Friday Panel: Marijuana Arrests: The Gateway to Mass Incarceration
Marijuana arrests and mass incarceration will take center stage at Netroots Nation 2014 this week in Detroit.
On Friday, July 18 at 4:30 p.m., the ninth annual gathering of progressive voices will feature a panel, “Marijuana Arrests: the Gateway to Mass Incarceration.” The panel will feature Kassandra Frederique, a policy coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).
Frederique is currently organizing with groups around the state of New York to address bias policing practices, unlawful marijuana arrests and collateral consequences of criminalization.
“I’m thrilled to see Netroots Nation examine the failed war on drugs and how marijuana arrests fuel mass incarceration,” Frederique said. “Netroots Nation is a cutting-edge incubator of ideas and I’m excited to have a rich discussion during the panel and action from folks afterwards.”
Every 48 seconds someone is arrested for marijuana possession in the United States. Most of these arrests are of people of color, despite the fact that white people use and sell marijuana at higher rates. In this panel they will explore how the Drug War and biased policing practices fuel marijuana arrests and, in turn, mass incarceration.
Citizens Take to the Streets on June 26 to Protest Current Drug Policies and to Call for an End to the Senseless Criminalization of Drug Users
Thousands of activists will take to the streets in more than 80 cities on Thursday, June 26, to fight harmful drug laws that have caused health crises, instability and mass incarceration around the world.
Mass demonstrations and other actions are planned in New York, London, Paris, Warsaw, Mexico City, Kathmandu, Rome, Phnom Penh, Tbilisi, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow and more than 70 other cities. The actions include peaceful demonstrations, street performances, public meetings and workshops, social media campaigns and advertisements on public transportation and billboards.
The events are scheduled to coincide with the United Nations’ International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which is also June 26. The U.N.’s anti-drugs day is used by many governments to justify violent crackdowns and to promote harsh punishments. It has even been marked with public executions and beatings of drug offenders in some countries.
The “Support. Don’t Punish: Global Day of Action” seeks to reclaim this day and promote a more effective and humane approach to drugs that is based on public health and human rights.
A legal marijuana farm organizer on Vashon Island in Washington state says he is selling a rare David Choe painting to fund his organization.
“It is a fabulous painting that I bought in 2006 just as David Choe was becoming well known," said painting owner Shango Los. "Now that he is an international superstar, I’d like to cash out and invest in American marijuana agriculture. I’m sure David Choe would approve.”
Los said he doesn't grow marijuana on Vashon Island, but rather founded the Vashon Island Marijuana Entrepreneurs Alliance which organizes food farmers and other entrepreneurs who wish to move into the legal marijuana market.
“We have an opportunity to let marijuana grow beside our traditional food crops and save the family farm," Shango said. "The only way this will happen though is with grass roots community organizing and that takes money.”
The sale of the painting will fund the continuing efforts of VIMEA, according to Los.
Along with the painting, Shango is selling a shirt he was wearing at the gallery when he bought the painting upon which David Choe wrote “DAVE CHOE RUINS SHIRTS” and an image in marker.
The eBay auction is for both the painting and the shirt. The painting has an auction estimate of $5,000 to $10,000, with a starting bid of $3,500.
“David Choe’s talents have made him a heavily watched artist," Los said. "I expect that the rare opportunity to buy an original painting by him in a private sale will draw out both avid David Choe fans and savvy art investors alike.”
The auction ends May 14, Los said.
U.S. Has Less Than 5% of World’s Population but Nearly 25% of People Behind Bars; Drug War Fueled Prison Explosion
A groundbreaking report released on Wednesday by the National Research Council, the principal operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences, documents the unprecedented and costly price of U.S. incarceration rates.
With less than five percent of the world’s population but nearly 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, the United States continues to rank first among nations in both prison and jail population and per capita rates. As the report points out, this unprecedented rate of incarceration is a relatively new phenomenon in U.S. history. America’s prison population exploded largely as a result of the failed Drug War policies of the last 40 years.
The report, commissioned by the National Institute of Justice and the MacArthur Foundation, documents how the Drug War has contributed to the skyrocketing U.S prison population and the staggering costs associated with mass incarceration. The report points out that U.S. incarceration rates are 5-10 times higher than rates in Western Europe and other major democracies.
The report also documents the staggering racial disparities in drug enforcement and incarceration.
The report calls for a significant reduction in rates of imprisonment and says that the rise in the U.S. prison population is “not serving the country well.” It concludes that in order to significantly lower prison rates, the U.S. should revise its drug enforcement and sentencing laws.
The Indonesian cannabis reform group Lingkar Ganja Nusantara (LGN) will hold rallies in conjunction with the Global Marijuana March in seven cities across Indonesia this Saturday, May 3.
This peaceful rally, held annually on the first Saturday of every May, is coming into its fifth year in Indonesia. This year marks a unique step for Indonesia's cannabis movement as six other cities, in addition to Jakarta, are launching their very own local events in conjunction with the Global Marijuana March.
The GMM rallies are held not only in Indonesia, but simultaneously all over the world. This year, more than 143 cities in 33 nations worldwide will have their own marches; North America, Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania will all unite in support of cannabis legalization.
On Saturday, May 3, nearly 300 cities worldwide, including Portland, will participate in the 15th annual Global Cannabis March. Portland participants will gather in Pioneer Courthouse Square to march at high noon through downtown Portland, accompanied by a police escort.
Oregon NORML, KBOO Community Radio and the publishers of Hemp News, Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) are sponsors of this event.
The keynote speaker for the event will be Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer, (District 3). He will be speaking immediately following the march.
Musicians Mack & Dub and the Smokin' Section, The Sindicate, Disenchanter and Justin James Bridges have joined the lineup for the rally, which runs from 11 am to 4 pm in Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Speakers for the rally include CRRH Director Paul Stanford; Paul Loney, Oregon NORML Legal Counsel; Leland Berger, a Portland Attorney; Rowshan Reordan, Oregon NORML; Anna Diaz of the NORML Women's Alliance; Madeline Martinez of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP); and Oregon Attorney John Lucy IV.
"I think it’s game over in less than five years," Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) said, according to an article in The Huffington Post. "There's no question that we're likely to see another state or two this year legalizing [social] use. We're going to see more medical marijuana progress. The crazy prohibitions on bank services and probably the tax disparities -- these are all eroding," Rep. Blumenauer predicted.
The world famous CannaBUS was parked in front of the Jackson County Courthouse on Monday to show support for Maria and Steve Green as they go to court once again. Since her return in October 2013, “Baby Bree” still has not had contact with her older brother. Supporters question the validity of Green’s supervised parenting reasons.
Brielle “Free Bree” Green was returned to her home on October 25, 2013 by Child Protective Services personnel. Now, six months later, Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Susan Beebe still has not allowed Maria Green’s older son to return to her home. Court record shows that the reason for this is because the child needs time to reacquaint himself with his mother.
“My son was kept from me illegally in the first place," said Maria Green, 32. "I don’t understand why we need to be reacquainted. A kidnapped child doesn’t spend months getting reacquainted with his family when he’s been found.”
The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act was passed with overwhelming 63 percent voter support statewide in 2008. Specific protections were written into that voter-initiated law to protect parents from being denied custody or visitation of children due to caregivers and/or patients status with the State. (MMMA: (4) (c) “A person shall not be denied custody or visitation of a minor for acting in accordance with this act, unless the person's behavior is such that it creates an unreasonable danger to the minor that can be clearly articulated and substantiated.”)
Historic Step Will Reduce Both Racial Disparities and the Number of Brooklynites Unfairly Saddled with Lifelong Arrest Records
Advocates, Community Groups Applaud DA Thompson for His Leadership and Demand Action by City Hall and Albany
Brooklyn elected officials, community groups, and advocates on Friday rallied on the steps of Borough Hall to support District Attorney Ken Thompson’s proposal to stop prosecuting people arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
A memo outlining DA Thompson’s proposal, shared with the press, states that when the police make a low-level marijuana arrest and the defendant has no criminal record or a minimal criminal record, “there will be a presumption that such case will be immediately dismissed.” With this bold and smart initiative, DA Thompson is using his discretionary authority as the top law enforcement officer in Brooklyn to refocus limited law enforcement resources on serious public safety issues, address and reduce unwarranted racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and ensure that Brooklyn residents are no longer saddled with lifelong arrest records for simple possession of marijuana.
Community Groups, Elected Officials Support Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson’s Proposal to Stop Prosecuting Low-Level Cannabis Possession Cases
Major Step Will Dramatically Reduce the Number of People in Brooklyn Unfairly Saddled with Lifelong Criminal Records
Advocates, Community Groups Applaud DA Thompson for His Leadership and Demand Reform at City Hall and in Albany
Elected officials, community members and the coalition, New Yorkers for Public Health & Safety, on Friday at 11 a.m. will rally on the steps of Brooklyn’s Borough Hall to applaud DA Ken Thompson’s proposal to stop prosecuting people arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
DA Thompson’s office hopes that “individuals, and especially young people of color, do not become unfairly burdened and stigmatized by involvement in the criminal justice system for engaging in nonviolent conduct that poses no threat of harm to persons or property,” according to The New York Times. The Times obtained a confidential policy memo that was sent by the district attorney to NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton.
What: Press Conference about Marijuana Arrests in Brooklyn
When: Friday, April 25th 11am
Where: Steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall – 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Oregon: 15th Annual Global Cannabis March in Portland on May 3rd, Thousands Expected to Rally to End Marijuana ProhibitionSubmitted by restore on Mon, 03/24/2014 - 18:53
Cannabis proponents agree; the war on the cannabis plant is a farce, the drug war is taking its last gasp. No political movement in America has made it this far without eventually winning, and it's just a matter of time before marijuana prohibition crumbles.
By Michael Bachara, Oregon NORML/CRRH
Portland, Oregon – On Saturday, May 3, 2014, nearly three hundred cities worldwide, including Portland, will participate in the fifteenth annual Global Cannabis March on Saturday, May 3, 2014. Portland participants will gather in Pioneer Courthouse Square to march at high noon through downtown Portland, accompanied by a police escort. Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) and Oregon NORML are sponsors of this event.
Portland participants will gather in Pioneer Courthouse Square to march at high noon through downtown Portland, accompanied by a police escort. Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) and Oregon NORML are sponsors of this event.
By Steve Elliott
After a woman who was arrested for having a joint in her pocket reported inappropriate groping, several more women in Odessa, Texas, now say that a local police officer there detained them and groped their breasts.
Local station CBS 7 reports warrants were issued for officer Salvador Becerra, who allegedly brought at least three and up to six women back to his patrol car, where he talked to them and then put his hands under their bras and felt their breasts, according to the Texas Cannabis Report.
While groping the women, Officer Becerra reportedly turned off audio on his squad car's recording equipment, but cameras corroborated the women's stories.
Becerra detained a woman on March 9 who admitted having a joint in her pocket. According to the affidavit, Officer Becerra told her that "if she made an exception then they would not go to jail." It was then that the woman reluctantly allowed him to touch her breasts, but she reported the incident on March 10.
That resulted in an internal affairs investigation headed by Chief Timothy Burton which found the claims held merit, after reviewing Officer Becerra's camera footage. Chief Burton ordered a concurrent criminal investigation and requested the Texas Rangers take the lead in the case.
By Steve Elliott
"The Wall," a project in support of the Koozer-Kuhn Medical Cannabis Act, has been announced by MMJ for Tennesseans and Tennessee for Medical Marijuana. The wall features names of Tennesseans who need the medicinal benefits of the cannabis plant, and who support changing the law so that they can have safe access to this medicine, without fear of arrest.
The Wall is an ongoing project; currently, 395 patients are publicly making a stand together in solidarity in support of the bill, "and what should be our right to include medical cannabis therapies in our medical regimes," said activist Dana Arvidson of Nashville, founder of MMJ for Tennesseans.
A recent poll showed that 69 percent of Tennesseans support either cannabis legalization for medicinal use (36 percent) or legalized completely (33 percent), with just 18 percent saying marijuana prohibition should continue, reports Nick Caloway at WKRN-TV.
Many of the patients whose names are on The Wall were heard from, or were represented, in the Koozer-Kuhn Bill presentation last week; these include Piper Koozer, Millie Mattison, Wally Peterson, Toni Woodall Corbin, Seth Green and Kim West Hipps.
Patients and Advocates Deliver a Provocative 'Get Better Soon' Card to Gov. Dayton, Who Is Recovering From Hip Surgery
Huge greeting card urges the Governor to 'show some backbone' and 'stop bowing to law enforcement,' which is holding up a bill that would allow seriously ill Minnesotans to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it
A group of medical marijuana patients and advocates gathered in front of the Minnesota Governor's Mansion at 12:30 Thursday afternoon to deliver a very large and provocative 'get better soon' card to Gov. Mark Dayton, who is recovering from hip surgery. Following a brief news conference, patients, their family members, and supporters signed the card, which was then delivered to the governor by a Burnsville, Minnesota man suffering from muscular dystrophy.
The huge greeting card urges the Governor to "show some backbone" and "stop bowing to law enforcement," which is holding up a bill that would allow seriously ill Minnesotans to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. An inscription inside the card reads: "You took action to relieve your pain. Will you take action to relieve ours?"
California: Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance to Speak at the World Affairs Council in San FranciscoSubmitted by steveelliott on Thu, 03/13/2014 - 16:36
Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, will speak at the World Affairs Council’s WorldAffairs 2014 conference in San Francisco on Saturday, March 15 at 10:30 a.m.
WorldAffairs 2014 offers fresh insights and new perspectives on current global topics. The conference will be held at the St. Regis in San Francisco on Friday, March 14 and Saturday, March 15.
Nadelmann will take part in a discussion entitled “Rethinking the War on Drugs.” Nadelmann will be joined by Beau Kilmer, co-director, RAND Drug Policy Research Center and Robert MacCoun, professor of public policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy. Issues addressed in the discussion will include:
• What do President Obama’s new drug policy initiatives mean for the U.S?
• What does it mean to reclassify drug use as a public health issue?
• What lessons can be learned from Europe?
• Can the United States effectively reduce the harmful effects of drugs at home and abroad while also reducing the enormous fiscal burden of the War on Drugs?
Described by Rolling Stone Magazxine as "the point man" for drug policy reform efforts, Ethan Nadelmann is widely regarded as the outstanding proponent of drug policy reform both in the United States and abroad. Nadelmann is the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), an organization based in the United States promoting alternatives to the War On Drugs.
By Steve Elliott
The Portland City Council on Thursday told the city's Parks & Recreation Bureau, which denied Hempstalk Festival a permit for Tom McCall Waterfront Park, to negotiate with the festival's organizers in order to find a place and time for the event in the park. After more than two hours of testimony, during which the Mayor went to bat for the event, they left the door open for the pro-cannabis group to hold its 2014 gathering on the waterfront.
"It seems to me that the place it ought to take place is Waterfront Park -- if the event is manageable," said Mayor Charlie Hales, reports Andrew Theen at The Oregonian.
Thursday's hearing was the first time city parks officials could remember an appeal of a permit ruling going before the City Council. The Parks Bureau usually doesn't deny permits for events it has approved in previous years.
Hempstalk 2014 would be the 10th annual event, which has been held at several locations in the Portland area over the years, including at Waterfront Park in 2005 and 2006.