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End the Drug War 5-Pack

Program #TRES001-LEEM004-ALEM001-SCHE002-BAUD001.

5 CDs or transcripts

Sanho Tree - End the Drug War

In 1971, Nixon launched a war on drugs calling drug use "public enemy number one." Since then like a recurring nightmare various presidents have continued the war on drugs. Four decades on, a consensus has emerged that the war has not only failed but it has ruined countless lives and wasted tons of money. More than a $1 trillion has been flushed down the toilet. Despite evidence that punitive measures backfire, our jails and prisons are full of people convicted for smoking weed. There are clear signs that attitudes on drugs, particularly marijuana, are shifting. Latin American countries with Uruguay leading the way are hitting the reset button. Uruguay has legalized the consumption, sale and distribution of pot. The time is long past to develop new mechanisms to establish humane and sustainable alternatives to the drug war, especially cannabis.

Martin Lee - Medical Marijuana

Marijuana, cannabis, weed, grass, by one name or the other you‘ve heard about it and may have even tried it. An Irish physician, William O'Shaughnessy introduced the therapeutic use of marijuana to Western medicine in the 1830s. He gave it to patients to help treat muscle spasms and stomach cramps.Marijuana as a medicine became common throughout much of the Western world by the 19th century. It was the primary pain reliever until the invention of aspirin. Today, there are underreported scientific breakthroughs including the discovery of a non-psychoactive component of marijuana, (CBD), which stimulates adult stem cell growth, prevents the onset of diabetes, and shrinks malignant tumors. By mining the plant’s treasure trove of active ingredients, medical researchers have developed promising treatments for cancer, heart disease, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s, chronic pain, and many other conditions that are beyond the reach of conventional cures.

Michelle Alexander - Incarceration Nation

From the auction block to the cell block there is a trajectory from slavery to Jim Crow to the Drug War. The latter has resulted in mass jailings characterized by deep racial disparities. About one-third of young black men are likely to go to jail. The criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control. Millions of people, primarily poor people of color, have been swept into the nation’s prisons and then relegated to a permanent second-class status in which they are stripped of the basic civil and human rights supposedly won in the civil rights movement. The numbers are numbing. In all, 2.3 million are behind bars and another 4.8 million are on probation and parole. The more people locked up, the more profits for the Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison owner and operator. 

Eric Schlosser - Reefer Madness

Marijuana is a multi-billion dollar piece of this underground economy. Public support is growing for relaxing or eliminating the penalties against adults who smoke pot. But the Bush administration continues to push severe punishment and strict definition of marijuana as a dangerous illegal drug. Another thriving part of the underground economy in the US is the exploitation of undocumented immigrants for cheap labor. Huge agribusinesses depend on it and so do many individuals who want to save a few bucks on gardening or housekeeping.

Dan Baum - The Drug War Debacle

Despite hundreds of billions of dollars invested in the drug war, cocaine is cheaper and more available than ever. The war is now led by a general, Barry McCaffrey, who presides over a $16 billion budget, a lot more money than the U.S. spends for its poor and needy. Drug war critics cite ever-escalating costs, potential for corruption and erosion of civil liberties. The government now has broad powers to circumvent the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Speaker(s):

Sanho Tree

Sanho Tree is a Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and director of its Drug Policy Project, which works to end the domestic and international so-called War on Drugs and replace it with policies that promote public health and safety. He has been featured in over a dozen documentary films and has appeared in hundreds of print and broadcast interviews. 

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