Phillip Smith, AlterNet

Phillip Smith


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Past articles by Phillip:

Another win for marijuana: New Mexico embraces legalization

On March 31, New Mexico became the second state in as many days to see lawmakers approve marijuana legalization. New York had signed legislation to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana one day earlier. The legislators in Santa Fe, New Mexico, approved the Cannabis Regulation Act (House Bill 2) → Read More

Why Canada is pulling the plug on its war on drugs

On February 18, Canada's governing Liberal Party finally moved to enact long-promised reforms in its criminal justice system by introducing a sweeping new bill that "would require police and prosecutors to consider alternative measures for cases of simple possession of drugs," other than making arre → Read More

Oregon is on the cusp of a major drug reform: Decriminalizing everything

Come November 3, Oregon residents will have a chance to approve the most far-reaching drug reform measure ever to make a state ballot when they vote on Measure 110, the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act. While the initiative indeed expands drug treatment, what makes it really revolutionary i → Read More

Can marijuana win in a deep red state?

Marijuana is on the ballot in South Dakota in November this year. This is a state that has the dubious distinction of being the only one to twice defeat a medical marijuana initiative. And it has another dubious distinction: It’s the only state where people get prosecuted for having marijuana show u → Read More

Is the time of the no-knock drug raid coming to an end?

In the mass protests over out-of-control and racially biased law enforcement ignited by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Floyd’s name isn’t the only one being chanted by the crowds. There’s also Ahmaud Arbery, the Georgia jogger gunned down by white vigilantes → Read More

Democrats in Congress are taking on a police culture run amok

With mass protests over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin morphing into demands to grapple with racism and to confront a police culture where brutality is all too common, and with the anguished words of Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, echoing through the Capit → Read More

How these 8 GOP governors oppose just and sensible marijuana policy

The nation’s most venerable marijuana legalization group, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), has just issued its 2020 Gubernatorial Scorecard grading the nation’s governors on their level of support for ending marijuana prohibition. Thanks to NORML, we can now identi → Read More

New Jersey might actually legalize marijuana this year

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said he wanted marijuana legalization. Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said he wanted it, too, and Assembly Leader Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) was also on board. But the state’s most powerful politicians couldn’t get their act together enough to actua → Read More

Philadelphia’s maverick prosecutor takes aim at the war on drugs

Since taking office in January 2018, Krasner has made a number of policy moves that are helping to cement his reputation as one of the country’s most radical prosecutors, and he’s doing it in one of America’s largest cities. → Read More

How Trump’s Justice Department may be sabotaging one of the few good things he’s done – A

House Judiciary Committee Democrats are raising the alarm over a move by the Justice Department that would give a conservative think tank opposed to criminal justice reforms a key role in implementing the First Step Act. That bill, signed into law by President Trump in December, combines limited sen → Read More

The high side: States that legalized marijuana have seen a dramatic drop in police traffic searches

The simple act of legalizing marijuana eliminated one of the most common reasons for police to initiative traffic searches—and it happened in a hurry. → Read More

States that legalized marijuana see dramatic drop in police traffic searches

Traffic searches of motorists by police are fraught with danger for officer and driver alike, especially if the driver is carrying an illicit drug such as marijuana. There is, however, one simple way to dramatically reduce the number of highway searches: legalizing marijuana. That’s according to → Read More

Massive lawsuit targets the family behind the ‘worst drug crisis in American history’

A lawsuit filed by more than 500 cities, counties, and Native American tribes accuses the Sackler family, owners of the company that makes the opioid painkiller OxyContin, of playing a role in creating “the worst drug crisis in American history.” While other lawsuits have targeted Purdue Pharma, wh → Read More

It’s time to change the way the world thinks about drug reform – A

By its very nature, the global drug prohibition regime relies on the repressive apparatus of state actors to enforce compliance, and that has severe implications for human rights. Now, a coalition of United Nations member states, UN bodies, and leading human rights experts has launched a landmark se → Read More

We now have hard scientific evidence that microdosing psychedelics ‘could be beneficial’ – A

Microdosing—ingesting very small doses of psychedelic drugs—has emerged as a popular pastime among Silicon Valley types and harried executives on both coasts, who have claimed anecdotally that it boosts creativity and helps them function more effectively. Now, for the first time, comes some hard sc → Read More

Trump’s bombing campaign against Taliban heroin labs quietly fizzles

A year-long bombing campaign that pitted some of America’s most high-tech Air Force fighter jets against primitive Taliban “heroin labs” has quietly ended after failing to achieve much of anything, according to the latest report on continuing U.S. operations in Afghanistan from the Defense Departmen → Read More

How the fentanyl crisis is making heroin buyers’ clubs the less harmful option

In the past few years, the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl and its derivatives have been the primary driver of the drug overdose death epidemic. A wave of addiction that began with prescription opioids two decades ago and morphed into one driven by heroin after the crackdown on pain pills one dec → Read More

Watch: These drug company execs actually used rap video parody to push high-dose fentanyl sales

Back in 2015, as the country was deep in the midst of the ongoing opioid crisis, at least one major pharmaceutical company thought its sales reps weren’t doing enough to push higher doses of its highly potent fentanyl product, so company executives produced a parody rap video to spur them on. The → Read More

This complaint shows Purdue Pharma’s secret plan to perversely profit by both creating and treating addiction

Making billions off a pain pill whose promotion helped spawn the prescription opioid epidemic that grew into today’s overdose fatality crisis wasn’t enough for the Sackler family, the owners of Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin. Seeing their profits starting to fall off in the face of gro → Read More

There is a race underway to legalize marijuana in the northeast

With pot shops already open for business in Massachusetts, entrepreneurs and politicians alike all along the length of the Boston-Washington corridor are racing to put legal marijuana regimes in place as fast as they can. No one wants to be the last island of prohibition as the green gold rush promi → Read More