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U.S.: 600 Churches Call For End To Drug War

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Conference Uses Christian Ideals to Argue for New System

The New England Conference of United Methodist Churches, a group representing 600 congregations in six Northeastern states, on Saturday voted in favor of Resolution 15-203, which uses Christian principles to call for an end to the War on Drugs.

The resolution begins:

“In the love of Christ, who came to save those who are lost and vulnerable, we urge the creation of a genuinely new system for the care and restoration of victims, offenders, criminal justice officials, and the community as a whole. Restorative justice grows out of biblical authority, which emphasizes a right relationship with God, self and community. When such relationships are violated or broken through crime, opportunities are created to make things right.”

It goes on to detail how the Drug War has failed to achieve its intended goal of reducing drug abuse and has resulted in numerous unintended consequences such as the creation of violent and dangerous underground markets, countless lost lives from gang violence and unregulated products, increased dangers posed to law enforcement, prison overcrowding, the rapid spread of needle-borne illnesses due to a lack of sterile syringes, and the disparate impact that these laws have had on poor communities of color.

Connecticut: Court Ruling Clears Way For Past Marijuana Convictions To Be Erased

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Thousands of state residents who have been busted for marijuana possession in the past now have the right to get their convictions erased after the Connecticut Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the violation had been downgraded to the same level as a parking ticket.

The unanimous 7-0 ruling came in the case of Nicholas Menditto, 31, a former resident of Manchester and Boston who had asked for his convictions to be overturned after the Connecticut Legislature in 2011 decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis, reports Dave Collins at the Associated Press.

"It's a topic multiple states will have to be facing," said Menditto's attorney, Aaron Romano. "Because marijuana is being decriminalized across the United States, this issue needs to be addressed."

Last year, Colorado's second-highest court ruled that some people who have been convicted of possessing small amounts of pot can ask for those convictions to be thrown out under the state law which legalized recreational marijuana.

In 2011, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the Legislature changed possession of less than half an ounce of cannabis from a misdemeanor, with potential jail time, to a violation with a $150 fine for a first offense and $200 to $500 for subsequent offenses.

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