It’s said old dogs can’t learn new tricks, or not as easily. So does the old dog rule apply to President Joe Biden? Will Joe learn any new tricks? On May 6, 2021, the President is expected to renew a Trump drug policy that enhances criminal penalties for illicit possession or sales of fentanyl and its chemical analogs. It includes mandatory minimum sentences reminiscent of the crack era:
â€¦according to Premal Dharia, executive director of the Institute to End Mass Incarceration â€¦â€œWe must stop repeating historical choices that we know do not work and start working toward building health and flourishing communities for all,â€ Dharia said.
Dharia and other advocates said the crackdown on fentanyl-like compounds mirrors the crackdown on crack cocaine in Black communities. Like the fentanyl crackdown, the crackdown on crack was also fueled by sensational media reports and led to massive disparities in sentencing between Black people involved with crack and white people involved with powder cocaine.
â€œOnce again, with fentanyl, people of color are being disproportionately policed and incarcerated just as they were with crack, and with a punitive approach based in fear and misinformation,â€ Taifa said.
The Biden administration has hinted that it may be open to diverging somewhat from the drug war and embracing harm reduction, [â€¦]
The Biden administration has done little or nothing to promote harm reduction or drug law reform since he began office, preferring instead to defend and repeat the drug war’s legacy of error and failure. This is where the old dogs and new tricks theory could prove useful.
Congress should consider creating a new federal research facility. It can be called the Joe Biden National Institute of Old Dogs Research. Drug sniffer dogs nearing retirement would be redeployed into its research programs to determine more efficient and effective ways to teach them new tricks, like detecting tree diseases in avocado orchards, or identifying people infected with COVID-19. Any new and successful training techniques discovered by researchers that help old sniffer dogs learn might then be applied to retraining the President and his group of drug war advisors.