WASHINGTON, DC — President Trump is expected to soon nominate Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA/10th) to be Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (colloquially referred to as the “drug czar”). Marino, a former prosecutor with no background in health or treatment, supports a punitive, 1980’s style approach to drugs, including mass incarceration and coerced treatment, even for medical and…
Marijuana Policy Project | April 11, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC — Congressman Tom Marino (R-PA) will be named the next director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), also known as the “drug czar,” according to multiple media reports.
As a member of Congress, Marino has consistently voted against marijuana policy reform legislation.
Robert Capecchi, director of federal policies for the Marijuana…
Erik Altieri | April 6, 2017
This week, Attorney General Jeff “Marijuana Consumers Aren’t Good People” Sessions issued a memo outlining a requested task force inquiry into a number of public safety issues, one of which being the enforcement of federal marijuana laws.
The memo was sent to 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and Department of Justice component heads to provide “an update on the Department¹s Task Force on…
Legal Marijuana: The Sky is (Probably) Not Falling | Phillip Smith
Barrels of ink have been spilled over the prospect that the Trump administration could attempt to turn back the clock when it comes to legal marijuana, but for all the wailing and gnashing of teeth out there, marijuana industry insiders, advocates, and activists don’t seem all that worried. “I don’t think there’s any more reason […]
Legal Marijuana: The Sky is (Probably) Not Falling | The Daily Chronic
Paul Armentano | March 16, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC — The number of federal offenders sentenced for violating marijuana laws has fallen significantly since 2012, according to data provided by the United States Sentencing Commission.
Just over 3,000 federal defendants were sentenced for marijuana violations in 2016, according to the Commission. That total is roughly half of the number of federal defendants that were sentenced in 2012. The total has fallen year-to-year since that time.
The 2016 total…
Phillip Smith | March 3, 2017
White House press secretary Sean Spicer‘s comment last week that we “will see greater enforcement” of federal marijuana prohibition has set off tremors in the pot industry, but it should be setting off warning bells at the White House itself.
Any move against marijuana would be politically fraught, economically foolish, and counter to some of the Trump administration’s other…
Phillip Smith | March 1, 2017
In his inaugural address to Congress Tuesday night, President Trump echoed the ghosts of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan—not to mention Miguel Cervantes—as he vowed to defeat drugs.
If there is a silver lining, his ire appears directed at heroin and other hard drugs. The word “marijuana” did not appear once in his speech.
“Our terrible drug epidemic will slow down and ultimately, stop,” he promised as part of a litany of MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN accomplishments to come…
Americans for Safe Access | February 23, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC — Americans for Safe Access, a national nonprofit dedicated to ensuring safe and legal access to medical cannabis for therapeutic use and research, has sent a memo to Congress informing members that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has removed false information about cannabis from its website after months of public pressure. The memo explains:
Forty-four states now allow patients under their physician’s care to use medical…
NORML | February 23, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC — White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday said that the Trump administration may engage in “greater” efforts to enforce federal anti-marijuana laws in jurisdictions that have legalized and regulated its adult use.
In response to a question regarding how the administration intends to address statewide marijuana legalization laws, Spicer indicated that the administration views the regulation of marijuana for medical purposes as distinct from laws governing…
Americans for Safe Access | February 13, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC — After months of public pressure, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has removed factually inaccurate information from its website.
The change comes after Americans for Safe Access, a national nonprofit dedicated to ensuring safe and legal access to medical cannabis for therapeutic use and research, filed a legal request with the Department of Justice last year demanding that the DEA immediately update and remove factually inaccurate…
Phillip Smith | February 13, 2017
While the marijuana community — consumers, industry, and advocates alike — eyes with trepidation the reign of avowed anti-pot Republican Jeff Sessions at the Justice Department, the Trump executive branch isn’t the only game in town when it comes to making marijuana policy. Congress is back in session, and after last November’s legalization and medical marijuana victories at the polls, the pot state delegation is larger than ever.
And at least some of those senators and…
Phillip Smith | February 13, 2017
In a sharp break with the Obama administration, which distanced itself from harsh anti-drug rhetoric and emphasized treatment for drug users over punishment, President Donald Trump last week reverted to tough drug war oratory and backed it up with a series of executive orders he said were “designed to restore safety in America.”
“We’re going to stop the drugs from pouring in,” Trump told law enforcement professionals of the…
NORML | February 10, 2017
NEW YORK, NY — Criminal arrests for marijuana possession increased ten percent in 2016 despite former promises from Mayor Bill de Blasio to reduce the city’s total number of cannabis-related prosecutions.
New York City police made over 17,600 arrests last year for which the top charge was marijuana possession in the 5th degree – a class B misdemeanor. Of those charged, 85 percent were either Black or Hispanic. Ninety-six percent were arrested specifically for…
Drug Policy Alliance | February 8, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Senate voted 52 to 47 Wednesday to confirm Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) as Attorney General. Most Republicans voted for him; most Democrats voted against him.
The vote comes after two months of organized opposition as hundreds of organizations expressed concerns about Sessions’s record and racially-charged statements he has made in the…
Drug Policy Alliance | January 19, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC — In his final day in office Thursday, President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 330 more people incarcerated in federal prison for drug offenses.
This brings the number of prisoners who have been granted clemency under President Obama to 1,715.
The commutations and pardons represent the Obama Administration’s push to overhaul the criminal justice system, making it fairer while saving the government money. …
Drug Policy Alliance | January 18, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC — President Barack Obama on Tuesday commuted the sentences of 209 people incarcerated in federal prison, and handed out 64 pardons. This brings the number of prisoners who have been granted clemency under President Obama to 1,597.
The commutations and pardons represent the Obama Administration’s push to overhaul the criminal justice system, making it fairer while saving the government money. President Obama has…
NORML | December 13, 2016
It’s official, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has set January 10-11, 2017 for the confirmation hearing of noted marijuana law reform opponent Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to become the next Attorney General.
Already it appears that Sen. Grassley will…
Drug Policy Alliance | December 7, 2016
WASHINGTON, DC — According to multiple media reports Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump will nominate General John Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security. Kelly served as head of…
President Obama has commuted the sentences of more than a thousand federal drug war prisoners, but thousands more have applications in the pipeline. With an incoming Trump administration exceedingly unlikely to act on those petitions, scholars, activists, and at least one US congressman are calling on Obama to expedite clemency efforts while he still can.
In a Tuesday letter, more than 50 scholars and advocates, including Van Jones and performer John Legend, as well as representatives from the NAACP and the Southern Center for Human…
Drug Policy Alliance | November 22, 2016
WASHINGTON, DC — President Barack Obama on Thursday commuted the sentences of 79 people incarcerated in federal prison, almost all of whom were serving time under outdated and harsh drug sentences. This round of commutations brings the number of prisoners whose sentences have been commuted under President Obama to more than 1,000.
The commutation of these prison sentences represents what the White House hopes will be just one prong…
Drug Policy Alliance | October 27, 2016
WASHINGTON, DC — President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 98 people incarcerated in federal prison serving time under outdated and harsh drug sentences on Wednesday. This brings his total number of clemencies granted to 872 people.
President Obama has been pushed to do more to release those serving time in prison under harsh drug laws.
“This continued historic commutation of prisoners by President Obama is needed to correct the inherent racial…
Nearly a half century after Richard Nixon inaugurated the modern war on drugs, to criticize it as a failure as so common as to be banal. Yet even as marijuana prohibition falls in some states, the drug war rolls on, an assembly line of criminalization and incarceration, dealing devastating blows to the lives of its victims that linger far beyond the jail or prison cell.
And most of its victims are not capos or kingpins, but simple drug users. According to a new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the American Civil Liberties Union…
The chain of events that led to the death of Keith Lamont Scott at the hands of Charlotte Metropolitan Police Department (CMPD) officers and days of civic unrest in North Carolina’s largest city began with a joint, Charlotte police said Saturday.
That makes Scott the 38th person to die in domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.
In an official statement posted on the CMPD’s Facebook page and during a press conference last Saturday afternoon announcing that the department was releasing some police body- and dash-cam…
Marijuana-related arrests in the United States have fallen to their lowest levels since the mid-1990s, according to data released today by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, police made 643,122 arrests for marijuana-related offenses in 2015. Of those arrested, 574,641 (89 percent of all drug-related arrests) were charged with marijuana possession only, not cultivation or trafficking.
The annual arrest total represents more than a 25 percent decline since 2007, when police arrested a record…
The President is Acting; Congress Must Step Up Too
WASHINGTON, DC — President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 111 people incarcerated in federal prison on Tuesday, almost all for drug offenses. This brings his total number of clemencies granted to 673 people. Many of those who received commutations today were victims of the disparity in sentencing between crack and cocaine.
President Obama has been pushed to do more to release those serving time in prison under harsh drug laws.
“The President is doing the right thing, but we hope…
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Federal officials are not permitted to engage in the criminal prosecution of those who are engaged in activity related to medical marijuana absent evidence that the defendants are in clear violation of state law, according to a unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The ruling broadly interprets a 2014 federal budgetary amendment prohibiting the US Justice Department from spending any funds “to prevent … states … from implementing their own state laws that authorize the…
OAKLAND, CA — A new report by the Drug Policy Alliance shows that there were nearly half a million marijuana felony and misdemeanor arrests in California between 2006 and 2015. Thousands of Californians are arrested annually for marijuana misdemeanors and felonies. These arrests are not equal. Black and Latino Californians are arrested for marijuana offenses at disproportionately high rates.
In addition, youth under 18 years of age now make up the majority of misdemeanor arrestees.
In 1996 California became the first state to legalize…
Requires Conviction In Most Cases Before Permanent Loss of Property
SACRAMENTO, CA — Civil asset forfeiture reform legislation authored by Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and David Hadley (R-Torrance) passed the California Assembly Floor by a 67 to 7 vote on Monday.
The bill will require that in all cases where law enforcement seize cash under $40,000, that there be a conviction in the underlying criminal case, before that money flows to law enforcement coffers. The same protection would be afforded homes, land, and vehicles,…
WASHINGTON, DC — Seizures of indoor and outdoor cannabis crops by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) fell in 2015, according to annual data compiled by the US Drug Enforcement Administration.
According to the DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Statistical Report, agents eradicated 4.25 million marijuana plants nationwide in 2015. That total is slightly less than the total reported by the agency for the year 2014 (4.3 million) and continues to the ongoing decline in eradication totals since 2010, when the agency
Some 214 federal drug war prisoners saw their prison sentences commuted Wednesday as President Obama took another step toward fulfilling his administration’s pledge to use his pardon power to cut draconian drug sentences and free prisoners serving decades-long stretches for non-violent drug crimes.
“The power to grant pardons and commutations… embodies the basic belief in our democracy that people deserve a second chance after having made a mistake in their lives that led to a conviction under our laws,” the president said.
Clemencies Come As Paul Ryan Schedules Vote on Sentencing Reform
WASHINGTON, DC — President Barack Obama on Wednesday commuted the sentences of more than 200 people incarcerated in federal prison, almost all for drug offenses. This brings his total number of clemencies granted to 562 people. Many of those who received commutations today were victims of the disparity in sentencing between crack and cocaine.
President Obama has been pushed to do more to release those serving time in prison under harsh drug laws.
“The President should be…
The Republican nominee’s choice of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate means Trump has selected a man who is the very embodiment of last century’s “tough on drugs” prohibitionist attitudes.
Pence’s anti-drug reform stances are part and parcel of his overall social conservative, Tea Party positions. He has also been a strong opponent of gay marriage and abortion rights and a strong supporter of “religious freedom.”
Indiana has tough marijuana laws, with possession of even the smallest amount of pot worth up to six months…
Sixty-five percent of Americans ages 18 and older believe that “government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth” and 55 percent of respondents say that the plant’s use ought to be legal, according to national polling data compiled by YouGov.com.
Those living in the western region of the United States (65 percent), Hispanics (64 percent), Democrats (63 percent), and those under 30 (63 percent) were most likely to endorse legalizing marijuana use. Republicans (45 percent), African Americans (44 percent), and…
WASHINGTON, DC — Eight percent of defendants sentenced to federal prison in 2015 were convicted of violating marijuana laws, according to a June 2016 federal report issued by the United States Sentencing Commission.
According to the report, the US government prosecuted 71,184 cases in 2015 in which the offender was sentenced to federal prison. Nearly one-third (31.8 percent) of these cases were for drug violations – the most common type of case prosecuted by the Feds.
Of these federal drug prosecutions, some 25 percent involved…
Last Friday, more than a hundred Danish police swept into Copenhagen’s hippy enclave of Christiania to attack the hash and weed sellers of the community’s infamous Pusher Street. They tore down 37 stalls and arrested 18 people, carrying off nearly 10 kilos of cannabis by the time they were done.
But it was an exercise in futility. Before police had even left the scene, new stalls had been constructed and new drug sales had taken place.
The raid, coming after previous raid after fruitless raid on Pusher Street, has re-ignited the ongoing…
WASHINGTON, DC — In a pair of decisions released Monday, the US Supreme Court again demonstrated its deference to law enforcement priorities, in one case by expanding an exception to the long-standing ruling requiring that unlawfully gathered evidence be discarded and in another by holding that drug dealers, even those engaged only in street-corner sales, are engaged in interstate commerce.
The two decisions expand the ability of local police to skirt the law without effective punishment on the one hand, and allow prosecutors to use the…
Bill is First Step Toward Comprehensive Plan to Redress Harms of the War on Drugs in Communities of Color; As Legislative Clock Winds Down, Advocates and Assemblymembers Urge Senate to Quickly Pass the Companion Bill in the Senate
ALBANY, NY — On Wednesday, the New York State Assembly voted in support of Assembly Bill 10092, a bill that will seal the criminal records of people who have been unjustly and unconstitutionally arrested for simple possession of marijuana in public view. The bipartisan vote was 99 in favor and 42 opposed.
WASHINGTON, DC — Federal marijuana trafficking prosecutions have declined significantly since the passage of statewide laws regulating the plant’s production and retail sale to adults, according to data provided by the United States Sentencing Commission.
According to the new report, the number of marijuana trafficking offenders prosecuted at the federal level fell dramatically after 2012 — declining from over 6,000 annually to fewer than 4,000 in 2015.
“The number of marijuana traffickers rose slightly over time until a sharp decline…
WASHINGTON, DC — President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 58 people incarcerated in federal prison for drug offenses on Thursday. This follows the commutation of 61 individuals on March 30, 2016, 95 people in December of 2015, 45 people in July, 22 people in March 2015, and 8 people in December of 2014.
All of those who received commutations Thursday were serving time in prison for nonviolent drug offenses, and many were victims of the disparity in sentencing between crack and cocaine.
President Obama has been under…
WASHINGTON, DC — President Barack Obama on Wednesday commuted the sentences of 61 people incarcerated in federal prison for drug offenses.
This follows the commutation of 95 people in December, 2015, 45 people in July of that year, 22 people in March 2015, and 8 people in December of 2014. All of those who received commutations today were serving time in prison for nonviolent drug offenses, and many were victims of the disparity in sentencing between crack and cocaine.
President Obama has been under significant public pressure from…
A decades old quote from President Nixon’s administration is making front page news and being shared widely around the web. The quote from John Ehrlichman, who served as President Richard Nixon’s domestic policy chief gained new notoriety after appearing in a cover story in Harper’s Magazine by author Dan Baum.
“You want to know what this was really all about,” Ehrlichman, who died in 1999, said, referring to Nixon’s declaration of war on drugs. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies:…
Is less marijuana entering the US from Mexico today than in years past? According to newly released data provided by the US Border Patrol, the answer may be ‘yes.’
Federal statistics reveal that law enforcement seized an estimated 1.5 million pounds of marijuana at the US/Mexico border in 2015.
That total is the lowest amount reported in a decade and continues a steady year-by-year decline in seizure volume that began in 2009, when nearly 4 million tons of cannabis were confiscated.
Overall, 99.8 percent of all marijuana seized by federal…
South Carolina Voters Mirror Attitudes in New Hampshire About Reforming Drug Laws
A large majority of South Carolina presidential primary voters across party lines support ending mass incarceration, and a substantial majority support decriminalizing drug possession outright, according to a new poll released by the Drug Policy Alliance.
70 percent of voters in the upcoming first Southern state primary consider substantially reducing the number of Americans in prison an important issue, including majorities of Democrats, Republicans and…
Majorities of Republicans, Democrats and Independents Oppose Arresting People for Simple Possession of Any Drug, Want Health Insurers to Provide Treatment and Support Eliminating Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Non-Violent Drug Offenders
CONCORD, NH — A substantial majority of New Hampshire presidential primary voters support decriminalizing drug possession, according to a new poll released by the Drug Policy Alliance.
Sixty-six percent of voters in the first-in-the-nation primary, including half of all Republicans and 68% of independents,…
January 24, 2016 9:24 AM
PHARR, TX — First carrots, now limes. For the second time this month, border cops have seized over a ton of suspected marijuana disguised as fresh produce.
According to a press release issued Friday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge uncovered a substantial amount of marijuana disguised as limes while inspecting a commercial import shipment of fresh limes arriving from Mexico on January 15.
January 14, 2016 3:15 AM
PHARR, TX — Well, that’s one way to get people to eat their vegetables.
Officials with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection say they seized 2,493 pounds of marijuana hidden in a shipment of carrots earlier this week.
According to a press release issued Wednesday, CBP officers assigned to the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility encountered a tractor trailer truck loaded with a commercial shipment of fresh carrots arriving from Mexico on…
Vermont’s Former Top Law Enforcement Official Backs Effort to End Marijuana Prohibition in 2016, Appears in Ads Highlighting the Benefits of Regulating Marijuana
MONTPELIER, VT — A former top state law enforcement official has thrown his support behind the effort to end marijuana prohibition in Vermont in 2016.
In a statement released Tuesday, former Vermont Attorney General Kimberly Cheney voiced his support for regulating marijuana in Vermont:
“As a former attorney general of Vermont, I am committed to bringing awareness to the…
LePage’s Outrageous Remarks Harken Back to the Racist Origins of the Drug War
Maine Republican Governor Paul LePage is drawing outrage over racist remarks about out of state drug sellers, “…with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty” impregnating the “young white” girls of Maine.
The comments came at a townhall meeting when LePage was asked to address substance abuse in the state.
“LePage’s comments sound like those of an unreconstructed racist,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Whether one…
Police Currently Take More of Citizens’ Assets Than Thieves Do
WASHINGTON, DC — The Department of Justice released a memorandum addressed to local, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies Monday to announce that the equitable sharing program for asset forfeiture funds has been temporarily suspended due to financial considerations.
This means that state and local law enforcement can no longer expect to receive a share of federal funds confiscated through the process of civil asset forfeiture, a method by which law enforcement can seize…
Request for Gubernatorial Reprieve by Drug Policy Alliance Urges Louisiana Governor to Free Mr. Bernard Noble
NEW ORLEANS, LA —The Drug Policy Alliance has formally requested the Louisiana Governor to grant Bernard Noble a gubernatorial reprieve and release Mr. Noble from prison, where he has served more than four years behind bars having been sentenced to a term of 13.3 years of hard labor without the opportunity for parole for possessing the equivalent of two marijuana cigarettes.
Pursuant to Article IV, Section 5 of the Louisiana…
- Carbondale traffic stop nets 160 bags of heroinApril 27, 2017 - 7:28 am
- Pot-license “points” systems in Aurora, Thornton invite legal scrutinyApril 27, 2017 - 5:00 am
- Can Decriminalizing Marijuana Lead to Higher Wages? Study Says Yes.April 27, 2017 - 4:45 am
- Alcohol, tobacco interests eyeing Michigan marijuana marketApril 27, 2017 - 3:30 am
- New studies shine light on cannabis consumers’ spending habitsApril 26, 2017 - 10:24 pm
- Week in Review: RI rec push slows, pushback on California cannabis plan & China opportunityApril 21, 2017 - 3:30 am
- CA marijuana distributor to launch ‘institute’ serving small growersApril 18, 2017 - 11:00 am
- Pushback on California proposal to merge rec, medical MJ systemsApril 17, 2017 - 5:00 am
- May 2017 (19)
- April 2017 (307)
- March 2017 (318)
- February 2017 (292)
- January 2017 (261)
- December 2016 (287)
- November 2016 (182)
- October 2016 (190)
- September 2016 (254)
- August 2016 (272)
- July 2016 (283)
- June 2016 (248)
- May 2016 (92)
- April 2016 (320)
- March 2016 (539)
- February 2016 (496)
- January 2016 (581)
- December 2015 (548)
- November 2015 (557)
- October 2015 (52)
- September 2015 (29)
- August 2015 (62)
- July 2015 (82)
- June 2015 (94)
- May 2015 (69)
- April 2015 (8)
- March 2015 (35)
- February 2015 (25)
- January 2015 (12)