Buried beneath the Holy Week headlines about a religious freedom law in Indiana was a remarkable event: President Obama shortened the sentences of 22 federal prisoners under the pardon power, and wrote them a letter. It was a fitting gesture for a season of hope and renewal.
Stopping the drug war is a major change that, in one fell swoop, would ameliorate a whole host of problems for poor children and their families. Both liberals and conservatives are getting behind the idea.
Just as the U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya fertilized the field for IS, another U.S. war, the so-called War on Drugs, opened new horizons for the drug cartels.
When it comes to drug overdose, we may be winning one battle, but losing the war. As deaths involving prescription painkillers are leveling off, the latest stats on heroin fatalities could not be more dire. What's often lost behind the headlines is that the trends in prescription painkiller and heroin abuse are linked.
As an important United Nations meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) started in Vienna this week, diplomats from around the world were confronted with a spectacular installation of giant black and white photos.
"In this city, people are killing each other over marijuana more so than anything that we had to deal with an '80s and '90s with heroin and cocaine," said Bratton. "We just see marijuana everywhere when we make these arrests, when we get these guns off the streets."
The recent capture of La Tuta (Servando Gomez), the head of the Knights Templar drug cartel, reminds us that the lethal mix of religion and terrorism isn't peculiar to the Middle East.
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.