☰ In this section

Drug Law Reform Overview


Drug Image 
In 2017, Oregon decriminalized personal possession of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs, making it a misdemeanor instead of a felony and expanding access to drug treatment for people without prior felonies or convictions for drug possession. 


Recreation and medical marijuana reform was victorious in several states on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. California, Main, Massachusetts and Nevada all voted to end prohibition and Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota passed medical marijuana laws. In addition, Montana voted to re-establish patients’ access to medical marijuana providers. Eight states have now adopted laws that legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana and medical marijuana has been adopted in 28 states. 


In July 2016 the Drug Policy Alliance released a report marijuana.  This comprehensive report lays out the history of marijuana, the effects of marijuana, where it is legalized and more. See report here


The United States has approximately one quarter of the world’s prison population. One large contributing factor is due to stringent drug laws that are putting large amounts of non-violent offenders behind bars for long periods of time, on the tax-payer’s dollar. With growing support for the legalization of medicinal marijuana, drug law reform is a hot button issue for many states. NACDL fights to prevent discriminatory and disproportionate laws often inherent in many drug laws. Instead of individuals addicted to drugs receiving the help they need, they are often thrown into prisons and forgotten about. Reform is needed in order to ensure that access to treatment is by request and not structured within the criminal justice system.


In addition, in November 2000, NACDL passed a Resolution of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Calling for an End to the War on Drugs.  

NACDL’s Drug Law Reform page provides recent news articles, newly released reports and external resources.



News Of Interest

"In New Jersey, Legal Marijuana Is So Close You Can Smell It. But It Could Be Awhile.," by Nick Corasaniti, New York Times, July 16, 2018.

"Defendants on Probation Can Be Jailed for Drug Relapse, Court Rules," by Jan Hoffman, New York Times, July 16, 2017.

"Sessions targets 10 areas in U.S. for crackdown on the sale of fentanyl," by Sari Horwitz, Washington Post, July 12, 2018.

"When marijuana is legal in Canada, Americans are expected to flock. But the border, and U.S. law, stands in the way.," by Lornet Turnbull and Katie Zezima, Washington Post, July 11, 2018.

"Opioid Makers, Blamed for Overdose Epidemic, Cut Back on Marketing Payments to Doctors," by Charles Ornstein and Ryann Grochowski Jones, ProPublica, June 28, 2018.

See more news

Advertisement Advertise with Us

In This Section

Advertisement Advertise with Us