Friday, December 21, 2007

Well, if You Don't Have Anything to Hide...

We're all used to that argument by now. "Well, if you've got nothing to hide then you won't mind peeing in this cup, or letting us search your car or house." Its a foolish argument that ignores the right to privacy and security, suggesting that anyone who wishes to protect such rights is guilty of something.

But here is an interesting twist on things. Usually its police officers spouting this line, but in Los Angeles, CA, the Gang and Narcotics units of LAPD are having this line used on them. The Los Angeles Police Commission has unanimously approved that officers must reveal their personal finances including everything from overdue credit-card statements, checking accounts, properties, to stocks and bonds. The Los Angeles Police Protective League has already filed a suit citing invasion of privacy and violating union member's rights.

Why is this happening? Its an effort to crack down on police corruption since the Rampart Scandal in the late 1990's implicated over 70 members of the LAPD's CRASH unit in corruption that included selling and planting drugs, beatings and shootings, and even bank robbery. However, my question, and that of over 500 LAPD officers who are threatening to leave, is how will looking through financial records reduce corruption and misconduct?

Forcing people to disclose this amount of financial information is not the right way to go about stopping police corruption and we all know this corruption is real and that it needs to stop. Lets look at the big picture here. The units being targeted are Gang and Narcotics. Why? Because these are the units that deal with and proliferate the mess created by the War on Drugs. This corruption is related to the illegal drug market. Police can steal from and work with drug dealers because there is not proper regulation and all the money involved is cash!

I suggest going to the root of the problem. End the War on Drugs. In fact, I think if LEAP starts contacting some of these officers and suggests that it is the War on Drugs causing this violation of privacy we can expect some new anti-prohibition police officers in an area where they are needed most.

Think about it. Get rid of the black market for drugs and you get rid of drug dealers and the profit they bring to gangs. Therefore the need for a Gang unit is drastically decreased as is gang or prohibition related violence. The need for a narcotics unit will also decrease once we start dealing with drug addiction as a health issue and not a criminal justice issue. Because treatment cost less and is more effective than incarceration, we will see a decrease in addiction and the freeing up of tax dollars that could be used for effective drug abuse prevention education programs for youth (not DARE).

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Colorado Judge Orders Police to Return Marijuana

So this is pretty cool. Not only has a Colorado judge ordered police to return 71 marijuana plants and growing equipment to a former U.S. Marine and licensed medical marijuana grower, it looks like the former Marine could be able to seek damages if the plants are not returned in good condition.
A Colorado judge ruled Wednesday that police should return dozens of marijuana plants to a former Marine and 1991 Persian Gulf War veteran who is a licensed medical marijuana user.

Aurora, Colorado police raided Dickes' home in April and seized plants growing in his basement. He was handcuffed, arrested and charged with a felony count of cultivating marijuana, which carries a maximum sentence of six years in prison. But last week, prosecutors dropped the charge after confirming that Dickes is licensed to grow the plants under the Colorado state medical marijuana laws that voters approved in 2000.
Makes sense to me. Basically this guy had his medicine stolen from him. Seems like the police should have checked to see if he was a licensed medical marijuana grower before they kicked in his door, arrested him, and stole all his pot. I guess they don't cover that in police academy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

John Walters is on the Naughty List

Santa Claus: And what would you like for Christmas lil' boy?

Lil Johnny P. Walters: I want $130 million tax payer dollars for the ONDCP's Anti-Drug advertisements.

Santa Claus: Well, lets check the Good and Naughty lists...

Lil Johnny P. Walters: Uh-oh...

Santa Claus: Hmmm, Johnny, it seems your on the naughty list this year. In fact, you've been on that list since you started working for the ONDCP! It looks like those anti-drug ads don't work because you insist on lying to young people and the public about drugs! But wait, theres more. You've been using taxpayer money to illegally campaign against state initiatives and to promote random student drug testing? Clearly that puts you on the naughty list this Christmas.

Lil Jonny P. Walters: Waaaaaaahh Waaaaaahh... sniffle, sniffle... "So what will I get for Christmas Santa?"

Santa Claus: Well Johnny... Your going to get a 40% cut in the budget for your drug propaganda ads. Thats half of what you and President Bush wanted. Unfortunately, he's on the naughty list too. HO HO HO!

New Orleans!

Well, its over and done with. The 2007 International Drug Policy Reform Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana was fun, extravagant, inspiring, and and a testament to this growing movement. Over 100 SSDP members from all over the country came together and proved what a dedicated and strong force the organization has become. Along with DPA, LEAP, MPP, and the Harm Reduction Coalition, SSDP (a lot of acronyms, I know) engaged in workshops and panels concerning issues ranging from random student drug testing, to campus change campaigns, to lectures led by some of the leaders in harm reduction education.

SSDP also elected 5 new members to the Board of Directors. Congratulations to Jimi Devine, Allison Grimmer, Constance Sisk, Matt Potter and Dan Cornelious.

This conference truly pushed the envelope and set the bar high for next year. Just look at the pictures! There was a marching band that led reformers down Bourbon St., over 1,200 registered attendees, the SSDP crew rocked Bourbon St. (led by Jimi Devine), and there was even "World Famous Love Acts"! Wait... I'm not so sure about that last one.

Find more pictures, information, and audio cd's of the sessions you attended or couldn't make at the DPA site. Thanks to everyone that made this happen!