In a post earlier this year I suggested, way too optimistically, that the Trump administration might not undo the policies adopted by Attorney General Holder allowing his prosecutors to ease up on their charges in drug cases. The conservative magazine, National Review, reports with forthright regret, those policies have now been replaced with renewed instructions to enforce the laws Congress has enacted.
NR is respected by most Republicans and it is good to see them urging the Republican dominated Congress to pass better laws for the AG to enforce.
Among these they suggest more sensible differentiation between classes of drugs, for example by taking marijuana out of Schedule I, where it is condemned along with heroin, and turning its regulation entirely over to the states. NR also intelligently suggests ending the stupid policy of jailing low level drug offenders and instead, diverting them to rehab programs.
Pointing out we can be tough and smart at the same time, NR argues for ending the war on drugs metaphor that has led to inhumane treatment of troubled people and enrolled young men and women in “the organized crime vocational academies we call penitentiaries.”
Cities around the country are following Seattle’s lead with programs that show what smart means in this area of the law. In these programs, low-level offenders are treated as in need of a course correction, not punishment, and get a second chance. Counselors help them stabilize their lives with better nutrition, housing and even sometimes employment. It’s called law enforcement administrative diversion, LEAD, and it has proven its worth in reduced crime and in providing addicts a platform from which to rebuild their lives.
Too bad our politicians are so far behind the curve on intelligent ways to deal with drug issues.
© All rights reserved to Dave Finch, July 2, 2017.
For more enlightenment on drugs and policy visit my Reform Drug Policy Project.