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Hillary Clinton on Drugs

Secretary of State; previously Democratic Senator (NY)


Reduce sentencing disparity for crack, but not retroactively

Q: The US Sentencing Commission recently limited the disparity in sentencing guidelines for those convicted of crimes involving crack cocaine versus crimes involving powder cocaine. Should that change be retroactive?

A: I believe we’ve got to decrease the disparity that exists. It is really unconscionable that someone who uses five grams of crack cocaine, compared to 500 grams of powder cocaine would face such disparate sentencing. And it’s further compounded because the possession of crack cocaine really is unique in the way that it leads directly to prison for so many people. So I am going to tackle the disparity. I think it definitely needs to be prospective on principle. I have problems with retroactivity. I think that it’s something that a lot of communities will be concerned about as well, so let’s tackle this disparity, let’s take it on. The sentencing commission hasn’t come forward yet with its specific recommendation but I’m looking forward to seeing it.

Source: 2007 Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum , Dec 1, 2007

1969: held herself aloof from college drug counterculture

Hillary’s faith, or perhaps her personality or seriousness generally, must have been a contributing factor to her staying on the straight and narrow. She called herself “an ethical Christian,” physically aloof from the counterculture. Her college friends do not recall her smoking dope, dropping acid, drinking to excess, or tearing off her clothes during concerts. She did not imbibe the hedonism and drug culture of the period; she did not drop out. She at one time painted a flower on her arm and wore tie-dye clothes, and as surviving photos attest, looked like a girl of the sixties, but was no Janis Joplin.
Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p. 34 , Jul 18, 2007

Divert non-violent drug offenders away from prison

We need diversion, like drug courts. Non-violent offenders should not be serving hard time in our prisons. They need to be diverted from our prison system. We need to make sure that we do deal with the distinction between crack and powder cocaine. And ultimately we need an attorney general and a system of justice that truly does treat people equally, and that has not happened under this administration.
Source: 2007 Democratic Primary Debate at Howard University , Jun 28, 2007

Gov. Clinton implicated in his brother Roger’s drug arrest

The story of Roger Clinton’s 1984 arrest and subsequent conviction on drug charges has been used by the Clintons for years supposedly to demonstrate Bill’s probity. After Roger’s conviction a tearful governor appeared on the courthouse steps. “I feel more deeply committed than ever before to do everything I can to fight drugs in our state,” Bill said.

Half a dozen or more Arkansans have testified to doing drugs with both Clinton brothers or to witnessing them doing drugs. In fact it now has widely been reported that during Roger’s investigation he was videotaped saying, “I’ve got to get some for my brother. He’s got a nose like a Hoover vacuum cleaner.” The officer who conducted the sting claims Governor Clinton shut it down prematurely to protect himself from being implicated in drugs.

Source: Madame Hillary, by R. Emmett Tyrell, p. 77 , Feb 25, 2004

Address drug problem with treatment and special drug courts

Q: What is your approach to the “Drug War”?

CLINTON: I have spoken out on my belief that we should have drug courts that would serve as alternatives to the traditional criminal justice system for low-level offenders. If the person comes before the court, agrees to stay clean, is subjected to drug tests once a week, they are diverted from the criminal justice system. We need more treatment. It is unfair to urge people to get rid of their addiction and not have the treatment facilities when people finally makes up their minds to get treatment.

LAZIO: The truth is that under the Clinton administration, there has been a dramatic and troubling increase in drug abuse by our children. And that has not been addressed. I crossed party lines in 1994 and built a coalition of Republicans that passed the crime bill. If it were not for that, we would not have drug courts right now. We would not have community policing. We need to have somebody in Washington who has the ability to get the job done.

Source: Senate debate in Manhattan , Oct 8, 2000

Ambiguous reports of 1960s college alcohol & drug use

It was a time when most university students smoked pot, drank more heavily than people do today, and made the most of the pre-AIDS revolution. Though we know that Bill Clinton partied hard but never figured out how to inhale, the facts are less clear about Hillary. She was not known by any means as a heavy drinker or a pothead but as one classmate recalls “she’s not a super straight person. She was pretty socially relaxed.”
Source: The Inside Story, by Judith Warner, p. 58 , Aug 1, 1999

Involved parents most influential in reducing teen drug use

Some factors that increase the risk of substance abuse in adolescents deserve emphasis. Casual attitudes towards marijuana and minors’ access to cigarettes raise the likelihood that teenagers will make a sad progression to more serious drug use & earlier sexual activity. Dropping out of school puts the child at greater risk, as does having a parent who is an abuser of alcohol or drugs.

One reason my husband is adamant about curbing smoking is the fact that he learned firsthand in his own family, about the slippery slope that begins with the use of one addictive substance and leads to other destructive behaviors.

The characteristics that keep kids from using drugs are hard to quantify but not to understand. Children who truly grasp tha they have a choice to make in the matter are more likely to make a responsible one. So are children with high self-esteem. Most influential of all is the optimism & awareness that comes from knowing their parents are interested & involved in their lives.

Source: It Takes A Village, by Hillary Clinton, p.152-153 , Sep 25, 1996

End harsher sentencing for crack vs. powder cocaine.

Clinton co-sponsored ending harsher sentencing for crack vs. powder cocaine

A bill to target cocaine kingpins and address sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine.

Sponsor's introductory remarks: Sen. Biden: My bill will eliminate the current 100-to-1 disparity [between sentencing for crack vs. powder cocaine] by increasing the 5-year mandatory minimum threshold quantity for crack cocaine to 500 grams, from 5 grams, and the 10-year threshold quantity to 5,000 grams, from 50 grams, while maintaining the current statutory mandatory minimum threshold quantities for powder cocaine. It will also eliminate the current 5-year mandatory minimum penalty for simple possession of crack cocaine, the only mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession of a drug by a first time offender.

Drug use is a serious problem, and I have long supported strong antidrug legislation. But in addition to being tough, our drug laws should be rational and fair. My bill achieves the right balance. We have talked about the need to address this cocaine sentencing disparity for long enough. It is time to act.

Congressional Summary:

Related bills: H.R.79, H.R.460, H.R.4545, S.1383, S.1685.
Source: Drug Sentencing Reform & Kingpin Trafficking Act (S.1711) 07-S1711 on Jun 27, 2007

Require chemical resellers to certify against meth use.

Clinton co-sponsored requiring chemical resellers to certify against meth use

Sen. FEINSTEIN: This act is designed to address problems that the Drug Enforcement Administration, DEA, has identified in the implementation of the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005. The bill that I introduce today would:

The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act that we passed last year has been a resounding success. The number of methamphetamine labs in the United States has declined dramatically now that the ingredients used to make methamphetamine are harder to get. Fewer meth labs means more than just less illegal drug production. In 2003, 3,663 children were reported exposed to toxic meth labs nationwide--but so far this year, the number of exposed children is only 319.

This is a common-sense bill, designed to strengthen the implementation of the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act. This bill would create incentives to ensure that the self-certification process of the law is made both effective and enforceable. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.

Source: Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act (S.2071) 2007-S2071 on Sep 19, 2007

Other candidates on Drugs: Hillary Clinton on other issues:
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Page last updated: Jan 05, 2014