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Dennis Kucinich on Drugs

Democratic Representative (OH-10); Democratic Candidate for President


Hasn't smoked marijuana, but would decriminalize it

At the "Rock the Vote" debate, the moderator inevitably asked,. "Which of you are ready to admit to having used marijuana in the past?"

"Yes," said John Kerry, leading off. "Yes," said John Edwards . "Yes," said Howard Dean. None of these three baby-boomer candidates said anything beyond their short, declarative affirmations. None followed with a hurried explanation that it was just a few times, that it was some kind of "youthful indiscretion," or that he didn't inhale. The implication of their answers seemed to be, "Yeah, so what?"

In fact, the defensive answers tended to come from those replying in the negative. "No," said Dennis Kucinich. "But I think it ought to be decriminalized."

"I grew up in the church," said Al Sharpton. "We didn't believe in that."

"I have a reputation for giving unpopular answers," said Joe Lieberman. "I never used marijuana. Sorry!"

In the next day's news coverage, the admissions of marijuana smoking were largely ignored.

Source: [X-ref Kerry] Steven Holmes, NY Times Nov 9, 2003

Emphasizes rehabilitation over incarceration

Q: Most of the people who use drugs are white. Most of the people who are sentenced for drug possession and sales are black. What will you do to reverse this unfair trend?

KUCINICH: First of all, we have to acknowledge that drug sentencing ends up being discriminatory, that our drug laws are harsh in that they emphasize not just criminalization but they emphasize incarceration. We need different thinking today. My presidency will mean that we will begin to emphasize the rehabilitation of people who are afflicted with drug use. And we will begin to emphasize giving people an opportunity to fully recover. This is one of the reasons why we need a not-for-profit health care system which includes treatment of substance abusers. This is why we need to make sure we focus this country on a cause which takes us away from this punitive approach that we use for people who are trapped in drug use. We need an approach which emphasizes rehabilitation over incarceration.

Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate Sep 9, 2003

War on Drugs benefits only the prison-industrial complex

A safe, free and just America is undermined, not bolstered, by the costly and ineffective War on Drugs. Criminalization over treatment has led to increased violent crime, misdirected resources of law enforcement and restricted Constitutional liberties. The US must rethink a policy that produces many casualties, but benefits only the prison-industrial complex.
Source: Campaign website, www.Kucinich.us, "On The Issues" Aug 1, 2003

Racial bias in drug enforcement is pervasive

Racial bias in the enforcement of drug laws is pervasive. Drug use is consistent across racial and socioeconomic lines, yet in the state of New York, for example, 94% of incarcerated drug offenders are Latino or African-American, mostly from poor communities.
Source: Campaign website, www.Kucinich.us, "On The Issues" Aug 1, 2003

Addiction is a medical and moral problem

Addiction is a medical and moral problem that should be treated by professionals, not dumped on the criminal justice system. In our country, only one bed exists for every ten people who apply for drug treatment.
Source: Campaign website, www.Kucinich.us, "On The Issues" Aug 1, 2003

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.
Bill HR 2586 ; vote number 2001-356 on Sep 25, 2001

Voted NO on prohibiting needle exchange & medical marijuana in DC.

Vote to pass a bill that provides $429.1 million in funds for the District of Columbia and approves the District's $6.8 billion budget. Among other provisions, the bill prohibits the use of federal funds for needle exchange programs, prohibits implementing an approved ballot initiative to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Istook, R-OK; Bill HR 3064 ; vote number 1999-504 on Oct 14, 1999

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.
Reference: Amendment by Taylor, D-MS; bill by Portman, R-OH.; Bill HR 4550 ; vote number 1998-443 on Sep 16, 1998

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

Kucinich 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.

Source: VOTE-HEMP website 02n-HEMP on Dec 31, 2003

Other candidates on Drugs: Dennis Kucinich on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families/Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
Jobs
Principles/Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
Welfare/Poverty
Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts