Category Archives: criminal justice

20th Anniversary Celebration a smash! ‘Olelo rebroadcasts scheduled

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Mahalo to the 90+ drug policy reform advocates that came to our 20th Anniversary Celebration 11/1/2013. We are humbled and strengthened by your support!

Senator Will Espero presented a Senate proclamation acknowledging our anniversary, founding member Richard Miller received a beautiful kamani wood bowl in honor of his contributions to our organization, and Drug Policy Alliance founder Ethan Nadelmann amazed the crowd with an astute, inspiring overview of the past, present and future of drug law reform.

Watch the show on ‘Olelo (and mahalo to that all-volunteer crew that recorded it!):

      • Saturday, December 7, 2013, 10:00 p.m., Oceanic Channel 54
      • Monday, December 9, 2013, 7:00 p.m., Oceanic Channel 54
      • Tuesday, December 10, 2013, 8:00 a.m., Oceanic Channel 49
      • Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 2:00 p.m., Oceanic Channel 49

Eric Holder seeks to cut mandatory minimum drug sentences

CNN article and video excerpt: http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/12/politics/holder-mandatory-minimums/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

Drug Policy Alliance article: http://www.drugpolicy.org/news/2013/08/today-attorney-general-eric-holder-issue-major-sentencing-changes

American Civil LIberties Union article: http://www.aclu.org/blog/criminal-law-reform-racial-justice/how-process-eric-holders-major-criminal-law-reform-speech

Excerpt from CNN article: “Holder said “unwarranted disparities are far too common” in the criminal justice system, reminding his audience that Obama alluded to some of the issues in remarks he made after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin last month, giving voice to African-American concerns that “there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws — everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws.” Holder said the nation “must confront the reality” that once “people of color” are in the criminal justice system, they “often face harsher punishments than their peers.” He called it “unacceptable,” “shameful” and “unworthy” of the U.S. legal tradition.”

The most influential man in the battle for legalization is a wonky intellectual in dad jeans

by Tim Dickinson

Rolling Stone Magazine, JUNE 06, 2013

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The driving force for the legalization of marijuana in America – a frenetic, whip-smart son of a rabbi who can barely tell indica from sativa – has just entered enemy territory. Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, is here in California’s crucible of conservatism, Orange County, to talk about the failure of the War on Drugs and why the government should leave pot smokers alone. As a grizzled ex-DEA agent glares at him from the audience of a lecture hall on the campus of U.C. Irvine, it’s clear that this crowd has not gathered to celebrate cannabis culture. And that’s just the way Nadelmann likes it.

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/ethan-nadelmann-the-real-drug-czar-20130606

Hawaii Supreme Court rejects conviction of medical marijuana patient

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“The Hawaii Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of a Hawaii island medical marijuana user who was found with a small amount of cannabis at Kona Airport.

Geoffrey Woodall had a valid medical marijuana certificate but was still convicted under state laws for the two grams of marijuana discovered when he went through airport security screening.

In a 4-1 ruling Friday, the justices held that a conflict in state laws on the issue must be resolved in favor of Woodhall.

The majority said he must be acquitted.”

http://www.staradvertiser.com/newspremium/20130601_Hawaii_justices_reject_conviction_of_cannabis_user.html?id=209773721&id=209773721&c=n (Paywall)

http://mauifeed.com/state-of-hawaii/hawaii-supreme-court-overturns-medical-cannabis-ruling-and-reveals-flaws-in-pot-laws/

http://bigislandnow.com/2013/06/03/supreme-court-rules-in-favor-of-medical-marijuana-patient/

http://hawaiisupremecourtopinions.justia.com/2013/06/01/state-v-woodhall/

Opinion poll on Hawaii marijuana laws shows voters open to medical dispensaries, decriminalization

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Read the reports: http://freshapproachhawaii.org/2013/01/19/opinion-poll-on-hawaii-marijuana-laws/

Respected local polling firm QMark Research was commissioned by the Drug Policy Action Group (the lobbying arm of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii)  to conduct a statewide, statistically significant poll of 600 Hawaii voters. The poll occurred between November 19 and December 4, 2012. Among its findings:

  •  78% support a dispensary system for medical marijuana.
  • 69% think that jail time for marijuana offenses is inappropriate.
  • 57% favor legalized, taxed and regulated marijuana, 20% higher than the last poll conducted in 2005.

Independent U.H. economist David Nixon was commissioned to update a 2005 study on the state of marijuana law enforcement in Hawaii. He was asked to examine the costs of current law enforcement policies, and to predict the economic impacts if Hawaii were to decriminalize or legalize, tax and regulate marijuana. Among his findings:

  • Hawaii has seen a surge in marijuana arrests since 2004. Possession arrests have increased almost 50%, and distribution arrests have almost doubled.
  • Hawaii’s marijuana laws overly impact males under the age of 25 and people of native Hawaiian descent. These groups were arrested in numbers disproportionate to their share of the population.
  • By decriminalizing marijuana, Hawaii could redirect over $9 M annually in law enforcement costs.
  • By legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana, Hawaii could conservatively add an additional estimated $11 M in yearly revenues.

U.S. House Members File Bipartisan “Respect States’ Marijuana Laws Act”

“This bill is a win for federalism and a win for public safety,” said Neill Franklin, a former Maryland narcotics detective and now executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. “In a time of bitter partisanship, it is quite telling that both Republicans and Democrats are calling for respect for the reform of marijuana laws. Polls show this is a winning issue for politicians, and change is inevitable. We applaud those legislators who, rather than trying to impede this progress, stand with the vast majority of Americans who believe these laws should be respected.”

http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2013/apr/12/house_members_file_bipartisan_re

New report documents nationwide racial, economic disparities in incarceration

Newly released report: “The reasoning is clear: the combination of excessive incarceration and harsh punishment is a blunt instrument for social control that perpetuates the country’s painful, historical legacy of injustice and inequality, and deprives masses of black and brown people unfairly of freedom and opportunity. It is the site of today’s civil rights struggle.”

http://www.aclu.org/criminal-law-reform/ending-mass-incarceration-charting-new-justice-reinvestment