Voter Guide for Critics of the War on Drugs


The Drug Policy Alliance has a new voter guide–the first of its kind, as far as I know–that rates members of the House based on their positions vis-à-vis the war on drugs. It declares F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) a "villain" (no surprise there) and identifies nine "heroes": John Conyers (D-Mich.), Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), Ron Paul (R-Texas), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), and Bobby Scott (D-Va.). Those choices were based on several criteria, including support for reform legislation that never made it to the floor, but the guide focuses on six votes:

1. House Vote 245—Amendment to HR 2862 on Justice Assistance Grants: increasing funding to the corrupt and troubled Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program (DPAN [Drug Policy Alliance Network] opposed);

2. House Vote 255—Amendment to HR 2862 on Medical Marijuana: prohibiting the DEA from undermining state medical marijuana laws (DPAN supported);

3. House Vote 264—Amendment to HR 2862 on Racial Conviction Distribution: requiring local narcotics taskforces that receive federal money to ban racial profiling and report their convictions by race (DPAN supported);

4. House Vote 329—Amendment to HR 3057 on the Andean Counterdrug Initiative: cutting funding to the counterproductive Andean Counterdrug Initiative (DPAN supported);

5. House Vote 344—Amendment to HR 3058 on the National Youth Anti-Drug Campaign: increasing funding to the failed anti-marijuana media campaign (DPAN opposed); and

6. House Vote 435—S 45: Drug Addiction Treatment: lifting the 30-patient limit on group practices for treating people who struggle with addiction to heroin and other opioids through buprenorphine-assisted approaches (DPAN supported).

According to DPA's Bill Piper, "One is about states' rights, another is about the deregulation of drug treatment, three are about increased funding for federal programs, and one is about racial profiling. Five out of these six issues could be seen as boosting conservative goals, yet Democrats were overwhelmingly more likely to vote the right way than Republicans."

[via the Drug War Chronicle]