Content written by Richard Cowan, former NORML National Director and founder of Blue Ribbon Hemp for Seniors.
There’s an old joke about the weather: Everyone talks about it, but no one ever does anything about it. The same might be said of the “Deep State”, which is frequently invoked, but seldom explained.
First, it should be acknowledged that there really are many “Deep States.” Virtually all modern governments have permanent bureaucracies that are essential for their basic functions. Not surprisingly, they believe that whatever they are doing is intrinsically important, or they would not exist. Also, they are staffed by people with shared values and worldviews.
There is nothing intrinsically sinister about it, so long as they are transparent about the process, and reflect the popular will, and are authorized by actual legalization.
“An October 2019 The Economist/YouGov poll found that, without giving a definition of “deep state” to respondents, 70% of Republicans, 38% of independents, and 13% of Democrats agreed that a “deep state” was “trying to overthrow Trump.”
The Drug War is a prime example of the “Deep State” hidden in plain sight.
It not only has its own police force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, it also has its own propaganda agency, the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
It is headed by a so-called “Drug Czar”, “a term first used in the media by then-Senator Joe Biden in October 1982.” The Lord loves a repentant sinner.
“By law, the drug czar must oppose any attempt to legalize the use (in any form) of illicit drugs. According to the “Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998″ the director of the ONDCP.”
Now, despite decades of prohibitionist propaganda, roughly two thirds of the American people are in favor of the legalization of marijuana, so the ONDC is legally required to oppose democracy.
“The ONDCP is specifically charged with the responsibility for “taking such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use” of certain controlled substances such as marijuana – a responsibility which logically could include the making of advocacy statements in opposition to legalization efforts. The Deputy Director’s statements about marijuana are thus within the statutory role assigned to ONDCP. Given this role, we do not see a need to examine the accuracy of the Deputy Director’s individual statements in detail.”
In other words, Drug Czars can legally lie to the American people. Indeed, they are required to. There is no other government agency that has such a charter, The ONDCP’s FY2018 operating budget is $18.4 million, and the number of full time employees is 65—the lowest levels for both over the last two decades.
Of course, the Drug Enforcement Administration has its own budget. In 2018 the DEA budget was $2.086 billion. $445 million was spent on international enforcement and $1.627 billion was spent on domestic enforcement.
But the beat goes on.
Reason Magazine reports:
“Among other things, the CDC sought $100 million for its Drug Free Communities program and another $100 million for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a federal agency that has repeatedly been on the budgetary chopping block because even its defenders don’t seem to know exactly what value it provides.”
And if you think that new excuses for increasing the power of the Federal government requires actual legislation by Congress, well, take a gander at this new proposal:
Criteria for Designation of Emerging Drug Threats in the United States: A Proposed Rule by the Executive Office of the President and the Office of National Drug Control Policy on 05/15/2020
“The Office of National Drug Control Policy is announcing this Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) and requests information relevant to criteria for designating and terminating the designation of emerging drug threats in the United States pursuant to the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (SUPPORT Act). This ANPRM briefly summarizes the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s (ONDCP) ongoing work in this area and describes the criteria that ONDCP is considering to monitor and identify emerging drug threats. The ANPRM invites interested parties to submit comments, data, and other pertinent information concerning ONDCP’s development of proposed criteria for designating emerging drug threats and terminating such designations.”
Today, the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for an end to the War on Drugs, estimates that the United States spends $51 billion annually on the Drug War. A trillion here and a trillion there…
And for those who say they are concerned about the abuses of power during the pandemic:
“According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, police made 663,367 arrests for marijuana-related violations in 2018. That is more than 21 percent higher than the total number of persons arrested for the commission of violent crimes (521,103). Of those arrested for cannabis-related activities, some 90 percent (608,776) were arrested for marijuana possession offenses only.
All of the above data is easily available on the Internet, but you will almost never hear about it from any “Progressive”, because, like Joe Biden, most of them have ignored or even supported the arrest of over 22 million Americans, and the suppression of medical research and the destruction of other countries, notably Mexico and Colombia, in this endless war.
So now, Joe Biden, who was in favor of it before he was opposed to it, is shocked, shocked, to discover that a massive government program has done massive damage to the American people and the world, has finally seen the light.
In future columns we will explore how Drug Warriors who, even now, are undermining President Trump, who may lose to Biden because he supports the real Deep State that was created by Biden, who was in favor of it before he opposed it.
Richard Cowan is a former NORML National Director and founder of Blue Ribbon Hemp for Seniors.