Feature: Looking Forward -- The Prospects for Drug Reform in Obama's Washington

The political landscape in Washington, DC, is undergoing a dramatic shift as the Democratic tide rolls in, and, after eight years of drug war status quo under the Republicans, drug reformers are now hoping the change in administrations will lead to positive changes in federal drug policies. As with every other aspect of federal policy, groups interested in criminal justice and drug policy reform are coming out of the woodwork with their own recommendations for Obama and the Democratic Congress. This week, we will look at some of those proposals and attempt to assess the prospects for real change.

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The White House
One of the most comprehensive criminal justice reform proposals, of which drug-related reform is only a small part, comes from a nonpartisan consortium of organizations and individuals coordinated by the Constitution Project, including groups such as the Sentencing Project, Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), and the Open Society Policy Center. The set of proposals, Smart on Crime: Recommendations for the Next Administration and Congress, includes the following recommendations:

  • Mandatory Minimum Reforms:
    Eliminate the crack cocaine sentencing disparity
    Improve and expand the federal "safety valve"
    Create a sunset provision on existing and new mandatory minimums
    Clarify that the 924(c) recidivism provisions apply only to true repeat offenders
  • Alternatives to Incarceration:
    Expand alternatives to incarceration in federal sentencing guidelines
    Enact a deferred adjudication statute
    Support alternatives to incarceration through expansion of federal drug and other problem solving courts.
  • Incentives and Sentencing Management
    Expand the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP)
    Clarify good time credit
    Expand the amount of good time conduct credit prisoners may receive and ways they can receive it
    Enhance sentence reductions for extraordinary and compelling circumstances
    Expand elderly prisoners release program
    Revive executive clemency
  • Promoting Fairness and Addressing Disparity:
    Support racial impact statements as a means of reducing unwarranted sentencing disparities
    Support analysis of racial and ethnic disparity in the federal justice system
    Add a federal public defender as an ex officio member of the United States Sentencing Commission

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has also issued a set of recommendations, Actions for Restoring America: How to Begin Repairing the Damage to Freedom in America Under Bush, which include some drug reform provisions:

  • Crack/Powder Sentencing: The attorney general should revise the US Attorneys' Manual to require that crack offenses are charged as "cocaine" and not "cocaine base," effectively resulting in elimination of the disparity.
  • Medical Marijuana: Halt the use of Justice Department funds to arrest and prosecute medical marijuana users in states with current laws permitting access to physician-supervised medical marijuana. In particular, the US Attorney general should update the US Attorneys' Manual to de-prioritize the arrest and prosecution of medical marijuana users in medical marijuana states. There is currently no regulation in place to be amended or repealed; there is, of course, a federal statutory scheme that prohibits marijuana use unless pursuant to approved research. But US Attorneys have broad charging discretion in determining what types of cases to prosecute, and with drugs, what threshold amounts that will trigger prosecution. The US Attorneys' Manual contains guidelines promulgated by the Attorney general and followed by US Attorneys and their assistants.
  • The DEA Administrator should grant Lyle Craker's application for a Schedule I license to produce research-grade medical marijuana for use in DEA- and FDA-approved studies. This would only require DEA to approve the current recommendation of its own Administrative Law Judge.
  • All relevant agencies should stop denying the existence of medical uses of marijuana -- as nearly one-third of states have done by enacting laws -- and therefore, under existing legal criteria, reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule V.
  • Issue an executive order stating that, "No veteran shall be denied care solely on the basis of using marijuana for medical purposes in compliance with state law." Although there are many known instances of veterans being denied care as a result of medical marijuana use, we have not been able to identify a specific regulation that mandates or authorizes this policy.
  • Federal Racial Profiling: Issue an executive order prohibiting racial profiling by federal officers and banning law enforcement practices that disproportionately target people for investigation and enforcement based on race, ethnicity, national origin, sex or religion. Include in the order a mandate that federal agencies collect data on hit rates for stops and searches, and that such data be disaggregated by group. DOJ should issue guidelines regarding the use of race by federal law enforcement agencies. The new guidelines should clarify that federal law enforcement officials may not use race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, or sex to any degree, except that officers may rely on these factors in a specific suspect description as they would any noticeable characteristic of a subject.

Looking to the south, the Latin America Working Group, a coalition of nonprofit groups, has issued a petition urging Obama "to build a just policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean that unites us with our neighbors." Included in its proposals are:

  • Actively work for peace in Colombia. In a war that threatens to go on indefinitely, the immense suffering of the civilian population demands that the United States takes risks to achieve peace. If the United States is to actively support peace, it must stop endlessly bankrolling war and help bring an end to the hemisphere's worst humanitarian crisis.
  • Get serious -- and smart -- about drug policy. Our current drug policy isn't only expensive and ineffective, it's also inhumane. Instead of continuing a failed approach that brings soldiers into Latin America's streets and fields, we must invest in alternative development projects in the Andes and drug treatment and prevention here at home.

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) has some suggestions as well. As NORML's Paul Armentano wrote last week on Alternet:

  • President Obama must uphold his campaign promise to cease the federal arrest and prosecution of (state) law-abiding medical cannabis patients and dispensaries by appointing leaders at the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the US Department of Justice, and the US Attorney General's office who will respect the will of the voters in the thirteen states that have legalized the physician-supervised use of medicinal marijuana.
  • President Obama should use the power of the bully pulpit to reframe the drug policy debate from one of criminal policy to one of public health. Obama can stimulate this change by appointing directors to the Office of National Drug Control Policy who possess professional backgrounds in public health, addiction, and treatment rather than in law enforcement.
  • President Obama should follow up on statements he made earlier in his career in favor of marijuana decriminalization by establishing a bi-partisan presidential commission to review the budgetary, social, and health costs associated with federal marijuana prohibition, and to make progressive recommendations for future policy changes.

Clearly, the drug reform community and its allies see the change of administrations as an opportunity to advance the cause. The question is how receptive will the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress be to drug reform efforts.

"We've examined Obama's record and his statements, and 90% of it is good," said David Borden, executive director of StoptheDrugWar.org (publisher of this newsletter). "But we don't know what he intends to do in office. There is an enormous amount of good he can do," Borden said, mentioning opening up funding for needle exchange programs, US Attorney appointments, and stopping DEA raids on medical marijuana providers. "Will Obama make some attempt to actualize the progressive drug reform positions he has taken? He has a lot on his plate, and drug policy reform has tended to be the first thing dropped by left-leaning politicians."

There will be some early indicators of administration interest in drug reform, said Bill Piper, national affairs director for the Drug Policy Alliance. "We will be watching to see if he issues an executive order stopping the DEA raids; that would be a huge sign," he said. "He could also repeal the needle exchange funding ban. The congressional ban would still be in place, but that would show some great leadership. If they started taking on drug policy issues in the first 100 days, that would be a great sign, but I don't think people should expect that. There are many other issues, and it's going to take awhile just to clean up Bush's mess. I'm optimistic, but I don't expect big changes to come quickly."

"We are hoping to see a new direction," said Nkechi Taifa, senior policy analyst for civil and criminal justice reform for the Open Society Policy Center. "We couldn't have a better scenario with the incoming vice president having sponsored the one-to-one crack/powder bill in the Senate and the incoming president being a sponsor. And we have a situation in Congress, and particularly in the Senate, where there is bipartisan interest in sentencing reform. Both sides of the aisle want some sort of movement on this, it's been studied and vetted, and now Congress needs to do the right thing. It's time to get smart on crime, and this is not a radical agenda. As far as I'm concerned, fixing the crack/powder disparity is the compromise, and elimination of mandatory minimums is what really needs to be on the agenda."

"With the Smart on Crime proposals, we tried to focus on what was feasible," said the Sentencing Project's Kara Gotsch. "These are items where we think we are likely to get support, where the community has demonstrated support, or where there has been legislation proposed to deal with these issues. It prioritizes the issues we think are most likely to move, and crack sentencing reform is on that list."

The marijuana reform groups are more narrowly focused, of course, but they, too are looking for positive change. "Obama has made it very clear on the campaign trail that he disagrees with the use of federal agencies to undo medical marijuana laws in states that have passed them," said Dan Bernath, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project. "He has vowed to stop that. Obama seems to be someone who values facts and reasoned decision-making. If he applies that to marijuana policy, that could be a good thing".

While the list of possible drug reforms is long and varied, it is also notable for what has not been included. Only NORML even mentions marijuana decriminalization, and no one is talking about ending the drug war -- only making it a bit kinder and gentler. The L-word remains unutterable.

"While we're optimistic about reducing the harms of prohibition, legalization is not something that I think they will take on," said Piper. "But any movement toward drug reform is good. If we can begin to shift to a more health-oriented approach, that will change how Americans think about this issue and create a space where regulation can be discussed in a a rational manner. Now, because of our moralist criminal justice framework, it is difficult to have a sane discussion about legalization."

"We didn't talk that much about legalization," said Gotsch in reference to the Smart on Crime proposals. "A lot of organizations involved have more ambitious goals, but that wouldn't get the kind of reaction we want. There just isn't the political support yet for legalization, even of marijuana."

"We should be talking about legalization, yes," said StoptheDrugWar.org's Borden, "but should we be talking about it in communications to the new president who has shown no sign of supporting it? Not necessarily. We must push the envelope, but if we push it too far in lobbying communications to national leadership, we risk losing their attention."

"I do think it would be a mistake to blend that kind of caution into ideological caution over what we are willing to talk about at all," Borden continued. "I think we should be talking about legalization, it's just a question of when and where," he argued.

Talking legalization is premature, said Eric Sterling, formerly counsel to the US House Judiciary Committee and now president of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation. "What we are not yet doing as a movement is building upon our successes," he said. "We just saw medical marijuana win overwhelmingly in Michigan and decriminalization in Massachusetts, but the nation's commentariat has not picked up on it, and our movement has not been sufficiently aggressive in getting those votes translated into the political discourse. We haven't broken out of the making fun phase of marijuana policy yet."

Sterling pointed in particular to the medical marijuana issue. "Everyone recognizes that the state-federal conflict on medical marijuana is a major impediment, and we have 26 senators representing medical marijuana states, but not a single senator has introduced a medical marijuana bill," he said. "It's an obvious area for legislative activity in the Senate, but it hasn't happened. This suggests that we as a movement still lack the political muscle even on something as uncontroversial as the medical use of marijuana."

Even the apparent obvious targets for reform, such as the crack/powder sentencing disparity, are going to require a lot of work, said Sterling. "It will continue to be a struggle," he said. "The best crack bill was Biden's, cosponsored by Obama and Clinton, but I'm not sure who is going to pick that up this year. The sentencing reform community continues to struggle to frame the issue as effective law enforcement, and I think it's only on those terms that we can win."

Reformers also face the reality that the politics of crime continues to be a sensitive issue for the majority Democrats, Sterling said. "Crime is an issue members are frightened about, and it's an area where Republicans traditionally feel they have the upper ground. The Democrats are going to be reluctant to open themselves up to attack in areas where there is not a strong political upside. On many issues, Congress acts when there is a clear universe of allies who will benefit and who are pushing for action. I don't know if we are there yet."

Change is the mantra of the Obama administration, and change is what the drug reform community is hoping for. Now, the community must act to ensure that change happens, and that the right changes happen.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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'Medical Marijuana'

Prior to 1937, was there any such animal as 'medical marijuana'? No. Don't compromise using semantics to continue the government's policy on prohibition. Either decirminalize 'marijuana' or continue an ever increasing draconian system in the namesake of keeping America 'drug free'..As George Carlin said "it's not good for ya".

1789

DEA jobs?

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." -- Upton Sinclair

"President Obama" would never have existed.

If he actually got arrested for marijuana possession, like Al Gore's son, then he would probably still be working in some anonymous community organizing capacity in Chicago and the nation would never have heard of the name Barack Obama. If Obama can understand that, then he knows what he needs to do, but will he? Uneducated arrogant motherfuckers in society always creating more glass ceilings.

Marijuana Reform

I see a whole lot of adds that are trying to educate people on marijuana usage in order to keep it demonized. I have a severe anxiety disorder called Fight or Flight syndrome. It means that my adrenaline is constantly pumping and doesn't shut down which causes severe panic attacks, insomnia, and loss of concentration. I live in Texas, so if I get caught using marijuana to treat this could result in severe criminal prosecution. However, I have found that marijuana greatly reduces those symptoms better than any pharmaceutical drug does. The doctors have me taking Xanex, Ambien CR and Celexa. They all produce physical addiction whereas marijuana only creates psychological addiction. I feel those pharmaceutical drugs are alot more hazardous to my body than marijuana ever could be. The anti-marijuana lobbyists say that smoking marijuana does great damage to the lungs, memory and and other brain functions. However, people like me find that marijuana actually makes our minds work properly increasing our ability to concentrate. I am beginning to wonder if marijuana is only illegal in order to maintain profit margins for the pharmaceutical companies?
I don't drink alcohol, but alcohol is legal and is known for extreme health problems. I believe marijuana should be regulated and taxed like alcohol. Marijuana should at least be legalized for prescription use all over the US.

U Right

Hell yeah I totally Agree on that

crack what?

i really don't think they should be focusing on crack after all it is a harmful substance i think marijuana should be the most important issue they try to fix medical and personal use should be legal or decriminalized crack not so much

however;

changing crack laws are more in the core of the issue of drug legalization: the point that it's not about whether drugs are good or bad, but about whether our laws make sense. The fact that Joe Biden introduced a crack bill that was sponsored by Obama and Clinton is a sign that there is at least a small amount of sense in the drug policy decision-making process in Washington. It would be significant if they pushed this forward.

Marijuana Reform

Considering the new medical cures being discovered in Canada with marijuana oil (not seed), I feel we should have the right to (grow our own) considering it takes a pound of weed to make an ounce of medical grade oil.
I believe Michigan just passed a medical marijuana law with a grow your own clause as well as being able to designate a provider to grow it for you if you choose.
We need to have flexibility in the pot laws to leave room for necessary changes when new medical uses are discovered so the average person can make oils salves tinctures etc. without congress changing the law first. It should always be treated as an evolving medicine rather than an intoxicant that needs strict and broad regulation and taxation like alcohol, which we all know is a dangerous drug with very little if any medical value.
Marijuana (and its derivatives) should always be available and affordable and even free to everyone in this country rather than becoming a commercialized and a restricted for profit product by big pharmacuetical companies. We also cannot allow pot to be exploited by government as another device to control the people invade their privacy or rip them off for tax evasion. D.W.

pain

You'd think there'd be something in there about managing pain with narcotics. Guess that's not sexy.

Torture by denial of pain medication should be an issue

The pain comment points out something very important. I've been reading quite a bit of the recent material tonight and not seen a word about the semi-random torture deliberately inflicted on Americans through underprescription and nonprescription of adequate narcotic pain medication.

This is a major issue that should be getting a lot of attention. What our government is quietly doing to Americans through mandatory prescription laws coupled with persecuting and brainwashing prescribers is as unconscionable as the more dramatic torture being inflicted on foreigners who it seems may mostly be people semi-randomly caught up in the "War On Terror".
To go off topic briefly. What was so difficult about deciding whether waterboarding prisoners is torture? At least one US soldier was courtmartialed for this during the Viet Nam War. Our government knew it was torture then, and the act was punishable. The question has been long decided.
Going back on topic. The accepted standard of pain treatment now would largely have been considered incompetence and malpractice 50 years ago. Why does the public put up with this? Why aren't drug law reformers hammering away at this issue?

Definitely Looking Forward

I'm reminded of how alcohol prohibition ended at a time when the country was in a severe depression. Funds were badly needed by state governments, and there may also have been a recognition by Congress that prohibition was fueling a huge growth of organized crime, i.e. the mafia. As was pointed out, right now we can't even speak of legalization, but if the
economic situation worsens that will change, and relatively quickly, too. Politicians, by nature, are pragmatists and opportunists, so that if there isn't a crisis to motivate action they tend to support the status quo, which seems sensible, however, since we are trying to reverse the past implementation of nonsensical laws it's obvious that the reaction to crisis is not always rational.
This is how it always is. We're held back by past mistakes even though the future looks very bright. At times it's easy to give in to despair. In my life that's happened a lot, but right now I feel more hopeful than any time I can remember. (I'm 44, by the way.)
What catalyzes change is a complex thing, but we can anticipate opportunities if we can calculate far enough in advance of the flow of events. We're living at a time of immense change occurring beneath the level of awareness. We've just experienced an example of this with the election of Barack Obama and the strengthening of the Democratic majority in Congress. If you were in despair before the
election you should be feeling a bit different now. Although it hasn't dawned on many of us yet, I believe there are huge changes coming. The sense of it is not quite palpable: We have yet to eject the offending organism (the Bush
administration) from our body politic, so we know we're on the road to wellness, but we still feel ill. I want to strongly get across to you the idea that attitude and awareness of what's going on is critical. We have to be opportunists, too, and we can't let the day-to-day flow of events influence our attitude or cause us to lose focus on our goals. When major change
occurs there simply isn't time for any of that. We have to assimilate what's happened as quickly as possible, recalculate, and go on. This is difficult enough.
My allusion to the events of the 1930's should not be taken too
literally. The world is now much more complex; I can speak of "the whole world" much more freely, and with certitude, than I could have then. The world has integrated in ways that are perhaps unfathomable. I see this as setting the potential for change in a way that nothing has in history. The political system tends to move slowly in its implementation of change,
but nevertheless there is movement. A large block of resistance has just been removed, and soon we will enter a new era, but keep building, another one is around the next corner. Expect the unexpected, remain flexible, and be glad that you live in such an amazingly interesting and exciting time.

Anyone who thinks Obama will change the nation

has lost contact with reality. He's just another sold out whore who will continue in the same direction as all our past presidents -- bigger more intrusive and more oppressive government catering to the needs of the few super-wealthy-elite and continuing the gradual enslavement of the rest of us.

When peaceful revolution becomes impossible violent revolution will become inevitable.

He is just another

He is just another politician; i agree with that, but he is different in that he is black. That might be an arbitrary distinction that doesnt make any real difference, but at the same time it probably does make a psyhological difference in the people. Just the idea that there is a black president feels fundamentally different to people, domestically as well as internationally. How long does the notion of change last, I don't know, but at least for now there is a psychological notion in society that makes people feel like things are going to change (whatever change means). And that psychological notion in itself is a change.

Plus, the world is changing a lot anyway. Because of the internet, society is changing psychologically in many unidentifiable, yet significant ways. Consider this: youtube is two years and eleven months old. Doesn't it seem like youtube has been around for longer? At least for me it does. There wasn't even widespread internet video until about a year and a half ago. New media outlets can powerfully change culture and society. And in the area of drug policy, things might very well turn in the direction of legalization.

Liberal Leaders of MI

I live in MI and i was recently busted cause of my house alarm. the coppers found like 14 grams and said i was a trafficker and got a search warrant. needless to say they found 6 more oz. so they then charged me with felony firearm which is two year mandatory in michigan cause its liberal leaders want to ban guns and use people like me as statistics to show or lead people to think that bad people possess guns. bullshit! all my guns where unloaded and kept hidden in my basement. i am a hunter and have been since i was 12. fuck this state and every leader in it! POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!!!!

Marijuana should be legalized!!!!

im 18 from Texas. I'm not a bad kid, i dnt drink or commit crimes such as robbery, assault, or anything to harm anyone else. Back in 2007, i got busted with a 20 dollar bag of weed. Anyways so far, i"ve done 50 hours of work in the community, attended a drug class which i had to pay for, paid my court cost, and all of my fines, and 38 days of jail time. I failed 2 test which included a marijuna possitive. So far, im still tied up with the court system at this young of age, jst over for a 20 dollar bag of marijuana. I jst belive that if alcohol is legal, why can't marijuana become legal as also?? When i see kids younger than me, tied in with courts. Jst for something that each and one of this politicians have done as also. It makes me feel sad, and at the same time, very frustrated and angry, at the fact that this generation and younger is going to be facing hard times. Especially, when damn kids can't go out and make mistakes and to learn from them. Without it costing them dearly!!!! So i urge, whoever is reading this, to take the time and think about what your doing to this country. POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!!!

38 days for a 20 bag???

You ended up with 38 days for a failed drug test after doing 50 hrs service for your community, drug classes, paying fines and court costs? There's more to the story than you are telling.

Accept the Consequences

Its pretty simple, stop taking illegal drugs and then you won't have to worry about any of these problems. If you do choice to consume these illegal substances for whatever excuse you can come up with, then expect to be punished if caught. Don't play the game if your not willing to accept the consequences.

Consequences??

Ok, hows this for consequences? I worked for a corporation, had a heart attack, after open heart surgery, I found I had glaucoma. My glaucoma was not controlled in my left eye, except with cannabis and my many expensive drops. But, I worked for a corporation, they don't care what works, they have rules. So I didn't smoke for over a year and sure enough I went completely blind in my left eye. I still have partial sight in my right eye, but not enough to be able to work. So now I break the law at least five times a day, and the smoke mellows me out so I don't spend much time pissed at stupid assholes like you. Be thankful.

Drug abuse already comes with consequences

What is the logic of adding aditional punishments?

So, repeal the drug laws, and eliminate the consequences

At least the legal ones. If drugs are really so bad, users will suffer the real world consequeces, if any, and be deterred. Or not. Freedom will triumph.

These "scarecrow laws" are only a game.

I know plenty of people who use marijuana and never been close to getting busted. Only 3 percent of consumers are unlucky enough to get arrested in the U.S.

Re: Accept the Consequences

Don't play the game if your not willing to accept the consequences.

Stop bringing the game into my community!!

When the government refuses to regulate these illegal drug markets so they don't influence kids like they are now, I blame them for all the drug dealers around my children.

Why No Discussion About Coca?

Where are our drug policy reform organizations on the Coca issue? We have Evo Morales courageously forging ahead with combating these laws of criminal mercantilism, yet the DPA, etc (I can not fault the MPP or NORML because they are Marijuana specific) drags their feet.

Just what sort of advice do they receive?

http://freedomofmedicineanddiet.blogspot.com/2008_03_01_archive.html

Future Civil Rights Claims

"Don't play the game if your not willing to accept the consequences."

Indeed, don not support these 'laws' unless you care to pay a special dope tax (for dopes that support prohibition) to pay the future civil rights claims of those kidnapped and extorted for these unconstitutional immoral 'laws.'

So much for "90% of it is good"-- AG Eric Holder is terrible!

exactly the problem with Obama-- he speaks in such vague generalities that those who get caught up in his rhetoric can project their own opinions and desires for reform onto him even when it is painfully obvious that he will not work on their behalf. The war on drugs is a perfect example. During the New Hampshire primary, Obama came out and said, in as many words, that he did not want to decriminalize marijuana. That didn't stop the MPP and many others in the reform movement from flocking to him. Now, he's about to appoint Eric Holder to the the Attorney General. Guess what? He is one of the most rabid drug warriors out there. He fought FOR mandatory minimum sentences and fought to make the sale of any amount of marijuana within the District of Columbia a 5-year felony! Here's a great article on the issue:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1571/is_n15_v13/ai_19340518

As a Libertarian, it's really depresing to me that so many people who care (or, rather, profess to care) about drug law reform voted for Obama. There were staunch pro-legalization candidates on both sides of the political spectrum this year (Barr, McKinney, Nader, not to mention Kucinich and Paul in the primaries), but virtually no one went to bat for them. So, instead, we are getting exactly what everyone claimed to hate yet voted for anyway-- the status quo.

Obama is a Statist, and will not decriminalize drugs

If anything, his administration will "put lipstick on a pig", you should pardon the expression. The problem is that the "War on Drugs" is a failed attempt to repeal the "Law of Supply and Demand", which is not something created by government but a fact of life not unlike gravity. When people want something badly enough the price will rise until there will be other people willing to supply it. Government can pass all the laws it wishes, but it cannot repeal either the law of supply and demand ot gravity.

One needs only to look at the situation in prisons, where drugs of all kinds are available despite all attempts to eliminate them, and at places like Saudi Arabia and Iran, which have the death penalty for drug possession and sale, and still have both.

The only rational way to deal with drugs is to accept that there are people who want to use them - who WILL use them, regardless of the costs or consequences - and adopt policies that allow these people to do what they will do with a minimum of costs to the individuals involved and society at large. Prohibition did not work with alcohol, and hasn't worked with drugs.

legalize marijuana

there are 4 reasons marijuana is illegal...big alcohol, big tobacco, big pharmacy, and big government. it's a prohibitionist war. anybody can grow it, it has a multitude of proven uses, and it could not be regulated, or taxed, and the loss of revenue to the 4 reasons would be astronomical. that's why it's illegal and a crime that has sent many into a world of backbiting dogs called lawyers and politicians whose only cares are there own pocketbooks. the Almighty said " I have given every green herb" and the politicians and lawyers take it away so they can feed on your life.

prohibition

The above is all good reading but it demonstates the confusion of decades of layering legislation on top of legislation. The only smart, fast and right way to close the black market is total legalization of all drugs. Let anyone who has a legal right to use tobacco and alcohol enjoy the same legal right to grow and use marijuana. Let those who want to use hard drugs have a physical (that they pay for) then visit Walgreens with a perscription for what ever they want. This way the profits that fund mean people will be gone and we can at lease count the people who use drugs. That's the first step in dealing with drug use in America.

join the anti-prohibition groups on obama's site

you want GRASS-roots efforts to produce a GREEN economy? i have written my congressmen (state and fed) as well as obama- numerous times. i use my real name, and i vote my support. i have joined NORML. i won't preach to the choir here for the common-sense reasons for legalizing pot. the aguments are out there. they are numerous, correct and well-founded in truth and logic. stop being afraid and INSIST, as an American that this failed war on pot be ended. THEY WORK FOR US and if they fail, WE FIRE THEM.

http://my.barackobama.com/page/group/ObamaSupportersforMarijuanaLawReform

there are three groups (that i know of. the link above is to one) on mybarackobama.com advocating legalization. join them. make your voice heard! POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

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Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School