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Private Plane Pilots Face Warrantless Drug Searches

September 10th

Private plane pilots, especially those traveling to or through states with relaxed marijuana laws, are being subjected to warrantless searches by state and federal law enforcement, the Toledo Blade reported Monday. The newspaper reported that the Aircraft Owners’ and Pilots’ Association, which represents small plane owners and operators across the country, said it had received dozens of […]

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Civil Liberties Groups Seek Hearings on DEA’s Use of Intelligence

September 5th

WASHINGTON, DC – A coalition of two dozen civil-liberties groups called Thursday for broad congressional hearings on the Drug Enforcement Administration, citing recent revelations by Reuters about the DEA’s use of National Security Agency data to build non-terrorism cases against Americans. Last month, Reuters reported that the DEA funnels tips from overseas NSA intercepts, informants, court-ordered […]

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Senator Leahy Calls Judiciary Hearing on Federal Marijuana Policy

August 28th

WASHINGTON, DC – US Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced Monday that he would hold a hearing next month on the Justice Department’s response to marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington and legal medical marijuana in 20 states and the District of Columbia. The hearing is set for September 10. Leahy […]

Read Senator Leahy Calls Judiciary Hearing on Federal Marijuana Policy in its entirety on The Daily Chronic.

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Thousands Celebrate Legal Marijuana at Seattle Hempfest

August 17th

SEATTLE, WA — It was a beautiful, sunny day Friday as the world’s largest “protestival,” Seattle Hempfest, got underway with tens of thousands of people openly smoking marijuana along a 1.5 mile stretch of the Seattle waterfront. Only months after voters in Washington State legalized the possession of one ounce of marijuana for personal use, […]

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Attorney General Eric Holder Expected to Issue Major Drug Sentencing Changes Today

August 12th

WASHINGTON, DC — In a speech to the American Bar Association today Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to announce major federal sentencing changes, including dropping the use of mandatory minimum sentencing in certain drug cases, expediting the release of certain nonviolent elderly prisoners, leaving more offenses to state courts to deal with, and working […]

Read Attorney General Eric Holder Expected to Issue Major Drug Sentencing Changes Today in its entirety on The Daily Chronic.

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DEA Conceals Reliance on Surveillance Conducted by Intelligence Agencies

August 6th

NEW YORK – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is using secret surveillance tactics – including wiretaps and examining telephone records – to make arrests while concealing the source of the evidence from judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys, according to a story published today by Reuters. In cases where this intelligence is used to make an […]

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DEA Raids Washington Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Renewed Crackdown

July 24th

OLYMPIA, WA — Federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration launched a new battle in the war against medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington on Wednesday, raiding several medical marijuana dispensaries the Puget Sound region.

A number of dispensaries in the area were closed for business as word of the raids, which began around 11 am PDT, spread among the community.

DEA spokesperson Jodie Underwood confirmed Wednesday that an operation was currently under way, but declined to provide any details about how many dispensaries were being targeted or how many search warrants were being executed.

It has been reported that Seattle Cross, Tacoma Cross and Bayside Collective have been raided, but only the Bayside Collective in Olympia has been confirmed.

Addy Norton, an employee at Bayside Collective, told the Olympian that she was “terrified” during this morning’s raid, telling the newspaper that DEA agents pointed guns in her face as they entered the building.

Another employee from Bayside Collective, Casey Lee, said that agents took 11 or 12 plants and seized about a quarter pound of marijuana, but did not arrest anyone working at the dispensary, but would be federally subpoenaed.

“I don’t think we’re doing anything wrong here,” Lee told the Olympian. “This is really disturbing. We just opened last month.”

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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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Blacks Targeted in Wasteful War on Marijuana, ACLU Finds

June 8th

NEW YORK, NY — Black Americans are nearly four times more likely to get busted for marijuana possession than white ones, even though both groups smoke pot at roughly comparable rates, the ACLU said in a report released Tuesday.

The report, The War on Marijuana in Black and White: Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Arrests,” is based on the annual FBI Uniform Crime Report and US Census Bureau Data.

The disparity in arrest rates is startlingly consistent, the report found. In more than 96% of the counties covered in the report, blacks were arrested at higher rates than whites. Racial disparities in pot busts came in large counties and small, urban and rural, wealthy and poor, with large black populations and with small ones.

In some counties, the disparity rose to 15 times more likely, and in the Upper Midwest states of Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota, blacks were eight times more likely to be arrested for pot possession than whites. Nationwide, blacks were 3.73 times more likely to get arrested for marijuana than whites.

And it’s getting worse, not better. The report found that even though the racial disparities in marijuana arrests existed 10 years ago, they have increased in 38 states and the District of Columbia.

“The war on marijuana has disproportionately been a war on people of color,” said Ezekiel Edward. . . . . READ MORE

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OAS Releases Historic Report on Drug Policy Alternatives

May 18th

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BOGOTA, COLUMBIA – The Organization of American States (OAS) Friday released a ground-breaking report on hemispheric drug control that includes not only an assessment of the current state of affairs, but also looks at a number of alternate scenarios for future directions in drug policy, including explicit analysis of possible regulation and legalization regimes.

The report comes even as the US military is expanding its drug war in Latin America.The military is deploying assets to Central and South America, and US military assistance in Latin America has quadrupled in the last decade — even as the region faces no external and diminishing internal threats.

The report, The Drug Problem in the Americas, was commissioned at last year’s Cartagena Summit of the Americas, where a number of Latin American leaders led by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos criticized existing drug policies and called for a discussion of alternatives. On Friday, OAS head Jose Miguel Insulza hand-delivered the report to Santos in Bogota.

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