Republican presidential contenders burnish their anti-drug reform credentials, and more.
DeSantis Doubles Down on Opposition to Marijuana Legalization. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a 2024 Republican presidential contender, reaffirmed his opposition to marijuana legalization as he campaigned in Iowa on Saturday. He argued—contrary to the facts—that legalization has increased the size of the black market in Colorado, the first state to legalize it.
Responding to a question about children experiencing "cannabis inducted psychosis," DeSantis clarified that he "would not legalize" in an echo of earlier comments on the topic. "I think what’s happened is this stuff is very potent now. I think when young people get it, I think it’s a real, real problem, and I think it’s a lot different than stuff that people were using 30, 40 years ago," DeSantis said. "I think when kids get on that, I think it causs a lot of problems and then, of course, you know, they can throw fentanyl in any of this stuff now."
While fentanyl has been encountered as a contaminant in various powder drug substances, every case of alleged fentanyl contamination of marijuana has so far been shown to be false. It, too, is a white powder, which could not be easily disguised in marijuana buds.
He also said he would opposed a proposed marijuana legalization initiative poised to make the ballot in Florida. "I would not do that," DeSantis said on Saturday. "And the places that legalized it like Colorado and California, you know, the argument was—and honestly it wasn’t a crazy argument—’Look, we know people are going to use marijuana. It is a drug. If you legalize it, then you can tax it, regulate it, and it’s going to end up being safer for people."But what’s happened in Colorado, the black market for marijuana is bigger and more lucrative than it was before they did the legalization," the governor said. "So the legalization I don’t think has worked."
But one report on the marijuana industry in Colorado found to the contrary that 99 percent of marijuana sales in the state took place within the legal framework.
Nikki Haley Calls for Siccing US Special Forces on Mexican Cartels in Mexico..Former UN Ambassador and current Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley has doubled down on earlier calls to use US military forces inside Mexico to go after Mexican drug trafficking organizations.
"When it comes to the cartels, we should treat them like the terrorists that they are," Haley said. "I would send special operations in there and eliminate them just like we eliminated ISIS and make sure that they know there's no place for them. If Mexico won't deal with it, I'll make sure I deal with it," she added.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has firmly rejected any use of US military forces inside Mexico.
Haley also took aim at China for its role in the production of fentanyl, saying the US president has to "go to the true source" of the problem. "China knows exactly what they're doing when they're sending that fentanyl across the border. And we need to tell them we will stop all normal trade relations with you until you stop killing Americans," Haley said. "We lost 75,000 Americans last year, and we can't continue to allow that to happen."
DEA Hired "Legacy" Job Applicants Despite Failed Lie Detector Tests. According to a new report from the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General (OIG), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has hired dozens of job applicants who failed lie detector tests as its polygraph unit faced pressure to approve "legacy" candidates related to senior officials.
Besides favoritism toward friends and family members of DEA officials, the report found that agency bosses ignored admissions of criminal behavior that should have been reported for further investigation, including one case where the applicant "admitted to pedophiliac tendencies" during the lie detector exam.
Also providing evidence about DEA lie detector practices is an agency whistleblower who has filed a federal lawsuit alleging misconduct within the DEA. The whistleblower alleged that when the pedophiliac applicant made his incriminating statements, supervisors pooh-poohed them, saying "there was nothing that could be done" and that the whistleblower "would be liable" for making an anonymous complaint to local law enforcement.
In a letter sent to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram last week, the OIG said it had "identified numerous concerns," including the use of loopholes to avoid complying with a policy enacted in 2019 that specifically bars the agency from hiring applicants who fail a polygraph or show signs of "countermeasures" to cheat the test.
(This article was prepared by StoptheDrugWar.org's 501(c)(4) lobbying nonprofit, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays the cost of maintaining this website. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)