Drug Policy

Rand Paul, Drug War State's Righter

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How has Jack Conway, Rand Paul's Democratic challenger in the Kentucky Senate race, characterized the libertiarianish Republican's consistent stand that drug policy and enforcement should be handled at the state rather than federal level?

"Rand will handcuff local sheriffs trying to combat the drug epidemic, and I will make sure Kentucky's law enforcement has the tools they need to protect our families," Conway said. "That's my record as attorney general, and that's what I'll do in Washington."…

Ed Schemelya, point man in the federal government's marijuana eradication program in the central Appalachians, said cutting off federal funding would embolden drug traffickers in the region.

"It would be impossible to stop them without federal assistance, because of the dire straights that these economies are in," Schemelya said.

Schemelya heads a law enforcement cooperative that confiscated some $2 billion worth of marijuana in the Appalachians last year, most of it grown on remote mountainsides.

Paul hasn't been shy about speaking his mind on the drug enforcement issue, telling local leaders during a political forum last month that involving Washington in the matter leads to waste. "I think issues like drug use and abuse are best dealt with at the local level," he said.

More here.

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  1. “It would be impossible to stop them without federal assistance, because of the dire straights that these economies are in,” Schemelya said.

    Dire straits.

    1. No, they want to employ gay LEOs.

      😉

      1. Almost went there.

    2. Dire states.

      1. A love-struck Romeo sings the streets a serenade
        Laying everybody low with a love song that he made.
        Finds a streetlight, steps out of the shade
        Says something like, “You and me, babe… how about it?”

        1. Now that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it Lemme tell ya them guys ain’t dumb Maybe get a blister on your little finger Maybe get a blister on your thumb We gotta install microwave ovens Custom kitchen deliveries

    3. Rand Paul Moneybomb on August 19/20 Donate!

    4. We must eradicate that source of income, and we’ll need federal money to do it. We simply cannot have incomes in the economy we’re in.

  2. I do not countenance victim-less crimes.

  3. Paul hasn’t been shy about speaking his mind on the drug enforcement issue, telling local leaders during a political forum last month that involving Washington in the matter leads to waste. “I think issues like drug use and abuse are best dealt with at the local level,” he said.

    Like, Maricopa county, for instance?

    The Drug War is stupid, arguing about who is going to lead the ‘Charge of The Stupid’ is even stupider.

    1. No, it’s not that stupid.

      One, getting rid of the big waste of federal money would make a difference.

      Two, can you really argue that the current system of alcohol prohibition, which is left to the state and local level, is no better than when we had national Prohibition?

      1. I see your point, but wonder if the money would still come from the Feds “to help support local Law Enforcement” without specifically mentioning the WOD.

        The putative Federal control of the money does nothing to restrain wackos like Arpaio and I do remember how ‘states rights’ was used to justify certain ‘peculiar institutions’, so I am skeptical that merely getting the Feds out would make a big difference.

        1. There are issues where local policy is likely to be tougher than federal policy… immigration and traffic tickets come to mind, both of which touch on interstate issues. In both cases, issues come about because of local enforcement of state or federal laws is uneven. There’s no real way to avoid having immigration law and traffic law at least coordinated at the federal level (or in the case of traffic law, with uniform state compacts).

          Those simply don’t make for good comparisons with drug prohibition, particularly the “grown and consumed locally” pot discussed here. Alcohol is simply a better comparison. (or other locally and state regulated goods, such as fireworks.)

          I think it’s completely untenable to be “skeptical that merely getting the Feds out would make a big difference.” Even comparing with the peculiar institution, I think we can agree that it would have been better had the Feds not been involved with law enforcement via the Fugitive Slave Act.

          Would you have argued that someone who wanted to repeal the Fugitive Slave Act was wasting his time?

        2. It would make a huge difference. First, it would allow states to experiment with ending prohibition. Right now thanks to the feds a state couldn’t legalize if it wanted to. If you got the feds out of it, all it would take would be one state to legalize and the flood gates would open as other states followed looking for money. Look at what happened with gambling. Once Nevada got into the gambling business, New Jersey followed. And then some Indian tribes. It took a while but now gambling is legal virtually everywhere.

          Also, if the feds stopped handing out money, the states wouldn’t be able to militarize their police forces as easy. Moreover, with fewer assets they would have to prioritize their enforcement, thus increasing the chance of at least de facto marijuana legalization.

          Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. If you told me that in 15 years, the feds would be out of the drug enforcement business beyond catching it at the border and pot was legal in say 15 states and a few other drugs legal in a few others, I would take that. It is not perfect but it would be leaps and bounds better than what we have now.

          1. What John said. That’s why I’ll give candidates like Paul a pass for not arguing the moral issue. The Libertarian candidate for Senate in Florida has done the same. (The candidate for Governor has less of a problem with that).

            1. The candidate for Governor has less of a problem arguing the moral issue.

            2. If you could just get something legal in one state, it would cut the legs out from under the prohibitionists. That is what happened with gambling. Thirty years ago people claimed that gambling lead to all sorts of social ills that would be the end of civilization. No one can claim that now because it is legal in lots of places and none of the horror stories are true.

              You can do the same thing with drugs. If California could flat out legalize pot and nothing happen, the prohibitionists in other states would be screwed.

              1. It would certainly help, but there are still plenty of candidates arguing that gambling is evul. (When it’s not done by the state or doesn’t involve horses).

                Amazingly, some have actually argued that legalizing gambling would bring in organized crime.

          2. Right now thanks to the feds a state couldn’t legalize if it wanted to.

            We may find out soon re cannabis in Calif. It’s said that in states where alcohol prohib’n was repealed, there was no effective prohib’n even while federal prohib’n was still on the books. There are very few federal police compared with local ones.

        3. The point is that Rand Paul is saying that the feds should get out of the WoD, and his opponent isn’t. And, if you follow the Constitution, which Paul apparently at least tries to do on occasion, the feds have no right to interfere with dickish state level drug laws so long as they don’t violate parts of the Constitution.

          Paul is right on this issue.

      2. I’m reading “Last Call” currently and one thing that I found rather surprising was just how many loopholes there were in the Volstead Act (the law created to enforce the Prohibition Amendment). The drug warriors are thus basically right – once one loophole is created, the whole edifice is likely to collapse via more loopholes.

  4. What’s the over/under on plants eradicated? Dollar figure was $2B. I’ll guess 100.

    1. I doubt that the officials actually consider quality of bud, probably go more by amount weighed.

  5. It’s the mealy-mouthed politicians way of saying they oppose the war on drugs. Because, you know, nobody can just come out and actually say “end the war on drugs” and expect to get their cushy seat and cushier job in Congress.

    1. Actually, I think they could. Most Americans want marijuana legalized. The problem is that the old people who dominate voting aren’t quite so liberal about. And professed liberals like Obama turn their backs on their supporters once in office, laughing at serious questions about the topic and then canning their website that allowed people to ask direct questions.

  6. “marijuana in the Appalachians last year, most of it grown on remote mountainsides.”

    I don’t see a problem here.

    1. That must be why they call them “The Smokey Mountains…”

  7. If the state had sold the $2B worth of weed they wouldn’t have a budget problem.

    1. And the dirt poor of Eastern Kentucky might have a good chance to have a legit income other than coal. Hemp would be a huge boon, especially here in KY where it was a major cash crop long before horses were a major source of income in central KY.

  8. Ed Schemelya, point man in the federal government’s marijuana eradication program in the central Appalachians, said cutting off federal funding would embolden drug traffickers in the region. “It would be impossible to stop them without federal assistance, because of the dire straights that these economies are in,” Schemelya said.

    “Plus, I’d be out of a job” he later added.

    Also…

    Schemelya heads a law enforcement cooperative that confiscated some $2 billion worth of marijuana in the Appalachians last year, most of it grown on remote mountainsides.

    Without prohibition, that dollar value drops to about $20… because it’s a plant that grows in the dirt on an Appalachian mountainside.

    1. You better stay away from Copperhead Road.

      1. John Lee Pettimore is a fictitious character, the narrator in Steve Earle’s song “Copperhead Road.” He is the son and grandson of moonshiners who goes off to Vietnam and, upon his return, becomes a marijuana cultivator and salesman.

  9. Good enemies make good political careers.

    1. Can you say “co-dependent”?

  10. Or have we eaten on the insane root
    That takes the reason prisoner?

      1. Yes. Hemlock shots for the whole board.

        1. I thought the Socratic method was reserved for law school and lawyers these days.

          1. “Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark” is from MacBeth.

  11. Fine. I’ll post the Copperhead Road Video

    Slackers

    1. You beat me to it. That is all the made me thing about to. Steve Earl is a jerk. And a lot of his shit is way over rated. But Coperhead Road kicks ass.

      1. I did enjoy his character Walon in The Wire,though.

  12. Wait, from watching Justified I thought meth was the drug epidemic sweeping through rural Appalachia. Has my television lied to me again?

    1. More like in rural South in general. The Feds focus more on Pot because they can nip the ‘problem’ in the bud before it even gets into a user’s hands. Meth, on the otherhand, is made from perfectly legal (though controlled) medications and therefore is a heluva lot harder to stop.

      1. But according to national stats, meth isn’t that big a deal anywhere. Only in 1 or 2 states has more than 1% of its residents tried meth, and they are all out west. Nowhere in the south is even in the top 10 or 15 for meth use per capita, and it may be even lower than that.

        1. My numbers above are wrong, but my sentiment is correct. The south is nowhere to be found until 19, and counting KY as a part of the south is dubious.

          Hawaii has a bigger meth problem than the south.

  13. “I think issues like drug use and abuse are best dealt with at the local level,” he said.

    We agree.

    1. And yet you can walk around Austin smokin MJ pretty safely. Look at alcohol prohibition. The fact that we have dry counties around Texas doesn’t mean that we’d be better off with national prohibition.

  14. I’ve been sweeping through Applachia for a long time.

  15. “we won’t be able stop them without federal funds”

    Really? So you’re stopping them now? No one in Kentucky gets high?

    1. They’re so successful that KY, a state of less than 5 million, is number 2 for mj production nationally, behind only CA.

      1. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

  16. and I will make sure Kentucky’s law enforcement has the tools they need to protect our families

    That kind of language makes me bristle inside. I assume anyone who makes a statement like that is a pederast. In a sane world you would be hung from the nearest tree after stating a desire to come between men and their families, but for some godawful reason of the modern American psyche those words likely attract more votes than they dissuade.

  17. Schemelya heads a law enforcement cooperative that confiscated some $2 billion worth of marijuana in the Appalachians last year, most of it grown on remote mountainsides.

    Wow – that’s a lot. Meaning, these prohibitionists are ENTINCING even MORE growing of marijuana with even HIGHER rewards for the risks.

    Idiots.

  18. Paul hasn’t been shy about speaking his mind on the drug enforcement issue, telling local leaders during a political forum last month that involving Washington in the matter leads to waste.

    He is shy about labeling himself a libertarian, he certainly is NOT shy about speaking like one.

    1. I don’t want to make like I’m lifetime pals with the guy, I met Rand Paul during his dad’s presidential campaign in 1988 (back then he was called Randy).

      Unless he’s changed a whole bunch since then (and, I know, people do), and he might not be 100% pure, he’s still the closest thing to a libertarian running for the United States Senate this year.

      Whoops, that doesn’t work at all. No one else running for the United States Senate this year even comes close to looking like a libertarian, so that’s not a very high hurdle, is it? 🙁

  19. Rand paul will win,of that we kentuckians have no doubt.His stand against big govmnt and intrusive laws like the smoking bans make him a popular folk hero with the folks here…….

  20. No surprise here — another Democratic Drug Warrior.

  21. The stupidest part of the stupid drug war/Prohibition II is that the drug warriors act like their prohibition actually works, instead of doing nothing to reduce drug abuse and adding violent crime and intrusive government to the mix.

  22. I like the way he talks about “use” and “abuse”. most politicians don’t make that distinction. iow, to them— any USE of illegal drugs is by definition abuse.

    just the language that he uses is strong evidence to me that he’s on the right side here, even when he gets a little mealy mouthed out of political self-preservation

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