John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Symptoms of An Ineffective Drug Control Policy

Posted on July 9, 2014
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The humanitarian crisis on the Southern border and the crime spree in Chicago are connected by one common thread, and our symptoms of a far bigger public policy problem.

The reason children from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are able to traverse thousands of miles between their home countries and the Texas border is most likely because they are getting assistance from criminal drug gangs.

The reason children and gang-bangers in Chicago are shooting each other is most likely because drug turf wars.

Just as the enforcement of many drug laws in states across the country are being deemphasized or eliminated, drug cartels are becoming more and more powerful and more menacing to the average American.

The Obama Administration has made it clear that they have little use for our nation’s drug control policies.  Eric Holder has pretty much stated that he doesn’t want to the Justice Department to focus on prosecuting drug use laws.

And I suppose that makes sense, to a certain point.  After all, the polls have shown that more and more Americans see drug prohibition policies with a skeptical eye.

But the laws on the books are the laws on the books.

And law-abiding companies are not going to fill the void in a marketplace that is still ostensibly illegal.

Demand for drugs goes up when the chief attitude among the top law enforcement officials is that casual drug use is fine by them.

As demand goes up, the marketplace encourages more actors to fill the void, and if it won’t be legitimate enterprises, it might as well be illegitimate.

And that is what we have to today.   The Obama Administration doesn’t enforce the laws and criminal activity increases as a result.

I am firmly in the legalize-tax-regulate camp.   I think a marketplace exists in America to do drugs.  I am not in favor of doing drugs.  I am also not in favor of smoking cigarettes.  I don’t think we should make cigarette smoking illegal.  And I don’t think we should make drug use illegal, as long as we have the proper taxing and regulatory authorities in place.

What I am against is the Obama White House deciding to no longer enforce the laws and then have the drug gangs have more power to decide the marketplace.

When we have drug gangs in control, we have a border crisis and the mayhem in Chicago.

Either enforce the law or repeal it.  Don’t leave the laws on the books and then let the black-market flourish.

That doesn’t work for anybody.