Colorado Makes History @DrugPolicyNews Press Teleconference Thurs Dec19 Noon ET

Colorado Makes History When Marijuana Legalization Law Goes Into Effect on January 1
via Drug Policy Alliance Network

Colorado will make world history on January 1st when commercial sales of marijuana become legal for adults. New Year’s Day marks full implementation of Amendment 64, the Centennial State’s ballot initiative ending marijuana prohibition. Colorado and Washington both voted to tax and regulate marijuana in November 2012, and the Colorado law is the first to go into full effect. At the global level, Uruguay last week became the first country to adopt a marijuana legalization law.
How will the new laws work? Who can purchase marijuana where? What impact will marijuana legalization have on drug arrests? How much time and money will be saved in police and judicial resources? What impact have Colorado and Washington had on the marijuana legalization debate? What states and countries will be next to reform their marijuana laws?
Find out the answers to these and more questions when leading drug policy experts from Colorado and the nation participate in a teleconference on Thursday.

What: Press Teleconference.
When: Thursday, December 19th  Noon. ET, 10 a.m. MT, 9 a.m. PT.
Location: Please contact Tony Newman for call-in information.

Who: Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy AllianceArt Way, Senior Drug Policy Manager in Colorado for the Drug Policy Alliance
Jack Finlaw, Chief Legal Counsel, Office of Colorado Governor John W. Hickenlooper

Moderator: Sharda Sekaran, Director of Communications for the Drug Policy Alliance

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Art Way 720-288-6924

Do the Math: Drug War Costs will never be fully recovered

Counting the Costs:
  • Amount spent annually in the U.S. on the war on drugs: More than $51,000,000,000
  • Number of people arrested in 2012 in the U.S. on nonviolent drug charges: 1.55 million
  • Number of people arrested for a marijuana law violation in 2012: 749,825
  • Number of those charged with marijuana law violations who were arrested for possession only: 658,231 (88 percent)
  • Number of Americans incarcerated in 2011 in federal, state and local prisons and jails: 2,266,800 or 1 in every 99.1 adults, the highest incarceration rate in the world
  • Fraction of people incarcerated for a drug offense in state prison that are black or Hispanic, although these groups use and sell drugs at similar rates as whites: 2/3
  • Number of states that allow the medical use of marijuana: 20 + District of Columbia
  • Estimated annual revenue that California would raise if it taxed and regulated the sale of marijuana: $1,400,000,000
  • Number of people killed in Mexico's drug war since 2006: 70,000+
  • Number of students who have lost federal financial aid eligibility because of a drug conviction: 200,000+
  • Number of people in the U.S. that died from an accidental drug overdose in 2009: 31,758
  • Tax revenue that drug legalization would yield annually, if currently-illegal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco: $46.7 billion

Legislation fuels momentum for wider legalization of marijuana, including United States and Europe

 Está ¡Uruguay! World's first (por eso, sanest) country legalizes marijuana

"... legislation is expected to fuel momentum for wider legalization of marijuana elsewhere, including the United States and in Europe. Decriminalization of all drug possession by Portugal in 2001 is held up as a success for reducing drug violence while not increasing drug use.  
"This development in Uruguay is of historic significance," said Ethan Nadelmann, founder of the Drug Policy Alliance, a leading sponsor of drug policy reform partially funded by Soros through his Open Society Foundation.  
"Uruguay is presenting an innovative model for cannabis that will better protect public health and public safety than does the prohibitionist approach," Nadelmann said (NBCNews via Drug Policy Alliance).

Journalism's Smokin' New Job: Pothead in Chief

"On January 1st, Colorado will be the first state to allow recreational marijuana use. To cover the story The Denver Post has hired a full-time pot editor to run a dedicated pot page. Ricardo Baca is his name and despite being a longtime, experienced journalist, he's spent the last few weeks enduring joke after joke about his new position. Bob talks with Baca about the new gig and all the jokes" (OnTheMedia).

Overwhelming, near 60% U.S. majority favors legal marijuana, new Gallup poll @NBCNews

"Clear majority favors legal marijuana, new Gallup poll shows - U.S. News: For the first time ever in a Gallup poll, an [overwhelming] majority of the country – 58 percent – say that pot should be legalized."

Overwhelming Majority Says It's Time to End Prohibition Once and for All

Heard it All Before? Holder promises to ease enforcement in states where pot is legal

When asked what this could mean in terms of dispensaries that have been targeted by the federal government and are currently embroiled in legal action, Reiman said,
What it should mean is that dispensaries in California that are operating within the the confines of state law and their local law should not be subject to federal interference.”

Prohibition's Tipping Point: federal judge sees marijuana following same path as alcohol in the 1930's

BigThink: The Tipping Point
A string of high-profile legal events suggests that government institutions are beginning to bend to public opinion, which increasingly supports relaxing laws that categorically ban marijuana. Just this week, "Attorney General Eric Holder announced an initiative to curb mandatory minimum drug sentences and a federal judge called New York City's stop-and-frisk policy unconstitutional." New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has strongly opposed legalization in the past, said he will make concessions on a new bill that favors medical marijuana.
Last week, a Gallup reported that almost four in ten Americans supported outright pot legalization.  John Kane, a federal judge in Colorado, said he sees marijuana following the same path as alcohol in the 1930s. Toward the end of Prohibition, judges routinely dismissed violations or levied fines so trivial that prosecutors quit filing cases.

Stonehead Loser Gupta Pivots on Weed

Of course the title is snarky, porque no human being with any modest capacity for reasoning could ever reach any other conclusion.

CNN Health, Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Why I changed my mind on weed.

We're VC's on Dope: How to Invest in Dope, er, the "Cannabis Space" @NYTimes

How to Invest in Dope:
Kennedy, 41, is the former chief operating officer of SVB Analytics, an offshoot of Silicon Valley Bank. Blue, 35, learned his trade at the investment-banking firm de Visscher & Co. in Greenwich, Conn. Two years ago they quit comfortable posts to form Privateer Holdings, a firm that operates on the Kohlberg Kravis Roberts model: they buy companies using other people’s money and try to increase their value. What sets them apart is the industry in which they invest. Privateer Holdings is the first private-equity firm to openly risk capital in the world of weed. Or as the Privateer partners prefer to call it, “the cannabis space” (@NYTimes).

Vermont Marijuana Decriminalization Signed Into Law, Reduces Penalties For Possession Up To An Ounce

Huffington Post:
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) signed a bill on Thursday decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The new law, which goes into effect on July 1, will remove criminal penalties on possession of up to an ounce of cannabis and replace them with civil fines. “I applaud the Legislature’s action to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana," Shumlin said last month, announcing his support for the bill. "Vermonters support sensible drug policies. This legislation allows our courts and law enforcement to focus their limited resources more effectively to fight highly addictive opiates such as heroin and prescription drugs that are tearing apart families and communities." According to the new measure, first-time offenders will not get more than a $200 fine for possession. The fine will increase for repeat offenders. Under the law, marijuana possession will no longer result in the creation of a criminal record.

Have We Lost the War on Drugs? by @WSJ #tcot Stop this insane wasteful government #deficit #spending

Wall Street Journal:
"After more than four decades of a failed experiment, the human cost has become too high. It is time to consider the decriminalization of drug use and the drug market. President Richard Nixon declared a "war on drugs" in 1971. The expectation then was that drug trafficking in the United States could be greatly reduced in a short time through federal policing—and yet the war on drugs continues to this day. Total current spending is estimated at over $40 billion a year."