Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) announced on November 14, 2019, that he is in search of the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
The latecomer to the race does not have an specifically reform-friendly record on drug policy problems compared to numerous of his rival contenders, and queries stay about exactly where he stands on legalization for adult-use—or even health-related use for that matter.
Through his time as governor, he voiced opposition to a marijuana decriminalization proposal and raised issues about a health-related cannabis legalization measure. Immediately after voters authorized that latter initiative, he stated he wished the state didn’t have the system, and his administration faced criticism more than its implementation.
That stated, Patrick, who also served as the U.S. assistant lawyer common for the civil rights division, does not seem to have expressed hostility to marijuana reform in current years and in the course of his time in workplace did take action in help of modest proposals such as resentencing for men and women with non-violent drug convictions. Here’s exactly where the former governor stands on cannabis:
Legislation And Policy Actions
Patrick’s administration stated that in spite of a marijuana decriminalization policy going into impact following the passage of a 2008 ballot initiative, law enforcement ought to be capable to continue to search men and women suspected of possession. Having said that, his workplace declined to approve a request from prosecutors to delay the implementation of the voter-authorized policy adjust.
Immediately after the decriminalization proposal passed, Patrick directed the Executive Workplace of Public Security and Safety (EOPSS) to create an implementation strategy.
“Our workplace will continue to operate collaboratively with EOPSS and the district attorneys and law enforcement agencies on implementation,” a spokesperson stated. “It’s an ongoing method.”
The then-governor stated he would operate to toughen up enforcement of fines levied against men and women possessing marijuana.
“The bottom line is the governor believes that if men and women are fined they ought to spend the fines,” a spokesperson for his administration stated.
Following the passage of a 2012 health-related cannabis initiative in Massachusetts, Patrick stated just that the “voters have voted,” and pledged that he wouldn’t seek to repeal the law.
But there have been some complications that arose in the course of his administration’s health-related marijuana licensing approval method.
In February 2014, Patrick contradicted the state well being division, which had not too long ago announced that 20 company licenses had been accepted.
“No licenses have been provided. No provisional licenses have been provided. What we have is a multi-step method of screening out applicants,” he stated. “Don’t get ahead of exactly where we are. There was a balance struck right here about attempting to let the public in via transparency to the method even although the method was unfinished.”
When reports emerged that specific health-related cannabis applicants had apparently offered false or misleading info in their application types, Patrick stated “[n]o fantastic dead goes unpunished.”
“Rather than wait till the finish when all that vetting and screening had been accomplished, we’re going to do that initial reduce from 100 [applicants] down to 20, and we’re going to inform everyone,”
The subsequent month, he dismissed requests for a assessment of the licensing method by applicants who the well being division had rejected.
“I do not assume we acquire something by beginning more than,” he stated. “We are in the middle of a method. No one has a license, no 1 is going to get a license till we meet the requirements of the application method.”
Patrick was also criticized for failing to comply with up with patient advocates who urged him to properly implement the system.
“It seems the governor desires to skip out of workplace without the need of addressing health-related marijuana mainly because he does not want to speak about it and he does not want to deal with it,” Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance Executive Director Matthew Allen stated in 2014.
Patrick’s successor, Gov. Charlie Baker (R), overhauled the his predecessor’s health-related cannabis licensing method to build “a a lot more streamlined, effective, and transparent method that enables the Commonwealth to preserve the highest requirements of each public security and accessibility.”
Regardless of opposing marijuana decriminalization and expressing issues about health-related cannabis legalization, the governor did sign a number of drug policy reform bills in the course of his time in workplace.
Patrick signed legislation in 2012 that decreased mandatory minimum sentences for men and women with non-violent drug convictions. He’d introduced a package of bills that incorporated a get in touch with for the repeal of such mandatory minimums the prior year, earning praise from reform advocates.
“We have to have an efficient and accountable re-entry system for these leaving the criminal justice program,” Patrick stated in a statement. “Combining probation and parole, and requiring supervision immediately after release, requires the very best practices from other states to assure each public security and expense savings.”
An additional piece of legislation the then-governor proposed was to decrease the scope of “drug-cost-free college zones,” exactly where men and women charged with drug crimes would face mandatory minimum sentences. He advised decreasing the size of these zones from inside 1,000 feet of a college to 100 feet.
Patrick signed off on a bill in 2014 to expand access to drug therapy.
“This bill creates some new guidelines and new tools for us to use collectively to turn to our brothers and sisters who are dealing with these illnesses and addiction and assist them assist themselves,” he stated.
But in 2012, Patrick signed a bill prohibiting specific synthetic drugs named “bath salts.”
On The Campaign Trail
So far, Patrick has not created drug policy a center-stage concern in his campaign. Having said that, his web-site says his agenda entails “making meaningful fixes to the large systems that regularly fail to meet contemporary desires.”
“This indicates a justice program that focuses significantly less on warehousing men and women than on preparing them to re-enter accountable life,” the website says.
Preceding Quotes And Social Media Posts
In 2007, a spokesperson for Patrick’s workplace stated the governor would veto a proposed marijuana possession decriminalization bill. Patrick told the Related Press that he had other priorities when asked irrespective of whether he would sign the legislation.
He was listed as a supporter for a campaign that opposed the 2008 decriminalization ballot measure that voters later authorized.
Quite a few news reports from the time also noted that Patrick stood opposed to the modest proposal to get rid of criminal penalties for low-level cannabis possession.
Oddly, two years earlier, Patrick was asked about a decriminalization proposal in the course of a debate and stated that even though he’s “very comfy with the notion of legalizing marijuana,” he does not “think it ought to be our priority.” He went on to say that he would veto a proposed decriminalization measure in the legislature.
Massachusetts voters also authorized a 2012 health-related cannabis initiative even though Patrick was in office—in spite of the truth that he declined to endorse the measure.
Asked about the proposal in the course of a radio interview with WBZ, the then-governor initial cited an argument in help of legalization created by conservative author William F. Buckley Jr., who stated regulating drug sales would get rid of a profit motive for illicit dealers. However he went on to say that “I’m not endorsing” the initiative.
“I’m not expressing a point of view and I’m not dodging, it is just I’ve got so considerably else I’m operating on,” he stated.
The host asked if Patrick would implement the law if voters authorized it and he stated “that’s, I assume, what we’re supposed to do.”
In September 2012, he stated that he does not “have a lot of enthusiasm for the health-related marijuana” measure, which was set to go ahead of voters two months later.
“I imply I have heard the views on each sides and I’m respectful of the views of each sides, and I do not have a lot of power about that,” he stated. “I assume California’s encounter has been mixed, and I’m sympathetic to the people who are in chronic discomfort and hunting for some type of relief.”
“I definitely have to defer to the health-related views about this and men and women will get a likelihood to vote on this,” Patrick stated in April 2012. “I haven’t been paying considerably focus to it.”
Although his administration struggled to implement the system immediately after voters had authorized it, Patrick stated in August 2014 that “I want frankly we didn’t have health-related marijuana.”
— Sharman Sacchetti (@SharmanTV) August 20, 2014
Patrick does not seem to have publicly weighed in in the course of the Massachusetts campaign about legalizing marijuana for adult-use, which voters authorized in 2016 immediately after he had left workplace.
In 2012, Patrick stated in the course of a State of the State Address that Massachusetts ought to reevaluate how it treats men and women convicted of non-violent drug offenses.
“In these circumstances, we have to deal with the truth that just warehousing non-violent offenders is a expensive policy failure,” he stated. “Our spending on prisons has grown 30 % in the previous decade, considerably of that mainly because of longer sentences for initial-time and nonviolent drug offenders. We have moved, at huge public expense, from therapy for drug offenders to indiscriminate prison sentences, and gained absolutely nothing in public security.”
“We have to have a lot more education and job instruction, and surely a lot more drug therapy, in prisons and we have to have mandatory supervision immediately after release,” he stated. “And we ought to make non-violent drug offenders eligible for parole sooner.”
He also stated that the “biggest challenge is that our method to public security has been to warehouse men and women,” and that the “answer is new policies, not larger warehouses.”
“We’ve been warehousing men and women for whom what they definitely have to have is therapy and not just time,” he stated in the course of a town hall occasion in 2009.
Patrick voiced help in 2006 for a bill that would legalize the more than-the-counter sale of needles in order to protect against the spread of illness.
“Deval Patrick supports this legislation mainly because he believes it will decrease hazardous ailments in our state,” a campaign spokesperson stated. “Studies in other states have shown that applications such as these lower the prices of illness infection without the need of growing drug use.”
Patrick later criticized then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R) for vetoing the legislation, stating that the official “put misguided ideology ahead of leadership in public well being.”
Individual Practical experience With Marijuana
Patrick stated in 2012 that he has under no circumstances “experienced marijuana myself” but that in the course of his college years there “was in all probability adequate about me that there was a second-hand, a speak to-higher.”
Marijuana Beneath A Patrick Presidency
It is tough to assess how Patrick would method federal marijuana policy if elected president, but his vocal opposition to decriminalization in Massachusetts and his administration’s troubled implementation of health-related cannabis legalization is most likely to give advocates pause. Although his present position on legalizing marijuana for adult-use is unclear, provided that drug policy reform has develop into a mainstream concern that candidates are routinely pressed on, it is most likely the former governor will be asked to weigh in on the campaign trail.
But for the time getting, it seems that Patrick would not make marijuana reform a priority and, in truth, may possibly prove a lot more resistant to policy adjustments such as descheduling that the majority of candidates now embrace.
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