Over 200 Drug Policy, Harm Reduction, Health Care, and Community Groups Call on Biden Administration to Prioritize Public Health Solutions to Curb Overdose Crisis and Dismantle Drug War

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Over 200 drug policy, harm reduction, health care, and community based organizations from across the country today sent a letter to Rahul Gupta, Team Lead for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) on President-Elect Biden’s Transition Team. The letter urges the Biden administration to implement proven, bold solutions to curb the overdose crisis and begin dismantling the drug war. Led by People’s ActionVOCAL-NY, the Drug Policy Alliance, and National Harm Reduction Coalition, the letter also makes clear the disproportionate consequences the drug war and overdose crisis have on Black, Brown, and low-income communities, which have contributed to the U.S. leading the world in mass incarceration and preventable overdose deaths.

“Like the President-elect, we too have watched the nation stigmatize our loved ones for substance use, and, instead of judging, we unconditionally love and support them. And, like the President-elect, we too have experienced the insurmountable grief brought on by the loss of family members,” the groups wrote. “It is our strong hope and belief that ending the drug war that has inflicted incredible harm in communities across this nation, and centering evidence-based solutions to address the overdose crisis, could be a great catalyst for a national transformation.”

In the letter, the groups outline immediate and longer-term policy recommendations based on to combat the overdose crisis and begin dismantling the drug war, such as:

  • Ground the ONDCP in evidence-based drug policies backed by science and public health approaches;
  • Commit the ONDCP to dismantling the drug war, advancing a national drug budget that prioritizes harm reduction, treatment and recovery and looks beyond enforcement and supply side strategies that only perpetuate mass incarceration, systemic racism and the failed drug war;
  • Include in FY22 budgets and future COVID relief packages dedicated funds to sustain harm reduction providers including syringe service programs;
  • Direct the Department of Justice (DOJ) to withdraw litigation challenging the operation of overdose prevention centers (OPCs), refrain from filing new lawsuits against or from prosecuting organizations that operate OPCs, and work with Congress to revise federal laws to permit the operation of OPCs;
  • Permanently extend the SAMHSA/DEA COVID-19 accommodations for methadone and buprenorphine access (the gold standard for opioid use disorder treatment); and
  • Support policies that would eliminate requirements that inhibit practitioners to easily prescribe medication for opioid use disorder, prohibit state Medicaid programs from requiring prior authorization for medication-assisted treatment, and include people directly impacted by the crisis to help decide where resources would be best targeted locally.

The full text of the letter, which includes the 212 organizations that signed on, may be found here.

Historical Cannabis Discussion to Take Place at CWCBExpo in Los Angeles

“Failure Is Not An Option,” to Feature Top Drug Policy Reformists Discussing Upcoming Legalization of Adult Use of Marijuana in California.

CALIFORNIA: California, the most populous state and 6th biggest economy in the world, is poised to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana in the upcoming November elections.  The Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition, CWCBExpo, September 7 -9, 2016 will have an unprecedented thought-leadership panel, “Failure is Not An Option,” that will focus on the upcoming Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) Prop 64 and how its passage will affect the recreational cannabis market in California and the country at large.

Taking place Friday, September 9th, “Failure is Not an Option will feature for the first time on a panel, NORML, Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), ReformCA, and ACLU.  The panelists include: Paul Armentano, Deputy Director, NORML; Lynne Lyman, California State Director, Drug Policy Alliance; Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, Director of Criminal Justice and Drug Policy, ACLU of California; Dale Sky Jones, Executive Chancellor, Oaksterdam University and Chairwoman, Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform/ReformCA.

Moderated by Steve Bloom, Editor-in-Chief of Freedom Leaf and Publisher of CelebStoner.com, this high-level panel will also provide an opportunity for attendees to learn and ask questions to some of the driving forces behind this upcoming legislation.  “California is already the biggest medical marijuana market, and the legalization of recreational use will transform the industry and create incredible opportunities for all types of businesses and services,” said Christine Ianuzzi, Show Director & Managing Partner, CWCBExpo LA. “Attendees in LA will walk away with the right knowledge and connections to navigate this thriving new business frontier that has tremendous growth opportunities.”

Other sessions in the Legislation & Advisory track being presented at CWCBExpo LA that delve into this top of mind legalization and its impact will be  “Policy Reform and the Cannabis Industry;” “West Coast Regulatory Update;” and “The End of Prohibition: The Shift to Legalization and Regulatory.”

The Legislation & Advocacy track is part of the comprehensive educational program being offered at CWCBExpo that also includes tracks on: Starting & Running a Cannabis Business; Science & Technology; Legal & Finance; and Industry Trends & Innovations.

CWCBExpo LA will also continue its leadership position on the important discussion of “CTE, Concussions and CBD” and feature former all-star NFL and NHL players.  All-day Add-On Workshops will take place on September 7th, with the Conference Program and Exhibits taking place September 8th and 9th.  A bonus day has been added on Saturday, September 10th with another Add-on Workshop and California’s largest industry Career Fair, hosted by Vangst Talent.

 

2013 International Drug Policy Reform Conference In Celebratory Mood Following Recent Cannabis Achievements

COLORADO: The dust has now settled on the Drug Policy Alliance’s International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Denver last month – attended by three Transform staff as well as a more than a 1,000 drug policy experts and activists from around the world. The conference is held every two years and chance had it that this year it would be in Denver, Colorado – one of the two states that had made history last year by becoming the first jurisdictions anywhere in the world to legalise and regulate cannabis.

There was understandably a sense of celebration in the air, a feeling that, as DPA Executive Director Ethan Nadlemann put it, a tipping point had been reached.  The sense that – at least with the US cannabis debate – the reform position was winning the day was solidified by polling earlier in the week of the conference that showed 58% of the US public now supported cannabis legalisation – a jump of 10% in a year. [Read more…]

2013 International Drug Policy Reform Conference In Celebratory Mood Following Recent Cannabis Achievements

COLORADO: The dust has now settled on the Drug Policy Alliance’s International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Denver last month – attended by three Transform staff as well as a more than a 1,000 drug policy experts and activists from around the world. The conference is held every two years and chance had it that this year it would be in Denver, Colorado – one of the two states that had made history last year by becoming the first jurisdictions anywhere in the world to legalise and regulate cannabis.

There was understandably a sense of celebration in the air, a feeling that, as DPA Executive Director Ethan Nadlemann put it, a tipping point had been reached.  The sense that – at least with the US cannabis debate – the reform position was winning the day was solidified by polling earlier in the week of the conference that showed 58% of the US public now supported cannabis legalisation – a jump of 10% in a year. [Read more…]