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


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. 
Monday, February 14, 2011
Last week the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee dedicated an entire two hour hearing to HB 1550, which would tax and regulate adult marijuana use. It seems that legislators are finally giving this issue the attention it deserves.
Monday, February 7, 2011
Tomorrow, the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee will hear testimony on HB 1550. This bill would regulate and tax marijuana for adults twenty-one and older. Marijuana production and sales would be regulated by the Washington State Liquor Control Board. The Senate Committee on Health and Long-Term Care will vote on Monday afternoon, whether to advance SB 5073, the Medical Use of Cannabis Act. This legislation would provide qualifying patients protection from arrest for their medical use of cannabis, and give law enforcement a bright line with comprehensive regulation of the production and dispensation of medical cannabis.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Last week the Washington Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Roe v. TeleTech. Roe was fired from her job as a customer service consultant, solely because of her lawful use of cannabis for medical purposes.
Monday, January 10, 2011
The 2011 Washington state legislative session kicks off today, and budget-sensitive law makers will be presented with two opportunities not only to make our state marijuana laws work better for Washingtonians, but also to generate much-needed revenue that can save vital government services.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
The ACLU of Washington has filed a friend-of-the-court brief saying that the firing of an employee for using marijuana at home for medicinal purposes was wrongful. The ACLU brief urges that the rights of individuals under our state’s medical marijuana law be protected. The Washington Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the employee’s case on January 18, 2011.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
It was recently announced by the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that a new institute will be created that will study “substance use, abuse, and addiction research and related public health initiatives.” This institute will replace the existing National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and other institutes dealing with addiction. As the NIH director states, creating the new, unified institute “makes scientific sense and would enhance NIH's efforts to address the substance abuse and addiction problems that take such a terrible toll on our society.” In other words, the brain processes involved with addiction are universal across substances, so we shouldn’t be studying them in a piecemeal fashion based on their legal status. Makes sense right? Perhaps it’s time our lawmakers follow suit and pass laws which treat addiction as the public health issue it is, instead of the current criminal/non-criminal system we now employ.