Dennis Kucinich on Drugs
Democratic Representative (OH-10)
CLINTON: I believe we’ve got to decrease the disparity that exists. But I have problems with retroactivity.
DODD: I’d be inclined to say yes on the retroactivity.
EDWARDS: I’m not just inclined to say yes; the answer is yes, absolutely; it should be retroactive.
BIDEN: Yes. I would ban--in all public [places], nationally.
DODD: 3,000 kids start smoking every day in this country.
RICHARDSON: I did it in New Mexico as a national law.
KUCINICH: You bet I’ll go for a national law.
Q: So Biden, Dodd, Richardson, Gravel and Kucinich in favor of a national law.
EDWARDS: Wait, wait, wait, and Edwards.
BIDEN: Absolutely no, I would not. The cost of alcoholism in America, the cost of accidents that flow from drunkenness, are astronomical.
DODD: No, I agree with Joe on this. The problems associated with alcohol are significant in our country. The evidence is overwhelming..
KUCINICH: You know, I think that not only about service, but we have to have confidence in young Americans. And a president who reaches out to them and talks to them about drinking responsibly is much better than a president who tells them, “Thou shalt not,” because young people will do what they do, but they’re looking for leadership from a president. I’m ready to provide that leadership. Of course they should be able to drink at age 18, and they should be able to vote at age 16.
A: Four years ago, when there were raids in California, I, as a member of Congress, objected to that. And, of course, it’s a matter between doctors and patients. And if doctors want to prescribe medical marijuana to relieve pain, compassion requires that the government support that. And so, as president of the US, I would make sure that our Justice Department was mindful that we should be taking a compassionate approach. I want to go one step further, because this whole issue of drugs in our society is misplaced. I mean, drugs have infected this society, but I think we need to look at it more as a medical and a health issue than as a criminal justice issue.
“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.
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.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): The drug crisis facing the US remains a top national security threat. This bill represents a new partnership with Mexico and Central American countries to face the immediate security threat of drug gangs, and help these neighbors build the capacity of their law enforcement agencies.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. MICHAEL McCAUL (R, TX-10): We need a strategy on this side of the border: a two-pronged Approach; a comprehensive strategy that deals not only with the Mexican side but with the US side. And for too long, our border sheriffs and our Border Patrol agents have been outmanned and outgunned. And if we are going to provide assistance to Mexico, it seems to me we ought to be providing assistance to our men and women on our side fighting this war every day.
Rep. TED POE (R, TX-2): I am concerned about drugs and violence on the border, but I am also concerned about corruption. In order to gain control of access corridors in the US, drug cartels are hiring hit men from an elite force in Mexico's military. This group is known as the "Zetas." Some of the Zetas are military deserters that may have been trained in the US. $1 billion in this bill would go to Mexico. And Mexico in its arrogance objects to any conditions we want to put on this money. The administration can offer us no assurance that our equipment and training won't be used against us and neither can Mexico.
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.
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2006 NORML scores as follows:
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.
This bill amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to repeal the provisions prohibiting persons convicted of drug offenses from receiving student financial assistance.
To permit the use of Federal funds for syringe exchange programs for purposes of reducing the transmission of bloodborne pathogens, including HIV and viral hepatitis.
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