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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Ron Paul's Position on Drugs

War on drugs is out of control; revert control to states

Q: In your 1988 campaign you said, "All drugs should be decriminalized. Drugs should be distributed by any adult to other adults. There should be no controls on production, supply or purchase for adults." Is that still your position?

A: Yeah. It's sor of like alcohol. Alcohol's a deadly drug, kills more people than anything else. And today the absurdity on this war on drugs has just been horrible. Now the federal government takes over and overrules states where state laws permit medicinal marijuana 1 for people dying of cancer. The federal government goes in and arrests these people, put them in prison with mandatory sentences. This war on drugs is totally out of control. If you want to regulate cigarettes and alcohol and drugs, it should be at the state level. That's where I stand on it. The federal government has no prerogatives on this.

Q: But you would decriminalize it?

A: I would, at the federal level. I don't have control over the states. And that's why the Constitution's there.

Repeal most federal drug laws; blacks are treated unfairly

Q: If you are elected president in 2008, what positive and significant legacy, if any, will you leave for Black Americans?

A: I would like to believe that if we had a freer society, it would take care of Blacks and whites and everybody equally because we're all individuals. To me, that is so important. But if we had equal justice under the law, I think it would be a big improvement. If we had probably a repeal of most of the federal laws on drugs and the unfairness on how Blacks are treated with these drugs laws, it would be a tremendous improvement. And also, I think that if you're going to have prosperity, it serves everybody. And if this is done by emphasizing property rights and freedom of the individuals, making sure that the powerful special interests don't control Washington, that the military industrial complex doesn't suck away all the wealth of the country, and then we would have prosperity.

Inner-city minorities are punished unfairly in war on drugs

Q: What policy would you support to guarantee young Black and Latino men a fairer equal justice system?

A: A system designed to protect individual liberty will have no punishments for any group and no privileges. Today, I think inner-city folks and minorities are punished unfairly in the war on drugs. For instance, Blacks make up 14% of those who use drugs, yet 36 percent of those arrested are Blacks and it ends up that 63% of those who finally end up in prison are Blacks. This has to change. We don't have to have more courts and more prisons. We need to repeal the whole war on drugs. It isn't working. We have already spent over $400 billion since the early 1970s, and it is wasted money. Prohibition didn't work. Prohibition on drugs doesn't work. So we need to come to our senses. And, absolutely, it's a disease. We don't treat alcoholics like this. This is a disease, and we should orient ourselves to this. That is one way you could have equal justice under the law.

$500B on War on Drugs since 1970s has been a total failure

On the issue of drugs, we have spent nearly five hundred billion dollars on the War on Drugs, since the 1970s. Total failure. Some day, we have to admit it. Today, we have the federal government going into states that have legal medical marijuana, arresting people--undermining state laws--arresting people who use marijuana when they're dying with cancer and AIDS, and it's done with, as a compassionate conservative. And it doesn't work.

What it does, it removes the ability to states to do their things, and also introduces the idea that it's the federal government that will get to decide whether we get to take vitamins, and alternative medical care, or whatever. Most of our history, believe it or not, had no drug laws. Prohibition has been an absolute failure for alcohol. Drug addiction is a medical problem. It's not a problem of the law.

Legalize industrial hemp

Paul believes in the legalization of industrial hemp. Paul supported HR 3037 to amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. This bill would have given the states the power to regulate farming of hemp. The measure would be a first since the national prohibition of industrial hemp farming in the United States. He favors the legalization of marijuana.

Drug War fosters violence at home & breeds resentment abroad

For the first 140 years of our history, we had essentially no federal war on drugs, and far fewer problems with drug addiction and related crimes as a consequence. In the past 30 years, even with the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on the drug war, little good has come of it. We have vacillated from efforts to stop the drugs at the source to severely punishing the users, yet nothing has improved.

The drug war encourages violence. Government violence against nonviolent users is notorious and has led to the unnecessary prison overpopulation. Innocent taxpayers are forced to pay for all this so-called justice. Our drug eradication project (using spraying) around the world, from Colombia to Afghanistan, breeds resentment because normal crops and good land can be severely damaged. Local populations perceive that the efforts and the profiteering remain somehow beneficial to our own agenda in these various countries.

Voted NO on military border patrols to battle drugs & terrorism.

Amendment to set up a task force on counter-terrorism and drug interdiction and allow military personnel to help patrol U.S. borders.

Voted NO on subjecting federal employees to random drug tests.

Drug Demand Reduction Act: Vote on an amendment to require that anyone hired by the Federal Government is subject to random, unannounced drug testing.

War on Drugs has abused Bill of Rights.

Paul adopted the Republican Liberty Caucus Position Statement:

As adopted by the General Membership of the Republican Liberty Caucus at its Biannual Meeting held December 8, 2000.
WHEREAS libertarian Republicans believe in limited government, individual freedom and personal responsibility;
WHEREAS we believe that government has no money nor power not derived from the consent of the people;
WHEREAS we believe that people have the right to keep the fruits of their labor; and
WHEREAS we believe in upholding the US Constitution as the supreme law of the land;

BE IT RESOLVED that the Republican Liberty Caucus endorses the following [among its] principles:
While recognizing the harm that drug abuse causes society, we also recognize that government drug policy has been ineffective and has led to frightening abuses of the Bill of Rights which could affect the personal freedom of any American. We, therefore, support alternatives to the War on Drugs.
Per the tenth amendment to the US Constitution, matters such as drugs should be handled at the state or personal level.
All laws which give license to violate the Bill of Rights should be repealed.

Legalize medical marijuana.

Paul sponsored the States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act:

Title: To provide for the medical use of marijuana in accordance with the laws of the various States. Summary: Transfers marijuana from schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act to schedule II of such Act. Declares that, in a State in which marijuana may be prescribed or recommended by a physician for medical use under applicable State law, no provision of the Controlled Substances Act shall prohibit or otherwise restrict:

the prescription or recommendation of marijuana by a physician for medical use;

an individual from obtaining and using marijuana from a physician's prescription or recommendation of marijuana for medical use; or

a pharmacy from obtaining and holding marijuana for the prescription or recommendation of marijuana by a physician for medical use under applicable State law.

Prohibits any provision of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act from prohibiting or restricting a State entity from producing or distributing marijuana for the purpose of its distribution for prescription or recommendation by a physician in a State in which marijuana may be prescribed by a physician for medical use.

Rated A by VOTE-HEMP, indicating a pro-hemp voting record.

Paul scores A by VOTE-HEMP on pro-hemp legalization policies

VOTE HEMP is a non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and free market for Industrial Hemp. Industrial Hemp is non-psychoactive low THC varieties of the cannabis sativa plant. Currently, it is illegal for U.S. farmers to grow Industrial Hemp because it is improperly classified as a "drug" under the Controlled Substances Act. Since changes in law require shifts in thinking and this requires education in the facts, our primary goal is the education of legislators and regulators, farmers and businesses, students and other concerned citizens.

Rated +30 by NORML, indicating a pro-drug-reform stance.

Paul scores +30 by the NORML on drug reform

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2006 NORML scores as follows:

-30 to -10: "hard-on-drugs" stance (approx. 228 members)
-9 to +9: mixed record on drug reform (approx. 37 members)
+10 to +30: pro-drug-reform stance (approx. 109 members)

About NORML (from their website, www.norml.org):

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law's mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the repeal of marijuana prohibition so that the responsible use of cannabis by adults is no longer subject to penalty.

NORML is a nonprofit, public-interest lobby that for more than 30 years has provided a voice for those Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition. We represent the interests of the tens of millions of Americans who smoke marijuana responsibly and believe the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana should no longer be a crime.

NORML supports the removal of all criminal penalties for the private possession & responsible use of marijuana by adults, including the cultivation for personal use, and the casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts. This model is called "decriminalization."

NORML additionally supports the development of a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers could purchase it from a safe, legal and regulated source. This model is referred to as "legalization."

NORML believes that marijuana smoking is not for kids and should only be used responsibly by adults. As with alcohol consumption, it must never be an excuse for misconduct or other bad behavior. Driving or operating heavy equipment while impaired from marijuana should be prohibited.

NORML strongly supports the right of patients to use marijuana as a medicine when their physician recommends it to relieve pain and suffering.

Lastly, NORML supports the right of farmers to commercially cultivate hemp for industrial purposes, such as food and fiber production.

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