Phillip Smith, AlterNet

Phillip Smith

AlterNet

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Recent articles by Phillip:

Why South Dakota has the worst drug laws in America

With endless miles of farmland shading into ever higher and drier terrain as one moves west, crossing the Missouri River and then on to the Badlands and the Black Hills, South Dakota has a certain austere beauty. Not so in its approach to drugs. When it comes to drug policy, it is one of the ugliest → 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

Here are the 6 worst governors when it comes to Marijuana

It’s a fundamental of our political system that governors play a critical role in shaping policy at the state level—and even beyond. Governors can use their position as a bully pulpit to advance their agenda, they can use their budget proposals or empower commissions to shape legislation, and they h → Read More

Could these 8 states be the next group to join the wave of marijuana legalization?

In November 2012, voters in Colorado and Washington made those states the first to break with nearly a century of marijuana prohibition. In the years since then, the number of states that have legalized marijuana has grown to 10 (plus the city of Washington, D.C.). In the meantime, support for marij → Read More

The year on drugs: Here are 8 big drug policy stories of 2018

We are making progress on numerous fronts. → Read More

The year on drugs: Here are 8 big drug policy stories of 2018

We are making progress on numerous fronts. This is a year that just about everybody is eager to see come to an end, but when it comes to drug policy, 2018 hasn’t been half-bad. We’ve seen marijuana legalization spread further, we’re on the verge of seeing Congress pass major sentencing reform legislation, and the ban on domestic hemp cultivation is coming to an end, among other things.But… → Read More

A Georgia nightmare: This woman was jailed for 4 months for possession of cotton candy

Cops said their roadside drug test said it was meth. It’s far from the only time the cops or the test has been wrong. A Georgia woman has filed a federal lawsuit after she spent nearly four months in jail because a roadside drug test administered by untrained police officers falsely identified a bag of cotton candy as methamphetamine. → Read More

Good Riddance! Here's One Great Reason to Be Thrilled Jeff Sessions Is No Longer Attorney General

Trump clearly fired him for the wrong reason — but there's a major upside for Americans. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced out of office Wednesday after less than two years in office, and while there is intense concern about the impact the move could have on ongoing investigations of Trump campaign and administration misdeeds, for drug and criminal justice reform advocates, that… → Read More