Democrats Rebel Against Drug Czar Bill

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by RMJL, Jul 11, 2003.

  1. Democrats Rebel Against Drug Czar Bill
    Thurs, July 10, 2003

    Yesterday, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee rebelled against a bill to renew the Office of National Drug Control Policy (also known as the drug czar's office) for five more years. Republicans (who control the Committee) voted unanimously to pass the bill, but Democrats tried nine times to amend it to protect medical marijuana patients, reduce racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and favor drug treatment over incarceration. While Republicans blocked all nine amendments, the votes created a huge debate on the drug war and forced 28 members of Congress to take a position on important drug policy reforms.

    As the hearing went on Democrats started proposing stronger reform amendments and speaking out more vocally against the drug war. The last amendment was offered by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-35th/CA) who was frustrated over the fact that the bill was given very little debate time and Republicans were blocking all the reform amendments. If adopted, the amendment would have essentially prevented the drug czar's office from being renewed. Rep Waters said the bill "isn't worth the paper it's printed on" and urged her colleagues to come up with alternatives to the War on Drugs. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-18th/TX) said with our nation's drug policies "we are collapsing on our own sword." Rep. Melvin Watt (D-12th/NC) said he is "embarrassed by what this [drug] policy is doing to my community." Rep/ John Conyers (D-14th/MI) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-8th/NY) also criticized the drug war. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-16th/CA) praised Proposition 36 - California's successful treatment instead of incarceration initiative - on several occasions.

    Drug Policy Alliance has been working for several months to improve the reauthorization bill, including the successful removal of some of its worse sections in a previous committee (such as a provision that would have allowed the drug czar to use taxpayer money to run negative attack ads against pro-reform candidates and ballot measures.) Many of the changes to the bill we were seeking in the Judiciary Committee were offered by Democrats as amendments. While we are disappointed that the amendments did not get the Republican support they needed to pass, we are joyful that they created a firestorm of debate and set the stage for future reform.

    We're very, very grateful to all our supporters that contacted their Members of Congress and all the organizations that have worked with us on this campaign.


    Rep. Nadler offered four amendments. The first one would have required the drug czar to decertify the budget of any agency that enforced federal marijuana laws in a way contrary to local and state medical marijuana laws. It failed, 11-17. The second one would have amended federal law such that the drug czar could not take actions opposing medical marijuana. It failed by a voice vote. The third one would have changed the federal law requiring the drug czar to oppose the legalization of marijuana for medical use. That failed, 12-16. He also proposed eliminating the ban on using High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas money for treatment and prevention. It failed, 11-17.

    Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee offered two amendments. One would have made it harder to cut drug treatment funding in the future. It failed, 11-17. The other would have amended the bill to require the Attorney General to submit to Congress an annual report on the number of people arrested and prosecuted for drug offenses, broken down by race, ethnicity, gender, and age. It failed, 12-17

    Rep. Bobby Scott (D-3rd/VA) proposed an amendment directing the drug czar to decertify the budget of any agency that spent money on a program designed to reduce drug use but did not spend money evaluating the effectiveness of the program. It failed 12-18.

    Rep. Waters proposed an amendment to completely eliminate the federal government's anti-drug advertising campaign, instead using the money for drug treatment. It failed by a voice vote. She also offered an amendment to remove all language of the bill (essentially deauthorizing the drug czar's office). It failed, 12-17.
  2. both happy news and sad.

    happy that the democrats really do seem to be making progress in the appropriate direction. the direction that favors the people and not the dollars in the pockets of the super rich few.

    sad news, but not in the slightest suprising, that the republicans are still assholes as ever.

    but on the whole ... we can be thankfull... at least the the topic is getting more air time.
  3. Sad to see so many failures..

    If only some of this info could get out to the public, that republicans would rather spend money on commercials then helping people. publicity is the key.
  4. Great update RMJL...I think there's also a bill in the House (sponsored by Barney Franks D-NY) for medical mj and one may be coming to the Senate soon (hopefully!)...does anyone else think it a bit ironic that the "less Fed Gov" Republican party keeps supporting the BS of keeping the feds in our face over a little mj?...God forbid I'd want the psycho down the street to register his 9mm, that'd be un-American, but God help me if I want to grow a little herb to ease my aching back! least be a bit more consistant!
  5. Least we forget.

    The mass murdering psycho ,and the careless adolescent marijuana user ,often end up sharing the same cell somewhere in some forgotten corporate prison.
  6. fuck off to politics!!!!
  7. no! politics, come back! he didnt mean it! ... thats better... ehy, not you ((talking to dirty politics)), you can fuck off... and all you politicians being corrupted by wads of cash wafted in your face.

    politics is necessary. its just when two parties in particular get involved (or not as you'll see) that it gets fucked up. the two who fuck it up, are: those at the top who are greedy and want to run things their way rather than the people's way, AND, those who say fuckoff to politics. with out these people those at the top wouldnt be able to get away with it. so rather than saying fuckoff politics, say OI, YOU FUCKS! QUIT RUINING IT FOR EVERYONE WITH YOU'RE FUCKED UP POLITICS! :D

    or.. thats how i see it anyway.

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