Janet Reno on Drugs
Former Attorney General; Democratic Challenger FL Governor
But the task force ignored the state’s budget woes and get-tough mood when it also recommended that health insurers be required to provide coverage for substance-abuse treatment. Reno convinced the group to stop short of calling for mandatory sentences for possession of tiny amounts of cocaine, which many prosecutors said would allow targeting street-corner crack dealers. Because the state prison system was already so overcrowded army surplus tents were being pitched on some prison grounds-Reno reasoned that mandatory sentences would have been “meaningless.” Without additional prison cells, she said, “The whole discussion of penalties is really absurd.”
In a case dubbed the ”Video Canary,“ Reno’s investigators worked undercover to track drug smugglers. Local DEA agents objected, claiming it was more important to stop the shipments before they hit the streets than to pursue the limits of the ring. The operation deadlocked. Reno often cited the conflicts in the Video Canary case as an example of how the feds could stifle creative work by state and local officials.
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