From Hyphen Magazine: When I was 17, I told my mom that I had tried cannabis. Cannabis was a completely foreign substance to my parents. In common use of the Chinese language, using cannabis and other drugs is known — in precise translation — as “inhaling poison.” The idea that their daughter would be “inhaling poison” was so unfathomable that
Written by SSDP Trustee Shaleen Title ’02 and originally published on TheInfluence.org. People often speak of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that come with building a new, legal marijuana industry from scratch. The opportunities are real, but the premise forgets something: This industry isn’t being created from scratch. Instead, it’s replacing two things that already existed: an illicit market from which many marginalized
When advocating for sensible drug policy reform, it is important to keep in mind not just the economic costs, but the costs in human lives and freedoms. The victims of the drug war are not statistics, but real people. They are people killed for defending their homes or cooperating with law enforcement. They are people denied the treatment they need
On July 23rd, SSDP will cosponsor an event at Busboys and Poets where journalist and author Radley Balko will discuss his new book, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Force. As a reporter for the Huffington Post, Balko has written before about police raids for drug crimes, often on questionable or mistaken grounds, and with terrible results. In addition, Balko has
Tax Day. That dreadful deadline that we all have to meet is just around the corner. When most people think about Tax Day they don’t often think about drug policy, but maybe they should be. Every year in the United States, we spend more than $51,000,000,000 on drug prohibition. That is a significant portion of your tax money being spent
With Martin Luther King, Jr. Day coming up, it’s important to take note from the civil rights movement and the lessons of Dr. King. Our fight for drug policy reform is in many ways very similar to the civil rights movement. There are of course key differences between the two, and I don’t mean to say that our strife is
Drug policy reform is going mainstream in a significant way these days. Brad Pitt, famous actor and heartthrob, is taking on our issue. In a statement issued yesterday, Pitt said, in response to President Obama’s recent statement about not prioritizing federal resources to target users in Colorado and Washington, “The President’s statement reflects a saner and more sensible drug policy,
At the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last week, three Latin American presidents spoke out, in varying degrees, against the current prohibitionist drug policy model. The presidents of Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala each spoke about the impacts of the U.S.-led “war on drugs” and urged the need to explore alternatives, although none went so far as to mention legalization. All
On January 11, 2012, the Mexican Attorney Generals Office (AGO) released the latest casualty figures in the government’s war against organized criminal groups. The AGO confirmed that there have been 47, 515 drug related killings since December 2006—when President Calderon gave the military full rein to combat drug trafficking and organized crime. To put this in perspective, in Afghanistan, there
When I attended SSDP’s National Training Conference and Lobby Day in March 2011, one presenter after another told me we had the power to make the change we want to see in the world. I have to say that I was a little skeptical. The main focus of the conference was to train me and my fellow student activists how
By Monday, SSDP will have lots of photos and video from the candlelight vigils our chapters organized across the country this evening, but I wanted to share with you all this inspirational picture from tonight’s vigil in Mexico City.
Over the past three years, the U.S. War on Drugs has brought $400 million in fines to rail shippers on the U.S.-Mexican border. Now, The Associated Press reports, the largest U.S. railroad company Union Pacific is refusing to pay for something it cannot control. Following accusations of negligence from the Justice Department, Union Pacific vice president Bob Grimaila says the railroad cannot
I shot this video blog clip with my cell phone from inside the green room at NBC News on Capitol Hill right before I appeared on CNBC. I thought you may be interested to see what it looks like inside. Keep checking back here for video blog updates during this week of events highlighting the 40th anniversary of President Nixon declaring
A recent report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy opens with the straightforward claim: “The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.” In The Wall Street Journal, former Secretary of State and honorary commission chair George P. Shultz decries our approach to America’s drug problem by arguing that criminalizing the entire
See this update on what we’re up to during this historic week!
The drug war continues to wreak havoc on the lives of U.S. citizens. It continues to wreak havoc on the lives of non-U.S. citizens, too. But we just heard of this case of an Oklahoma woman being sent to prison for a decade for dealing marijuana in front of her children; the grandmother has received a non-custodial sentence, but still