Blog of Rights

Weekly Highlights: News from the War on Drugs

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 1:08pm

June 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's declaration of a "war on drugs" — a war that has cost roughly a trillion dollars, has produced little to no effect on the supply of or demand for drugs in the United States, and has contributed to making America the world's largest incarcerator. Throughout the month, check back daily for posts about the drug war, its victims and what needs to be done to restore fairness and create effective policy.

Joint Effort? Barney Frank, Ron Paul Team Up on Marijuana Bill
This unlikely bipartisan duo teamed up to introduce a bill that would leave it up to the states to set their own marijuana policies, limiting the federal government’s ability to interfere with the state’s ability to legalize, regulate, tax, and control marijuana.

War on drugs produced swollen prisons and little else
This editorial discussing the many consequences of the war on drugs collects and links to numerous documents and resources produced over the course of this month, including our new infographic depicting the facts about mass incarceration.

United States Conference of Mayors Unanimously Passes Resolution Calling the War on Drugs a Failed Policy That is Driving Over-incarceration and Racial Disparities
The USCM announced this week support of the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2011, citing the failed war on drugs as a primary driver of high incarceration rates.

Evaluating the Drug War on Its 40th Birthday, by the Numbers
Colorlines offers an informative but heart-breaking infographic illuminating the disparate impact of drug policies and arrests on communities of colors, and declaring “weed is the new crack.”

Five myths about Americans in prison
Seeking to disspell some of the illusions surrounding our massive prison population, the Washington Post published this list of falsehoods. Number four points to drug law enforcement as the major driver of racial disparities in our criminal justice system, stating that “police find drugs where they look for them” and disputing the belief that there’s a link between race and crime.

War on drugs produced swollen prisons and little else
This editorial discussing the many consequences of the war on drugs collects and links to numerous documents and resources produced over the course of this month, including our new infographic depicting the facts about mass incarceration.

Mark your Calendars!
Ready to end the war on drugs? Join ACLU and over a thousand others from around the world on November 2-5 at the 2011 International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Los Angeles.

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