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    • By trix
      Washington, D.C. -- If you're going to wage war on drugs, you need to be outfitted like a warrior.
       
      That seems to be the rationale behind hundreds of police department requests for armored trucks submitted to the Pentagon between 2012 and 2014. The requests, unearthed in a FOIA request by Mother Jones magazine, shed light on how the war on drugs has directly contributed to the militarization of local police forces in recent years.

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    • By trix
      New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ® said on Monday that the war on drugs has been a "failure" -- even though he has vowed to enact a federal crackdown on marijuana, a substance that has been a primary target of the drug war for decades.
       
      "This is a disease and the war on drugs has been a failure -- well-intentioned, but a failure," Christie said at a presidential forum in New Hampshire on Monday. He went on to say that the country should "embrace" people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, offering them a chance at rehabilitation rather than incarceration.

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    • By trix
      USA -- The war on drugs is over, and weed won. D.A.R.E., the organization designed to plant a deep-seated fear of drugs in the minds of every late-20th-century middle schooler, published an op-ed calling for marijuana legalization.
       
      Written by former deputy sheriff Carlis McDerment in response to a letter in the Columbus Dispatch, the op-ed explains that it's impossible for law enforcement to control the sale of marijuana to minors. "People like me, and other advocates of marijuana legalization, are not totally blind to the harms that drugs pose to children," McDerment writes. "We just happen to know that legalizing and regulating marijuana will actually make everyone safer."

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    • By trix
      Colorado -- Oklahoma and Nebraska have filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to deem Colorado's marijuana laws unconstitutional, The Denver Post reports. The states, which border Colorado, claim in the suit that their neighbor's recreational pot policy is "draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice system." Because recreational weed is not legal in Nebraska and Oklahoma – and those states must abide by federal law, which also prohibits it – the they want Colorado's policy overturned. They are not seeking financial damages.
       
      "The State of Colorado has created a dangerous gap in the federal drug control system," the lawsuit – which Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt filed Thursday – alleges. "Marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states, undermining [our states'] own marijuana bans."

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    • By trix
      In an announcement today, the White House has pledged $263 million in new federal funding for police training and body cameras, set aside by executive order. The money includes $75 million allocated specifically for the purchase 50,000 cameras for law enforcement officers across the country. The training portion of the funds would go toward instructing police in the responsible use of paramilitary equipment like assault rifles and armored personnel carriers, much of which has flooded local departments as a result of a Homeland Security preparedness program.
       
      Additional funds will go to fund police outreach programs designed to build trust between local departments and the communities they serve.
       
      $263 million in new federal funding
       
      The cameras are designed to provide a definitive record of police activities, and have become a frequent demand in the wake of the Ferguson protests. The protests began with the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager killed by the police in Ferguson. Community leaders pointed to video taken in the aftermath of Brown's death as evidence of police misconduct, and the subsequent outcry has triggered a Justice Department investigation. More recently, a widely shared video of Cleveland police shooting a 12-year-old named Tamir Rice has intensified the demand for video documentation of police activities. Last week, the parents of Michael Brown announced a campaign "to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera."
       
      The new funding push is substantial, but 50,000 cameras will cover only a fraction of the more than 750,000 police officers currently employed in America. Camera proposals have also run into trouble with public records laws in states like Washington, which require the release of all police records not actively tied up in an investigation. With hundreds of hours of video generated by police cameras every day, that would present serious problems for both privacy and simple logistics.
       
      Still, many police departments have already looked into body-mounted cameras. On October 1st, the Washington D.C. police began a six-month pilot program that put cameras on the shoulders of many local police, and officials expect the program to reduce the number of complaints filed against officers by as much as 80 percent. The program wasn't cheap: it cost $1 million to buy and store the necessary volume of cameras. But after today, other departments that decide to take the same leap will have federal matching funds to soften the blow.


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