John McCain on Drugs

Republican nominee for President; Senior Senator (AZ)


Recuses from alcohol votes because wife owns Anheiser-Busch

When he was elected to Congress, McCain vowed that he would recuse himself on all votes relating to the alcohol industry. After all, the industry gave McCain's father-in-law and wife their fortune, the fortune that helped jump-start his political career. A Phoenix New Times study in 2000 found that McCain had in fact recused himself from some two dozen alcohol-related bills that had come up for a vote. However, the New Times found that McCain exerted his influence in other, less obvious ways.

One might think that McCain's donors and his actions on the Commerce Committee would be the subject of substantial scrutiny given his high profile and national ambitions. But this has not been the case.

Source: Free Ride, by David Brock and Paul Waldman, p.111-112 , Mar 25, 2008

1994: Wife Cindy accused of prescription drug abuse

[In 1994, McCain's wife] Cindy narrowly escaped indictment for siphoning off prescription drugs from the medical assistant team she had set up in 1989 to work in Third World countries. Her addiction dated back to the early days of the Keating Five scandal. "The Arizona Republic," always among the harshest of McCain's critics, ran an editorial cartoon showing Cindy holding an emaciated black child upside down and shaking him over what appeared to be a field of corpses. "Quit your crying and give me the drugs," read the caption.

The furor took its toll on her, but in late 1997 she boasted to a reporter of being drug-free for the previous 5 years. She was once again active in civic and humanitarian work while raising the couple's 4 children, including 7-year-old Bridget, whom the McCains had adopted as an infant after Cindy brought her home from Bangladesh.

Source: An American Odyssey, by Robert Timberg, p.191 , Sep 18, 2007

Mexico should extradite drug dealers to the US

McCain lauded the Mexican president’s cooperation with America in drug prosecutions. “He’s a good man,” McCain said of Felipe Calderon. “For the first time in history he extradited drug dealers to the U.S.”
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, johnmccain.com, “News: Mexico” , Mar 19, 2007

Administration is AWOL on the war on drugs

Of the four major candidates, McCain has expressed the most hawkish positions on drug policy. He wants to increas penalties for selling drugs, supports the death penalty for drug kingpins, favors tightening security to stop the flow of drugs into the country, and wants to restrict availability of methadone for heroin addicts. He said the Clinton administration was “AWOL on the war on drugs” and he would push for more money and military assistance to drug-supplying nations such as Colombia.
Source: Boston Globe, p. A21 , Mar 5, 2000

Public/private partnerships for drug treatment

McCain indicates that federally sponsored drug education and drug treatment programs should be expanded. He says, “Work to expand public/private partnerships in support of such initiatives, and coordinate them with state and local efforts.”
Source: 2000 National Political Awareness Test , Jan 13, 2000

Prevention & education apply to alcohol as well as marijuana

Q: How do you reconcile the tolerance for alcohol with the intolerance for marijuana?
A: I can’t support the legalization of marijuana. Scientific evidence indicates that the moment that it enters your body, one, it does damage, and second, it can become addictive. It is a gateway drug. There is a problem in American with alcohol abuse, and there’s no doubt about that. We have to do whatever we can to - prevention, education, and that applies to drugs too.
Source: Republican Debate at Dartmouth College , Oct 29, 1999

We’re losing drug war - just say no

We’re losing the war on drugs. We ought to say, “It’s not a war anymore,” or we really ought to go after it. And there was a time in our history when we weren’t always losing the war on drugs. It was when Nancy Reagan had a very simple program called “Just Say No.” And young Americans were reducing the usage of drugs in America.
Source: Republican Debate at Dartmouth College , Oct 29, 1999

$1B for detection equipment for more border interdiction

I support the Drug Free Borders Act of 1999. This legislation funds advanced sensing equipment for detecting illegal drugs before they can cross our border and emerge on the streets of America’s cities. This Act authorizes over $1 billion to beef-up operations along our borders with Mexico and Canada, as well as at maritime ports. This legislation is a sound, responsible approach to enhancing this country’s capabilities to interdict the flow of drugs before they reach our children.
Source: Senate statement, “Drug Free Borders” , Mar 18, 1999

Mexico: balancing act between free trade & stopping drugs

[There are] dangers implicit in failing to properly monitor traffic crossing the Mexican border. Yet, Mexico is one of our largest trading partners, and it is in our best interest to maintain as open a border as possible. It is a careful balancing act. [We should] ensure that we are doing everything we can to stem the flow of illegal drugs without impeding the flow of legitimate commerce. The key to finding that balance is procuring equipment to expeditiously scan incoming cargo.
Source: Senate statement, “Drug Free Borders” , Mar 18, 1999

Restrict methadone treatment programs

McCain introduced the “Addiction Free Treatment Act” (S.423), which prohibits the use of funds for any drug treatment or rehabilitation program that uses methadone or other heroin detoxification agents unless the program follows specified guidelines, including that the program has as its primary objective the elimination of drug addiction and that it conducts random and frequent comprehensive drug testing for all narcotics.
Source: Senate statements S.423 , Feb 11, 1999

Stricter penalties; stricter enforcement

Source: 1998 National Political Awareness Test , Jul 2, 1998

Voted YES on spending international development funds on drug control.

Vote to add an additional $53 million (raising the total to $213 million) to international narcotics control funding, and pay for it by taking $25 million from international operations funding and $28 million from development assistance.
Reference: Bill HR 3540 ; vote number 1996-244 on Jul 25, 1996

Sponsored bill on drug testing for major league sports.

McCain sponsored establishing drug testing standards for major league sports

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To establish minimum drug testing standards for major professional sports leagues.

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. McCAIN: The purpose of this bill is to protect the integrity of professional sports and, more importantly, the health and safety of our nation's youth, who, for better or for worse, see professional athletes as role models. The legislation would achieve that goal by establishing minimum standards for the testing of steroids and other performance-enhancing substances by major professional sports leagues. By adhering to--and hopefully exceeding--these minimum standards, major professional sports leagues would send a strong signal to the public that performance-enhancing drugs have no legitimate role in American sports.

Finally, the bill would give the Office of National Drug Control Policy--ONDCP--the ability to add other professional sports leagues as well as certain college sports if the ONDCP were to determine that such additions would prevent the use of performance-enhancing substances by high school, college, or professional athletes.

The need for reforming the drug testing policies of professional sports is clear. However, I introduce this legislation reluctantly. Over a year ago, I stated publicly that the failure of professional sports--and in particular Major League Baseball--to commit to addressing the issue of doping straight on and immediately would motivate Congress to search for legislative remedies. Despite my clear warning and the significant attention that Congress has given to this stain on professional sports, baseball, and other professional leagues have refused to do the right thing.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; hearings held (S.Hrg.109-525); never came to a vote.

Source: Clean Sports Act (S.1114/H.R.2565) 05-S1114 on May 24, 2005

Sponsored bill for grants to Indian tribes to fight meth.

McCain sponsored for federal grants to Indian tribes to fight methamphetamine

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: A bill to amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to clarify that territories and Indian tribes are eligible to receive grants for confronting the use of methamphetamine.

EXCERPTS OF BILL: Amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to include territories and Indian tribes as eligible grant recipients (or reaffirm such eligibility) under the programs to:

  1. address the manufacture, sale, and use of methamphetamine;
  2. aid children in homes in which methamphetamine or other drugs are unlawfully manufactured, distributed, dispensed, or used; and
  3. address methamphetamine use by pregnant and parenting women offenders.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Passed/agreed to in Senate, by Unanimous Consent.

Source: Safe Streets Act Amendment (S.4113) 06-S4113 on Dec 8, 2006

Rated C by NORML, indicating a mixed record on drug reform.

McCain scores C by the NORML on drug reform

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2016 NORML scores as follows:

About NORML (from their website, www.norml.org):

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law's mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the repeal of marijuana prohibition so that the responsible use of cannabis by adults is no longer subject to penalty.

NORML is a nonprofit, public-interest lobby that for more than 30 years has provided a voice for those Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition. We represent the interests of the tens of millions of Americans who smoke marijuana responsibly and believe the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana should no longer be a crime.

NORML supports the removal of all criminal penalties for the private possession & responsible use of marijuana by adults, including the cultivation for personal use, and the casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts. This model is called "decriminalization."

NORML additionally supports the development of a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers could purchase it from a safe, legal and regulated source. This model is referred to as "legalization."

NORML believes that marijuana smoking is not for kids and should only be used responsibly by adults. As with alcohol consumption, it must never be an excuse for misconduct or other bad behavior. Driving or operating heavy equipment while impaired from marijuana should be prohibited.

NORML strongly supports the right of patients to use marijuana as a medicine when their physician recommends it to relieve pain and suffering.

Lastly, NORML supports the right of farmers to commercially cultivate hemp for industrial purposes, such as food and fiber production.

Source: NORML website 16_NORML on Nov 8, 2016

Other candidates on Drugs: John McCain on other issues:
AZ Gubernatorial:
David Garcia
Doug Ducey
Frank Riggs
Fred DuVal
Jan Brewer
JL Mealer
Phil Gordon
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