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Obama’s new Drug Czar budget tilted 2-1 for law enforcement vs. treatment

  • by Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator February 4, 2010

    (The Raw Story via InfoWars.com) “We’re not at war with people in this country,” [US Drug Czar Gil] Kerlikowske told The Wall Street Journal in May.

    However, if the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s (ONDCP) budget for fiscal year 2011 is to be believed, Kerlikowske was full of hot air.

    According to 2011 funding “highlights” released by the ONDCP (PDF link), the Obama administration is growing the drug war and tilting its funds heavily toward law enforcement over treatment.

    The president’s National Drug Control Budget also continues the Bush administration’s public relations tactic of obscuring the costs of prosecuting and imprisoning drug offenders. “Enron style accounting,” is how drug policy reform advocate Kevin Zeese described it, writing for Alternet in 2002.

    The budget places America’s drug war spending at $15.5 billion for fiscal year 2011; an increase of 3.5 percent over FY 2010. That figure reflects a 5.2 percent increase in overall enforcement funding, growing from $9.7 billion in FY 2010 to $9.9 billion in FY 2011. Addiction treatment and preventative measures, however, are budgeted at $5.6 billion for FY 2011, an increase from $5.2 billion in FY 2010.

    In short, the Obama administration’s appropriations for treating drug addiction are just short of half that dedicated to prosecuting the war.

    The problem, of course, is that when you have declared drugs to be illegal, you must expend resources to arrest, try, and convict the people who manufacture, transport, sell, buy, and use drugs. It’s really less about the the people who use drugs than it is about the people whose jobs depend on arresting the people who use drugs.

    We’re in the middle of a recession. Jobless numbers are through the roof. If marijuana were regulated like alcohol or tobacco, you suddenly add a whole bunch of DEA, police, prosecutors, wardens, guards, and more to the unemployment line. Then add in the young people who have found marijuana growing and dealing to be the only living wage job they can find, now suddenly unemployed by marijuana re-legalization, and you’ll see unemployment figures that would guarantee an Obama re-election defeat in 2012.

    Yes, a legal marijuana market would open up many jobs and industries and tax revenues heretofore unrealized, but transitioning to that market is going to take time. In the meantime, what jobs are open for former drug cops and pot dealers?

    We bring this up to temper our disappointment in a man who in 2004 said our “War on Drugs is an utter failure and we need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws” but in 2010 has turned into just another prohibitionist president.

    (Find more information on this contradiction between the Obama Administration’s lip service toward treatment over incarceration, complete with quotes and informative graphs, at Pete Guither’s informative DrugWarRant blog.)

    124 Responses to “Obama’s new Drug Czar budget tilted 2-1 for law enforcement vs. treatment”

    1. Joel: the other Joel says:

      President Obama would not talk to the American people of why he is doing this. How come?
      There is no way he will be re-elected in 2012. No way.

    2. scott says:

      I’m so over this fucking government. Its time to take our shit back and stop playing around. We all need to exorcise our rights to own a fire arm, before its taken away. When the time comes we can get rid of these fuckers once and for all.

    3. concerned citizen says:

      why do they keep spending our tax dollars on a failed war. we need change.

    4. Brian says:

      “We’re in the middle of a recession. Jobless numbers are through the roof. If marijuana were regulated like alcohol or tobacco, you suddenly add a whole bunch of DEA, police, prosecutors, wardens, guards, and more to the unemployment line. Then add in the young people who have found marijuana growing and dealing to be the only living wage job they can find, now suddenly unemployed by marijuana re-legalization, and you’ll see unemployment figures that would guarantee an Obama re-election defeat in 2012.”

      Awwwwwwwww, poor Obama won’t have a job in 2012. Ya that’s a good reason to expand the drug war, throw more innocent people in jail, and spend way too much money doing so. You are such a disappointment.

    5. Kyle says:

      You expected more from Obama?
      Ron Paul 2012

      [Editor’s note: Why be delusional that a libertarian-leaning Republican (who, if elected in 2012 will be 77 years-old) that is unpopular in his own party [How many Republican primaries did he win? What percentage of support did he garner? Paul can’t pull more than 5% from Republicans, support is even less from Democrats and Independent voters. How does the LP candidates, like Barr, do in national elections?], specifically Ron Paul, is ever going to be elected president by a majority of national voters?

      Ron Paul’s legacy is not going to be president of the U.S. What it appears to be is that he is a very popular political figure, who is a clear-minded and full-throated voice for personal liberty, constitutional values and fiscal responsibility. For this he deserves immense credit for spending his time on earth going to almost anyplace–big or small–to spread the message of Libertarianism.

      NORML is a non-partisan organization that sees merit in having a political system that is not effectively a duopoly. However, this does not change the fairly clear reality that Ron Paul will not be elected president of the US in 2012 at 77 years-old running as a libertarian-leaning Republican or as a Libertarian.]

    6. law enforcement is the real enemy says:

      YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF HOW WE CAN NOT TRUST THE GOVT AND THE PEOPLE WE ELECT IN TO POWER, NO MATTER WHAT THE FACTS ARE.

      IS OBAMA REALLY JUST DOING THIS FOR THE “JOBS” THAT ARE AT RISK
      ALSO

      I DONT THINK THAT DECRIMINALIZATION WOULD LEAD TO FEWER COPS AND CORRECTIONS OFFICERS

      POLICE WILL BE ABLE TO FOCUS ON MORE IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT WHICH WOULD BE TO PROTECT AND SERVE AND NOT “JUST PROTECTING US FROM OURSELVES”, BUT FROM THE CRIMINAL WE FEAR, IN FACT A CHANGE IN PRIORITY FOR MANY POLICE DEPT. WOULD BE A POSITIVE THING A FOCUS MORE ON CRIMES WHERE THE VICTIM AND CRIMINAL ARE TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE

      ITS BECOMING CLEARER THAT WE MUST ESCALATE THIS MOVEMENT

    7. AK says:

      haha an MP5 are you kidding me? My AK-47 will take care of that!

    8. Anonymous says:

      doesn’t gold ever run out i mean 15 billion just on 1 subject which shouldn’t be a subject anyway

      Where’s the gold backup
      and from who we’re borrowing from and their plans.
      spending trillions each where’s the gold to support this

      I say we use marijuana for new currency,really

      literally at that

      fucking gov’s. gonna cause us to be money less in 10 years…

      probably not but only because they “think” we ” think” there’s endless gold :smh:

    9. Jesse says:

      doesn’t gold ever run out i mean 15 billion just on 1 subject which shouldn’t be a subject anyway

      Where’s the gold backup
      and from who we’re borrowing from and their plans.
      spending trillions each where’s the gold to support this

      I say we use marijuana for new currency,really

      literally at that

      fucking gov’s. gonna cause us to be money less in 10 years…

      probably not but only because they “think” we ” think” there’s endless gold :smh:

    10. jimmy says:

      Then they can go arrest coke and meth dealers, drugs that actually kill people. they’ll quit wasting money catching millions that use marijuana. Then you start growing pot, 60 days and you have product. then you sell it in shops that people who want to make money will set up. free market enterprise would make it a great business. now people can finally buy what they want without going through the black market

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