Open Thread

bullet image Decriminalise drug use, say experts after six-year study. Advisors say no serious rise in consumption is likely if possession of small amounts of controlled drugs is allowed.

Front page major article in the Guardian tomorrow. Also front page of the London Times. This is pretty huge.

The panel didn’t go all the way to legalization, but it included decriminalization of all illicit drugs and even “minimal or no sanctions on those growing cannabis for personal use.”

bullet image Brad Pitt blasts U.S. ‘War on Drugs,’ calls for policy rethink in Reuters.

(Reuters) – Brad Pitt has thrown his weight behind a documentary that blasts America’s 40-year war on drugs as a failure, calling policies that imprison huge numbers of drug-users a “charade” in urgent need of a rethink.

The Hollywood actor came aboard recently as an executive producer of filmmaker Eugene Jarecki’s “The House I Live In,” which won the Grand Jury Prize in January at the Sundance Film Festival. The film opened in wide release in the United States on Friday.

Ahead of a Los Angeles screening, Pitt and Jarecki spoke passionately about the “War on Drugs” which, according to the documentary, has cost more than $1 trillion and accounted for over 45 million arrests since 1971, and which preys largely on poor and minority communities.

“I know people are suffering because of it. I know I’ve lived a very privileged life in comparison and I can’t stand for it,” Pitt told Reuters on Friday, calling the government’s War on Drugs policy a “charade.”

bullet image Marijuana Legalization’s Tipping Point in The American Conservative.

“More people are recognizing that we cannot afford to continue arresting and prosecuting and locking up people for marijuana,” Angell says. “State legislators and city councilors across the country are now asking themselves, are we going to pay to arrest people for pot or fill some pot holes in the town?”

bullet image Aaron Sandusky Convicted in a Trial Where State Marijuana Law Couldn’t be Mentioned

This kind of case is a serious blight on our justice system, and those involved–from prosecutors to judge–should really be ashamed of their actions.

Come on, folks, teach people about jury nullification. This kind of case is reason enough to vote for acquittal in any federal cannabis case, simply because there’s no way to know whether the judge withheld critical relevant information from the jury (of course, I would probably nullify on any drug case that didn’t involve violence).

bullet image Just another isolated incident I can’t even keep track of how many “isolated” incidents Radley’s discussed this week. Go read his site and check them all out.

bullet image Will legal marijuana make police less effective? Check out this quote from where he basically admits that the police are completely incompetent at their job, so they need some fake reason to arrest people in order to accidentally get bad guys off the street. They’ve gotten so used to it, they don’t even realize how pathetic they sound.

As for who is being arrested now, Pat Slack, commander of the Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force, says it isn’t usually people who are just out to get high.

“Are there people in jail for possession of marijuana? Ya, there are, but most of ‘em have violated a parole or probation,” he said.

In other words, he says, their marijuana use led them to do other things.

“So the judge has said you can’t use marijuana, because when you use marijuana you commit other crimes and then they get caught with it and they go to jail,” Slack said.

A handy tool

Slack, who is opposed to legalizing pot, says marijuana busts are an important part of law enforcement’s arsenal when it comes fighting crime.

For example, he says, as an officer, you might get a call to go to the local 7-11 because of a public disturbance. You get there and find the perpetrators have marijuana on them. You can book them and take them to jail.

Or, perhaps, you have a major crime case. The police can hold the suspect on a marijuana charge to buy time while they investigate.

“Whether it’s a robbery or murder or rape or burglary, or whatever. So, yeah, it’s a tool,” he said.

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