I was four years old when Richard Nixon declared war on drugs in 1971. For nearly all of my lifetime, I have watched as we have dedicated vast resources to eradicate our drug problem and incarcerated millions of people.
And we have failed.
It is time to quit wasting our tax dollars on Federal drug enforcement and shift our emphasis from criminalization to treatment. I propose the decriminalization of all drugs at the Federal level, so that the states can decide for themselves what is or is not acceptable within their borders.
I propose that the Federal government take one half of the amount which had been allocated to Federal drug enforcement and immediately return that money to the states for treatment programs. The other half would be trimmed from our Federal budget as part of my efforts to reduce the deficit.
I also propose Federal legislation which would require health care providers and pharmaceutical companies to pay the full cost of care, treatment and rehabilitation for any person who can prove that their addiction started with drugs lawfully prescribed to them. They have unleashed powerfully addictive drugs onto the American public without adequate monitoring and supervision, and they should therefore bear the responsibility for making it right.