Elizabeth Warren on Drugs
Massachusetts Senator; former head of CFPB; Dem. Presidential Challenger
WARREN: The estimate I've seen is that 193 people die every day from addiction and overdoses. [I realized two parts about] the opioid crisis and how much it looked like the AIDS crisis. One is a lot of stigma, so people don't like to talk about it; people don't come for help. And the other part is, the resources we need, our federal government, was always just an hour late and a dollar short.
Q: N.H. has twice the national average of opioid deaths. What is your plan?
WARREN: A little boy named Ryan White said that he had AIDS and Congress said, "This is it." We put the resources into the research, and brought down the number of deaths. Why not do the same thing with the opioid crisis? And that is put in the real resources. It will take a lot of money, about $10 billion a year for the next 10 years. But think of what we're losing every day. The best estimate is it's costing us $50 billion a year, this crisis. Put the money in.
Many in the Democratic presidential primary field have issued full-throated support for legalizing the drug on the federal level. Earlier this year, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) reintroduced the Marijuana Justice Act, which would legalize marijuana on the federal level and expunge the records of those who have been charged with a crime for using or possessing the drug. Several Democratic presidential contenders have signed on as cosponsors of the measure: Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro are among the candidates that have also signaled support for legalization efforts.
Warren said Monday she looked forward to a public hearing on the ballot question. Warren said she opposes the outright legalization of marijuana.
The Legislature's Committee on Public Health held a hearing Tuesday on the question that would allow patients with debilitating medical conditions such as cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis to get permission from their doctors to use marijuana.
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2016 NORML scores as follows:
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law's mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the repeal of marijuana prohibition so that the responsible use of cannabis by adults is no longer subject to penalty.
NORML is a nonprofit, public-interest lobby that for more than 30 years has provided a voice for those Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition. We represent the interests of the tens of millions of Americans who smoke marijuana responsibly and believe the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana should no longer be a crime.
NORML supports the removal of all criminal penalties for the private possession & responsible use of marijuana by adults, including the cultivation for personal use, and the casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts. This model is called "decriminalization."
NORML additionally supports the development of a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers could purchase it from a safe, legal and regulated source. This model is referred to as "legalization."
NORML believes that marijuana smoking is not for kids and should only be used responsibly by adults. As with alcohol consumption, it must never be an excuse for misconduct or other bad behavior. Driving or operating heavy equipment while impaired from marijuana should be prohibited.
NORML strongly supports the right of patients to use marijuana as a medicine when their physician recommends it to relieve pain and suffering.
Lastly, NORML supports the right of farmers to commercially cultivate hemp for industrial purposes, such as food and fiber production.
Congressional Summary:This bill provides a safe harbor for depository institutions providing financial services to a marijuana-related legitimate business insofar as it prohibits a federal banking regulator from:
Argument in Favor: [Cato Institute, March 31, 2016]: Marijuana is now legal under the laws of [several] states, but not under federal law. And this creates huge headaches for marijuana businesses:
Excerpts from Letter from 17 Senators to the President of the European Commission We write to request designating NPP and ANPP, which are precursor chemicals of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, as Table I substances under the 1988 UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. NPP and ANPP are [legal under EU law but] already controlled in the U.S. under the Controlled Substances Act. However, without collective international action it will be difficult to control NPP and ANPP, and will frustrate efforts to curb manufacturing and trafficking of illicit fentanyl.
Opposing argument: (ACLU, "Against Drug Prohibition"): People in almost all cultures, in every era, have used psychoactive drugs. A "drug free America" is not a realistic goal, and by criminally banning psychoactive drugs the government has ceded control of potentially dangerous substances to criminals. Instead of trying to stamp out drug use, our government should focus on reducing drug abuse and prohibition-generated crime. This requires a fundamental change in public policy: repeal of criminal prohibition and the creation of a reasonable regulatory system.
Opposing argument: (Cato Institute, "Do Restrictions Reduce Opioid Poisonings?", by Jeffrey Miron): Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), which record a patient's opioid prescribing history, when required as "must access," PDMPs significantly reduce misuse in Medicare Part D. But there is no statistically significant effect on opioid poisoning incidents. How is this possible? The simplest explanation is that, despite all the hype, prescription opioids are not that dangerous, even in heavy doses, when used under medical supervision. Instead, most poisonings reflect use of diverted prescription opioids, or black market opioids, which may be adulterated. Under this interpretation, restrictions on opioid prescribing might even increase opioid poisonings.
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Joe Kennedy III
Senate races 2019-20:
AK: Sullivan(R,incumbent) vs.Gross(I) vs.
AL: Jones(D,incumbent) vs.Tuberville(R) vs.
AR: Cotton(R,incumbent) vs.Harrington(L) vs.
AZ: McSally(R,incumbent) vs.Kelly(D)
CO: Gardner(R,incumbent) vs.Hickenlooper(D) vs.
DE: Coons(D,incumbent) vs.
GA-2: Isakson(R,resigned) Loeffler(R,appointed) vs.Warnock(D) vs.Collins(R) vs.Tarver(D) vs.
GA-6: Perdue(R,incumbent) vs.Ossoff(D) vs.Hazel(L) vs.Tomlinson(D) vs.Terry(D)
IA: Ernst(R,incumbent) vs.Greenfield(D) vs.
ID: Risch(R,incumbent) vs.Jordan(D) vs.
IL: Durbin(D,incumbent) vs.Curran(R) vs.
KS: Roberts(R,retiring) vs.Marshall(R) vs.Bollier(D) vs.
KY: McConnell(R,incumbent) vs.McGrath(D) vs.
LA: Cassidy(R,incumbent) vs.Perkins(D) vs.
MA: Markey(D,incumbent) vs.O`Connor(R) vs.Ayyadurai(R) vs.
ME: Collins(R,incumbent) vs.Gideon(D) vs.
MI: Peters(D,incumbent) vs.James(R) vs.Squier(G)
MN: Smith(D,incumbent) vs.Lewis(R) vs.Overby(G) vs.
MS: Hyde-Smith(R,incumbent) vs.Espy(D) vs.
MT: Daines(R,incumbent) vs.Bullock(D) vs.
NC: Tillis(R,incumbent) vs.Cunningham(D) vs.
NE: Sasse(R,incumbent) vs.Janicek(R)
NH: Shaheen(D,incumbent) vs.Messner(R) vs.
NJ: Booker(D,incumbent) vs.Mehta(R) vs.
NM: Udall(D,retiring) vs.Lujan(D) vs.Ronchetti(R) vs.Walsh(L) vs.
OK: Inhofe(R,incumbent) vs.Broyles(D) vs.
OR: Merkley(D,incumbent) vs.Perkins(R) vs.
RI: Reed(D,incumbent) vs.Waters(R)
SC: Graham(R,incumbent) vs.Harrison(D) vs.
SD: Rounds(R,incumbent) vs.Ahlers(D) vs.
TN: Alexander(R,retiring) vs.Hagerty(R) vs.Bradshaw(D) vs.
TX: Cornyn(R,incumbent) vs.Hegar(D) vs.
VA: Warner(D,incumbent) vs.
WV: Capito(R,incumbent) vs.Swearengin(D) vs.
WY: Enzi(R,retiring) vs.Lummis(R) vs.Ben-David(D) vs.
Senate Votes (analysis)