Author Archive | Jacob Sullum

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Israel Moves Toward Decriminalizing Marijuana Use

Yestersday Israel’s public security minister, Gilad Erdan, announced a plan to decriminalize possession of marijuana, making public use a civil offense punishable by fines and eliminating penalties for private use. “We want to educate our youth that using drugs is damaging,” Erdan said. “On the other hand, the police do not have the right tools […]

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‘Alternative Facts’ Cannot Hide Trump’s Petty Dishonesty

NBCThe ongoing spat about the size of the audience at Donald Trump’s inauguration, in itself a trivial issue, is significant because it highlights the new president’s vanity, pettiness, lack of discipline, and casual disregard for the truth. Presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway took that last character flaw to a new level in a Meet the Press […]

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Obama Issued More Commutations Than Any Previous President but Neglected Pardons

True to his word, President Obama continued using his clemency power on the way out the door, granting commutations to an additional 330 federals prisoners yesterday. Almost all of the commutation recipients are serving time for nonviolent drug offenses, including 64 who were sentenced to life. The list includes Tennessee marijuana grower Paul Fields, who […]

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Sessions’ Wishy-Washy Marijuana Comments Reflect the Ambiguity of Current Policy

C-SPANDuring his confirmation hearing yesterday, Jeff Sessions did not do much to clarify how he will treat state-licensed marijuana businesses as attorney general, but that is not entirely his fault. Marijuana remains illegal under the Controlled Substances Act, and the Justice Department cannot simply announce that it will no longer enforce that ban in states […]

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Federal Appeals Court Upholds Minnesota’s Indefinite Detention of Sex Offenders

Tom Evanstad / Google MapsYesterday a federal appeals court upheld a Minnesota program that indefinitely detains sex offenders after they have completed their prison sentences under the guise of treating them for mental illnesses invented by the state legislature. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit overturned a 2015 decision in which U.S. […]

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Incarceration and Crime Rates Continue to Fall in Tandem

Incarceration and Crime Rates Continue to Fall in Tandem

The total number of people in American prisons and jails, which peaked in 2008, fell last year by more than 2 percent after rising slightly in 2014, according to numbers released yesterday by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The 2015 total, 2,173,800, is the lowest since 2004, reflecting a gradual reversal of the incarceration explosion […]

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Teenagers Dismay Prohibitionists by Consuming Less Cannabis

Teenagers Dismay Prohibitionists by Consuming Less Cannabis

The latest survey data indicate that legalization has not driven a national surge in adolescent pot smoking. Jacob Sullum|Dec. 14, 2016 7:00 am At a Senate hearing last April, Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump’s choice for attorney general, worried about the message that marijuana legalization sends to the youth of America. “I can’t tell you how […]

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Senator Says ‘Good People Don’t Smoke Marijuana’

Yesterday Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein, the two oldest members of the U.S. Senate and two of its most enthusiastic drug warriors, held a hearing that posed the question, “Is the Department of Justice Adequately Protecting the Public From the Impact of State Recreational Marijuana Legalization?” You can probably guess their answer, especially if you […]

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Lying About Snus and E-Cigarettes Is Like Blocking Access to Clean Heroin Needles

In a blistering indictment of lying in the name of “public health,” two prominent tobacco researchers slam medical organizations and government agencies for suppressing information about the huge difference in risk between cigarettes and other nicotine products. Writing in The International Journal of Drug Policy, Lynn Kozlowski, a public health professor at the State University […]

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