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Bill Piper
Bill Piper is director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance Network, the nation's leading organization advocating for alternatives to the war on drugs.

Entries by Bill Piper

Poll: New Hampshire Primary Voters Strongly Support Decriminalizing Drug Possession, Treating Drugs as a Health Issue

(20) Comments | Posted January 26, 2016 | 11:56 AM

A new poll finds that New Hampshire voters support treating drug use as a health issue instead of a criminal justice issue - this includes decriminalizing drug use and possession, eliminating mandatory minimum sentencing, and making naloxone (the antidote to opiate overdoses) more widely available.

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The Growing Bipartisan Consensus for Rolling Back the Failed War on Drugs

(51) Comments | Posted October 16, 2015 | 9:21 AM

In the Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday Bernie Sanders came out for marijuana legalization. Hillary Clinton supported medical marijuana. Jim Webb talked proudly about his groundbreaking effort to create the first national commission in 45 years to look at America's failed crime policies. And it is not...

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Senate Committee Passes Crucial Marijuana Reform

(8) Comments | Posted July 23, 2015 | 2:38 PM

A key Senate committee passed a bill today allowing the nation's capital to establish regulated marijuana stores and let banks provide financial services to state-legalized marijuana dispensaries. These are just two of several marijuana reforms advancing in Congress. Meanwhile sentencing reform is gaining steam, and the U.S....

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Veterans Medical Marijuana Amendment in U.S. House Loses by Just Three Votes

(70) Comments | Posted May 1, 2015 | 3:11 PM

There are reasons to be optimistic about a vote in Congress that didn't go our way.

Last night the U.S. House voted down a bipartisan amendment by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) that would have allowed Veterans Administration (VA) doctors to recommend marijuana to their patients.

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DEA Chief Resignation Opportunity to Appoint Reformer

(22) Comments | Posted April 28, 2015 | 2:55 PM

The resignation of the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Michele Leonhart, comes as no surprise to those of us working to reform the agency. The DEA is a bloated, wasteful, scandal-ridden bureaucracy charged with the impossible task of keeping humans from doing something they've been doing for thousands...

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Indiana Families Deserve an Effective Syringe Exchange Policy

(3) Comments | Posted April 14, 2015 | 6:57 PM

Indiana's Republican Governor, Mike Pence, is implementing a 30-day syringe exchange program in Scott County to combat escalating HIV/AIDS infection rates. It is part of a public health emergency he declared to keep Hoosiers safe. This plan is welcome news but one program operating in one county for one month...

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Justice Department Defying Congress, Breaking the Law on Medical Marijuana

(236) Comments | Posted April 3, 2015 | 1:04 PM

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently told the Los Angeles Times that a bipartisan amendment passed by Congress last year prohibiting DOJ from spending any money to undermine state medical marijuana laws doesn't prevent it from prosecuting people for medical...

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Rep. Wasserman Schultz's Interest in U.S. Senate Run Not Welcome News to Medical Marijuana Activists

(5) Comments | Posted February 19, 2015 | 5:38 PM

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's (D-FL), interest in running for the U.S. Senate has generated lots of political rumblings.

As Politico noted today, groups working to end the criminalization of medical marijuana patients are lining up to make sure Floridians are aware of her archaic...

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AG Eric Holder Slashes Civil Asset Forfeiture

(2) Comments | Posted January 16, 2015 | 5:45 PM

Eric Holder just issued a huge blow to the drug war. This is big.

Today the Justice Department limited the circumstances in which local and state police can use a federal program to seize a person's property without evidence of a crime....

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Marijuana Prohibition in Nebraska and Oklahoma Is the Real Nuisance

(56) Comments | Posted December 22, 2014 | 4:39 PM

The attorneys general of Nebraska and Oklahoma have launched a lawsuit against Colorado claiming the state's 2012 voter initiative legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana is causing marijuana to come into their states, creating a public nuisance and consuming law enforcement resources.

Leaving aside the...

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A Decade of Hard Work Turns into Historic Marijuana Victory in Congress

(28) Comments | Posted December 15, 2014 | 2:01 PM

Over the weekend Congress passed the "cromnibus," an end of year federal spending bill designed to fund most of the government through 2015. The bill contains the bipartisan Rohrabacher-Farr medical marijuana amendment prohibiting the Justice Department from spending any money to undermine state medical...

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Holder's Legacy: Steering Away From the Drug War and Mass Incarceration

(15) Comments | Posted September 25, 2014 | 4:55 PM

When it comes to criminal justice reform, Attorney General Eric Holder -- who announced today he will soon resign -- waged a revolution from within. Taken individually some of his work seems incremental. Seen as a whole it's quite bold.

In a pivotal 2013 speech to the...

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The Drug Czar Talks About Public Health, But Still Wants to Arrest People for Drugs

(1) Comments | Posted July 10, 2014 | 9:33 AM

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released its 2014 National Drug Control Strategy Wednesday. The strategy has shifted some from previous years in that it more clearly focuses on reducing the harms associated with substance misuse, such as overdose and the transmission of...

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Thousands of Rapists Are Not Behind Bars Because Cops Focus on Marijuana Users

(20) Comments | Posted June 17, 2014 | 4:18 PM

A piece in the Washington Post highlights the growing backlog of untested rape test kits that are sitting in police storage units while rapists run free and victims suffer. Missing from the story, however, is one of the biggest contributors to this backlog, the enormous amount of...

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DEA Chief Michele Leonhart Should Resign

(52) Comments | Posted May 15, 2014 | 4:40 PM

For months Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Michele Leonhart has openly rebuked the drug policy reform policies of Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama with one embarrassing statement after another. Now she is picking a fight with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Y) and other members of Congress over hemp....

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New Drug Czar a Chance to Do Things Right

(9) Comments | Posted March 24, 2014 | 4:18 PM

The Obama administration's drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, was recently made director of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Whether acting drug czar Michael Botticelli gets the job permanently or President Obama nominates someone new, the next drug czar should fight to undo the mass incarceration and racial disparities that are the...

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Biggest Overhaul in Federal Drug Sentencing in Decades Clears Major Hurdle, Despite Opposition From Heartless Prosecutors

(2) Comments | Posted January 30, 2014 | 12:47 PM

Today the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee passed bipartisan sentencing reform legislation that reduces the federal prison population, decreases racial disparities, saves taxpayer money, and reunites nonviolent drug law offenders with their families sooner. The reforms are supported by a strange bedfellows group of senators, including Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand...

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Congressmen Help Launch Drug War Exit Strategy Guide

(27) Comments | Posted May 15, 2013 | 5:27 PM

On Thursday, the Drug Policy Alliance will release An Exit Strategy for the Failed War on Drugs. This comprehensive report contains 75 broad and incremental recommendations for legislative reforms related to civil rights, deficit reduction, law enforcement, foreign policy, sentencing and re-entry, effective drug treatment, public health,...

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"New" White House Drug Control Strategy: New Rhetoric, Same Failed Policies

(15) Comments | Posted April 17, 2012 | 4:08 PM

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (more commonly known as the drug czar's office) released its 2012 National Drug Control Strategy today. The strategy is nearly identical to previous national drug strategies. While the rhetoric is new -- reflecting the fact that three-quarters of Americans...

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Medical Marijuana: A Science-Free Zone At The White House

(70) Comments | Posted July 15, 2011 | 5:54 PM

President Obama came into office promising to reverse George W. Bush administration practices and elevate science over politics. He explicitly applied that principle to drug policy, an area long driven by ideology and prejudice. He quickly began to make good on the pledge by promoting three evidence-based drug policies: eliminating...

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