Where the Presidential Candidates stand on the Drug War

George W. Bush - Republican

Supports military package to Colombia to fight drug supply
Bush has said little on the drug issue. His campaign spokesman said the governor favors the Colombian military package [which would eradicate drug suppliers], "to make sure their military is well-trained and well-equipped to fight the drug traffickers." Bush is still trailed by unsubstantiated allegations of cocaine use. Bush also is a strong supporter of faith-based initiatives to fight addiction.
Source: Boston Globe, p. A21 Mar 5, 2000

Stronger penalties for first time cocaine possession
As governor, Bush favored tougher laws for drug offendors, including signing legislation that allows judicial discretion to sentence first-time offendors possessing less than one gram of cocaine to a maximum of 180 days in jail. (Previously, first-time offendors received automatic probation.) Bush is still trailed by unsubstantiated allegations of cocaine use.
Source: Boston Globe, p. A21 Mar 5, 2000

Identifies with former addicts based on former alcoholism
Bush told a group of recovering drug addicts that he still identifies with their struggle, more than a decade after he gave up alcohol. Bush told the young men his Christian faith was critical in shaping his turnaround. He cast his battle in simple terms, saying: "Just like you, I'm on a walk, and it's a never-ending walk as far as I'm concerned. I used to drink too much and I quit drinking. I want you to know that your life's walk is shared by a lot of other people. Even some who wear suits." Bush has said he was never addicted to alcohol. But since giving up drinking in 1986 at age 40, he described that as a turning point in his life.
Source: Boston Globe, p. A12 Jan 22, 2000

Supports tough drug laws as well as drug education programs.
Drugs and alcohol destroy lives. We have toughened laws for people who sell drugs. We also spend millions of dollars on education programs such as "Safe and Drug-free Schools" grants.
Source: www.governor.state.tx.us/divisions/faq_index.html 12/31/98 Dec 31, 1998

Dick Cheney - Republican

Mandatory penalties to fight for a drug-free America
Cheney co-sponsored the following bills in Congress:
* H.R.4446 (1988):A bill to provide for a drug-free America.
* H.R.4842 (1988):A bill to combat the production, sale, and use of illicit drugs.
* H.R.1946 (1986):A bill to amend the Controlled Substances Act and the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act to provide mandatory penalties for certain drug offenses involving the importation or exportation, or the manufacture, of controlled substances.
Source: Thomas Register of Congressional Votes Jan 1, 1988

Post federal rewards for snitching on drug sales
Cheney co-sponsored H.R.4470 (1988):
*to provide for monetary awards payable to persons who provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals for the unlawful sale of a controlled substance to provide for incentive awards to States payable from funds arising from forfeitures under Federal drug laws
*and to provide for the retirement of all US notes of the denomination of $100 and their replacement with new notes in such denomination.
Source: Thomas Register of Congressional Votes Jan 1, 1988

Al Gore - Democrat

Science doesn't say medical marijuana is proper
Vice President Gore today backed away from his earlier support of medical marijuana, saying he sees "no reliable evidence" that it is an effective pain reliever. During a candidate forum in New Hampshire last December, Gore said, "I think that where the alleviation of pain where medical situations is concerned, we have not given doctors enough flexibility to help patients who are going through acute pain." But today, when asked by a student where he stood on a medical treatment that is legal in California, Gore took a stronger stance against use of the drug. "Right now, the science does not show me, or the experts whose judgment I trust, that it is the proper medication for pain and that there are not better alternatives available in every situation," he said during a school visit in a low-income neighborhood southeast of downtown Los Angeles.
Source: Ceci Connolly, Washington Post, pg. A10 May 12, 2000

Mandatory weekly drug testing for state prisoners & parolees
Gore proposed federal spending of $500 million a year to help states test, treat, and counsel prisoners & parolees for drug use. Inmates in state prison-mandatory testing already applies in federal prison-would not be released until they could pass drug tests. Further, parolees could be returned to prison if they failed the tests, which would be administered twice a week. Parolees would also be subjected to stricter supervision, to ensure that they paid child support, stayed off drugs, and found jobs.
Source: James Dao, New York Times, p. A18 May 3, 2000

Tougher drug policies; fight drugs in Colombia
Gore said he would push for "tougher drug penalties and enforcement," would increase drug interdiction efforts, would expand drug courts and would institute a $2 billion national media campaign targeted at preventing youth from using drugs. He is supportive of the Colombia plan [which fight drugs via the Colombian military].
Source: Boston Globe, p. A21 Mar 5, 2000

Drug efforts are beginning to pay off; we must do more
Our administration has secured the largest anti-drug budgets in history, with more money for drug enforcement agents, for border & customs control, for education & outreach, for treatment & prevention. Our efforts have finally begun to pay off. Overall, drug use by adults has dropped to more than half of its highest levels in 1979. Even drug use by our young people, which seemed to be getting worse every year, has finally begun to decline. But we know that we've barely begun. We must do so much more.
Source: White House Briefing, Washington, DC Feb 8, 1999

Joseph Lieberman - Democrat

Increased penalties for drug offenses
Lieberman's voting record on drug-related issues:
* Voted YES to increase penalties on certain drug-related crimes. (S.625 11/10/1999)
* Vote IN FAVOR of an amendment that would increase funding for state juvenile court systems and establish juvenile drug courts. (S.254, 5/12/1999)
* Vote YES to authorize funds for anti-drug programs and would prohibit federal funding of needle exchange programs. (S.1415 6/9/1998)
Source: Vote-smart.org "Voting Record" Nov 10, 1999

Ralph Nader - Green Party

Legalize marijuana, and treat addiction as a health problem
Nader spoke out for the legalization of marijuana. "Addiction should never be treated as a crime. It has to be treated as a health problem. We do not send alcoholics to jail in this country. Over 500,000 people are in our jails who are nonviolent drug users." For other drugs, like heroin, he advocated programs like methadone maintenance and needle exchanges that focus on treatment of addiction and prevention of health problems.
Source: NY Times Sep 9, 2000

Treat hemp like poppy seeds, not like heroin
Nader criticized federal agencies for making it difficult for farmers to grow and market industrial hemp. Nader also spoke out against a recent raid on a South Dakota Indian reservation in which federal agents seized at least 2,000 plants described as industrial-grade hemp plants by the crop's owner. Hemp cannot be grown commercially in the US because it belongs to the same family as marijuana, although Nader pointed out that the levels of hallucinogenic THC are far lower in hemp than in marijuana. "It is analogous to consuming poppy seed bagels or nonalcoholic beer," he said. Nader said the DEA is proposing new rules that would require a product containing any amount of THC to be classified a "Schedule I" controlled substance, the same category as heroin and LSD. Exceptions would be made for industrial hemp products not intended for human consumption, such as paper, clothing, or rope. While American farmers are barred from growing hemp, manufacturers can import it.
Source: Boston Globe, "Campaign Notebook" Sep 6, 2000

Solution to addiction is information, not prohibition
Qestion: Do you think that cigarettes should be illegal?
Answer: No. You never prohibit an addiction because what you do is you drive it underground and a huge black market occurs. What you do with an addiction is expose the addicters to massive information, protect them from deceptive advertising, protect the young from being sold such [things] as tobacco products. Keep the research up to make whatever tobacco is consumed less lethal in terms of nicotine and other levels and increasingly make it socially stigmatized so that people often will stop smoking or won't smoke, not because it's bad for their health, but because it's no longer the thing to do. When I was in college, non-smokers were on the defensive. The smokers would blow smoke derisively in non-smokers' faces. You'd never see that today.
Source: David Frost interview Oct 21, 1994

Winona LaDuke - Green Party

Replace Drug War with counseling & treatment
LaDuke supports the Green Party Platform, which states:21. We call for legalization of industrial hemp and all its many uses.
* We oppose the illicit activities of the international drug trade and the illicit money laundering that often accompanies the drug cartels.
* We call for a revised view of the "drug problem" and an end to the "war on drugs," recognizing that after over a decade of strident law-and-order posturing, the problems with hard drugs have only worsened.
* We call for expanding drug counseling and treatment for those who need it.
* We believe mandatory drug testing violates civil rights; therefore, we oppose mandatory testing.
* We favor innovative sentencing and punishment options, including community service for first-time offenders and "Drug Court" diversion programs.
* We support alternative sentencing for non-violent crimes (i.e. community service) and guaranteed education within prison.
Source: Green Party Platform, as ratified at the National Convention Jun 25, 2000

Pat Buchanan - Reform Party

Drug usage is not a victimless crime; so keep marijuana ban
I'm against the legalization of marijuana. People say it's a victimless crime. [But the manager of a rehabilitation center] said that 10% of the children in Iowa are born with some kind of drug affliction, and 5% of them suffer permanent damage. As soon as I heard that, these little children are going to suffer their whole lives because of drugs their parents took, I think we can't quit the war on drugs and we can't legalize marijuana.
Source: Interview on "CNN Talkback Live" Jan 24, 2000

Open Mexican border invites drug trafficking
Look what happened as a consequence of NAFTA. We got a $25 billion trade deficit with Mexico. Narcotics are now pouring across that border, poisoning the hearts and minds and souls of American children. The Colombia drug cartel moved its operations from Colombia to Mexico, brought up truck plants and manufacturing plants. Why? So they could pour them through that open NAFTA border and bring them into our country and destroy the lives and souls of American children.
Source: Remarks at Home Schools Event, Washington, DC Sep 24, 1999

Ezola Foster - Reform Party

Blames Democratic immigration policies for US drug problems
[Gore and Clinton] talk about the drug problem and yet the drug czar said that over 70 percent of all drugs are coming across the Mexican border.
Source: Fox News: Hannity and Coles Aug 18, 2000

Harry Browne - Libertarian Party

Drug War breaches 4th Amendment civil rights
Browne spoke out today against H.R.2987, the Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act - a bill that would trash your right to privacy, due process and free speech. The bill empowers the police to conduct secret searches of your property, often referred to as "black bag" searches. It creates a new type of search warrant that allows police to enter your home or place of business, conduct a search, seize or copy files from your computer, and not tell you about it until months later. Another provision of the bill allows government agents to seize your property without giving you a list of the seized items.
"This an outright assault on the Fourth Amendment," said Browne, "But if you are out to demonstrate that you're a law and order politician, that pesky amendment a real drag. But that's exactly what the Constitution is supposed to be - a drag on government power. The only way to stop the politicians from further injections of unconstitutional authority is to end the insane war on drugs."
Source: Press Release "High on the Hill" May 27, 2000

Drug War makes streets a war zone
I steadfastly oppose the Drug War. I believe it has made our streets a war-zone with innocent bystanders caught in the confusion of drug raids or drive-by shootings and that this war has wreaked havoc on our civil liberties.. I would pardon all federal, non-violent drug offenders because these people are not a threat to anyone and because we could use the space to keep real criminals behind bars so those individuals cannot add to their list of victims.
Source: E-mail correspondence from the candidate Jan 27, 2000

Replace costs of enforcement with costs of addiction
Suppose all drugs became absolutely legal tomorrow - would you start snorting cocaine? We have the enormous costs of drug use already. So what are we afraid of? Addiction affects a certain percentage in the population. Most people are able to drink without becoming alcoholics, and most people [would not become drug addicts]. We can't go running people's lives.
Source: The Alan Colmes Show, WEBD NY 1050 AM Aug 26, 1999

Pardon non-violent drug offenders to free prison space
Browne does not building more federal or state prisons; nor funding for "boot-camps" as alternative sentencing for adult first-time felons. Browne says, "End drug prohibition and the War on Drugs, and immediately pardon all federal non-violent drug offenders, in order to free prison space for murders, rapists, and child molesters."
Source: (Cross-ref to Crime) Project Vote Smart, 1996 May 1, 1996

John Hagelin - Natural Law Party

Legalize medical marijuana; educate for prevention
Hagelin supports the following principles regarding drugs:
* Expand drug education & treatment programs.
* Decriminalize the use of medicinal marijuana & industrial hemp
* Increase border security to stop the flow of illegal drugs
* Hagelins supports "education that unfolds intelligence, creativity, and self-confidence, raising life to be in harmony with natural law & thereby eliminating the tendency towards drug dependence; promote programs shown to dramatically reduce drug dependency."
Source: Vote-Smart.org 2000 NPAT Jan 13, 2000

Legal drugs mean lost human potential.
The legalization of drugs, and the statement that drugs are basically ok or no worse than alcohol or whatever that would mean to the youth, is sending the wrong signal to the youth. Even marijuana use, which is the most mild hallucinogen, regularly over a six-month period results in a reduction in the orderly brain functioning, a loss of EEG coherence, and all of the different areas of the brain and personality, resulting in a less integrated personality and a less integrated experience of life.
Source: Natural Law Party National Convention Aug 24, 1996

Solution to drugs is lessened demand through education.
Outlawing drugs will never bring drug use under control-that's one thing we can do to discourage the use of drugs, but it's better to hit the demand side. The ultimate solution resides in education. Not just educating people about the debilitating effects of drugs, which itself would help, just like the smoking cessation campaign has helped, but education that gives that gives deep satisfaction to the students and will help them to fulfill their own objectives in a life-supporting way.
Source: Natural Law Party National Convention Aug 24, 1996

Howard Phillips - Constitution Party

Loss of the Panama Canal bases will increase drugs here
In Panama, we face serious challenges in the months and years ahead - challenges that will impact on our ability to keep illegal drugs off our streets and from our children. With the pullout of the US military from Panama, it appears to me that we will only see more increases in drug trafficking; narco-terrorism; illegal arms smuggling and money-laundering in Panama and throughout the region.
Source: Issues and Strategy Bulletin of "The Conservative Caucus" Jun 30, 2000

More border security needed
Phillips agrees with the following statements regarding drugs:
* Border security is needed to win war on drugs
* Increase border security to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the US.
Source: National Political Awareness Test, Project Vote Smart Jan 13, 2000

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