Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Panel: Drug war failed, regulate marijuana - The Denver Post

Panel: Drug war failed, regulate marijuana - The Denver Post
NEW YORK—A high-level international panel slammed the war on drugs as a failure Thursday and called on governments to undertake experiments to decriminalize the use of drugs, especially marijuana, to undermine the power of organized crime.

Compiled by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, the report concludes that criminalization and repressive measures have failed with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.

"Political leaders and public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately: that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won," the report said.

The 19-member commission includes former presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, Greece's prime minister, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former U.S. officials George P. Schultz and Paul Volcker, the writers Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa, and British billionaire Richard Branson.

At a news conference launching the report, former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who chairs the commission, said ending the war on drugs does not imply complete liberalization.

"The fact is that the war on drugs is a failure," he said. "Being a failure is not saying that you have nothing to do with drugs. You have to act. The drug are infiltrating the local power in several parts of the world. Corruption is increasing and the consumption of drugs is also increasing."

Cardoso said the commission's goal is "to open a debate and to say: Stop the war on drugs and let's be more constructive in trying to reduce the consumption."

Instead of punishing drug users, the commission argues that governments should "end the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others."

The commission urged governments to experiment "with models of legal regulation of drugs to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens." It said this recommendation applies especially to marijuana.

Cardoso said the commission called for regulation rather than legalization "because we don't think that's the moment's come for legalization." Even regulation and decriminalization are not a solution, he said, unless they are accompanied by information, publicity campaigns, and improved health care and treatment.

Branson, speaking at the press conference, highlighted the drug wars' high cost.

"It's estimated that over one trillion have been spent on fighting this unwinnable battle," Branson said. "The irony is that a regulated market—one that is tightly controlled, one that would offer support not prison to those with drug problems—would cost tax payers much less money."

The report called for drug policies based on methods empirically proven to reduce crime, lead to better health and promote economic and social development.

Read more: Panel: Drug war failed, regulate marijuana - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/ci_18190127#ixzz1OAZWJz1D
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