Eli Savit Profile picture
12 Jan, 16 tweets, 7 min read
Today, I’m pleased to announce that we'll no longer be charging cases related to marijuana or entheogenic plants (naturally occurring psychedelics).

We'll also—categorically—be supporting expungement of old records relating to those substances, if someone’s legally eligible. /1
Let’s start with marijuana—or cannabis. As our policy outlines, it’s important to consider the history of the substance; the racially disparate effects of criminalization; its properties; & the current legal landscape.

You can read our directive here: washtenaw.org/DocumentCenter… /2
Some highlights: For much of U.S. history, cannabis was widely accepted, & was present in many medicines.

But anti-cannabis crusaders seized on anti-immigrant sentiment, rebranded it the Spanish word “marihuana,” & piggybacked on anti-Black racism to push criminalization. /3
This was done despite evidence cannabis is no more dangerous than legal substances like alcohol. Indeed, the 1970s commission charged with studying cannabis’s legal landscape recommended full legalization.

But Nixon—who saw it as a wedge issue—ignored the recommendations. /4
Consistent with the racist origins of cannabis criminalization, the costs have not been borne equally.

White & Black people use cannabis at roughly equal rates. But Black Americans (nationally & here) are much, much more likely to face criminal consequences. /5
And it’s not just about the direct criminal consequences. A cannabis conviction can make it difficult to get a job, to obtain housing, to continue one’s education. It can also render non-citizens deportable.

Criminal charges aren’t just about jail time. /6
In 2018, Michigan voters passed Prop. 1, which legalized cannabis for recreational use. But the law still imposes criminal penalties for certain activities—including if you have “too much” cannabis.

It also doesn’t provide for automatic expungement of old criminal records. /7
Today’s policy fills those gaps.

We’ve long known that marijuana is as safe as alcohol. It thus makes no more sense to charge someone for having “too much” cannabis than it does to charge people for having “too many” bottles of wine.

And we won’t, any longer. /8
In addition, people shouldn’t have criminal records consisting of things that are no longer crimes.

For that reason, we won't contest any application to expunge cannabis-related records. And stay tuned. We look forward to providing more affirmative expungement assistance. /9
As noted, we’re also announcing today that we will no longer be pursuing charges related to entheogenic plants (most prominently, psilocybin mushrooms).

You can read that full policy here: washtenaw.org/DocumentCenter… /10
Last fall, Ann Arbor’s City Council unanimously adopted a resolution making entheogenic plants the “lowest law enforcement priority.”

With such plants functionally decriminalized in our largest city, it would be arbitrary to keep charging people in other parts of Washtenaw. /11
More fundamentally: criminalization of entheogenic plants simply doesn’t make sense.

They’re not addictive. They don’t cause violent behavior. And other jurisdictions have successfully decriminalized them without any negative consequences. /12
We're firmly committed to ending the War on Drugs. But controlled substances should be regulated for safety. For that reason, we may continue to file charges against large-scale, profit-seeking enterprises who flout safety laws; adults who sell drugs to kids, etc. /13
In addition, nothing in today’s policies prohibits or discourages charges relating to driving under the influence of a controlled substance.

We’re all for safe recreational use. But it DOES need to be done safely, without endangering the well-being of others. /14
As always, I’m beyond grateful for the many partners who have worked with us to craft these policies—including substance-use professionals, activists, law enforcement, defense lawyers, and prosecutors.

We’re committed to getting it right in Washtenaw County, together. /15
It’s time to move forward from the unjust & inequitable policies of the past, particularly relating to prohibitionist systems.

Today’s announcements are a first step. More is coming, very very soon. /fin.

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More from @EliNSavit

14 Jan
Today, I’m announcing the Washtenaw Prosecutor’s Office will no longer prosecute consensual sex work. We'll focus on trafficking, sexual assault, victimization of kids. Our policy will facilitate prosecution of such crimes.

Please read our full policy: washtenaw.org/DocumentCenter… /1 Image
At the outset, I want to make this clear. Declining to prosecute sex work DOES NOT mean we won’t vigorously pursue—& prosecute—human trafficking, pimping, those who engage in sexual/physical assault against sex workers, or those who try to purchase sex from minors.

We will. /2 Image
Indeed, a key reason for today’s policy directive is that the criminalization of sex work *increases* violence & sexual assault—and makes it less likely to be reported.

If you fear that you’d face prosecution if you report an assault to police, you’re less likely to do so. /3 Image
Read 13 tweets
13 Jan
Today (even with other stuff going on in the world) I’m pleased to announce a policy that—data shows—will save lives.

Specifically: we'll no longer charge criminal cases arising from the unauthorized use or possession of buprenorphine. The policy: washtenaw.org/DocumentCenter… /1 Image
What’s buprenorphine? It’s a medicine that’s been proven to be *highly* effective at treating those who are physically dependent on opioids.

It makes it *significantly* more likely that people in recovery will avoid dying of an overdose. /2 Image
Buprenorphine's been recognized by the State as the “gold standard” for treating opioid use disorder.

It remains, however, a controlled substance in Michigan, meaning that people can face felonies if they use it without a prescription, or share it with others in recovery. /3 Image
Read 8 tweets
10 Jan
I've been thinking a lot about this. And I think Hawley's statement about how a private publisher's decision not to publish his book is "a direct assault on the First Amendment" is yet another indication of just how dangerous he really is.

He must be removed.

A thread. /1
To begin, Hawley knows this is wrong. The 1st Amendment doesn't apply to private publishers. This isn't a close call, or interesting issue. It's just straight wrong.

I'm not saying Hawley knows better 'cause he's got fancy degrees & clerkships. This is basic, basic stuff. /2
So he knows he's lying to people. Misleading them. To whip up anger. It's easily falsifiable. He knew he was lying--straight up--about the law. And he didn't care.


Because he thinks it serves him politically. He wants more and more and more power. /3
Read 8 tweets
23 Nov 20
Back-and-forth between GOP canvasser Norm Shinkle & @JonathanBrater, Michigan elections head.

Shinkle: Detroit city clerk is a "key witness" & asks if she was "summoned."

Brater: "She was invited."

Shinkle wants to make this a trial. But it's not. They have a duty to certify.
To be clear: the Board of Canvassers is not a tribunal with investigatory powers. There's no provision in law to "summon" someone to the state canvass--any more than you can "summon" someone to your house for a drink.

Shinkle's trying to turn this body into something it's not.
Now Michigan @GOP chair Laura Cox asks board to delay certification because "to remove the sense of distrust in the elections process."

She doesn't mention that that "sense of distrust" was willfully sowed--without any basis in reality--by the Republican Party & President Trump.
Read 6 tweets
27 Oct 20
I try not to hyperbolize here, but this is legitimately awful.

SCOTUS is laying groundwork to overturn the people’s will in the forthcoming election, & re-install President Trump.

The only way we prevent it is to win big.

The next 8 days will determine our future. Dig deep.
If you want to know WHY this is terrifying: the screenshots @LeahLitman linked suggest:

(1) it's (legally!) more important to determine a "winner" on Election Night than to actually count all ballots; and

(2) SCOTUS will overturn STATE court interpretations of STATE laws. /2
This means that SCOTUS could well disqualify ballots that arrive (or are counted!) after Election Day. This, of course, is allowed under some states' laws.

No matter, Kavanaugh says. If a state court determines it's allowed under state law, SCOTUS can and should step in. /3
Read 8 tweets
20 Sep 20
Scott's wonderful--& hilarious--memory made me smile, and inspired me to share one of my own:

The Time RBG Put Me In My Place re: My Jabot Game.

At the end of each term, there's a little party for Justices and the clerks. The entertainment's a "skit" put on by the clerks. /1
The idea is for clerks to make fun of the Justices. And it has to be funny. But not *too* cutting. They're justices, after all.

Anyway, I was tasked with the role of playing RBG. Mostly for the physical comedy. I'm a big 6'4. She's...well...she was built a bit differently. /2
To "play" RBG, I procured a black robe--I forget from where--and my co-clerks helped me make a jabot (those are the collars RBG wears).

We bought a lace doily, cut it up, and I wore it over the robe.

That was the extent of my costume. /3
Read 10 tweets

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