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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

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

(5) Comments | Posted February 19, 2015 | 4:38 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 | 4:45 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 | 3:39 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 | 1:01 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

(16) Comments | Posted September 25, 2014 | 3:55 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 | 8:33 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 | 3:18 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 | 3:40 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 | 3:18 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 | 11:47 AM

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 | 4:27 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 | 3:08 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 | 4:54 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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Montel Williams Cited for Pipe at Airport: TSA Should Look for Bombs Not Bongs

(17) Comments | Posted January 5, 2011 | 12:09 PM

Medical marijuana activist and former talk show host Montel Williams was cited for possession of a marijuana pipe at the International Airport in Milwaukee yesterday. TSA employees found the pipe as he passed through a security checkpoint. He paid a $484 citation and was released. Of course, he easily could...

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Don't Just Smoke a Joint on 4/20 -- Take Action Against Marijuana Prohibition

(29) Comments | Posted April 13, 2010 | 11:20 AM

April 20th (4/20) has long been associated with marijuana, both marijuana use and marijuana activism. Thousands of Americans will gather on that day at rallies in Boston, Boulder, New York, Santa Cruz, Seattle and other cities. For people who prefer to relax with a joint instead of a beer or...

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Obama's 2010 Drug Control Strategy

(9) Comments | Posted February 12, 2010 | 1:23 PM

President Obama's newly released drug war budget is essentially the same as Bush's, with roughly twice as much money going to the criminal justice system as to treatment and prevention. This is the case despite the fact that Obama said on the campaign trail drug use should be treated as...

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What if Gov. Palin Had Been Arrested for Marijuana?

(19) Comments | Posted September 9, 2008 | 6:04 PM

Sen. John McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, has admitted she smoked marijuana in the past, but says it's not an issue because it was legal under Alaska law. She says though, that marijuana should be illegal. So what she did should have been a crime. And she...

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Just Say No to Federal Funding For Drug War

(5) Comments | Posted June 18, 2008 | 3:07 PM

Congress has rubber stamped (yet again) the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program, a federal law enforcement grant program that is feeding the war on drugs and fueling racial disparities, police corruption, and civil rights abuses. The U.S. House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously today to renew the controversial but politically popular...

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Attorney General "Ignoring Reality" of Draconian Crack Laws

(7) Comments | Posted February 25, 2008 | 7:24 PM

If you're planning a children's party or some other event for which you need a magician, consider U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey. He's a master of sleight-of-hand tricks. Under fire now because of the Department of Justice's position on "waterboarding," Mukasey has launched a national campaign to change the subject.

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Are Higher Cocaine Prices a Good Thing?

(12) Comments | Posted November 8, 2007 | 3:30 PM

Here we go again. President Bush's Drug Czar is claiming success in the war on drugs because cocaine prices are rising. Except two recent government reports say cocaine is still widely available; and higher cocaine prices means greater profits for organized crime and greater violence in our communities. So what...

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