In an excellent piece of journalism published in the New Yorker, David Remnick writes about a series of conversations he’s had with President Obama. The piece is excellent and offers us a well rounded view of the president of the united states, but the reason I’m posting it here is a few choice statements the president made about marijuana.
In what sounds like clear support for decriminalization, the president said, “Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do. And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.” The president continued, “we should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing.” So let’s let that be one voice for the passage of HB472.
The president went on to describe the Colorado and Washington experiment with legalization, “important.” He explains, “because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.” The president stays far from being an ideologue, but he shows us that the reasonable perspective is one in favor of decriminalization and careful legalization.
This story comes to us via the Huffington Post. Read the full story there.
Puerto Rico has been facing a problem: Jail overcrowding. To solve it, they have been trying to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. Their last bill failed, but they are trying again. For simple possession of less than 14grams, Puerto Ricans would face a fine of 100$, much like our own Senate Bill 472.
The surprising part? In Puerto Rico, 70% of the population opposes decriminalization. Here in Hawaii we have 69% in favor. As the legislative session begins in 2 days, let’s gather together to generate some political will and finally get this bill over the finish line!
For the last few days, all of the major news outlets seem to have been looking to Colorado to find something worth reporting on. Many outlets have reported on the surge in demand for legal recreational marijuana, and the rise in prices as customers flooded in to Colorado. However, after more than a week of legal marijuana sales, the most important news from Colorado seems to be… no news. The spokesman for the Denver police said, “We’ve written four citations for public consumption since Jan. 1, and that’s relatively small considering the number of people consuming right now.”
So far, at least, recreational users have been remarkably well behaved and now that legal access to recreational marijuana is possible, they seem to be doing their very best not to break any laws. The lesson: legalization gives the state control over how and where people consume marijuana.
Read the full story here, courtesy of the Huffington Post.
An excellent article from The Atlantic about how marijuana law is a moral issue.
Too often we supporters of marijuana law reform allow the proponents of criminalization to take the moral high ground. We offer reasons that decriminalization or legalization is good for society: It reduces harm, reduces spending, reduces lost productivity etc. Sometimes we forget to remind society that it is also morally right.
Connor Friedersdorf makes that point beautifully.
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A word from our friends at StopTheDrugWar.org:
Call Mazie Hirono TODAY!
Tomorrow the US Senate Judiciary Committee will meet to discuss mandatory minimum sentencing and S. 1410, the Smarter Sentencing Act. The Smarter Sentencing Act is a bipartisan bill sponsored by committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), which would allow federal judges to bypass the much-criticized mandatory minimum sentences, sparing thousands of nonviolent federal offenders from years or even decades of incarceration. The bill would also extend retroactive sentencing reductions to some federal crack prisoners who had already been sentenced before the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act that reduced crack sentences was passed.
Today is a National Call-In Day for people who have Senators on the Judiciary Committee to call them in support of the bill.
WE DO! please call the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be transferred to Mazie Hirono’s office and urge her to support S. 1410.
Here is a script to use:
“I’m a constituent, and I’m calling to ask the Senator to vote in favor of mandatory minimum sentencing reform, including the Smarter Sentencing Act, S. 1410, at this Thursday’s Judiciary Committee markup. The Senator should vote to reform mandatory minimums because they are unfair, expensive, and don’t keep us safe. Thank you for considering my views.”
An excellent infographic from the transnational institute.
This is an interesting examination of one way that a national tax and regulate system could work. Do you have any thoughts about the Uruguay model? tweet @FreshApproachHi and let us know what you think.
Interesting news coming from Uruguay. In a couple of days, Uruguay will lead the way in becoming the first country on earth to legalize cannabis. Read the full article. The world will keep a careful eye on Uruguay in the near future. Let’s all wish them the very best as they take a bold new step into ending the catastrophic global war on drugs.