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Sharda Sekaran

Entries by Sharda Sekaran

Drug War Enables Police Roadside Sexual Assault

(68) Comments | Posted August 14, 2015 | 2:34 PM

It's a story so awful that even though my job involves constantly reading news about drug war atrocities, I avoided this one for days.

Charnesia Corley has come forward about an incident that happened to her in June. The 21-yr-old black woman from Houston, Texas was driving...

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Sandra Bland Marijuana Smear Is Another Cheap Trick of Racist Drug War

(339) Comments | Posted July 24, 2015 | 2:14 PM

Two years ago, when marijuana was brought up to smear the reputation of Trayvon Martin, I wrote "In Order to Address Racism, We Must Confront the Drug War." I said, "From clothing to intoxicants, what is normal and innocuous in another context becomes sinister when associated with...

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A Long-Awaited Promise: Obama Gets Real About Criminal Justice Reform

(24) Comments | Posted July 15, 2015 | 12:12 AM

"Mass incarceration makes our entire country worse off, and we need to do something about it." - President Obama in his July 14, 2015 speech to the NAACP annual conference

Fifteen years ago, when I first started working on drug policy and criminal justice reform issues, I never would have...

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Dear Media: Please Use This Realistic Marijuana B-Roll for Your News Stories

(4) Comments | Posted June 10, 2015 | 2:34 PM

A couple of years ago I was watching my boss get interviewed on television about the cost of marijuana prohibition, growing public opinion in favor of legalization, and legislative efforts for marijuana policy reform. It was a fairly wonky conversation peppered with serious facts about the billions of dollars wasted...

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Ethan Nadelmann's Fiery TEDTalk: What Has the War on Drugs Done to the World?

(6) Comments | Posted November 12, 2014 | 12:39 PM

Twenty years ago, Ethan Nadelmann left his teaching position at Princeton University to become a full-time advocate for ending the drug war. As the founding executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), the largest and most influential organization promoting drug policies grounded in science, compassion, health...

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In the Time it Takes to Find These Guys on IMDB, You Could Have Voted for Marijuana Legalization

(0) Comments | Posted October 29, 2014 | 10:08 AM

I'm a native New Yorker and I live in Brooklyn. But right now I'm in Portland and I am completely dedicating myself to the state of Oregon.

Why? This lovely Pacific Northwestern state has the unique and historic opportunity to legalize marijuana and set up a system to tax and...

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Join Lil Jon and Turn Out for Legalization!

(0) Comments | Posted October 10, 2014 | 4:42 PM

Rock the Vote is off to a glorious start in encouraging young people to vote this election season with a star-studded video featuring the likes of Lil Jon, Lena Dunham, Fred Armisen and Whoopi Goldberg. The video spoofs Lil Jon's summer smash "Turn Down for What" and asks voters which...

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From Michael Brown to Trayvon Martin -- Racism Fueled by the Drug War

(3) Comments | Posted August 20, 2014 | 6:24 PM

The dramatic uprising in Ferguson, MO following the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, at the hands of a white police officer has become an international news story. As in the case of Trayvon Martin's murder in Florida by a paranoid neighborhood watch volunteer in 2012, racism...

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Iceland, Music Festivals, Drug Use and Shocking Police Antics Under the Midnight Sun

(0) Comments | Posted July 15, 2014 | 3:03 PM

Last year, I had an opportunity to travel to Iceland for the Airwaves Music Festival, when I tagged along with a fantastic group of "ambassadors" from the city of San Francisco. I fell absolutely in love with my time in Iceland - the music scene, the people,...

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Horrific Stories of Two Babies Victimized by the War on Drugs

(1) Comments | Posted June 3, 2014 | 11:42 AM

The multi-decade, trillion dollar waste that we call the drug war has become increasingly unpopular, with everyone from Nobel Prize-winning economists to leaders from the religiousand civil rights communities calling for its end. Those who defend arresting, incarcerating and militarizing our...

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Dear Media: This Is What People Who Use Marijuana Look Like

(359) Comments | Posted March 26, 2014 | 7:00 PM

Global political and business leaders are talking seriously about ending marijuana prohibition everywhere from D.C. to Davos. Recent polls say a majority of Americans are in favor of legalizing marijuana -- and not just in the states you'd expect but even in Missouri, Indiana,...

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People Who Use Drugs Need to Be Treated With Dignity

(38) Comments | Posted February 5, 2014 | 5:32 PM

In the days since the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, like many others I am reeling from the shock of losing an actor with profound mastery for his craft. He was compelling to watch -- an extraordinarily gifted person who was also a bit of an everyman that New Yorkers...

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Five of 2013's Most Enraging Moments in Drug War Racism

(18) Comments | Posted December 30, 2013 | 3:10 PM

The drug war is full of racism and hypocrisy. It's hard to argue against that reality. People intoxicate themselves, both illegally and legally, at much the same rates across racial lines. Similarly, the drug trade is an equal opportunity employer and the demographic breakdown for sellers is...

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Spoiler Alert: Elected Officials Use Drugs Too

(3) Comments | Posted November 21, 2013 | 3:32 PM

It's been a troublesome week for politicians who like to get wasted. Flashbacks to Representative Pete Russo's character in "House of Cards" abound, as we watch public relations catastrophes involving two high profile men and their unsightly public episodes involving intoxication.

These stories are rich with drug war ironies: political...

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A Little Girl Helps Give Sanjay Gupta New Perspective on Marijuana

(115) Comments | Posted August 9, 2013 | 3:13 PM

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is making waves for his recent reversal of opinion on medical marijuana. Part of this has to do with an expansive body of medical evidence but the touching story of a 5-year-old girl may have also played a meaningful role.

What if you...

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In Order to Address Racism, We Must Confront the Drug War

(168) Comments | Posted July 24, 2013 | 9:00 AM

This past week has brought an intense time of reflection and critical self-examination for many Americans. In the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict, there have been emotionally-charged conversations about the way young black men are viewed in the U.S. and how valued their lives are. All the way up...

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Will a New Movie and an App Help End the Drug War?

(5) Comments | Posted June 27, 2013 | 12:39 PM

Although some people might think that the mission of the Drug Policy Alliance to end the war on drugs is radical, we are actually a relatively tame group of people. Our ranks are composed of lawyers, parents, political analysts and volleyball league leaders. To put it in...

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Reefer Madness 2013: Synthetic Marijuana Will Turn You Into a Zombie

(20) Comments | Posted May 13, 2013 | 7:24 PM

You might be familiar with Reefer Madness, the drug war film from the 1930s that has become a cult classic because of its over-the-top scare tactics about marijuana. Generations have laughed at the film's cartoonish hysteria, with young students portrayed committing acts of violent lunacy after smoking a joint with...

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Ally Week: Equal Opportunity to Advocate for Equality

(1) Comments | Posted October 21, 2011 | 2:12 AM

Several years ago, I was at my college reunion when a guy whom I had had a little crush on as a student told me that he never asked me out because, as he said, "I thought you were gay." This was a fair thing for him to assume. I...

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