Send comments, tips,
and suggestions to:
DrugWarRant
Join us on Pete's couch.
couch

DrugWarRant.com, the longest running single-issue blog devoted to drug policy, is published by the Prohibition Isn't Free Foundation
facebooktwitterrss
March 2013
M T W T F S S
« Feb   Apr »
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Archives

Authors

One Million

Huffington Post Up In Smoke

This was the front page of the Huffington Post yesterday.

NYPD Spent 1 Million Hours Making 440,000 Marijuana Possession Arrests Over Last Decade

NEW YORK — The NYPD spent 1 million hours making 440,000 arrests for low-level marijuana possession charges between 2002 and 2012, according to a new report released Tuesday — just as legislative leaders in Albany are deciding whether to pass a bill reforming drug laws.

This is a powerful indictment of the incredible waste of law enforcement resources involved in going after marijuana users.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

61 comments to One Million

  • stlgonzo

    This is proof that the main underlying reason for the drug war is to control minorities. Nearly 85% are black or hispanic, and 9 in 10 people stopped are innocent.

  • Jean Valjean

    The loss of approx $20 m. to the taxpayer pales into insignificance compared to the damage done to the 440,000 people who now have a felony drug record as a result of this policy.

    • stlgonzo

      Most are misdemeanors but I understand what you are getting @.

      • Jean Valjean

        I believe the federal government designated all drug convictions as felonies for many purposes connected with the fed, i.e. federal employment, immigration, student and other fed loans, eviction from federal and local housing and many more. This is why a cannabis arrest is so damaging for the rest of a victims life…meanwhile kevin sabet can go around minimizing the consequences to others of his fluffy prohibition-lite.

        • stlgonzo

          Maybe I’m missing something, but how is an arrest and conviction in NYC a federal crime? Are you saying that that if you have a misdemeanor pot bust on the local level that means you are a convicted felon to the feds?

          I can speak from some experience on the subject and I am not considered a convicted felon.

        • divadab

          stlgonzo – a NYC marijuana conviction is not a federal crime but it has major significance in the person;s relationship with the feds. For example, a person with a marijuana conviction is no longer eligible for many fed programs, including student loans. Also unable to enter Canada or most other countries – effectively, they are now a prisoner of the UNited States.

          It’s a cruel and stupid and unjust regime. By a cruel and stupid and unjust government, apparently.

        • stlgonzo

          I guess mine are too old. I have not been prevented from any of that.

          Although the only thing I have done is travel outside the country.

        • Jean Valjean

          I believe (and I haven’t checked this for a long time)that in 1996 as part of the anti-immigrant/anti drug-user laws passed by Clinton and Newt Gingrich, the doj re-categorized any and all drug offences as felonies for immigration purposes, and other federal concerns.

        • Maria

          I guess that here it becomes evident how the system works and how glaringly unjust, random, and seemingly based on judicial whims it can be depending on who’s under the gun. This leads to situations were two people convicted of the same thing can end up being treated completely differently.

          Or it can lead to a record coming back to haunt a person years down the road when it can be used as leverage or simply because it’s there and has not been expunged.

          A misdemeanor drug conviction “can but can also not” impact child custody and adoption situations, employment especially when security clearance is an issue, travel, and various forms of federal aid such as student loans/housing/financial aid.

          There are of course limitations on how long these convictions remain on record however the process and cost involved in expunging a record is not something that is easily accessible to all convicts.

          tl:dr. The system is stacked in such a way that those who get caught up in it, especially if they are already caught up in it, are unlikely to get out of it without long term damage.

          (Not a lawyer, just rambling.)

        • stlgonzo

          That would explain it mine are from before that.

        • Jean Valjean

          Stilgonzo: this law was made retroactive, so as far as the feds are concerned a drug conviction record is for life. Be grateful that you have US citizenship because if you didn’t you could lose your right to remain in the US with your family. Exile is a pretty steep price to pay for a minor possession bust where “nobody goes to jail” according to Kevin Sabet

        • Jean Valjean

          Stilgonzo: here’s a little more info on this law “It also applied retroactively, so that noncitizens convicted of crimes that would not have rendered them deportable before 1996 suddenly faced deportation after Congress passed AEDPA and IIRIRA.18
          In the years between 1996 and 2001, the immigration system bought into the “severity revolution” occurring within the criminal justice system.6 Some describe it as the “criminalization” of immigration law,7 whereas others describe it as a convergence between the criminal justice and deportation systems.8 Under either characterization, the interaction of the two systems produced outcomes that were unprecedented, and even unintentional at times, in their harshness. For example, criminal sentencing enhancements for past offenses coalesced with immigration law’s enhanced “aggravated felony” designation to man[*PG4]date the incarceration9 and removal10 of noncitizens with mere misdemeanor convictions on their criminal records.11 These outcomes aided the advance of not only the crime control agenda of the War on Drugs, but the social reform agenda of retrenching the welfare state as well.12

          The most significant immigration reforms enacted by Congress during this era dramatically enhanced collateral civil penalties pertaining to noncitizens. Two major immigration laws enacted in 1996—the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA)— subjected both noncitizens convicted of crimes and those with past criminal convictions to mandatory detention and deportation without the avenues of relief traditionally available to detainable and deportable aliens.13
          Prior to these reforms, only certain serious felony convictions subjected noncitizens to detention and deportation, such as murder, drug and firearms trafficking.14 The 1996 legislation, however, greatly expanded the litany of crimes subjecting foreigners to detention and de[*PG5]portation.15 Today, a single misdemeanor conviction of one year or more for a crime as minor as shoplifting subjects a non-U.S. citizen to detention and deportation.16 This expansion of the types of crimes mandating detention and deportation applied to all categories of noncitizens, including lawful permanent residents (“LPRs” or “green card holders”), long privileged as aliens on the “fast track” to citizenship.17 It also applied retroactively, so that noncitizens convicted of crimes that would not have rendered them deportable before 1996 suddenly faced deportation after Congress passed AEDPA and IIRIRA.18

          http://www.bc.edu/dam/files/schools/law/lawreviews/journals/bctwj/25_1/04_TXT.htm

  • claygooding

    Does the million hours include the innocent stops,the searches that fail to turn up drugs?

    It is Obama’s inaction on racially motivated policies that worries me most and causes wonder that no more protests from the targeted victims is being sustained.

    The minute the bounty money for marijuana arrests ends so does this crime,,,hoping Lehey comes through in the budget hearings,,waiting for them once more hoping for change.

    That would be a nice thud.

  • Hah!

    so… like NY police could make better use of that 300 hours A DAY? And like those 120 people arrested each day have something better to do?

    Comply. It is futile to resist.

  • […] var sppc_width = '300'; var sppc_height = '250'; var sppc_palette = '21'; var sppc_user = '17'; One Million This was the front page of the Huffington Post yesterday. NYPD Spent 1 Million Hours Making […]

  • Jean Valjean

    Other ways to waste the taxpayer’s money, this time in the UK

    “Your chance to grass up the neighbours: ‘Scratch and sniff’ cannabis cards to be posted to thousands of UK homes by Crimestoppers to aid police crackdown on marijuana farms
    Cards come with a list of ‘signs to look out’, as well as a paper panel which releases a strong odour of cannabis when scratched…”

    http://tinyurl.com/cbnrt9o

    • Tony Aroma

      I bet cops will be waiting outside for the first whiff of a scratched card, which would of course be grounds for a search warrant. And you’d better not be carrying one of those cards around in your car, especially when they call in the dogs. And what if you get some of that stuff on your hands while scratching? Do you smell like weed all day? Maybe it’s just me, but this seems like a bad idea.

      • Tony Aroma

        Just thinking it could work the other way too. Carry one around in your car, and if you’re stopped and the cop smells something, say you just scratched the card.

      • claygooding

        with your monicker we understand,,perhaps they should drop the cards in every trash receptacle in the police dept.

      • I think prohibitionist scratch and sniff cards could be issued – you know, like with Kevins pic on it. I leave it up to your imagination what the sniff part is. You know, like the deck of cards used in Iran during the search for the terrorist top dogs.

    • pt

      Every home with a skunk problem is guilty until proven innocent by SWAT team invasion, Dogicide, handcuffing of children and thrashing of precious family heirlooms!

  • dave grunt

    “Scratch and sniff”, canabis cards,eh? I wonder if the odour is from the real deal or artificial. If the former, might not that, in itself, be construed as possession and, indeed, does the department issuing the cards ergo become a trafficker? Just musin’.

  • divadab

    AT a very conservative $75 per hour, this equates to spending $75 million over ten years, or $7.5 million per year on this epic waste.

    $7.5 million would pay the annual salary and benefits of 100 teachers. But instead it;s spent on mindless enforcement of a stupid law. Apparently to keep the brown people down.

    Sick society. Sick leadership.

  • darkcycle

    Meet the new news, same as the old news:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21840052

  • Just/in

    New Hampshire residents hoping to use marijuana to treat symptoms of serious illnesses are getting support from the House, which has passed a proposal sanctioning five dispensaries and allowing patients or caregivers to grow up to three adult marijuana plants.

    The House voted 286-64 on Wednesday passing a medical marijuana bill with a veto-proof majority. It’s the fourth time in six years such a bill has passed the House.

    http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130320/AP02/303209963

    • Duncan20903

      Veto proof is a nice statement, but the NH Governor is already on board so there’s not going to be any veto.

  • darkcycle

    Officer retraining….with milk bones. Washington state is desensitizing sniffer dogs to Cannabis.
    http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Legal-pot-means-big-changes-for-states-drug-sniffing-dogs-199043431.html

  • Here is the other end of the spectrum: Unfair Punishments
    http://tinyurl.com/cz2dd67

    I can recall the movies “Escape from NY” and “Escape from LA” where they just put a big fence around the city to keep people in. We are in the process of doing the same here in the US now but its not a movie. No fences needed. The Altantic ocean and Pacific ocean on one side are now our fences, the Canadian and Mexican borders are the boundaries in the opposite directions. The drug war is an awful bad real life Hollywood thriller.

    • The idea seems to be to funnel a certain segment of the population into the prison system, or to force them off of all unapproved drugs – pretty black and white.

      • claygooding

        They either have to hire illegal aliens,start sweatshops in countries where allowed or keep a slave worker force maintained to keep production costs down,,,can you imagine when states realize they have a prison population capable of growing Afghan Kush?

  • O/T

    From Dirk Hanson’s blog:

    Taking Aim at Pot—Researchers have recently made clinical efforts to test three drugs that might help during marijuana withdrawal to keep pot abstainers on the straight and narrow. Researchers at Columbia University, led by Margaret Haney, have been testing a synthetic THC compound called nabilone. The drug is designed to address sleep and appetite problems during withdrawal. Whether it is any better tolerated by users than Marinol, Uncle Sam’s widely unpopular version of synthetic THC, remains to be seen. This approach can be viewed rather like methadone or buprenorphine substitution therapy. Meanwhile, work goes on with lofexidine, a drug sometimes used in combination with naltrexone for opiate detoxification. A 2008 study in Psychopharmacology showed a modest improvement over placebo when lofexidine was used for marijuana abstinence, but it worked much better when combined with, yes, synthetic THC. Finally, velafaxine, better known as the antidepressant Effexor, was used in a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial of marijuana-dependent outpatients recently published in Addiction. Not only did velafaxine fail to help the patients with their cannabis dependence, but in fact “may lead to an increase in cannabis use.”

    It will be interesting if the methadone model will appeal to cannabis users.

    • allan

      Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSe38dzJYkY

      and DWR remembers me again~!

    • darkcycle

      The problem with replacement drug therapy (the anti seizure drug Neurontin has been studied as well) in the case of Cannabis is a real WTF sort of thing. If “harm reduction” is the goal in replacement therapy, then in the case of Cannabis, every drug proposed is significantly MORE dangerous than pot. More instances of side effects, more fatalities, more intoxication.
      The goal in replacement therapy in the case of marijuana seems to b, to replace it with any drug that is legally sanctioned. Regardless of whether it is more addctive or harmful. Seems like idiocy to me. The only sensible maintanence drug for Cannabis would be…cannabis.

      • allan

        is there an echo . e . c . h . o . in here? was just on that frequency m’self. Truly a KMA/WTF moment in western pharmacological “medicine” (emphatic finger quotes on that one).

      • Duncan20903

        Well it’s about time that I get a little love from my State’s legislature:
        In Maryland, marijuana possession gets a more fitting penalty

      • divadab

        DC – yes!!!! Hemp flower medicine is a regulator. It’s helpful for people with toxic addictions like alcohol – it can help people deal with the issues and wean themselves off their toxic habit. Now, hemp flower medicine can also become habitual – but it’s a benign habit, non-toxic and non-addictive. A good habit, on other words!

      • The goal in replacement therapy in the case of marijuana seems to b, to replace it with any drug that is legally sanctioned. Regardless of whether it is more addctive or harmful.

        Exactly DC. Take methadone for example, why give an extremely potent synthetic opioid to treat addiction to potent semi-synthetic opiates (heroin, oxy)? It makes no sense, especially since the withdrawal from methadone is much worse than heroin/oxy. Not worse in intensity, but the withdrawal last much, much longer with methadone.

        The government doesn’t authorize methadone for “addicts” (similar to cannabis many so-called opiate addicts are just self-medicating with a prohibited medicine) because it cares about their well-being and happiness. They give out methadone because it reduces crime and criminal justice costs and health care costs due to overdose, HIV and Hep C infections, ect (almost all due to prohibition). Better results could be achieved with pharmaceutical heroin, or even opium itself. But those are illegal (technically opium is schedule II but when’s the last time you heard of someone getting a prescription for opium?), while methadone is an officially recognized treatment. Of course methadone is also fully synthetic and thus easier for the government to control since it must come from a pharmaceutical firm (any clandestine chemist talented enough to synth methadone would make fentanyl instead). Unlike opium which users could grow themselves or in co-ops.

        Also methadone, when taken regularly provides little to no euphoria. Why that is considered a good thing is beyond me. Our society has a real problem with the notion of ingesting chemicals for pleasure.

    • John

      Venlafaxine (Effexor) has one of the wickedest withdrawal snydromes known. Google “venlafaxine withdrawal” for the gory details, if you have the time read some of the forums of users looking for help and read their horrifying stories.

      It would take a real sick masochistic pos doctor to substitute a venlafaxine addiction for a cannabis habit. But I understand their is no shortage of such people working in the rehab industry.

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        ??? I gave Effexor a try back in the mid 1990s. It didn’t last long because it made me my skin crawl most horridly if anyone touched it. That even for something as casual as shaking hands but also meant it was getting in between my wife and I so it had to go. But I don’t recall any particular, or even general discomfort when I quit. As a matter of fact I associate quitting that shit with good feelings, e.g. my wife could touch my skin again. I only used it for a few weeks, perhaps as many as 6 but from my experience it was long enough and regular enough that I should have experienced some discomfort if it was going to cause withdrawal.

  • Federal drug Bible:
    Produce no drug that causes its user to “feel good”

    When marijuana activists pointed out the obvious fact that vicodin and other opiate related drugs were being abused with deadly and fatal consequences, the Federal punishment was to lock down so hard on these drugs that no MD or regular physician will any longer prescribe them without the assumption that if it has been asked for it is being abused. My wife has been in severe pain for weeks and lost her family doctor recently due to his retirement. She is disabled with several illnesses that actually require something for pain. Shingles, spinal stenosis,hip displasia, and some other things. My wife was brought up believing marijuana was a dangerous and harmful substance. She has maintained that viewpoint until now. No local doctor or clinic has been willing to prescribe her any substance capable of giving her any relief from her suffering. The emergency room finally did after thousands of dollars were spent in needless office visits and emergencies. 15 pills.
    With no other relief in sight she recently snitched a brownie from me one night. Her pain became tolerable. Her IBS has come under control. Her depression was lifted, and her pain subsided. Right now, she feels as though she is in fear because she is breaking the law, but refuses to beg for more pills. She says the law be damned, and she will continue to smoke and eat marijuana for her health and relief until she gets a recommendation from a doctor (or for that matter whether she gets a recommendation or not at this point).

    This subject is so close to home for me. She has suffered for weeks but is not suffering now. She has been able to do some small things around the house and get out of her chair. She feels happy.

    Damn this drug war.

    • claygooding

      And now your brownie stash is in danger.

    • divadab

      My wife has a friend with similar issues – she has MS, with severe hand shaking to the point of not being able to hold a cup of tea steady with her right hand. My wife gave her some ganja food and for three hours her shaking was gone and she could have a chat and a cup of tea in comfort without embarrassment in a public place.

      BUT – she grew up in a small town where the “bad people” took drugs and she is a good girl. A cheerleader then and now a responsible loving Mom. She just can;t bring herself to go to the dispensary for a natural medicine that works because of the stigma.

      How cruel to make a beneficial herb illegal and deprive people of such useful medicine. For the sake of the drug warriors I hope there is a Hell because that’s where they’re going.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      Produce no drug that causes its user to “feel good”

      …then there are the idiots that object to drinking alcohol laws getting called on the carpet explaining that drinking alcohol is OK to be legal because there are people who drink it but don’t drink it to get high. AKA “Linkletter logic.”

      • claygooding

        I grew up in Tornado Alley,,located in rectangular area in three states,OK,TX and KS,,now TA has moved to the NE and covers N.AR,MO and IN as seen in the repeated increase of tornadoes occurring every spring in those states.

        My area of TX has gone from being dry plains to nearly desert conditions because of this shift,,the rainfall has decreased to the levels of the Midland-Odessa region of Texas five years ago and they are swiftly becoming desert regions,,,everything has shifted to the northeast.

        How much farther it will shift is unclear as warming oceans determine weather patterns on land but we may be trucking drinking water in within a few years,,out aqueduct table is down 9 ft with many wells going dry,,look for a major shift in population from TX to northern states within 10 years of having to ship in drinking water.

    • Windy

      “Produce no drug that causes its user to ‘feel good'”

      Not quite true, there is Valium (my sister-in-law was hooked on that for years, may still be for all I know, I have no contact with her, anymore) and Soma (hubby is enjoying that each evening, since his back went to hell after he broke his ankle on 1/1/13; it doesn’t completely stop the back pain, unfortunately, but it DOES make it more bearable and may help more the longer he takes it, according to the Dr.), and alcohol (judging by what I hear, it doesn’t make ME feel good, though I enjoy the taste of some drinks), and I’m sure there are others, as well. The demonization of some drugs but not others seems to be based on who makes money from the drugs, and not on their effects on users or their addictive nature.

  • Francis

    Yes, the war on certain drugs is an incredible “waste” of law enforcement resources, money, time, etc. I’ve certainly made that argument, and I’ll continue to make it (because some people find it a persuasive one). But at the same time I can’t help bristling at it a little when I think about the barbarism, violence, human suffering, and death caused by the drug war. It’s a little bit like watching the police turn the firehoses on black civil rights protesters in the ’60s and remarking, “gosh, that seems like a waste of water.” Well… yes, it certainly is, but um, don’t you have any other–perhaps more important–objections to what you’re witnessing?

    • Duncan20903

      That’s just on the left coast. Here on the right side of the country we don’t worry about wasting water, we’ve got plenty.

  • Yet more evidence of my tax money being well spent by a government that obviously has our best interests in mind.

  • Servetus

    Abby Haglage interviews Mark Kleiman at the Daily Beast.

    Dr. Kleiman says he doesn’t want to be called ‘Pot Czar’ or ‘Chief Pothead’ for his consulting role in Washington’s marijuana legalization program. He’s charging the state $292 per-hour for Botec’s involvement.

    http://tinyurl.com/cobarns

    • Duncan20903

      Well no one can honestly call him a cheap whore.

    • Nunavut Tripper

      “When CNN’s Erin Burnett asked in an interview whether you smoke pot, you said you’ll always answer this question with the same answer: “None of your business.”

      I wonder if Mark likes to burn one when no one is looking.
      Anyway I’ll give him credit for giving the right answer.

      • Francis

        “None of your business.”

        Yeah, it’s only the government’s business what adults choose to put in their bodies. Right, Mark?

        • strayan

          costbenefitanalysiscostbenefitanalysiscostbenefitanalysiscostbenefitanalysiscostbenefitanalysiscostbenefitanalysiscostbenefitanalysiscostbenefitanalysiscostbenefitanalysiscostbenefitanalysiscostbenefitanalysiscostbenefitanalysiscostbenefitanalysiscostbenefitanalysiscostbenefitanalysiscostbenefitanalysiscostbenefitanalysiscostbenefitanalysis
          ERROR
          ERROR
          ERROR
          UNABLE TO COMPUTE…

    • strayan

      It’s interesting that Mark admits he doesn’t eat heathily.

      I think some additional surveillance is in order.

      Cannabists and opiophiles cop it so why shouldn’t he?

  • claygooding

    My gf just told me the spark was gone from our relationship,,so I tazed her,,will ask her if the spark is back when she gets coherent.

  • War Vet

    We should force cops to pay for this out of their own checks, not ours. If having half a paycheck isn’t worth the fight, then maybe even spending someone else’s money isn’t either. And they wonder why the people don’t like them as much as they used to: cops do no work, offer no solutions to a better tomorrow or economy, they don’t manufacture nor sell any consumer goods at a time when jobs will make or break a nation and they are disobeying the will of the people, who is the government, which means cops get paid to not work and to break the law. Investing in cops is like investing in telegraph companies . . . society is far safer without them if this is what they have to offer and to show for their work.