Friday, May 21, 2010

Examining The Drug War


House Bill H.R. 5143 is touted as a review of Criminal Justice in America. According to the summary its purpose is:

National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2010 - Establishes the National Criminal Justice Commission. Directs the Commission to: (1) review all areas of the criminal justice system, including federal, state, local, and tribal governments' criminal justice costs, practices, and policies; (2) make findings regarding such review and recommendations for changes to prevent, deter, and reduce crime and violence, reduce recidivism, improve cost-effectiveness, and ensure the interests of justice at every step of the criminal justice system; (3) consult with government and nongovernment leaders, including the United States Sentencing Commission; and (4) submit a final report on its findings, conclusions, and recommendations to Congress, the President, and state, local, and tribal governments and make such report available to the public. Expresses the sense of Congress that the Commission should work toward unanimously supported findings and recommendations.
The Senate Bill, S-714, mirrors the House version word for word. Which means that the likelihood of passage is strong. No fiddling with reconciliation.

So what is the bill really about? Here is a clue.
When Senator Jim Webb, Democrat of Virginia, proposed creating such a commission, his idea quickly attracted wide support. It is a rare cause in Washington that has the backing of the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the A.C.L.U. and the Marijuana Policy Project.
This is really a chance for our Federal Government to take a look at the Drug War.

So how about a look at our government. Specifically the anti-marijuana caucus in Congress.
The members of this new anti-cannabis caucus in the Congress are: Dan Burton (R-IN), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Jim Jordan (R-OH), John Mica (R-FL), Aaron Schock (R-IL), Mark Souder (R-IN) and Michael Turner (R-OH).
That was the from the summer of 2009. Where are they now? Souder is on his way out of Congress. And Rep. Issa seems to have at least opened his mind if not changed it altogether.
Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) introduced the original legislation last year which passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in January and awaits action by the entire Senate. The bipartisan House companion, introduced by Reps. William Delahunt (D-MA), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Tom Rooney (R-FL) and Bobby Scott (D-VA), was introduced in April.
Why a change of heart for Issa? I have no way of knowing. My guess? They want to spend the $50 bn a year or so that the Drug War costs the country on something else. Maybe reducing the deficit? We can only hope.

H/T Retired police detective Howard Wooldridge at Citizens Opposing Prohibition

Cross Posted at Classical Values

1 comment:

Painlord2k said...

Prohibition was repealed because of the Great Depression: no more money for law enforcement.