ON THE SPEAKEASY BLOG

One of the Worst Ideas to Come Out of the War on Drugs: Sentencing Enhancement Zones

A video from the Prison Policy Initiative on what is indeed one of the worst ideas to come out of the war on drugs. 8 comments

House Committee Votes to Block DC Decrim

The GOP-dominated House Appropriations Committee stuck a thumb in the eye of democratic governance in the nations capital this morning. The committee voted to prevent the District of Columbia from implementing marijuana decriminalization approved by the District government. 4 comments

Senate Could Vote to Cut DEA Funds as Soon as Tonight

In a historic vote late last month, the House moved to cut funding for the DEA to go after medical marijuana in states where it is legal. Now, the Senate is preparing to vote on a similar measure. 11 comments

DEA Leaning On Massachusetts Docs with Dispensaries Ties

The Boston Globe is reporting today that the DEA has been visiting Massachusetts doctors involved with yet-to-open medical marijuana dispensaries and giving them an ultimatum: Cut your ties with the dispensary or lose your DEA-issued license to prescribe drugs. And it's working. 8 comments

There Were Several Drug Policy Amendments to the CJS Bill

Reformers have mostly been talking about the 11 comments

House Passes Historic Medical Marijuana Amendment

Late Thursday night, the House of Representatives told the DEA to butt out of medical marijuana states by approving a budget amendment barring the use of taxpayer funds to do so. 11 comments

Kentucky Gets its Hemp Seed as DEA Backs Off

It's a done deal. A UPS truck delivered more than 250 pounds of hemp seed to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture this afternoon. It took a lawsuit and a lot of political pressure on DEA head Michele Leonhart, but the agency has backed away from its initial refusal to allow the seeds to be imported. 4 comments

The Largest Marijuana March Ever? 150,000 Protest in Buenos Aires!

Good Golly, Miss Mary Jane! I've been watching marijuana legalization marches for a long time and I've never seen a crowd like this. 11 comments

Uruguay's Mujica is the Grumpy Old Man of Global Marijuana Legalization

Uruguay formally rolls out its marijuana legalization rules next week, but President Mujica shows he's no Captain Cannabis. 5 comments

Big News from the Administration About Commutations

The Obama administration may issue hundreds or even thousands of sentence commutations in drug cases, 4 comments

It's 4/20 in Denver!

Denver is pot city this weekend, with the High Times Cannabis Cup, the 4/20 rally downtown, and dozens of related musical and cultural events. 3 comments

I'm Denver Bound, So No Chronicle AM for Friday

I'm driving from eastern South Dakota to Denver Friday in preparation for the 4/20 weekend there. 5 comments

Maryland Becomes 18th Decrim State, 21st Medical Marijuana State

With Gov. Martin O'Malley's signature today on two bills passed by the legislature, Maryland decriminalized marijuana possession and becomes a full-fledged medical marijuana state. 2 comments

Medical Marijuana Expansion, Decriminalization Pass in Maryland

It was a banner day in Annapolis Monday, where legislators, working against an end-of-session deadline, managed to pass both marijuan decriminalization and medical marijuana expansion bills. 4 comments

Obama Needs to Slap Down His Rogue DEA Chief

DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart told a congressional committee today her agency is "fighting back" against Justice Department policies tolerating marijuana in states where it is legal. The president needs to remind her who is the boss. 10 comments

Maryland Senate Okays Marijuana Decriminalization

The Maryland Senate today overwhelmingly approved a marijuana decriminalization bill with bipartisan support. It now heads to the House of Delegates. 7 comments

Say What? UNODC Panel Says Criminalizing Drug Use "Not Beneficial"

Yep, you read that right. The global anti-drug bureaucracy doesn't think it's a good idea to criminalize drug use. 12 comments

A Thousand March for "El Chapo" in Culiacan

More than a thousand people marched through the streets of Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state, Wednesday in support of arrested Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. 8 comments

Mexico's El Chapo Guzman Reportedly Captured

Reports are coming out the Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the elusive head of the Sinaloa Cartel has been captured in a joint operation by US and Mexican forces. 21 comments

Police Shoot, Kill 80-Year Old Man In His Own Bed

The recklessness of drug raids... 8 comments

No Marijuana Legalization for Hawaii This Year

A bill that would have legalized marijuana in the Aloha State died in a state Senate committee Thursday, but a decriminalization bill still lives. 6 comments

Some Drug Sanity from Italy!

Italy's constitutional court today struck down a 2006 law that removed the distinction between "soft" and "hard" drugs, treating pot possession like heroin possesion. Thousands of prisoners will go free. 5 comments

Hemp Amendment Becomes Law as Prez Signs Farm Bill

President Obama this afternoon signed into law the omnibus farm bill, which includes an amendment allowing for research into hemp production in states that have authorized it. 8 comments

Smart Needle Exchange Reform Bill Moving in Maryland

The Maryland Senate today moved to undo a restriction in existing state law that prevents injection drug users from picking up more clean needles at the Baltimore needle exchange than they turn in. That's a smart move. 6 comments

It's on in Alaska! Marijuana Legalization Vote Coming in August

Alaaska election officials have certified that a marijuana legalization initiative there has qualified for the ballot. Alaskans will go to the polls in August. 4 comments

Farm Bill Passes Second Chamber, With Hemp, Without Drug Testing

Two victories in one on the drug war front this week. 3 comments

DC Council Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

The District of Columbia city council today approved a marijuana decriminalization bill, but a second vote is needed for final approval. 10 comments

Oglala Sioux and French Consider Marijuana Legalization

The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council's business development committee has approved a proposal take marijuana legalization to a tribal vote. A bill's been introduced in France, too. 3 comments

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FROM THE CHRONICLE

Chronicle AM--July 10, 2014

Forget Amazon's promised drone deliveries; the Mexican cartels have beat them to it. Also, Massachusetts cops will need to do more than just smell weed to search you or your vehicle, Arizona PTSD patients are okayed to use medical marijuana, Uruguay delays the roll-out of its legal marijuana sales, and more. 0 comments

The 2014 National Drug Control Strategy: Baby Steps in the Right Direction [FEATURE]

This year's National Drug Control Strategy was released today. There are some steps in the right direction, but otherwise, it pretty much looks like every annual drug strategy for the past 20 years. 0 comments

Medical Marijuana Update

New York becomes the 23rd medical marijuana state, North Carolina becomes a high-CBD cannabis oil state, Utah issues the first permits for high-CBD cannabis oil, Californians prepare to lobby for a statewide regulation bill, and more. 0 comments

Chronicle AM -- July 9, 2014

The White House issues its annual drug control strategy, the Brooklyn DA announces an end to most small-time marijuana possession arrests, a suburban Maryland county adopts a marijuana reform resolution, the first medical cannabis oil permits are issued in Utah, Lebanese hash farmers vow to fight to protect their crops, and more. 0 comments

Florida Man Killed in SWAT Raid Over Small-Time Marijuana Sales

A Tampa man was shot and killed by a police SWAT team over marijuana sales totaling less than $200. In an unusual twist, the local newspaper actually did an in-depth investigation of the incident, and the results aren't pretty. 9 comments

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

We present a trio of law enforcement miscreants, including a Houston deputy who was ripping off dealers and selling their wares, a North Carolina cop with a pill problem, and a Baltimore schools cop who was flipping rocks on the side. 0 comments

Chronicle AM -- July 8, 2014

There are now two states where marijuana can be legally sold to adults, Marc Emery's time in America's drug war gulag comes to an end, two senators file the REDEEM Act for ex-offenders, there may be magic in those mushrooms, and more. 0 comments

DC Marijuana Initiative Hands in Plenty of Signatures [FEATURE]

An initiative that would legalize the possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana appears poised to qualify for the ballot after organizers handed in more than twice the needed number of signatures. 1 comment

Chronicle AM -- July 7, 2014

This fall's drug policy initiative picture is beginning to clear up, with DC and Oregon seemingly on the way to voting on marijuana legalization in November, the first retailer sales licenses for marijuana in Washington state were issued today, with the signature of Gov. Cuomo, New York becomes the 23rd medical marijuana state, and more. 0 comments

Denver Man Shot, Killed in Undercover Drug Operation

A Denver SWAT team member shot and killed the target of an undercover drug investigation when he pulled a weapon as uniformed cops moved in for an arrest. 0 comments

Chronicle AM -- July 3, 2014

The Afghan poppy trade is spilling over into Central Asia, legal marijuana goes on sale in Washington state on Tuesday, Georgia holds off on welfare drug testing, a California sentencing reform bill is now one vote away from passage, and more. 5 comments

Medical Marijuana Update

An Arizona researcher gets fired for apparently political reasons, new medical marijuana-related laws come into effect in several states, California dispensary conflicts continue as the Assembly grapples with a statewide regulation bill, and more. 4 comments

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

There seem to a lot of cops with pain pill problems these days, but we also have more old-fashioned drug war corruption, such as stealing and reselling drug evidence and tipping off dope dealers. 0 comments

Two More Drug War Deaths

A Texas man has drowned fleeing a drug bust, and a Florida man has been shot and killed during one. They become the 22nd and 23rd persons to die in US domestic drug law enforcment operations so far this year. 4 comments

Chronicle AM -- July 2, 2014

The Louisiana State Bar goes where the state legislature wouldn't, the Florida medical marijuana initiative gets a big cash donation, the CDC issues an eye-opening report on opioid prescribing, some Vancouverites celebrate Canada Day with an illegal open marijuana market, and more. 2 comments

An Industry Emerges: The NCIA Cannabis Business Summit in Denver [FEATURE]

The marijuana industry has arrived. The National Cannabis Industry Association's Cannabis Business Summit in Denver was last week, and there were way more suits and ties than guys in tie-dyes. 0 comments

Chronicle AM -- July 1, 2014

July 1 sees new drug-related laws and regulations going into effect in various places, a University of Arizona researcher falls victim to anti-medical marijuana politics, Massachusetts is cracking down on caregivers, Ohio activists give up on a medical marijuana (and hemp) initiative this year, and more. 0 comments

Filmmaker Eugene Jarecki Talks Drug Reform [FEATURE]

Eugene Jarecki, auteur of the award-winning drug war documentary The House I Live In, talks about the film, the war on drugs, and the future. 1 comment

Chronicle AM -- June 30, 2014

The Big Dog opines on marijuana, a California sentencing reform initiative qualifies for the ballot, the DC legalization initiative looks poised to make the ballot, municipal decrim initiative campaigns are underway in New Mexico's largest cities, the drug war is driving grand jury indictments in an East Texas county, and more. 2 comments

Chronicle AM -- June 27, 2014

Things are looking good after legalization in Colorado, a medical marijuana bill moves in Pennsylvania, food stamp drug testing is on hold in Mississippi, hash battles break out in Libya, and more. 1 comment

Chronicle AM -- June 26, 2014

It's UN anti-drug day, and protests to mark it are going on in at least 80 cities around the world, House Republicans move to block DC decrim, the Oregon legalization initiative looks set to make the ballot, the ACLU has a strong new report out on SWAT teams, and more. 1 comment

Cops Need Warrants to Search Cell Phones, Supreme Court Rules

In a landmark ruling for privacy rights, a unanimous Supreme Court has held that police may not search the contents of cell phones and other hand-held devices "incident to arrest." Instead, they must get a warrant. 0 comments

Medical Marijuana Update

A Senate companion to the successful House DEA defunding amendment has been filed, New York becomes the 23rd medical marijuana state, a CBD bill is moving in North Carolina, Rhode Island retrenches, and more. 0 comments

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Last week may have been slow on the police corruption front, but we make up for it this week. A Washington SWAT team member goes bad, an NYPD officer pays for going bad, a former Colorado sheriff also pays a price, an Arkansas cop gets nailed for protecting what he thought were dope loads, and, of course, more jail and prison guards get in trouble. 4 comments

Chronicle AM -- June 24, 2014

Your fearless reporter has been traveling, so our schedule is a little off, but the drug policy news continues. Paul Stanford calls it quits in Oregon, pot shops are coming within days in Washington, an Alabama drug task needs to reconsider its priorities (or maybe the people funding it need to reconsider theirs), and more. 1 comment

Worldwide Protests Set for UN Anti-Drugs Day This Thursday [FEATURE]

The UN's annual anti-drug day is Thursday, but this year, it is going to be met by a counter-campaign calling for drug decriminalization, harm reduction, and human rights in the drug war. "Support, Don't Punish" protests are being held in 80 cities worldwide. Is yours one? 0 comments

Chronicle AM -- June 20, 2014

Two killer narcs face consequences for their actions, New York is set to become the 23rd medical marijuana state, the Pope comments on drug policy, prohibition-related violence flares in Mexico and Peru, and more. 6 comments

Medical Marijuana Passes in New York

After last-minute compromises between legislators and Gov. Cuomo, the legislature has approved a medical marijuana bill, and Cuomo says he will sign it. But it's more restrictive than patients and advocates would have liked. 2 comments

Chronicle AM -- June 19, 2014

We can watch the marijuana policy landscape shift before our eyes, with legalization initiatives and decrim measures popping up around the country and even Oklahoma Republicans arguing over legalization. There is also action on the opiate front, the Senate will vote on defunding the DEA's war on medical marijuana in states where it is legal, and more. 5 comments

What To Do About the Drug Trade in West Africa? [FEATURE]

A new report from the West Africa Commission on Drugs calls for decriminalization and a public health approach, but that may be just the beginning of changes needed in West Africa. 1 comment

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