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.
Courts should review harsh sentences from ill-conceived drug laws
Lead: Law enforcement assisted diversion


Monday, May 23, 2011
Earlier this month, a Louisiana judge sentenced a 35-year-old man to prison for the rest of his life—for marijuana. According to the Times-Picayune, Cornell Hood II was charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute after law enforcement found approximately two pounds of marijuana and $1,600 in cash in Hood’s home. The jury convicted him of a lesser charge, but the prosecutor used Hood’s prior convictions to seek a life sentence anyway, arguing Hood was a “career criminal.” What were Hood’s prior convictions? In 2005 and 2009, he pled guilty to selling marijuana. Obviously, Hood has been making his living selling marijuana for the past half-dozen years, and selling marijuana for recreational use is still a crime in this country. But Hood’s offenses involved no violence, no damage or theft of property. He was sentenced to probation in each of his prior cases. Setting aside the question of whether jailing a person for life for marijuana can be ethically justified, let’s look at whether it’s smart.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Today, two troubling news stories on medical marijuana are in the headlines in Washington. The first is the federal government's raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in Spokane. The second is Governor Gregoire's expected veto of SB 5073, the thoughtful and comprehensive medical marijuana bill passed by the state legislature with leadership from Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Rep. Eileen Cody.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Abuse of prescription opiates (powerful pain killers) and rising overdose death rates are a huge problem in Washington and across the nation. Since 2007, overdoses have been the leading cause of accidental injury death in Washington, ahead of motor vehicle and firearm accidents. Harm reduction strategies should be included as part of the federal response for combating this crisis.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Let’s be clear:Senate Bill 5073, the medical marijuana legislation moving through the state legislature, isn’t perfect.  Different stakeholders with different motivations have made a lot of changes to it along the way. It’s no one’s ideal bill.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
The study of psychology and addiction behaviors has lost a true pioneer. The recent passing of Professor G. Alan Marlatt has reverberated across the addiction research and drug policy communities. As a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University of Washington, Dr. Marlatt broke new ground in the areas of harm reduction, relapse prevention, and evidence based treatment techniques.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Roger Roffman, professor emeritus at the University of Washington, offered a thoughtful piece in the Seattle Times yesterday, calling for more dialogue and less rhetoric in the debate over legalizing marijuana.
News Release, Published: 
Sunday, March 20, 2011
The ACLU of Washington has filed a brief in support of a medical marijuana patient convicted of possession and cultivation of marijuana, even though she had a written medical recommendation to use it as medicine.The ACLU of Washington has filed a brief in support of a medical marijuana patient convicted of possession and cultivation of marijuana, even though she had a written medical recommendation to use it as medicine. The Washington Supreme Court heard arguments in the case on June 8.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
According to the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce’s recent online poll, over 70% of respondents support Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson’s bill to regulate and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older. HB 1550 directs the Washington State Liquor Control Board to regulate marijuana production and sales. According to the Chamber’s website, supporters noted that legalization and regulation “would raise revenue and allow law enforcement to concentrate its resources elsewhere.”
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has released its proposed budget through fiscal year 2012. It requests $26.2 billion to “reduce drug use and its consequences” in the United States, representing an increase of $322.6 million, or 1.2%, over the 2010 budget.  Once again, however, ONDCP is emphasizing the importance of treatment and prevention while spending the majority of it's money on conventional law enforcement programs. As this blog has pointed out previously, approximately 60% of the budget goes to law enforcement and only 40% to treatment and prevention.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Washington patients suffering from diseases like cancer, HIV, and MS do not have safe access to medical marijuana. We should not force seriously ill people and their families to turn to the black market. It doesn't have to be this way. Tell your senator to support Senate Bill 5073 which creates state-licensed dispensaries that will provide adequate, safe, and secure sources of medical marijuana.