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  • ShereeKrider 4:27 pm on December 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , delayed notice search warrants, drug war, , ,   

    Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (hereafter known as the Patriot Act, because that name is long and dumb) 


    Data shows Patriot Act used more often to justify drug warrants, not terrorism ones

    by Miranda Nelson on September 8th, 2011 at 11:24 AM

     

    null

    New York Magazine has put out an incredibly detailed compendium of 9/11 information on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the attacks that left over 3,000 people dead. The September 11 attacks, as you’re well aware, were the impetus (or used as justification, depending on how cynical you are) for pushing through the USA PATRIOT ACT, which was hurriedly signed into law on October 26, 2001.

    One of the main focuses of the Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (hereafter known as the Patriot Act, because that name is long and dumb) is Title II, which is all about surveillance. That’s right: even though those dastardly terrorists who hate our freedom came from overseas (as was the rhetoric beaten into the collective consciousness post 9/11), the U.S. government thought it was prudent to pass a bunch of surveillance laws so it could spy on its own citizens.

    Let me quote the relevant section before we proceed:

    SEC. 213. AUTHORITY FOR DELAYING NOTICE OF THE EXECUTION OF A WARRANT.

    …(b) DELAY- With respect to the issuance of any warrant or court order under this section, or any other rule of law, to search for and seize any property or material that constitutes evidence of a criminal offense in violation of the laws of the United States, any notice required, or that may be required, to be given may be delayed if–

    (1) the court finds reasonable cause to believe that providing immediate notification of the execution of the warrant may have an adverse result (as defined in section 2705);

    Delayed-notice search warrants: we won’t tell you we’re breaking into your house to look around if we think there will be adverse results, like you calling up your terrorist buddies to let them know we’re on to you.

    Something seems wrong with this graph (courtesy New York Magazine).

    But between 2006 and 2009, do you know how many times the Patriot Act was used to issue delayed-notice warrants relating to terrorists and related activities? That would be a whole 15 times—even though the act mentions the word terrorism 161 times and terrorism 175 times.

    Aside: did you know that not a single person has been brought to justice on American soil for those deaths?

    In the same time period, New York Magazine reports that 1,618 delayed-notice search warrants were issued in relation to drugs and related activity. If you had any doubts about the true mandate of the Patriot Act, doubt no longer. Congratulations America on using a senseless tragedy to justify targeting marijuana users!

    And why am I concluding that these people are primarily low-level marijuana offenders and not cocaine smugglers or meth manufacturers? The statistics on arrests and imprisonment make it clear: in 2006, 829,627 marijuana-related arrests were made in the United States, 89 percent of which were for mere possession. Not for growing or selling. Just for holding onto the stuff. In 2010, 50,383 arrests were made in New York City alone for possession.

    The Patriot Act: great for the War on Drugs, bad for anyone who likes to smoke a joint, laughable in regards to stopping terrorism.

    Follow Miranda Nelson on Twitter at @charenton_.

    CONTINUE READING…

     
  • ShereeKrider 12:04 pm on October 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ACLU, drug war, Human Rights Watch, , , ,   

    Every 25 seconds in the United States, someone is arrested for the simple act of possessing drugs for their personal use… 


    Interview: Why the US Should Decriminalize Drug Use

     

    Summary

     

    Neal Scott may die in prison. A 49-year-old Black man from New Orleans, Neal had cycled in and out of prison for drug possession over a number of years. He said he was never offered treatment for his drug dependence; instead, the criminal justice system gave him time behind bars and felony convictions—most recently, five years for possessing a small amount of cocaine and a crack pipe. When Neal was arrested in May 2015, he was homeless and could not walk without pain, struggling with a rare autoimmune disease that required routine hospitalizations. Because he could not afford his $7,500 bond, Neal remained in jail for months, where he did not receive proper medication and his health declined drastically—one day he even passed out in the courtroom. Neal eventually pled guilty because he would face a minimum of 20 years in prison if he took his drug possession case to trial and lost. He told us that he cried the day he pled, because he knew he might not survive his sentence.[1]

    ***

    Just short of her 30th birthday, Nicole Bishop spent three months in jail in Houston for heroin residue in an empty baggie and cocaine residue inside a plastic straw. Although the prosecutor could have charged misdemeanor paraphernalia, he sought felony drug possession charges instead. They would be her first felonies.

    Nicole was separated from her three young children, including her breastfeeding newborn. When the baby visited Nicole in jail, she could not hear her mother’s voice or feel her touch because there was thick glass between them. Nicole finally accepted a deal from the prosecutor: she would do seven months in prison in exchange for a guilty plea for the 0.01 grams of heroin found in the baggie, and he would dismiss the straw charge. She would return to her children later that year, but as a “felon” and “drug offender.” As a result, Nicole said she would lose her student financial aid and have to give up pursuit of a degree in business administration. She would have trouble finding a job and would not be able to have her name on the lease for the home she shared with her husband. She would no longer qualify for the food stamps she had relied on to help feed her children. As she told us, she would end up punished for the rest of her life.

    ***

    Every 25 seconds in the United States, someone is arrested for the simple act of possessing drugs for their personal use, just as Neal and Nicole were. Around the country, police make more arrests for drug possession than for any other crime. More than one of every nine arrests by state law enforcement is for drug possession, amounting to more than 1.25 million arrests each year. And despite officials’ claims that drug laws are meant to curb drug sales, four times as many people are arrested for possessing drugs as are arrested for selling them.

    As a result of these arrests, on any given day at least 137,000 men and women are behind bars in the United States for drug possession, some 48,000 of them in state prisons and 89,000 in jails, most of the latter in pretrial detention. Each day, tens of thousands more are convicted, cycle through jails and prisons, and spend extended periods on probation and parole, often burdened with crippling debt from court-imposed fines and fees. Their criminal records lock them out of jobs, housing, education, welfare assistance, voting, and much more, and subject them to discrimination and stigma. The cost to them and to their families and communities, as well as to the taxpayer, is devastating. Those impacted are disproportionately communities of color and the poor.

    This report lays bare the human costs of criminalizing personal drug use and possession in the US, focusing on four states: Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and New York. Drawing from over 365 interviews with people arrested and prosecuted for their drug use, attorneys, officials, activists, and family members, and extensive new analysis of national and state data, the report shows how criminalizing drug possession has caused dramatic and unnecessary harms in these states and around the country, both for individuals and for communities that are subject to discriminatory enforcement.

    There are injustices and corresponding harms at every stage of the criminal process, harms that are all the more apparent when, as often happens, police, prosecutors, or judges respond to drug use as aggressively as the law allows. This report covers each stage of that process, beginning with searches, seizures, and the ways that drug possession arrests shape interactions with and perceptions of the police—including for the family members and friends of individuals who are arrested. We examine the aggressive tactics of many prosecutors, including charging people with felonies for tiny, sometimes even “trace” amounts of drugs, and detail how pretrial detention and long sentences combine to coerce the overwhelming majority of drug possession defendants to plead guilty, including, in some cases, individuals who later prove to be innocent.

    The report also shows how probation and criminal justice debt often hang over people’s heads long after their conviction, sometimes making it impossible for them to move on or make ends meet. Finally, through many stories, we recount how harmful the long-term consequences of incarceration and a criminal record that follow a conviction for drug possession can be—separating parents from young children and excluding individuals and sometimes families from welfare assistance, public housing, voting, employment opportunities, and much more.

    Families, friends, and neighbors understandably want government to take actions to prevent the potential harms of drug use and drug dependence. Yet the current model of criminalization does little to help people whose drug use has become problematic. Treatment for those who need and want it is often unavailable, and criminalization tends to drive people who use drugs underground, making it less likely that they will access care and more likely that they will engage in unsafe practices that make them vulnerable to disease and overdose.

    While governments have a legitimate interest in preventing problematic drug use, the criminal law is not the solution. Criminalizing drug use simply has not worked as a matter of practice. Rates of drug use fluctuate, but they have not declined significantly since the “war on drugs” was declared more than four decades ago. The criminalization of drug use and possession is also inherently problematic because it represents a restriction on individual rights that is neither necessary nor proportionate to the goals it seeks to accomplish. It punishes an activity that does not directly harm others.

    Instead, governments should expand public education programs that accurately describe the risks and potential harms of drug use, including the potential to cause drug dependence, and should increase access to voluntary, affordable, and evidence-based treatment for drug dependence and other medical and social services outside the court and prison system.

    After decades of “tough on crime” policies, there is growing recognition in the US that governments need to undertake meaningful criminal justice reform and that the “war on drugs” has failed. This report shows that although taking on parts of the problem—such as police abuse, long sentences, and marijuana reclassification—is critical, it is not enough: Criminalization is simply the wrong response to drug use and needs to be rethought altogether.

    Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union call on all states and the federal government to decriminalize the use and possession for personal use of all drugs and to focus instead on prevention and harm reduction. Until decriminalization has been achieved, we urge officials to take strong measures to minimize and mitigate the harmful consequences of existing laws and policies. The costs of the status quo, as this report shows, are too great to bear.

     

    CONTINUE READING

     

    LINK TO PDF VERSION OF REPORT (205 PAGES)

     
  • ShereeKrider 1:12 pm on February 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: commutation, drug war, Federal Judge, mandatory minimum sentencing, , Utah, Weldon Angelos   

    Ex-judge urges Obama to commute harsh sentence he was forced to give 


    https://i0.wp.com/www.thecannabist.co/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/mandatory-sentence-Weldon-Angelos-federal-judge-paul-cassell-800x496.jpg

    A former federal judge in Utah is asking President Barack Obama to commute the sentence for Weldon Angelos, a music producer who was jailed in 2004. Pictured: In this Nov. 15, 2005 file photo, members of Safer Choice stand in protest at a Denver federal courthouse, where the court was hearing an appeal of Angelos’ conviction. (Ed Andrieski, Associated Press file)

     

    Ex-judge urges Obama to commute harsh sentence he was forced to give

    Weldon Angelos prison sentence: A former federal judge says the 55-year drug sentence he had to hand down is ‘unjust, cruel and irrational’ for a nonviolent offender who was subject to a lengthy prison term for bringing a gun to marijuana deals

    Published: Feb 10, 2016, 5:20 pm Comments (6)

    By Lindsay Whitehurst, The Associated Press

    SALT LAKE CITY — A former federal judge who gave a Utah music producer 55 years in prison for bringing a gun to marijuana deals asked the president to commute the sentence Tuesday, the latest appeal in a case held up as an example of problems with mandatory minimum sentencing laws.

    Paul Cassell, now a law professor, said in a clemency petition letter that he was deeply troubled by the lengthy sentence he was forced to hand down in 2004 to Weldon Angelos, then a 24-year-old father of three.

    The sentence he called “unjust, cruel, and even irrational” was the main reason Cassell stepped down from the bench after five years. Angelos got a longer prison term than people convicted of crimes such as kidnapping, rape and second-degree murder, Cassell said.

    “When the sentence for actual violence inflicted on a victim is dwarfed by a sentence for carrying guns to several drug deals, the implicit message to victims is that their pain and suffering counts for less than some abstract ‘war on drugs,’” the former judge wrote.

    Angelos likely would not face such a harsh sentence today, Cassell said. President Barack Obama has pushed for the reduction or outright elimination of severe mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent offenders. The White House did not immediately return a message seeking comment Tuesday.

    Angelos founded Extravagant Records in Utah, producing hip-hop and rap music. He had no criminal record before he was convicted of selling $350 worth of marijuana to a police informant three times.

    Prosecutors said he was a gang member who carried a gun during two of those deals, though he was not accused of using or showing a weapon. Angelos denied being in a gang and having a firearm, but police found several guns while searching his apartment.

    He was convicted in federal court of 16 counts of drug trafficking, weapons possession and money laundering.

    The penalty for possessing firearms during a drug transaction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for the first offense and 25 years for each subsequent deal. The federal system does not have parole.

    It’s not the first time the president has been urged to commute Angelos’ sentence. In 2013, more than 100 high-profile figures petitioned the White House, including an ex-FBI director, prosecutors and celebrities.

    Politicians such as Republican Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch and Democratic Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy also have said the punishment didn’t fit the crime. The conservative billionaire Koch brothers have also taken notice of the case in their push for sentencing reform.

    The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Utah declined to comment on the case. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Lund said in 2004: “This sends the message that people who engage in armed drug dealing are going to face very serious consequences.”

    The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the sentence, and the U.S. Supreme Court has denied Angelos’ petition for a hearing.

    Angelos, now 36, has served more than 12 years in prison, and a presidential commutation is his only option.

    His sister, Lisa Angelos, said the clemency letter is a “huge” step that she hopes is a turning point. Weldon Angelos has spent his time in a prison in California earning a business degree, working in the institution’s dental lab and tutoring others, she said.

    The expense of traveling there makes it hard for his family to visit, and he recently saw his sons, now 17 and 19, for the first time in years, his sister said.

    “He’s missing out on basically their entire lives,” Lisa Angelos said.

    CONTINUE READING…

    RELATED STORY: 

    Jeff Mizanskey, sentenced to life for pot, freed from Missouri prison

     
  • ShereeKrider 9:35 pm on April 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , drug laws, drug war, , Michele Leonhart,   

    Marijuana Reform Activists Push for Change with DEA Head 


     

     

    DEA administrator Michele Leonhart testifies before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in a hearing on sexual harassment and misconduct allegations at the DEA and FBI in Washington on April 14, 2015.

     

    And the resignation of Chief of Administration Michele Leonhart offers the chance for change

    Marijuana legalization advocates are excited about the departure of Michele Leonhart, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, whom they long considered an obstruction in their goal of reforming the nation’s drug laws.

    “We are happy to see her go,” says Dan Riffle, the director of federal policies at the Marijuana Policy Project. “She’s a career drug warrior at a time when we’ve decided the ‘War on Drugs’ is an abject failure.”

    Leonhart has been at the DEA for 35 years and served as the top dog since 2007. Though the recent scandal involving agents soliciting sex from prostitutes is what will likely most clearly tarnish her reputation, her position on drug policy has led marijuana reform activists to call for her resignation, says says Neill Franklin of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Franklin, a veteran of the Maryland state police, calls her position on marijuana reform “archaic.”

    Leonhart has been a major hurdle in the effort to reconsider marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance, which could pave the way for more research into the health benefits of the drug. In 2011, the agency again rejected a petition to reschedule marijuana. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, the agency spent about $100 million in 2012 alone on enforcement regarding medical marijuana laws.

    More

    Vancouver’s 4/20 Marijuana Smoke Fest Sees 64 Taken to HospitalWillie Nelson to Launch His Own Brand of MarijuanaJurors Shown Video of Tsarnaev Flipping Off Camera NBC NewsReagan Shooter Hinckley Has Girlfriend, Brother Says NBC NewsElian Gonzalez Sparked a Cuba-U.S Firestorm 15 Years Ago NBC News

    “Leonhart opposed medical marijuana, she opposed sentencing reform, she opposed pretty much everything that Obama was doing and for that matter everything Congress was doing,” says Bill Piper, the director of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance.

    The Drug Policy Alliance is one of several drug and marijuana policy organizations that have previously called for Leonhart’s removal. Following a speech in which Leonhart was critical of Obama’s assertion that smoking marijuana was no more harmful that drinking alcohol, the Marijuana Policy Project and over 47,000 citizens called for her to resign. A Drug Policy Alliance petition called for her removal following revelations that the DEA had been tracking citizens’ phone calls for decades. Organizations including Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws have also called for her resignation.

    Though who will be filling in for Leonhart isn’t yet clear, activists say her replacement should be more supportive of ongoing reform initiatives, including reducing mass incarceration and taking the health impact of drugs into consideration when formulating policy. What’s more, Piper says, her removal could lead the Obama administration to reschedule marijuana before the President leaves office.

    “This offers a good opportunity for marijuana reform to move forward quicker than it has been moving,” Piper says.

    More than that, though, it could signal and even steeper change to policy regarding the enforcement of drug laws. As more states consider legalizing marijuana in some form—23 states have legalized medical use and four have given the green light to toking up recreationally. Six additional states could consider legalization during the 2016 election. As the nation’s stance on that shifts, so too should its approach to drug enforcement, advocates say.

    “Within the next 10 years, I see massive drug policy reform and therefore really an end to the DEA,” Franklin says. The new leader, he says, should approach the role as if he or she is “dismantling a decommissioned battleship and selling the pieces for scrap metal.”

    “For most part, the DEA exists because they’re enforcing prohibition,” he adds. “I believe we’re moving away from prohibition and more toward health.”

    CONTINUE READING…

     
  • ShereeKrider 9:35 pm on February 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , drug possession, drug war, Jimmy Carter, penalties   

    Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself 


     

    Tom Johnson      ‎U.S. Marijuana Party of Pennsylvania

     Lancaster, PA ·

    Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself; and where they are, they should be changed. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against possession of marijuana in private for personal use. We can, and should, continue to discourage the use of marijuana, but this can be done without defining the smoker as a criminal. States which have already removed criminal penalties for marijuana use, like Oregon and California, have not noted any significant increase in marijuana smoking. The National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse concluded five years ago that marijuana use should be decriminalized, and I believe it is time to implement those basic recommendations. ~ President Jimmy Carter Aug 2, 1977

    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu

    The American Presidency Project contains the most comprehensive collection of resources pertaining to the study of the President of the United States. Compiled by John Woolley and Gerhard Peters

     
  • ShereeKrider 11:03 pm on July 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: blue collar, drug free workplace, , drug war,   

    Pissing our life away… 


     

    ohhhh-so-beautiful

     

     

    As Gatewood Galbraith once said, "Our Father’s and Grandfather’s did not go to the beaches of Normandy so that their children could piss in a cup to get a job"…

    Corporate "Drug Testing" aided by Pharmaceutical Companies who develop and produce these tests have taken our very right to be able to work away.  So long as they are allowed to do this our country will never be truly free and we will have not won ANY war.

    The drug testing laws have forced us to be liar’s, cheater’s and last but most important – unemployed. 

    There is virtually no "blue collar" job for which there is not drug testing.

    Everyone already knows how unfair it is to the casual marijuana smoker as the cannabinoids remain in your body for an extended length of time – which in and of itself is a GOOD thing, but Corporate Fascist have condemed us to be "worthless", for corporate use…

    Some smaller businesses may be ignorant of the fact that the "1988 Drug Free Workplace Act (DFWA)" DOES NOT require the majority of these businesses conduct drug testing.  Other’s are part of the corporate majority who will adhere to drug testing to try to lower their insurance premiums and "slap the hands" of anyone who would like to use marijuana either for personal or medical reasons.  They do this in order to continue the "Elkhorn Manifesto" regime to keep cannabis out of the hands of those who would attempt to put an end to the oil based society which we now "enjoy".

    It’s all about where the profit is and how far they are willing to go to keep it.

    The slaves were never set free.  Everyone just became "equal" in color and was run off of their farms and into the Industrial Revolution.
    The slaves are us.  All of us.

    Until we can get the drug testing laws eradicated we will continue on as slaves long after the "law" has been changed regarding the use of marijuana/cannabis.

    It may not be in the government’s best interest to keep paying for incarceration for use, but it IS in corporate America’s best interest to keep the cannabis off the shelf.  

    Thats life in America…let the "private sector" handle it…

     

    Drug-Free Workplaces do NOT have to test for marijuana (Updated)  – November 21, 2012  by Russ Belville

     

    Why Employers Drug Test

     

    Obama Administration Pushes Drug Testing in Workplace, But Not For Everybody

     

    WASHINGTON — The government wants businesses to drug test their workers to boost productivity and reduce health care costs, according to the 2012 National Drug Control Report released Tuesday.

     

    @ShereeKrider 7.1.13

     
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