RAND: grasping for relevancy

In 2005, RAND published How Goes the “War on Drugs”? An Assessment of U.S. Drug Problems and Policy by Jonathan P. Caulkins, Peter H. Reuter, Martin Y. Iguchi, James Chiesa.

Its claim:

Presents a concise, accessible, objective view of where the United States has been, now stands, and is going in the future in its long “war on drugs.” The authors assess the success of drug policies to date and review possible reasons why they have not been more successful. They consider the drug war’s “collateral damage” and attempt to understand why alternative policies have not been tried. They also lay out some possible futures for drug problems and policy in the United States. The authors recommend that a mix of three drug control strategies-enforcement, treatment, and prevention-be timed to a drug’s “epidemic cycle.” …

Despite this claim to be analyzing, looking to the future, and making recommendations, they refused to even consider one of the most important policy options that existed:

“Nor do we explore the merits and demerits of legalizing drugs, even though legalization is perhaps the most prominent and hotly debated topic in drug policy. Our analysis takes current policy as its starting point, and the idea of repealing the nation’s drug laws has no serious support within either the Democratic or Republican party. Moreover, because legalization is untested, any prediction of its effects would be highly speculative.

That has been the state of drug policy analysis in this country for far too long. It’s essentially ‘We don’t know how it’ll work, and partly because we’ve been unwilling to discuss it, there hasn’t been enough political interest, so even though it might be the best policy, we won’t consider it.’ That’s political lackeyism, not policy analysis and guidance. And it’s certainly not leadership.

8 years later, now that Gallup has shown 58% national approval for legalizing marijuana, RAND is promoting its new page: Hot Topic: Marijuana Legalization, featuring articles from the past 20 years, under that new heading.

Isn’t it nice that they’re willing to talk about the “L” word?

Of course, back in 2005, they were perfectly willing to make recommendations regarding enforcement, treatment, and prevention, but today, they’re not willing to do so regarding legalization.

We do not have an official policy position on marijuana reform and more generally RAND does not advocate for or against legislation at any level of government.


Of course, that’s not really true, either. While RAND as an organization may not have explicitly given a policy position, they’ve continually produced reports that seemed designed (and sometimes even timed) to be usable by those opposing legalization referenda (without much countering when the data is misused).

And they haven’t been able to keep a leash on their rabid drug war supporter Rosalie Pacula (co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center) who has often appeared in the media bluntly in opposition to legalization.

We welcome RAND to the dialog. Now we encourage them to join the 21st Century.

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8 Responses to RAND: grasping for relevancy

  1. darkcycle says:

    It creeping. That “L” word is. Those who lacked the “vocabulary” are getting a crash course.

  2. DdC says:

    All I wanted to do was smoke a joint in peace.

    Drug Policy Research Center Hot Topic:
    Marijuana Legalization

    The RAND Drug Policy Research Center is a non-partisan research center dedicated to providing objective analysis and research to decision makers. We do not have an official policy position on marijuana reform and more generally RAND does not advocate for or against legislation at any level of government.

    Is there anything OT with the Ganjawar?

    How far and wide does the drug war go? Behind the recent modern Ganjawar prohibition is a long tradition of removing undesirables from the mainstream. Each case has the same cast of characters, the authority manipulating the masses. Different producers, directors and actors, different times. Same movie. Time to evolve.

    Providing objective analysis and research to decision makers. Like economists omitting the underground economy in predictions. How many have been “studied or analyzed by RAND or any group. Making policy on a small portion of test subjects available in prisons or schools doesn’t represent the general population not wanting noticed.

    Top-Secret Document Reveals
    NSA Spied On Porn Habits
    As Part Of Plan To Discredit ‘Radicalizers’

    The National Security Agency has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches, according to a top-secret NSA document. The document, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, identifies six targets, all Muslims, as “exemplars” of how “personal vulnerabilities” can be learned through electronic surveillance, and then exploited to undermine a target’s credibility, reputation and authority.

    Another attempt by authoritarians to keep tabs on the masses and shut down the dissidents. Narks, snitches and NSA. WE were taught not to be tattletales. To mind your own business concerning private matters. Without violence or kids harmed by adults. Sheriff peeping toms gathering evidence disregarding the “private” pictures that happen during a surveillance. Kids taking baths and wives undressing. Professionals, no worries. No one will see it other than those already seeing it. For a pot bust. Warrants from drunk snitches beating a DUI in exchange for ratting out someone helping them stop drinking. Now they are exposed and Feinstein wants more snooping. What part of America are these politicians from?

    No Thanks to Thanksgiving ecp

    A national holiday where one group of Americans celebrate the slaughter and cultural genocide of other Americans. Plus 300 million factory farm turkeys slaughtered for a tradition to celebrate the slaughter of Indigenous People.

    So much for Native American Heritage Month.
    Native American Heritage Month and Day
    are mostly superficial affairs

    Here’s another piece of paper from the corporate government it says the month of November we should honor the Native heathen savages we tried making white and continue to persecute. Stealing land for corporate profits on resources or just stealing land. Poverty and still selling drugs and alcohol while raiding tribal hemp crops. Must stir up ancient memories of raiding and pillaging burning villages. Slaughtering herds of a main sustenance with the Bison, for fashion. Leaving the meat to rot. Same cultural genocide continues with stoners. The battle of stigmatizing and demonizing undesirables. Most of who are in prisons, making profits. DARE to other Ad agencies propaganda to wipe out the non WASP, or exploit for cheap labor. Same moneychangers movie, different generations.

    Does GMO Corn Really Cause Tumors in Rats?
    By Tom Philpott September 21, 2012
    So where does all of this leave us? This latest study is hardly definitive, but it provides a disturbing hint that all might not be right with our food—and shows beyond a doubt that further study is needed. Hansen and Schettler’s remarks to me about how proper studies would require a serious commitment of resources reminded me of just how little funding GMO safety studies get here in the United States, the global capital of GMO production and consumption.

    The latest is huge funding to keep people from knowing if modified food is in what they are buying to eat. The right to know the same as the right to a lesser stress reducer is fought with mullions of dollars by the corporate string pullers. Legislating for the profits of some over the annihilation of others is the same game as when Columbus hit the shores or the Spanish torturing natives for gold. Big Pharma fast tracking sprays and synthetics while raiding and pillaging dispensaries, homes and cars. We ask that Ganja be tested to verify what has been tested more than anything and these Monsatan Poison Pushers fight testing. Against testing and labeling but nothing to hide? Against testing Ganja and Hemp or letting farmers grow it. Nothing to hide?

  3. Servetus says:

    Even RAND knows to go with the flow in an avalanche.

  4. claygooding says:

    When Rand tool the marijuana profits for Mexico from $30>40 billion a year down to 3>4 billion with a pencil they lost any claim to being an uninterested party in marijuana legalization,,after all,,the CEO of Rand is also a board member on a pharmaceutical company.

  5. DdC says:

    @RollingStone @WorldAIDSDay
    We’re livestreaming Stereosonic festival for #WorldAIDSDay
    Let’s dance RED and fight AIDS. http://rol.st/1jYfCLB

    Every day 700 babies are born w/ HIV. We can get close to 0. Dec 1 is #WorldAIDSDay. Let’s DANCE @RED SAVE LIVES http://bit.ly/1fT3vSD

    Making Sure Drugs Kill

    You Can’t Stop AIDS Without Ending the Drug War

    Bees, Weed and HIV

  6. Malc says:

    Rand corporation is a tool of the federal government and has a very long history of dishonest activity in support of prohibition.

    James A. Thomson, RAND Corporation’s president and chief executive officer since 1989 is also a director of Encysive Pharmaceuticals, which, in 2008, was acquired by 32 billion dollar per year- Pfizer.


    Here is the study that Rand willingly removed under so-called pressure from the L.A. City Attorney’s Office:

  7. kaptinemo says:

    Drop the ‘r’ from ‘grasping’ and I think you’ll find it more appropriate. The up-and-coming generations have no need to have the Gub’mint ask RAND to ‘study drugs’; as the old joke went,

    FATHER: “Son, I’d like to talk to you about drugs.”

    SON: “Sure, Dad, what do you want to know about them?”

    Laugh all you want, but that’s the reality. In this case, RAND poses as the one-eyed man (who in this situation suffers from severe myopia) in the country of the blind, a source of information for the technically (illegal) ‘substance naive’ to draw upon for drug policy formation. Being, in the end, nothing but intellectual mercenaries, they”ll produce something that suits their client’s agenda. As they have.

    But what happens when there are no clients?

    The Millennials have no use for RAND and other anti-drug supporting think-tanks, as they already know what they need to…in most cases, from personal experience, thus negating the necessity for such studies…and their promoters.

    As someone whose degree was in Sociology and PoliSci, and is acutely aware of demographic shifts, I am getting a real kick out of watching the paradigm shift, just like during the fall of Communism.

    As someone who’s had the teeth and claws of prohibition bite and rake him, I’m having fun watching that paradigm unravel and those who supported it unravel with it, sliding further and further into History’s tar-pit like the dinosaurs they are. Their thrashing and bellowing as they sink into irrelevancy is music to the ears of any practitioners of cognitive liberty.

    So…I don’t need RAND to tell me which way the wind is blowing. If anything, RAND had better start asking reformers instead of prohibs what they’re going to do next, so that they can at least appear to be ‘experts’.

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