I’d call it more than a waste. An eyesore and a hazard maybe. Or a toxic chemical spill that keeps spreading.
But still it’s nice to see Citizens Against Government Waste come out with such a strong statement in their new report: Wasted in the War on Drugs: Office of National Drug Control Policy’s Wasted Efforts (pdf).
Here are some highlights:
As the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), established in
1988 by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, approaches its eighteenth year of existence, it
continues to demonstrate its inability to either achieve its core objectives or
function efficiently. […]
Despite consistent failures in reaching its own goals, the ONDCP continues
to fund its four primary programs: High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas
(HIDTA), the Counterdrug Technology Assessment Center (CTAC), the Drug Free
Communities Program, and the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. The
most wasteful aspect of these programs continues to be the media campaign that
was created to reduce the use of marijuana in the United States. […]
As the ONDCP continues to run this wasteful program, it is becoming
apparent that it is attacking the wrong target. Although numerous studies have
revealed that marijuana does not serve as a gateway drug, it continues to be the
primary focus of the federal government’s war on drugs. […]
The government also exhibits its obsession with containing marijuana use
by continuing to throw unnecessary funding and unavailable resources towards
tracking down and persecuting patients using medicinal marijuana in states that
have legalized the substance for medical use only. Not only does this undermine
federalism, it also proves that the government is incapable of exercising any kind
of fiscal restraint. […]
Since it was created in 1998, the National Youth Anti-Drug Media
Campaign has been a failure. […]
While the ONDCP is being scammed by private ad agencies, it decided to
do a little scamming of its own. In 2003 the ONDCP came under fire shortly after
releasing a series of ads during the Super Bowl. Running on one of the most
important nights for ad campaigns, the ads inaccurately maintained that drug users
were directly aiding terrorism and linked unwanted teenage pregnancy to
marijuana smoking. Along with demonstrating a complete lack of ability to
reform the war on drugs, the media campaign took a turn for the worse by lying to
the viewers and destroying the possibility of credibility. […]
As U.S. funding continues to pour into hurricane relief efforts, the war in
Iraq, and the Drug War, it is absolutely necessary that Congress exercise fiscal
restraint and appropriate resources to the highest priorities. Unfortunately, the
federal government has become so obsessed with decreasing marijuana use that it
is spending money unwisely. […]
The federal government and the ONDCP have chosen to ignore evidence
suggesting that the methods being used in the war on drugs are not effective.
Despite numerous controversies and a failing ad campaign, the government
continues to pour millions of tax dollars into the program. […]
The federal government has continued to waste federal resources in an
attempt to thwart the use of legalized medical marijuana. In order to halt this
improper use of resources, taxpayers must speak through the voice of Congress.
In floor debate on his amendment in 2005, Rep. Hinchey stated, “In the Supreme
Court’s majority opinion last week, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that the issue
can be addressed ‘through the democratic process, in which the voices of voters
allied with these respondents may one day be heard in the halls of Congress.’
With this amendment, we intend to use the powers granted us in the Constitution
and reaffirmed by the Supreme Court last week to do just that.”
If passed, the Hinchey/Rohrabacher amendment would free up federal
dollars for more important priorities and help to restore a proper division of power
between the federal and state governments.
The report mostly takes exception to the government’s obsession with marijuana and not with other drugs, so CAGW advocates changing the focus of resources rather than eliminating them entirely (which would be my preference). However, the the report is still very important.
It’s also perfect timing. This report has been released with the Hinchey/Rohrabacher amendment due to be considered as early as this evening.
If you haven’t contacted your representative yet, do so immediately. It would probably be better at this point to call their office. Tell the staff member that you want them to support the Hinchey/Rohrabacher (ROAR-ah-BAH-ker) amendment that prevents the federal government from wasting your tax dollars going after medical marijuana patients in states where it’s legal.