Beto O`Rourke on Drugs
Democratic candidate for President; Texas Senator nominee
O'Rourke admits he was intoxicated and says there is no justification for his actions, but he has denied that he tried to flee. "Beto's DWI is something he has long publicly and openly addressed over the last 20 years at town halls, on the debate stage, during interviews and in Op-Eds, calling it a serious mistake for which there is no excuse," said an O'Rourke spokesman. "This has been widely and repeatedly reported on."
[The original police report asserted], "The defendant/driver then attempted to leave the scene. The [police officer] then turned on his over head lights to warn oncoming traffic & to try to get the defendant to stop. When I made contact with the driver, defendant was unable to be understood due to slurred speech."
The police report describes O'Rourke driving at high speed and sideswiping a truck going in the same direction, then jumping the median into the oncoming lane at about two in the morning. According to a police witness, he tried to drive away from the scene of the accident. O'Rourke maintains that this isn't true.
O'Rourke was taking his date, named Michelle, back to her home in Las Cruces when the accident happened. He failed a sobriety test and was handcuffed. In his telling, he was pathetic but nonetheless chivalrous: When police left his friend in a gas-station parking lot, a handcuffed O'Rourke asked them to take cash out of his jeans so she could get home. His father posted bail. His license was suspended, and he had to take a bus to his job working at his mom's furniture store.
I don't want to legalize narcotics. I do think we should end the prohibition on marijuana and effectively control and regulate its sale and make sure those who need it for medicinal purposes are able to obtain it through a prescription from their doctor.
Ted Cruz (R): Personally opposed to legalization, but states should choose for themselves.
Beto O'Rourke (D): Yes. Long-time legalization advocate. Sponsored bill to end federal prohibition.
2008 was different in another way. People weren't just murdered: they were brutalized. Tortured. Maimed. Dismembered. One at a time. 1,623 times in all.
Not only were young and middle-aged men dying--the presumed profile of the cartel workforce--so were women, pregnant mothers, the elderly and young children.
This spike in violence was linked to two wars that had just been announced. The first was President Felipe Calderon's war against the cartels. The second was Chapo Guzman's war against the Juarez cartel for control of the valuable transit route leading from Juarez into the U.S. drug market, valued between $63 and $81 billion. These two narratives made it easy to dismiss the awful bloodshed as nothing more than settled scores amongst cartels.
Thinking about what city council could do to help. I asked whether we should more aggressively address the issues related to demand and prohibition. I listened to the answers, and then offered an amendment, to encourage "an honest, open, national debate on ending the prohibition on narcotics."
It was an artless, and even inaccurate amendment to a larger resolution (I only learned later that marijuana is not a narcotic, even though it was precisely that drug that I felt people would be most open to debating), but it got the point across.
The resolution passed unanimously. Later in the day, Mayor John Cook surprised us by vetoing the resolution, he cited a concern that we'd be "laughed out of Austin and D.C." when we went begging for our allotment of state and federal funds.
The El Paso region's role in the drug trade is mostly limited to warehouse and distribution to other larger, more profitable American markets. This is similar to El Paso's role in the maquilla sector, where goods are manufactured in Juarez then shipped to El Paso for distribution to U.S. markets. The relatively low value of the retail drug trade in El Paso might be one reason that the murder rate here is so low compared to other, more lucrative destination markets. The average murder rate for [U.S. destination] cities was 16 murders per 100,000 in 2010; in El Paso it was 0.8 per 100,000.
The United States government is much more bullish about the revenues made Mexican drug cartels, estimating that Mexican cartels bring home between $15 billion to $30 billion annually from illicit drug sales. At one point, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy estimated that more than 60 percent of the cartels' revenue--$8.6 billion out of $13.8 billion in 2006--came from U.S. marijuana sales. They retracted those estimates in 2010, but continue to assert that marijuana is the top revenue generator for Mexican drug cartels.
Our federal drug-war budget has ballooned from Nixon's $371 million request to $15.6 billion dollars within 40 years. State and local governments spend an additional $33.1 billion annually towards drug enforcement.
The reality is just the opposite. The U.S. really ratcheted up the war against cocaine in the 1980s. These efforts were largely successful in shutting down the Florida peninsula as a trade route for cocaine into the United States.
According to the logic behind law enforcement supply-side strategies, cocaine should now be incredibly expensive. there have been increases in the price of cocaine from 2007 to 2011 that law enforcement in the U.S. and Mexico point to as a sign of their winning the battle against Mexican cartels, but the prices are nowhere close to the all-time high in the early 80s. Not only is cocaine much less expensive since its heyday in the 1980s, it is also purer. ˙˙
As governments at all levels desperately search for services to cut and revenues to raise, a rational policy of regulation and taxation of marijuana sales could provide much needed help. Think of the number of local police officers, federal agents, judges, court personnel, prison guards and parole officers involved in attempting to uphold this prohibition against marijuana. Regulating and controlling the market would reduce the police power of the government for what is widely recognized as a trifling crime, allow it to focus resources on greater need, and generate additional tax revenue.
If you buy dope in a coffee shop in Amsterdam,˙where marijuana is decriminalized, you can only add a coffee or a hot chocolate to your order. In the U.S., your choices often include an array of toxic recreational drugs. It is no wonder that in the Netherlands the lifetime prevalence of cocaine use is 2 percent while in the U.S. it is 16 percent. The Dutch have effectively closed the gateway from marijuana to other drugs.
Regulate marijuana and you remove other more pernicious options from the 42 percent of Americans who try marijuana in their lifetime.
These arrestees are now permanently scarred and marked in the systems of justice, employment, and social standing. Their chance of becoming productive members of society is now diminished. And the alternatives of crime and illicit activity become more obvious.
Rep. PAUL: Nine States allow industrial hemp production or research in accord with State laws. However, Federal law is standing in the way of farmers in these States growing what may be a very profitable crop. Because of current Federal law, all hemp included in products sold in the US must be imported instead of being grown by American farmers. Since 1970, the federal Controlled Substances Act's inclusion of industrial hemp in the "schedule one" definition of marijuana has prohibited American farmers from growing industrial hemp despite the fact that industrial hemp has such a low content of THC (the psychoactive chemical in the related marijuana plant) that nobody can be psychologically affected by consuming hemp.
The US is the only industrialized nation that prohibits industrial hemp cultivation. Industrial hemp is a crop that was grown legally throughout the US for most of our Nation's history. In fact, during World War II, the Federal Government actively encouraged American farmers to grow industrial hemp to help the war effort. It is unfortunate that the Federal Government has stood in the way of American farmers competing in the global industrial hemp market. Indeed, the founders of our Nation, some of whom grew hemp, would surely find that federal restrictions on farmers growing a safe and profitable crop on their own land are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of a limited Government.
Congressional Summary:Amends the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of "marihuana." Defines "industrial hemp" to mean the plant Cannabis sativa and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a THC concentration of not more than 0.3%.
Argument in favor (Sen. Ron Wyden):
Members of Congress hear a lot about how dumb regulations are hurting economic growth and job creation. The current ban on growing industrial hemp is hurting job creation in rural America and increasing our trade deficit. This bill will end this ridiculous regulation. Right now, the US is importing over $10 million in hemp products--a crop that US farmers could be profitably growing right here at home, if not for government rules prohibiting it. Now, even though hemp and marijuana come from the same species of plant, there are major differences between them. The Chihuahua and St. Bernard come from the same species, too, but no one is going to confuse them.
Argument in opposition (Drug Enforcement Agency):
Argument in opposition (DrugWatch.org 10/30/2013):
Congressional Summary:This bill provides a safe harbor for depository institutions providing financial services to a marijuana-related legitimate business insofar as it prohibits a federal banking regulator from:
Argument in Favor: [Cato Institute, March 31, 2016]: Marijuana is now legal under the laws of [several] states, but not under federal law. And this creates huge headaches for marijuana businesses:
|Other candidates on Drugs:
|Beto O`Rourke on other issues:
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Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)