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Ron Wyden on Drugs

Democratic Sr Senator (OR)

 


Voted NO on increasing penalties for drug offenses.

Vote to increase penalties on certain drug-related crimes. The amendment would specifically target the manufacturing or trafficking of amphetamines & methamphetamines and possession of powder cocaine, and set stronger penalties for dealing drugs
Reference: Bill S.625 ; vote number 1999-360 on Nov 10, 1999

Voted NO 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

Federal grants to Indian tribes to fight methamphetamine.

Wyden co-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

Sponsored defining industrial hemp as not marijuana.

Wyden sponsored Industrial Hemp Farming Act

Sponsor's Remarks:
Rep. PAUL: Nine States allow industrial hemp production or research in accord with State laws. However, Federal law is standing in the way of farmers in these States growing what may be a very profitable crop. Because of current Federal law, all hemp included in products sold in the US must be imported instead of being grown by American farmers. Since 1970, the federal Controlled Substances Act's inclusion of industrial hemp in the "schedule one" definition of marijuana has prohibited American farmers from growing industrial hemp despite the fact that industrial hemp has such a low content of THC (the psychoactive chemical in the related marijuana plant) that nobody can be psychologically affected by consuming hemp.

The US is the only industrialized nation that prohibits industrial hemp cultivation. Industrial hemp is a crop that was grown legally throughout the US for most of our Nation's history. In fact, during World War II, the Federal Government actively encouraged American farmers to grow industrial hemp to help the war effort. It is unfortunate that the Federal Government has stood in the way of American farmers competing in the global industrial hemp market. Indeed, the founders of our Nation, some of whom grew hemp, would surely find that federal restrictions on farmers growing a safe and profitable crop on their own land are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of a limited Government.

Source: HR1831/S3501/HR525(2013) 12-S3501 on Aug 2, 2012

Exempt industrial hemp from marijuana laws.

Wyden sponsored Industrial Hemp Farming Act

Congressional Summary:Amends the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of "marihuana." Defines "industrial hemp" to mean the plant Cannabis sativa and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a THC concentration of not more than 0.3%.

Argument in favor (Sen. Ron Wyden):

Members of Congress hear a lot about how dumb regulations are hurting economic growth and job creation. The current ban on growing industrial hemp is hurting job creation in rural America and increasing our trade deficit. This bill will end this ridiculous regulation. Right now, the US is importing over $10 million in hemp products--a crop that US farmers could be profitably growing right here at home, if not for government rules prohibiting it. Now, even though hemp and marijuana come from the same species of plant, there are major differences between them. The Chihuahua and St. Bernard come from the same species, too, but no one is going to confuse them.

Argument in opposition (Drug Enforcement Agency):

Argument in opposition (DrugWatch.org 10/30/2013):

Source: S.359/H.R.525 14_S0359 on Feb 14, 2013

Rated B+ by NORML, indicating a pro-drug-reform stance.

Wyden scores B+ 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

Immunity for banks offering services to marijuana businesses.

Wyden signed immunity for banks offering services to marijuana businesses

Congressional Summary:This bill provides a safe harbor for depository institutions providing financial services to a marijuana-related legitimate business insofar as it prohibits a federal banking regulator from:

  1. terminating or limiting the deposit or share insurance of a depository institution solely because it provides financial services to a marijuana-related legitimate business; or
  2. prohibiting, penalizing, or otherwise discouraging a depository institution from offering such services.
Immunity from federal criminal prosecution or investigation is granted, subject to certain conditions, to a depository institution that provides financial services to a marijuana-related legitimate business in a state or one of its political subdivisions that allows the cultivation, production, manufacture, sale, transportation, display, dispensing, distribution, or purchase of marijuana.

Argument in Favor: [Cato Institute, March 31, 2016]: Marijuana is now legal under the laws of [several] states, but not under federal law. And this creates huge headaches for marijuana businesses:

Source: Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act 16-S1726 on Apr 28, 2015

Criminalize imports of opioid precursors.

Wyden signed criminalizing imports of opioid precursors

Excerpts from Letter from 17 Senators to the President of the European Commission We write to request designating NPP and ANPP, which are precursor chemicals of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, as Table I substances under the 1988 UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. NPP and ANPP are [legal under EU law but] already controlled in the U.S. under the Controlled Substances Act. However, without collective international action it will be difficult to control NPP and ANPP, and will frustrate efforts to curb manufacturing and trafficking of illicit fentanyl.

Opposing argument: (ACLU, "Against Drug Prohibition"): People in almost all cultures, in every era, have used psychoactive drugs. A "drug free America" is not a realistic goal, and by criminally banning psychoactive drugs the government has ceded control of potentially dangerous substances to criminals. Instead of trying to stamp out drug use, our government should focus on reducing drug abuse and prohibition-generated crime. This requires a fundamental change in public policy: repeal of criminal prohibition and the creation of a reasonable regulatory system.

Opposing argument: (Cato Institute, "Do Restrictions Reduce Opioid Poisonings?", by Jeffrey Miron): Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), which record a patient's opioid prescribing history, when required as "must access," PDMPs significantly reduce misuse in Medicare Part D. But there is no statistically significant effect on opioid poisoning incidents. How is this possible? The simplest explanation is that, despite all the hype, prescription opioids are not that dangerous, even in heavy doses, when used under medical supervision. Instead, most poisonings reflect use of diverted prescription opioids, or black market opioids, which may be adulterated. Under this interpretation, restrictions on opioid prescribing might even increase opioid poisonings.

Source: Letter on Fentanyl 17LTR-NPP on Feb 17, 2017

Require chemical resellers to certify against meth use.

Wyden co-sponsored requiring chemical resellers to certify against meth use

Sen. FEINSTEIN: This act is designed to address problems that the Drug Enforcement Administration, DEA, has identified in the implementation of the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005. The bill that I introduce today would:

The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act that we passed last year has been a resounding success. The number of methamphetamine labs in the United States has declined dramatically now that the ingredients used to make methamphetamine are harder to get. Fewer meth labs means more than just less illegal drug production. In 2003, 3,663 children were reported exposed to toxic meth labs nationwide--but so far this year, the number of exposed children is only 319.

This is a common-sense bill, designed to strengthen the implementation of the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act. This bill would create incentives to ensure that the self-certification process of the law is made both effective and enforceable. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.

Source: Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act (S.2071) 2007-S2071 on Sep 19, 2007

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Page last updated: Sep 04, 2017