Fuck Yeah Drug Policy
Posts tagged with Drug Policy Alliance.

Meet the Faces Behind the Drug Policy Reform Movement

The 2013 International Drug Policy Reform Conference featured an interactive photography project that encouraged attendees to create powerful statements and use social media to challenge the war on drugs. The #NoMoreDrugWar photo booth attracted the young reformer and seasoned activist alike. Attendees shared their commitment to drug policy reform by customizing messages that focused on three themes: criminal justice, marijuana legalization, and health & harm reduction.

What Breaking Bad REALLY Tells Us about the War on Drugs from Brave New Foundation on Vimeo.

Watch: What “Breaking Bad” Tells Us About the War on Drugs

"Over 5 seasons, its complex storylines repeatedly revealed the futility and brutality that erupt as our drug war mentality overwhelmingly focuses on punitive, military-style responses to drug misuse rather than a health-centered approach, driving drug consumption underground and encouraging a massive black market that rewards the most violent and venal gangsters."

— Tony Newman via AlterNet

beliebers, welcome to the good fight
Superstar-Studded Coalition to President Obama: Let’s Tackle Mass Incarceration and Drug Policy Reform Together | Drug Policy Alliance

April 9, 2013 — Today, a coalition of over 175 artists, actors, athletes, elected officials and advocates, [including Russell Simmons, Sir Richard Branson, Will Smith, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Scarlett Johansson, Ron Howard, Jennifer Hudson, Demi Moore, Eva Longoria, Michael Moore, Mark Wahlberg, Harry Belafonte, Jada Pinkett Smith, Cameron Diaz, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Chris Rock, Russell Brand, John Legend, DJ Pauly D, Mike Tyson, Rick Ross, Jon Hamm, Natalie Maines, Ludacris to name a few] brought together by hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons and Dr. Boyce Watkins, presented an open letter to President Obama, urging him to double down on his efforts to change the United States’ criminal justice policy from that of a punitive, suppression-based model to one that favors evidence-based prevention and rehabilitation. According to Department of Justice data, the U.S. leads the world in the incarceration of its own citizens, both on a per capita basis and in terms of total prison population. More than 500,000 of the 2.3 million people behind bars in the U.S. are incarcerated for nothing more than a nonviolent drug offense.
“It is critical that we change both the way we think about drug laws in this country and how we generate positive solutions that leave a lasting impact on rebuilding our communities,” said Russell Simmons. “We need to break the school to prison pipeline, support and educate our younger generations and provide them with a path that doesn’t leave them disenfranchised with limited options.”
The coalition [of concerned activists, humanitarians and celebrities] suggests that the President continue to take a number of reformative actions, including extending the Fair Sentencing Act to all inmates who were sentenced under the 100-to-1 crack/powder disparity, supporting the principles of the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013 (which allows judges to set aside mandatory minimum sentences when they deem appropriate), and supporting the Youth PROMISE Act.
Dr. Boyce Watkins added: “The letter is intended to be a respectful appeal to the Obama Administration asking that we develop productive pathways to supporting families that have been harmed by the War on Drugs.  Countless numbers of children have been waiting decades for their parents to come home, and America is made safer if we break the cycle of mass incarceration.  Time is of the essence, for with each passing year that we allow injustice to prevail, our nation loses another piece of its soul.  We must carefully examine the impact of the War on Drugs and the millions of living, breathing Americans who’ve been affected.  It is, quite simply, the right thing to do.”
full article

beliebers, welcome to the good fight

Superstar-Studded Coalition to President Obama: Let’s Tackle Mass Incarceration and Drug Policy Reform Together | Drug Policy Alliance

April 9, 2013 — Today, a coalition of over 175 artists, actors, athletes, elected officials and advocates, [including Russell Simmons, Sir Richard Branson, Will Smith, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Scarlett Johansson, Ron Howard, Jennifer Hudson, Demi Moore, Eva Longoria, Michael Moore, Mark Wahlberg, Harry Belafonte, Jada Pinkett Smith, Cameron Diaz, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Chris Rock, Russell Brand, John Legend, DJ Pauly D, Mike Tyson, Rick Ross, Jon Hamm, Natalie Maines, Ludacris to name a few] brought together by hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons and Dr. Boyce Watkins, presented an open letter to President Obama, urging him to double down on his efforts to change the United States’ criminal justice policy from that of a punitive, suppression-based model to one that favors evidence-based prevention and rehabilitation. According to Department of Justice data, the U.S. leads the world in the incarceration of its own citizens, both on a per capita basis and in terms of total prison population. More than 500,000 of the 2.3 million people behind bars in the U.S. are incarcerated for nothing more than a nonviolent drug offense.

“It is critical that we change both the way we think about drug laws in this country and how we generate positive solutions that leave a lasting impact on rebuilding our communities,” said Russell Simmons. “We need to break the school to prison pipeline, support and educate our younger generations and provide them with a path that doesn’t leave them disenfranchised with limited options.”

The coalition [of concerned activists, humanitarians and celebrities] suggests that the President continue to take a number of reformative actions, including extending the Fair Sentencing Act to all inmates who were sentenced under the 100-to-1 crack/powder disparity, supporting the principles of the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013 (which allows judges to set aside mandatory minimum sentences when they deem appropriate), and supporting the Youth PROMISE Act.

Dr. Boyce Watkins added: “The letter is intended to be a respectful appeal to the Obama Administration asking that we develop productive pathways to supporting families that have been harmed by the War on Drugs.  Countless numbers of children have been waiting decades for their parents to come home, and America is made safer if we break the cycle of mass incarceration.  Time is of the essence, for with each passing year that we allow injustice to prevail, our nation loses another piece of its soul.  We must carefully examine the impact of the War on Drugs and the millions of living, breathing Americans who’ve been affected.  It is, quite simply, the right thing to do.”

full article

SAN FRANCISCO, CA / JUNE 17, 2011 - the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s declaration of the “War on Drugs”
Several hundred people gathered at City Hall for a press conference and to demand that Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and the state legislature prioritize vital social services over spending on prisons. Then, accompanied by drummers from the Brass Liberation Orchestra, they marched through the city center to state office buildings before returning to City Hall. (via Rallies, Vigils Mark 40 Years of Failed Drug War)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA / JUNE 17, 2011 - the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s declaration of the “War on Drugs”

Several hundred people gathered at City Hall for a press conference and to demand that Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and the state legislature prioritize vital social services over spending on prisons. Then, accompanied by drummers from the Brass Liberation Orchestra, they marched through the city center to state office buildings before returning to City Hall. (via Rallies, Vigils Mark 40 Years of Failed Drug War)

Today is Overdose Awareness Day →

More than twenty five thousand Americans will likely die of an accidental drug overdose this year, but most overdose deaths can be prevented.

On August 31 rallies, vigils, and other events will be held across the country to draw attention to the overdose epidemic.

Find an Overdose Awareness Day event near you.

Tell President Obama it’s time to stop letting people die because of bad drug policy.

City Council Members Call For End Of Racially Biased “Marijuana Arrest Crusade” | Gothamist - August 17, 2011

Assembly member Hakeem Jeffries, and City Council members including Melissa Mark-Viverito, Robert Jackson, Letitia James, Brad Lander, Ydanis Rodriguez, and Jumanne Williams all appeared at City Hall today to speak on behalf of the resolution; they argue that the city wastes $75 million annually on these marijuana arrests, while essential social services are being cut or eliminated. They allege that the racial disparities in the arrests have unfairly led to the arrests of tens of thousands of Black and Latino young men.
Most of all, the group wants police to simply follow the intent of the existing NY Marijuana Decriminalization Law of 1977, which states that possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana is decriminalized; unless it’s burning or in public view, it’s a violation worth a $100 fine, not an arrestable offense. However, they charge that the NYPD has routinely illegally searched or tricked people into showing them marijuana in their pockets so they can arrest them for public possession.
[…] The NYPD arrested 50,383 people for low-level marijuana offenses last year, and according to a Drug Policy Alliance report, “86 percent of those arrested are Black or Latino, even though research consistently shows that young whites use marijuana at higher rates.” +

City Council Members Call For End Of Racially Biased “Marijuana Arrest Crusade” | Gothamist - August 17, 2011

Assembly member Hakeem Jeffries, and City Council members including Melissa Mark-Viverito, Robert Jackson, Letitia James, Brad Lander, Ydanis Rodriguez, and Jumanne Williams all appeared at City Hall today to speak on behalf of the resolution; they argue that the city wastes $75 million annually on these marijuana arrests, while essential social services are being cut or eliminated. They allege that the racial disparities in the arrests have unfairly led to the arrests of tens of thousands of Black and Latino young men.

Most of all, the group wants police to simply follow the intent of the existing NY Marijuana Decriminalization Law of 1977, which states that possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana is decriminalized; unless it’s burning or in public view, it’s a violation worth a $100 fine, not an arrestable offense. However, they charge that the NYPD has routinely illegally searched or tricked people into showing them marijuana in their pockets so they can arrest them for public possession.

[…] The NYPD arrested 50,383 people for low-level marijuana offenses last year, and according to a Drug Policy Alliance report, “86 percent of those arrested are Black or Latino, even though research consistently shows that young whites use marijuana at higher rates.” +

"Why are some drugs legal and other drugs illegal today? It’s not based on any scientific assessment of the relative risks of these drugs — it’s based on who is associated with these drugs. The first anti-opium laws in the 1870s were directed at Chinese immigrants. The first anti-cocaine laws, in the South in the early 1900s, were directed at black men. The first anti-marijuana laws, in the Midwest and the Southwest during the 1910s and 20s, were directed at Mexican migrants and Mexican Americans. Today, Latino and black communities are still subject to wildly disproportionate drug enforcement and sentencing practices."
Tony Newman of the Drug Policy Alliance, Nice People Take Drugs | The Huffington Post 
This is an interesting excerpt from the Salon interview with DPA executive director, Ethan Nadelmann, comparing U.S. drug policy under Bush and Obama:

Salon: Stepping back from medical marijuana, has there been much of a shift from the Bush to Obama administrations with “drug war” policy more broadly?
Ethan Nadelmann: I was pleasantly surprised by the first 18 months of the administration. Obama made three explicit promises during the campaign. He said the feds would not go after medical marijuana facilities operating legally under state law, and he appeared to make good on that. He said the crack-powder laws needed to be rolled back, and they got a major reform of that law last year. Third, he said he would support federal funding for needle exchange, and they did support the efforts in Congress on that. Since that time, it looks more and more like the drug czar’s office has been captured by the drug warriors and the anti-drug fanatics who dominated policy-making in the Clinton and Bush administrations. The rhetoric coming out of the drug czar’s office is almost indistinguishable from the rhetoric of past administrations. The personnel they’ve been hiring, and the people they talk to, are overwhelmingly those who have been associated with the failed drug war policies of the past. And meanwhile the Justice Department seems to be getting more and more engaged in enforcement of marijuana laws in ways that really make no sense as a matter of [the] responsible [use] of resources.

This is an interesting excerpt from the Salon interview with DPA executive director, Ethan Nadelmann, comparing U.S. drug policy under Bush and Obama:

Salon: Stepping back from medical marijuana, has there been much of a shift from the Bush to Obama administrations with “drug war” policy more broadly?

Ethan Nadelmann: I was pleasantly surprised by the first 18 months of the administration. Obama made three explicit promises during the campaign. He said the feds would not go after medical marijuana facilities operating legally under state law, and he appeared to make good on that. He said the crack-powder laws needed to be rolled back, and they got a major reform of that law last year. Third, he said he would support federal funding for needle exchange, and they did support the efforts in Congress on that. Since that time, it looks more and more like the drug czar’s office has been captured by the drug warriors and the anti-drug fanatics who dominated policy-making in the Clinton and Bush administrations. The rhetoric coming out of the drug czar’s office is almost indistinguishable from the rhetoric of past administrations. The personnel they’ve been hiring, and the people they talk to, are overwhelmingly those who have been associated with the failed drug war policies of the past. And meanwhile the Justice Department seems to be getting more and more engaged in enforcement of marijuana laws in ways that really make no sense as a matter of [the] responsible [use] of resources.

"Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana either through the ballot initiative process or a state legislative process. The federal law remains that it is all illegal. Strictly speaking, marijuana remains a Schedule 1 substance. The DEA just issued an announcement Friday confirming that it still regards marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance with no legitimate medical uses and no margin of safety in its use — which is sort of an absurdity on its face. Marijuana remains entirely illegal under federal law."

Salon interview with DPA executive director Ethan Nadelmann

Read the entire interview to learn more about medical marijuana’s current status in the U.S.

U.S. Sentencing Commission Votes to Make Crack/Powder Cocaine Sentencing Reforms Retroactive
Today, the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to provide retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act, which Congress passed last year and narrowed a decades-old disparity in federal sentencing between crack cocaine and powder cocaine. The Commission’s decision to apply the sentencing guideline changes retroactively could benefit as many as 12,000 people in federal prison who could be released early, saving taxpayers as much as $240 million over the next 30 years. The Commission’s commitment to reforming this egregious practice is consistent with its history. +

U.S. Sentencing Commission Votes to Make Crack/Powder Cocaine Sentencing Reforms Retroactive

Today, the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to provide retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act, which Congress passed last year and narrowed a decades-old disparity in federal sentencing between crack cocaine and powder cocaine. The Commission’s decision to apply the sentencing guideline changes retroactively could benefit as many as 12,000 people in federal prison who could be released early, saving taxpayers as much as $240 million over the next 30 years. The Commission’s commitment to reforming this egregious practice is consistent with its history. +

Drug Policy Alliance’s Ethan Nadelmann on Freedom Watch

"We’ve put millions of people behind bars; we’ve given tens of millions of people criminal records; we’ve generated levels of crime, violence, and corruption in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, around the world that make alcohol prohibition look like child’s play in comparison."

The Drug Policy Alliance delivered this one trillion dollar bill to every member of congress on June 17, the 40th anniversary of the war on drugs.
Thanks for the tip, Amanda!

The Drug Policy Alliance delivered this one trillion dollar bill to every member of congress on June 17, the 40th anniversary of the war on drugs.

Thanks for the tip, Amanda!

June 17 is the 40th Anniversary of Nixon's Declaration of a "War on Drugs" →

The Drug Policy Alliance is leading advocates all across the country in marking this auspicious date with a day of action to raise awareness about the catastrophic failure of drug prohibition and to call for an exit strategy from the failed war on drugs.

To see a compilation of events around the nation—from San Francisco to Honolulu—please visit: www.nomoredrugwar.org/take-action

"By reducing the penalty for drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor, for example, the state would save $450 million a year and reduce the prison population by over 9,000. We urge California to take the logical step of ending incarceration as a response to drug possession, while expanding opportunities for drug treatment in the community"
Obama pardons eight: crimes include drug violations, sale of alligator hides →

Two years and four months into his presidency, Barack Obama granted his second set of pardons.

They went to eight individuals for non-violent federal crimes including marijuana violations, cable TV piracy and aiding and abetting the possession and sale of illegal American alligator hides. +

"That’s nice and all, but it’s time for him to commute sentences for people in prison now." via Drug Policy Alliance