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Why The Capture of the Head of World’s Most Notorious Cartel Will Make Little Difference to Drug Supply, Violence

July 16th

MEXICO CITY – The Mexican navy announced late Monday it had captured Miguel Angel Trevino Morales , the head of the infamous Zetas drug cartel, the most violent crime organization in Mexico, the AP reports:

Miguel Angel Trevino Morales , 40, was captured before dawn Monday by Mexican marines who intercepted a pickup truck with $2 million in cash in the countryside outside the border city of Nuevo Laredo, which has long served as the Zetas’ base of operations. The truck was halted by a marine helicopter, and Trevino Morales was taken into custody along with a bodyguard and an accountant and eight guns, government spokesman Eduardo Sanchez told reporters.

In recent years, the Zetas have been blamed for tens of thousands of gruesome deaths south of the border, and untold atrocities in the US.

While the capture symbolizes a win for Mexican president Enrique Pena-Nieto’s administration, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of cops, border patrol officials, DEA agents and other law enforcement officers opposed to the war on drugs, cautioned it would make little difference to the prosecution of the drug war.

The war on drugs is based on the idea that if law enforcement can restrict the supply of drugs, prices will rise and demand will drop. The problem is that, because of its illegal nature, drug sales remain so lucrative that the arrest of a single individual does little to nothing to affect t. . . . . 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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Obama Admits He Could Have Been in Prison But Keeps Sending People There

June 9th

In little-noticed remarks during the commencement address he delivered at Morehouse College on May 19, President Barack Obama admitted that he might well have ended up behind bars for some of his well-known youthful indiscretions:

“[W]hatever success I have achieved, whatever positions of leadership I have held have depended less on Ivy League degrees or SAT scores or GPAs, and have instead been due to that sense of connection and empathy — the special obligation I felt, as a black man like you, to help those who need it most, people who didn’t have the opportunities that I had — because there but for the grace of God, go I — I might have been in their shoes. I might have been in prison. I might have been unemployed.  I might not have been able to support a family. And that motivates me.”

As a reminder, young Barry Obama was quite the marijuana enthusiast back in the day. As a member of Hawaii’s “Choom Gang,” he was partial to “intercepting” joints. In his memoir, he even fessed up to using cocaine on occasion.

The president is quite correct that if he as a young black man had been caught by the cops while partaki. . . . . READ MORE

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Obama Admits He Could Have Been in Prison But Keeps Sending People There

June 9th

In little-noticed remarks during the commencement address he delivered at Morehouse College on May 19, President Barack Obama admitted that he might well have ended up behind bars for some of his well-known youthful indiscretions:

“[W]hatever success I have achieved, whatever positions of leadership I have held have depended less on Ivy League degrees or SAT scores or GPAs, and have instead been due to that sense of connection and empathy — the special obligation I felt, as a black man like you, to help those who need it most, people who didn’t have the opportunities that I had — because there but for the grace of God, go I — I might have been in their shoes. I might have been in prison. I might have been unemployed.  I might not have been able to support a family. And that motivates me.”

As a reminder, young Barry Obama was quite the marijuana enthusiast back in the day. As a member of Hawaii’s “Choom Gang,” he was partial to “intercepting” joints. In his memoir, he even fessed up to using cocaine on occasion.

The president is quite correct that if he as a young black man had been caught by the cops while partaki. . . . . READ MORE

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Home Grown: Marijuana and the Origins of Mexico’s War on Drugs

May 26th

Home GrownThe following excerpt from Home Grown: Marijuana and the Origins of Mexico’s War on Drugs, by Isaac Campos. It is a summary the author’s thesis at the University of Cincinnati, first printed as the introduction to Home Grown. (University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 2012).

The Conventional Wisdom is that marijuana prohibition was first imposed early in the 20th century by sheriffs in southwestern states seeking to increase their power over Mexican immigrants who had brought the herb from south of the border, where smoking it was part of the culture, no big deal. Then, the Conventional Wisdom continues, Hearst newspapers and Harry Anslinger’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics concocted and publicized stories of marijuana use causing violence and insanity, which led to Congress imposing a federal ban in 1937.

Around the year 1530, a conquistador named P. . . . . READ MORE

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America’s Corrupt Justice System: Federal Private Prison Populations Grew by 784% in 10 Year Span

May 24th

private prison

From 1999-2010, the total U.S. prison population rose 18 percent, an increase largely reflected by the “drug war” and stringent sentencing guidelines, such as three strikes laws and mandatory minimum sentences.

However, total private prison populations exploded fivefold during this same time period, with federal private prison populations rising by 784 percent (as seen in the chart below complied by The Sentencing Project):

prison1

This stark rise in private prison populations is partially due to increased contracts granted at the state and federal levels to behemoth prison companies such as Correction Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group. These companies claim – against available data – that they can run corrections facilities at lower costs.

However, whether . . . . . READ MORE

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OAS Releases Historic Report on Drug Policy Alternatives

May 18th

OAS 3

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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Tennessee Congressman Chastises AG Eric Holder on Marijuana Prohibition

May 17th

WASHINGTON, DC — Tennessee Representative Steve Cohen took an opportunity Wednesday to grill Attorney General Eric Holder about the ongoing prosecutions of marijuana offenses in the United States, even in states that have liberalized marijuana laws.

During the Wednesday House oversight committee hearing focusing on the recent AP phone log scandal, Rep. Cohen (D-Tennessee)  tore into AG Holder, calling marijuana prohibition an “injustice for 40 years” and demanding to know why the Department of Justice is continuing to put people in jail for marijuana:

One of the greatest threats to liberty has been the government taking people’s liberty for things that people are in favor of. The Pew Research Group shows that 52 percent of people do not think marijuana should be illegal. And yet there are people in jail, and your Justice Department is continuing to put people in jail, for sale, and use, on occasion, of marijuana. That’s something the American public has finally caught up with. It was a cultural lag. And it’s been an injustice for 40 years in this country to take people’s liberty for something that was similar to alcohol. You have continued what is allowing the Mexican cartels power, and the power to make money, ruin Mexico, hurt our country by having a Prohibition in the late 20th and 21st century. We saw it didn’t work in this country . . . . . READ MORE

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Congressmen to Help Launch DPA’s Drug War Exit Strategy Guide

May 16th

WASHINGTON, DC – The Drug Policy Alliance will formally release An Exit Strategy for the Failed War on Drugs, the group’s first-ever federal legislative guide, Thursday in Washington.

This comprehensive report contains 75 broad and incremental recommendations for legislative reforms related to civil rights, deficit reduction, law enforcement, foreign policy, sentencing and re-entry, effective drug treatment, public health, and drug prevention education.

The guide will be released at a forum on the Hill cosponsored by Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), both of whom fought for major drug policy reform at the local level before running for Congress and winning.

“The United States has approximately five percent of the world’s population but twenty-five percent of its prison population, largely resulting from failed policy decisions connected to the war on drugs,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York). “The over-criminalization phenomenon has cost us in lost human capital and economic productivity. I look forward to thoroughly reviewing DPA’s recommendations and working closely together to improve the fairness and humanity of the criminal justice system.”

As a New York Assemblyman, Jeffries was a leader in opposing New York City’s racially discriminatory marijuana arr. . . . . READ MORE

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