Date: 29 Sep 93 22:54 PDT
Subject: US Commish on Drug Policy, HR3100
From: Jim Rosenfield
Subject: US Commish on Drug Policy, HR3100
Since early in 1993 a group of citizens, with the assistance of some of the scholars at Stanford's Hoover Institution have been working on a process to cause the reexaminationand redesign of our nation's drug laws. Their essential conclusions are to be found in a resolution which states, "our society must recognize drug use and abuse as the medical and social problems that they are and that they must be treated with medical and social solutions" and "be it resolved that an objective commission be immediately empowered by the President and by Congress to recommend revision of the drug laws of these United States in order to reduce the harm our current policies are causing."
On September 20 Congressman Don Edwards introduced HR3100 -- "A BILL to establish the Commission on National Drug Policy". There is now the opportunity to help pass this legislation and to bring about an open public debate on this topic which has been plagued with a fear of openess and rational discourse.
The Following sections of this post include:
1. A press release from Congressman Edwards' Office on the bill.
2. The text of the first half of the bill and a digest of the second half (which covers essentially technical aspects of implementation).
3. Text for a suggested letter to Congressperson urging co- sponsorship of HR3100.
4. Text of the Hoover Institution Resolution.
5. A partial roster of some of the eminent signatories of the Resolution.
People who would like to act in concert to bring about a rational public debate on this issue, now is the time to call or write your congressman and request that he/she co-sponsor HR3100. Be sure to request that they write back and tell you what action they are going to take. Please let me know if you are interested in participating in this effort.
EDWARDS CALLS FOR NEW DRUG CONTROL STRATEGY
Citing the failure of current federal drug control efforts, Congressman Don Edwards (D-San Jose) today called for the formation of a national commission to recommend a new, comprehensive drug control policy. The commission would be formed under the National Drug Control Policy Act of 1993 (H.R. 3100), legislation introduced by Rep. Edwards.
"In just over a decade, we've seen an almost ten-fold increase in the amount of federal funds devoted to stemming the tide of drug abuse, yet drugs continue to take an enormous toll on our society," Edwards said. "Simply spending more money is not the answer. We have to learn how to spend that money intelligently and get results."
Edwards noted that the United States cannot afford to wait any longer for a solution to the drug crisis. A 1992 study by the University of Southern California School of Business estimated the cost of drug abuse to the U.S. economy as at least $76 billion in 1991. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce puts the costs to society even higher, saying drug abuse costs businesses $160 billion annually in lost productivity, higher medical bills, absenteeism, theft and injury. Mandatory minimum sentencing, part of a strategy of setting severe penalties for drug offenses, even for first time, nonviolent offenses, has swamped the courts and overwhelmed our federal prisons.
H.R. 3100 would establish a 13-member Commission, composed of experts who confront the drug problem everyday: physicians, law enforcement officials, judges, district attorneys, educators, drug rehabilitation workers, and community leaders. The Commission would be bipartisan, with members appointed by the President and the leadership of both parties in the House and the Senate. The Commission would have 18 months to conduct public hearings and make recommendations for legislative and administrative action to the President and to Congress.
"Commissioners could apply their hands-on experience to this issue free from the political pressures faced by elected officials," Edwards explained. "We have already tried what is politically popular and the result has been ruined lives, devastated communities and overcrowded prisons. Now it is time to focus on policies that will work, and the Commission on National Drug Control Policy can tell us how to begin that effort."
Congressman Edwards is the Vice Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and chairs the Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights. He also serves on the Subcommittee on Crime and Criminal Justice.The following is my copy of the first sections of the bill with a few notes about the later sections. For the full text, consult Congressman Edward's office.
HR3100, In the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
A BILL to establish the Commission on National Drug Policy. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
Section 1, Short title. This Act may be cited as the "National Drug Control Policy Act of 1993". Section 2. Establishment. there is established a commission to be known as the "Commission on National Drug Policy". Sec. 3. Duties of the Commission. (a) Study. - The Commission shall conduct a study of the unlawful production, distribution and use of controlled substances, including --
(1) an investigation into the various causes of the unlawful use in the United States of controlled substances and the relative significance of the various causes,
(2) an evaluation of the efficacy of existing Federal laws regarding the unlawful production, distribution, and use of controlled substances, including the efficacy of Federal minimum sentences for violations of the laws regarding the unlawful sale and use of controlled substances;
(3) an analysis of the costs, benefits, risks, and advantages of the present national policy regarding controlled substances and of potential modifications of the policy, including and analysis of what proportion of the funds dedicated to combating the unlawful sale and use of controlled substances should be devoted to --
(A) interdicting controlled substances entering the United States unlawfully;
(B) enforcing Federal laws relating the unlawful production, distribution and use of controlled substances;
(C) eduction and other forms of preventing the unlawful use of controlled substances, or
(D) rehabilitating individuals who use controlled substances unlawfully; and
(4) an analysis of methods of rehabilitation, including an evaluation of the efficacy of current methods and suggestions for new methods.
(b) REPORT. -- Within 18 months after the date on which funds first become available to carry out this Act, the Commission - -
(1) shall submit to the President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the President pro tempore of the Senate a comprehensive report on the study conducted under subsection (a), and
(2) shall make the report available to the public upon request.
The report shall include the Commission's conclusions and recommendations which at least a majority of the Commission have agreed upon and the Commission's proposals for legislation ;and administrative action necessary to carry out the Commission's recommendations.
[Summarizing from here on.....]
(a) Number and Appointment -- 13
(1) By the President -- 5(b) Qualifications -- must be individuals representing the
(2) By the Leaders of the Senate -- 4
(3) By the Leaders of the House -- 4
professions that deal with those who produce, distribute, and
use controlled substances unlawfully. Elected Federal
officials are NOT qualified.
(1) law enforcement(c) Pay - equivalent to GS-15 plus travel and per diem.
(3) social workers
(4) judges and attorneys
(5) Drug Enforcement Agency staff
(6) drug rehabilitation counselors
(7) religious leaders
(8) community leaders from inner-city communities
(10) academic experts
Dear Congressman _________:
Under the preceding two administrations we launched and pursued a "war" on drugs which has failed to benefit our society, but has taken a severe toll.
The overall situation regarding the use of drugs in our society and the crime and misery that accompanies prohibition has continued to deteriorate. Our society has attempted, at enormous financial cost, to resolve drug abuse problems through the criminal justice system, with the accompanying increases of prisons and numbers of inmates. The present system has spawned a cycle of hostility by the incarceration of disproportionate numbers of African-Americans, Hispanics, and other minority groups. In our society's zeal to pursue our criminal approach, legitimate medical uses for the relief of pain and suffering of patients have been suppressed, and many have suffered needlessly, as a result.
A large and growing body of eminent leaders in our society has called for an objective commission, empowered by the President and by Congress, to recommend revision of our drug laws in order to reduce the harm our current policies are causing. This effort began as a petition originating fromthe Hoover Institution at Stanford University. A partial list of the signatories follows this letter.
This month, Representative Don Edwards introduced HR3100, which will create just such a commission, as recommended by the Hoover Resolution. I urge you to support this bill. I request that you become a cosponsor of this legislation.
We very badly need to reconsider our society's whole approach to this problem as rationally, logically and as dispassionately as we can. This legislation will form the foundation for this work. Please write to me and let me know what actions you will take onthis matter.
Whereas, the overall situation regarding the use of drugs in our society and the crime and misery that accompanies it has continued to deteriorate for several decades; and
Whereas, our society has continued to attempt, at enormous financial cost, to resolve drug abuse problems through the criminal justice system, with the accompanying increases of prisons and numbers of inmates; and
Whereas, the huge untaxed revenues generated by the illicit drug trade are undermining legitimate governments world-wide; and
Whereas, the present system has spawned a cycle of hostility by the incarceration of disproportionate numbers of African-Americans, Hispanics, and other minority groups; and
Whereas, the number of people who have contracted AIDS, hepatitis, and other diseases from contaminated hypodermic needles is epidemic under our present system; and
Whereas, in our society's zeal to pursue our criminal approach, legitimate medical uses for the relief of pain and suffering of patients have been suppressed.
Therefore be it resolved that our society must recognize drug use and abuse as the medical and social problems that they are and that they must be treated with medical and social solutions; and
Further be it resolved that an objective commission be immediately empowered by the President and by Congress to recommend revision of the drug laws of these United States in order to reduce the harm our current policies are causing.
Please send to:
c/o 7400 Bandini Blvd.,
Commerce CA 90040
and send a copy to to:
President Bill Clinton,
Hoover Institution Signers
(Partial list, as of July 16, 1993)
Dr. Milton Friedman - Nobel prize-winning economist
Kurt Schmoke - Mayor of Baltimore
Joseph D. McNamara - Former Police Chief of San Jose
Dr. Herbert Berger - Internationally recognized expert on drug abuse.
Dr. Harvey Rose - Author of California's "Intractable Pain Treatment Act"
Dr. Frederick H. Meyers - Head of the California State Research Advisory Panel on Drugs
Dr. Jack McCarthy
Dr. Gary Davis
Dr. Benson Roe
Dr. Stephen Fisher
Dr. Clarke Smith
Judge James P. Gray
Judge James Smith
Federal Magistrate Ronald R. Rose
Reverend Leonard Jackson, First A.M.E. Church of Los Angeles
Reverend J. D. Moore, First A.M.E. Church of Los Angeles
Richard Arthur, Author of Gangs and Schools
Janis Paige, Actress
Gibb Martin - Founder, No More Drug War
Kathy Smith - Social Activist
Clifford A. Schaffer - Author, Computer Consultant
VIPsFrank Jordan - Mayor of San Francisco
Elihu Harris - Mayor of Oakland
Susan Hammer - Mayor of San Jose
The Chiefs of Police of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose
The Sheriff and District Attorney of San Francisco
Father Joseph Kane and 23 chaplains at Rikers Island Prison
Reverend Bruce Larson - Co-Pastor of the Crystal Cathedral
Dr. Grayson Lawrence - Professor of Pharmacy, University of Southern California
Dr. Luis Icaza - Member of the California State Research Advisory Panel
Charles W. Froelich - Associate Justice, Calif. Court of Appeals
Whitman Knapp - Senior US District Judge
Jack B. Weinstein - Senior US District Judge
Rear Admiral (retired) W. Norman Johnson - Vice President of Boston University.
35 members of the faculty at the University of California at Irvine
Rufus King, Attorney, Washington, DC
Hal Gunn, Attorney, Los Angeles, California
Alan Friel, Attorney, Los Angeles, California
Peter Hirsch, Attorney, New York, New York
Eric Sterling, Attorney, Washington, DC
Hugh Downs, Host of 20/20
Dr. Dean Edell, M.D. Radio Show Host
Danny Glover, Actor
Members of the Clergy
James W. Prescott, Ph.D., Director, Institute of Humanistic Science, San Diego, California
Father Joseph Ganssle, OFM, President, Religious Coalition for a Moral Drug Policy, Washington, DC
Father Joseph P. Kane, S.J., Catholic Chaplain, Rikers Island, NY
Sister Marion Defeis, Catholic Chaplain, Rikers Island, New York
Reverend Thomas Sheridan, S.J., St. Peter's College, Jersey Cty, NJ
Reverend Jonathan Tetherly, Chicopee, Massachusetts
Reverend Alexander A. Di Lella, OFM, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC
Rabbi Rav A. Soloff, Ph.D., Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Pastor Andrew L. Gunn, St. Luke's United Methodist Church, Washington, DC, President, Clergy for an Enlightened Drug Policy
Reverend William Wallace Finlator, Raleigh, North Carolina
Reverend R. J. Gray, Philadelphia Missionary Baptist Church, Compton, California
Health Care ProfessionalsOrganizations
Alice Murphy, Registered Nurse, Long Island, New York
Joanne Morris, Registered Nurse, Fresno, California
Dr. Jeri Rose, Doctor of Chiropractic, Altadena, California
Dr. Ronald Hutchings, Doctor of Chiropractic, Altadena, California
Dr. Robert M. Solow, DDS, Woodland Hills, California
Dr. Michael Robertson, DDS, DMD, Woodland Hills, California
California Medical Association
California Central Democratic Committee
Central Conference of American Rabbis
Criminal Justice Policy Foundation
The Religious Coalition for a Moral Drug Policy
Clergy for an Enlightened Drug Policy
Carol Ann Rand, Pres., Advocates for Self-Government, Atlanta, GA
Kay Stone, Chairman, Libertarian Party, Alamogordo, New Mexico
Chris Conrad, President, Family Council on Drug Awareness, Los Angeles, California
Dale Gierenger, President, California Coalition for Drug Policy Reform, Oakland, California
Southern California Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Los Angeles, California
Andrea Rich, President, Center for Independent Thought, New York, NY Mike Rosiny, Coordinating Director, Illinois Marijuana Initiative, Chicago, Illinois
Joey Tranchina, President, AIDS Prevention Action Network, San Mateo, California
Eric Sterling, President, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, Washington, DC
Eric Harlow, President, Save Our Liberties, San Rafael, California