Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is set to announce Monday that low-level, nonviolent drug offenders with no ties to gangs or large-scale drug organizations will no longer be charged with offenses that impose severe mandatory sentences.
The new Justice Department policy is part of a comprehensive prison reform package that Holder will reveal in a speech to the American Bar Association in San Francisco, according to senior department officials. He is also expected to introduce a policy to reduce sentences for elderly, nonviolent inmates and find alternatives to prison for nonviolent criminals.
Justice Department lawyers have worked for months on the proposals, which Holder wants to make the cornerstone of the rest of his tenure.
“A vicious cycle of poverty, criminality and incarceration traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities,” Holder plans to say Monday, according to excerpts of his remarks that were provided to The Washington Post. “However, many aspects of our criminal justice system may actually exacerbate this problem rather than alleviate it.”
Hold. . . . . READ MORE
It’s not every day that a former Microsoft executive holds a press conference to announce his new venture into the exciting and profitable world of drug dealing. But that’s exactly what happened earlier this month when Jamen Shively, a former Microsoft corporate strategy manager, announced that he wants to create the equivalent of Starbucks in the newly legalized pot industry in Washington state.
All this is happening at the same time that the Washington State Liquor Control Board is looking to finalize rules on the new, legal marijuana industry. And one of the major debates right now among board members is how much they ought to prevent or encourage the kind of market consolidation in which a few firms dominate the whole industry.
As Chris Marr of the Liquor Control Board argued, “How do you prevent a Microsoft millionaire from getting this idea and deciding that — playing by the rules — they’re going to dominate the market?” And if that is the concern, what can economics inform us about how this new market should be set up?
To provide some background, voters in Washington state passed Initiative 502 . . . . . READ MORE
As Colorado moves closer to issuing temporary regulations on the sale of marijuana, now legal in small quantities here, some cities and towns are not waiting for the new rules to take effect.
More than a dozen municipalities across the state have decided to enact moratoriums on retail marijuana sales, restricting them for now or at least until after the rules are finalized later this year.
Others, unsettled at the prospect of dispensaries within their borders, have banned marijuana sales entirely — which they are permitted to do under Amendment 64, the 2012 constitutional amendment passed by voters that legalized recreational use of the drug.
“As we talked to our police department and our building code enforcement people, it didn’t seem to be a very logical answer for us,” said Mayor Tom Norton of Greeley, a conservative farm town north of Denver that banned marijuana sales outright this month. “It seemed like it had the potential for creating more mischief than what we wanted to put up with.”
Discussions about how marijuana is to be regulated, and how the state will handle a legal drug market, played a c. . . . . READ MORE