Excellent article by Mayura Iyer at PolicyMic discusses the recent GAO report that found that the government has made no progress towards its drug policy goals, and also talks about the disconnect in the newest strategy.
Despite hailing his plan as a “Drug Policy for the 21st Century,” Kerlikowske’s reforms are incomplete, as it completely neglects the issues surrounding marijuana use. The administration has yet to take a stance on medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, arguably its most complex drug issue to tackle within the problem. The report doesn’t even mention marijuana once, despite the fact that the number of states that have legalized marijuana is approaching 40%. Additionally, while the approach the White House has taken claims to be “science-based,” the amount of bureaucratic red tape scientists must go through to perform research on the medicinal qualities of marijuana prevents any effective research from being performed, an issue the report also failed to address.
Moreover, the National Drug Control Budget for 2014 released by the White House seems to value drug punishment over treatment for addiction, as 58% of the resources allocated for its drug policies are used for punishment and interdiction, while 42% is allocated for treatment and prevention. While this is a slight improvement from the ratio presented in the 2013 budget (62% to 38%), it’s nowhere near enough for the nation’s drug control policy to be headed towards substantial improvement.
The drug czar is fooling a number of people in the media with his latest PR blitz claiming to be leading a huge shift in policy (which is nothing more than talking about treatment while keeping the same old prohibition), but it’s good to see that it’s not swallowed whole by everyone.