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Fall 2012 www.drugpolicy.


Drug Policy Reform: Coming to an Election Near You

Your courageous commitment has brought about a new world of drug policy politics.
Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director Together, were changing the conversation about the war on drugs. Youve helped get the public on our side. Were breaking through like never before, as candidates across the country who support drug policy reform win elections and those who support the status quo pay an increasingly steep political price for their intransigence. Two of the most well-known and politically savvy Democrats in the country New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have come out in favor of reducing penalties for small amounts of marijuana. Cuomos and Emanuels stances say a lot about the direction of national politics and mainstream acceptance of marijuana reform. (continues on page 2)

We Cant End AIDS Until We End the Drug War

Your message reaches the world: millions of lives are at stake.
When the International AIDS Conference was held in the U.S. for the first time in 22 years this July, we mobilized with a clear message: the criminalization of people who use drugs and especially backward government policies that restrict syringe access are driving the HIV/AIDS pandemic. As the world turned its eyes to Washington, D.C., we ensured that drug policy would be at the heart of the debate by working with the Global Commission on Drug Policy to release a hard-hitting report, placing op-eds in major media outlets, and spurring public debate with a full-page ad in Politico and a powerful infographic that reached hundreds of thousands of people through online and social media. The scientific consensus is clear: Improving access to sterile syringes through pharmacies and syringe access programs dramatically reduces the spread of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and other infectious diseases without increasing drug use or addiction. Thats why DPA has spearheaded successful efforts to make syringes legally available in New York, California and New Jersey over the past decade and supported key victories in Connecticut, Illinois and other states. Your support has helped to save many lives and can help save many more. To learn more drug policy, HIV/AIDS and the life-saving reforms you are funding, see:

1.4% 1.5% 2.3% 2.9% 15.0%

HIV Prevalence Among People Who Inject Drugs

If You Can Change the NYPD, You Can Change the World
This fight is winnable!
Reducing the number of people arrested for marijuana possession is a priority for DPA especially in New York City, where annual marijuana arrests jumped from a few thousand per year in the 1980s and early 1990s to more than 50,000 in 2011. A marijuana arrest is no small matter most people are handcuffed, placed in a police car, taken to a police station, fingerprinted and photographed, held in jail for 24 hours or more, and then arraigned before a judge. The arrest creates a permanent record that can easily be found on the Internet by employers, landlords, schools, credit agencies, licensing boards and banks. Thanks to you, we are on the verge of sparing tens of thousands of New Yorkers from these cruel, humiliating and useless arrests that oftentimes produce devastating consequences. Our breakthrough came in June, when Governor Cuomo publicly embraced our proposed reforms with the support of all five of New York Citys district attorneys and the New York City Council. Mayor Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Kelly even decided that they had to reverse course and jump on board as well. The news was so big that it made the front page of the New York Times not just once but twice and then it was all over the national and international media. None of this would have happened without your commitment and DPAs leadership. Unfortunately, throwback Republicans in the New York Senate stonewalled our legislation before this years session ended. While were disappointed, were not going to stop fighting until we win. Youve helped create the momentum to dramatically reduce marijuana arrests in New York City and as other U.S. cities grapple with the consequences of arresting thousands of people every year for marijuana possession, the effects of your support are reverberating around the country. For more information about DPAs campaign to reform New York Citys marijuana policy, see: Left: Protesters call for an end to New Yorks marijuana arrest crusade outside of New York City Hall. Republican governor Chris Christie recently broke new ground among national Republican figures when he called the war on drugs a failure and made the case for shifting to a healthbased approach. The best way, of course, to end marijuana arrests and protect patients is to make marijuana legal.Thats why were deeply involved with ballot initiatives in Colorado and Washington that propose to regulate marijuana more or less like alcohol. My colleagues and I have worked closely with local and national allies to draft these initiatives, build coalitions and raise funds. In both states, more people favor legalizing marijuana than oppose it, but we still face uphill battles given the historical tendency of voters to get skittish as Election Day approaches. Youve brought about a new world of opportunities for drug policy reform. But we know that our opponents will not stop fighting back. Many battles lie ahead, and we need your support now more than ever.

Drug Policy Reform: Coming to an Election Near You

(continued from cover) Although Democrats are generally more supportive of drug policy reform than Republicans, our issues often blur traditional party lines. A recent MasonDixon poll found that 67 percent of Republicans believe that the federal government should get out of the way and let states enforce their own medical marijuana laws. And New Jerseys

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Medical Marijuana: Overcoming the Federal Betrayal

We need you to help us fight back!
If theres one area where we are experiencing serious challenges, its the federal governments brutal crackdown in medical marijuana states. Seventeen states and Washington, D.C., have now legalized marijuana for medical purposes, with DPA playing a leading role in a majority of these states. But enacting a law through the initiative or legislative process is often just the beginning. On the campaign trail in 2008, President Obama said that his administration would respect state medical marijuana laws and for the most part he made good on that promise for two years, even as the U.S. experienced a rapid expansion of state medical marijuana laws and regulatory programs. In the past two years, though, the tide has turned against us, as local U.S. attorneys and DEA, IRS and other federal police agencies have actively undermined state and local regulation of medical marijuana and the Obama administration turned its back on its prior commitments. DPA and our members are fighting back on multiple fronts, especially in the states where we have offices. In New Jersey, where we passed medical marijuana

legislation in 2010, were successfully pressuring Governor Chis Christies administration to continue implementing the law. In New Mexico, where we passed legislation in 2007, were fighting against the hostile administration of Governor Susana Martinez and her threats to roll back the states unique model. In California, were helping develop a comprehensive marijuana bill that would clarify the regulation of dispensaries and large-scale cultivators. Were also pushing forward new legislation in other states. We worked with allies and DPA grantees in Connecticut to successfully pass the states bill this

Above: Supporters at a DPA rally in Los Angeles spring and were undertaking a broad two-year campaign in New York to pass medical marijuana legislation. Were also working on pressure points in the federal government. We organized and hand-delivered a letter to President Obama from several of his top donors calling on him to stop the raids. We organized an open letter to Obama from a bipartisan group of state legislators representing five states. In Congress, we advocated for an amendment to a funding bill that would have prohibited the Department of Justice from using federal funds to prevent the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. Not only have medical marijuana laws enabled hundreds of thousands of Americans to legally use and possess marijuana, but theres good reason to believe that progress on this issue sways the public to support broader legalization of marijuana. Our opponents, unfortunately, are realizing these truths which is why we need to push forward now harder than ever. To learn more about marijuana and the work you are supporting see:

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Will We Make History?

Are You Following Your Friends at DPA on Twitter?
Drug Policy Alliance: @DrugPolicyNews
Drug Czar Kerlikowske speaking now in Washington DC. Watch here Watch this minidocumentary about the failed drug war and its effects on#Baltimore. http:// =zz0nkKdkLqc&feature=yo Coming on any minute! @ethannadelmann will be on @CNN at 10:15am ET to discuss the #drugwar. Tune in! RT!

Our movement isnt just talking about change were on the ballot in states across the country.

Ethan Nadelmann: @ethannadelmann

The NY Times has Uruguay Pres. Mujicas cannabis reform initiative on the front page today. Heres my take. A must read! David Simons A Fight to the Last Mexican He hits it just right. Pres. Clinton favorably cited Mathilde Krims and my HuffPost article this aft at #AIDS2012. Listen at 2:03:45

Arkansas: An initiative that would legalize the use of medical marijuana in the state is on the ballot. California: Proposition 36 would modify elements of the states draconian Three Strikes law. Colorado: Amendment 64 would tax and regulate marijuana similar to alcohol. Massachusetts: The Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative would legalize the use of medical marijuana in the state.

Montana: The Montana Medical Marijuana Referendum would overturn the 2011 legislative repeal of the states medical marijuana law. North Dakota: Voters here will have their say on an initiative that would allow medical marijuana. Oregon: The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act would make both marijuana and industrial hemp legal under state law. Washington: I-502 would tax and regulate marijuana similar to alcohol.

Questions? Feedback? We love to hear from you. Contact the Ally by writing to publications manager Jag Davies at:

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