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October 2015
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A drop in the bucket

… but a good step.

6,000 inmates to be freed as US eases drug sentences

The Justice Department is preparing to release about 6,000 inmates from federal prisons starting at the end of this month, as part of an effort to ease overcrowding and roll back the penalties given to nonviolent drug dealers in the 1980s and 1990s, federal law enforcement officials said. […]

The release will be one the largest discharges of inmates from federal prisons in American history. It coincides with an intensifying bipartisan effort to ease the mass incarcerations that followed decades of tough sentencing for drug offenses, such as dealing crack cocaine, and that have taken a particularly harsh toll on minorities.

“Today’s announcement is nothing short of thrilling because it carries justice,” said Jesselyn McCurdy, a senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union. “Far too many people have lost years of their lives to draconian sentencing laws born of the failed drug war. People of color have had to bear the brunt of these misguided and cruel policies. We are overjoyed that some of the people so wronged will get their freedom back.” […]

“The drug war has devastated families and communities, and it is time for the healing to begin,” said Anthony Papa, a spokesman at the Drug Policy Alliance, who spent 12 years behind bars on a mandatory minimum drug sentence.

We’ve got a long way to go — so many people are caught up in the criminal justice system because of the drug war. But maybe, we’re moving in the right direction.

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43 comments to A drop in the bucket

  • jean valjean

    A drop in the bucket indeed. About 30 million people in the US have had their lives permanently blighted by drug convictions. When are they going to start rolling back the collateral damage caused by these convictions for an arbitrarily created non-crime?

    OT
    Republican hypocrites’ corner (plus Bill Clinton, of course):
    http://www.alternet.org/drugs/gross-hypocrisy-where-top-9-republican-presidential-candidates-stand-pot

  • claygooding

    As long as it isn’t another token response never to be repeated but since the DEA and nearly every other letter gang has proven,,,common sense has nothing to do with policy.
    It should be responded to by state judicial systems very soon,,at least investigations into lowering prison populations..being #1 in citizens imprisoned is not what we the people created.

    Releasing prisoners is still not cutting the DEA budget or correcting their corruption while they will continue to fund law enforcement/prosecutors for continuing the arrests..still war on drugs at the street level.

  • Daniel Williams

    Perhaps the most distressing part is that Obama expects accolades and a bit of ass kissing for his efforts. Fuck the drug war and fuck Obama for continuing it. His incremental approach to remedies is just as feckless as the incremental approach taken by drug policy advocates expecting the same defference. Birds of a feather and all that…

  • darkcycle

    Drop in the bucket indeed. But it’s a start.
    Ya gotta start somewhere.
    My hope is this will be the start of a general reluctance to charge more of these cases. Arguably, it’s more important to stop bringing these charges into court going forward.

    • darkcycle

      Not sure what prompted the thumbs down. Certainly nobody wants absurdly long sentences to continue to be the norm. Unless this is Daniel’s way of expressing his displeasure that I disagree with him on this (as I have tended to disagree with his “all or nothing” approach in the past, and likely will,well into the future). So, ‘fess up…who’s the unhappy party, and what’s the disagreement?
      Same, I’m sure, goes for Servetus below..

      • Daniel Williams

        Sorry dude, not me. But it’s nice to know I’m you’re go-to guy whenever you find someone disagreeing with you. (Perhaps Pete could install something that would identify those who hit the dislike box.) In any event, whenever I disagree with a comment, I will make a reply, eschewing anonymity. It seems I’m one of the very few here on Pete’s couch that doesn’t use an alias.

        And regarding my “all or nothing” approach: For over 40 years drug policy reform leaders have deemed the incremental approach as the only way to make progress. My point, and it’s a valid one, is that had we focused on repealing the whole of drug prohibition during the past 4 decades, instead of focusing on the smallest fraction of drug consumers; medical marijuana patients (and the least violent component of the problem), we would be farther along than we are today. And, as importantly, the proliferation of research chemicals and other dangerous bootleg substances would not have come to pass.

        Additionally, drug policy reform leaders have yet to answer this basic question: When (although ‘if’ still has merit) marijuana use is the law of the land, what drug or group of drugs will you champion next? Cocaine? MDMA? Heroin? LSD? Because every leader says they support repealing drug prohibition, so a second act will be required. At the current rate of reform, it could be another 40 years before additional reforms come to fruition.

        And the real danger of incrementalism is that, when reform leaders pitch their second act, prohibitionists will scream “Sit down and shut the fuck up. We gave you marijuana.” You may disagree, and if you do, what is your solution?

        • NorCalNative

          Daniel, a friend of Leonard is a friend of mine.

          As to your question about what drug to champion next?

          ALL OF IT. I’m not interested in the “I got mine–now fuck-off” game, EVEN though my quality-of-life DEPENDS on cannabis.

          We’re dealing with a PREDATORY business-model. Solving cannabis leaves the model intact for PREDATORS and the investors who love to make money on human suffering.

          I stand for ALL OF US.

          And, in regard to the alias, if I think your shit stinks I’ll be sure to let you and ANYONE else know who downed-the-thumb.

          It’d would be a heck of a lot easier to champion LSD if I could freaking find some. I haven’t been on that journey since GW was President. BTW, have you seen the video of David Nutt “injecting” LSD into “patients?”

          I SO recognized that immediate look of bliss.

        • Daniel Williams

          NorCalNative: ALL OF IT – and therein lies the rub…

          From all my research on Silk Road and its successors, true lsd was not that difficult to obtain. Apparently, in some of the eastern-block countries, the precursors needed for production are, also, not that difficult to obatain. In any event, I switched to mushrooms about a decade ago. Lots of cows here in Florida…

          Have not seen the video you referenced, but will look for it. Seems a bit odd, though, that injection, rather than the conventional, oral route, would be the choice of transmission.

        • DdC

          Damn Daniel I sure do miss those purple ring shrooms…

      • Servetus

        It looks like another drive-by trolling. As usual, the idiots forgot to bring their ammunition. They only read as far as my posting to decide they couldn’t take it anymore, and then retreated.

        • B. Snow

          Daniel W.,
          I’m sure that there will be few people pursuing greater use of “research chemicals” that 99% of people (tend to) use now as a substitute for what they truly want to ingest… were it easily available.

          Oh, and I’m sorry but that ‘silk road’ route to buying LSD (or what-have-you) = is far from “easily accessible”. You would need TOR, a deepweb browser, and Bitcoins or idk PayPal, or maybe something to barter with??

          That’s way too much hassle and risk to obtain something that, *you hope is what you actually want to obtain*, and not some ‘research chemical(s) masquerading as what you really wanted.

          It’s much easier to procure MJ = depending on where you live I guess…

          The only drug that has ever been “successfully” prohibited in the US is (arguably) Qualuudes anecdotal example = Newsweek: Do People Still Take Quaaludes?

          The article’s existence IMO is relatively decent proof of this, AFAIK the number of sources for the precursor chemicals were quite limited, and that – in addition to the risk of overdose/death when taken with alcohol, led to its effective disappearance.

          One could argue that there are/were more readily available substitutes – and that might lead to the conclusion that it wasn’t really *prohibited* successfully, But rather that this was an instance where practicality won the day. *shrug*

          If you ended the prohibition of drugs in general, and let consumers choose their drugs more normally – like they do with similar products – I’m confident that people would (for the most part) settle into using a couple of ‘brands’ of each of the major types of drugs.

          I believe we would see some basic “staple” drugs, and the “anything & everything ” users would be truly niche users = Like those people that first used LSD, Psilocybin and other psychedelics.

          And the folks that took part in “The Acid Tests” = where they were fairly responsible about it, using the buddy syatem aka ‘babysitting’/guiding each other – which has been discussed in a few places.

          There’s a “Dinner For Five” episode where the conversation goes into all that, its worth finding (at least) that episode – or even a clip of just that bit…

          Along the same/similar line, I highly recommend reading the book “Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream” – by Jay Stevens – which covers much of the history of the “psychedelic movement”, its not a super easy read – But, very much worth the effort!

          Sorry for wandering OT a bit. But this Incrementalism Vs. Everything argument is going to happen about every 5 mins until we legalize marijuana, and at least one natural psychedelic IMHO it will be psilocybin – although the case/argument for a pharma version has a better chance in this case.

          Given the chance of toxicity in wild mushrooms, iffyness of spore printing, and from what I’ve read, hit-or-miss odds of growing your own “magic mushrooms”…

          We might see advances in that area AND my point here is when people ask the inevitable next question, aka

          So, what’s next then? *My* answer, and IMHO *Our* answer should be psilocybin and/or maybe peyote… Because *The children* wouldn’t be into the nausea involved!

          Again an artificial version could have merit here – if only because of the rarity of the natural peyote ‘buttons’ – Unless I’m mistaken and someone solved this potential hurdle?

    • DdC

      Wasn’t my td, but it’s not a drop in the bucket. Its 6 human beings out of a thousand released for a noncrime. Crumbs to the starving is nothing to settle for. We’ve been down so god damn long it all looks like up, but ain’t. Compromising on insanity, leaves insanity. Like a little bit pregnant. The breast cancer spare changers while cannabis isn’t considered. More money for fat pharma research on a cancer cure for their 91 billion in profits treating cancer. Wonder how that’s going?

      Cancer google+

      Getting tiring tossing drowning people life preservers when they just curse and toss them back. My understanding is that Obama can’t touch State prisoners, serving the same time in more draconian conditions. Giving cops laws to punish us on a state level. Seems as odd as not releasing all of the non violent prisoners because it’s the right thing and honest and just thing to do.

      The politicians dictate and spew propaganda that we pay for. No one is informed because the cable and airwaves we pay for, won’t tell anyone, A nation of sheep will be led to greener pastures and thank god for being saved from staving. Because the Shepherd got drunk and bought the booze with the food money.

      Having a firm grasp of the obvious doesn’t excuse the 994 out of a thousand nonviolent POW’s still locked in cages. Vote for me and I’ll set you free. Well not you or you but 6 out of a thousand. Maybe 38 out of a thousand in the future. Can’t upset the jailer or the sheep afraid of nonviolent prisoners being released.

      The billion spent on the election goes back to the major media corporations donors. While we fund a candidate, they get the money. We can’t fight the beast, but we can starve it. Except the sheep would rather feed it, in hopes of a special gold star tinkling down upon them or cheaper polyester yoga pants at MalWart.

      Better to be pissed off, than pissed on.

  • Servetus

    We are in a drug war. The federal drug prisoners should be designated POWs, not inmates. When large prisoner releases happen like this, it usually means a war is nearing its end, unless it’s Guantanamo, in which case nothing ends.

    6,000 people are being freed to live outside walls in a world broken by drug laws. It’s not as bad as emerging from a bunker after a bomb blast obliterates a town square, but it’s the only option available, a step up, or out, by most standards. Freedom for the repressed, as defined by governments.

    What world governments can never replace or restore is a lost innocence. We can no longer know, or even imagine, the more peaceful and open society we could have enjoyed absent the drug war.

  • DdC

    Meanwhile back at the ranch…

    Ohio Sues Toledo Over Marijuana Decriminalization
    http://www.cannabisnews.com/news/thread28693.shtml

    The state of Ohio sued the city of Toledo on Tuesday to overturn parts of its new marijuana decriminalization law, alleging it will encourage drug cartels to set up distribution operations in the city.

    Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the Lucas County prosecutor and sheriff filed the lawsuit in Lucas County Common Pleas court against the “Sensible Marijuana Ordinance” passed in last month’s Toledo municipal election.

  • thelbert

    something tells me my homeboy Paul Free did not make the cut. since he was framed, they don’t want him walking around telling people how the dea operates.

    • Daniel Williams

      Something tells me the same thing about my friend Leonard Pickard. Many folks here on Pete’s couch have experienced the pinch of prohibition’s handcuffs, and most know of someone who has.

      There’s a good chance the Republicans will take the White House in 2016 or, worse, Hillary Clinton will win it. Either way, it’s not good news for drug reform. Obama has been a disappointment on many levels, but his most egregious failure has been not righting the wrongs of drug prohibition. These pardons are an omen: it’s the best we’ll get from him.

      I hope I’m wrong, and will relish hearing “I told you so” from our reform leaders begging our patience these past 6 years, telling us that Obama will do the right thing in his second term. And though I will not relish it, I trust those same leaders will admit to their failed strategy of hope for change should I be correct.

      • DdC

        Another barbaric attack. Many busted and serving years over the weight of the paper. Like serving time for narcotics being in possession of Hemp. NO one sells drugs. Every smidgen of anything is sought after and procured by the user. Outside of slime dog narks and snitches. No selling, no commercials or ads on billboards and junk mail. Allegedly mfg controlled substance, realistically serving the public what they ask for. Quality product, reasonable price. The American Dream, but for the Calendar would have been legal in many of our lifetimes. Outlawed in 65 if memory serves. People still enjoying the experience or they wouldn’t buy it. The list of the caged is too long to post. It’s become a normal way of life for brutal thugs and greedy sadistic fucks.

        The Razor Wire
        http://therazorwire.org/
        The November Coalition
        http://november.org/
        mailto:moreinfo@november.org

        Nora Callahan and the November Coalition –
        a Voice for Drug War POWs
        http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98/n167/a07.html?57035

        Erowid William Leonard Pickard Vault

    • DdC

      Can’t find a list of names from the articles or his FB and website.

      The 10 Most Outrageous Marijuana Sentences

      You can click on this BOP link that will allow you to email the BOP as instructed. Choose:
      U.S. Penitentiary, Atwater
      Paul Free #42235198

      https://www.facebook.com/FreePaulFree

      http://www.freepaulfree.com/

  • Mr_Alex

    I see Randy Philbrick is short tempered, he banned a mate for mine for saying Domino’s Pizza is better than Pizza Hut LOL

    • DdC

      Alex, you’re arguing with a Crustacean. Now the couch smells like seaweed. You give them credence by printing their name. Seriously, they do not exist to be truthful. They either make money spewing propaganda or are mentally deranged enough to do it for free. Either case you know damn well they have no cognizant thought of their own. They can’t make decisions or take responsibility for themselves. They have claws and are bottom dwellers. Let them die and end their suffering. Resurrecting them to do harm to the innocent uneducated is not teaching them the truth of the drug war or Cannabis. Unless your aim is to toss them into a pot of boiling water. Let them fade away into the insignificance in which they came.

      This Public Service Announcement
      is being brought to you from
      Jack Herer…Special Blend.

    • kaptinemo

      Perhaps the heat that prompted his actions is not coming from the ovens he works around.

      It’s been true for many years: the economic power wielded by cannabis consumers has been a sleeping giant; CO and WA are proving that. When supplied a proper outlet such as re-legalization, that power has proven to fill a State’s tax coffers.

      That power can also be a weapon. A very sharp one. Get cut with it in the form of an active boycott, and the hemorrhaging of revenue could reach fatal amounts.

      I imagine that some activists in his area are already using it on his pizza store. I wonder how long it will take the proprietors to realize that to staunch that flow of green ‘blood’, what is causing it to be lost will have to be gotten rid of.

      As in, “Sorry, Randy, but your personal stance against cannabis is costing us money, and that won’t stop until you leave; here’s your pink slip.”

      Just calling a competitor, ordering a pizza, and then saying that you are doing so because Randy’s store supports Randy’s anti-cannabis efforts, would be devastating. The word would get out through the corp-rat ‘grapevine’ that to emulate such support is to risk the same fate. Unless the proprietors are actually willing to risk losing money on taking an unpopular stand against cannabis re-legalization…which I would submit has caused their revenues to rise in just the past two weeks.

      It should be obvious which side of the bread the economic butter is on vis-a-vis cannabis re-legalization. Deliberately dropping it on the carpet butter-side down for the sake of ‘making a statement’, which leads to pissing off your clientele, is a sure road to ruin…

  • Mike

    Today at 10am NPR radio show Diane Rehm will
    be talking about the effects of mass incarceration
    on black families.

    http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2015-10-08/ta-nehisi-coates-between-the-world-and-me

  • Will

    While 6,000 inmates with drug related sentences are to be freed — 2,000 of which are illegal immigrants who will be deported — 3 of the original Kettle Falls Five have been sentenced to federal prison. The prosecutor claimed the cannabis grown was intended for sale, even though no evidence was presented by the prosecution to back up that claim. Hopefully the 3 KFF’s will walk into a revolving door and back out again (fat chance, I realize)…

    OT, but another example of prohibitionist absurdity — the history of Margarine Prohibition.

  • kaptinemo

    OT: Isn’t this just precious:

    From RT: Minnesota town wants attacks on police to be considered hate crimes

    From the article:

    The city council of Red Wing, Minnesota has unanimously passed a resolution that calls on the federal government to designate police officers as a group that can be targeted as victims of hate crimes.

    In its newly-signed “Resolution in Support of Law Enforcement,” the council argues that police officers nationwide have recently become the victims of targeted attacks solely because of their position. The resolution says that the citizens of Red Wing “stand with the families of the fallen and the officers throughout the United States.”

    It also asks every member of Red Wing Police Department to pull over at 11 a.m. every day in October and flash the lights of their patrol cars red and blue to honor the 28 officers who lost their lives this year.

    The lives of police matter more than the lives of their victims. Knew that for a looooong time. They’re just trying to make it official.

    And, of course, no mention of the DrugWar putting police lives at risk.

    There’s been police brutality as long as there have been police. Can’t help it. The job attracts some who I would not trust with a spoon, much less a sidearm. But the huge upwelling in these kinds of cases, the extrajudicial killings of their paymasters by police, etc., are directly attributable to the DrugWar.

    Just read it. Medicate first. It helps to lower blood pressure.

  • DdC

    ‘HAIR TESTS’ SHUT DOWN
    http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v15/n218/a05.html?1042
    The Hospital for Sick Children has permanently discontinued drug and alcohol hair tests at its embattled Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory after an internal review “further explored and validated” previous, and as yet undisclosed, “questions and concerns.”

    Shona Banda
    Child Protection Racketeers
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/2023

    Child Protection Racket (raw)
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/1634
    * Ganjawar and Child Protection Racketeering
    * Gulf War vet sues city of San Diego over pot allegations, child abduction
    * Smoke A Joint, Lose Your Kids

  • Servetus

    Bill O’Reilly is clamoring about the release of the 6,000 drug prisoners:

    “After the mass prison release this month, expect violent crime to rise even more,” O’Reilly concluded. “The drug trade is violent on its face and everybody knows it.”

    Story here: http://www.salon.com/2015/10/08/bill_oreilly_releasing_non_violent_drug_offenders_early_will_lead_to_rise_in_violent_crime/

    • kaptinemo

      You have to wonder who’s he’s clamoring to. His largest viewing cohort is either dead, deaf or demented.

      With actuarial attrition cutting down his audience by the thousands every day, who will he rail at next? Those who’ve been the focal point of his ire are hardly going to pay cable rates to listen to his waspish whining about them.

      BillO: Another dinosaur in the tar pit who’s not sinking fast enough.

  • jean valjean

    A near perfect illustration of cognitive dissonance in a politician (the URL says it all).
    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/video/2015/oct/08/steve-bell-cameron-legacy-dave-who-put-his-cock-in-a-pig-video

    • kaptinemo

      Another example of a pol who doesn’t believe the Internet can hurt him. And that it won’t be used to do just that, after all he’s done to the country, DrugWar-wise.

      ONDCP is Biden’s version of Rosemary’s Baby.

      In other words, demon spawn.

      He’s been behind a lot of the legislation maintaining prohibition. This has directly negatively affected just about everyone under the age of 50. And he hopes that record will not be used to blast him out of the primaries?

  • DdC

    They reduce chemical cigarettes, BAN THEM!

    Questions raised over whether e-cigarettes lead to smoking
    after survey can’t find a single regular user that has never smoked

    New figures on e-cigarette use,
    commissioned by the Welsh Government

    The statistics have led the Liberal Democrats to claim they undermine health minister Mark Drakeford’s argument that e-cigarettes act as a gateway to smoking.

    But the Welsh Government has dismissed those comments.

    Cannabis regulation in Colorado:
    early evidence defies the critics

    Steve Rolles 5th Oct 2015

    • jean valjean

      The gateway theory worked wonderfully for prohibs regarding cannabis. Why abandon a trusty tool after 40 years?

    • kaptinemo

      It’s no accident that prohib ‘tools’ usually wind up hurting those who paid for them.

      Whenever I hear modern-day LE make noises about how ‘forfeiture is a useful tool in fighting crime’, I am sure their ancient ideological forebears, the ‘highway robbers’, thought the same of their flintlock pistols. For the exact same reasons.

      • jean valjean

        If Dick Turpin came back as a patrol officer in Tennessee he wouldn’t believe his luck. Not just government immunity for his highwayman activities but they even bought him a horse and a gun too.

  • CJ

    hey hey i noticed those thumbs down votes too. i think we had a guest come here who was looking for “DrugWarrant” .com and looking to find prohibition mania running wild but found “DrugWarRant” .com instead and was apalled and just down voted stuff.

  • Will

    OT, has anyone seen this documentary?

    http://www.peaceofficerfilm.com/

    It looks like showings started last month. But I haven’t kept up with things much lately, so if this has already been discussed, never mind…

  • United States federal representatives are believed to
    be especially curious about the loss of the Evolution dark net medicine market.