Drug Policy Reform and Barack Obama

Drug Policy Alliance - Fighting to change draconian drug laws in the USA

I received a message from the Drug Policy Alliance with a request that I compose and send a note to President-elect Barak Obama to help guide him in who he will choose to be his drug czar.

Based on suggestions provided by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), I wrote the following letter to Obama. Feel free to copy it, change it, enhance or use it in some way to create a custom letter of your own to the new President of the United States. Once you compose your message you can send it to Barak Obama via his new website: www.change.gov. The process is quick and simple. And well worth the small effort.

Don’t be fooled. You make a difference. You make an impact. The more proactive you are, the larger your impact. It only takes a moment to compose and send a letter like the one I wrote below:

Drug Reform Message to Barak Obama

Dear President-elect Obama,

Please choose a drug czar who will champion drug policy reform in the USA. This is a very important step in delivering the change you and I and a majority of our great nation and the world so obviously desire… and need!

It’s easy to understand why you are considering to nominate Republican Congressman James Ramstad to be your “drug czar”. Rep. Ramstad is in recovery from alcohol abuse and has a track record in support of increasing access to drug treatment. However, Ramstad is still mostly married to the failed punitive drug war policies of the last 30 thirty years. This is a no-brainer: These policies don’t work. Never have. Never will.

These failed policies need to change. More importantly, we need to do something different. Just as you had so boldly stated: “Doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity”, WE MUST do things differently in drug reform in order for profound change to occur. I figure that you already know this somewhere deep inside your obviously good heart. Please step into it, and we will support you.

Ramstad has voted against medical marijuana five times. He has voted against making sterile syringes more available to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS three times. Even though his colleagues are increasingly supporting sentencing reform, including eliminating the crack/powder sentencing disparity, he hasn’t stood up on the issue. Perhaps Ramstad is not the right choice.

Our nation’s next drug czar should be chosen based on the following criteria:

  1. Are they committed to enacting and supporting evidence-based policies? ONDCP should make decisions based on science, not politics or ideology.
  2. Are they committed to reducing the harms associated with both drugs and punitive drug laws? We need a new bottom line for U.S. drug policy.
  3. Do they think drug use should be treated as a health issue not a criminal justice issue? To paraphrase former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, we need a surgeon general not a military general or police officer.
  4. Do they welcome and encourage debate and research? We need a drug czar who is open-minded and willing to consider every alternative.
  5. Are they committed to reducing the number of nonviolent offenders behind bars? Our country’s next drug czar should be fully committed to major sentencing reform.

President-elect Obama, who you choose as your drug czar will affect everyone. Please nominate a drug czar who supports marijuana law reform, syringe availability and treatment instead of incarceration.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Best regards and best of luck,

Your Name

Where to Send Your Drug Reform Letter

Once your message is ready don’t forget to send it to www.change.gov.

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