Mike Gravel on Drugs
Libertarian for President; Former Democratic Senator (AK)
BIDEN: Yes. I would ban--in all public [places], nationally.
DODD: 3,000 kids start smoking every day in this country.
RICHARDSON: I did it in New Mexico as a national law.
KUCINICH: You bet I’ll go for a national law.
Q: So Biden, Dodd, Richardson, Gravel and Kucinich in favor of a national law.
EDWARDS: Wait, wait, wait, and Edwards.
BIDEN: Absolutely no, I would not. The cost of alcoholism in America, the cost of accidents that flow from drunkenness, are astronomical.
DODD: No, I agree with Joe on this. The problems associated with alcohol are significant in our country. The evidence is overwhelming..
RICHARDSON: No, I wouldn’t lower it. I think you need a dual approach: strong law enforcement, but you also have to have substance abuse treatment.
GRAVEL: I think we should lower it. Anybody that can go fight and die for this country should be able to drink.
KUCINICH: Of course they should be able to drink at age 18, and they should be able to vote at age 16.
Q: No on 18?
EDWARDS: What was the question?
Q: Lower the drinking age to 18?
EDWARDS: I would not.
What’s ravaging the inner cities? It is the drug war--not the drugs--the drug war & all of the [associated] activity. Where is the leadership to end this? FDR had the guts to end it back in 1933. I will end it now.
And I hope my colleagues will join me in standing up and saying, like FDR did with Prohibition, “We’ll do away with that.” And FDR did it. And if I’m president, I will do away with the war on drugs, which does nothing but savage our inner cities and put our children at risk.
There’s no reason for this. There’s not an American that doesn’t understand the culture and the understanding that Prohibition was a failure, and so we repeat it again like we repeated Iraq after we had the failure of Vietnam. When will we learn? When we learn that the issue of drugs is a public health issue. Addiction is a public health issue, not a criminal issue where we throw people in jail and criminalize them to no advancement to the people.
Gravel got part of that right. According to the Justice Department, there are nearly 2.3 million people incarcerated as of June 2006. But nowhere near 70% of inmates are African American--the correct number is 40%.
We must increase the use of special drug courts in which addicted offenders are given the opportunity to complete court supervised substance abuse treatment instead of being sentenced to prison. Drug defendants convicted of nonviolent offenses should be given alternative penalties [instead of] mandatory prison sentences. We should emphasize the criminalization of the importers, manufacturers, and major distributors, rather than just the street venders. Prisons in this country should be a legitimate criminal sanction -- but it should be an extension of a fair, just and wise society.
|Other candidates on Drugs:||Mike Gravel on other issues:|
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader