The House approved a five-year extension of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy late yesterday by voice vote. (see Monday’s alert). There’s still the Senate.
The re-authorization was brought forward at the last minute by Drug War Cheerleader Mark Souder under suspension of the rules, which provided for limited debate and no amendments. It gives the Drug Czar more taxpayer money for his ineffective ad campaign, and allows him to reward local areas that follow his approach with extra funding.
It could be worse. Some of the most offensive items were eliminated in committee because drug policy reform groups raised the alarm — including provisions that would have allowed the Drug Czar to use taxpayer money to campaign against candidates and referendums he didn’t like.
Update: Even at the last moment, pressure from drug policy reformers was able to make a difference. According to Drug Policy Alliance:
House Democrats helped us win a victory by pressuring Republicans to overturn a ban on using High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) funding for drug prevention – rather than law enforcement. The Drug Policy Alliance has pushed for this change because it is the first step to shifting millions of dollars from away from arresting non-violent drug offenders and into prevention.