Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A "Balanced Approach" to Drug Control?

Despite trumpeting a "balanced and comprehensive drug strategy," President Obama's White House Drug Czar's office announced this week that it is continuing the nearly two-to-one budget disparity that heavily favors spending on law enforcement and punishment over public health strategies like treatment and prevention.

Page 13 of this PDF has all the details.

And, in continuing with a shady practice first instituted by the Bush administration, it looks like Obama's ONDCP isn't even including many of the costs of waging the drug war in the budget breakdown, meaning that the supply vs. demand ratio even more heavily favors punishment over public health in reality than it does on paper (which is bad enough, if you ask us).

It sure was an encouraging signal when Drug Czar Kerlikowske declared that the "war on drugs" was over shortly after he took the job last year. But until the budget numbers match up with rhetoric, it looks like the war is still being waged.


  1. Yea... I expected this. Until we pass the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act / Tax Cannabis 2010... This will continue in full.

    Support the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act of 2010: http://www.cannabistaxact.org/

  2. It can't be possible that the Obama administration would say one thing and do another {insert fake shocked look here}. He got an eye opening crash course in reality on the day he took office. The president isn't the leader of the US. he is a tool being used by the real powers that be.

  3. Same as the old boss...way to go Mr. Change!

  4. Lets see,spend 15 billion dollars and maybe kill a few more cartel members and confiscate a few more tons of marijuana. Which does not phase the cartels or stop the green market.
    Our prisons are already full,so how much is the bill going to be to build more?
    I think we need to just let these idiots keep spending until we get to see how the next government of this country handles the situation.

  5. Viewed from this side of the pond the election of Obama seemed a bit like the election of our Mr Blair in 1997 - a young, apparently progressive new broom willing to sweep away the hopelessness caused by the previous administration. Indeed - Obama actually offered "hope", a suspiciously easy thing to offer.

    What we got with Blair of course was more of the same, there was to be no new dawn, no new way. Worse, he turned out to me not only a fake but a lying fake.

    I hope Obama isn't a Blair Mk2, but it's not looking good is it?

  6. It's clear that these battles will be won in spite of -- not along with -- the federal government. I've heard criticisms before about the medical marijuana movement and ballot initiatives and such, to the effect that this isn't the "proper" way to get something like this done. These people would prefer a top-down decision in which nothing is done without the blessing of the federal government. Well, when the government keeps the game rigged, there's not much we can do in the "proper" channels.

    So let's keep it up: the ballot initiatives, the medical laws, the city regulations, the civil disobedience. That whole wonderful confusing mess. All historical advances for the cause of freedom -- from the revolutionary war to the underground railroad to Rosa Parks -- came not from working within the established system, but from confronting it head-on. This is what we're doing right now, as we speak. The federal government will be the last part of the wall to crumble, not the first.

  7. Thanks for the comments everyone. Rhayader - great comment and I agree with you 100% (although, of course, I can't counsel civil disobedience, for reasons that are probably obvious :). I think drug policy reform will occur (and has been occuring) from the bottom up rather than the top down.


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