Drug Policy

Tom Tancredo Questions the War on Drugs

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Former Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo, a conservative Republican who made cracking down on illegal immigration the main theme of his campaign for his party's 2008 presidential nomination, says it's time to think about calling off the war on drugs:

"I am convinced that what we are doing is not working," he said.

Tancredo told [the Lincoln Club of Colorado, a Republican group,]  that the country has spent billions of dollars capturing, prosecuting and jailing drug dealers and users, but has little to show for it.

"It is now easier for a kid to get drugs at most schools in America that it is booze," he said.

He said the violent drug battles in Mexico are moving north.

Last year Tancredo and Ron Paul were the only Republican candidates to receive an A+ grade from Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana. During an August 2007 visit to Londonderry, New Hampshire, Tancredo said the federal government should stop interfering with state policies regarding the medical use of marijuana:

It's not about marijuana, it's about states' rights. The federal government has no right to interfere when a state makes that kind of decision…The federal government should stay the hell out of it.

That much ought to be a perfectly respectable federalist position even among conservatives who support drug prohibition. When the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy examined the presidential candidates's broader drug policy views, Paul retained his A+, but Tancredo's grade sank to a C. "Although he does not advocate changing drug laws and says he voted against medical marijuana in the Colorado legislature," the group reported, "he insists that the federal government's role in drug enforcement is strictly limited by the Constitution." Taking that idea seriously, of course, would mean rejecting national drug prohibition, for which (unlike alcohol prohibition in 1920) there is no constitutional authority. Maybe that helps explain how Tancredo arrived at his current position, although his comments suggest that his second thoughts about the war on drugs stem mainly from its ineffectiveness and unpleasant side effects.

Addendum: On the same day that Tancredo, a conservative Republican who says he has never used an illegal intoxicant, questioned prohibition, the drug czar appointed by Barack Obama, a liberal Democrat whose autobiography describes his own extensive illegal drug use, declared "legalization isn't in the president's vocabulary."

[Thanks to Ari Armstrong and Tom Angell for the tips.]

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  1. Sounds like someone asked him a HardQuestion.

  2. Shut the fuck up, Lone- oh, sorry, Warty.

  3. I knew you would resort to ad homs, Xeones, showing that libertoids are incapable of intellectual debGAAAAAIHATEMEXICANSAAAAAate.

  4. As bad as people think Republicans are, the Democrats tend to be bigger hypocrites.

  5. Come on already… post Rep Steve Cohen taking the piss out of FBI Director Robert Mueller about pot:

    http://blog.mpp.org/tax-and-regulate/congressman-steve-cohen-on-marijuana-policy/05212009/#comments

  6. It would have been nice if Tancredo had his epiphany while he was still in office.

  7. Addendum: On the same day that Tancredo, a conservative Republican who says he has never used an illegal intoxicant, questioned prohibition, the drug czar appointed by Barack Obama, a liberal Democrat whose autobiography describes his own extensive illegal drug use, declared “legalization isn’t in the president’s vocabulary.”

    From the link –

    He says he’ll push for more states to adopt prescription-monitoring programs, databases in which doctors and pharmacists log prescriptions for addictive drugs so law enforcement can track them.

    Translation – more prosecutions of doctors providing pain relief to the ill.

    ? There’s nothing in the street
    Looks any different to me
    And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
    And the parting on the left
    Is now the parting on the right
    And the beards have all grown longer overnight ?

  8. Also, from Tingy Wah’s link, I love how the douchebag FBI director talks about asking “parents who have lost their children” about the drug war. I’d be up for that.

    “Given that our drug policies completely failed to save your children, don’t you think it’s time to try something different?”

  9. “legalization isn’t in the president’s vocabulary.”

    But is it in his teleprompter?

  10. “legalization isn’t in the president’s vocabulary.” You know, drug use can cause memory loss, which might explain a limited vocabulary.

    Perhaps someone should send the President a “Word a Day” calendar.

  11. “He says he’ll push for more states to adopt prescription-monitoring programs, databases in which doctors and pharmacists log prescriptions for addictive drugs so law enforcement can track them.”

    When I lived in Texas, Ross Perot’s War on Drugs Committee pushed a bill through the legislature to maintain a permanent database of all drug prescriptions in the state of Texas. Ross Perot’s EDS got the contract to maintain the computerized database generated by the law.

  12. I always assumed Tancredo was for the drug war, but I guess I was wrong. Well, credit where it’s due, at least.

    I haven’t seen anything on “Free” Republic about this yet, but I imagine a lot of freepers’ heads exploded once they heard the news.

  13. You’d be surprised, the freepers are fairly tolerant of legalization. At least, I’ve seen a few such articles linked there (not a regular).

    My theory is so-cons skew older than most cons (and cons skew older anyway) and don’t own computers or understand the Internet. We’ll outlive the bastards.

  14. Sorry, but Tancredo is still the biggest douchebag on the planet.

  15. To plagiarize from paraphrase P.J. O’Rourke, if you say a Democrat is a junkie, a child molestor, and a traitor, all it means is that you actually read his best-selling autobiography.

  16. Also, from Tingy Wah’s link, I love how the douchebag FBI director talks about asking “parents who have lost their children” about the drug war. I’d be up for that.

    Me, too. Although I would ask the parents “Do you think your child should have gone to jail for smoking pot? Do you think anyone’s child should go to jail for smoking pot? Do you think anyone at all should go to jail for smoking pot?”

    Seriously, I think the pro-legalization crew could put together a killer TV add featuring parents. Make the “its for the children” crowd reflect a moment on which is the greater threat to their kids.

  17. “legalization isn’t in the president’s vocabulary.”

    I bet if someone took the time to slip it into his prepared teleprompter feeds we could get him to use it at least 3 times everytime he speaks.

    Taxation isn’t in my vocabulary Mr. President yet I am comfortable with terms such as assasination. Aren’t ‘tion’ words so much fun to play with?

  18. Legal or not, I’m still smoking. So tell the FEDs to go fuck themselves.

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