War on Drugs

June 2011 marked the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's declaration of a "war on drugs" — a war which has cost $1 trillion but produced little to no effect on the supply of or demand for drugs. The war on drugs has been a war on communities of color. The racial disparities are staggering: despite the fact that whites engage in drug offenses at a higher rate than African-Americans, African-Americans are incarcerated for drug offenses at a rate that is 10 times greater than that of whites. The ACLU is advocating for a more responsible drug policy in America. It’s time to end the unjust and unsuccessful war on drugs.

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Florida Cannot Drug Test People Simply Because They’re Poor

Florida Cannot Drug Test People Simply Because They’re Poor

By Jason Williamson at 3:30pm
Remember that amazing Daily Show segment a couple years ago in which a correspondent asked Florida Governor Rick Scott to pee into a cup? Governor Scott was dead set on forcing some of the state's poorest, most vulnerable citizens to submit to humiliating and expensive drug tests before they could receive public benefits. According to the Daily Show correspondent, it should follow then that lawmakers, including Governor Scott – who also cash checks that come from public funds – should receive the same treatment.
10-Hour SWAT Raid of Organic Farm? Just Another Day in the War on Drugs.

10-Hour SWAT Raid of Organic Farm? Just Another Day in the War on Drugs.

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice & Iman Boukadoum, ACLU at 2:07pm

A SWAT team spent ten hours raiding a small organic farm called The Garden of Eden in Arlington, Texas last month...

Anal Probe for a Traffic Stop?

Anal Probe for a Traffic Stop?

By Allison Frankel, Criminal Law Reform Project, ACLU at 3:08pm

David Eckert was pulling out of a Wal-Mart parking lot when police officers pulled him over for failing to stop at a parking lot stop sign. Police ordered Eckert to step out of his vehicle, and that's when he committed the highly suspicious act of…

We Must Stop Throwing People Away

We Must Stop Throwing People Away

By Harry Belafonte, Entertainer & Activist at 11:00am

There is a crisis that demands our urgent attention. For the last four decades, this country has been obsessed with expanding the number of people we throw behind bars and the length of time we hold them there. Crime rates have been falling for…

My 5-Year-Old's Seizures Were Finally Controlled by Medical Marijuana

My 5-Year-Old's Seizures Were Finally Controlled by Medical Marijuana

By Jennifer Welton, Zander's Mom at 8:16am

My five-year-old son Zander has had two brain surgeries. During each, doctors removed portions of his brain. The second surgery had a long recovery time because of the muscle loss that he suffered after being bedridden for weeks. It caused an infection…

How to Process Eric Holder’s Major Criminal Law Reform Speech

How to Process Eric Holder’s Major Criminal Law Reform Speech

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Vanita Gupta, Center for Justice at 2:10pm

Attorney General Eric Holder just called mass incarceration a moral and economic failure. He just outlined several major proposals that he says will help to ease major overcrowding in federal prisons. And he just suggested that federal prosecutors…

Criminalizing Drug Users Is Killing People

Criminalizing Drug Users Is Killing People

By Chloe Cockburn, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 5:09pm

21-year-old Alysa Ivy was surrounded by people when she died of a heroin overdose. Not one of them called 911 for help. Instead, they left her alone in a motel room, afraid they’d be arrested if they called the authorities.

Alysa’s death…

Drug Agents Have an NSA-Style Spying Problem

Drug Agents Have an NSA-Style Spying Problem

By Ezekiel Edwards, Director, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 2:58pm

Over the last few months, we've been bombarded with revelation after revelation about the NSA's unprecedented spying on Americans. But, according to The New York Times, the NSA's untethered snooping is eclipsed by the agents fighting in a war that…

What Could Stop Eric Holder from Rolling Back the War on Drugs? A US Attorney Fresh out of "Purple Drank"

What Could Stop Eric Holder from Rolling Back the War on Drugs? A US Attorney Fresh out of "Purple Drank"

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice & Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 12:58pm

Remember two days ago when Attorney General Eric Holder gave a major, televised speech calling out the US for throwing too many people behind bars? Remember how he questioned the War on Drugs and criticized the racial disparities that plague the criminal…

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