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).