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April 2009



Bill to Assess US Drug Policy Introduced in Congress

This is… interesting

Today, Congressman Eliot L. Engel š the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere š introduced the Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission Act of 2009, a bill that will create an independent commission to evaluate US policies and programs aimed at reducing illicit drug supply and demand.
Rep. Engel said, ‹Billions upon billions of US taxpayer dollars have been spent over the years to fight the drug war in Latin America and the Caribbean. In spite of our efforts, since the early 1980s, the number of US lifetime drug users has steadily risen for marijuana, cocaine and heroin. Clearly, the time has come to reexamine our counternarcotics efforts here at home and throughout the Americas.Š
The Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission will be required to submit recommendations on future US drug policy to Congress, the Secretary of State, and the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) 12 months after its first meeting.

I haven’t been able to find this bill on Thomas (probably not available yet). If anyone has the text of it, I’d be interested in reading it.
This could be good, it could be bad. The devil is in the details (particularly the makeup of this “Commission.”)
Update: Text of the bill still not available (Thomas is a bitch to link to), but the remarks of Engel when introducing the bill are not encouraging:

Let me be absolutely clear that this bill has not been introduced to support the legalization of illegal drugs. That is not something that I would like to see, nor is it my intent to have the Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission come to that conclusion.

Nothing like pre-judging what the results of an inquiry can be.
And, of course, this means that the composition of the Commission will likely be such that only “proper” (ie, worthless) conclusions will be forthcoming.

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