Now one of Obama's first acts as President-elect has been to choose a strident Drug Warrior as his Attorney General.
A reader to Libertarian Republican blog has discovered a Washington Post article from 1996, where Holder vowed to crack-down on marijuana users in the District of Colubmia, and to treat marijuana possession as a serious crime.
From the Washington Post, Sept. 9, 1996:
In addition, U.S. Attorney Eric H. Holder Jr. said in an interview that he is considering not only prosecuting more marijuana cases but also asking the D.C. Council to enact stiffer penalties for the sale and use of marijuana.Note - Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, who served in the 1990s, and former Republican Governor Bob Erlich of Maryland were both strong advocates of lessening penalties for marijuana use, at the same time Holder was calling for beefed up enforcement for the District.
"We have too long taken the view that what we would term to be minor crimes are not important," Holder said, referring to current attitudes toward marijuana use and other offenses such as panhandling.
Holder said he hopes to discourage some of that activity by being tougher on marijuana crimes. New guidelines should be in place by the end of the month, he said, noting "zero-tolerance" policy... including panhandling and public drinking, which gave officers an opportunity to check for drugs, guns and outstanding warrants.
"If you take these so-called minor crimes seriously and treat them fully, it has a ripple effect," Holder said.
Holder's plans for stricter enforcement of marijuana laws, and his proposal to increase the penalties for trafficking in marijuana, come at the same time that Montgomery County State's Attorney Andrew L. Sonner (D) has announced plans to treat more leniently low-level drug dealers and those found in possession of small amounts of drugs.
(h/t LR reader Stefan of L.A.)