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Voices of Reason PDF Print E-mail
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Grey Literature - DPF: Drug Policy Letter summer 1998
Saturday, 04 July 1998 00:00

While many in Congress believe that they have to be "tough on drugs," there are a few pragmatic leaders who question the wisdom of America's punitive drug policies. By culling the Congressional Record, transcripts, and press releases, we found a few standouts.

America's Drug Policy
46 [W]e have a national war on drugs which is a total failure, has not done any good, has done great harm.... [lin the name of the drug war, we have sacrificed much, both in terms of money and our liberties, while failing to solve the problem."
Rep. Ron Paul, M.D. (R-Tex.)
House of Representatives
March 6, 1997

We have this 'lock-them-up-and-throw-the-key-away' [attitude] for young people with small amounts of drugs when we should be rehabilitating them, have more prevention in our schools and in our community. We should be thinking about what we can do to reduce the cost of incarceration and ruining lives."
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Cal.) House of Representatives, February 24, 1998

Medical Marijuana


I support the medical use of marijuana, and increasingly a number of people seem to agree, as evidenced by the successful referenda in California and Arizona. But what we need to do to get marijuana into the hands of the truly suffering is remove the federal controls on marijuana so the states can determine this issue for themselves."
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)
Press Release, May 29, 1997

Civil Asset Forfeiture


Unfortunately, I think I can say that our civil asset seizure laws are being used in terribly unjust ways, and are depriving innocent citizens of their property with nothing that can be called due process. This is wrong and it must be stopped."
Rep. Henry Hyde (R-111.) House Judiciary Committee Hearings on the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act, June II, 1997


"When Chairman Hyde and I complained that it should matter that the government is taking money from innocent persons, the government answered us, in part, that they were concerned about losing money.... Is that the only line they know: 'Show me the money'?"
Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.)
House Judiciary Committee Hearings on the
Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act, June 11, 1997

Syringe Exchange

"I must admit ... to one recurring frustration, and that is that too often research findings, even scientific or social, do not dictate or influence our policies or our legislation. ... The time has come to stop fighting the war against AIDS on the altar of political correctness and treat this disease as the public health crisis that it is."
Rep. Donna Christian-Green (D-Virgin Islands)
House of Representatives, April 29, 1998
— during the House floor debate on H.R. 3717, which proposed banning federal funding of syringe exchange

If we wanted to find out whether or not ... federal-supported needle exchange is going to ... decrease the spread of HIV, ... whether lives could be saved, whether federal dollars could be saved, whether this terrible and tragic disease could be held back, we do not do this with a resolution, we do these things with hearings. We search for the truth. We do not ask members just to say 'no.'"
Rep. Charlie Range! (D-NY)
House of Representatives, April 29, 1998
— objecting to bringing the anti-syringe exchange bill directly to the House floor without holding hearings