Turning over a new Leaf: Is Big Marijuana becoming the new Big Tobacco?

Published: Salon (October 17, 2016)

As the movement to legalize marijuana continues to gather steam, will consumers have to deal with a cabal of corporate giants along the lines of Big Tobacco? Is this just another excuse to ban the drug, or is there a real threat that “Big Marijuana” may rear its ugly head the near future?

Fears of a corporate-driven Big Marijuana are being stoked many anti-marijuana groups, which have begun shifting their focus from scaring people away from the drug to claiming that large companies are going to try to sell it to children. “Joe Camel normalized cigarette smoking especially for young people. The Marlboro man normalized cigarettes for an entire generation. Marijuana wants to follow suit. Normalization is the cornerstone of that,” said Kevin Sabet, a former Obama administration drug policy adviser who now run Smart Approaches to Marijuana, in an interview with MSN. read more

Could Gary Johnson end the drug war? Libertarian candidate’s presidential bid could put sane drug policy in our grasp

Published: Salon (June 1, 2016)

A recent survey found that Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor who was just nominated to be the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate, does surprisingly well against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump. Although his 10 percent is nothing compared to Clinton’s 38 percent and Trump’s 35 percent, it’s enough to make his candidacy relevant to our national conversation.

This is where Johnson’s bold and unorthodox view on drug policy could alter the course of American history. read more

Ireland is right—it’s time to rethink how we treat heroin users

Published: The Daily Dot (November 5, 2015)

This week, Ireland took a bold step in ending the war on drugs: The nationannounced this week that—as part of a broader program to decriminalize not only cannabis but cocaine and heroin—the country will create specially designated rooms in Dublin where addicts can safely and legally inject themselves with small amounts of their drugs. This plan coincides with recent bill introduced by Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to legalize recreational marijuana—to which the Internet responded with predictable enthusiasm. read more

4 surprising reasons Rand Paul might be the liberal candidate you’re looking for

Published: Daily Dot (May 29, 2015)

At a time when the Republican Party has developed a reputation for voting and thinking in lockstep, it is worth noting that Kentucky’s Sen. Rand Paul has a surprisingly bipartisan appeal, which is becoming an important part of his growing presidential campaign. In the wake of an Internet-breaking filibuster on the Patriot Act, the outspoken National Security Agency critic has “reached out to African-American Republicans, spoke to a group of moderate Republicans, and held a news conference with House Democrats,” according to the Wall Street Journal. read more

We should be sending drug addicts to the hospital, not putting them in prison

Published: Daily Dot (May 7, 2015)

At a time when Americans are justifiably shown real stories of police violence and racial profiling, it’s important to give credit to the law enforcement officials working to change our current system of brutality. That’s why we should all be praising the Gloucester Police Department in Massachusetts for its bold new anti-drug program: Instead of hauling drug offenders off to the slammer, it will get them medical treatment.

“Any addict who walks into the Gloucester Police Department with drugs and the remainder of their drug equipment—needles, pipes, or other paraphernalia—and asks for help will not be criminally charged, Campanello said,” according to a news report by MassLive.com. “Instead, they will be steered into a treatment program to help them detox and recover.” read more

How the Internet could force Barack Obama to back medical marijuana

Published: Daily Dot (April 23, 2015)

On Sunday night, President Obama backed Medical Pot Reform—and the Internet noticed.

President #Obama doesn't have the balls to #legalize #marijuana – WATCH: http://t.co/8uxKwsX9mC #420 #MMOT pic.twitter.com/UQH8Pug5vf read more

If You Believed the “37 Dead in Marijuana Overdose” Hoax, You Should Be Ashamed

Published: mic (January 4, 2014)

Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colorado On First Day of Legalization

Already Twitter and Facebook feeds are abuzz with this news item, as right-wingers purr with delight at the opportunity to tweak their left-wing and libertarian friends with proclamations of “I told you so!” Upon further investigation, however, I discovered (SPOILER ALERT!) that the story was a hoax.

I could take the high road here a la Demosthenes, the legendary Greek orator who observed of his critics: “A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true.” read more

Eric Holder May Have Just Made One Of the Biggest Decisions in U.S. History

Published: mic (August 12, 2013)

On Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department will stop imposing mandatory minimum prison sentences on a number of non-violent drug offenders.

As he explained in a prepared statement:

“I have mandated a modification of the Justice Department’s charging policies so that certain low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs, or cartels, will no longer be charged with offenses that impose draconian mandatory minimum sentences.” read more