War on Drugs

Drug Policy

War on Drugs

Our nation’s misguided and costly "War on Drugs" has undermined civil liberties in many ways — eroding protections against unlawful searches and seizures, imposing overly harsh sentences on individuals, disproportionately impacting communities of color. The ACLU of Washington Drug Policy Project works for policies that treat drug use as a public health concern, not a criminal justice matter, through public education, legislative advocacy, and litigation.
Washington Marijuana Legalization: We hope that marijuana reform will spark change throughout the criminal justice system
Courts should review harsh sentences from ill-conceived drug laws
Lead: Law enforcement assisted diversion


Wednesday, August 1, 2012
On last Tuesday evening, community members gathered at Southside Commons in Seattle to hear leaders of faith discuss the problem of mass incarceration. The panel was comprised of SpearIt, an assistant law professor at St. Louis University, Pastor Carl Livingston, founder of Kingdom Christian Center, and Reverend Paul Benz, Co-Director of Faith Action Network. A recent forum in Seattle made some vital connections for people concerned about the enormous volume of people in our criminal justice system. Its topic: "Faith Communities and Mass Incarceration."
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Isn’t it time to stop this approach to criminal justice? Don’t we have better things to spend the money on? Inspired by David Letterman, here is our list of 10 Ideas for saving money by putting fewer people in prisons and jails, and being “smart” on criminal justice instead of simply being punitive.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Syringe exchange programs save lives, save taxpayer money, and do no harm to society. The federal government finally lifted its decades long funding ban in 2009. Unfortunately, the ban was reinstated in December 2011 for purely political reasons. Advocates are now working to remove the funding ban once again.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
The innovative Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (“LEAD”) pre-booking diversion pilot program has now been operating since fall of 2011. Instead of arresting low-level drug offenders and prosecuting them, law enforcement diverts them to community-based treatment and support services. The LEAD program also has a new website (www.LEADKingCounty.org).
Monday, February 13, 2012
At Thursday’s joint Senate and House committee work session on the measure, four compelling witnesses testified in favor of this new approach. Substance abuse counselor and university professor, Roger Roffman. Retired public health director and former prison physician, Dr. Kim Thorburn. Former top U.S. prosecuting attorney for Western Washington John McKay. And retired high-ranking FBI official, Charles Mandigo.
Monday, January 30, 2012
Over a ten year-period, more than 100,000 arrests were made in Washington state for adult marijuana crimes. The vast majority of these arrests were for low-level possession.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Teen marijuana usage rates have risen slightly in recent years, while tobacco and alcohol usage rates have declined. Alarmingly, 12th-graders across the nation and in Washington state are now more likely to have used marijuana in the past 30 days than to have smoked a cigarette.
Friday, November 18, 2011
In 2010, the ACLU of Washington was instrumental in the passage of the nation’s second “911 Good Samaritan” law. New research from the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute shows that the 911 Good Samaritan law works.
Friday, October 28, 2011
One disturbing consequence of the Patriot Act, which just marked its ten-year anniversary, is how it has been used for law enforcement actions not related to combating terrorism -- the rationale for the Act's passage. A glaring example can be seen in the use of "sneak and peak” searches for drug crimes.
Friday, October 14, 2011
The nation’s catastrophic War on Drugs, and especially on marijuana, treats substance abuse as a criminal issue separate from public health. Not the first time the U.S. has taken this approach – remember Al Capone and “Bugs” Moran? An explosion of crime and violence rose up around the first American prohibition, not unlike the mess we have on our hands today. Following the Ken Burns' "Prohibition" feature on PBS last week, the Lewiston Tribune draws some interesting comparisons: http://lmtribune.com/article_53491309-3e13-567d-8de4-9fe4f4be3960.html