War on drugs' 40th anniversary: Protesters at Skyline Park say policy has failed (PHOTOS)

Categories: Marijuana

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Forty years ago today, President Richard Nixon declared war on drugs -- and according to protesters who gathered at Skyline Park earlier today, that's forty years too many for a failed policy that's done more damage than good not only to America, but to countries around the world.

The cost? Trillions of dollars, not to mention millions of people incarcerated for possessing small amounts of drugs when treatment would be an infinitely better option.

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Christie Donner, executive director of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition (CCJRC), which took part in the demonstration, believes the date isn't something to celebrate. Rather, it should serve as a wake-up call to the rest of the country about how the policy needs to end.

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Donner and nearly forty other activists at the Skyline event raised their voices in concert with people at rallies in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and other locations today, with the goal of bringing awareness to the No More Drug War campaign. Their argument is simple: drug problems are perpetuated by the current system of incarceration and the manufacture of criminals from victimless crimes. Keeping drugs illegal fuels illegal drug cartels and drug violence. What is needed is a shift towards decriminalization and compassion.

The protests were sponsored by CCJRC and the Drug Policy Alliance, joined by Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, the Harm Reduction Action Center, SAFER and a number of other activists groups.

According to Ruth Kanatser, senior health educator with the Harm Reduction Action Center, an injection-drug use clinic in Denver, she sees first hand how detrimental the criminalization of drug addiction coupled with the lack of funded treatment options has been.

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In recent weeks, high profile world and business leaders have come out against the current policy. The Global Commission on Drug Policy, a group of nineteen current and former world leaders and intellectuals, released a report urging for reform. "The Global War on Drugs has failed," the report concluded.

Former President Jimmy Carter made similar comments to the New York Times this week. He said it is time America adopts "models of legal regulation of drugs... that are designed to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens."

"The current policies will never work," Donner says. "It's not a matter of, 'Oh, we have to be smarter about it,' or 'Oh, we've got to throw more money at it.' No. This policy will never work this way. Forty years has just proven that... so how much longer is that going to take before we get serious about real drug policy? We are missing the opportunity to do the right thing by continuing to do the wrong thing."

More from our Follow That Story archive: "Drug war: An unhappy 40th birthday party."

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6 comments
GMuny
GMuny

This is great, but I still think we have a long way to go toward complete decriminalization.  Unfortunately, there are still a lot of afraid and uneducated citizens and lawmakers out there.  The vast majority of people in the country will never vote to decriminalize hard drugs nor will politicians (especially Republicans) in power support these measures.  Doing so would be political suicide.

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

I'm pleading with you all to PLEASE CONTRIBUTE to saving Coloradan's constitutional rights to access, use and provide mmj. The people of Colorado need a declaratory judgment regarding the unconstitutional medical marijuana language that will go into effect July 1, 2011 and more on July 31, 2011. We need an additional $10,000 by close of business Monday, June 20 to file an urgent and necessary lawsuit. I have paid $30,000 out of pocket, and been able to raise all but the $10,000 in cash or check we need immediately. We are here in this 11th hour because many who have promised help have not come through. SO NOW I'M BEGGING!

And, no, I am not, exaggerating the need or the urgency. We cannot let LAW ENFORCEMENT or politicians circumvent the constitution. The rest of the world is watching Colorado and (many) following our troubling path. Colorado is the only place in the world where it is legal to make a profit off of mmj and the only place in the world where residents have a constitutional right to mmj. This is the battleground and we will not sit here while our constitution gets stomped out without a vote of the people.

Patients all over the state are not renewing or registering with the (optional) state registry, due to the fact that they will be recorded live via video/internet by the Dept of Revenue Medical Marijauna Enforcement Division and it will be shared with the DEA. The protected state registry with the CDPHE is now turning into a non protected DoR registry that is also shared with the DEA.

Patients are devastated they signed up at all. Only state registered patients will be permitted to shop in medical marijuana centers beginning July 1. So with the patients unwilling to incriminate themselves or give up their privacy (of which I agree), there will be very few patients qualified to even shop in centers. Centers are already feeling the loss of business and many are closing or being closed down.

This week, the CDPHE, passed (unconstitutional language) that says "mmj patients cannot operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of mmj." It also says "patients cannot undertake ANY "task" while under the influence of mmj that would cause negligence or professional malpractice." "Under the influence" currently is any amount of THC over zero. 120,000 patients are now questionable criminal suspects when it comes to parenting, working and driving. It would seem the only people who might qualify next month are hospice patients who have no kids and no job or task ahead except to die. This is devastating patients and voters alike, eleven years after A20!

I AM BEGGING! Contribute something at CannabisLawsuits.com (everything counts!!)

Kathleen Chippi

Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project

720-565-0265

If you want to make a donation directly to Springer and Steinberg, call me and I will set it up

LarryQ5
LarryQ5

Hmm, seems like only 40 years ago today I smoked my first joint.....so far the war a stalemate

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

Ruth Kanatser, Lisa and the people at HRAC are the best advocates in the state and nation for harm reduction and proper treatment of drug Issues.  Because of them people are now able to access clean needles which will lower the rates of blood born pathogens, check out their website and support them as much as you can, because what affects one of us affects all of us. http://www.harmreductionaction...

Guestman
Guestman

I'm a member of most of the groups mentioned and got no notice this is happening. 

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

Hallelujah!  End the war and empty the jails of non violent prisoners. 

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