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Racial Disparities Continue in Philadelphia Marijuana Arrests

September 26th

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Marijuana arrests in 2012 Philadelphia continued with a distributing trend of racial disparity, according to figures released today by Philly NORML, the local affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Using data from the Pennsylvania Uniform CrimeReporting System, the chapter’s annual arrest report has been issued for the last seven years. The […]

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Historic Breakthrough in Struggle to End Marijuana Prohibition

August 29th

WASHINGTON, DC — Attorney General Eric Holder informed the governors of Washington and Colorado today that the Department of Justice will allow the states to implement their ballot initiatives that legalized the production, distribution, and sale of marijuana for adults. Deputy Attorney General James Cole also issued a memo to U.S. attorneys across the country […]

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Medical Marijuana Advocates Cautious About “New” Policy on Federal Marijuana Enforcement

August 29th

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Justice Department issued a press release earlier today, announcing a memorandum from Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole that detailed a similar policy on recently adopted laws in the States of Washington and Colorado as it previously indicated for medical marijuana states. To the extent this new memorandum affects medical marijuana patients in Washington, […]

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Study: 8 out of 10 Arrested for Drug Possession in DC are Black

July 13th

WASHINGTON, DC – A study by a group of civil rights lawyers found black people in Washington are arrested for minor drug offenses at a higher rate than other races.

The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs presented its study, which analyzed arrest statistics from 2009 through 2011, Friday, The Washington Post reported.

The authors of the report found that eight of 10 adults arrested in Washington are black, and nine of 10 people arrested on the charge of simple drug possession are black. However, only 47 percent of the city’s population is black, the study found.

“Police are spending an enormous amount of time resolving behavior that is not life-threatening,” said Roderic V.O. Boggs, executive director of the lawyers’ group.

The report a month after the American Civil Liberties Union found Washington police were arresting people for marijuana possession 60 percent more in 2010 than 2001.

Meanwhile, Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said her department has “not prioritized marijuana arrests. Since day one, my priority has been combating violent crime, and the District is safer as a result.”

Study: 8 out of 10 Arrested for Drug Possession in D. . . . . READ MORE

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BUSTED: Over 70% of All Major US Drug Seizures Are Marijuana Related

July 13th

A new study has found that over 70% of recent seizures of illicit drugs in the United States are marijuana related, painting a picture of the American drug landscape and a mis-prioritized, failed, war on drugs.

The study, “Busted: Analyzing America’s Most Recent Drug Hauls,” looked at major drug seizures as reported by over 1,500 media outlets in the United States during a 13 month period from March 2012 – April 2013.

The study found that of the 5,000 most recent drug busts reported in the news, 70.5% involved marijuana — 140% more than all cocaine (13%), heroin (10%) and methamphetamine (6%) busts combined.  The study did not look at prescription medication abuse or other designer drugs, only the “big four.”

The study found high concentrations of methamphetamine and meth labs in the Midwest, an abundance of heroin in the Northeast, especially in the tri-state area, and a lot of cannabis in California and North Dakota.  Cocaine busts were virtually non-existent in Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Montana and North Dakota, and in a reality check for Breaking Bad fans, New Mexico wasn’t anywhere near the top ten in meth busts.

The study’s author, John Millward, admits that the study represents only a fraction of the total number of seizures made by the DEA, FBI, U.S. Customs Service and U.S. Border Patrol on a yearly basis, but because each of the busts were large eno. . . . . READ MORE

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NAACP Endorses Pennsylvania Marijuana Legalization Bill

June 27th

HARRISBURG, PA — A bill introduced in Harrisburg to legalize and regulate marijuana similar to alcohol received an endorsement by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the NAACP Tuesday.

Senate Bill 528, the Regulate Marijuana Act, was  was introduced earlier this year by State Senator Daylin Leach.

The bill would allow adults 21 and over to grow up to six plants and possess the resulting harvest. It would also allow adults to transfer up to an ounce to other adults.

The proposed bill would also direct the state to come up with a system to regulate and tax marijuana commerce.  The bill includes safeguards to protect against driving under the influence of cannabis, and youth awareness and prevention measures.

aclu report - minoritiesLeach and other sponsors of his bill hope to see a committee hearing on the measure in the fall.

Sen. Leach, who is currentlyREAD MORE

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U.S. Conference of Mayors Tells Feds to Respect Local Marijuana Laws

June 24th

LAS VEGAS, NV — The United States Conference of Mayors unanimously passed a resolution on Monday criticizing the failure of marijuana prohibition and urging the federal government to respect the ability of states and cities to implement policies like marijuana legalization and medical marijuana without interference.

“In November, voters in my city and state strongly approved a ballot measure to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana,” said Mayor Steve Hogan of Aurora, Colorado. “The bipartisan resolution we passed today simply asks the federal government to give us time to implement these new policies properly and without interference. Cities and states across the country are enacting forward-thinking reforms to failed marijuana prohibition policies, and for the federal government to stand in the way is wasteful and contrary to the wishes of the American people.”

The feds have conducted more than 200 SWAT-style raids on state-compliant medical marijuana businesses since 2011. Here, law enforcement commandos descend on a Santa Rosa neighborhood in search of medical marijuana growers in September, 2012.

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U.S. Mayors Demand Change to Federal Policy, End to Crackdown on Medical Marijuana in Their Cities

June 21st

LAS VEGAS, NV — As mayors from across the country gather today in Las Vegas for the 81st annual U.S. Conference of Mayors, the federal government’s crackdown on medical marijuana is expected to be discussed and debated over the weekend.

resolution ”in support of states setting their own marijuana policies without federal interference” was introduced in advance of the conference by San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and co-sponsored by eight other mayors from across the country. Deliberation on the resolution comes days after medical marijuana advocates issued an alarming report detailing how the Obama Justice Department has spent nearly $300 million to undermine medical marijuana laws in the U.S.

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner

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Report: Obama Justice Department Has Spent Nearly $300 Million on Aggressive Medical Marijuana Enforcement

June 13th

WASHINGTON, DC — Medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) issued a report today, detailing the costs associated with the federal government’s years-long enforcement effort in states that have adopted medical marijuana laws.

Notably, the report, which is entitled “What’s the Cost?” states that since 1996 nearly half a billion dollars ($500 million) has been spent by the Justice Department — over three presidential administrations — to investigate, raid, arrest, prosecute, and imprison hundreds of medical marijuana patients and their providers. The report is intended for Congressional legislators in an effort to lobby for federal policy reforms, and is part of the Peace for Patients campaign recently launched by ASA.

The feds have conducted more than 200 SWAT-style raids on state-compliant medical marijuana businesses since 2011. Here, law enforcement commandos descend on a Santa Rosa neighborhood in search of medical marijuana growers in September, 2012.READ MORE

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The War on Marijuana: Billions Wasted on a Racist, Futile War

June 9th

A new report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sheds some light on many of the underlying dirty truths of cannabis prohibition: money is wasted and law enforcement resources are diverted from battling serious crime on a war that disproportionately harms African Americans.  While most of the data isn’t earth-shattering for experienced marijuana law reform activists, the ACLU’s study demonstrates how far we still have to go, despite so much success in recent years.  It is fantastic that we now have 20 medical marijuana states (if you include our nation’s capitol as a state), 15 states that have decriminalized cannabis and two states that have legalized marijuana possession altogether.  However, facts don’t lie and the ACLU’s report, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White“, illustrates many disturbing facts that are still plaguing our nation.

I have seen the discrepancies between how African Americans are treated when marijuana is found in a couple of instances.  Twice, I have seen Black friends treated more harshly after law enforcement officers found marijuana.  Once, at the University of Missouri-Columbia, I saw a Black friend arrested, handcuffed and marched out of our dorm for smoking a blunt.  In co. . . . . READ MORE

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