There are lots of problems with the war on drugs. Some, perhaps an influential minority, might take that to mean that we need better enforcement, bigger budgets, more laws etc. Of course, that is precisely the opposite direction we should be moving. By any reasonable measure, the drug war has failed. Spectacularly.
One problem is the multi-jurisdictional reach of drug laws. Another is the confusion and what can only be called the hypocrisy between what is deemed legal and illegal. Consider the following case with tentacles that reach from Florida to Vegas to California to Virginia and Alabama.
Naturally, the federal government is involved but it is more than just the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) – the U.S. Navy even has a bit part. In fact, there is a bizarre and frustrating DEA twist to the story. When personnel within an agency take radically different approaches which lead to distinctly different positions, what hope does the average citizen have?
Furthermore, when laws are ambiguous, they lead to chaos in the legal system, not to mention questionable and unjust prosecutions. This can cause considerable damage to those targeted by a government that thereby profits from that damage. It can achieve a legal victory, enhancing its record; profit literally from asset seizures; and garner an ever-increasing control over the citizenry by its sheer might.But though the analogue law gives the DEA a tool to snatch synthetic substances off the streets, things get complicated when the battle moves into court...The government's own chemists can't agree on the analogue question. Click To Tweet
The Government Cracks Down
“Ritchie says he assumed the feds made a mistake when they raided the Vegas warehouse. The government must have thought they were selling a banned substance, he surmised—not XLR-11, which wasn’t scheduled as a controlled substance yet and which the defendants say they believed was legal.
“But what Ritchie did after the raid might conflict with the notion of a stereotypical drug dealer. He called a policeman he knew from home, who got him in touch with DEA Agent Claude Cosey, who agreed to inspect their Florida facility.
“Ritchie said he gave Cosey a tour and product samples and lab reports, telling the agent he’d close up shop that day if Cosey deemed it illegal. He didn’t.”
But even though they weren’t charged in Florida, their tale took another turn when the government indicted them in three other states—years after the 2012 raid that would topple their empire.
A New War on New Drugs
“But though the analogue law gives the DEA a tool to snatch synthetic substances off the streets, things get complicated when the battle moves into court…
“The government’s own chemists can’t agree on the analogue question, he observed…
“He said the case ‘illustrates precisely the evils attending delegation of basic policy decisions for ad hoc, subjective resolution by those who wield prosecutorial power.’…
“When Ritchie and Galecki found themselves in the government’s crosshairs, they turned to a former top federal prosecutor who says he doesn’t represent drug dealers—a law-and-order type who says he’s never seen anything like this case in over four decades of practice.
“What really ‘blew me away,’ he said, is that they were charged years after agent Cosey inspected their facility and didn’t arrest them. ‘It’s just nuts,’ he said, noting too that his former office in Florida declined to prosecute the case years before the indictments.”
Read about this in full at The Psychedelic Shack.