Is Hell Freezing Over?

cannabis_2423701bIn 2012 Border Crossings ran a series of posts (“The War on Drugs”) reviewing the history of our drug laws, the long term consequences of those laws, and recommendations to decriminalize and legalize recreational use of marijuana and other drugs.  In November of that year, Colorado and Washington state voters approved referendums legalizing the recreational use of marijuana; and this January, the two states began to implement regulation and taxation of marijuana sales despite grumblings from the Justice Department and DEA.  Sale of pot in Colorado netted tax revenue of $2 million in just this first month.  While only a drop in the bucket of the state’s $20 billion plus annual budget, other states have taken notice and additional referendums to legalize marijuana are being advanced for consideration of the voters during the next election cycle.  Recent polls show that a majority of Americans (51% plus) now believe that marijuana should be legalized.  Even the President has weighed in, recently downplaying the hazard posed by marijuana, declaring the drug no more dangerous than alcohol, pointing to the graver risk presented by other recreational drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine.  Have we turned a corner on the War on Drugs? Continue reading


The Exceptional World of U.S. Prisons

Guest Contributor, Dr. Marshall Carter-Tripp provides some interesting perspective and important information considering our current prison system as it compares to such countries as Russia and Iran.  You may be surprised.

 America4796934n “Exceptionalism” is being celebrated by American politicians, who express amazement that the rest of the world doesn’t understand how exceptional we are.  Sadly, the rest of the world may well understand this, but from a different perspective than the one adopted by our politicians, and most of the news media. Continue reading


A Strangler Fig Grows on the Border

Predator Drone used in border surveillance–Photograph by Sean Hemmerle for The New York Times

It’s almost impossible not to be aware of the growing militarization of the US-Mexico border, despite the blasé attitude of most newspaper and television reporting. Even the awestruck accounts of the coming of drones to the US include notes about surveillance of ordinary citizens and privacy concerns expressed by civil liberties organizations. Everyone who drives from a border location east, west or north will pass through checkpoints – and in recent years a bristling array of cameras confronts you as you approach (or simply pass nearby, going towards the border rather than away). Difficult not to notice! What is all this about? Should we care? Continue reading