Obama Has Already Quietly Begun Revising the Government's War on Drugs
Marc Ambinder's GQ story about a possible Obama pivot in the drug wars misses a crucial fact: the pivot has already happened, writes James Higdon.
Never mind a second term, Barack Obama's pivot on the drug war has already begun.
While Marc Ambinder's much discussed, scantily-sourced GQ report of a second-term "pivot" runs through the murderers' row of complaints against the Drug War - the cocaine/crack disparity; mandatory minimum sentencing; property-seizure laws and the fattening of the corrections industry - he doesn't report that the president's "aides and associates" have identified any of these as a starting point for Obama to "tackle" first.
"Don't expect miracles," Ambinder cautions, and that's where he gets it wrong. The miracle has already happened. Here's the answer that Ambinder's anonymous sources failed to leak to him: the pivot point for Obama's new direction is homegrown marijuana, and it's already started.
The presidential request for the FY13 budget deals a mortal blow to the helicopter-powered marijuana eradication umbrella. It does so by cutting in half the funding for the U.S. National Guard Counterdrug program, the Defense Department's contribution to the marijuan-eradication effort that has, for the past 20 years, limited the size of domestic marijuana patches and increased the demand for "blood pot" imported by ultraviolent Mexican drug cartels - while doing nothing to stem the supply to anyone who wants to get high.
Until now, the DEA and state law enforcement could count on the National Guard to fly hundreds of helicopter hours over national forests and other public land, where growers became active following the passage of property-seizure laws in the Reagan years - but the FY13 budget changes that...