Bill Piper

Good News! Trump Will Not Nominate Rep. Marino as Drug Czar

According to news reports President Donald Trump will not be nominating Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) to be director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (colloquially referred to as the “drug czar”).

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Trump's Apparent Drug Czar Pick Would Double Down on Failed Drug War, Take Country Backward

President Donald Trump is expected to soon nominate Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) to be director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (also referred to as the drug czar). Marino, a former prosecutor with no background in health or treatment, supports a punitive, 1980s-style approach to drugs, including mass incarceration and coerced treatment, even for marijuana. Drug Policy Action, the political arm of the Drug Policy Alliance, gave him an F in its 2016 congressional voter guide.

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Four Ways Drug Policy Reformers Must Play It Smart Under the Trump Administration

I began working, advocating and lobbying for federal-level drug policy reform in Washington, DC in the last year of Bill Clinton’s presidency. I’ve continued to do so ever since: I was a loyal soldier in the war against the War on Drugs through eight years of George W. Bush and then eight years of Barack Obama. But now, with the election of Donald Trump, it feels like the work during those three presidencies was just basic training—the real challenge is just beginning.

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New Poll Shows New Hampshire Primary Voters Strongly Support Decriminalizing Drug Possession

A new poll finds that New Hampshire voters support treating drug use as a health issue instead of a criminal justice issue – this includes decriminalizing drug use and possession, eliminating mandatory minimum sentencing, and making naloxone (the antidote to opiate overdoses) more widely available.

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Veterans' Medical Marijuana Amendment in US House Comes Up 3 Votes Short

There are reasons to be optimistic about a vote in Congress that didn’t go our way.

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One of Obama's Top Drug Cops Has Resigned -- He Has a Big Opportunity to Hire a Reformer

The resignation of the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Michele Leonhart, comes as no surprise to those of us working to reform the agency. The DEA is a bloated, wasteful, scandal-ridden bureaucracy charged with the impossible task of keeping humans from doing something they’ve been doing for thousands of years –altering their consciousness.  As states legalize marijuana, reform sentencing, and treat drug use more as a health issue and less as a criminal justice issue the DEA must change with the times.  Leonhart’s departure is an opportunity to appoint someone who will overhaul the agency and support reform.

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Justice Department Defying Congress, Breaking the Law on Medical Marijuana

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently told the Los Angeles Times that a bipartisan amendment passed by Congress last year prohibiting DOJ from spending any money to undermine state medical marijuana laws doesn't prevent it from prosecuting people for medical marijuana or seizing their property.

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Hey, Nebraska, On Marijuana, Colorado's Not the Problem. You Are.

The attorneys general of Nebraska and Oklahoma have launched a lawsuit against Colorado claiming the state’s 2012 voter initiative legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana is causing marijuana to come into their states, creating a public nuisance and consuming law enforcement resources.

Leaving aside the fact that states, and for that matter the federal government, cannot force states to criminalize marijuana, the lawsuit gets things backwards – it is Nebraska, Oklahoma and other states with marijuana prohibition that are creating a public nuisance.

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The Drug Czar Talks About Public Health, But Still Wants to Arrest People for Drugs

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released its 2014 National Drug Control Strategy today. The strategy has shifted some from previous years in that it more clearly focuses on reducing the harms associated with substance misuse, such as overdose and the transmission of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and other infectious diseases, while also reducing the harms associated with punitive drug policies, such as reducing the use of mandatory minimum sentencing.

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Thousands of Rapists Are Not Behind Bars Because Cops Focus on Marijuana Users

A piece in the Washington Post highlights the growing backlog of untested rape test kits that are sitting in police storage units while rapists run free and victims suffer.  Missing from the story, however, is one of the biggest contributors to this backlog, the enormous amount of police and tax resources spent targeting drug crimes, particularly marijuana possession.

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