The Bush Administration's favorite think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, has just released An Analytic Assessment of U.S. Drug Policy. Among the report's conclusions:

  • Domestic enforcement should be directed toward reducing drug-related problems, such as violence around drug markets, rather than locking up large numbers of low-level dealers.
  • Eradication of drug crops in source countries should not necessarily be a routine aspect of international programs, especially where it may conflict with other foreign policy objectives. In fact, evidence shows that such control is very unlikely to reduce America's drug problem.
  • Criminal punishment of marijuana use does not appear to be justified.
  • Treatment services for heavy users, particularly methadone and other opiate maintenance therapies, need more money and fewer regulations.
  • Programs that coerce convicted drug addicts to enter treatment and maintain abstinence as a condition of continued freedom should be augmented.

So… whoa. They're not exactly singing Peter Tosh songs, but that's a pretty radically sane position to take. That last bullet point, not so much—though I don't know that I'd oppose requiring people convicted of actual (i.e. violent) crimes to stay clean if their habit had been shown to be linked to their violent behavior. I'm curious to see what conservatives will make of this one.

NEXT: For Morbid Fans of Los Angeles History...

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  1. Although not a conservative, I have been confused with one more than once. FWIW, I think it’s fuckin’ great!

    Please, O please, can we get something approaching a sane drug policy sometime soon?

  2. I hope to god AEI rushes a copy to Rumsfeld *today* after reading the cover story in the NYTimes re: afghanistan & opium, which seemed to be in contradiction with the last I heard from Condi Rice (on Meet the Press a couple of weeks ago, but as Dave Borden at DRCNet reiterates today, “coherence” isn’t the drug warrior’s strong suit – but again, not all drug policy makers are necessarily drug “warriors”).

  3. Although I think this seemingly “sane” approach to US drug policy looks like an improvement, it likely won’t be of much value. The fact is, unless drugs are legalized (not just ignored), they will still be an enormous drain on our police forces.

  4. Mike H.: Please, O please, can we get something approaching a sane drug policy sometime soon?


  5. (From what I can tell, it seems the Good Dr. Rice’s opinions trump Rumsfeld’s these days, especially given that this seems to be more of a State dept issue than a Pentagon issue. But with wingnut demagogues like Souder on the loose, one never knows, do one?)

  6. Conservatives will just ignore it.

  7. …or they’ll blame the MSM for publishing it out of context.

  8. Actually, I would LOVE to hear what Rush would say about this.

  9. “Conservatives” (sic) will continue to keep their heads up their asses and tell us WWJD.

    Is any point in appealing to these fraudulent assholes for anything worthwhile any more?

  10. Rush: “Folks, I fear for our country. I really do. I have here in my formerly oxycontin stained fingers a new report from the AEI. It appears that maggot infested, long haired, good time rock and roll FM types are working there now.”

  11. The drug war is not based on facts, reason or logic; so, no argument based on these concepts will make a dent in it. It is a war against “evil”.

  12. The problem with coercion is that they me coerced into some form of AA, which is essentially coercing someone to adopt a religious belief. Well, that and AA is a crock of shit and doesn’t work any better than quitting cold turkey.

  13. Wait a minute, just hold on there. Drugs are bad. Why do we need these AE folks to tell us how to do our jobs? We’re doin just fine-we’re winning the war! Now, give me ten or fifteen minutes, and I’ll be back with all kinds of trumped-up, exaggerated, falsified, and taken-out-of-context, statements and statistics regarding drugs. Then I’ll show you just how evil drugs really are.

  14. Let’s see who gets fired at AEI before we get too excited. It truly is a heinous organization, in my opinion.

    Twba – You’ve got Rush’s voice down waaaaaay too good. It’s creepy.

  15. Two things:

    1) First and foremost, these recommendations will not be adopted, sadly, so this is irrelevant (for now).

    2) I hate to sound like a libertarian purist. I really do. I’m tempted to say that any reform is better than no reform at all. I really want to believe that.

    What I fear is that if these measures, which still fall well short of legalization, were adopted, they would quickly be abandoned. People would see that although the harm has been reduced, the drug use is still going on (indeed, drug use might even become more visible if not more prevalent if these measures brought down the price). And if it’s illegal, well, then dammit, it’s illegal! This can’t keep going on! We’ve got to do something!

    I fear that for too many people the very fact that something’s illegal will be reason enough to keep it illegal and “just do something about it!” Harm reduction may be seen as “creating” a crime wave (or perhaps just bringing a pre-existing crime wave into the open).

    I hope I’m wrong. I hope that measures short of legalization will build momentum for outright legalization rather than create a backlash. Hopefully some day these measures will be implemented and I’ll be proven wrong.

  16. Where’s Juanita?

  17. Oh, and although I oppose mandatory rehab, I see mandatory rehab as a lesser evil compared with prison. If it’s a choice between doing the 12 steps or doing a gang initiation ritual, I think most people would take the 12 steps.

    Besides, there is a great deal of wisdom in the 12 steps. The politicians who have kept the nightmare of prohibition going really ought to admit that they have a problem and make amends to all those whom they’ve harmed.

  18. Guess what: we’re selling F-16s to Pakistan –

    Sorry, that makes an absolute mockery of any human rights claims the U.S. has about arms sales to the P.R.C.

  19. thoreau,

    The problem is that 12 step programs are coerced religious belief!!! Which is blatantly unconstitutional!!! That, and 12 step programs have the same success rate as quitting cold turkey; 5% (according AA’s own damn numbers).

  20. Whatever the recommendations and whether or not they’re adopted…it comes too late for this guy:

  21. “I’m curious to see what conservatives will make of this one.”

    Wow, talk about the triumph of hope over experience. If the question “what do you think conservative will say” were an IQ test, Julian Sanchez fails, big time.

  22. Drug legalization will never happen, because the CIA needs the profits from its illicit drug trade to fund its black ops programs.

  23. Conservatives will say it is liberal propaganda to promote the culture of death.

  24. I’m all for legalizaiton, but it has to come from the bottom up. Think about it. How long do you think a pro-leaglization Presidential canidate would last? And I don’t mean in the political sense, I mean in the actual living, breathing sense. Stand for legalization and you threaten to destroy one of the biggest industries in the world. And due to it’s black market status, a business that is run by people who are used to acting outside the law. The cartels are willing to snuff a guy out for even minimal intrusion into their turf or embezlement that is minor in the grand scheme of things. What do you think they would do to a guy who advocates the destruction of their entire business? The canidate who stands for that has to have a lot of balls.

  25. I knew if we kept pumping sticky-icky smoke through the ventilation system at AEI headquarters, they’d come around sooner or later…

    Friday afternoon, 4:58 PM, Office of the President. The door is locked and towels are jammed underneath it. Loud music can be heard.

    Christopher DeMuth: “We’re jammin’…”
    David Gerson: “Oooh, yeah…”
    DeMuth: “Shut up, Dave, this is my favorite part!”

    Danielle Pletka enters the room, rips off her blouse and starts to twirl.

  26. We’ve heard serveral refrains of WWCD (Conservatives) and the automatic pithy replies. Well what will the Liberals do? They don’t seem to be any more logical on the drug issue. Will they just pretend it doesn’t exist too?

  27. Well what will the Liberals do? They don’t seem to be any more logical on the drug issue.

    The folks who oppose medical marijuana and state’s rights regarding drug laws aren’t liberals. And remember, Democrats rarely count as liberals anymore.

  28. Yes, and the folks in support of medical marijuana and state’s rights regarding drug laws aren’t (mainstream) Dems, either. They’re “drug legalizers” or “activists”. The Dems would be a lot better off if they grew some balls and supported “small government” conservatives instead of their regrettable nanny state attitudes about drugs.

  29. .. I wouldn’t get too excited .. I recall that President Nixon received a similar suggestion from his drug policy task force .. his response was to foam at the mouth and denounce the whole report ..

    .. hate to be the bearer of bad news folks, but there is simply too much money to be made from Prohibition to ever repeal it ..

  30. In some jurisdictions, atheists and agnostics who have been required to report to AA* have successfully convinced the court to let them substitute meeting with an SOS group.

    They may have no better a record than what Gary relates, but at least you don’t have to put up with any sky pilots.

    (Notes the time…hmmm…the bars are open for at least an hour…)

    * Hey, isn’t voluntarism a core principle of AA?

  31. Now lets see … will this issue appeal to the religious right?

  32. jackl said “Yes, and the folks in support of medical marijuana and state’s rights regarding drug laws aren’t (mainstream) Dems, either.”

    Wrong, John Kerry supports state laws regarding medical marijuana. He said he would respect state law. It is Bush, Ashcroft and Gonzales that are arresting people and challenging the validity of state laws.

  33. What a bunch of whiners and pessemists y’all are. I actually indulged a moment of hope that G.W. and co. would extend their radicalism to this branch of injustice.

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