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.
https://www.aclu-wa.org/sites/default/files/styles/alt/public/media-images/panel-panes/website_graphics_2up_panel_pane_urge_seattle_safe_consumption.png?itok=TQ6ME8XT
Courts should review harsh sentences from ill-conceived drug laws
Lead: Law enforcement assisted diversion

Resources

Published: 
Monday, June 21, 2010
On June 10, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) proclaimed a major victory in the War on Drugs. As stated by Attorney General Eric Holder, Project Deliverance “struck a significant blow against the [Mexican] cartels…, [albeit] just one battle in what is an ongoing war.” The numbers involved certainly are impressive, 2,226 arrests (including 23 here in Washington), 74.1 tons of illegal drugs seized, and $154 million in apprehended assets. However, Project Deliverance is about more than just flashy photos of seized drugs and stern quotes from law enforcement officials, it is a snapshot of the futility of the War on Drugs.  Read more
Published: 
Monday, June 14, 2010
Last Thursday, a new law that improves qualifying patients' access to medical marijuana went into effect.  Sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36), SB 5798 expands the list of health care professionals who can authorize the medical use of cannabis under state law.  The new list includes all providers who are currently authorized to prescribe medications such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners.  Only two other states, New Mexico and Rhode Island, grant this authorization power to all health care professionals who can prescribe.  As Sen. Kohl-Welles explains, "This bill will provide real relief to those who are suffering, particularly those who live in rural areas and low-income individuals who typically see advanced nurse practitioners rather than MDs. Providing this relief honors the will of the voters who overwhelmingly approved the medical-marijuana initiative in 1998." A more detailed explanation of the law, which also includes new requirements for patients' written authorizations, can be found on Page 3 of the Summer 2010 issue of the West Coast Leaf.  Also, ACLU of Washington has updated its web page, "A Guide to Washington's Medical Marijuana Law," to reflect the changes.  The web page also includes an informational brochure that can be downloaded for printing and a revised form that health care professionals can use for authorizations.

911 Good Samaritan Law Wallet Card

Document, Published: 
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Help save lives. Download our free wallet card to learn more about how Washington's 911 Good Samaritan Law could protect you from prosecution for drug possession when reporting an overdose.
News Release, Published: 
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Shown at left are St. Sen. Rosa Franklin and WA Attorney General Rob McKenna. A new law that aims to save lives by encouraging people who witness drug overdoses to call 911 is going into effect. Promoted by the ACLU-WA and passed by the 2010 legislature, the “911 Good Samaritan” law provides immunity from drug possession charges to people who seek medical assistance in drug overdose situations.
Published: 
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
The focus of investigations of gang activity should be on actual criminal acts, not on whether an individual “belongs to” a gang—the label is a distraction rather than a useful tool. Allocating our scarce law enforcement resources on the basis of whether someone looks like a gang member, rather than whether we think someone has committed a crime, virtually guarantees that we will get no closer to solving the issue of gang violence. 
Published: 
Friday, June 4, 2010
With 5% of the world's population, the United States today boasts 25% of its prison population. Despite declining crime rates in the last three decades (even in the midst of our current recession), rates of incarceration in the U.S. have been stunning. The Economist recently called this trend "a disgrace."   Read more
News Release, Published: 
Friday, June 4, 2010
Washington State voters passed the Medical Use of Marijuana Act in 1998 as a ballot initiative (I-692).  The information here provides a general explanation of the law.
Published: 
Friday, May 21, 2010
The Seattle Channel facilitated an interactive discussion last week focusing on marijuana policy in Seattle.  It included live and online audience participation.  ACLU of Washington Drug Policy Director Alison Holcomb was included on a panel of experts for the event.  Click through to see the video.
Published: 
Monday, May 17, 2010
Last Thursday, the AP ran a ground-breaking piece of investigative journalism. It spelled out how U.S. taxpayers have financed a $1 trillion "War on Drugs" that, 40 years after its launch, has failed to meet any of its declared goals. That's putting it mildly.
Published: 
Friday, May 7, 2010
Check out this video of Alison Holcomb, ACLU-WA Drug Policy Director, debating the merits of the War on Drugs with renowned criminal justice Professor Mark Kleiman, WA Department of Corrections Secretary Eldon Vail, King County Superior Court Judge Wesley Saint Clair, and King County Prosecutor Mark Larson.

Pages