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Janet Reno on Drugs

Former Attorney General; Democratic Challenger FL Governor


Do more for early intervention, as well as street work

[At her Senate confirmation hearings as Attorney General], asked by Senator Orrin Hatch about her priorities in the war against drugs, Reno said, “I want to do more in terms of early intervention, but I do not want to relax the fight against drugs on our streets.” She favored “vigorous enforcement against traffickers, against anybody who would deal in this human misery.”
Source: Doing the Right Thing, by Paul Anderson, p.173 Mar 9, 1993

Created Drug Courts to give first offenders a second chance

For more than a decade, Reno had searched for a way to dent the county’s steadily growing epidemic of drug abuse. [Reno advocated] an ambitious experiment to intervene with drug abusers before they had thrown their lives away. In June 1989 the Drug Court was created. It allowed a specially-assigned judge to refer a first-time offender to a treatment program that now includes acupuncture therapy, counseling, and job training, all while undergoing random drug testing. If the offender successfully completes the program, the state attorney’s office does not prosecute, and the charge is dropped. If he or she stumbles, the judge can throw the offender in jail. Reno calls it her “carrot and stick approach.” It solidified her image as part sympathetic social worker, part stern prosecutor.
Source: Doing the Right Thing, by Paul Anderson, p.121-22 Jun 1, 1989

No mandatory drug sentences unless more prisons built

In 1986, Reno headed a statewide task force on the crack cocaine problem. Among its recommendations: appointment of a state “drug czar,” enactment of stiffer penalties for cocaine possession, construction of more prison cells, and development of better drug-treatment and antidrug education programs.

But the task force ignored the state’s budget woes and get-tough mood when it also recommended that health insurers be required to provide coverage for substance-abuse treatment. Reno convinced the group to stop short of calling for mandatory sentences for possession of tiny amounts of cocaine, which many prosecutors said would allow targeting street-corner crack dealers. Because the state prison system was already so overcrowded army surplus tents were being pitched on some prison grounds-Reno reasoned that mandatory sentences would have been “meaningless.” Without additional prison cells, she said, “The whole discussion of penalties is really absurd.”

Source: Doing the Right Thing, by Paul Anderson, p.115 Oct 15, 1986

Undercover cocaine investigations despite DEA protests

In July 1979, in a bloody shootout in the Dadeland mall, Miami’s cocaine cowboys exploded into public consciousness [and became the basis for the TV show “Miami Vice”]. Reno and other officials blamed the federal government for not halting the flow of illegal drugs, especially cocaine, into Florida. As the violence escalated, Reno spoke out. “The security of South Florida must be protected,: she declared. ”That security has been impaired by drug traffickers and illegal aliens. The US has the resources to make our borders secure.“

In a case dubbed the ”Video Canary,“ Reno’s investigators worked undercover to track drug smugglers. Local DEA agents objected, claiming it was more important to stop the shipments before they hit the streets than to pursue the limits of the ring. The operation deadlocked. Reno often cited the conflicts in the Video Canary case as an example of how the feds could stifle creative work by state and local officials.

Source: Doing the Right Thing, by Paul Anderson, p. 86-88 Jul 2, 1979

Other governors on Drugs: Janet Reno on other issues:
AK Frank Murkowski
AL Bob Riley
AR Mike Huckabee
AZ Janet Napolitano
CA Arnold Schwarzenegger
CO Bill Owens
CT Jodi Rell
DE Ruth Ann Minner
FL Jeb Bush
GA Sonny Perdue
HI Linda Lingle
IA Tom Vilsack
ID Dirk Kempthorne
IL Rod Blagojevich
IN Mitch Daniels
KS Kathleen Sebelius
KY Ernie Fletcher
LA Kathleen Blanco
MA Mitt Romney
MD Bob Ehrlich
ME John Baldacci
MI Jennifer Granholm
MN Tim Pawlenty
MO Matt Blunt
MS Haley Barbour
MT Brian Schweitzer
NC Mike Easley
ND John Hoeven
NE Dave Heineman
NH John Lynch
NJ Jon Corzine
NM Bill Richardson
NV Kenny Guinn
NY George Pataki
OH Bob Taft
OK Brad Henry
OR Ted Kulongoski
PA Ed Rendell
RI Don Carcieri
SC Mark Sanford
SD Mike Rounds
TN Phil Bredesen
TX Rick Perry
UT Jon Huntsman
VA Tim Kaine
VT Jim Douglas
WA Christine Gregoire
WI Jim Doyle
WV Joe Manchin III
WY Dave Freudenthal
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