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

Resources

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.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, April 2, 2010
As the ACLU-WA had urged, the Washington Supreme Court has agreed to review a case in which an employee was fired solely for her lawful use at home of marijuana for medicinal purposes. As long as the job is not safety-sensitive and the employee’s performance is not impaired, patients should not be forced to choose between a physician-authorized treatment and gainful employment.
News Release, Published: 
Monday, March 1, 2010
News Release, Published: 
Thursday, February 25, 2010
The ACLU supports marijuana legalization and will continue to work toward that goal.  However, we will not be supporting I-1068 because it does not provide a responsible regulatory system. 

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