Nominee for DOJ Slot Said States Should Legalize
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Nominee for DOJ Slot Said States Should Legalize
Posted by CN Staff on October 15, 2014 at 15:53:10 PT
By Christopher Ingraham 
Source: Washington Post
Washington, D.C. -- The Post's Sari Horwitz reports that Obama intends to nominate Vanita Gupta, currently director of the ACLU's Center for Justice, to lead the civil rights division of the Justice Department. Gupta also currently leads the ACLU's National Campaign to End Mass Incarceration. Horwitz writes:Gupta, 39, who was born in the Philadelphia area to immigrant parents, has been praised by a wide array of political activists for her civil rights work, especially on prison reform, an issue on which liberals and conservatives have found common ground.
Given her background, the move to the civil rights division is in many ways a natural one. And interestingly, much of her interest in disparities reflects concern over racial disparities in the war on drugs."The war on drugs has been a war on communities of color," she wrote in 2011. Gupta has been an outspoken opponent of mandatory minimum sentencing laws, particularly their application in drug offenses. Last month, she penned an op-ed for CNN centered around a man sentenced to life in prison for buying marijuana."This country has spent 40 years relentlessly ratcheting up the number of people going to prison and dramatically expanding the time we hold them there," she writes. "We've spent decades criminalizing people with drug dependency, passing extreme sentencing laws, and waging a war on drugs that has not diminished drug use."She's written extensively about the failures of the war on drugs, informed partly by her experience defending dozens of black men wrongfully charged with minor drug offenses in Texas in the early 2000s. She's also called for reforming the incentives police departments face for arresting low-level marijuana users: Federal funding for local law enforcement is based partly on arrest numbers.Perhaps most significantly, though, she's been a strong supporter of marijuana decriminalization and outright legalization by states.In an August 2013 op-ed on mass incarceration for the New York Times, Gupta argued that recalibrating drug policies, "starting with the decriminalization of marijuana possession," would be an important step toward "a fairer criminal justice system unclouded by racial bias."And in the CNN op-ed this year, she argued that "states could follow Colorado and Washington by taxing and regulating marijuana and investing saved enforcement dollars in education, substance abuse treatment, and prevention and other health care," rather than wasting millions on "unnecessary enforcement."Advocates for marijuana legalization are already welcoming news of the nomination. "Having someone who believes that marijuana legalization is a social justice issue serving as the chief civil rights official in the Justice Department will be simply game changing," said Tom Angell, an official with the advocacy group the Marijuana Majority. "Hopefully she can convince the next attorney general to initiate the process of rescheduling marijuana under federal law."And as Sari Horwitz notes, she's already drawn praise from leading conservative voices as well. Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform spoke favorably of her, as did David Keene, former president of the NRA.Gupta's nomination is an extension of Eric Holder's legacy as attorney general. Holder made sentencing reform a signature issue of his time at the Justice Department, and recently announced that it was time for the federal government to consider the way it classifies marijuana.Given these developments, we may see the post-Holder Justice Department begin treating marijuana law reform as a civil justice issue, not just a criminal one. It represents a major evolution from the beginning of Barack Obama's first term, when the Justice Department aggressively went after marijuana dispensaries in several states.Christopher Ingraham writes about politics, drug policy and all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center.Source: Washington Post (DC)Author:  Christopher Ingraham Published: October 15, 2014Copyright: 2014 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL:  -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #5 posted by Universer on October 16, 2014 at 20:42:40 PT
Promotion of informal carpooling arrangements, yes. Actual bus hiring, not as far as I'm aware.But I'm not aware very far.I wish I could go but work precludes. Nonetheless, I'm sure I'll hear all about it and what I hear, I will endeavor to report to y'all / yous / you peeps.
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Comment #4 posted by afterburner on October 16, 2014 at 09:19:22 PT
Universer #3
Health concerns and time off work aside, has VA-NORML considered chartering a bus to bring interested parties to the conference? We successfully used this method to Fill the Hill (Canada's Parliament) during the Summer of Legalization in 2003. Best wishes!
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Comment #3 posted by Universer on October 16, 2014 at 07:34:41 PT
OT: Upcoming - Virginia Cannabis Conference
I beg forgiveness from any perceived impropriety about using this esteemed community to post my plea. I merely want to inform the wider cannabis-concerned public about a big pro-cannabis event about to occur in my state (albeit the other side my state), and perhaps encourage people from Virginia and from around Virginia to attend if they can.This is a ditty I was commissioned to compose for Virginia NORML, of which I'm a member (through my sub-chapter, NoVA NORML). I've been posting it around in hopes of spurring interest, and am posting it here -- aware of the maxim that forgiveness is easier than permission. :-)---From a NORML Virginian who cannot go but dearly wants to go...and just as much, wants you to go....Please, fellow NORML Virginian: Go to the Virginia Cannabis Conference. Go there and be active, meet great people and learn useful things. Do not sit at home as change happens without your involvement. Go and get involved. You are important.But it's too far away, you say. It's all the way over in Williamsburg, and I'm in Roanoke/Danville/Winchester/Fairfax/Harrisonburg/Abingdon/Pound. Besides, you say, there's nothing there for me. The people fighting to end prohibition are doing a great job, and it'll happen here eventually. There's nothing for me to do, you Highly untrue. There's absolutely a reason for you to make your presence known at the Virginia Cannabis Conference, set for Williamsburg on November 1 and 2. In fact, there are many reasons. Some...1. Get workable ideas for how you can sway citizens in your Virginia community toward the side of logic, compassion and freedom (you know, our anti-prohibitionist side).2. Discover what a regulated cannabis market in Virginia will look like, from the experts, professionals and consultants who will help set it up.3. Meet fellow Virginians who think as you do, and are so thoroughly certain of their cause that they made the trip too.4. Contribute your own ideas as to how we can encourage and implement meaningful pro-cannabis legislation in Virginia.5. Add to our numbers, showing the obtusely Reefer Mad that their injustice will not much longer survive here in the Old Dominion....and more. See? There's totally something at the Virginia Cannabis Conference for you: Your best chance to make real Virginia. Not Colorado or Washington or Oregon or Maryland or D.C., but Virginia. The cradle of American precepts of democracy -- the bastion of Enlightenment notions of liberty -- the commonwealth that refuses to be tread upon -- our beautiful history-making home -- Virginia.Momentum is going quite well nationwide, as you likely already know. But there's an old chestnut from the game of baseball that I'd like to borrow here: Momentum is only as good as your next day's starting pitcher. The worst step we could possibly take at this juncture is to presume inevitability. Cannabis re-legalization is NOT a given; it must be taken. The wounded animals we're fighting against are never more vociferous, more dangerous, than they are right now. Keeping this good thing going, across the country and around the commonwealth, requires all of us...and that means you.Without all of you -- of us -- change does not happen. Status quo persists. Cannabis remains jail-worthy, and pain goes unrelieved. Without us, the dark ages never see the light. We need numbers, and for that we need you.So, on the first couple days of November, 2014, come to Williamsburg. Make yourself a part of the change that will come, at the Virginia Cannabis Conference.Go. It's the best way to keep it going.
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Comment #2 posted by Universer on October 16, 2014 at 07:26:50 PT
Seconded, but...
FoM: Of course they will. She has a foreign-sounding name and crazy liberal ideas about giving people freedom, which she says through darkish lips.Also, ACLU. Of course they will.I smell recess appointment.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 15, 2014 at 15:54:24 PT
Please Get The Position!
I worry that the Republicans will try to stop her nomination.
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