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Amy Klobuchar on Drugs

DFL Sr Senator (MN); Democratic presidential contender

 


I sent drug users to jail, but the only answer is treatment

I led one of the most successful drug courts in the country. We didn't want to see repeat customers. If you don't want to see repeat customers, the only answer is treatment. Maybe you're referring to people who were dealing big time in drugs. I felt that we should prosecute those people, but we owe it to the people of New Hampshire, had one of the biggest addiction rates in the countries and death rates when it comes to opioids, to explain how we will pay for the treatment and the bed.
Source: 8th Democrat 2020 primary debate, St. Anselm College in NH , Feb 7, 2020

Two-cent per milligram tax on opioids to fund treatment

There's going to be a federal settlement against opioid manufacturers. The evidence is overwhelming. We will get $40 billion in from that settlement, we can put a 2 cents per milligram tax on opioids that brings in another 40 billion. Then you can close a hedge fund loophole that brings in $18 billion. And just like every other policy I've proposed, I have shown how I'm going to pay for it.
Source: 8th Democrat 2020 primary debate, St. Anselm College in NH , Feb 7, 2020

Legalize marijuana, but no expungement

Klobuchar on Legalizing Marijuana: Legalize it.

18 CANDIDATES HAVE SIMILAR VIEWS: Michael Bennet; Cory Booker; Peter Buttigieg; Julian Castro; Bill de Blasio; Tulsi Gabbard; Kirsten Gillibrand; Kamala Harris; John Hickenlooper; Jay Inslee; Amy Klobuchar; Seth Moulton; Beto O`Rourke; Tim Ryan; Bernard Sanders; Eric Swalwell; Elizabeth Warren; Marianne Williamson; Andrew Yang.

Candidates supporting legalization argue that criminal penalties for marijuana possession have created far more harm than would come from treating it more like alcohol or tobacco.

Many candidates--including Sens. Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris--would go even further, calling for past criminal convictions for marijuana possession to be expunged.

Both former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee opposed their states successful 2012 referendums allowing recreational marijuana sales, but have since become champions of legalization.

Source: Politico "2020Dems on the Issues" , Jul 17, 2019

Fund treatment & mental health with opioid tax

That means enough beds in this country for people with mental health problems if they're facing a crisis. That means doing something about our mounting suicide rate for farmers, for veterans, for LGBTQ youth. That means actually putting the money into treatment. I have a proposal for [a] 2 cents-per-milligram fee on these opioid pharma companies that have made tons of money off the backs of people who got addicted. You can also use it for these other drugs, as well as mental health.
Source: CNN SOTU 2019 interview of presidential hopefuls , May 5, 2019

Opioid manufacturers should help fund treatment

She released a $100 billion plan to combat mental health problems and substance abuse over the next decade. Her plan focuses on prevention, treatment and ongoing recovery. Klobuchar wants a chunk of the money to come from opioid manufacturers for their role in the national epidemic. She co-sponsored a bill that would impose a one-cent tax for each milligram of opioids in a pain pill. The funds for the tax would then be used for substance abuse treatment.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , May 3, 2019

Use drug courts; diversity in law enforcement

Q: Convictions for non-violent drug crimes impact minorities.

A: I have been a big believer in drug courts at the state and federal levels. I've led that effort on the federal level. The second thing is I think that our offices, both police offices, county attorney's offices need to reflect the population we serve. And I worked very hard to bring people of color into our office and we were a lot better for it. The other thing is the way we handle cases when they come in. The other thing we need to do is not just pass the first step back and I was proud to be a co-sponsor of that legislation. But we have to create incentives to bring those sentences down as well on the state and local level.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020: 5 candidates back-to-back , Apr 22, 2019

Reduce sentences for non-violent drug offenders

One of the things that we are starting to resolve is the federal drug sentences. I was a sponsor of the FIRST STEP Act, a co-sponsor. That was the important law that just passed on a bipartisan basis that brought down the federal drug sentences, which were much higher than the local drug sentences for nonviolent offenders. It's called the FIRST STEP Act because there has to be a second step act.
Source: CNN State of the Union 2019 on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Mar 17, 2019

Opioid companies should fund addiction treatment

There is just not enough funding going into addiction. I see it as a money saver in the long haul, because so many times when people get hooked, they end up committing crimes.

Why don't we pay for it by getting money from the very drug companies that got people addicted in the first place? We have a bill right now, the LifeBOAT Act, where we put a fee on those companies that are selling the opioids to help pay for treatment. I'd like to see the Trump administration get behind that.

Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls , Feb 18, 2019

More resources to fight the meth epidemic

Minnesota continues to face threats to public safety, especially in the areas of school safety, violent crime, and drug abuse, especially the meth epidemic. At the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, I have made these issues a priority. However, Minnesota’s public safety issues cannot be addressed without support from Congress and the federal government. The priorities in Washington need to change. As your U.S. Senator, here’s what I’ll fight for:
Source: New York Times Election Profiles for 2006 election , Oct 8, 2006

Rated D by NORML, indicating a "hard-on-drugs" stance.

Klobuchar scores D 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

Criminalize imports of opioid precursors.

Klobuchar 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

Other candidates on Drugs: Amy Klobuchar on other issues:
MN Gubernatorial:
Chris Coleman
Erin Murphy
Jeff Johnson
Lori Swanson
Mark Dayton
Matt Dean
Rebecca Otto
Tim Pawlenty
Tim Walz
Tina Liebling
Tina Smith
MN Senatorial:
Jason Lewis
Jim Newberger
Karin Housley
Paula Overby
Steve Carlson
Tina Smith

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