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[James Q. Wilson, guest-blogging, June 9, 2008 at 5:26pm] Trackbacks
Drug offenders in prison:

Some readers have asked whether the population of American prisons is large because we lock up so many drug users. It is true that the proportion of inmates described as drug offenders has gone up dramatically, but as Jonathan Caulkins and Mark Kleiman point in their essay in Understanding America, very few are in prison because of drug possession. Many are either major dealers or plead down to a drug possession charge in order to avoid being convicted of a more serious offense. There are more than one million arrests every year for drug possession, but very of them result in prison or jail time. Cannabis possession, when it is punished at all, is typically with a fine or probation.

Curt Fischer:
I don't want to speak for the other readers, but I suspect that many of them would further argue that even "major dealers" are guilty of only victimless crimes. (Unless of course a major dealers also perpetrates violence in the course of his business -- but in that case, I would hope that inmates incarcerated at least in part for violent crimes would not be categorized as "drug" offenders.)
6.9.2008 6:48pm
Alan Gunn (mail):
Criminal law isn't my field, but I've been told by people in a position to know that the penalties for possession are now so high that prosecutors simply use possession charges against dealers because it's easy to prove. Supposedly they don't bother about people whose real offense is simply possession. If you trust prosecutors a lot more than I do, this may seem like a good thing. If you feel some nostalgia for the rule of law, it's a disgrace, like RICO, mail fraud, and the like: all crime-control measures based on the notion that if we criminalize everything we can get the bad people. Well, yeah, we can. And the unpopular people, too. Remember Martha Stewart--jailed for telling an untruth to the authorities (after a trial in which the prosecutors told the jury that she had profited from insider trading, though she hadn't). Who hasn't done that, at one time or another? (Golly, officer: I didn't see the sign.")
6.9.2008 6:50pm
jccamp (mail):
Again referring to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (here), the percentage of prisoners in state custody for drug offenses have actually decreased from 1995 to 2004. (I was surprised) The Federal numbers may not fit a similar profile.

Drug cases are often easier to prosecute for several reasons, and the government may choose the drug trafficking violations as a means to sanctioning other, violent crimes.

Drug trafficking is generally associated with a number of associated crimes, public corruption, murder, and money laundering among them.
6.9.2008 7:09pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I don't want to speak for the other readers, but I suspect that many of them would further argue that even "major dealers" are guilty of only victimless crimes.


I suppose it depends on whether one supports legalizing drugs for adults only or for legalizing them for minors as well. If you think drugs should be legal for adults but it should still be against the law to sell them to minors, then the major dealers probably aren't guilty of a "victimless crime." If you're in favor of being able to legally sell them to kids, then anything goes.
6.9.2008 7:12pm
Curt Fischer:

Drug trafficking is generally associated with a number of associated crimes, public corruption, murder, and money laundering among them.


Why not prosecute the corrupt, the murderers, and the money launderers for corruption, murder, and money laundering?


Drug cases are often easier to prosecute for several reasons, and the government may choose the drug trafficking violations as a means to sanctioning other, violent crimes.


Prosecuting one charge as a means to sanctioning another (it seems to me) amounts to punishing offenders for crimes they were not convicted of committing. As such, it seems to disregard the idea that we are innocent until proven guilty. Can you explain further why it is a good technique for prosecutors?
6.9.2008 7:20pm
QuintCarte (mail):
I strongly disagree with the tactic of using drug possession charges as a way to "get rid of" people that the police and courts think are actually guilty of commiting more serious crimes. Other comments above this one raise some of the major problems with doing so.

I object for another reason as well: this allows police authorities to persecute and punish anyone they wish, on a whim. "Possession" is easily faked. As a case in point, look at the Kathryn Johnston case. Police erroneously performed a no-knock, military style raid on this 88 year old woman. She thought a home invasion was going on, fired a shot, and was shot 39 times (fatally). After she was killed, the police realized they made a mistake - there were no drugs or any other criminal activity in her home.

Tragic as that story is already, my real point is concern about the police's reaction. Within minutes, they a) decided to plant drugs in the home to cover up their mistake, and b) did so with drugs that they were carrying with them for that purpose. This is not contested; officers involved have since openly confessed to this.

So we have teams of police that not only quickly settle on the idea of planting drugs, but they already have bags of drugs suitable for planting with them on the raid. Now why do you suppose they had those drugs already with them? To me, it's evidence that planting illegal drugs is a pretty common endeavor. It's part of what they normally bring to a raid - they didn't even have to go get the drugs.

That tells me that planting evidence is a much more common occurance than I used to think. It also means that if, as citizens, we accept large sentences for simple possession, that the police have to ability to arbitrarly destroy anyone's life, guilty or not. If police are doing this to go after people commiting more serious crimes, they need to be able to prove those more serious crimes.
6.9.2008 8:30pm
roy (mail) (www):
In addition to the concerns above, we have to consider that the crime of distributing drugs is different from the act of distributing. That is, having a sufficient quantity of drugs gets you a distribution conviction, regardless of whether you distribute.
6.9.2008 8:49pm
Dr. T (mail) (www):
very few are in prison because of drug possession

That's because if you possess a few days supply of a drug, you automatically are classified as a drug dealer. This is the biggest scam in drug enforcement: no evidence of selling is required to convict someone of drug dealing. Decades ago, my college roommate, a major druggie, brought to the dorm a three month supply of his preferred drugs. If he had been caught, the fact that the drugs were for personal use would not have mattered. He'd have been classified as a major drug dealer, and the sentence would have been >10 years imprisonment.

Studies of New York State prisons show that approximately one-third of prisoners are nonviolent drug offenders. Some of those may be true drug dealers, but the numbers still are damning. Hundreds of thousands are imprisoned because they prefer marijuana or cocaine or valium over ethanol. What used to be a relatively libertarian nation has become a nation that criminalizes drugs, paid sex, gambling, and family photos of nude toddlers. I think reprioritization is needed.
6.9.2008 9:01pm
jccamp (mail):
OK, I can give personal experience here, which is hardly applicable to the entire U S criminal justice system, but it may illuminate some of the logic.

Why not prosecute the corrupt, the murderers, and the money launderers for corruption, murder, and money laundering?


Let's take a drug enterprise located within a poor ghetto environment, in a larger urban community. Drug related murders are commonly committed in drug areas or crack houses - perhaps a corporate take-over or restructuring if you will, other times a case of internal discipline for theft or other perfidy. We're not likely to find priests or doctors (or lawyers) within this setting, who can act as credible witnesses. Instead, we find poor people trapped within the ghetto, who worry - with good cause - that their cooperation with law enforcement is a dangerous proposition. in these same communities, the police may not be seen as a positive force, and there may be cultural barriers to witnesses coming forward. Many of the witnesses are present at the scene of the crime because they were committing crimes themselves. Not very credible. Murders become hard to prove, even thought there may be multiple eyewitnesses.

There's the well publicized issue of eyewitness identification. A defendant may sit in jail for a year or more before trial. That skinny, scruffy fellow with dreadlocks, the one who looks like a crackhead and weighs about 140 pounds at the time of the crime may walk into court in a 3 piece suit, clean shaven and looking like a body builder from all the nutrition and weight lifting in jail. it's every prosecutor's nightmare, when the star witness says something like "That guy there? No, never seen him before."

It can be very difficult to convict for homicide under these circumstances. But if we obtain, say, court authorized wiretaps and prosecute for drug trafficking, using multiple homicides for requisite acts committed in furtherance of the trafficking conspiracy, then most of all of the witnesses are law enforcement - professional witnesses if you will. They won't make mistaken identifications (hopefully), they won't stay away from fear, etc. A first degree murder (in my state) is normally life with no parole. Take the drug trafficking to U S District Court, and the same defendant may get 35 years with no parole. A 35 year old drug trafficker sentenced to 35 years receives, in effect, a life sentence.

The drug trafficking may be far easier to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.


Prosecuting one charge as a means to sanctioning another (it seems to me) amounts to punishing offenders for crimes they were not convicted of committing.


No, maybe I was confusing. In the cited example, there are enhancements within the drug statutes for various acts committed as part of the drug trafficking and conspiracy. If one possesses a firearm during the drug trafficking, there's an enhancement. If one commits acts of violence, like the murders, there are enhancements. We charge and convict within the statutes. The defendants are sentenced within the statutes. We're not punishing them for something they were not convicted of. We're sanctioning their conduct within the language of the charging laws.

Another brief example: a defendant can be charged with multiple homicides (or other serious crimes with significant penalties). It's not efficient use of criminal justice resources to charge a defendant for ever crime we can prove. In this example, a defendant can only do so many life sentences. So, we may try a person for the most serious crime. It doesn't mean we're ignoring the uncharged crimes, which may be very important to the victims. We're exercising discretion about how to get the biggest bang for the buck.
6.9.2008 9:13pm
iwonderwhy (mail):
As someone whose spent nearly 20 years working in and around the federal criminal justice system, the notion that most (or even very many) drug defendants are "major dealers" is frannkly pathetic.
6.9.2008 9:37pm
jccamp (mail):
Dr T -

"Studies of New York State prisons show that approximately one-third of prisoners are nonviolent drug offenders. "

Your numbers appear to be wildly inflated. I assume you got them from Drug Policy Awareness Network. Using their own figures, the percentage of drug offenders within the NY Prison system is about 22%, still higher than the national average.

Pew Center Figures here

I believe the OP asserted prisons are of benefit to our society. If you, like many people, believe that the 20% of prison populations are there because of stupid drug laws, then the debate should be about the statutes, not the prisons.

Lots of law enforcement professionals believe the war on drugs is counterproductive and, frankly, ill considered and poorly executed. But if people deliberately break criminal statutes, they shouldn't complain if they have to bear responsibility for their own actions.
6.9.2008 9:38pm
ukranian business d00d:
"There are more than one million arrests every year for drug possession, but very of them result in prison or jail time."

You're missing the word "few," between the words "very" and "of."
6.9.2008 10:01pm
TruePath (mail) (www):
I think we need to distingush two very different questions about drug dealing, prostitution or other crimes that don't essentially involve a victim.

One can ask whether the actions of those individuals who currently break the law in fact victimize someone. This is relevant to our moral opinion of such individuals but largely irrelevant to the policy question. The better question to ask is whether someone would be victimized if the activity was legalized/decriminalized

The very fact that drug dealing, prostitution, and the like are illegal attracts a certain sort of individual and fails to discourage the truly harmful acts. Since drug dealing is already illegal drug dealers don't hesitate to sell to a 17 year old. Since prostitution is illegal instead of corporations that offer health benefits to prostitutes we get pimps who pressure girls into lives of drugs and poor treatment.

During prohibition the mob supplied alcohol while victimizing a huge number of people but that was an argument for legalization not against it.
6.9.2008 10:16pm
TruePath (mail) (www):
Also I think it is misleading to rely on the governments figures on dealing versus possession offenses since certain minimum amounts (or simply growing pot) automatically trigger dealing charges even if that person isn't what the public tends to think of as a 'dealer.' Still, I suspect even including these individuals this isn't a huge percentage of the prison population.

However, one also needs to consider the indirect consequences of drug laws. These laws can erode respect for the law in communities and break down the barrier that keeps people from more serious crimes. Even though opiates are cheap enough that they could be given out for free (synthetic opiates are crazy string) the results of drug laws mean that people commit crimes to get money for drugs. One could go on but the point is made that mere direct effects aren't sufficient.

In any case this doesn't rebut the point that prisons, other things being equal, reduce the harms from crime. However, it does point out that better targeting of who we put in prison for what might save money while doing even better to reduce crime.
6.9.2008 10:23pm
Doc W (mail):
If you're convicted of marijuana possession, does it have an effect on your right to bear arms?
6.9.2008 10:52pm
VincentPaul (mail):
It does in Illinois.
6.9.2008 10:58pm
Soodonim:
Umm I think we are forgetting the opportunity cost to society of having people locked up instead of working. Maybe prisons would still be worth the cost, but we can't know unless we take into account all costs.
6.9.2008 11:48pm
jccamp (mail):
If you're convicted of marijuana possession, does it have an effect on your right to bear arms?

Depends on the level of possession. If it's a felony, then yes, your right to own, possess or even touch a firearm or projectile is restricted or forbidden. A misdemeanor, probably no, you retain your rights. Possessing a firearm at the same time as unlawful drugs may be a substantial hit in some states.

In the first circumstance, there are ways to have your civil rights restored. While state statutes can vary about all of this, it's a violation of US Code for a convicted felon to possess a firearm.
6.9.2008 11:57pm
Curt Fischer:

Let's take a drug enterprise located within a poor ghetto environment, in a larger urban community. Drug related murders are commonly committed in drug areas or crack houses - perhaps a corporate take-over or restructuring if you will, other times a case of internal discipline for theft or other perfidy. We're not likely to find priests or doctors (or lawyers) within this setting, who can act as credible witnesses. Instead, we find poor people trapped within the ghetto, who worry - with good cause - that their cooperation with law enforcement is a dangerous proposition. in these same communities, the police may not be seen as a positive force, and there may be cultural barriers to witnesses coming forward. Many of the witnesses are present at the scene of the crime because they were committing crimes themselves. Not very credible. Murders become hard to prove, even thought there may be multiple eyewitnesses.


First, thanks for the response jccamp. Second, I don't find your example particular compelling because I worry, similarly to TruePath, that not seeing the police as a positive force and cultural barriers to witnesses coming forward are effects of overzealous laws, law enforcement, and prosecution. I'm certainly no expert in the area, though, and would welcome any studies on which way the causality runs on these issues from you, Prof. Wilson, or anyone else.


No, maybe I was confusing. In the cited example, there are enhancements within the drug statutes for various acts committed as part of the drug trafficking and conspiracy. If one possesses a firearm during the drug trafficking, there's an enhancement. If one commits acts of violence, like the murders, there are enhancements. We charge and convict within the statutes. The defendants are sentenced within the statutes. We're not punishing them for something they were not convicted of. We're sanctioning their conduct within the language of the charging laws.


This does clear things up and this practice certainly sounds less frightening to me it did in your initial post. I'm don't work in the criminal justice system I am not sure of the details, but if these enhancements are enshrined in law then certainly no one could fault prosecutors for enforcing them to the best of their ability. Additionally it sounds as if each enhancement's relevance to the facts of the case could be challenged by defendants in front of a jury. Am I understanding things better now?
6.10.2008 12:24am
Oren:
Federal law makes it illegal for anyone who uses illegal drugs to possess a firearm -- a conviction might well be used against you in that case.
6.10.2008 1:06am
Oren:

If you think drugs should be legal for adults but it should still be against the law to sell them to minors, then the major dealers probably aren't guilty of a "victimless crime." If you're in favor of being able to legally sell them to kids, then anything goes.

Good for a laugh Thorley, but "major dealers" don't deal to children. Anyone dealing to a minor is, almost by definition, a very small fish (unless that minor has $10k for some odd reason).
6.10.2008 1:08am
Jon Stigler:
James,

I can't find your positive review of "The Bell Curve". It seems to have disappeared off the net. Any chance of you posting it on this site?
6.10.2008 1:29am
Kazinski:
Oren,

Good for a laugh Thorley, but "major dealers" don't deal to children. Anyone dealing to a minor is, almost by definition, a very small fish (unless that minor has $10k for some odd reason).

That's good for a laugh Oren, one reason we target major dealers is to stop the pipeline before it gets to the small dealers that do sell to kids. The drug laws have wide public support, or is this something only the elite should be able to decide?
6.10.2008 1:45am
Slocum (mail):
The drug laws have wide public support, or is this something only the elite should be able to decide?

Yes, that's true, they do have widespread support. So we are stuck with the violent organized drug gangs, the overflowing prisons (countless lives ruined by prison as they never would have been by drugs), the militarization of police with no-knock, middle-of-the-night SWAT raids, the near-universal drug testing, and last, but certainly not least, the violent undermining of governments in Central and South America (where the effects of our drug war are 10x worse than here). We're stuck with all of that tragic idiocy until the time that the majority gets smarter. For me, that is the one single most depressing aspect of American democracy right now.

That said, I see nothing to suggest that Oren thinks 'the elite' should decide this on their own. The only way to make progress toward the end of the drug war is to convince people. To make them fully aware of both the flimsiness of the pro-drug war arguments and all the evil effects of it. To make people feel ashamed to be in favor of the drug war. There's a long way to go, but you have to start where you are.
6.10.2008 8:34am
justwonderingby:
Studies of New York State prisons show that approximately one-third of prisoners are nonviolent drug offenders

This can't be right. I've practiced criminal defense in NY and very few people go to state prison for drugs alone. Jail yes; prison no.
6.10.2008 8:58am
jccamp (mail):
Curt -
"not seeing the police as a positive force and cultural barriers to witnesses coming forward are effects of overzealous laws, law enforcement, and prosecution"

The relationship of police to policed communities is not something I have credentials to discuss, except in terms of personal experience. However, I would refer to the well-publicized comments of the lamentable Rev Wright as being representative of Black Liberation theology. A community which believes that AIDS is a secret U S project to decimate people of color, or which subscribes to the theory that crack is a U S Government invention to imprison similar groups is not a group perhaps receptive to white police with the power of civil law present in that community. In my personal experience, there is a complete disconnect between the feelings and opinions of the two groups (police and poor black communities). It's like these two groups are standing and staring at each other, both thinking "What planet did they come from with their outlandish beliefs." Over the years, I had plenty of personal relationships with individuals within the ghetto, but asking them to testify against other (criminal) members of the community would have been futile and probably unreasonable of me.

Let me add this: At least in the Southern city I was familiar with, as the police drive by, many people - old, young, male, female - spit as a sign of universal disrespect. it no longer matters where and how this started. How to end it is the issue. But it exists as surely as the sun will rise.

Studies on this phenomena? Beats me. But any study would inevitably be biased toward one side or the other. Or at least perceived that way.

Don't forget too that testifying in court can be a life threatening proposition for someone who has to live in the same community. Witness relocation? We tried that with limited success. The extended family is still in peril.

In the example I cited, we wiped out a drug-based criminal organization responsible for about 3 murders a month over a span of years. The defendants did have a vigorous defense, far better than the average defendant since they had the cash to buy the very best.

Cops use the laws we have to best remove criminals from society. Personally, I had (and have) lots of issues with the so-called war on drugs, but I would use any existing statues to accomplish my task at hand. We all have to live with downside of drugs being unlawful. Might as well use the few benefits provided by these same laws.

Hope that helps at least explain the mindset and the process.

JC
6.10.2008 9:23am
subpatre (mail):
justwonderingby wrote [re. one-third of prisoners are nonviolent drug offenders] This can't be right. I've practiced criminal defense in NY and very few people go to state prison for drugs alone. Jail yes; prison no.

But it is right. Those aren't local laws that sent people to jail, those are state convictions. Just because the states (all of them) have figured out how to transfer the prisoner load to localities doesn't change that the prisoners are in state custody.
6.10.2008 9:42am
PatHMV (mail) (www):
subpatre: Based on my own experiences, I'm quite certain that when JCCamp distinguished between "jail" and "prison" he meant "jail for a short sentence of less than a year" not inmates who were in the custody of the state corrections department but housed at a local jail under some contract the sheriff has with the state for housing long-term prisoners.
6.10.2008 11:23am
jccamp (mail):
I took the number of state prisoners - those convicted of crimes and already sentenced to more than 365 days, whereever housed - as the total population, and then used the (probably) inflated number of people in NY state prisons for drug offenses from the pro-drug reform Drug Policy Awareness Network (who claim 38% of NY state prisoners are drug-related convictions). The total population figures are from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

I believe the use by BJS does not consider those prisoners either awaiting trial or sentenced to less than one year. As Pat points out, many states do farm out prisoners (at a cost) to county jails, to relieve overcrowding at the state facilities. I assume (perhaps mistakenly) that the BJS will count these farmed out inmates as part of the state prison population.

It may also be that the Drug Reform Policy Network counts any inmate who has a drug component to his/her sentence, regardless of other charges. That may explain (part of) the discrepancy.

As I recall (without double checking), the 2004 NY state prison population was around 62,620 (last year that figures seemed available), and the pro-drug web site claimed 14,000 people were in NY prisons (not jails) as a result of drug convictions.
6.10.2008 11:49am
jccamp (mail):
Ooops again. I had found better and more recent numbers at the Pew Center, and that was the basis for the 62,620 total population. I misspoke just a moment ago when I said that BJS was the basis and the numbers were from 2004.
A senior moment.
6.10.2008 11:51am
Oren:
That's good for a laugh Oren, one reason we target major dealers is to stop the pipeline before it gets to the small dealers that do sell to kids.
That's at least a reasonable argument for busting the big dealers (one I think is profoundly incorrect but quite reasonable).

The point is that major dealers themselves are normally only guilty of victim-less crimes, in the sense that they only sell to other consenting adults. Perhaps down-stream, some of their customer's customers do indeed sell to children, which is utterly contemptible, but I think that "victim-ful" crime is sufficiently attenuated from the original sale as to be irrelevant. We don't usually hold sellers responsible for what their customers do with their product.

The situation is quite analogous to gun companies and dealers that follow the rules and only sell to FFLs / background-check individuals and yet are still sued by liberal cities (and their authoritarian mayors) because they failed to regulate what their customer's customers did with their products: to wit, sold or transferred them to ineligible people.
6.10.2008 1:52pm
jccamp (mail):
"The point is that major dealers themselves are normally only guilty of victim-less crimes"

I would add this: there is considerable - and well known - violent crime intrinsic to the trade in unlawful narcotics. Just consider the oft publicized shooting war in the border towns in Mexico. At a street level drug trade in the U S, people die every day, from overdose or gunshot wound. A person who non-violently participates in the drug trafficking cannot somehow inoculate himself/herself from this reality, since there is no lawful market for the drugs we are talking about.

I think the analogy of firearms manufacturers fails, if only because there is a known legitimate (well, lawful anyway) market for his guns.

Having said that, there are drug traffickers who do not use violence as part of their business model. But, somewhere in the pipeline, the product that passes through their hands is a source of violence and death.

But again, why not just decriminalize drugs and be done with it. We could not possibly do any worse.

If any of the blog writers are watching, why not find some scholarly reference, pro or con legalization. We can put on our asbestos suits and let fly.
6.10.2008 2:07pm
JamesR (mail):
"The drug laws have wide public support, or is this something only the elite should be able to decide?"

Only because the drug war industry has a multi million dollar marketing budget. And lets not pretend that is donation money.
6.10.2008 2:25pm
NickM (mail) (www):
In addition to jccamp's explanation about cultural factors, there is also the issue that witnesses who are immigrants from repressive countries bring their fear of having any contact with the police into the U.S. This problem is especially pronounced in many cities among the Salvadoran community, which accounts in part for the spread of MS-13's power.

Nick
6.10.2008 2:48pm
Slipstream (mail):
I love the term "major dealer." This is incredibly subjective. One possibility is to define major dealers as those whose crimes trigger their state's mandatory minimum penalty statutes. Pennsylvania, for example, sentences a first time dealer who possesses or sells more than 2 grams of crack or powder cocaine to 1-2 years. It is a 2-4 year sentence for over 1 gram of heroin.

These weights are certainly no where close to being significant amounts. Two grams of crack and one gram of heroin are roughly street priced at $200 and cost the dealer about 150 bucks. Many of these dealers are simply selling so they can smoke for free. Smoking for free is the act of buying $200 worth of crack for $150. The dealer smokes 10 rocks throughout the day while hustling the crack. He makes just enough to "re-up" and then start all over. These guys are not the guys that need to be in jail. Further, to bring the juvenile issue back into the mix, many of the dealers selling comparable weight on the street are themselves juveniles. Juveniles are not subject to mandatory penalties, are more impressionable than their adult counterparts, and can more readily be co-opted to deal for a slightly bigger fish.

I do, however, take some issue with the idea that drug dealing and use are victimless crimes. Yes, dealers are providing a service only to those who desire it. Rarely do they actually "push" like those scare commercials from the Office of National Drug Control Police suggest. Still, the communities are seriously harmed by the attendant problems, turf wars, thefts, and sickness that accompany locations where dealers frequent. Still, most of that stems from the way we have structured the drug market, not the base concept of the supply/demand market itself. Thus, as long as use and dealing are crimes, the crimes will have "victims." If a new structure of sale/distribution/or even decriminalization were imposed, the victims would be less, and it would no longer be crime.
6.10.2008 9:01pm
Fub:
JamesR wrote at 6.10.2008 1:25pm:
"The drug laws have wide public support, or is this something only the elite should be able to decide?"

Only because the drug war industry has a multi million dollar marketing budget. And lets not pretend that is donation money.
The Congress has created a much greater political hurdle for legalization than any mere political interest group or lobby could ever create alone.

21 U.S.C. Section 1703(b)(12) requires that the director of ONDCP
shall ensure that no Federal funds appropriated to the Office of National Drug Control Policy shall be expended for any study or contract relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of a substance listed in schedule I of section 812 of this title and take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form) that—
(A) is listed in schedule I of section 812 of this title; and
(B) has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration;
Prohibitionism, which movement was born in the 19th century alongside communism, is a much smarter movement although the goals of both are comparably totalitarian.

Communists sought to become government. Prohibitionists instead sought to become permanent parasites upon existing governments. The former has largely failed. The latter has succeeded spectacularly.
6.11.2008 2:31am