White House Drug Control Budget: Failed Drug War Tactics Prioritized Over Prevention and Treatment

The Obama Administration has released its National Drug Control Budget for the FY 2014 and despite their claims that “the war on drugs is over” and that they have “bigger fish to fry” the Office National Drug Control Policy is still prioritizing failed drug war tactics over prevention and treatment.

The new budget calls for 9.6 billion dollars to be spent on domestic law enforcement, 3.7 billion for interdiction, and 1.4 billion for international drug control efforts.

Prevention, in the form of education and outreach efforts, receives a paltry $1.4 billion dollars. While this is a 5% increase over the previous year’s budget, it is still a minuscule sum when you consider we are spending nine times more on arresting people than we are to educate them on risks of drug use and stop them from ending up in the criminal justice system in the first place. The budget calls for an additional 9.3 billion to be spent on treatment programs for those considered to have drug abuse issues (though $80 million of this funding goes to the drug court program, infamous for giving defendants the “choice” of serving time in rehab or spending time in a jail cell).

For all their rhetoric, this recent budget shows that little has changed in the federal government’s priorities when it comes to the War on Drugs. Funding is still disproportionately spent arresting people or diverting them into treatment programs after the fact, while only a small fraction (13%) of the overall drug budget is spent trying to fix the problem before it starts.

It is time for the Obama Administration’s policy to match its language on the issue of drug law reform. President Obama once promised that he would allow science and factual evidence to guide his administration on issues of public policy, but when it comes to marijuana laws, we are still waiting for him to deliver.

You can view the full text of the budget here.

60 thoughts

  1. Oh, I see that even though this “land of liberty” has the highest per capita incarnation rate, the budget for Bureau of Prisons has gone UP! Even though a MAJORITY of people support an end of marijuana prohibition, they are going to “double down” on these failed policies. We REALLY need to learn from marijuana prohibition and perhaps apply it. Such as: lets prohibit education, that would end up making us the smartest people on the planet!

    Cmon folks, seems our elected reps aren’t getting the message, SEND THEM THE MESSAGE ALREADY! Go to MOMS FOR MARIJUANA they have a call in happening. See Declaration of Rights of Cannabis Users and mail your reps, there are other petitions to be signed also, STAND UP and let them know who’s BOSS. AND if you come across a prohibitionist give em a good hard KICK IN THE BUTT! No, Really

    Declaration of Rights of Cannabis Users

  2. Why has marijuana not been legalized in ohio? None of the younger smokers even know about norml in the canton, massillon area. They have never heard of you. What can we do to get it legalized in ohio. They are afraid to sign a petition because you have to be a legal voter which means possible jury duty. That’s a big no way for them. Please advise what can be done. I personally think as long as republican hold the reins in ohio legaling mj will never happen. Yor advise is greatly welcome. You can drink alcohol but not maryjane. Await your reply. Thanks.

    [Paul Armentano responds: You largely answered your own question. Marijuana law reform will only happen when a sufficient number of stakeholders get involved in the process of their own liberation. That means joining/donating to drug law reform groups like NORML and becoming politically active in the legislative and electoral process. By your own admission, many folks in your area refuse to do either.]

  3. I do not wish to fund this failed war anymore. I will not pay the prison system to get bigger. If this budget doesn’t piss you off then you clearly need to wake up and stop pissing in the wind!

  4. I guess there are to many jobs to be lost if the Communist gov. we live in would do what’s right. Think of all those police attorneys and judges that would have to do real work if the money was used in the right way. legalize , educate and control and manage…but that would make sense…our Government is really what is taking this country down…..PERIOD

  5. What’s that Einstein famously said? “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results?”

  6. “Regardless of how you try to explain to people it’s a ‘war on drugs’ or a ‘war on a product,’ people see a war as a war on them,” he said. “We’re not at war with people in this country.”
    — White House Drug Czre, Mr. Gil Kerlikowske

    The Land of the Free now has more people in jail than even the old Soviet Union. Sure looks like a damn war to me. Maybe that’s why Mr. Kerlikowske finds it so difficult to explain that it’s not.

    I agree with Obama that ‘Science and factual evidence’ should guide all of public policy including drug policy. Anything else sets us up for more failure, EXPENSIVE failure. ‘Science and factual evidence’ is not a just talking point. ‘Science and factual evidence’ tells us how the Universe works. It behooves us to recognize this fact, sooner rather than later.

  7. no surprise here. the only recourse we have is to keep pushing legalization at the state level and force these scumbags to roll over.

  8. Oh ! Our elected officials are getting the message just fine. The message from the private prison industry ! There needs to be a constitutional amendment to end this industry. NO ONE SHOULD EVER PROFIT FROM THE INCARCERATION OF PEOPLE !

  9. @Galileo Galilei, Its really not a failure. Things are just the way they want them. A lot of people are making a living off of the lives they ruin. They don’t want mj legalized and they sure don’t want it gone either.

  10. What a pathetic waist of money we need to scrap the whole damn thing. I think if you want to be a drug addict that is your personal choice and the government should not be trying to “reeducate” you. Most drug addicts I know are very aware of how dangerous drugs are and they often know more than people who teach about the dangers of drugs in school. Case in point one of my friends who has used almost every drug known to man was asked to teach the chapter on drugs in health class when he was in high school. We need to stop paying for forced rehab and locking drug users up for a choice they knowingly make. When they rob, hurt someone, or neglect their kids then I agree with shelling out some money for punishment. Also is we legalized all drugs even the hard ones it would decrease disease spread through dirty needles and the drugs would be purchased at a pharmacy so dosage could be monitored and people would not die or get sick from tainted drugs. It has done wonders for Portugal but our politicians act like it doesn’t even exist because too many big players would lose money.

  11. I served as a Marine in the 70s because I believed in this country and it’s leaders.

    That is no longer true! I think America’s Congressmen and Senators (most of them) are a bunch of self serving jerks! Screw all of you that insist on ignoring what is right (obvious to anyone above moron level that legalizing marijuana is right) and what is the will of the people of this country!

  12. Seriously, people need to stop useing failed drug war in there comments and articles, as expensive as it is, the people that are reading them look at it as you are saying “give up” and let all drugs be legal and let the problems of “drug addicts” take hold of the everyday job fairing people. It’s just not possable. Marijauna if used Medicaly or recreationaly does not have the stigmata or stereotypes applyed to other drugs like cocaine, heroin, or opium , they where used Medicaly also but the addiction side as well as the bodily harm caused are far worse then Marijauna. So to say give up on all drugs and let run ramped on the streets is stupid. Generally speaking Marijauna users don’t tend to be a steal everything typ or need a detox to alliveate side effects from use. Marijauna is NOT a drug. Congress needs to spend money on REAL drug problems, and more on education as well as research that includes peoples testimony explaining effects as well as social impact. people that are uneducated in this take note there are no cocaine chat rooms, blogs, or websites explaining the good side of cocaine ( cocaine, heroin, opium used in example only ) or places, rallying, or events where people have a common bond of acceptance of use scatterd accross the USA- On the other hand, For Marijauna There IS, so say spend my money elsewhere, where it matters both socialy and economicly, STOP DRUG USE – AND MARIJUNANA IS NOT A DRUG

  13. If you’ve read my posts before, you know that I start with ”Barack Obama is a liar. That way, people can at least understand that none of he says is legitimate….Cannot wait for the battle he’ll have on his hands when he overturns state law in Colorado and Washington! PEOPLE,ITS SO CRAZY.Every smoker knows it will be just as easy as it always has been to secure weed,whether its legal or not…the refusal of Washington to accept THE FACTS only assures the black market will be vibrant, and our selection will continue to be international ….THE WAR ON DRUGS? hahahahahahahaha

  14. Hm.
    Drive the budget higher, with an America starting to demand change? Sounds like a pretty dumb decision. They’ll probably wait until more States legalize, and then start questioning whether they should start to do anything any different. In simple words, they’ll wait until they have too big a problem to deal with,, and then start worrying about changing the law.

    Gawds,, This Country makes 0 sense.

  15. Ever wonder why law enforcement is so overzealous about busting simple potheads.
    1. It’s easy, In most cases it’s not even dangerous.
    2. It pleases the political agenda. Reefer madness.
    3. It makes them a lot of money.
    4. Pure narcissus. Power and control over people. .
    Sad but true

    Thanks NORML

  16. The government should be in jail. Liars and thieves. Next election should I vote for the thief who’s a liar or the liar who’s a thief?

  17. I expected as much with the gridlock on just about everything in Washington, D.C. If the legislature were of the same party as Obama is, Democrats, legalization would likely be a good bit closer to legalization than the way it is now.

    Obama will NOT be another Lincoln. He has NOT emancipated people, largely minorities, from the new Jim Crow laws and the servitude of working in prison industries.

    He’s turned out to be another President James Buchanan, a president who’s not going to deal with it and is leaving for the next person in the office.

    The least they could do for our kind is put out a memorandum that the feds are not to spend any money on federal cannabis prohibition enforcement in states with medical, industrial or recreational cannabis laws. The rationale is that if the states are using their own resources to control cannabis in a manner consistent with the will of the people in that state that federal involvement is both counterproductive and wasteful.

  18. I live in Idaho. Least year I had a petition for medical marijuana that I brought to my nephew’s house. He was like well they drug test me all the time,and besides I don’t want my employer to find out I signed this. Then he’s like Oh what amendment? 4th duh well I just drink beer. Another generation that knows only how to pee in a cup play with balls and drink beer.

  19. Look…It’s 2013 Marijuana prohibition and just about any form of Prohibition does not work at all…(the past proves that)… Legalize it and regulate it like alcohol/tobacco plain and simple, it is no worse if not better than people drinking/drowning themselves in alcohol. or People strung out on pharmaceuticals.

  20. Hey Mr Kerilikowske,How did somone as stupid as you get 2 be in charge is mindbogling.so if this war is not about people doing time,paying fines-then you think its about the erb.We r the ones being arrested beat harased fined licence removal.if this is not a cause of total disresapect of peoples god given rights.Its bullies gone wild.this is a sociaty that cares about no one but themselfs and their on going vanity of their world not ours but yours A.If their was any real men in this country the law wood be changed real fast.Fed up in the good old U.S.A.

  21. what a bunch of hog wash.14.7 billion to stop a plant from growing,wile their r pepople starving with no homes to live in,no school police for the nuts out their A..14.7 billion too stop a plant from gowing if i was not aware of this nonsense I wood say u all r crazy..14.7 bnillion just too stop the growing of a plant.not 2 mention how much is spent on locking people up for using this plant for food,clothing,tea.o yea we smoke it too..This is for all u hippocrits out their that think allcohole is ok and that cigerets r ok after all they r legal,3,500 a month 2 lock someone up ,O yea what do they do when they get busted for selling or growing after all someone is gonna do that arnt they now mr man or woman bullies in charge…enough is enough its time people for us too tell r nabours 2 get their diskusting noses out of r shit.14.7 billion for 2014 for the stupid drug war on erb.This is for u ass—– out their that no nothing about erb ,did yens now that the seeds from the male plant could wipe out hunger as we now it its a protein u bunch of dummies…14.7 billion for WHAT…

  22. While the Obama administration now sits in silence over marijuana decriminalization, or full out legalization–Obama and either his administration or the elite will continue to stab the citizens in the back-with more laws most don’t even know about-the NDAA, Patriot Act, Drones in U.S. skies to spy on us, the AUMF (Authorization For Use of Military Force, and on and on and on. I am sure that Obama is still snorting cocaine behind the walls of the White House. We, the USA, are the biggest dealer of drugs and weapons throughout the world.
    Afghan Heroin Brings CIA $50 Billion A Year, Covers US War Expense:

    ** Our government and others know of the huge benefits of marijuana but are keeping it from the population on purpose.

    Just check out US Patent 6630507 titled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants” which is assigned to The United States of America, as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services.
    The patent claims that –

    “Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.”
    The patent was obtained in October of 2003.

    Since one part of the government applied for the patent of medical marijuana, and another part of the government approved that patent, it seems logical to conclude that the federal government knows that marijuana has some valid medical properties.

    Now the hard part. How do we get them to admit it?

  23. Why dos’nt anyone else see this issue for what it is!!! Illegal foriegn aid!!! The gov will not stop the flow…We do’nt want to give you money but you can sell your shit here because we have this great black market and we have built this industrial complex called prison that created millions of jobs…how many of these idiots do you think are going to kill jobs in their districts

  24. Big surprise there. Exactly the same tactic they took with Michell Leonhart. They pretended to care then just went ahead with business as usual after a month of “We Care”…

  25. Lets all stop and take a good look at what we can still do to cripple this policy.#1 make every case as expensive for them as possible.Do not under any circumstances take any plea bargains,make them go to trial.When you go to trial make sure you are armed with every study and bit of information showing that cannabis is good for you.

  26. Obama is a fukn puppet what good change has he or his admin. brought us nothing but lies and hope but no hard actions his worse thn jimmy carter and he’s black. Wtfuk?

  27. THIS IS WHY WE DO NOT WANT TO BREAK OUT THE CHAMPAGNE JUST YET! These arrogant people in our government will only give up the ghost when they realize they can make more money by legalizing. Expect it to take them awhile to do the math. We have been dragged into a prison colony mentality by our great leaders. They will not listen to facts or the people they claim they are public servants for. Do not just gripe on blogs, VOTE!, THEM OUT OF COARSE !

  28. Don’t you get it? It’s not about stopping marijuana use. It’s all about controlling your life and getting as many people as possible labeled as criminals.

  29. Thank you NORMAL. I’m donating right now! Obama is playing coy: He knows he needs to pass immigration reform and any kind of a budget before Congress is forced to act on the Hemp Farming Act.
    With all the states passing pro hemp legislation the Controlled Substance Act is doomed. None of the rhetoric from Congress or budgets to prohibit will prevail the will for American freedom.

  30. Money is power. That is why the federal government is printing more and using it to bribe and to exploit people for political gain.

    But don’t worry everybody trust Obama. Is it comforting to hear him say, “Don’t worry”?

  31. Please fill me in if I am wrong. Why do they call it the Black Market??? Well, in my opinion they call it the Black Market because it involves criminals. I think that name “Black Market” should be changed to “Profit Market” or something in the lines of that. I say this because think why they call it “Black Friday” the business get out of the red (negative). There are sales in every store, you get the picture. I understand that the US has treaties with other countries and all of the blah blah political stuff they have to do.

    We all know the Volstead Act or prohibtion of achohol didn’t work. Watch Broadwalk Empire any time you can cudos to HBO. Capone, Lucky Luciano, all the big names of gangsters are in that show. Sorry if I went off topic, but if there is a prohibtion, violence is going to follow suit. It was from 1920-1933, it took the govt 13 years to figure out that prohibtion didnt work. Now we are at 76 years. Wow what a long time.

    I just want to say thank you to the state of California, 1996, Colorado, 2012, and Washington, 2012. Since California had “legalized” medical cannbis, that is when the law should of change. The reason behind that logic is simple. The state of California went against the feds to challenge them about the medicinal properties. The feds should of rescheduled Cannabis right then and there, so they could of performed “research” of its treatment properties. But no they didnt reschedule people were still at risk getting prosecuted. Ok they is one thing in this world that work. 1.) Science, believe me I am not a scientist, science defeats all political thoughts. They dont want science to get in the way of their prohibitionist mindset. Lets say that the feds let us do offical research on Cannabis. The feds will do their own research and some doctor from Illinois (or whatever state you want it doesnt matter) do thier own research, the consumers have to be the same people, the consume rate has to be identical. I bet (no I do not gamble) the test would be completely opposite. The feds would off skew and the some doctors in IL or whatever state you picked would be correct.

    Cannabis should be treated like any other natural plant. Sorry if im off topic but everyone knows there was crack. Crack is an altered substance from cocaine, and cocaine is from a plant that is altered. Okay im sure you know that, but how is that different from alcohol? Potatos, grains, and plants are all altered to make alcohol, when Cannbis on its own is natural. Why???? Sure you grow different strengths of alcohol to suit your needs. BTW you can consume more alcohol to make the effects highten. Consuming more beer or vodka once you are done you can go to that manmade garbage, but money you will be spending. I think about prohibition back then i wonder how much a fifth cost, maybe 10 maybe 100 bucks who knows it made more money while being on prohibition.

    What will happen when Holder gives his “relatively soon” response? Who knows it all depends on our lovely lawmakers. We need fresh young minds in our political offices, not some old guy stuck in his prohibitionist mindset. The question is who would want to buy from?? The dealer that could be your friend that you have been supporting him by giving him your money, to make a living off of you. Or would would you want to pay buy it at a regulated market where you know nothing has been tampered with?? Thanks for reading i had a lot to get off my chest.

  32. Paul,

    Where I am from, joining a group that supports marijuana reform or even donating money could get myself and my peers into financial and legal trouble. Of course they will not outright say ” we fired you for joining the organization” it would be something along the lines of we fired you for “actions detrimental to the integrity and safety of our district” so they could cover their behinds in court.

    Also, a few of us contacted our senators office about changing their views on legalizing and we were told not to contact them again about that.

    I appreciate all the advice you guys give and the hard work you do for the ending of cannabis prohibition, but I don’t think you guys really grasp that we have people in our congress that actually think a woman’s body can terminate a baby if she’s raped. What makes you think they will really change their opinions on cannabis? Have you ever watched Bill Maher’s documentary “Religulous”? In that film, he interviews a senator who actually says “You don’t have to pass an I.Q. test to become a senator.”

    It’s going to take a TV special or something so we can get the general public educated on this.

  33. Congress writes the law. Not the President. The President proposes a budget, congress has to approve it. Expect this to be DOA on arrival in the house, they’ll say too much treatment (see they see no difference between marijuana and heroin) no enough law enforcement. If this passes it will be another inch not a mile.

  34. **ALERT**
    (local, county, state, federal, cia, military and homeland security, patrol, etc.)
    I’ll bet if everyone just stopped buying any amount of marijuana on 4-20 and just quit for several months, that you would stop the money flow into government cartels pocketbook.
    SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE ABOUT IT BEFORE ITS TOO LATE. Can’t you people see between the lines? {the government is getting rich off of the marijuana and they don’t want us to know about it!)
    So they now ramp up failed drug war tactics and policies and build more prisions. I can look up and see those corrupted scoundrels drooling at the mouth, and foaming at the mouth for more and more of your hard earned dollars. FOAMING AT THE MOUTH WITH GREED. GREED, GOVERNMENT SCOUNDRALISM, POLITICAL CORRUPTION. HOW LONG ARE WE GOING TO HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THIS PEOPLE? Please comment and carry forward – Onward Ho!
    ***!!!End Cannabis Prohibition!!!***

  35. To answer your question: Forever because enough people to put them out of business will never stand up.

  36. If a bill don’t pass to legalize marijuana this year I will never vote for a Lib any more.


    I’m thinking about a new wave campaign to make marijuana really stand out in the eyes of people across the nation.
    It’s called “I’m a criminal” because that’s how the government wants to view “is”

  38. Just how many americans are profitting from encarcerating americans? No one should be profitting from encarcerating people!!!!! So long as the black markets are propped up by federal intervention in state economics, their profit taking will fuel the powerful’s demand to define our quality of life, dictate the standards of right and wrong, and continue the destruction of our nation’s future. This is a war on the american people by the nations’ powerful elite. How many of their children’s past has been institutionally retarded if not ended by their use of drugs? How long will the medical community remain silent as their patients continue to die from overdoses? How many doctors’ profits are tied to this complicity?

  39. I am also in NE Ohio and it does seem like we are a state that is lagging. That said, I could gather quite a few signatures I think.

    The government apparently hasn’t learned anything in regards to drug policy over the last 75 years. They keep approaching this problem with the same mentality and methods year after year. They get the same horrible results year after year. And they simply refuse to try a different approach. It’s frustrating.

  40. Marijuana is here to stay now, we just need to get some real solutions to the politicians problems. The business plan expert need to build a business plan that would help all and make presentation to the politicians. We as a whole need to move ahead slow but steady and move now. Write one email sign one petition talk to one person and explain why marijuana is right for a time such as this. Do something, grow some, but don’t respond to it as odd or extraordinary but as the experience is nothing more than norml. Grow what you need and some for your neighbor. Share your seeds and knowledge with a friend, it is alive but you got to plant it. Don’t go wild with it distribution is still illegal, don’t get greedy appreciate the grace and mercy, just make a little that is the laws of the lands now, start acting like it is norml, and it will be soon, no big deal, just norml. Smile enjoy the buzz, the relief and the freedom.
    Michael lr

    Michael lr

  41. It does not help the cause to post comments with egregious misspelling and half baked ideas. There are people who are anti weed who read the comments posted here. Please review your comments before you post something that confirms their opinions of those that do indulge.

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