Just think of where we could be as a nation if some of the people spending years in prison for a nonviolent drug offense could have, instead, studied sustainable architecture or climate change adaptation?
While many people are clearly in favor of legalization around the country, our leaders in Washington still think they know what's best for us. Logic and reason don't always prevail in America. The moral police do.
Policing today is focused on enforcing moral behavior, which, regardless of one's opinions about legislating and enforcing personal behavior, has had devastating consequences.
Scott Walker wants to place new burdens on poor people. His justification? He's fighting for small businesses. He should stop pandering to the most extreme elements of the Republican base and start listening to employers across his state.
Rather than approaching crime from the perspective of restorative justice and public health, seeking to help people to reform and re-integrate, our country has instead not only continued in a model of punishment that can only be described as "medieval", but has grown it to a scale unprecedented in world history.
Will we walk through Cheech-and-Chong-density marijuana smoke? Is it a risk to public safety? What about the kids, isn't it always about the kids?
They weren't rolling doobies down by the river, but Melodie Peil and her family were using their gently used 1990 Chevy van to roll around town when they discovered a stowaway that had been bumming a ride with them for about the last 15 years, 13 and a half pounds of marijuana packaged for transport.
This weekend, it is a year since Philip Seymour Hoffman died, with a needle in his arm; and this year, it is a century since drugs were first criminalized. These two events may be connected. If the war on drugs had never happened, there is a significant chance that his death would not have happened either.
Marijuana is now the nation's fastest-growing industry. The legal marijuana industry brought in $2.4 billion last year, so it's certainly no longer any sort of laughing matter. That figure represents an increase of a whopping 74 percent in one year's time, and it is estimated that the total legal market could be worth $11 billion as soon as 2019.
President Barack Obama continues to speak out against mass incarceration, the devastating impact of our drug policies on communities of color and his expectation that marijuana legalization will continue to spread.
New evidence about addiction isn't just a challenge to us politically. It doesn't just force us to change our minds. It forces us to change our hearts.
This was a busy week in politics, as the Republicans in the new Congress began a bout of legislating and President Obama ramped up his agenda in preparation for next Tuesday's big speech to Congress and the country.
The Supreme Court yesterday heard a case that reflects the tragic absurdity of both the War on Drugs and the mass deportation machine that relies on it.
While American justice has long been extraordinarily repressive and discriminatory, the events of 2014 arguably led more people to realize the magnitude of the problem.
Marijuana, that scourge of America, didn't even earn a mention in the National Poison Control Center's new research paper on poisonings in the United States.
Whether dealing with close U.S. partners or more distant governments, the United States should have the same principled voice for human rights. 2014 was a decent year for change in U.S. policies towards Latin America and the Caribbean. Let's make 2015 a banner year.