The Speakeasy Blog

Mexico's Drug War Version 2.0 [FEATURE]

Mexico's president-elect is going to rejigger the way the country prosecutes its war on the drug cartels, but no radical changes are apparent. Chronicle feature story here.

Puerto Rico Narcotics Officer Killed in Ambush

A Puerto Rican narcotics officer becomes the year's 29th drug war fatality after being ambushed in his vehicle Tuesday night. Chronicle story here.

Did You Know? Federal Expenditures on the Drug War, from, a publication of Common Sense for Drug Policy, is an in-depth compilation of key facts, stats and quotes on the full range of drug policy issues, excerpted from expert publications on the subjects. The Chronicle is running a series of info items from -- check out the latest here.

Will Obama Be Better on Drug Policy in His Second Term?
Marc Ambinder has a totally weird and distracting piece in GQ today saying that unnamed sources have told him to expect important drug policy reforms if Obama is re-elected. I think it's a bunch of crap.

According to ongoing discussions with Obama aides and associates, if the president wins a second term, he plans to tackle another American war that has so far been successful only in perpetuating more misery: the four decades of The Drug War. [GQ]

That's just the first sentence of many, but we can stop right here because I think there's been a huge misunderstanding. Marc Ambinder seems to think that Obama's people talking about reforming drug policies is a meaningful event, but alas it is anything but that.

Not so many weeks ago I watched with my own eyes as Obama's drug czar draped himself in the flag of reform at an event that was designed to placate pre-election frustration among progressives with regards to Obama's absolute failure to fix a single aspect of the massive war on drugs. The Obama Administration will tell anyone willing to listen that they are thinking creatively about solutions to our swollen criminal justice catastrophe, and it's hardly the sort of "exclusive" breaking news Ambinder breathlessly brings us.

In fact, the real story is the exact opposite of what was reported here. Obama isn't trying to win political points by pretending to support the war on drugs until after the election, at which point he will begin implementing important reforms. He's actually trying to win political points by pretending not to support the war drugs until after the election, at which point he can continue waging the drug war worse than ever.

You see, the drug war is really rather unpopular these days. You score more political points by attacking it than by propping it up, which is exactly why these "aides and associates" of Obama's have no problem telling their friends in the mainstream press about the President's bold post-election plans for fixing flaws in our drug policy. They're just saying this stuff because they know people want to hear it.

The most inaccurate statement you can make about Obama's approach to drugs is that he's trying to look tougher than he actually is. In reality, this administration speaks routinely of backing away from harsh policies, while simultaneously deploying the same drug war demolition tactics we've endured for decades. 

If anyone in the press is looking for a good story about Obama's approach to drugs, I'd recommend looking into the massive facade of false promises that's already unraveling in front of us, rather than regurgitating further rumors of future reform. 


Follow Scott Morgan on Twitter:

(This article was published by's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Did You Know? Portugal's Decriminalization Record, on, a publication of Common Sense for Drug Policy, is an in-depth compilation of key facts, stats and quotes on the full range of drug policy issues, excerpted from expert publications on the subjects. The Chronicle is running a series of info items from, and we encourage you to check it out.

Medical Marijuana Update

The feds continue to play hardball in California and local elected officials across the state are grappling with the issues. Meanwhile, Vermont moves ahead on dispensaries while New Hampshire's medical marijuana bill can't overcome a gubernatorial veto, and that's not all. Chronicle story here.

Chicago Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession

Following the lead of some of its suburbs, Chicago has decriminalized the possession of less than 15 grams of marijuana for adults. Chronicle story here.

New Hampshire Medical Marijuana Veto Stands

An effort to override Gov. John Lynch's veto of a medical marijuana bill succeeded in the House but fell short in the Senate. Chronicle story here.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A scandal that keeps on giving in Florida, a pair of bad apple deputies in LA get their just rewards, a crooked NYPD cop gets his, too, and much, much more. Chronicle story here.

New Jersey Assembly Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

A decriminalization bill has passed the New Jersey Assembly, but faces an uphill battle to overcome a veto threat from Gov. Christie. Chronicle story here.

NYPD Sued Over Stop and Frisk Marijuana Arrests

NYPD refuses to stop charging people with misdemeanor marijuana possession after stopping and frisking them and forcing them to empty their pockets so they can be charged with "public possession," so now the Legal Aid Society is suing to make them knock it off. Chronicle story here.

Danish Parliament Okays Drug Consumption Rooms

Supervised injection sites are coming to Denmark, and so are broader "drug consumption rooms" where heroin and cocaine can be smoked or snorted. A new law takes effect July 1. Chronicle story here.

Making Sure Drugs Kill: Commission Blames Drug War for Spreading AIDS [FEATURE]

When it comes to slowing the spread of HIV/AIDS, the imperatives of the drug war are a hindrance, not a help, a new report from the Global Commission on Drugs finds. There is a better way, the group says. Chronicle feature story here.

If the DEA Can't Tell Us the Difference Between Marijuana and Heroin, Who Can?

If you haven't yet seen DEA boss Michele Leonhart's frickin ridiculous congressional testimony last Thursday (or even if you have), please click over to Huffington Post where you'll find me ranting about it. 99% of the time when a drug warrior says something silly it doesn't become a big media story, but this one made the cut and for good reason. Check it out, then send the link to somebody cool.

Decriminalization Advances in Chicago

Marijuana decriminalization is one city council vote away from being approved in Chicago. Chronicle story here.

Uruguayan Government May Sell Marijuana in Proposed Legalization System

The left-leaning Uruguayan government says it will introduce a bill that would give it a monopoly on legal marijuana sales. Chronicle story here.

New Hampshire Governor Vetoes Medical Marijuana Bill

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch has vetoed a medical marijuana bill -- again. Now, it's up to the legislature to see if it can muster the votes to override the veto. Chronicle story here.

Supreme Court Grant Lesser Sentences in "Pipeline" Crack Cocaine Cases

The Supreme Court has held that people "in the pipeline" -- convicted but not yet sentenced when Fair Sentencing Act reforms took effect -- on federal crack cocaine charges are entitled to be sentenced under the lesser penalties created by the act. Thousands could get sentence cuts. Chronicle story here.

It's Nail-Biting Time for the Oregon Marijuana Initiatives [FEATURE]

Two Oregon marijuana legalization initiatives are in a mad scramble to make the ballot after being hit with unprecedented high invalidation rates for signatures already handed in. And they only have two weeks to go. Chronicle feature story here.

Medical Marijuana Update

It's mainly news from California this week, with DEA and LAPD raids leading the way, but also some snippets from Colorado and Montana. Chronicle story here.

This Week in History

Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past, in Drug War Chronicle, online here.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Just another run of the mill week of drug war law enforcement corruption, except having a state trooper involved in a major pot grow is fairly unusual. Chronicle story here.

Washington Marijuana Legalization Initiative Ahead in New Poll

A new poll has the Washington state pot legalization initiative leading with 50% support, but that doesn't leave a lot of room for a margin of comfort. Chronicle story here.

NY GOP Kills Marijuana Decriminalization Reform

A bill that would have ended the NYPD's abuse of New York's marijuana decriminalization law has been stymied by Senate Republicans. Chronicle story here.

Needle Exchange Funding Returns in Senate Appropriations Bill

The Senate has included federal funding for needle exchanges in its Health & Human Services FY 2013 appropriations bill. The House is expected to approve a bill without it, setting up a fight in conference committee down the road. Chronicle story here.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Safe Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School