An Illinois gubernatorial hopeful will spring all low-level drug offenders from jail

If Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar is successful in winning the Democratic Party nomination to stand for governor of Illinois and then wins the election, he will: 1) commute all low-level drug offenders' sentences and free them from jail; 2) take educational oversight power from Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel and give it to the Chicago School Board; 3) fund schools out of a fairly distributed state pools, ending the system of funding based on local taxes, which disadvantages schools in poor neighborhoods; and 4) make access to paid sick leave and child care universal in the state of Illinois. Read the rest

Peak no-fucks-given Jeff Sessions boosts asset forfeitures

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, having been thrown under the bus by Donald Trump, has clearly run out of fucks to give, and so now he's not only reviving the feel-good anti-drug program that convinced kids to take drugs, not only directing fed cops to arrest people who take weed in states where it's legal -- he's also calling for more civil asset forfeiture, that being the polite name for the widespread, illegal practice of cops stealing your stuff and selling it off to fund off-the-books spending on surveillance gear and other goodies. Read the rest

Proposed Massachusetts law would let cops steal your car if it had a "hidden compartment"

Hey, remember how Bill Clinton doubled down on the War on Drugs, perfecting Reagan's haphazard and shoddily made race-war into a well-oiled incarceration machine that turned America into the world's greatest incarcerator, a nation that imprisoned black people at a rate that exceeded Apartheid-era South Africa? Read the rest

PA supreme court: was illegal to steal elderly woman's home because her son sold $140 of weed

It took four years, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has finally ruled in favor of 72 year old grandmother Elizabeth Young, whose house was seized by the Philadelphia District Attorney under asset forfeiture rules when her son was caught selling $140 worth of marijuana to undercover agents.

Under civil forfeiture rules, cops and DAs get to steal property suspected of being the proceeds of a crime, then they sue the inanimate objects. The owners of the objects can hire lawyers to represent their property, while the taxpayers foot the bill for the state's side of the suit. If the government wins, it gets to keep the property or sell it and pocket the proceeds.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court blasted the DA for the seizure and reminded the state's lawyers and cops that they can only invoke civil forfeiture when there is good reason to believe that the property's owner "knew of and agreed to the crimes" in question.

The cop who bought the marijuana from Young's son is currently serving a 3.5 year federal prison sentence for planting drugs on suspects.

Young is far from the only person to have her house seized by the Philadelphia D.A. for a minor drug crime that she didn't even commit. In 2013, Philadelphia police seized the house of Christos and Markela Sourovelis after their son was arrested for selling $40-worth of drugs outside of it.

The Sourovelis' sued, with assistance from the libertarian-leaning Institute for Justice, a nonprofit law firm that has challenged asset forfeiture laws in several states.

Read the rest

Lawsuit: sicko Sheriff ordered 900 teens groped in illegal mass-frisking at school

A lawsuit is underway in Worth County, Georgia, where Sheriff Jeff Hobby is defending a mass-frisking of 900 high school students, performed in public without warrant or even the pretense of probable cause, during which cops reportedly manipulated student's breasts, inserted fingers inside bras, exposed bare breasts and reached into underwear and cupped and groped kids' genitals. This ostentatious display of power, by cops armed with guns and dogs, was supposedly a drug search. No drugs were found. Not a scrap.

[Interim Worth County Superintendent Lawrence] Walters said in March Sheriff Jeff Hobby told him his department was going to do a drug search at the school after spring break.

"We did not give permission but they didn't as for permission, he just said, the sheriff, that he was going to do it after spring break," said Walters. "Under no circumstances did we approve touching any students," explained Walters. ...

In the student handbook it says school officials may search a student if there is reasonable suspicion the student has an illegal item. Hobby says he was able to search every student, simply because he had an administrator with him.

The intimidatory purpose of this unconstitutional search is made disgustingly clear by the sexualized quality of the touching, as reported by the victims and their parents. From the lawsuit:

The purported justification for the mass search was to discover drugs. To that end, Sheriff Hobby had a list of thirteen students on a “target list” that he suspected of possessing drugs.

Read the rest

America's leading nickname for crystal meth is "Donald Trump"

Looking to score some rock? Be sure to ask for "Trump" (also acceptable: "Agent Orange," "Cheeto-in-Chief," "Mango Mussolini," or "Putin's Puppet").

Read the rest

Crowdfunding controlled experiments with long-neglected, promising psychedelics

The War on Drugs hasn't just destroyed cities and families by imprisoning millions while enriching organized crime syndicates: it's also denied millions more access to promising therapies for crippling psychological and physiological ailments. Read the rest

Jeff Sessions wants to bring back long mandatory prison sentences for minor drug offenses

Donald Trump's racist, perjuring Attorney General, former senator Jefferson Sessions, was signaled that he will reverse Obama-era AG Eric Holder's memo that told federal prosecutors not to bring charges against petty drug offenders, because these crime carry absurd minimum sentences that resulted in America imprisoning a greater proportion of its population than any country in the history of the world, including the USSR and Apartheid-era South Africa. Read the rest

This is your brain on drug policy - remake of classic PSA with Rachael Lee Cook

In 1998 actor Rachael Lee Cook starred in the "This is your brain on heroin" PSA, smashing up a kitchen with a frying pan: Read the rest

DEA bought zero-day exploits from disgraced cyber-arms dealer Hacking Team

A Freedom of Information Act request reveals that the DEA spent $575,000 buying access to weaponized zero-day exploits sold by Hacking Team, the hacked and disgraced Italian cyber-arms dealer who outfitted despots, dictators, the FBI, and America's local police departments. Read the rest

The trumpian president of the Philippines admits to murdering "suspects"

Before Rodrigo Duterte was elected president of the Philippines, he was the mayor of the southern city of Davao, where he boasted of authorizing death-squads that murdered suspected drug-users and drug-dealers with impunity. Read the rest

A deep dive into kratom, the herb that helps with opioid withdrawal

Kratom (previously) is a widely used herb that has been very effective in treating opioid withdrawal and other chronic, hard-to-treat conditions -- it also became very controversial this year because the DEA decided, without evidence, to class it as a dangerous drug, and then changed its mind (unprecedented!) after a mass-scale petition that included interventions from members of Congress. Read the rest

New map of United States pot laws

The Cannabist has a map showing the legal status of marijuana in the United States. In Tuesday's election, voters in California, Nevada, and Massachusetts made recreational pot legal, joining Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Washington D.C. Maine's measure to legalize weed pass very narrowly 50.2 to 49.8 percent. Opponents are calling for a recount.

Several states also had medical marijuana measures on the ballot. After Tuesday's elections, there are now 28 states that allow people to use pot for medicinal purposes.

Marijuana is illegal under federal law. President Elect Trump has said in interviews that states should be allowed to decide for themselves about pot, but if Chris Christie (an avowed marijuana foe) is appointed U.S. Attorney General, all bets are off. Read the rest

National Guard helicopter, seven cop vehicles sent to warrantlessly seize a single marijuana plant from an 81-year-old Massachusetts grandmother

81-year-old Peg Holcomb of Amherst, Mass wasn't home when a low-flying Massachusetts National Guard helicopter and seven ground-based law-enforcement vehicles raided her home, and demanded that her son allow them to seize a single marijuana plant she'd been cultivating in her back yard. Read the rest

When Californians vote on legal weed, they'll also vote on wiping millions of arrest records

Despite the fact that minor possession has been a misdemeanor since 1976 (and medical weed has been legal since 1996) between 15,000 and 20,000 Californians are arrested every year for marijuana offenses. Read the rest

Police arrest more people for marijuana use than for all violent crimes combined

Forty five years after Richard Nixon launched the war on drugs as a way to persecute black people, little has changed, according to a new ACLU/Human Rights Watch report.

The ACLU/Human Rights Watch report shows that arrests for drug possession continue to make up a significant chunk of modern-day police work.

"Around the country, police make more arrests for drug possession than for any other crime," the report finds, citing FBI data. "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."

In fact, police make more arrests for marijuana possession alone than for all violent crimes combined.

The report finds that the laws are enforced unequally, too. Over their lifetimes, black and white Americans use illicit drugs at similar rates, according to federal data. But black adults were more than two-and-a-half times as likely to be arrested for drug possession.

Read the rest

Merciless reporting on the Chicago Police Department's extortion racket, & the senior officials who covered it up

The more we learn about the Chicago Police Department, the worse it gets -- there's the sabotage of dashcams, the widespread corruption, the investigators fired for refusing to cover up police crimes, off-the-books "black site" where the CPD kidnaps and tortures suspects, the Accountability Task Force Report that called the force racist, corrupt and broken. Read the rest

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