of directors in October, the resolution will encourage the more than 1,200 active NAACP units across the country to organize campaigns to advocate for the end of the War On Drugs.


According to a recent press release from the YES ON B COALITION, the coalition has decided to band together to further wage an assault on the rights of Mendocino County Medical Marijuana Patients. They have even created a phone number for local citizens to call and according to their press release “The coalition is asking all residents who make complaints to law enforcement about Marijuana Cultivation to “copy” the Coalition with the same information so the handling of the complaints can be monitored” The man behind the encouraged “turning in of your neighbor” is none other than Ukiahs’ John McCowen

#AskObama Twitter Town Hall Ignores Flood of Marijuana Legalization Questions

#AskObama Twitter town hall ignores flood of marijuana legalization questions

Republicans were not the only ones flooding President Barack Obama with questions during his “#AskObama” Twitter town hall; the event also generated a huge response from those opposed to the war on drugs.

Data gathered by TwitSprout showed the most retweeted question for Obama was about the legalization of marijuana.

“Would you consider legalizing marijuana to increase revenue and save tax dollars by freeing up crowded prisons, court rooms?” was retweeted 4911 times, according to the analytics service.

A question about letting the Bush tax cuts expire came in second place, with only 1800 retweets.

Although marijuana legalization was an overwhelmingly popular question with Twitter users, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who moderated the online town hall, focused on questions pertaining to the economy, education and space exploration.

“#AskObama why they will answer Rep. Boehner’s question, but won’t talk about #CannabisJobs! Legalize it, start a new job creating industry,” the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws complained in tweet, which was itself retweeted more than 100 times.

During his YouTube Q&A in January, Obama was asked what his plan was to help alleviate the detrimental effects of America’s drug war.

He responded by saying that while he’s not in favor of legalization, he did see room for adjusting the drug war to focus less on incarceration and enforcement and more on medical treatment and other forms of interdiction.

The position expressed by President Obama was largely unchanged from 2009, when he told a community driven Q&A that he did not believe legalizing marijuana was a good strategy to grow the economy. He did not, however, crack a joke about the question, calling the debate over drug policy “legitimate.”

With prior reporting by Stephen C. Webster

Portugal, The Prime Example of Marijuana Decriminalization

What’s good homies, before I start I just need to say, this is the greatest news I’ve heard in awhile. So Portugal celebrated 10 years of drugs being decriminalized on July 1st this year, and things could never be better. Most people believe if drugs in general were available to the public for recreational use it would cause more addiction, crime and violence, broken homes, etc. Well, Portugal says differently. Lets look at the stats in the past ten years, a little insight on the “horrors” that have been a result of  Portugal’s choices. Decreased youth drug use, less overdoses, HIV/AIDS rates are down, less crime, reduced criminal justice expenditures, greater access to drug treatment, and safer and healthier communities. Sounds like its about time we take the chance, don’t you think? Full story here.

“In Portugal’s thoroughly re-envisioned drug policy, police officers now issue citations – but do not arrest – persons found in possession of small amounts of illicit substances. People who receive these citations are ordered to appear at a ‘dissuasion commission,’ an administrative panel that operates outside of the criminal justice system.”

“Decriminalization in Portugal actually helped reduce the stigma around drug use (without increasing it) and made drug use less politically difficult to talk about. It encouraged better collaboration between law enforcement and service providers, and allowed law enforcement to focus on large-scale traffickers, resulting in increased seizures of commercial quantities of illicit drugs.”

“Our 40 year war on drugs is proof of failure. Portugal is an example of an alternative. It is time for an exit strategy from our longest, costliest war!”

Lets all take a real look at this, we have spent billion upon billions of dollars on the “War on Drugs,” and have yet to accomplish a damn thing. Now I don’t exactly agree with anybody doing meth, heroin or cocaine, but to each his own. What I do agree with is taking the chance of widening our great country’s freedoms just a bit more. Not just Marijuana, lets make the tweakers happy is well! Count on this, the war is almost over my fellow Greenies, and we are winning.

- From

White House Continues To Push Anti Marijuana Agenda In Latest Report

Not This Shit Again!

“Who ever heard of curing a health problem with handcuffs?”

~ Neill Franklin, LEAP

By Steve Elliott of Toke of the Town

On Monday the Obama Administration released its new National Drug Control Strategy for 2011 and, instead of coming through with its much-touted “shift” in drug control resources toward prevention and away from punishment, the document spends several pages disparaging the idea of legalizing and regulating substances like marijuana.

“It’s sad that the drug czar decided to insert a multi-page rant against legalizing and regulating drugs into the National Drug Control Strategy instead of actually doing his job and shifting limited resources to combat the public health problem of drug abuse,” said Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and a former Baltimore narcotics cop.

“Obama administration officials continually talk about the fact that addiction is a medical problem, but when our budgets are so strained I cannot understand why they’re dumping more money into arrests, punishment and prisons than the Bush administration ever did,” Franklin said. “The fact is, once we legalize and regulate drugs, we will not only allow police to focus on stopping violent crime instead of being distracted by arresting drug users, but we will also be able to put the resources that are saved into building treatment and prevention programs that actually work.

“Who ever heard of curing a health problem with handcuffs?” Franklin asked.

obama pot

The White House report goes on to slam the idea of medical marijuana specifically, even though many prominent medical organizations have pointed out that cannabis has medical value.

This comes less than a week after the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice put out a memo effectively reneging on the President’s campaign promise not to spend limited federal resources interfering in states that have legalized medical marijuana.

“With polls showing that 80 percent of Americans support medical marijuana one wonders how this reversal fits into the president’s re-election strategy,” said Tom Angell, media relations director at LEAP.

Article From Toke of the Town and republished with special permission.

No One is Outside of Federal Marijuana Laws, U.S. Says

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette / 2010 photo by WILLIAM ARCHIE/Detroit Free Press

Large-scale pot operators must be stopped, and even smaller-scale users and distributors are not shielded from prosecution, the U.S. says.

Large-scale pot operators must be stopped, and even smaller-scale users and distributors are not shielded from prosecution, the U.S. says. / 2010 photo by WILLIAM ARCHIE/Detroit Free Press

A memo from the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington says state laws allowing medical marijuana opened the door to abuses and calls for legally targeting “large-scale, privately operated industrial marijuana cultivation centers” as well as distribution operations known as dispensaries.

The memo — which arrived June 29 in the e-mail inboxes of U.S. attorneys nationwide, including the Detroit office — says that no patient or other user is shielded from federal prosecution by state laws. The memo comes after Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette unleashed a salvo last week, saying there was widespread lawbreaking linked to medical marijuana in Michigan.

The federal memo has medical marijuana advocates feeling betrayed by the Obama administration, which had been linked with hopes for leniency in the war on drugs.

“The $64,000 question is, are the U.S. district attorneys in offices across the country really going to go after these dispensaries and grow operations? We’ll have to see,” said Art Cotter, chairman of the medical marijuana committee for the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan.

On Thursday, about two dozen operators of compassion centers — where patients use the drug — met near Flint to discuss the new threats to access.

“We now we have a double threat because of this (federal memo) and our own attorney general,” Rick Thompson, editor of Oak Park-based Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine, said from the meeting.

U.S. pushes for strict pot law enforcement

Just when medical marijuana users are protesting plans for tighter restrictions on the drug in Michigan, a memo from federal authorities in Washington is asking for tougher enforcement.

The memo, sent from the U.S. Department of Justice to U.S. attorneys and being circulated this week among Michigan’s county prosecutors and sheriffs, is exactly what many in Michigan law enforcement said they were waiting for — a green light to stamp out what they say is proliferating drug abuse and lawbreaking under the cover of medical marijuana.

According to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, the memo shows that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act — passed by 63% of voters in 2008 — is entirely pre-empted by federal drug law.

“We are making that case as we defend Livonia’s commonsense zoning ordinance in court,” Schuette spokeswoman Joy Yearout said.

The Livonia ordinance amounts to a total ban on medical marijuana cultivation and use in the city, lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union have said in the case.

Defense attorneys, operators of medical marijuana facilities, such as compassion clubs, and medical marijuana users decried the memo as a step backward.

“This is an attack on the patient community,” said Kristen Ford, field director for the nonprofit Americans for Safe Access, based in Washington, D.C.

Rick Thompson, editor of the Oak Park-based Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine, said Thursday: “All of us are more concerned now with federal intrusion.”

State law no shield

The Justice Department memo says, without naming specific states, that “planned facilities have revenue projections of millions of dollars, based on the cultivation of tens of thousands of cannabis plants.”

Such large-scale operators must be stopped, and even smaller-scale users and distributors are not shielded from federal prosecution, “even where those activities purport to comply with state law,” says the memo signed by U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole. Some say the memo makes clear that the Obama administration, contrary to the sense of a 2009 memo, opposes giving leniency to medical marijuana users.

“There was this feeling that the local police and prosecutors were on their own” for enforcing drug laws against people claiming a medical need for pot, Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said Thursday.

“Now, I think we’re all going to see that the abuses have to stop at all levels. When this law passed in Michigan, every person who voted for it had good intentions. But what we’ve seen is that for every one person who uses medical marijuana responsibly, someone else is abusing it and profiting from it,” Smith said.

Federal authorities are not changing their policy but instead are trying to correct a misreading of their stance, Berrien County Prosecutor Art Cotter said. Law enforcers and marijuana users alike misinterpreted an October 2009 memo from the Justice Department that “seemed to suggest, ‘Don’t go after medical marijuana patients,’ ” Cotter said. He chairs the medical marijuana committee for the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan.

“People read into that the idea that, as long as something complied with state law, the feds would not get involved. Now, this new memo is saying, no, dispensaries and large grow operations are not immune from our prosecution,” he said.

Federal prosecutors sued the Michigan Department of Community Health last year to obtain records of seven patients who are part of a criminal drug investigation. The government won its demand in early June, in spite of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act’s promise of confidentiality to anyone who receives state approval. Last week, a Traverse City attorney representing the Michigan Association of Compassion Clubs asked for a stay in the case until an appeal can be heard.

Focus not on patients

Although precise statistics were unavailable this week, it appears that federal authorities have continued to prosecute alleged violations of federal marijuana laws on a regular basis since passage of the state’s medical marijuana law.

Some of the cases have been brought against growers who initially claimed to be operating in accordance with the state statute. But federal law enforcement officials said such a defense is irrelevant in a federal prosecution.

“We’re going to enforce federal law,” Rich Isaacson, a special agent in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Detroit office, said Thursday. Nevertheless, the focus of federal law enforcement is on “large-scale growers,” not on medicinal users and caregivers operating within state law, Isaacson said.

In one federal prosecution begun in December, a pair of Ingham County men were each charged with the manufacture of more than 100 marijuana plants, a federal felony punishable by a minimum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $2 million. Both pleaded guilty in May in an agreement with prosecutors expected to minimize potential prison time.

The agreement makes no mention of medical marijuana.

Contact Bill Laitner: 586-826-7264 or

Executive Director Of The Drug Policy Alliance To Appear On Real Time With Bill Maher

Bill Maher

Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, will be a guest onReal Time with Bill Maher on July 8th at 10 p.m. ET/ PT.

Mr. Nadelmann will be interviewed one-on-one with Mr. Maher at the top of the show and will discuss the war on drugs and movement to end marijuana prohibition.

The topic of the war on drugs is timely as there was an avalanche of media coverage about the failed drug war in June.

The Global Commission on Drug Policy (Kofi Annan, Former Presidents of Colombia, Mexico and Brazil, Richard Branson etc) made worldwide news calling for an end to the war on drugs.

June 17th was the 40th anniversary of Nixon declaring the War on Drugs. This generated another wave of coverage slamming the drug war.

On June 22nd, Barney Frank and Ron Paul introduced federal legislation to end marijuana prohibition.

Described by Rolling Stone as “the point man” for drug policy reform efforts, Ethan Nadelmann is widely regarded as the most prominent proponent of drug policy reform.

Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Tony Papa 646-420-7290

California Legislation Would Stop Cops From Policing For Profit

marijuana and Cash

The hearing for Assembly Bill 639 to reform asset forfeiture in California
has fortunately been rescheduled to Tuesday, July 5th. This bill, while not perfect, is an attempt to prevent California law enforcement authorities from using federal authority to perform asset forfeitures. Cutting off this loophole is important; the federal Equitable Sharing program allows state and local law enforcement to ignore state law about the process and disposition of forfeitures. Most dangerously, Equitable Sharing allows state and local law enforcement to directly retain forfeiture proceeds (in other words, policing for profit).

This bill should be particularly important for Drug War reformers; much of Drug War enforcement is paid for by federal forfeiture dollars that get spent by state and local police on military equipment, drug task salaries and bonuses, and the organization infrastructure that allows the existence of the Drug War. California state and local law enforcement now receive upwards of $70 million a year through Equitable Sharing forfeiture dollars alone.

I am working with Christina Walsh of the Institute for Justice to solicit
testimony from forfeiture victims to submit to the California Senate Public
Safety Committee on Tuesday, July 5th. Please contact me if you are
interested in submitting testimony (we can help you draft such testimony).

You can reach me at

Many thanks

Eapen Thampy
Executive Director, Americans for Forfeiture Reform
3630 Holmes St., Kansas City, MO, 64109
Phone: 573-673-5351
Email: or
Web: and


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