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Office of National Drug Control Policy

From Academic Kids

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), a component of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, was established in 1988 by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act. Its stated goal is to establish policies, priorities, and objectives to eradicate illicit drug use, manufacturing, and trafficking, drug-related crime and violence, and drug-related health consequences in the United States.

The director of the ONDCP is John P. Walters.

The director of the ONDCP also evaluates, coordinates, and oversees both the international and domestic anti-drug efforts of executive branch agencies and ensures that such efforts sustain and complement State and local anti-drug activities. The Director advises the President regarding changes in the organization, management, budgeting, and personnel of Federal Agencies that could affect the Nation's anti-drug efforts; and regarding Federal agency compliance with their obligations under the Strategy.

Contents

Controversy

In 2000, the Federal Communications Commission, in response to a complaint by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, sent inquiries to five major television networks about ONDCP's practice of offering millions of additional advertising dollars to networks that imbedded anti-drug messages in their programming[1] (http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=4127). The House Committee on Government Reform's Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources held hearings on the matter on July 11, 2000[2] (http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=4160). In December of that year, the FCC ruled that the networks should have identified the Office of National Drug Control Policy as the sponsor of the television programs[3] (http://www.cannabisnews.com/news/thread8154.shtml).

In December 2002, the Marijuana Policy Project filed a complaint with the Nevada Secretary of State accusing the Drug Czar John Walters of illegally campaigning against its 2002 ballot initiative to legalize possession of up to 3 ounces of cannabis in that state. Specifically, MPP argued that Nevada campaign finance laws required the Drug Czar to reveal how much taxpayer money he had spent to defeat the initiative. In April 2003, the Nevada Attorney General concluded that the Drug Czar was not required to comply with Nevada's campaign finance laws. MPP filed a writ of mandamus as an appeal of the decision. The Nevada Supreme Court issued an order declaring that MPP had "set forth issues of arguable merit" in its writ; however, on August 18, 2004, the Court declared that it was "not satisfied that [the] court's intervention by way of extraordinary relief is warranted"[4] (http://www.mpp.org/WarOnDrugCzar/).

A February 24, 2005 MPP press release announced that the group had filed similar complaints in Montana, Oregon, and Alaska, accusing the Drug Czar of failing to make legally required campaign expense disclosures[5] (http://www.mpp.org/WarOnDrugCzar/):

On October 5, 2004, the drug czar traveled to Oregon for the purpose of opposing Measure 33, a ballot measure designed to expand the state's medical marijuana program. On October 6, ONDCP Deputy Director Scott Burns traveled to Montana to campaign against Initiative 148, the medical marijuana measure passed by voters in November. And on October 13 and 14, Burns traveled to Alaska to oppose Measure 2, a measure to allow the state to tax and regulate the sale of marijuana. All of these trips were widely reported in the local press as being campaign stops in opposition to the reform initiatives.

Also in 2005, the Government Accountability Office found that the ONDCP had violated anti-propaganda laws by preparing prepackaged news stories that did not disclose to television viewers that the government had produced them[6] (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A62157-2005Feb3.html). According to Susan A. Poling, managing associate general counsel at the GAO, "What is objectionable about these is the fact the viewer has no idea their tax dollars are being used to write and produce this video segment."

ONDCP supporters such as Congressman Tom Davis and Mark Edward Souder have dismissed such criticism on the grounds that the ONDCP is expressly authorized by law to conduct anti-drug media campaigns.

Legislation

Executive Order

  • 1993 Executive Order No. 12880
  • 1996 Executive Orders Nos. 12992 and 13023
  • 2000 Executive Order 13165

External Links

White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) (http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/)

References

See Also

War on Drugs

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