The year 2011 has been a watershed year for the movement working to end our America’s disastrous War on Drugs/Drug Prohibition. Below are the top 9 stories of the year exemplifying the momentum the movement has gained.
#1. World Leaders Make International News By Calling For Cannabis/Hemp Legalization And An End To The War On Drugs
The Global Commission on Drug Policy made worldwide news in more than 3,000 outlets after releasing a stinging report against the EVIl War on Drugs by calling for a paradigm shift in Global Drug Policy, which included alternatives to incarceration and greater emphasis on public health approaches to drug use. It also called for decriminalization and experiments in legal regulation. The Commission is comprised of former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, Richard Branson, four former presidents, George P. Shultz, former U.S. Secretary of State; Paul Volcker, former Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve and other world leaders.
#2. 40-Year Anniversary Of Nixon’s Launch Of The War On Drugs Met With Nationwide Protests
June 17 marked forty years since corrupt President Richard Nixon went against his own exhaustive Commission that found some of the very same results and recommendations that TGCDP made. He, trying to round up political opponents, citing drug abuse as “public enemy No. 1,” declared a “War on Drugs.” A trillion dollars and millions of ruined lives later, there is a growing political consensus that the War on Drugs is a monumental and counterproductive FAILURE. The Drug Policy Alliance, to raise awareness concerning the utter catastrophic FAILURE of Drug Prohibition, led advocates all across the United States marking the date with a call for an exit strategy from the failed War on Drugs policies.
#3. Gallop Poll Shows Historic Support, With 50% Of Americans Now In Favor Ending Cannabis Prohibition
A Gallup poll has for the very first time found that 50% of Americans support making cannabis legal. Forty years ago support registered at 12%, finally gradually rising to 36% in 2005. But the past six years have seen a dramatic spike in support. Majorities of men, liberals, 18-29 year-olds, Democrats, moderates, Independents, 30-49 year-olds, and voters in Western, Midwestern and Eastern states now support legalizing cannabis.
#4. NYPD Commissioner Directs Police To Stop Improper Cannabis Arrests
The New York City Police Department arrested 50,383 people for low-level cannabis offenses in 2010, with arrests for low-level cannabis possession offenses being the number one arrest in New York City, making up 15% of all arrests. But the law says that under 7/8 of an ounce of cannabis is supposed to be decriminalized in N.Y. and a non-arrestable offense, with the only reason people should be arrested are those with under an ounce if they are smoking it in public or it is in plain view. But the law didn’t stop the NYPD from stopping and frisking 100,000’s of black and Latino youth and then tricking them to emptying out their pockets. Once “in public view,” they arrested them. So, in response, a campaign was led by the Drug Policy Alliance, the Institute for Juvenile Justice Reform and Alternatives, and VOCAL as they lobbied for Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD to STOP the racist and unlawful tactics employed during cannabis arrests. In October, NYPD Commission Ray Kelly issued an internal order commanding officers to follow existing NY State law, thereby ending arrests for possession of small amounts of cannabis – as long as it was never in public view.
#5. Thousands In Mexico Take To Street To Protest Drug War
This summer tens of thousands of Mexicans marched across their country to protest their immoral and costly Drug Prohibition War that has led to the death of 50,000 people since President Calderon launched his “surge” against the Mexican Drug Cartels five years ago. The protests were led by journalist and poet Javier Sicilia, whose son was killed in drug prohibition-related violence.
#6. Colorado And Washington To Vote On Legalizing Cannabis In 2012
In 2012 ballot issues will again be brought to the voters in Colorado and Washington State. With winds blowing against the FAILED War on Drugs/Drug Prohibition, the ultimate demise of cannabis prohibition may be at hand, since now the debate is shifting from whether cannabis should be legalized to how.
#7. Portugal Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary Of Decriminalizing Drugs
Ten years ago Portugal decriminalized cannabis as well as ALL drugs including heroin, cocaine and meth, with having small amounts of drugs no longer a criminal offense, but instead a civil offense – like a ticket. The results show a decreased youth drug use, falling overdose and HIV/AIDS rates, less crime, reduced criminal justice expenditures, greater access to drug treatment, and safer and healthier communities.
#8. War On Drugs/Drug Prohibition Critique Is All Over TV and Popular Culture
The FAILURES of the immoral and racist War on Drugs/Drug Prohibition have aroused serious debate around Cannabis Policy which have seeped into mainstream, popular culture. HBO weekly shows viewers the FAILURES of Alcohol Prohibition. A series called Prohibition showed the utter futility of the 18th amendment to ban the sales of alcohol. From movies, to TV, to music, there has been an increased amount of time, energy, thought and discussion about ending the increasingly unpopular War on Drugs/Drug Prohibition.
#9. New And Powerful Voices Join Movement To End Failed War On Drugs/Drug Prohibition
The movement to end the War on Drugs/Drug Prohibition is gaining steam and becoming a bigger, broader and diverse in its effort to bring back common sense to Drug Laws. November saw more than 1,200 people attending the Drug Policy Alliance’s International Reform Conference. It featured panels with dozens of police officers who saw first-hand the utter futility of the War on Drugs/Drug Prohibition and are now speaking out against it, along with students who are just now beginning their activism. There were those in attendance who love drugs, those who hate drugs and people who don’t care about drugs one way or the other.