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Global commission condemns "harsh measures grounded in repressive ideologies"
by Deidre Fulton, Commondreams staff writer
In the face of a failed War on Drugs, a global commission composed mostly of former world leaders recommended on Tuesday that governments decriminalize and regulate the use of currently illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and psychedelics.
by Charles M. Blow
Discussions of the relationship between blacks and the criminal justice system in this country too often grind to a halt as people slink down into their silos and arm themselves with their best rhetorical weapons — racial bias on one side and statistics in which minorities, particularly blacks, are overrepresented as criminals on the other.
What I find too often overlooked in this war of words is the intersection between the two positions, meaning the degree to which bias informs the statistics and vice versa.
The troubling association — in fact, overassociation — of blacks with criminality directly affects the way we think about both crime and blacks as a whole.
A damning report released by the Sentencing Project last week (http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/rd_Race_and_Punishment...) lays bare the bias and the interconnecting systemic structures that reinforce it and disproportionately affect African-Americans.
by Kate Aronoff
This Labor Day, there’s an unlikely workers’ victory to celebrate. Late last week, employees of Market Basket, a New England grocery store chain, ended a successful two-month strike and consumer boycott not for a contract or higher wage, but to reinstate their beloved fired CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. Workers at the chain are non-unionized, and the entire two-month campaign took place without union support. They even rejected offers of representation from the Teamsters and United Food and Commercial Workers — a point that makes this a complicated victory for those concerned about the future of organized labor.
Overdose deaths from opioids decreased by an average of 20 percent one year after the law’s implementation, 25 percent by two years, and up to 33 percent by years five and six.
by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
The enactment of medicinal marijuana laws is associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates, according to data published online Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine.
A team of investigators from the University of Pennsylvania, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore conducted a time-series analysis of medical cannabis laws and state-level death certificate data in the United States from 1999 to 2010 — a period during which 13 states instituted laws allowing for cannabis therapy.
by Colin Jenkins
“Over the next decade,” Mr. Meinrath said, “U.S. consumers may overpay by over a quarter of a trillion dollars for worse levels of service than customers in other countries receive.”
by Anna Bernasek
If your monthly cellphone bill seems high, that may be because American cellphone service is among the most costly in the world. A comparison of two similar plans, one in the United States and one in Britain, reveals a marked difference.
Both plans include a new iPhone 5S with 16 gigabytes of memory. Both require a two-year commitment and allow unlimited voice minutes and unlimited texting. The plan offered by the British provider, Three UK, offers unlimited data and requires no upfront payment. With Britain’s 20 percent tax included, the plan costs 41 pounds a month, or $67.97 at current exchange rates.
Amid ongoing demonstrations in city of Ferguson, Mo. and national outrage over police violence against black community members, new evidence in Tuesday's shooting of man by St. Louis police
by John Queally, Commondreams staff writer
How the excessive militarization of the police is turning cops into counterinsurgents
by Matthew Harwood
Jason Westcott was afraid.
One night last fall, he discovered via Facebook that a friend of a friend was planning with some co-conspirators to break in to his home. They were intent on stealing Wescott's handgun and a couple of TV sets. According to the Facebook message, the suspect was planning on “burning” Westcott, who promptly called the Tampa Bay police and reported the plot.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the investigating officers responding to Westcott’s call had a simple message for him: “If anyone breaks into this house, grab your gun and shoot to kill.”
by Paul Armentano
55% of those surveyed also said that they supported statewide laws seeking to tax and regulate the production and sale of cannabis to adults.
PALO ALTO, CA — Sixty-six percent of Americans believe that adults ought to legally be able to consume cannabis in the privacy of one’s own home, according to results of a recent nationwide HuffingtonPost/YouGov survey.
Seventy-two percent of self-identified Democrats and 70 percent of Independents said that the private consumption of cannabis should be legal.
Republican respondents endorsed private consumption by a margin of 50 percent to 39 percent.
Fifty-five percent of respondents — including 62 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of Independents — also said that they supported statewide laws seeking to tax and regulate the commercial production and retail sale of cannabis to adults, such as those recently enacted in Colorado and Washington.
By contrast, only 37 percent of Republicans said they supported such a plan.
The paper of record goes on the record unequivocably in favor of legalization of marijuana.
by the New York Times Editorial Board
It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.
The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.
We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times’s Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.