THE DRUG WARS….As TomPaine.com and Salon have pointed out, Congress is currently working on a bill to extend the life of the Office of National Drug Control Policy ? the “drug czar’s office.” But there’s a little more to it than that. As Salon points out:
The overall legislation, which would keep the White House drug policy office in business for another five years, would also allow the office to run ads opposing medical marijuana initiatives.
The issue unites liberals and conservatives. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) finds the legislation worrisome. “The media campaign should be used for its intended purpose in reducing demand for illegal drugs among youth,” he said. “It should not be used to influence elections on ballot initiatives or candidates for public office, or to influence the consideration of legislation.
Tim Lynch, director of the Cato Institute’s Project on Criminal Justice, agrees. “That ONDCP is trying to deprive voters and taxpayers of knowledge of what they’re doing is bizarre and disturbing,” he said. “Now the federal government will put its finger on the scale of a political question. And they’re trying to hide that because if the public becomes aware, it’ll cause a real backlash.”
The federal government shouldn’t be involved in campaigning for or against state ballot initiatives. There should be bipartisan agreement on this, even from hardcore anti-drug partisans, but we’ll see. Waxman says he’s going to introduce an amendment to address this problem, but it’s Republicans who control the relevant committees.
Will they do the right thing?