Sheldon Richman on the Drug War


Credit: Sam Grace Lewis / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

When government sets out to solve a problem it created, things often get much worse. This week, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department will keep nonviolent small-scale drug sellers who have no links to criminal organizations from getting caught in the mandatory-minimum-sentence trap. Under current law, judges must impose a mandatory minimum prison term for defendants convicted of selling more than a specified quantity of illegal drugs. Yet, as Sheldon Richman points out, we should be concerned whenever the executive branch unilaterally declares it will write its own law.