Tag: War on Drugs

“Uprooting the Drug War” Launched by the Drug Policy Alliance Today

The Drug War negatively impacts all of us, even if you have never used drugs. Even if you only utilize cannabis in a legal state and think that the War on Drugs is over for you, the failed policy is still costing you as your medical, employment, and parental rights can still be dictated by a failed, outdated policy. Half of all states require that doctors report suspected drug use by parents to child welfare authorities, even if there isn’t any harm to the child. Many people are forced to forego medical cannabis by some doctors and people can lose their housing and employment opportunities, pushing people into poverty and potentially a life of crime to survive.

When entire communities are decimated, we all suffer. If you care about the overexpansion of the government’s power over our lives or wasteful spending, the Drug War aint’ for you. When the government wages a war on nonviolent citizens, the powers gained infiltrate other areas of our lives and the money set on fire trying to make America “drug free” is money that we’ll never get back. Resources that could be allocated to save lives and lift people out of poverty are instead used to build prisons and lock generations in a vicious cycle. The prison industrial complex only grows stronger with incentives to lobby for more draconian laws that are ineffective and harmful.

The Drug Policy Alliance is on the forefront of ending the Drug War. They helped form the foundation for both the Measure 91 cannabis legalization and Measure 110 drug decriminalization campaigns in Oregon. Today, they launched a new project, “Uprooting the Drug War” detailing just how pervasive the War on Drugs is in our lives:

The war on drugs has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives. Our government criminalizes people who use drugs instead of providing education and addiction health services, including treatment. Rather than invest in communities, public officials invest in surveillance, policing, and punishment tactics that disproportionately target and impact people of color, low-income people, and non-citizens. Though these tactics have fueled mass incarceration, that is not their only impact.

There are serious consequences for drug use in nearly every sector of civil life — education, employment, housing, child welfare, immigration, and public benefits. Punishment is not limited to the criminal legal system. Instead, it is the default reaction to drug use wherever it shows up, impacting our lives in profound but largely unrecognized ways. We must shine a spotlight on the insidious ways the drug war has spread into all our systems.

Uprooting the Drug War details how housing, public benefits, child welfare, immigration, education, and employment are all impacted by a failed and harmful policy with racist and classist consequences. The issues go above and beyond just mass incarceration, which would be bad enough. The New Jim Crow targets people of color and anyone without the means to adequately defend themselves. While the wealthy can often escape serious consequences, the working class and those suffering through poverty aren’t that fortunate. Check out Uprooting the Drug War and spread the word. Step by step, state by state, let’s end this failed and harmful policy.

“A Compassionate Approach to Ending the War on Drugs” Panel this Wednesday

The harms of the Drug War are legion. Most importantly, too many lives have been lost and ruined while civil rights have eroded and tax dollars have been wasted. Nations have even been destabilized and the harmful consequences of the Drug War impact virtually all facets of our lives. Thanks to the work of dedicated advocates over many decades, we have been chipping away at this failed war, starting with legalizing cannabis across the United States, whether for medical reasons, or for personal use by adults.

Thanks to the cannabis community’s victories taking place city by city and state by state, we are now seeing momentum in the Halls of Congress. We have even seeing electoral success tackling other aspects of the Drug War, from reducing criminal penalties at the legislative level, to passing several local city measures, and even decriminalizing the personal possession of all drugs in the great state of Oregon. I was honored and humbled to serve as a chief petitioner of Measure 110, Oregon’s decriminalization measure, and the Measure 91 cannabis legalization initiative and I am so pleased to be joining a the Portland Psychedelic Society’s “A Compassionate Approach to Ending the War on Drugs” panel this Wednesday, December 16th, from 5:30pm-7:30pm. The event is free, just RSVP with Eventbrite.

I will be joining Diane Goldstein, Executive Board Chair of Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP)(formerly Law Enforcement Against Prohibition); Sanho Tree, the Project Director of the Drug Policy – Institute of Policy Studies; and Abhi Dewan, the Student and Federal Liaison for the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP). We will be discussing the history and evolution of America’s drug laws towards certain psychoactive substances, the enforcement and impact on society due to the Drug War, and the important efforts being made to put an end to these harmful policies. This is an exciting time for drug policy reformers. Join us.

Oregon Congressman: Legalize Cannabis and Decriminalize Drugs to Reduce Police Violence

As the United States combats our history of systemic racism and police brutality, many of us are searching for the right answers. What police reforms are needed? Is reforming the police enough? Do we need to disband police and start with a new system of community protection services? Should we defund police? What does it mean to defund the police exactly? As we grapple with all of these questions, and more, Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer has issued a federal action plan on reducing police violence that includes ending cannabis prohibition and decriminalizing drugs:

Policing Alternatives

Only 5% of arrests in America have been for violent crimes. In 2018, the highest number of arrests were for drug offesnes. Over 40% of these drug arrests were for cannabis, with over 90% being just for possession of the drug. Black people are 3.64 times more likely than white people to be arrested for cannabis possession, even though they use cannabis at about the same rate. Reducing police interactions by using non-law enforcement to deal with minor crimes and activities, and repealing punitive drug laws could reduce the criminalization and over-policing of communities of color. We need to rethink the way police are used and encourage alternative policing models that address institutional racism as they are being created.

Promote Alternatives to Policing
• Provide federal funding to support local innovation of non-law enforcement alternatives.
• Increase funding for federal grant programs that support partnerships between law enforcement and mental health associations.
• Repeal policies that incentivize over-policing of communities of color, including the prohibition of cannabis and the decriminalization of other drugs.

Representative Blumenauer has been a leader on cannabis policy since he was a young state legislator voting to make Oregon the first state to decriminalize cannabis in the early 1970s. As time has gone along, Rep. Blumenauer has become a stronger and stronger leader, helping found the bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus and taking on the harms of the Drug War. It is common sense that cannabis prohibition and the greater War on Drugs has failed us, with harmful and racist consequences. Let’s keep of the momentum folks, because the times, they are a-changin’.