The Nation on drug policy reform

The December 27, 2010 edition of The Nation focuses heavily on Drug Policy Reform

Nearly forty years after President Nixon declared a “war on drugs,” it is painfully clear that the nation’s approach to drug policy is counterproductive and cruel. Shifting our priorities toward a more sensible approach—one that offers treatment rather than punishment for addicts, and that recognizes the deep injustice of mass incarceration—seems like a daunting task. But as the writers in this forum suggest, we have all the answers and resources we need. If ever there was a time to say enough is enough, it’s now. —The Editors

There are 13 articles on the drug war in this issue. Many of them available now online (a few of them are subscriber-only).

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14 Responses to The Nation on drug policy reform

  1. Paul says:


    The Left needs reminding what they’re supposed to be all about from time to time, almost as much as the Right.

  2. ezrydn says:

    Droopy Dawg Gil has got his tail tied around his balls just as his successors did. That’s the purpose of the CSA. That one piece of legislation is worse than the Pig Flu, Iraq and Afghanistan all rolled together. Yet, no one on Capitol Hill seems to understand that. Can’t they understand that we’re kicking them out of office due to their desire to NOT understand? And we’ll kick the new wing-nuts out if they don’t catch a clue, too!

  3. allan420 says:

    lol @ ez… it seems there has to be an analogy somewhere to fit that scenario. George Carlin’s schtick on westward expansion in the early US seems close but points the wrong way… I’ll thunk on that…

    I would wager that most elected officials haven’t read even as much on drug policy as this one issue of Nation contains, in their whole lifetimes.


    … Wille’s TeaPot Party was up to 40,500 last night. It needs a jumpstart from somewhere…

    and I know somewhere out there someone is wishing you’d buy them The World’s Most Beautiful 2011 Marijuana Calendar! (had to throw that in there;)

  4. pfroehlich2004 says:

    The article, “California’s Pot Economy” claims that following prop 215, ‘more Californians…were smoking ever more pot.’

    The only statistics I’ve seen on California marijuana use are from SAMHSA. According to their survey results, past-month marijuana use has barely budged, fluctuating slightly between 5.5 and 6.7% during the period 1999-2008.

    Has anybody ever actually seen statistics showing a massive increase in California marijuana use?

    (I’d like to confirm this before contacting the author to suggest a correction.)

  5. strayan says:

    California is world leader in tobacco control.

    Proposition 99 (the proposition to tax and regulate cigarettes), which passed in 1988, has led to a 40% reduction in adult cigarette use:

    The adult smoking prevalence declined by more than 40% from 22.7% to 13.3% since the passage of Proposition 99 in the 1988.

    California had the opportunity to tax and regulate cannabis with Prop 19.

    How can anyone argue that taxing cannabis will increase cannabis use?

  6. allan420 says:

    yeah, funny what truthful, intensive public education can accomplish.

    … sigh…

  7. Money rules.... says:

    …and thats why we still have a drug war. These fools that call them selves leaders dont care about the truth as long as the money keeps flowing. We have all the ammunition we need to show beyond and above why what they are doing is wrong, yet its still there. Wikileaks is serving their bullshit back to them yet they continue to lie. Their pockets are full and thier sins are laid bare….how long til this all comes crashing down around them?

  8. vicky vampire says:

    I like your comments Paul Quote(The Left needs reminding what
    there supposed to be all about from time to time,almost has much has the right.) Besides the issue of if anyone is interested there is an interview with Melissa Ethridge in Jan
    2011 issue of High Times Mag Special 420th collector’s Issue,like her music and she talks about medical use of cannabis,she sounds pretty optimistic about future.Also founder of Norml Keith Stoup has article on page 85 in same issue on level of heavy intimidation government went to in lengths to squelch freedom of speech in publications down right scary threatening leaving advertisers scared of arrest. We anyway some good reading in this will go out and but the Nation Dare also.

  9. indijo says:

    D.E.A. = Dick’s Egocentric Agenda

  10. DdC says:

    Decriminalizing Poverty
    America’s drug policy aims to reduce illicit drug use by arresting and incarcerating dealers and, to a lesser extent, users. Whatever its merits (and there are some), the policy is deeply flawed because it is unjust. It applies only to the disadvantaged. As such, it reflects massive deficits in the areas of treatment, education and employment.

    Breaking The Taboo
    The prospects for reforming drug policy have never been so good. The persistent failure and negative consequences of drug war policies, combined with budgetary woes and generational change, are mainstreaming reformist ideas once considered taboo.

    Obama’s Drug War
    Among the very few people celebrating our country’s fiscal crisis are criminal justice reformers. Bill Piper, national affairs director for the Drug Policy Alliance, gushed recently, “Budgetary issues is where I’m most optimistic. Given the fiscal climate, there could be real cuts in the federal budget. Next year is probably an unprecedented opportunity to defund the federal drug war.”

  11. DdC says:

    Questions for The Drug Czar
    We have to help people understand there are very cost-effective, basic strategies that can be effective. We don’t have to throw up our hands and say the war on drugs has failed and therefore we have to go for legalization.

    The Drug Market Initiative, being tested in [nearly thirty] cities, led by John Jay College,
    John Jay College’s National Network for Safe Communities Awarded $447,000 Grant to Support Homicide and Drug Market Prevention Initiatives

    Prosecutor to suspected drug dealers: Stop selling and we’ll let you walk away
    Seattle Drug Market Initiative, the strategy was developed by Professor David M. Kennedy of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City and implemented in High Point, N.C., among other cities. Kennedy spoke to the Seattle City Council earlier this year.

  12. DdC says:

    Stop Bill S-10

    Canadian Conservatives Attempt to Enact “Inhumane, Unjust” Anti-Pot Law
    CANNABIS CULTURE – Major players in the legal system are calling Canada’s Bill S-10 inhumane and unjust, and with good reason. The bill would amend Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act with mandatory minimum sentences for pot offences and increase the maximum, in some cases, to life behind bars.

    Heston died, NRA’s Mandatory Minimum didn’t

    Heston had been diagnosed with neurological symptoms “consistent with Alzheimer’s disease”

    Alzheimers & Cannabis
    The good news is that research is showing that cannabis slows down memory loss. The recent report from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has involved mice, but is now moving towards human trials.

    * Dr. Mollie Fry gets 5 ******* Years! MM

    Heston served four terms as president of the National Rifle Association between 1997 and 2001. He became one of the organization’s most effective spokesmen.

    * National Rifle Association (NRA)
    Their campaign for longer sentences…

    A new study released yesterday by the widely known human rights watchdog group Human Rights Watch promises to generate great interest among the mass media and other interested parties. “Punishment and Prejudice: Racial Disparities in the War on Drugs” charges that the war on drugs has been waged overwhelmingly against black Americans…

    Heston was a supporter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., calling him “a 20th century Moses for his people,” and participated in the march on Washington in 1963.

    Remember Tulia? Race, Cocaine, and Corruption

    * “Thank you Miss Rosa”
    * Race and Imprisonment in the Drug War
    * Prisons: America’s Newest Growth Industry

    Private prison companies have some powerful allies in the fight for stiffer sentences and more prison spending. For example, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, which has grown from 4,000 to 23,000 in the last decade, gave more than $1 million to various California state politicians in 1996. The prison lobby is also supported by the National Rifle Association. Armed with an agenda of deflecting public fear away from guns and toward people, the NRA successfully lobbies for prison construction and three-strikes-and-you’re-out laws.

    * Journey for Justice Pedaling for Pot
    * The NRA strikes Back By Chris Bryson

    An important and largely overlooked force driving the prison boom in the United States is the National Rifle Association. With a membership of some 3 million, an estimated war chest of $140 million, and paid lobbyists in ail 50 states, the NRA has thrown its weight behind so-called “get tough on crime” measures and prison-building initiatives.

    * Slave Labor Means Big Bucks For U.S. Corporations
    * Ganjawar: Slave Labor, Rape & Pillage Deterrent

    At the same time, the United States blasts China for the the use of prison slave labor, engaging in the same practice itself. Prison labor is a pot of gold. No strikes, union organizing, health benefits, unemployment insurance or workers’ compensation to pay. As if exploiting the labor of prison inmates was not bad enough, it is legal in the United States to use slave labor. The 13th Amendment of the Constitution states that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted shall exist within the United States.”

    * FAMM – All about Mandatory Minimum Sentencing
    Congress enacted mandatory minimum sentencing laws to catch drug “kingpins” and deter drug sales and use. But the laws undermine the American tradition of justice by preventing judges from fitting the punishment to the individual’s role in the offense. Because of mandatory sentencing laws, the population of federal prisons has soared and they are filled with low-level, nonviolent drug law violators – not the “kingpins” mandatory sentences intended to apprehend.

    * Young Black Americans and the Criminal Justice System
    Five Years Later. October 1995 report.

    * U.S. Federal prison population
    number and percent sentenced for drug offenses 1970-1997

    * USA. Mandatory Life Without Parole for Woman after First Offense

    * *Shattered Lives, Human Rights and the Drug War”
    Book by Mikki Norris, Chris Conrad, and Virginia Resner

  13. Cheeky Girl says:

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