Drug War Chronicle

Stingray: Privacy, Surveillance, the War on Drugs, and Your Phone

Raymond Lambis is a free man—at least for now.

Keep reading... Show less

Video Killed the Drug Conviction: Chicago Narcs Busted Lying Through Their Teeth

It was just another pot bust by Chicago's crack dope squad and should have resulted in an easy conviction, but thanks to a forgotten camera, things didn't exactly work out the way the cops planned. Now, the pot dealer is free, he has a bunch of cash in pocket, and it's the cops who are facing justice.

Keep reading... Show less

"Stoned:" One Doctor's Examination of Medical Marijuana

Stoned: A Doctor's Case for Medical Marijuana, by Dr. David Casarett (2015, Current Press, 289 pp., $27.95 HB)

Keep reading... Show less

Praying to a Saint Is Evidence You're a Criminal? That's the Insanity of the Drug War for You

Does praying to a "narco saint" constitute evidence that someone is a drug trafficker? In an unusual case out of the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, the court said "no." In overturning the conviction of the woman doing the praying, the court both acted to protect First Amendment freedoms and opened a window into Santa Muerte, the unofficial Saint Death venerated by hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of poor Mexicans, some of whom are members of the criminal underworld.

Keep reading... Show less

Obama Calls for Greater Criminal Justice Reforms

In a 45-minute speech at the NAACP convention in Philadelphia Tuesday, President Obama laid out a far-reaching roadmap for criminal justice reform, including calls for reducing or eliminating mandatory minimum sentences, reviewing the use of solitary confinement, and eliminating barriers to reentry for former prisoners.

Keep reading... Show less

Montana Judge Blocks Medical Marijuana Restrictions

A state district court judge last Friday dealt a hard blow to provisions of a restrictive state medical marijuana law passed by the Republican-dominated legislature seven years after Big Sky voters approved a more open initiative allowing for medicinal use and a wide open dispensary scene.

Keep reading... Show less

Washington Sheriff Tells Oregon Voters: Legalization Is Already Working

King County Sheriff John Urquhart has recorded a message letting Oregon voters know that legalization in Washington State has seen wasteful arrests decrease, DUIs decrease, taxes going to schools and police, and drug prevention programs getting funding.

Keep reading... Show less

Pot Legalization in Oregon Is a No-Brainer When You Look at Colorado and Washington

As Oregon voters consider Measure 91, an initiative on the November ballot that would regulate, legalize and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older, many are looking to how similar laws are affecting Colorado and Washington. Measure 91 supporters Tuesday brought together a panel of experts from those two pioneering states to make the case that marijuana legalization is a winner, with more positives than negatives for states that have taken the step.

Keep reading... Show less

Latinos are Fed Up with the War on Drugs

A bill that would significantly reform California's drug sentencing laws is poised for approval in the state Senate, and a new poll showing strong support for sentencing reform among Latino voters could help push it over the top.

Keep reading... Show less

Kentucky Sues Federal Drug Enforcement Agency For Hemp Seeds

After being misled by the DEA about whether it would release imported hemp seed destined for the state's hemp research projects, the state of Kentucky is now suing the federal anti-drug agency, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer told the Huffington Post Wednesday.

Keep reading... Show less

Religious Leaders Call for the End of the War on Drugs and Mass Incarceration this Easter

A broad coalition of Christian leaders have taken the occasion of the holiest day on the Christian calendar to release an Easter statement calling for the end of the war on drugs and mass incarceration. They said they chose the Easter season to release their statement because of the spirit of the Resurrection, which Easter commemorates and celebrates.

Keep reading... Show less

Maryland Officially Becomes the 21st Medical Marijuana State - and Decriminalizes Possession

Washington, DC Mayor Vincent Gray Monday signed the marijuana decriminalization bill passed last month by the city council. It's not quite a done deal yet, though -- Congress has 60 working days to object, but to stop the bill, it must pass a resolution blocking it, and President Obama must sign it. So it appears likely that the nation's capital will have decriminalized pot possession by the time Congress leaves town for the August recess.

Keep reading... Show less

US Sentencing Commission Votes to Cut Drug Trafficking Sentences

The US Sentencing Commission (USSC) voted unanimously Thursday  to reduce sentences for most federal drug trafficking defendants. The move comes as the federal prison population continues to increase, driven in large part by drug offenders, even as prison populations in the states are on the decline.

Keep reading... Show less

DC Mayor Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

Washington, DC Mayor Vincent Gray Monday signed the marijuana decriminalization bill passed last month by the city council. It's not quite a done deal yet, though -- Congress has 60 working days to object, but to stop the bill, it must pass a resolution blocking it, and President Obama must sign it. So it appears likely that the nation's capital will have decriminalized pot possession by the time Congress leaves town for the August recess.

Keep reading... Show less

Obama Needs to Fire His Rogue DEA Chief

DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart told a congressional committee today her agency is "fighting back" against Justice Department policies tolerating marijuana in states where it is legal. The president needs to dump her, or at least remind her who the boss is.

Keep reading... Show less

The Demand for a Massive Drug Policy Change Is Stronger than Ever at the UN This Year

The United Nations' Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) has wrapped up the High-Level Segment portion of its annual meeting in Vienna. The session revealed schisms among countries about future steps on global drug control even as the global drug bureaucrats gave signs of softening in some policy areas, especially around emphasizing public health as opposed to criminalization.

Keep reading... Show less

The National Capital Just Decided to Decriminalize Pot

Washington, D.C., is set to become the next entity to decriminalize small-time marijuana possession after the city council Tuesday gave final approval to a decriminalization bill. The bill must still be approved by Mayor Vincent Gray, who has signaled support for decriminalization.

Keep reading... Show less

One Drug Lord Was Captured But the Cartel Drug Trade Goes On

At around 6:40 on the morning of Saturday, February 22nd, Mexican marines and police officers arrested Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman at a condominium in the Pacific resort town of Mazatlan. Without a doubt, Guzman is the most significant organized criminal captured or killed since the current Mexican drug war began in December 2006. But what effect will his capture have on the violence in Mexico and the flow of drugs to American consumers? Not much.Guzman was widely regarded as the world's most powerful drug trafficker, and his aggressive organization has been a significant contributor to the violence that has gripped Mexico in recent years. This is especially true in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, where the Sinaloa Cartel's bloody and drawn-out takeover of the access routes to the US drug market left thousands dead over the course of a three year orgy of violence.

Keep reading... Show less

Obama Administration Announces Banking Guidelines for Marijuana Business

The Obama administration Thursday afternoon announced new guidelines that will allow financial institutions to provide services to marijuana businesses in states where it is legal. The guidelines will apply to both medical marijuana and legal marijuana states.

Keep reading... Show less

We Can Reduce the Heroin Death Toll - But It Means Leaving the Drug War Behind

The news last Sunday that acclaimed actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman had died of an apparent heroin overdose has turned a glaring media spotlight on the phenomenon, but heroin overdose deaths had been on the rise for several years before his premature demise. And while there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth -- and quick arrests of low-level dealers and users -- too little has been said, either before or after his passing, about what could have been done to save him and what could be done to save others.

Keep reading... Show less

U.S. Farm Bill Allows Hemp Farming... in 10 States

The omnibus federal farm bill approved by Congressional conference committee negotiators this week and destined to be quickly signed into law includes the hemp amendment that was approved by the House last year before the bill blew up over Republican efforts to cut food stamp spending. The final version of the farm bill passed the House Wednesday morning.

Keep reading... Show less

Another Poll Confirms Emerging Marijuana Majority

They just keep on coming--polls showing a majority nationwide in favor of marijuana legalization. The latest is from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.

Keep reading... Show less

DEA Chief Faces Backlash for Criticizing Obama's Marijuana Remarks

Criticism is mounting over reported remarks last week of DEA chief Michele Leonhart in a speech to the Major Counties Sheriffs Association. Leonhart criticized her boss, President Obama, for acknowledging in a recent interviewthat marijuana is not more dangerous than alcohol and that the experiments with marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington were "important."

Keep reading... Show less

Fed Will Allow Banks to Accept Deposits From State-Legalized Marijuana Businesses

Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday that the Obama administration would soon announce regulations that would allow banks to business with legal marijuana businesses. Financial institutions have been scared away from such businesses by the threat of legal action for dealing in the profits of a commodity still illegal under federal law.

Keep reading... Show less

Obama: Marijuana Is Less Dangerous Than Alcohol, But...

In an interview with The New Yorker released Sunday, President Barack Obama said he didn't think marijuana was more dangerous than alcohol and that the legalization experiments going on in Colorado and Washington were "important." But he also said marijuana use wasn't something he could encourage and he worried that pot legalization could lead to a slippery slope where the decriminalization or legalization of other, more dangerous, drugs might be considered.

Keep reading... Show less

Municipal Marijuana Legalization Looms in DC

The District of Columbia city council this week took a preliminary step toward decriminalizing marijuana possession in the nation's capital, with a bill to do just that winning a unanimous committee vote. But the council's belated response to decades of racially biased pot policing may end up just being a blip on the path to outright legalization.

Keep reading... Show less

New CNN Poll Confirms More than Half of Americans Want to Legalize Pot

CNN/ORC International survey released Monday has a solid majority of Americans supporting the legalization of marijuana. Some 55% agreed that marijuana should be legal, with 44% disagreeing.

Keep reading... Show less

Legal Weed Is Expensive to Sell, Competition Is Fierce, and the Supply Is Running Low

Since January 1, any person in Colorado over the age of 21 can walk into a retail marijuana facility and purchase marijuana with just a show of ID. While the process should be simple for those who choose to imbibe legally, things have not been so simple for the dispensary owners who have made the choice to sell retail marijuana. Luke Ramirez is one of these owners. His store, Walking Raven, sits on one of Denver's busiest streets.

Keep reading... Show less

Denver Made Marijuana History New Years Morning

For many people New Year's Eve means going to bars and celebrating with a night of drinking and carousing with their friends. For Adam Hartle and Anthony Hasham, the night was a little different. The duo flew into Denver from Jacksonville, Florida, in order to be first in line for Colorado's historic legal retail marijuana sales. Hartle and Hasham came prepared with a tent, and set up camp in front of 3D, Denver's Discrete Dispensary at 6:00pm on New Year's Eve. They were the first to arrive, making it even before the news cameras.

Keep reading... Show less

"Obamacare" Heroin Hits the Market

Like any other businessmen seeking to differentiate their product from similar competitors, heroin dealers come up with brand names, too. Among the latest is this entry from Massachusetts: "Obamacare"

Keep reading... Show less
BRAND NEW STORIES