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New York: Victims of Drug War Protest Wells Fargo For Profiteering Off Racist Policies

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Ahead of major United Nations meeting on global drug policy, weekly protests call for drug war policies to be replaced by a public health and human rights approach to drug use

WHAT: Protest Wells Fargo Bank for being a major investor in Private Prisons Behemoth Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).
WHEN: This Friday, April 1st at 11 a.m.
WHERE: Wells Fargo at 150 E 42nd St.

Details: People with a history of drug use, the formerly incarcerated and people living with AIDS, all identifying as “victims of the Drug War,” will protest Wells Fargo for investing in Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the largest private prison company in the United States. CCA has been criticized for its poor treatment of prisoners, lobbying efforts to limit oversight and regulation of private prisons, cooperation with law enforcement in school drug sweeps and more.

Protestors will attempt to block traffic with a banner reading "Wells Fargo: Just Say No to Private Prisons"

The Wells Fargo protest is the third in a series of actions leading up to the April 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS), the biggest global drug policy meeting in over a decade and a crucial moment for confronting the disastrous global war on drugs. For more on UNGASS and international movement for reform, visit www.StopTheHarm.org.

U.S.: VOCAL-NY and Gretchen Burns Bergman To Receive Activist Award at Drug Policy Reform Conference

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Leading Drug Policy Reformers to be Honored at International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, November 21

The Robert C. Randall Award for Achievement in the Field of Citizen Action in the Field of Drug Policy Reform will be awarded to VOCAL-NY and Gretchen Burns Bergman at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference on November 21 in Arlington, Virginia.

VOCAL-NY is one of the most effective grassroots membership organizations in the country, according to the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). "They weave together a broad range of social justice issues, including working to end the war on drugs," the DPA announced in a press released.

"They have helped reduce New York’s unconstitutional and racially-biased marijuana arrests, raised awareness about overdose prevention, and restored the rights of formerly incarcerated people," according to the DPA. "Their organizing model, centered around the leadership and voices of those most impacted and those most stigmatized – people who use drugs, people living with HIV/AIDS, people of color, people who are formerly or currently incarcerated, or people who live in low-income communities – makes VOCAL-NY vital to the conscience of our movement."a

U.S.: Leading Drug Policy Reformers To Be Honored At International Conference

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Awardees Recognized for Groundbreaking Work to End the War on Drugs

Winners Include Jamaican Justice Minister Mark Golding, DPA Board President and Former ACLU Head Ira Glasser, Key Grassroots Ally VOCAL-NY, and LEAP Executive Director Neill Franklin

Leading advocates for drug policy reform will be honored at an awards ceremony on Saturday, November 21, at the biennial International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Arlington, Virginia. The conference is being organized by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), an organization promoting alternatives to the Drug
War, and is co-sponsored by dozens of other reform organizations.

"Every political movement for freedom and justice has its heroes, yet only a select few ever win the recognition they deserve," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "These awards honor those who have made extraordinary commitments, both publicly and behind the scenes, to advancing more sensible and humane ways of dealing with drugs in our society."

Below are the distinguished award recipients:

Ira Glasser is the winner of the Richard J. Dennis Drugpeace Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Drug Policy Reform, which is given to a group or individuals who most epitomize loyal opposition to Drug War extremism. The purpose of the Commission is to create an international, informed and science-based discussion about the most effective methods of reducing the harm caused by drugs.

New York: Protest During High Level UN Meeting To Condemn Indonesia Drug Executions

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100+ Groups Call For A New Approach On Drug Policy, Emphasizing Human Rights

The United Nations (U.N.) on Thursday, May 7, will hold a high-level meeting to discuss international drug policy, in preparation for a United Nations General Assembly Special Session on drugs in 2016. The Special Session will be the largest international drug policy event in decades, the first of its kind since 1998.

United Nations ambassadors, ministers, and high level delegates from around the world will meet at the U.N. in NY to discuss achievements and challenges in international drug policy. In recent years, a growing number of countries are pushing for an open debate to discuss alternatives beyond punitive approaches.

This movement was first lead by former heads of state, such as Ruth Dreifuss of Switzerland, who will be speaking at Thursday’s event, and is now being continued by current presidents, especially in Latin America.

“The veneer of consensus that for so long sustained the failed global drug war and insulated it from critical examination is now broken,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “The stage is being set for a new global drug control paradigm for the 21st century better grounded in science, health and human rights.”

New York: Officials Ignore Patients; Pursue Unworkable Medical Marijuana Program

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Advocates Say Final Regulations to Leave Thousands of Patients to Suffer Needlessly

Abandoned by Cuomo Administration, Critically Ill Patients and Families Vow to Return to the Legislature to Fix New York’s Broken Medical Marijuana Program

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday night released the final regulations for New York’s medical marijuana program. The announcement followed a period of public comment in which patients, families, experts, and industry professionals submitted more than a thousand letters and emails critiquing the proposed regulations for being too restrictive and unworkable.

In response to this incredible level of input from the public and private industry, the Department of Health made absolutely no substantive changes to the regulations. Instead, they made only handful of technical fixes, such as correcting typos, according to the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).

Twenty-two other states have passed medical marijuana laws, five jurisdictions have passed laws taxing and regulating marijuana for adult use, and the federal government has made clear that they will not interfere with properly administered state marijuana programs. Despite this, the Cuomo Administration, in its response to the public comments, repeatedly uses federal laws as an excuse for inaction.

U.S.: Netroots Nation To Address Failed Drug War

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Friday Panel: Marijuana Arrests: The Gateway to Mass Incarceration

Marijuana arrests and mass incarceration will take center stage at Netroots Nation 2014 this week in Detroit.

On Friday, July 18 at 4:30 p.m., the ninth annual gathering of progressive voices will feature a panel, “Marijuana Arrests: the Gateway to Mass Incarceration.” The panel will feature Kassandra Frederique, a policy coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).

Frederique is currently organizing with groups around the state of New York to address bias policing practices, unlawful marijuana arrests and collateral consequences of criminalization.

“I’m thrilled to see Netroots Nation examine the failed war on drugs and how marijuana arrests fuel mass incarceration,” Frederique said. “Netroots Nation is a cutting-edge incubator of ideas and I’m excited to have a rich discussion during the panel and action from folks afterwards.”

Every 48 seconds someone is arrested for marijuana possession in the United States. Most of these arrests are of people of color, despite the fact that white people use and sell marijuana at higher rates. In this panel they will explore how the Drug War and biased policing practices fuel marijuana arrests and, in turn, mass incarceration.

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