"Why are white men poised to get rich doing the same thing African-Americans have been going to prison for?" An essay by Shawn Carter, AKA Jay Z, on racism and the War on Drugs. Illustrated by Molly Crabapple. [more inside]
After months of undercover work, Williams and Moon had information on more than 40 suspects, but the department realized it didn’t have the funds or the manpower to round them all up. So it had to come up with clever ideas. “Cops used to offer parolees free tickets to the Detroit Lions, then arrest them,” recalls Peggy Lawrence, a Flint historian. On one occasion, Moon quietly arrested and locked up stolen property dealer, announced his death in the newspaper, and arrested gang members who showed up at his fake funeral. “Sometimes you gotta do things that are simply funny,” Moon later told a television reporter. “People gotta go to jail, but it don’t always have to be sad.” In 1990, the department planned a particularly elaborate operation: Officers would throw a fake wedding, invite all the suspects, and arrest them.
"Dying to be free : there’s a treatment for heroin addiction that actually works. Why aren’t we using it?" -- A long-form article, focusing on heroin addiction and its "treatment" in Kentucky, by Jason Cherkis. (Huffington Post Projects) [more inside]
The Global Commission on Drug Policy is the latest group to advocate an end to the drug war - but also an unusually high-profile one, including former Presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Switzerland, Prime Minister of Greece, Kofi Annan, Richard Branson, George Shultz and Paul Volcker. Tomorrow, June 2, sees the launch of their report, which advocates treating recreational drug use (and abuse) as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice one. [more inside]
The Portugal experiment. On July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Under the new legal framework, all drugs were “decriminalized,” not “legalized.” Thus, drug possession for personal use and drug usage itself are still legally prohibited, but violations of those prohibitions are deemed to be exclusively administrative violations and are removed completely from the criminal realm.... The data show that, judged by virtually every metric, the Portuguese decriminalization framework has been a resounding success. Within this success lie self-evident lessons that should guide drug policy debates around the world. (pdf of complete paper) [more inside]
A BBC Horizon documentary, asks "Is alcohol worse than ecstasy?" (iPlayer link valid for UK users until 11 Feb). Here comes the science... [more inside]
"we upheld against proportionality attack a sentence of 40 years' imprisonment for possession with intent to distribute nine ounces of marijuana" - Justice Kennedy
DrugPolicyCases.com - Yakov Spektor, a New York-based attorney, combed through two decades of US Supreme Court opinions "to discern certain trends in the Court's treatment of various issues" related to the War on Drugs. The collection of opinions are organized by case, author and topic.
"An open society must be prepared to listen to those who offer a critique of its conventional wisdom—and our conventional wisdom about drugs and addiction should be no exception."
The British Transform Drug Policy Foundation has recently released their 2nd guide After the War on Drugs: Tools for the debate. Described as a guide for prospective and current policy reform advocates, it enumerates the points typically brought up against reform, and offers strategies to rebut them. Somewhat of a counterpoint to the US DEA's Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization.
Sherri Finkbine --as reported by BBC News, on this day in 1962 (video clip too)--her travails and travels, the law, publicity, and what happened afterwards. (more here from American Prospect in 05: ...A Gallup Poll taken that year showed that the majority of Americans supported Finkbine, and her case was a turning point ...)
Schaffer Library of Drug Policy - read the transcripts of hearings held on the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act, or the text of court decisions regarding drug policy, or the well-researched Consumer Unions report on licit and illicit drugs, or the differences between beer and drugs, according to Anheuser-Busch. A huge archive of materials, admittedly compiled from a pro-reform perspective.
When was the last time your country's minister of Justice expressed his policies in rap form? Here's the Dutch justice minister's Piet Hein Donner's debut on the mic (mp3). [more inside]
Rescheduling marijuana: third time's the charm? Rather than hoping activist judges use the outdated notion of state's rights to allow Angel Raich to use marijuana medicinally (she claims she'd die without it), why not reclassify it as Schedule II? Or more appropriately, Schedule III? Don't hold your breath. They've been trying since 1972.
"After the War on Drugs - Options for Control is a major new report examining the key themes in the drug policy reform debate, detailing how legal regulation of drug markets will operate, and providing a roadmap and time line for reform." It's concise and reasonable, but is this report from the Transform Drug Policy Foundation (Google News lookup) really "the first practical road map for a benign drug policy that must follow the collapse of drug prohibition"? ... "No countries have yet legalised any drug covered under the U.N. convention" - will anything change anytime soon?
Drug War Roundup IV. An athlete who refused a drug test was stripped of her awards. She plays bridge. American Indians who honed their skills tracking drug smugglers recently trained Baltic border guards in the hopes of preventing nuclear weapon proliferation. Another chapter was written in the ongoing "is ecstasy all that dangerous?" debate. Salvatore Gravano is on his way back to prison for running an ecstasy ring. Nevada is edging closer to legalizing up to three ounces of marijuana, to the disdain of Bush's Drug Policy director and Nevada's biggest police group. A Canadian right wing party and cops came out against their government's recent pro-legalization report. I see a pattern, but maybe it's just the pudding.
Big Networks get a slap on the wrist for letting the White House pay for anti-drug scripts.