House to Vote on Misleading Bill Creating More Drug Crimes

Update: Peter G in comments below reports thee bill was pulled from the calendar last night and is headed to the Judiciary Committee.

Via Drug Policy Alliance, the House is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a sneaky and misleading bill, courtesy of your drug warriors in Congress.

The bill is the "Drug Trafficking Safe Harbor Elimination Act of 2010 (H.R. 5231)." It's the lame-brain idea of Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), the only congressperson to speak out in opposition to to reforming the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity.

Why is it misleading? Because it doesn't just apply to traffickers, but also to those who simply possess drugs. More from Drug Policy Alliance:

Even though this bill references drug trafficking in the title, it also criminalizes conspiring to possess and use marijuana or other drugs in other countries if more than one person is involved - even if drug use is decriminalized in that country. Thus, it imposes America’s harsh drug policies on other countries, and further criminalizes a health issue. The bill’s title is very misleading.

Here's the full text of the bill. Why is this bill even coming to a vote? It has It has one cosponsor (Adam Schiff, CA) and was never considered in committee. [More...]

There's an identical bill pending in the Senate, the Drug Trafficking Safe Harbor Elimination Act of 2010, S.3218, introduced by Sen. Kent Conrad (R-ND). It too has one co-sponsor: Jeff Sessions. What a surprise.

The text of both bills adds the following to the 21 USC 846 (drug attempt and conspiracy statute):

(b) Whoever, within the United States, conspires with one or more persons, or aids or abets one or more persons, regardless of where such other persons are located, to commit at any place outside the United States an act that would constitute a violation of this title if committed within the United States, shall be subject to the same penalties that would apply to such act if it were to occur within the United States.

What it's intended to do:

To amend the Controlled Substances Act to clarify that persons who enter into a conspiracy within the United States to possess or traffic illegal controlled substances outside the United States, or engage in conduct within the United States to aid or abet drug trafficking outside the United States, may be criminally prosecuted in the United States, and for other purposes.

As if our war on drugs and over-reliance on incarceration isn't bad enough, now Congress wants to export it.

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  • Display: Sort:
    It'll pass too.... (none / 0) (#1)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 08:37:47 AM EST
    election season = tough on non-crime season.

    Where's the tea party to denounce this big tyrannical government garbage coming from Brand R?  

    Their brand of libertarianism (none / 0) (#2)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 08:51:02 AM EST
    contains more than a pinch of 'authoritarian-puritan' libertarianism, kdog... as well as "Xtian exceptionalism' libertarianism.

    Very true I'm afraid... (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 08:58:21 AM EST
    food stamps bad, 3 hots and a cot good with that crew...at least till their kid gets nabbed.

    Why is this bill even coming to a vote? (none / 0) (#4)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 10:15:27 AM EST

    Easy question.  Speaker Pelosi.

    Schiff is a Dem, for cripe's sakes... (none / 0) (#5)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 01:44:55 PM EST
    Why is this bill even coming to a vote? It has It has one cosponsors (Adam Schiff, R-CA)

    "What it's intended to do:" (none / 0) (#6)
    by Yes2Truth on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 02:57:01 PM EST

    Provide economic stimulus to the entire spectrum
    of interest groups that profit from criminalizing
    certain drugs --- but not the ones that are dangerous even when used as directed, such as
    Rx, Al Key Hall, Redman, Sale phones, Tabacky etc.

    It's DEAD! (for now.) (none / 0) (#7)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 03:38:27 PM EST
    Sent to Judiciary, where the clock will run out.

    Likely a zombie will be introduced in the incoming Congress.

    From the Drug Policy Alliance, 9/22/10 (none / 0) (#8)
    by Peter G on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 04:57:24 PM EST
    "The Drug Trafficking Safe Harbor Elimination Act of 2010 (H.R. 5231) was pulled from today's legislative schedule last night. We've been told that it won't go to the floor without first going through committee. Since it's unlikely that they can have a hearing and mark-up before Congress adjourns to go campaigning, we're good until at least after the election and most likely until at least next year. This is an amazing victory considering the bill came out of nowhere and we had only 48 hours to stop it. Many, many thanks for signing onto the sign-on letter in opposition. The final copy is attached and pasted below."