5. CHRONICLE AM: SENATE HAS DEAL ON SENTENCING REFORM, OR LEGAL POT
SALES BEGIN TODAY, MORE (10/1/15)
Oregon dispensaries can now sell marijuana to all comers (21 and over)
starting today, a bipartisan group of senators announce a deal on major sentencing reform, Albuquerque's mayor vetoes decrim again, heroin
policy on the campaign trail is featured, and more. http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2015/oct/01/chronicle_am_senate_has_deal_sen
6. CHRONICLE AM: LATE UNCERTAINTY ON CA INITIATIVES, FL HEROIN DEATHS AT
RECORD HIGH, MORE (10/2/15)
There are signs of dissension around the ReformCA legalization
initiative, Oklahoma medical marijuana supporters are searching for
signatures, a federal bill to require police to report lethal force
incidents is introduced, and more. http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2015/oct/02/chronicle_am_late_uncertainty_ca
7. CHRONICLE AM: LYNCH REAFFIRMS OBAMA MJ STANCE, CELEBS COME OUT FOR SENTENCING REFORM, MORE (10/5/15)
Attorney General Loretta Lynch is following the same path on marijuana
states as her predecessor, the big California legalization initiative
rolls out, Uruguay grants licenses to commercially grow marijuana, there
will be no cannabis sales in Berlin (at least for now), and more. http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2015/oct/05/chronicle_am_lynch_reaffirms_oba
8. CHRONICLE AM: THOUSANDS OF FEDERAL DRUG PRISONERS TO BE FREED, OHIO
EARLY VOTING, MORE (10/6/15)
Major sentencing news today; early voting started today in Ohio, where
pot legalization is on the ballot, a North Carolina hemp bill has gone
to the governor, Colombia will still spray a nasty herbicide on coca
crops, and more. http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2015/oct/06/chronicle_am_thousands_federal_d
9. CHRONICLE AM: MI FORFEITURE REFORMS HEAD TO GOVERNOR, OH SUES OVER
TOLEDO DECRIM, MORE (10/7/15)
Toledo's decriminalization is challenged, Florida officials face heat
for delays in implementing the state's CBD medical marijuana law, an
Illinois panel approves medical marijuana for pain conditions (but will
the governor go for it?), and more. http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2015/oct/07/chronicle_am_mi_forfeiture_refor
A bipartisan group of senators including heavyweights like Senate
Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Assistant Democratic
Leader Dick Durbin rolled out comprehensive sentencing reform
legislation Thursday. The bill aims at reducing prison sentences for
some drug offenders and seeking to curb recidivism by bolstering reentry programs for prisoners. The legislation would, however, also expand
mandatory minimum sentences in some for some non-drug offenses.
It is arguably the most sweeping legislation to roll back drug war
excesses yet, and it represents "small government" conservatives
cooperating with liberals and civil rights advocates -- a remarkable
step in this era of poisoned partisan relations in Washington. If
passed, it would free some currently serving prisoners, as well as cut sentences for future offenders.
The bill narrows the scope of mandatory minimum prison sentences to
focus on the most serious drug offenders and violent criminals, while broadening ways defendants with minimal non-felony criminal histories
can avoid triggering mandatory minimum sentences. The bill also reduces
certain mandatory minimums, providing judges with greater discretion
when determining appropriate sentences, and preserves "cooperation
incentives" to aid law enforcement in tracking down kingpins.
In addition to reducing prison terms for some offenders through
sentencing reform, qualifying inmates can earn reduced sentences through recidivism reduction programs outlined in the CORRECTIONS Act introduced
by Cornyn and Whitehouse. The bill also makes retroactive the Fair
Sentencing Act and certain statutory reforms that address inequities in
Reforms and Targets Enhanced Mandatory Minimums for Prior Drug Felons:
The bill reduces the enhanced penalties that apply to repeat drug
offenders and eliminates the three-strike mandatory life provision, but
it allows those enhanced penalties to be applied to offenders with prior convictions for serious violent and serious drug felonies.
Broadens the Existing Safety Valve and Creates a Second Safety Valve:
The bill expands the existing safety valve to offenders with more
extensive criminal histories but excludes defendants with prior felonies
and violent or drug trafficking offenses unless a court finds those
prior offenses substantially overstate the defendant's criminal history
and danger of recidivism. The bill also creates a second safety valve
that gives judges discretion to sentence certain low-level offenders
below the 10-year mandatory minimum. But defendants convicted of serious violent and serious drug felonies cannot benefit from these reforms.
Reforms Enhanced Mandatory Minimums and Sentences for Firearm Offenses:
The bill expands the reach of the enhanced mandatory minimum for violent firearm offenders to those with prior federal or state firearm offenses
but reduces that mandatory minimum to provide courts with greater
flexibility in sentencing. The bill also raises the statutory maximum
for unlawful possession of firearms but lowers the enhanced mandatory
minimum for repeat offenders.
Creates New Mandatory Minimums for Interstate Domestic Violence and
Certain Export Control Violations: The bill adds new mandatory minimum sentences for certain crimes involving interstate domestic violence and
creates a new mandatory minimum for providing weapons and other defense materials to prohibited countries and terrorists.
Applies the Fair Sentencing Act and Certain Sentencing Reforms
Provides for Prison Reform based on the Cornyn-Whitehouse CORRECTIONS
Act: The bill requires the Department of Justice to conduct risk
assessments to classify all federal inmates and to use the results to
assign inmates to appropriate recidivism reduction programs, including
work and education programs, drug rehabilitation, job training, and
faith-based programs. Eligible prisoners who successfully complete these programs can earn early release and may spend the final portion (up to
25 percent) of their remaining sentence in home confinement or a halfway
Limits Solitary Confinement for Juveniles in Federal Custody and
Improves the Accuracy of Federal Criminal Records
Provides for a Report and Inventory of All Federal Criminal Offenses
"This historic reform bill addresses legitimate over-incarceration
concerns while targeting violent criminals and masterminds in the drug
trade," Grassley said. "This bill is an important component in my
ongoing effort as Judiciary Committee chairman to ensure access to
justice for both the victims and the accused."
"The United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any other
country on earth," said Durbin. "Mandatory minimum sentences were once
seen as a strong deterrent. In reality they have too often been unfair, fiscally irresponsible and a threat to public safety. Given tight
budgets and overcrowded prison cells, our country must reform these
outdated and ineffective laws that have cost American taxpayers billions
of dollars. This bipartisan group is committed to getting this done."
"Crafting criminal justice reform in this Congress is like a Rubik's
cube, but this group of Republicans and Democrats worked hard to come up
with a fair and balanced package that will make a real difference," said Schumer. "This bill would make much needed reforms to sentencing for
nonviolent offenders, resulting in a much fairer criminal justice
system. I'm hopeful that we can continue moving the ball forward in a bipartisan way to make the reforms our system needs."
"For decades, our broken criminal justice system has held our nation
back from realizing its full potential," said Booker. "Today, we take a
step forward. Mass incarceration has cost taxpayers billions of dollars, drained our economy, compromised public safety, hurt our children, and disproportionately affected communities of color while devaluing the
very idea of justice in America. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections
Act is a promising, bipartisan step forward to help right this wrong."
Although the bill doesn't move completely away from the resort to
mandatory minimums, it is still garnering general support among the
civil rights, drug reform, and criminal justice reform communities.
"The legislation is recognition from leadership in both parties that the
war on drugs has failed and that the harsh sentencing laws that appealed
to lawmakers in the 80s and 90s have had disastrous consequences --
especially for communities of color," said Michael Collins, Policy
Manager at the Drug Policy Alliance (http://www.drugpolicy.org). "There
are things we like about the bill and things we don't, and much more
action is needed to tackle mass incarceration, but this is a worthy compromise."
"In an age of intense partisan conflict, it's heartening to see
lawmakers across the spectrum working together on restoring justice in
this country," said Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), (http://www.leap.cc/author/neillf) executive director for Law
Enforcement Against Prohibition (http://www.leap.cc) (LEAP), a group of criminal justice professionals working to end the drug war. "We could
reduce the impact that drug prohibition has on people of color and for
so many others who have been victims of unreasonable and ineffective
drug prohibition laws. There's still a lot of work to be done, but this
is a considerable step in the right direction."
"Today marks a unique moment in our history and an important step
forward in making long overdue reforms to our justice system," said Wade Henderson, the group's CEO. "This bill represents the most robust
bipartisan effort at criminal justice reform in years. "This harmonic convergence of left and right -- of civil rights and small government
advocates -- represents a coalition of conscience that can carry this legislation to the White House. We applaud the effort and look forward
to working with the cosponsors on this legislation."
Now, the bill has to actually get through Congress. Given the
high-powered and bipartisan support in the Senate, prospects look good
there, but whether the House will be willing to sign on remains to be seen.
bliss -- Cacao Powered... (-SF4ever at DSLExtreme dot com)
bobbie sellers - a retired nurse in San Francisco
"It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
It is by the beans of cacao that the thoughts acquire speed,
the thighs acquire girth, the girth become a warning.
It is by theobromine alone I set my mind in motion."
--from Someone else's Dune spoof ripped to my taste.