Sen. Rand Paul Blocks Draconian Drug War Legislation in U.S.Legislation Would Criminalize New Drugs like Spice/K2 and "Bath Salts," Impede Scientific Research, and Subject More Americans to Mandatory Minimum Sentences
Drug Policy Alliance
Feb. 29, 2012
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WASHINGYON, DC—Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is blocking legislation from proceeding in the Senate that would escalate the failed war on drugs, distract law enforcement from dealing with violent crimes, and subject more nonviolent Americans to long prison sentences at taxpayer expense. The legislation, which would criminalize dozens of synthetic drugs, has been criticized by scientists for impeding scientific research and blasted by criminal justice reform groups for perpetuating over-incarceration and racial disparities in drug law enforcement.
Despite rising deficits and overwhelming evidence that the war on drugs has failed, Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are working to bring this legislation to the Senate floor.
"Senator Rand Paul is standing up to both political parties and doing what it takes to protect Kentucky taxpayers from the career politicians in Washington who want to waste more money on failed drug policies," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. "He should be applauded for opposing government waste and supporting public safety. The failed war on drugs costs too much and achieves too little; it is time for a new approach."
When the legislation criminalizing synthetic drugs made its way through the U.S. House of Representatives late last year, numerous members of both parties raised strong objections. The legislation passed but nearly 100 members of Congress voted against it, including 16 Republicans.
Opponents cited many reasons:
"Outright criminalization would only drive the demand for these drugs to the criminal market, which provides no age restrictions or other regulatory controls," said Grant Smith, federal policy coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance. "Product labeling requirements, as well as marketing, branding and retail display restrictions, are proven to reduce youth access to tobacco products and impulse tobacco purchases among adults. This approach is working for tobacco, and could work for synthetic drugs."