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Why Do Prison and Alcohol Lobbies Oppose Drug Treatment?

I’ve been severely remiss in failing thus far to cover the very important Prop. 5 in California. The Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act (NORA) would save billions in incarceration costs by referring many drug offenders into treatment instead of prison. It’s a significant reform and the vested drug war interests are in full-blown panic mode trying to defeat it.

The drug czar is in California right now campaigning against it, and a who’s who of drug war profiteers have assembled a well-funded No on 5 campaign, branding Prop. 5 as "the drug dealer’s bill of rights." So who exactly is funding opposition to this commonsense drug treatment initiative?

DPA director Ethan Nadelmann explains via email:

Last week the powerful prison guards union contributed $1 million to the opposition campaign.  That's on top of hundreds of thousands of dollars from Indian tribes/casinos with close links to law enforcement as well as $100,000 from the California Beer and Beverage Distributors.

Isn’t it obvious what’s going on here? The prison industry lobbies shamelessly to keep as many people in prison as possible. The alcohol industry defends the interests of the criminal justice infrastructure that protects their monopoly on legal intoxication. And yet the drug czar has the audacity to present George Soros’s support for reform as some kind of shady conspiracy. It’s just amazing, it really is.

It’s not even my style to go around accusing our opposition of unscrupulous drug war profiteering at every turn, but what else is there to say about this? It’s right in front of our face. It’s as transparent as it is hypocritical. And it can’t be allowed to succeed.

If you live in California, please vote YES on Prop. 5 and tell everyone you know to do the same.
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Not one parent group is against Prop. 5

All the organizations against Prop. 5 are special interest groups for the law enforcement lobby, local and state govt bureaucrats playing ball to get federal funding for local projects, and of course Calvina Fay's "broad base coalition" of the following ONDCP subsidiaries:

National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance
Drug Prevention Network of America
Drug Prevention Network of the Americas
International Scientific and Medical Forum on Drug Abuse
Institute on Global Drug Policy
International Task Force on Strategic Drug Policy
Students Taking Action Not Drugs (STAND)
Drug Free America Foundation
Save Our Society From Drugs (SOS)

.....just to name a few on the Vote No list.

I'm not surprised that the California Beer and Beverage Distributors and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are in bed together against Prop. 5. MADD has whored out its mission to protect society from alcohol abuse in return for govt funding from the DC politicians bought off by the alcohol lobby. What good are they?

Where are all the parent groups against Prop. 5?

Big Alcohol fears market regulation and effective drug treatment

Of course, the want greater consumption. Why would they tolerate dwindling profits because of effective treatment programs. The alcohol special interests know that a legally regulated marijuana industry would involve greater restrictions that would eventually apply to the alcohol market. The fact that MADD has joined a coalition funded by the California Beer and Beverage Distributors also says a lot.

what does MADD think about cannabis prohibition?

Have they seriously considered how it forces many people to use alcohol to get high, with violence consequences on and off the road too well known to need repeating? Obviously they don't want people to drive UI marijuana either, but what is their sober assessment of the relative dangers of driving UI alcohol and driving UI marijuana? If they think they are of equal danger, I 'd like to hear their evidence for believing that. Anyone from MADD care to comment?

The Next Nail in the Drug War Coffin

Prop. 5 is made up of five parts.  Part 4 caps fines for marijuana possession (less than  one-ounce) and makes its possession, currently considered a misdemeanor, into an infraction.

That means that cannabis possession penalties for under one-ounce will change from a criminal fine to a civil fine—a revolutionary victory against the drug warriors equivalent,  I think, to George Washington crossing the Delaware and waking up a bunch of hungover Hessians.

Prop. 5 takes money out of the drug warriors’ pockets.  So it’s understandable that the judicial industrial complex senses the grim reaper advancing onto their hellish little fiefdom.  Prison guards stand to lose their Bimmers and Hummers.  Drug warriors will lose their drug conference trips to locations abroad.  How sad for the drug warrior vultures that their little dinner party is running out of human flesh.  But then extinction isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Drug warrior vultures are certainly a species civilization could do without.



Its great to see so many people dedicated to making this beautiful plant legal. For what its worth. I work 50-60 hrs a week go to school 3 days a week, attend church regularly. I had 2 back surgeries by the age 0f 30. I was on oxyContin for 4 yrs, not only was the med 5- 800 a bottle before insurance but it took me 6 months to slowly get that extremely dangerous and addictive drug out of my body. Americans should honestly do their homework on the many, many medical qualities the herb has, all the wonderful products that can be made with hemp and most of all for MADD the roads will be a much safer place. For anyone that does not believe it is safer,obviously have not experimented with the herb. Its the most popular illegal drug of choice and the best thing about it is our kids and noone else can get a LETHAL DOSE of Marijuana. Idividuals can grow there own and not have to spend money on overpriced meds and give adults another safer legal way to unwind, relax and make our body, mind and soul feel better.
. The facts come from the millions that smoke responsibly and offend no one. Many Americans would be very surprised at how many wonderful, caring, responsible, successful idividuals that use the herb daily. I have a 17 and 14 yr old and the roads being safer are Definately a priority of mine too! Congress and Senate please quit wasting our tax dollars, and your many opportunities to make laws that REALLY make this a safer, better, free country.This a non-violent herb!!!! Honestly, use our billions of tax dollars WISELY!! The Marijuana war is a losing battle. I am 38 and NEVER IN 26 yrs have not been able to find Marijuana. Doesn't that say something about "THE WAR ON DRUGS"! This is a plant that can be grown in any house, barn and room in America is it hard to comprehend that no amount of money or DEA agents can stop it. Thanks NORML for all the hard work and educating America. Respectfully, Chris

Where can we find the citations on who funds the drug wars?

I think the fact that the prison guards and the beer industry are funding the anti 5 propaganda is HUGELY important. This is just the sort of information we need to be getting on in front of the eyeballs of the public.

Once the public understand that it is being played for a sucker -- that the folks who spout the anti-drug dogma are the one's that are getting rich off of it -- they will be mightily ticked off. Particularly now, when they are being assaulted financially from every direction.

(And by the way, what is law enforcement doing trying to affect legislation? Isn't that at breach of checks and balances.)

Couldn't agree more

What many people fail to realize is that until, as a society we start treating alcoholism like a disease (and less like a crime) we are always going to lock up our citizens instead of getting them the help they need. When we start putting things in those terms, THEN people will start getting long-lasting help.

- Haley

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