The Disastrous War on Drugs Turns 40: How Do We Stop the Madness? by Ethan Nadelmann.
What better way to mark the 40th anniversary of the war on drugs than by breaking the taboos that have precluded frank assessment of the costs and failures of drug prohibition as well as its varied alternatives. Barely a single hearing, audit or analysis undertaken and commissioned by the government over the past forty years has dared to engage in this sort of assessment. The same cannot be said of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan or almost any other domain of public policy. The war on drugs persists in good part because those who hold the purse strings focus their critical attentions only on the implementation of the strategy rather than the strategy itself.
The Bill Comes Later – editorial in the Ottawa Citizen.
You live on a seemingly peaceful street. But one day a security alarm salesman comes to the door warning about the dangers that lurk in the neighbourhood and offering to install the latest high-tech security system. The problem is, he won’t tell you the price.
It is a safe bet that most Canadians wouldn’t sign on without getting some answers to questions such as how much it would cost and whether the money spent would make them safer. Yet that is what taxpayers are being asked to do when it comes to the Conservative government’s expansive and expensive law-and-order agenda.
Fortunately, at least at this time, the effort has been derailed
With the Liberals announcing they will vote against S-10, Harper’s government doesn’t have the votes to pass it.
The bill would have enacted mandatory minimum sentences for growing as few as six pot plants. The Liberals took their stand against it after Conservatives refused to say how much it would cost.
“This bill isnâ€™t tough on crime, itâ€™s dumb on crime,” said Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. “Weâ€™re all in favor of cracking down on serious criminals, but this bill doesnâ€™t distinguish between massive grow-ops and a first-time offender with a small amount. Whatâ€™s more, the Conservatives wonâ€™t tell us what the fiscal implications of this bill are. How many billions will it cost? How many mega-prisons will have to be built? For these reasons, we just canâ€™t support it,â€ he said.
The bill had already passed the Senate, where the Conservatives hold a majority, but opposition had been growing as it headed for the House of Commons. Earlier this week, more than 550 health professionals signed an open letter opposing the bill.
Plan To Fund Legal Aid From Seized Property Not Going Far in the Vancouver Sun.
Police and Charities Who Now Benefit From the Sale of Assets or Cash Grabbed From Crooks Are Not About to Give Up That Windfall Without a Fight
Police Officers and Free Speech at Cop in the Hood
Deputy Probation Officer Joe Miller signed a letter in support of California’s Proposition 19 (marijuana legalization). A disclaimer made it clear that he did not represent the viewpoint of the Mohave County Probation Department.
Officer Miller was fired. Maybe you think a police officer should never have an opinion on anything. I can understand saying a police officer should not advocate breaking the law. But that is something else. All people, police included, should be able to express their personal opinion about public referendums without fear of retribution.
One can only wonder… actually, no: one doesn’t have to wonder at all. Nothing would would have happened to Officer Miller if he had signed a letter in support of less restrictive gun laws. Or even gay marriage, pro or con. But he thinks drugs laws should be (gasp) changed.
Whether or not you agree with Miller’s (or my) position, stand up for workers’ rights and free speech. Sign a petition in his support.
NYC Named “Marijuana Arrest Capital of the World” at the Village Voice
â€‹The hippies at the Drug Policy Alliance announced in a press release yesterday that the New York City Police Department arrested 50,383 people for “low-level marijuana offenses” in 2010, based on a report from the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services. According to the group, that accounts for 15 percent of all local arrests, and the number one infraction in New York City. It continues, dramatically: “On average, nearly 140 people are arrested every day for marijuana possession in NYC, making the Big Apple the “Marijuana Arrest Capital of the World.'” But — would you believe it — it’s not because more people are smoking weed!
Daily Caller interview with the drug czar has some very revealing exchanges (Mike Riggs does a phenomenal job, but also lets him off the hook a few times).
Here’s a really bizarre and revealing statement:
THE DAILY CALLER: I want to start with something youâ€™ve said in past interviews, which is that you donâ€™t like the term â€œdrug war.â€ You donâ€™t like this term because itâ€™s hard to define who the enemy is, and sometimes the enemy is American citizens.
Do you think that whatâ€™s happening on the ground â€” the use of no-knock raids and SWAT teams, peopleâ€™s pets being shot, their homes being trashed â€” do those things complicate your efforts at redefining this as something other than a war?
KERLIKOWSKE: Well, it might, but I guess the difference that I see is the level of violence in the United States and the training that law enforcement goes through. Whether theyâ€™re dealing with an armed robbery or taking down a drug house, and given the number of officers who are shot and killed anymore, and the type of weaponry that is out on the streets, I donâ€™t think thereâ€™s any way to approach it from a safety standpoint that wouldnâ€™t involve this. […]
I do think we can change the angst that is caused by calling it a war on drugs, especially since to the minority community it feels like a war on them.
Wow. We’ll make people feel lest “angst” as their door is smashed in by not calling it a war.
Disappointing. Senator Jim Webb has led the charge for criminal justice reform, and although he has announced that he is retiring, he’s still trying to push that process through before he retires.
And yet, even a Senator Webb, criminal justice reformer, retiring with no need to placate donors, can’t resist the lure of easy drug war money.
Senator Jim Webb, D-Va. has proposed to add 13 Southwest Virginia counties to the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, an initiative of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
The HIDTA program provides additional federal resources to designated areas that exhibit serious drug trafficking problems to help eliminate and reduce the harmful consequences of illicit activity. It facilitates intelligence sharing and creates multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional law enforcement coordination, according to the agencyâ€™s website.
It’s all about the money.
Response from law enforcement officers in these areas has been overwhelmingly positive.
â€œWe are pretty excited about it and hoping it helps with some funding,â€ said Kenneth Hill, Dickenson County Police Department investigator.
Lieutenant Greg Gillenwater of Scott County echoed those sentiments.
â€œIf they can get it, it would be a wonderful thing. [It would] give us a chance to get all the drugs off the street that we can,â€ Gillenwater said.
This is an open thread.