April 24, 2014

The War on Drugs Is Not a Slogan

President Reagan meets Jonathan Magbie. At 27 years old, Jonathan would die on the floor of a Washington DC city jail. In 2004 he was arrested for smoking a marijuana blunt to ease the pain he endured as a quadriplegic. photo

6/17/2011 by Chris Goldstein - When President Nixon signed an Executive Order on June 17, 1971 it sent the United States down a costly path of prohibition. This misguided effort pits Americans against each other in a never-ending battle of biology, psychology and human nature. The result has been a nuclear reactor of violence and deadly addiction.

The “War on Drugs” is not a slogan. Ask any Police Officer. Ask anyone who lives in Trenton, Philadelphia or Camden. This is a pitched battle right in our streets and in our homes.  Thousands have lost their lives. Millions have gone to prison. Trillions of tax dollars have been spent at every level. There has never been a measurable result, only more victims. [Read more...]

Press Release June 17, 2011 – NJ Marijuana

WHAT: Press conference and vigil in Trenton – No More Drug War

WHERE: State House steps, Trenton, New Jersey

WHEN: FRIDAY JUNE 17, 2011 —-  12:00PM to 1:00PM

CONTACT: Chris Goldstein 267 702 3731 chris@freedomisgreen.com

President Nixon signed an Executive Order on June 17, 1971 declaring a “war on drugs.” Forty years later this failed policy has destroyed our communities and sent millions to prison. Marijuana activism groups in New Jersey are holding a press conference and vigil in Trenton. The event seeks to remember the victims of this tragic war and bring attention to new solutions for drug policy, especially for cannabis.

There are almost 60,000 drug related arrests in New Jersey each year. More than 28,000 of those arrests are for marijuana. Medical marijuana patients are caught in the crossfire all too often, with examples like NJ patients David Barnes and John Wilson.

Chris Goldstein will speak at the event, he serves on the Boards of Directors at several non-profit groups working to change marijuana laws.

“Governor Christie said last night that he is personally holding back legal access to marijuana for seriously ill residents. Coldly ignoring the clear intent of the legislature, our governor won’t even call off the drug war against AIDS and cancer patients. At this point the best way to protect medical cannabis patients is to fully decriminalize marijuana possession for all adults. ”

Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut are among fourteen states that treat marijuana possession as a civil rather than criminal offense. A civil fine is similar to a traffic ticket and does not require an arrest or jail. Assemblyman Reed Gusciora stated yesterday that he plans to introduce marijuana decrim legislation next week.

Goldstein is supportive of that possibility, “Arrests in New Jersey for marijuana violations increase every year, costing the state and municipal authorities millions of dollars. There is no better time to save our money and craft a better policy. It’s pretty simple: Do we want schools and fire departments or do we want to bust people for pot?”

“Ending the drug war is the most important social justice and economic policy change we need to make today. That change will need to start with cannabis. After 40 years of failure it is time to try something new.”

CONTACT: Chris Goldstein 267 702 3731 chris@freedomisgreen.com

 

No More Drug War – East Coast Vigils and Events

Image from PhillyNORML

This week advocacy organizations are holding events in dozens of communities calling for an end to the Drug War. President Nixon declared the failed effort 40 years ago – June 17, 1971.

More than 800,000 Americans are arrested each year for marijuana violations, more than for all other drugs combined.

From information workshops with activists to somber candle-light vigils for victims this is a poignant moment to take action. Below is a listing of events on the east coast – if we missed any please email chris@freedomisgreen.com and we’ll be sure to add it here! [Read more...]

Black Leaders Support New Marijuana Policies

Image from PhillyNORML

6/10/2011 – Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. will deliver a keynote speech at a gathering of prominent black leaders who are calling for an end to criminal drug prohibition. The Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW) will meet at the National Press Club in Washington DC on June 17, 2011. The date marks 40 years since President Nixon signed an executive order starting the “War on Drugs.”

Top-level policy makers will be presenting at the event such as Congressman John Conyers Jr. (D-MI), Congressman Robert “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) and Dr. Elise Scott, the President of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Some of the lecturers in the afternoon program are:  Deborah Small at Break the Chains, Neill Franklin at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Jasmine Tyler, the Deputy Director of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance.

IBW President Dr. Ron Daniels,  spoke with Freedomigreen via telephone about why he is leading this effort to shift drug policy.

“We want to expand the conversation about the devastating effects of the war on drugs in general,” said Dr. Daniels. “We are acutely concerned on its impact in black communities across the country. Having this national forum and being involved with other groups is really trying to push for alternatives.”

How about legalizing marijuana?

“I think we need to put everything on the table. In New York City there have been over 50, 000 arrests for marijuana just in the last year. Once you are in the system there are records that can affect you. When you look at the damage that is done to people – they are not addicts – but they end up in jail with a mark they can’t erase from the record. It is really harming our people in an amazing way.”

Daniels added, “If there is a drug that could be legalized… marijuana is the least dangerous to people. I’m not advocating that people use drugs at all, even alcohol. But we need to take out the criminal aspect.”

There were 858,408 Americans are arrested for marijuana violations in 2009; more than for all other illegal drugs combined. There is a striking racial disparity to pot arrests in New YorkPhiladelphia and other cities. Well over 80% of the marijuana arrests in these urban settings are young black men.

More from the interview with Dr. Daniels will be posted next week.

Link: Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW)Declaring War on the “War on Drugs:” Creating Just and Humane Alternatives to a Failed Strategy

Read more at Freedomisgreen.com

Chris Goldstein is a respected marijuana reform advocate. As a writer and radio broadcaster he has been covering cannabis news for over a decade. Questions?  chris@freedomisgreen.com