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President’s drug control budget is a first, but still a whole lot of wasted money

For years, those of us in drug policy reform have pointed out that, while the government talks about prevention and treatment, the federal government budget has always been weighted toward enforcement and interdiction. It’s been really telling that, while they know that supply side spending is ineffective, they’ve still been doing the most there, in part because so many entrenched interests are involved.

Finally, for the first time, the proposed budget is different.

FACT SHEET: Administration’s Drug Control Budget Represents Balanced Approach to Public Health and Public Safety

The President’s Budget, submitted to the U.S. Congress today, represents the first time in the history of the Office of National Drug Control Policy that federal funding to reduce the demand for drugs is funded at similar levels as funds to reduce the supply of drugs.

So let me take a moment to congratulate the administration on finally spending less on attacking supply than on demand reduction and treatment. Good for you.

Now that I’ve done that…

They’re still proposing over 15 billion dollars on supply reduction efforts, which is an obscene amount of money to be pouring down that toilet. And out of the 15+ billion being spent on treatment and demand reduction, most of that is wasted as well, given the fact that the federal government is horribly behind in accepting scientific fact, and has its priorities based on political interests rather than good policy.

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41 comments to President’s drug control budget is a first, but still a whole lot of wasted money

  • jean valjean

    “…. in part because so many entrenched interests are involved.”
    Pigs to the trough will outweigh science, common sense, human rights, financial prudence etc, etc. This is a sad indictment of the Obama administration and corporate politics in general and will only get worse with the Clintons back in charge.

  • hate to meander OT so early but this… signs of change kids! From the No-F’ing-Way file:

    https://www.facebook.com/ashlandpolicedept/posts/573513786145152

    The Ashland Police Department, in conjunction with several other city departments, will be hosting a free class for members of the community. The topic, believe it or not, will be how to safely and compliantly grow marijuana for personal use. Yes, that’s right, your police department is going to show you how to grow marijuana in a responsible manner. There have been several incidents in the last two years that have presented very dangerous situations. Both through the irresponsible use of electricity, and through the use explosive substances. Therefore, it is important that everyone understand how to use Oregon’s new liberties in a responsible manner.

    The class will be held on Wednesday February 24th at 6:00 p.m. at the Council Chambers. There is no cost but we ask you to register through the PD so we know we have enough room for everyone. 541-482-5211.

    In this class we will cover the new state and local laws, the responsible use of electricity and water, and the dangers of trying to make hash oil.

    This is a real offer, we are actually doing this, but we also understand the irony in this. So there you have it, let the jokes start…

    • Freeman

      That is so cool!
      Still waiting for this phenomenon to spread to the heartland. *sigh*

    • Frank W.

      I like that the Rich Hippies of Ashland are getting some responsible police, but this is Jackson Co where the Medford city Council keeps coming up with more ways to arrest you for pot, which they’ve already banned, sales-wise. A plant has to be 250 feet from a propetry line??

  • AustralianFedsMoveForward

    The Turnbull government will embark on the journey toward the ‘missing piece’ of medical marijuana legislation today by introducing a bill expected to pass ‘easily’.

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the landmark legislation that would allow for Australian doctors and patients to access cannabis to help manage chronic pain and conditions.

    Health Minister Sussan Ley will lead the charge to amend the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967, allowing for greater access to medical marijuana at a national level through a single licencing scheme.

    The changes will also allow for local farmers to grow, produce and distribute medical marijuana through the narcotics act and the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989.

    Ms Ley described the local cultivation changes as the ‘missing piece’ for patient access.

    http://tinyurl.com/digidoodigidoo

  • AndMacedoniaMovesForward

    A Macedonian Parliament Health Committee gave its approval on Tuesday to amend the law on control of drugs and psychotropic substances, that would allow the use of cannabis products for medicinal purposes.

    “The need to change this law comes from the requests of patients who want to have the option to use naturally derived cannabis products, under strict supervision. The amendments would allow patients to have access to strictly controlled products, improving on the current situation when some patients use unverified products without any supervision regarding the dosage”, said Stojanco Stojkovski, State Secretary in the Health Ministry, which proposed the changes to the law.

    Representatives from both the ruling VMRO-DPMNE party and the opposition SDSM party welcomed the proposal. Saso Vasilevski from VMRO said that he has had a relative diagnosed with cancer who was using a cannabis derivative bought on the black market, and said he supports the legalization of similar products. Alen Georgiev from SDSM said that the change should have been made sooner.

    http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/28841/45/

  • Daniel Williams

    Obama has signaled he’s pretty much done with any type of drug policy ‘reform.’ It is my hope that Ethan Nadelmann et al. apologize for telling us to keep our powder dry and that Obama would do the ‘right thing’ in his second term. But they won’t, sadly, and that’s as much a part of the problem as anything else.

  • Servetus

    The Obama administration is trying to look progressive on drug enforcement. Meanwhile, a rumor persists that as far as progressivism goes, Obama has said privately he “doesn’t want to be the next Martin Luther King.”

    Fair enough. Being shot at is no fun. It speaks volumes, though, when politicians are too afraid to confront the Frankenstein monster they’ve created in the guise of drug control. Billions of dollars are bestowed upon incompetent people who reject science and accomplish little or nothing toward achieving anything positive. Their ignorance, sadomoralism, racism, and bigotry, is praised by government, and they are funded again and again.

    A quote from one of the greatest anti-war novels ever written is currently circulating on the web, and is being used to describe certain presidential candidates. It’s also a great depiction of how business gets done in the drug war, at the ONDCP, and amongst the DEA:

    “It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.” — Joseph Heller, Catch-22

    It’s been left to the people with character, the people with the torches and pitchforks, to fight the drug enforcement monster. We can expect little or nothing from most US political representatives to assist in the ongoing battle.

    • Frank W.

      Yes! and please keep this in mind if hard tokin’ Sanders gets elected. I remember Captain Choom and the Star Chamber Covenant. >paranoia<

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      ‘taint nothing new. It was for that very same reason why the 21st Amendment is the only amendment to the US Constitution which was ratified by popular vote.

      Here’s one from “the LAW is the LAW blah, blah, blah” category: There’s been a tempest in a test tube in Michigan because the Legislature is trying to pass Logan’s law which is meant to keep animal abusers from being able to adopt pets by giving Michigan shelters access to a database called the Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT). (Logan was a friggin’ dog) Because of some arcane Legislative rule they’re amending the law which includes the State’s prohibition of consensual sodomy. So they’re so skittish about the subject that they’re not even willing to strike the unconstitutional prohibition while they’re amending the law. State Senator Jones said, “If you were to take the word ‘mankind’ out of Michigan sodomy laws, that would affect sodomy as a rape, sodomy on children,” Jones said. “I’m certainly not about to legalize pedophilia.” Of course that’s just plain horse crap.
      Anal sex not banned in Michigan, despite what you’ve heard

      Recreational sky diving is criminalized in Maine. That law is ignored.

      I think that we need to require that every law have a sunset clause. I mean every single law including murder. In order to remain a crime the lawmakers must have at least a pro forma debate and articulate why it should remain a crime. A formal vote with a quorum present is required.

      The benefit of the sunset clause is that idiotic laws that the politicians don’t want to repeal can just be allowed to slip quietly into that good night. The debate and vote parts are to keep them busy and out of mischief.

  • n.t.greene

    I think the highly polarized political climate has gone a long, long way to derailing a lot of these efforts.

    This is why I think that, ultimately, states will have to lead the way on all this. There simply is not enough will in DC to do much of anything, nevermind something that could be viewed as even a teensy bit unsavory.

  • jean valjean

    book sales spam

  • Francis

    It’s not so much that the money spent on “enforcement” is “wasted.” I mean, it is, but that part’s entirely unremarkable. (We’re talking about the government here.) The real problem is that those billions are spent on an incredibly counterproductive and destructive campaign of systematic human rights violations and violence. In other words, the real measure of the drug war’s “waste” is not the money that is spent on it, but the lives that are destroyed by it.

  • A black mark on Obama’s legacy, since removing marijuana from the schedules by executive order could have made his budget an invention for real savings.

    It also validates the concept that the illegality of marijuana is purely a Washington money maker at the public’s expense. They can’t justify those kind of numbers without marijuana.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    The police chief in Walpole Massachusetts asserts that cannabis should remain illegal because the police in the Bay State are incompetent.
    Massachusetts law enforcement not ready for marijuana legalization, Walpole police chief John Carmichael says

    The prohibitionists appear to be on the verge of becoming frantic. Can a cohort of people have an apoplexy?

  • 100% of the Certain Drug Prohibition budget fuels pure reason abuse and thuggery, based upon concrete results.

    That’s immoral favoritism against public safety (while presented in the guise of upholding that safety) at its best.

    Drug prohibition addiction requires a serious and mature public intervention now.

    Sadly, the mainstream media continues to enable that hideous mass abuse by overwhelmingly dominantly refusing to challenge the legitimacy of the war on some drugs.

    The people’s right to know, judicial sanity, and fundamental rights have all been thrown under the bus in the land of the free (press).

    American exceptionalism? On what grounds? That the net result of “We the people” know how to hypocritically persecute minority groups throughout American history, so elitists can “prosper”?

  • ByeByeBaca

    The retired Los Angeles County sheriff, Lee Baca, who back in 2010 claimed that 97% of California marijuana dispensaries operated as criminal enterprises and who also has connections to Scientology and the entire Narconon treatment industry, pleaded guilty Yesterday on charges of lying to federal investigators.

    http://tinyurl.com/bacadown

    • jean valjean

      Question: does he keep pension?

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        The search engine is a really great invention!
        Why ex-L.A. Sheriff Lee Baca gets to keep his pension even if he goes to jail for lying

        The short version of why is because he committed his crimes after he maxed out his benefit. Before you complain please keep in mind that ERISA is involved and it’s very difficult to renege on a vested pension. It’s a very good thing for almost everyone who’s protected. It’s that equal protection under the law thing. “Vested” means that it’s the property of the person but not yet collectible. They didn’t take any of Martha Stewart’s money when she got tagged for the exact same offense.

        If I were an LA County resident I’d be pixxed off about how a darn flatfoot earned a pension of $328,000 a flippin’ year in the first place. I’d also be interested to know why he worked for free for 9 years. There are a lot of lucrative, albeit criminal opportunities for a Sheriff in a county the size of Los Angeles. He could have retired in 2004 with the exact same pension of 100% of his salary which is why I say he was working for free.

        6 months is a long time for a cop in the Graybar Hotel.

  • jean valjean

    Clinton watch:

    A thoroughly biases and disingenuous report from Rana Florida on the duty of women to support Hillary. It’s all about the feminism, stupid:

    “Gloria Steinem spoke up for Clinton last week too, and like Albright, she caught hell for it. In last Sunday’s New York Times Maureen Dowd ridiculed Albright and Steinem and accused Hillary Clinton of “sucking at the teat” of Wall Street–a smear that would have been considered beyond the pale of sexism had any man said it!”

    A quick google of Rana Florida reveals that she is a business lobbyist for a number of Wall Street firms like Johnson & Johnson and is no doubt as fond of the Wall Street Teat as Hillary.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rana-florida/a-vote-for-hillary-is-a-v_b_9203490.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

  • a name goes here

    I keep waiting for the historic press conference announcing that Obama has legalized cannabis in all fifty states.
    Surely he has fond memories of choom from growing up on the mean ghetto streets of that racist hellhole Hawaii.
    Maybe if Bernie is (s)elected to lead the obsolete duopoly oligarchy he will legalize?
    I haven’t looked into his position on legalization but did find some pages being harsh on him for having protesters arrested at a military/industrial manufacturing complex in Burlington Vermont and for being a big supporter of the biggest pentagon boondoggle bust ever known as the F-35.
    Also why is it ok for Bernie to rake in millions for campaign contributions but if Hillary does it she is a sellout corporate puppet?
    Yes she takes donations from the too big to fail banks who will want something in return for their investment but I thought the populace was awake to the fact that banks and corporations own and run this country for their financial benefit and this is the reason why Sanders and Trump are leading in the polls.

    • Swooper

      You have facts incorrect. Bernie is the ONLY candidate who DOES NOT have a PAC. Bernie has rejected help from PACs who wanted to back him. He has received over 3.2 million individual donations from around 1.4 individual doners, and their average donation is around $27 or $28. He doesn’t take money from Wall Street.

  • Read the drug war parts of the budget then read this:

    Why Is Marijuana Banned? The Real Reasons Are Worse Than You Think
    http://tinyurl.com/jxralw8

    There really is no excuse for not descheduling marijuana other than the destruction of poor minorities and the funding of greedy politicians who have shared the wealth with anyone fighting the drug war beyond all common sense and reason.

    Marijuana never needed banning from the start.

    Feds have no business in the marijuana business – never did and shouldn’t now.

    How long do we let them get away with it?

    • thelbert

      when progressives banned cannabis the attitude was good government is white government.

      • B. Snow

        And, let’s not forget – they also believed that a *Temperance-Minded Populace* would be a good/moral/decent thing that they could shape/force into being/existence via Legislation aka “because they said so”

        They tended to believe that the Bible declared that drinking and getting drunk was sinful… Arguably, it was more like – “Don’t be an alcoholic, M’kay…”

        [This was almost certainly based on the church’s *go-to* Rule of Thumb – that anything pleasurable or euphoric that occured outside of the Church was sinful.]

        Or possibly in rare (perceived-as religious experiences) = Which could’ve been caused by Fasting, extended Prayer (aka Meditation), Hallucinations that occurr during long travels, & encounters with odd – rare but naturally occurring intoxicants. The strangest one I’ve heard of = certain moldy books/old paper.]

        Seems more likely that they wanted to be the only path to altered-consciousness, and as authoritarians were in a position to keep it that way.

        People smoking/using cannabis – was a challenge to the system, race was part of it – But, if it made the underclass workers more content with what little they had… They might not work as hard.

        AND the chance of this getting popular with their own precious family members who they wanted to strive for super ambitious goals, and/or improve productivity – and become the next generation of consumers…

        Well, that became a serious threat to the status quo, Illegality it is! (Unless you had the means of course.)

    • DdC

      Progressives shunned cannabis because of Clinton’s politically correct bullshit still stigmatizing the 60’s anti war movement and civil disobedience as a stigma that put republicans in. Those nasty dirty hippies bubba narked out in Berzerkley. mho putting him in with CIA Bush 1 and a scholarship to Oxford to nark out more people. With sir Hilary defending Black Panthers feeding hubby info to give to Bush. Clinton arrested more than Nixon, Bush and Reagan. With McCaffrey pulling the same shit as the new and improved rehabs they push today. The progressive alternative to caging people in prisons is caging them in asylums along with the paraphernalia of piss tasting and probation. The war was escalated and cannabis was thrown into the CSA. But not by republicans or democrats. The drug war is a Neocon production and remains a multinational corporate Neocon war on the middle class. There is no difference between Hilary and Cruz outside of the base she pretends to care about. Not that the republicans give a crap about average GOPers either. Bickering between the old party’s is the diversion they welcome.

      Clinton Quiet About Own Radical Ties

      Clinton Asks Supreme Court To Overturn MMJ Ruling

      Nixon lied to schedule Ganja #1

  • UpAnotherNotch

    Mexico prison riot leaves 52 dead near Monterrey

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-35551857

  • Sorry, OT but I know you will like this:

    HSBC Sued by Families of US Victims in Mexico Drug War
    “The family members of US citizens killed in Mexico from drug violence have sued HSBC for permitting cartels to launder huge amounts of illicit money through the bank, a case that could have major implications for how accomplices of the drug trade are prosecuted.”
    http://tinyurl.com/jgbxb3p

  • Mr_Alex

    The Prohib curse has started spreading to online games as well that happened to World of Warships where last night a band of pro Cannabis gamers banded up and challenged the prohibs