30 August 2008

Sen. Joe Biden & The War On Drugs

Just the other day, after Sen. Obama named Sen. Biden as his running mate, I saw a few posts floating around taking Biden to task on some of his past drug war positions. Not being too familiar with Biden's domestic endeavors, I was unaware that he had been an original architect of our current failed drug war policies in the '80s. Whether this was due to his Delaware constituency and the prevalence of pharmaceutical companies is not clear (at least, I haven't checked up on it), but it true that his positions vis-a-vis drug policy were not exactly progressive.

Yesterday, however, I was heartened to receive a letter from the Drug Policy Alliance Network that gave some updated news on their stance on Biden as prospective VP. While Biden was among the responsible parties that gave us the ONDCP (Office of National Drug Control Policy), the RAVE Act, and prison-flooding mandatory minimum sentencing, he has more recently advocated eliminating the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity (a bill he introduced that both Obama and Clinton co-sponsored) and has been a notable supporter of treatment for addicts.

As DPAN Exec. Dir. Ethan Nadelman points out in his press release (which I recommend you read for yourself), the fact that Obama has selected Biden as his running mate may mean that the latter's positions may be shifting. Obama has not hidden his views that drug war policy in the US has failed and needs to be changed so bringing Biden on board probably doesn't have the negative connotations that some have put forth, regardless of his stances on certain issues.

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