The drug war marches on – Radley Balko

We may have legal pot in two (and counting) states, as well as a majority of Americans in favor of nationwide legalization, but the drug war still marches on, in all of its punitive glory. First, an update to a story posted here last week. Unfortunately, Shona Banda has lost custody of her son, at least for the short term:

A medical marijuana advocate has lost custody of her 11-year-old son at least temporarily and could face possible charges following comments the boy made during a drug education program at school.

The case of Shona Banda, 37, was forwarded Monday to the district attorney’s office for a decision about charges, Police Capt. Randy Ralston said. Possible charges include possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of drug paraphernalia and child endangerment, the department said in a news release.

No arrests have been made.

The divorced mother said she did not get custody of her son back following a hearing Monday, after Kansas authorities had placed the boy into protective custody.

“That’s OK – I am not giving up,” Banda said. “I will, I will get him and I am not going to stop until I do.” . . .

A gag order has since been issued in the custody case, Banda said. Her attorney, Sarah Swain, did not respond to a phone message left at her office.

I guess that’s one way to stop the public backlash over this outrageous case–just use a gag order to forbid Banda from letting the public know what’s going on. (Remember, Kansas has some of the worst laws in the country when it comes to forcing transparency from law enforcement agencies.)

Read the rest via The drug war marches on – The Washington Post.

To get tough on crime, end drug war — Chris Powell

Proposing measures to create a “second chance society,” Governor Malloy this week got more relevant than ever to life as it is actually lived in Connecticut.

Essentially the governor proposed more or less decriminalizing all drugs and recognizing the drug problem as a medical rather than a criminal one. Possession of currently illegal drugs would remain illegal but such charges would be reduced from felonies to misdemeanors if there was no proof of selling or intent to sell.

Such lack of intent to sell would be largely a fiction, since nearly all drug users sell to friends at some point, if only by sharing their drugs and taking reimbursement, and since no one can buy drugs without intending that someone should sell them. But the bigger fiction would be the misdemeanor charges.

For few police officers, prosecutors, and judges will hassle drug users when only misdemeanor charges can result. Many if not most ordinary drug possession charges, including felonies, already escape prosecution through plea bargaining and probation. If the maximum charge for drug possession is a mere misdemeanor, nearly every drug law violator will qualify for the pre-trial probation called “accelerated rehabilitation,” the receptacle for all of Connecticut’s criminal trivia. And with the penalty for drug possession having become so light, police and prosecutors will lose most leverage to induce buyers to inform against sellers.

Connecticut then could pretend that drugs were still illegal but as a practical matter its “war on drugs” would be over — and it would be about time.

For the “war on drugs,” like the war about which Orwell wrote in his novel “1984,” is not meant to be won but rather to be waged, to be continuous, as economic stimulus for the government class — to be a war by that class against its own subjects to preserve the hierarchical structure of society.

With this war Connecticut has given criminal records to tens of thousands of underclass people — records that, as the governor noted this week, forever disqualify most of them from more than menial employment and thus induce them to pursue a career of crime. The governor would mitigate this catastrophe by expediting paroles and pardons for nonviolent offenders and — most important but awaiting detail and appropriations — ensure that prison inmates gain basic education and learn honest trades before their release so they may be assured honest jobs and basic housing, assured an alternative to crime when they are released, as most will be.

Read the rest via To get tough on crime, end drug war — Malloy – Journal Inquirer: Chris Powell.