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Obama: What New Orleans Needs is More Drug War

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When Barack Obama speaks of "change," he's not talking about the war on drugs. He likes it just fine the way it is. Obama's faith in the drug war is so strong, he even thinks it can help revitalize New Orleans:
If elected, Mr. Obama said he would establish a Drug Enforcement Agency office in New Orleans that would be dedicated to stopping drug gangs across the region. [NYTimes]

Mr. Senator, the drug war causes crime, it doesn't prevent it. The problem is not, and has never been, a lack of drug law enforcement. New Orleans already has a DEA office and it has not made life any easier for anyone. It should go without saying that increased drug activity in the region is a result of economic disorder, which inevitably empowers the black market. Bringing in the feds might disrupt local drug networks temporarily, but that would merely increase violence as new dealers take over for their fallen competitors.

As we've documented in the Drug War Chronicle, Katrina revealed the frailty of Louisiana's drug war-ravaged criminal justice system. It is precisely in the aftermath of a great catastrophe like Katrina that the ridiculous quest to stop people from getting high is revealed as utterly wasteful and counter-productive.

Obama's drug war revitalization plan for New Orleans is the latest step in his successful bid to be the worst on drug policy among the democratic presidential contenders. He's lamented the "political capital" required to repair the despicable crack/powder sentencing disparity, a no-brainer racial justice issue that even drug war hall-of-famer Joe Biden wants to fix. At Howard University's Democratic Debate on minority issues, he stood there like an idiot while every other candidate managed to address some type of criminal justice reform. He was also the last democratic candidate to pledge an end to federal medical marijuana raids, and not because they're heartless and evil, but because they're "not a good use of resources."

Well, Barack Obama, you know what else is a poor use of resources? Creating a second DEA office in New Orleans when people still have holes in their roofs and mud in their basements.

(This blog post was published by's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. 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.)
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What's going on here?

Great post, Scott.

If Sen. Obama is as bad on drug policy/criminal justice issues as he seems, one has to wonder when our allies in the civil rights and public health organizations and also in the mainstream press will begin to force him to explain himself.

In any case, after reading a post about drug policy and New Orleans I can't help but mention the upcoming Students for Sensible Drug Policy (w Drug Policy Alliance and others) conference taking place there this December:

p.s. It's Tom Angell

and I'm not going to stop agitating for a better commenting system here until one is implemented. ;-)

obama` drug war debacle

An action alert may be in order for Mr. Obamas office. He is obviously a Washington "drug warrior" by his own admission. This war economy stuff is becoming rediculous.

first obama and now mccain

This labor day weekend saw John McCain announce that we should ramp up the drug war to help secure the border against drug gangs. This really is turning into a freakshow. Most people know that the drug war is what makes drug gangs possible. He is obviously playing to the drug warrior base in an attempt to keep his drowning campaign afloat. These stupid remarks he made this weekend will surely pull him under. Thank God.

Thanks, Tom

I meant to include that. Indeed, while Barack Obama sees a city in need of a couple more drug cops, DPA sees a glaring example of how stretching our criminal justice system to its limits everyday has left us unprepared for a crisis of this magnitude. There's no role for the drug war in repairing Louisiana, rather this is a great opportunity to talk about moving beyond prohibition and building a sustainable criminal justice system.


Guess I won't vote for Obama. Ron Paul, what about you?

In the primary, fine. But

if the choice is between Obama and, say, Giuliani or Romney in the general, you would be better off voting for Obama.


Of the ones you mentioned, at least Mr Obama is young enough to learn something!

I know everybody says he does not hav a chance! But, Ron Paul has a better stance on the situation!

Just my two cents worth!

New Model for drug problem management?

I was just thinking yesterday, on how great it would be, if we could take a metropolitan area, like New Orleans, and try the "Grand Experiment"!
"What is that?", you may ask!

Try something different. Why not start in the only large city to be under such stress, as had been brought on by Katrina. Did I read that the murders are up, there?!? Law enforcement officials are complaining, they can't do their job!. What about regulating drugs in the metropolitan area of New Orleans and finding out if the crime rate will actually drop? We really can't damage it any more than an act of nature did! Another, fascist, DEA office, is not going to help. It has long been shown that they are failing to deliver what they are being PAID FOR!!

By making the drugs more freely available, through regulation or decriminalization, we would be putting drug dealers out of business. That would, in my mind, stop a lot of the killing. Someone has to start practicing "harm reduction" or we will just keep harming our society with wasted bureaucracy and law enforcement.

That is not considering the damage being done to society with laws that encourage the incarceration of people that truely need medical care. The last thing I read says that the dealers are a dime a dozen! And, when one is busted, another person takes his place! We need NEW ideas and thinking, to take the advantage away from the collective known as "drug dealers"! Destroy their market! And, destroy the illegal drug trade (eliminate the profit), while we are at it!!

Matt_Potter's picture


testing a model of regulation would be great down in NO. But right now, those people need some fucking help, and I'm not sure I would pick a place that ravished to make it ground zero in the drug policy fight for fear of federal response. We don't need the feds to cut off the already limited money to a desperate area.

Drug model

There you go! Someone bringing me back into reality. I was hoping that the feds would be part of a test, thus not intervening, because it was a federal test. But , it is absolutely crazy to think the federal officials would look at the massive failure they call the "war on drugs". And, that they should look at an alternative, that has been suggested as possibly being more successful.. They would rather see many more people die in drug related gang wars. Is the number, of people, in the active police force, down in New Orleans? They sure can't keep the homicide numbers from increasing!

David Dunn's picture

What about the drug war supporting terrorists?

Whether the media won't allow it, or the candidates don't want to talk about it, neither will bring up the war on drugs and its cost and effects.

It's a $69 billion a year failure. By making substances illegal it creates a market for such illicit substances.

That in turn generates $500 billion a year in street sales. That is the primary source of funding for Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Too, the war on drugs is the cornerstone of US foreign policy. Nations won't get US funding if they don't impliment a similar war on drugs.

So why won't the policiticans address these legitimate national and international issues?

Why won't the news media raise these questions and force the politicians to answer them?

"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government."

— Thomas Jefferson

War on Drugs

We have had the War on Drugs for well over 20 years. Not only are we not winning, we are losing. We gave up in Korea and Vietnam in much less time than that. Rapists go free while pot smokers sit in jail that hurt no one. The judges must notice this. They are tight with the polititians. Don't they talk to each other about the rediculousness of this whole situation? Has our whole political system just lost its mind? Think of the tax revenue on legalized drugs. We could cut our income taxes by 10% or more. The problem are the tetotalers (sp?) that think since they don't want to do drugs, no one else should. These are mainly churchgoers, but not all. Some go to church and come home and have a joint. Some don't go to church and get in everyone's business. We, as a nation, have to live and let live. Stay out of your neighbors business, unless he is bothering you or someone you love. The world would be a much better place if everyone would just mind their own business. Think if al-Quaida would just live and let live. We would save 100s of billions of dollars and 1000s of lives. This world makes me sick.

War on Drugs

al-Quaida would have to leave us alone if they had no more illegal drug revenue!!

Ron Paul?

Why bother talking about these police state wanta be rulers?

Just vote Ron Paul


It is important to never compromise on this issue. Any degree of illegality of a substance is against basic human rights. And obviously causes U.S. government crime against U.S. citizens (arrested and property stolen), and citizens of the world whose homes and farms and crops , "drugs" and food, our military and cia "dusts" with poisons! And millions of non-violent citizens in jail.. for what? Yes, have free (totally optional) rehab and counseling as a part of free health care, but really.. JAIL???!!??? SOOOO EVIL!!! SOOO SOOO SOOO EVIL!!!

I write about this stuff on my blog a lot, which you can check out at .. you can also hear my song "Bush Can Lick My Ass" there. enjoy! - Freddy


Decided that, even though Mike Gravel (almost) totally supports ending the "war on drugs", I don't agree with him on all the other issues (especially taxes), and also, he has no chance of winning tomorrow, and Hillary does, and Barak will be more fair when it comes to the "war on drugs".. How do I know?
1) He advocated rectifying the discrepancies between sentencing for "crack" and "powder" cocaine retroactively, and Hillary did not. Congress agreed with Barak, and now thousands of prisoners will be resentenced and set free. Applying that principle to all other drugs, hundreds of thousands or millions of prisoners could be set free if we elect Obama.
2) Obama has said he opposes "mandatory minimum" sentences (the implementation of which induced many federal judges to resign in protest). Hillary has never said such a thing.. Again, apply that principle retroactively and you have thousands of non-violent "drug offenders" free to rejoin their families and the world outside the hell of prison..
3) Obama has said he supports "decriminalizing" marijuana, and at least 90% of all illegal drug use is marijuana.. Yes, he is not as forceful as we would like, at all, on this issue, but he has said enough favorable things to favor him over Hillary, whose only support is for equalizing sentences for blow and crack (sounds more like sex than drugs!!)..
4) The republicans (except Ron Paul) all support the "war on drugs" aka "war on citizens of the world".. would they all arrest their wives and children on pep pills, diet pills, and ritalin, or themselves and their pets they put on "antidepressants" before even trying exercise and fixing their lives?? I don't think soo!! Hipporcrits!!
Barak Obama 4 Pres!!!

oBAMA, goto

anonymous was really ff.. check out for more.. or the splash page for free music like "Bush Can Lick My Ass" or "Saki-juana"!! Enjoy!! -ff

Only One Candidate in the General E. Wants to end prohibition...

His name is Wayne Allyn Root. His website is here: He wants to abolish the DEA. I'd call that a start! :) If he raises as much online cash as Ron Paul did, he might even get the chance to do it in 2012, or 2016. Let's start fighting like we intend to get what we want. It's the only way that we will ever end prohibition.

i think its to long for

i think its to long for anybody to read

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