Drugs and "Drug War"

The seriously messed-up ugliness of per se laws

by Pete Guither

This has been out for a bit (and even had some discussion in comments here), but I really wanted to put it front and center, because this kind of thing really demonstrates the kinds of outrages that exist in the drug war.

Island Lake fatal crash cited as Illinois no-tolerance DUI pot law is challenged

In December 2011, Scott Shirey and his 10-year-old twins, Griffin and Nicholas, were driving to swimming practice.

Along the way, a distracted driver in an overloaded pickup truck ran a red light at Route 12 and Old McHenry Road near Lake Zurich and slammed into Shirey’s Lincoln sedan, killing Griffin and severely injuring Nicholas.

Even though another driver caused the accident, it was the Island Lake father who faced up to 14 years in prison. He was not impaired at the time, but Shirey, now 52, was charged two months later after a blood test showed traces of marijuana in his system from — according to his attorney — smoking it a month beforehand.

Activists Wield Search Data to Challenge and Change Police Policy

by Richard A. Oppel Jr.

DURHAM, N.C. — One month after a Latino youth died from a gunshot as he sat handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser here last year, 150 demonstrators converged on Police Headquarters, some shouting “murderers” as baton-wielding officers in riot gear fired tear gas.

The police say the youth shot himself with a hidden gun. But to many residents of this city, which is 40 percent black, the incident fit a pattern of abuse and bias against minorities that includes frequent searches of cars and use of excessive force. In one case, a black female Navy veteran said she was beaten by an officer after telling a friend she was visiting that the friend did not have to let the police search her home.

Millions Missing From DEA Money-Laundering Operation

by Bill Conroy

But No One With the Power to Investigate Seems to Care

At least $20 million went missing from money seizures by law enforcers, critical evidence was destroyed by a federal agency, a key informant was outed by a US prosecutor — contributing to her being kidnapped and nearly killed — and at the end of the day not a single narco-trafficker was prosecuted in this four-year-long DEA undercover operation gone awry.

Those revelations surfaced in a recently decided court case filed in the US Court of Federal Claims in Washington, DC.
 

A.C.L.U. in $50 Million Push to Reduce Jail Sentences

A message our county board and those down at the courthouse need to hear loud and clear...

by Eric Eckholm
 

With a $50 million foundation grant, the largest in its history, the American Civil Liberties Union plans to mount an eight-year political campaign across the country to make a change of criminal justice policies a key issue in local, state and national elections.

State, Local Marijuana Legalization Measures Win Big On Election Day

By Paul Armentano |  NORML Deputy Director
 

WASHINGTON, DC — Oregon and Alaska legalized and regulated the commercial production and sale of marijuana for adults, while voters residing in the nation’s capitol and in numerous other cities nationwide similarly decided this Election Day to eliminate marijuana possession penalties.

In Ferguson and Beyond, Punishing Humanity

by Kate Manne

On Sept. 26, two peaceful protesters were arrested in Ferguson, Mo. Watch this video (warning: includes profanity) and you will see two white officers arresting a young black woman who is wearing a red hoodie. One tackles her in a chokehold and yanks her hands behind her back. She whimpers, and they force her face down on the pavement. They then carry her off with one officer holding her by an arm, and the other holding her by a leg. Her body has gone limp; they dangle her between them carelessly. Why were these two men handling her “like an animal?” asks the protester recording the scene with her cellphone. It is a good question. And its answer is not obvious.
 

Marijuana Use Associated With Increased Survival In Brain Injury Patients

By Paul Armentano |  NORML Deputy Director
 

LOS ANGELES, CA — Traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients with a history of cannabis use possess increased survival rates compared to non-users, according data published this month in the scientific journal The American Surgeon.

UCLA Medical Center investigators conducted a three-year retrospective review of brain trauma patients. Data from 446 separate cases of similarly injured patients was assessed.

Of those patients who tested positive for the presence of marijuana, 97.6 percent survived surgery.

By contrast, patients who tested negative for the presence of pot prior to surgery possessed only an 88.5 percent survival rate.

Study Refutes Claims of Widespread Abuse in California Medical Marijuana Program

By Americans for Safe Access
 

92% of participants reported that "medical marijuana helped alleviate symptoms or treat a serious medical condition"

SACRAMENTO, CA — A new landmark study published by the peer-reviewed journal Drug and Alcohol Review refutes the long-held belief that abuse of California’s medical marijuana law is ubiquitous.

The study, “Prevalence of medical marijuana use in California, 2012,” is the first time anyone has formally measured such data in the state according to its authors Suzanne Ryan-Ibarra, Marta Induni, and Danielle Ewing of the Survey Research Group at Public Health Institute in Sacramento.

Decriminalization of Cannabis is Helpful, but Legalization and Regulation in Illinois Is the Answer

The Illinois chapter of NORML (National Organization to Reform marijuana Laws) fully supports Karen Lewis’s plan to legalize and regulate the adult cannabis market.  While Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to decriminalize cannabis statewide is a step in the right direction it simply does not go far enough.  
 Decriminalization does nothing to curb the violence associated with the illegal cannabis trade and does nothing to prevent cannabis from getting in the hands of young people, especially teenagers.  While decriminalization would reduce the stigma of having a criminal record it would still be against the law to consume this plant, and the manufacturing and distribution of this product would still be controlled by criminals, often violent gangs and drug cartels.

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