Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Biden on drugs

In continuing with our "on Biden" series, today we look at Joe Biden's views on drugs. All are from ontheissues.org except where otherwise linked. First, the good:

  • Supported eliminating the disparity in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine.
  • Supports the idea of drug courts and focus on treatment, and theoretically opposes increased penalties for drug crimes.
  • Recognizes the fact that America's gun problem is largely a drug problem (though he doesn't recognize that it's a drug law problem, not a drug problem).
And the ugly:
  • Coined the term "drug czar" while championing the new office.
  • Against lowering the drinking age from 21.
  • Is proud of having enacted legislation that increases penalties for those caught dealing drugs within 1000 feet from a school.
  • Championed the RAVE Act and its identical eventually-passed boringly-named version, which he snuck through without debate. This anti-ecstasy law (broad enough to be used to persecute NORML) was perhaps spurred by the infamous "holes in the brain" article which alleged that MDMA was highly neurotoxic – i.e., really bad. Only, it turns out the research was bad and the authors had to retract it. Oddly enough, I don't remember Joe Biden ever reconsidering his vote in light of the evidence. Funny how that works.

They follow the standard Democrat line – support specific marginal changes to the way we process criminals, emphasize the treatment part, but leave the bigger picture unchanged.

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