Drug Policy

All Drug Offenders Should Be Treated Like Hunter Biden: Leniently

When the vice president's son was caught using illegal drugs, he escaped legal problems. We should all be so lucky.

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If Hunter Biden, the son of leading Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, used his father's connections to get rich without working that hard, he has also almost certainly benefited from his dad's status to escape exactly the sort of punishments the former vice president has long advocated for illegal drug users. Critics will use new revelations about Hunter's drug past to mock the candidate as a hypocrite, but they also present a teachable moment in the war on drugs: All nonviolent users should be accorded the leniency normally reserved for the children of senators and vice presidents.

The Washington Examiner reports that as an 18-year-old, Biden "was arrested on Jersey Shore drug charges in 1988 and had his record expunged." In 2013, Biden received a special waiver about his drug past to join the U.S. Navy Reserve. (He was ultimately mustered out after testing positive for cocaine.) And in 2016, he returned a rental car in which police found his credit cards, ID, and a crack pipe; authorities declined to bring charges. In divorce papers, his ex-wife testified that he spent "extravagantly" on illegal drugs. He has been in and out of rehab and has publicly admitted that he has substance-abuse issues.

Hunter Biden

The Examiner notes, correctly, that Joe Biden is one of the chief architects of the war on drugs. The elder Biden once said that the feds should "hold every drug user accountable" because "if there were no drug users, there would be no appetite for drugs, there would be no market for them."

Between 1984 and 1990, Biden introduced dozens of pieces of legislation related to drug enforcement.

In 1984, he helped usher in the Comprehensive Control Act, which allowed law enforcement officials to seize property suspected of being used to carry out drug-related crimes. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 imposed a 100-to-1 sentencing disparity for possession of crack cocaine as opposed to powder cocaine.

In 1987, he introduced the National Narcotics Leadership Act to establish "a Cabinet-level Office of the Director of National Drug Control Policy to coordinate Federal operations and policy on drug control and abuse." In 1989, Biden sponsored legislation to ban the sale of firearms to individuals with "serious misdemeanor drug or narcotic offenses."

In 1990, Biden introduced a bill to make prior drug convictions "grounds for denying employment or for dismissal of an employee engaged in specified child care services" and for federal jobs. The bill also restricted bail for convicted drug offenders awaiting sentencing if their crime carried a maximum of a 10-year prison sentence. It required individuals to pass a mandatory drug test before being sentenced to parole, probation, or supervised release, and it established federal "military-style boot camp-style prisons" for prisoners under 25 years old who were found guilty of possession of controlled substances.

During the early 1990s, Biden spoke out publicly in support of the drug crackdown led by President George H.W. Bush.

Biden remains such a drug warrior that he opposes an end to federal prohibition of marijuana until he is convinced that it's not "a gateway drug." As Jacob Sullum writes, "that means Biden…will never support marijuana legalization."

The Examiner doesn't demonstrate that Joe Biden directly intervened to keep his son out of serious legal problems, but it doesn't have to. Everyone knows that when it comes to drug-related offenses, there is a two-tier system of justice, one for the powerful and wealthy and one for everyone else. Throwing Hunter Biden, who publicly struggles with substance-abuse problems, into prison wouldn't have accomplished anything other than wasting more tax dollars on the carceral state. Yet not everyone enjoys such freedom in a country where "1 in 5 incarcerated people is locked up for a drug offense" and more than a million arrests for drug possession are made every year.

Over the course of Joe Biden's political career—he was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972—the country has undergone a sea change in its attitudes toward illegal drugs, especially marijuana. In the early 1970s, says Gallup, less than 15 percent of Americans favored legalizing weed. That figure is now 66 percent and still climbing. State and federal criminal-justice reforms show that we are rethinking the war on drugs and how best to help people with abuse problems.

The scandal isn't that Hunter Biden escaped the prison time his father sought for other drug users. It's that it has taken us so long to start reversing the damage that Joe Biden has inflicted on America.

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  1. Including $50K/month pay for doing nothing, yeh! I could get into that. Gimme gimme gimme

    1. “$50K/month pay for doing nothing”

      FAKE SCANDAL

      1. I know, it was a lot more,considering his total yearly pay was over a million. But whaddya gonna do? Me, I’d settle for the $50K.

        1. I’d totally smoke crack and impregnate strippers for a no show 50 G a month job.

          1. I’m not sure I’d want to work that hard for the money.

  2. By talking about Hunter Biden’s drug problem, we risk feeding into the right-wing narrative that he’s been involved in shady activities. Besides, politicians’ children are supposed to be off limits.

    #StopSmearingHunterBiden
    #LibertariansFor(Joe)Biden

    1. I know you’re a parody account, but yes, generally politicians’ kids shouldn’t be singled out because of the unpopularity of their parents – but in this case the Dems seem to leave no alternative by making the charges against the Bidens (pere and fils) part of their case against Trump.

    2. Openborders, the article was concerning how Biden advocates tough penalties for drug use and how his own son has been shielded from any serious consequences because he has a politically powerful father. But now that you’ve brought up the subject, how many other people could have gotten Hunter’s high-paying gig if they had no related expertise and had a long, widely-publicized history of drug abuse? No one would really talk about Hunter’s personal issues if his high-paid gig didn’t reek of quid pro quo. In fact, they might even have sympathy for Joe, considering the derelict son he has.

    3. And a child is what, exactly? (Besides a pretext for the death sentence for potheads?)

      1. Hank, a child is something you like to watch being murdered while you violently jerk off.

        1. FaecesJesus didn’t get very far in reading comprehension or Constitutional law. But the sockpuppet has definitely identified as male, for nobody else but geldings seek to send men with guns to threaten doctors and deny individual rights to women.
          Ireland rights: 66.9% Faeces 33.1%

    4. Underage children of politicians should be off limits.
      Adult children are not off limits if they participate in political discussion. They are adults, and many insert themselves into politics. Chelsea Clinton being a prime example. Some do not, like Nixon’s daughters, so were pretty much left alone.
      Also children like Greta Thunberg who insert themselves into adult political conversations (or are politically manipulated by others) set themselves up for criticism and dissent.

      1. No Greta is off limits too, that’s why they promoted her as the face of climate change, because she is off limits to criticism.

  3. Only a beat dog would call being arrested as being treated leniently.

    1. Being arrested implies suspicion, being convict implies guilt.

  4. So, rather than focus on Joe Biden’s rank hypocrisy, heavy handed statism, and yet another another example of how he uses his government position to benefit his deadbeat son Gillespie now wants to take the time to tell us the real issue is the War on Some Drugs.

    If it wasn’t for double standards…

    1. If sucking Biden’s nuts means Reason gets to shit on Trump ….

    2. What double standards? They’re conveniently talking about this and not Trump’s trampling of the constitution OR his nepotism in appointing such idiots as Kusher and Ivanka to do things.

    3. Republicans were the ones backing T Roosevelt when his Pure Food and Drug Law took effect in 1907 and caused the Panic. Republican Warren Harding presided the Crash/Depression of 1920-22 and swore asset-forfeiture prohibition would never be repealed. Republican Coolidge signed the 5&10 law making beer a felony with a fine of half a million current dollars in 1929. Republican Hoover pressed this home and crushed the economy while elevating Hitler to power. Yep… I can see how Republicans–after the Reagan-Bush and Bush Junior asset-forfeiture crashes–would rather Reason changed the subject away from prohibition killings.

      1. You know it’s 2019 right?

        1. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”

  5. Binion and Sullum want him to reign.

  6. Drug users shouldn’t be “treated” at all by the criminal justice system merely for using drugs.

    1. Causing physical and/or financial injury to others is the only reason one should be arrested.

  7. Drug users in the US NAVY?

    As in officers who control the lives of other men and women being junkie assholes who get people hurt and killed and sell their mother’s jewelry for a dime bag?

    Being high at work is not okay and being high while in the military should be resolved with a dishonorable discharge. If you want to be a drunk or drug user, dont join the US Military.

    1. And, if he didn’t want to abide by their rules he could have resigned his commission.

      Or maybe not even joined up in the first place. Especially since Daddy had to get him a special waiver just to sign up.

      Yet another double standard that Reason conveniently ignores.

  8. There seems to be little to nothing to like about Hunter Biden.

    He’s still far better than any drug warrior, though.

    1. Can you clarify this comment, as I want to mention it in my manifesto I’m writing and I think I know what you’re saying but I also want the characterizations I make of people’s positions in my manifesto to be fair.

      1. It’s important that manifestos be accurate.

    2. i love the times we agree.

    3. Did someone steal Kirkland’s name?

      1. Possibly. I think Tulpa took control of Buttplug’s name. So anything is possible.

      2. No, there is just no way to support Hunter Biden. It’s too eggregious, too corrupt. If it was fictional, he would be criticized as unrealistic and over the top.

        Even the strongest of partisans cannot support having him.

  9. They should all be given a sinecure in Ukraine.

  10. “”All Drug Offenders Should Be Treated Like Hunter Biden: Leniently””

    I was thinking jobs on boards.

  11. “Comprehensive Control Act, which allowed law enforcement officials to seize property suspected of being used to carry out drug-related crimes”
    God forbid you get pulled over for some minor bad driving habits while hauling a truck load of pork bellies and Johnny Law finds that you have been carrying your entire life savings around with you! Oh I get it, he’s Mexican!

  12. For what it’s worth, I know plenty of well-to-do people who could afford good lawyers who got their idiot children out of drug charges pretty easily. You don’t need to be a Senators son, you can just as easily be the son of a well-to-do local businessman too.

    This is because money can buy you insulation from drug charges. You don’t need to be the son of a Senator or a Vice President to evade drug charges, you just need to spend some cash or be a ‘prominent member of the community’.

  13. Excellent article, and factual in all respects as near as I can tell. This is the sort of stuff Reason used to publish back when Petr Beckmann was on the board. Furthermore, it ties in perfectly with the platforms the LP has published calling for the repeal of all prohibition laws since 1972.

  14. “”All Drug Offenders Should Be Treated Like Hunter Biden:””

    Get there names drug through the mud in an impeachment inquiry?

    1. Or get millions of dollars for a no show “job” obviously not based upon merit but solely to purchase favor from your Veep daddy.

    2. Whose idea was that? Daddy pushed the asset-forfeiture prohibition law. But if searching for something that makes sense, try using the possessive pronoun “their” for names; “there” refers to a location.

    3. Get there names drug through the mud in an impeachment inquiry?

      He’s getting off lightly.

  15. The elder Biden once said that the feds should “hold every drug user accountable” because “if there were no drug users, there would be no appetite for drugs, there would be no market for them.”

    I guess Hunter would not be much of a market.

  16. Throwing Hunter Biden, who publicly struggles with substance-abuse problems, into prison wouldn’t have accomplished anything other than wasting more tax dollars on the carceral state.

    It might have accomplished a better shot at the presidency for Joe Biden, though.

    1. And if he was incarcerated in new York he could’ve been a safer roomie for Epstein.

    2. It might have taught hunters daddy a lesson about the real life consequences of his policy positions.

  17. “As your CEO, I am happy to report to you, the Board, what we’ve been doing. But before I take out all those boring charts and things, why don’t you loosen up with some crack?”

    At least that’s what I’d do if I were running some shady corporation.

  18. An interesting take. I do agree that Everyone regardless of Status should be treated Legally the Same before the Law, if Hunter Biden should get leniency on drug use then everyone else should

  19. An interesting take. I do agree that Everyone regardless of Status should be treated Legally the Same before the Law, if Hunter Biden should get leniency on drug use then everyone else should

    PUBG MOBILE LITE

  20. An interesting take. I do agree that Everyone regardless of Status should be treated Legally the Same before the Law, if Hunter Biden should get leniency on drug use then everyone else should

    free fire 2020

  21. Underage children of politicians should be off limits.
    Adult children are not off limits if they participate in political discussion. They are adults, and many insert themselves into politics. Chelsea Clinton being a prime example. Some do not, like Nixon’s daughters, so were pretty much left alone.
    Also children like Greta Thunberg who insert themselves into adult political conversations (or are politically manipulated by others) set themselves up for criticism and dissent….lgarvindgupta

  22. “All Drug Offenders Should Be Treated Like Hunter Biden: Leniently.”

    Plus, all drug offenders should be able to make millions in the Ukraine and have the right to knock up strippers in Arkansas.
    After all, that would be only fair.

  23. “When the vice president’s son was caught using illegal drugs, he escaped legal problems. We should all be so lucky.”

    I really object to the characterization of Hunter as lucky. We all know dad was using influence and pulling strings. It’s an honest to god abuse of power that this worthless little shit didn’t end up in jail under the laws Biden made others go to jail for.

  24. It’s really difficult to imagine a more appalling individual than Hunter Biden. Aside from being a coke fiend, his wife divorced him because he spent the house payment on hookers and blow after which he shacked up with his dead brothers wife and while doing so he knocked up a stripper in DC and then denied paternity and then married some gullible chick in South Africa who he also knocked up. Meanwhile he’s been paid ridiculous amounts of money to sit on a board in Ukraine never having attended a meeting and walked away from China with over a billion after daddy got him a free flight there on Air Force 2. But Joe Biden was completely unaware of any of this and if somebody brings up the subject he challenges them to a push up contest. Meanwhile Reason cheers on an impeachment because Orange Man wants to investigate some of this shit. The fact that Hunter skated on drug crimes that lesser beings spend decades behind bars for is the least of the corruption that Hunter Biden is the beneficiary of thanks entirely to the Democrat front runner for the presidency of the United States.

    1. It’s really difficult to imagine a more appalling individual than Hunter Biden

      McCain, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Johnson, JFK, need I go on?

      Not only did they have rotten personal lives, they caused the deaths of many, and screwed up the lives of many more.

    2. “The fact that Hunter skated on drug crimes that lesser beings spend decades behind bars for is the least of the corruption that Hunter Biden is the beneficiary of thanks entirely to the Democrat front runner for the presidency of the United States.”

      It’s just another example of the way the ruling class rolls.
      More shameless examples: Congress’s self-exemption from Obamacare. Congress’s lifetime taxpayer paid healthcare coverage. Congress critter’s teams of armed guards. ‘No reasonable prosecutor’ protections etc etc.

      Laws for thee, exemptions for me.

  25. So why give drug users a pass? Why shouldn’t people who don’t pay their income tax also get a pass? I mean forcing me to pay income tax actually harms me, while it’s hard to argue that preventing me from taking drugs actually harms me.

    Reason’s “libertarianism” seems to exhaust itself in globalism, free sex, and free drugs, and otherwise adopt the authoritarian views of the left.

    1. conditioning freedom on harm reduction is how you end up with progressive ideals.

      1. Exactly. Once someone accepts utilitarianism as the basis of politics, they have already accepted the socialist/fascist/progressive mindset, they’re just haggling over the details.

  26. “The scandal isn’t that Hunter Biden escaped the prison time his father sought for other drug users. It’s that it has taken us so long to start reversing the damage that Joe Biden has inflicted on America.”

    Joe Biden is still helping harm people and families for using drugs. Personally I think Hunter should get the same treatment most drug users do, and if Joe interfered in the prosecution in any way he should be prosecuted for obstruction of justice. That might change Joe’s mind. It’s hard to be forgiving to those who’ve harmed others, continue to do so, and don’t live under the same rules they force on others.

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