War on Drugs

Drug Policy

War on Drugs

Our nation’s misguided and costly "War on Drugs" has undermined civil liberties in many ways — eroding protections against unlawful searches and seizures, imposing overly harsh sentences on individuals, disproportionately impacting communities of color. The ACLU of Washington Drug Policy Project works for policies that treat drug use as a public health concern, not a criminal justice matter, through public education, legislative advocacy, and litigation.
Washington Marijuana Legalization: We hope that marijuana reform will spark change throughout the criminal justice system
https://www.aclu-wa.org/sites/default/files/styles/alt/public/media-images/panel-panes/drug_policy_2up_opiate_task_force.png?itok=227xh60y
Courts should review harsh sentences from ill-conceived drug laws
Lead: Law enforcement assisted diversion

Resources

Published: 
Friday, March 4, 2016
Heavy-handed law enforcement is one of the primary ways society has attempted to deal with the complicated issue of drug abuse. Responding to problematic drug use from a public health perspective is a far better approach.
Published: 
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Too many people with mental illness and addictions end up behind bars. This isn't good for them, and it hasn't made the public any safer.
Published: 
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
When a juvenile is caught using or sharing an illegal drug, what is the appropriate community response? Should he or she be arrested and charged with a crime, or should he or she receive public health services?
Published: 
Friday, September 4, 2015
The War on Drugs has left thousands of people locked up under sentencing laws now widely viewed as discriminatory and not based in fact. An ACLU-WA brief is taking aim at the effects of an egregious Drug War policy: the lengthy sentences being served because of the government’s wrongheaded distinction between crack and powder cocaine, resulting in a 100:1 crack-powder disparity in sentences.
Published: 
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
It has now been one year since I-502 retail stores opened. Although it is too early to tell whether the law is accomplishing all of its goals, we already have some important results. First and foremost, we know that law enforcement resources are no longer being wasted on the arrest and prosecution of adults for the possession and use of marijuana. We are also taking away profits from the black market and investing badly needed tax revenue into public health and prevention programs.
News Release, Published: 
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Several dozen leading substance abuse prevention and treatment professionals and public health experts, along with the Initiative 502 sponsors, wrote to the Washington Legislature urging that earmarked tax revenue under I-502 not be raided for other purposes.
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
An evaluation of the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program has found that it is reducing recidivism rates for participants. Under LEAD, instead of prosecuting low-level drug and prostitution suspects, law enforcement officers divert them to treatment and other social services. 
News Release, Published: 
Monday, January 12, 2015
As medical marijuana heads back to Olympia, legislators are bracing for a rerun of last session’s drama of makeshift dispensary operators and self-appointed patient advocates decrying any effort to rein in abuses of the law.

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