“Unless something happens to reverse the trend in public opinion, it seems more likely than not that the federal law will change to make cannabis legally available at some point in the next two decades. … The state-by-state approach has generated some happy talk from both advocates and some neutral observers; Justice Louis Brandeis’s praise for states as the ‘laboratories of democracy’ has been widely quoted. Given how much we don’t know about the consequences of legalization, there’s a reasonable case for starting somewhere, rather than everywhere. Even some who oppose legalization are moderately comforted by the fact that the federal government isn’t driving the process. ‘It’s best that this be done state by state,’ said Pat Buchanan recently on The McLaughlin Group, ‘so you can have a national backlash if it doesn’t work out.’ … But letting legalization unfold state by state, with the federal government a mostly helpless bystander, risks creating a monstrosity; Dr. Frankenstein also had a laboratory.”
Radley Balko’s “How A Drug Raid Gone Wrong Sparked A Call For Change In The Unlikeliest State In The Nation,” Huffington Post’s first in a six-part series about the drug war and police reform:


Before the raid, Erna Stewart, 31, had considered becoming a cop. “I had done some ride alongs. I had bought my own gun, and I knew how to clean it. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and I thought I’d either be a police officer or a personal trainer.”
She’s now a personal trainer. “It wasn’t even the raid itself that turned me off to cops,” she says. “It was the way they treated my family after it happened. We got hate mail from cops and their families. I mean, the way we were treated in the community … it just made me jaded. And angry.”

Radley Balko’s “How A Drug Raid Gone Wrong Sparked A Call For Change In The Unlikeliest State In The Nation,” Huffington Post’s first in a six-part series about the drug war and police reform:

Before the raid, Erna Stewart, 31, had considered becoming a cop. “I had done some ride alongs. I had bought my own gun, and I knew how to clean it. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and I thought I’d either be a police officer or a personal trainer.”

She’s now a personal trainer. “It wasn’t even the raid itself that turned me off to cops,” she says. “It was the way they treated my family after it happened. We got hate mail from cops and their families. I mean, the way we were treated in the community … it just made me jaded. And angry.”

Scenarios

jeffmiller:

chaptertwelve asked:

So. Given what we’ve learned in the past few days, and bearing in mind what we may learn in the days ahead, what do you imagine as our best and worst case scenarios in terms of a path forward? How do you see all of this playing out in the near and distant future?

1.  Best case scenario, public outcry grows, and politicians feel pressured to put protections into the law that require probable cause for individualized warrants, and prohibit the blanket kind of surveillance that’s been used by the administration.  The FISA court is changed in some way that makes it an actual check on potential abuse.  Perhaps the Supreme Court is permitted to review all FISA judgments in camera in some kind of audit for abuse.

2.  Worst case scenario, most of the public never cares about the surveillance.  Other stories push the issue from the news, and the government continues to amass large amounts of private information concerning all citizens.  The FBI starts to access this information for non-terrorist cases.  Other government agencies do the same.  The IRS checks your online purchases.  The EPA monitors purchases of materials that might pollute.  Those who express controversial opinions or visit controversial websites are watched.  Rogue government employees access private data for their own person gain—selling it to interested parties, blackmailing people engaged in extramarital affairs, stealing identities.  You’ll come home from work to find that your home has been ransacked by a SWAT team pursuant to a warrant issued by a secret court for unspecified reasons.  

I fear that that the most likely outcome is closer to 2 than 1.  Consider how crazy the drug war has become—the massive amounts of money spent to fight it, the increasingly militarized local police forces that enforce prohibition, the asset forfeiture laws that take private property from innocent citizens without any due process, and the massive incarceration of millions of people for extraordinarily long periods of time.  At the beginning of the drug war, you’d be laughed at for suggesting that this would happen.  But it did, because people just didn’t care, and drugs were scary.  Terrorism is scarier than drugs, so you can imagine how that’s going to play out.

(reposted for reblogging)

Emphasis added.

(P.S. Hey Tumblr, your mobile app is fucking terrible.)

apoplecticskeptic:


[David Simon was] asked about what reformers celebrate as recent “successes” – votes in Colorado and Washington to legalise marijuana.
“I’m against it,” Simon told his stunned audience at the Royal Institution on Thursday night. “The last thing I want to do is rationalise the easiest, the most benign end of this. The whole concept needs to be changed, the debate reframed.
“I want the thing to fall as one complete edifice. If they manage to let a few white middle-class people off the hook, that’s very dangerous. If they can find a way for white kids in middle-class suburbia to get high without them going to jail,” he continued, “and getting them to think that what they do is a million miles away from black kids taking crack, that is what politicians would do.”
If marijuana were exempted from the war on drugs, he insisted, “it’d be another 10 or 40 years of assigning people of colour to this dystopia.”

(via The Wire creator David Simon eviscerates the dystopia creating war on drugs)

apoplecticskeptic:

[David Simon was] asked about what reformers celebrate as recent “successes” – votes in Colorado and Washington to legalise marijuana.

“I’m against it,” Simon told his stunned audience at the Royal Institution on Thursday night. “The last thing I want to do is rationalise the easiest, the most benign end of this. The whole concept needs to be changed, the debate reframed.

“I want the thing to fall as one complete edifice. If they manage to let a few white middle-class people off the hook, that’s very dangerous. If they can find a way for white kids in middle-class suburbia to get high without them going to jail,” he continued, “and getting them to think that what they do is a million miles away from black kids taking crack, that is what politicians would do.”

If marijuana were exempted from the war on drugs, he insisted, “it’d be another 10 or 40 years of assigning people of colour to this dystopia.”

(via The Wire creator David Simon eviscerates the dystopia creating war on drugs)

Why We Fight director Eugene Jarecki’s The House I Live In, a documentary examining the War on Drugs, airs Monday night on most PBS stations.

Why We Fight director Eugene Jarecki’s The House I Live In, a documentary examining the War on Drugs, airs Monday night on most PBS stations.

paigeagainstthemachine:

Everyone just needs to stop assuming that they’re better than everyone else.


96 cents out of every tax dollar spent on drug testing in Florida is wasted.

paigeagainstthemachine:

Everyone just needs to stop assuming that they’re better than everyone else.

96 cents out of every tax dollar spent on drug testing in Florida is wasted.

(Source: une-canadien-errant)

“More Americans are imprisoned for drug offenses or drug-related probation and parole violations than for property crimes. And although America spends five times more jailing drug dealers than it did 30 years ago, the prices of cocaine and heroin are up to 90 percent lower than 30 years ago. … In “Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know,” policy analysts Mark Kleiman, Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken argue that imprisoning low-ranking, street-corner dealers is pointless: A $200 transaction can cost society $100,000 for a three-year sentence.”
“I have to sell weed to get money for school because I can’t get federal aid since I’m a felon. I’m trying to do right.”
Trenton Kyles, explaining to a Dallas police officer why his home contained nearly a pound of marijuana and a Glock 22 firearm.

The Drug War in Guatemala:

Sometime next month, newly-elected Guatemalan President Otto Perez plans to propose legalization of drugs, including the decriminalization of drug transportation, to other Central American leaders.

It took Perez just one month in office to shift to calling for drug legalization. The retired general ran for the presidency on a platform of hard-line action against drug smuggling, but it seems like the sheer force of the drug trade has changed his mind; 95 percent of all cocaine sales to the United States go through Mexico, the most prominent and bloody face of the drug war, but 60 percent of them begin in central America.

“Our growth is generally dependent upon our ability to obtain new contracts to develop and manage new correctional and detention facilities… . The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws. For instance, any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.”

Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison operator in America, statement to stockholders, 2005.

In other words: ending the Drug War and eliminating federal mandatory minimum sentences is bad for business.  Adam Gopnik notes that CCA “spends millions lobbying legislators.”  presumably, inter alia, to keep harsh sentencing laws on the books.

source

(via letterstomycountry)

Private prison industry? What private prison industry?

“You have to keep God first regardless of whatever trials or tribulations you might have in life. If you don’t believe in God, hey, I don’t have anything against you, but I’m still going to tell you what I have to say. You just can’t get out of that hog pen by yourself. You have to be a humble person and have respect. It’s not just about football. That’s what I try to pass on.”

Sam Hurd, then with the Dallas Cowboys, discussing what he was trying to stress in youth football camps two-and-a-half years ago.

Now with the Chicago Bears, Hurd has been arrested on felony drug charges for allegedly seeking five to ten kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana per week as well as having a list of the NFL players he distributed to that is in “double digits.” 

 Is it more dangerous to drive drunk or stoned?


A new study suggests that legalizing medical marijuana reduces traffic fatalities. The authors noted that legalizing marijuana reduces alcohol consumption, and people are more wary of driving high than drunk. Which drug is actually more dangerous on the road? 
Alcohol, and it’s not even close.

Is it more dangerous to drive drunk or stoned?

A new study suggests that legalizing medical marijuana reduces traffic fatalities. The authors noted that legalizing marijuana reduces alcohol consumption, and people are more wary of driving high than drunk. Which drug is actually more dangerous on the road? 

Alcohol, and it’s not even close.

“Black youth are arrested for drug crimes at a rate ten times higher than that of whites. But new research shows that young African Americans are actually less likely to use drugs and less likely to develop substance use disorders, compared to whites, Native Americans, Hispanics and people of mixed race.”
“The ‘war on drugs’ has been well lost, and should never have been waged. While it isn’t explicitly protected by the U.S. Constitution, I can think of no political right more fundamental than the right to peacefully steward the contents of one’s own consciousness. The fact that we pointlessly ruin the lives of nonviolent drug users by incarcerating them, at enormous expense, constitutes one of the great moral failures of our time.”