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 in particular reform-friendly record on drug policy concerns compared to lots of of his rival contenders, and queries stay about exactly where he stands on legalization for adult-use—or even healthcare use for that matter.
For the duration of his time as governor, he voiced opposition to a marijuana decriminalization proposal and raised issues about a healthcare cannabis legalization measure. Right 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 throughout his time in workplace did take action in assistance of modest proposals such as resentencing for people today with non-violent drug convictions. Here’s exactly where the former governor stands on cannabis:
Legislation And Policy Actions
Patrick’s administration stated that regardless of a marijuana decriminalization policy going into impact following the passage of a 2008 ballot initiative, law enforcement should really be in a position to continue to search people today suspected of possession. Nevertheless, his workplace declined to approve a request from prosecutors to delay the implementation of the voter-authorized policy transform.
Right 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 course of action.”
The then-governor stated he would operate to toughen up enforcement of fines levied against people today possessing marijuana.
“The bottom line is the governor believes that if people today are fined they should really spend the fines,” a spokesperson for his administration stated.
Following the passage of a 2012 healthcare 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 had been some complications that arose throughout his administration’s healthcare marijuana licensing approval course of action.
In February 2014, Patrick contradicted the state overall health division, which had lately 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 course of action 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 by means of transparency to the course of action even although the course of action was unfinished.”
When reports emerged that particular healthcare cannabis applicants had apparently supplied false or misleading information and facts in their application types, Patrick stated “[n]o very good dead goes unpunished.”
“Rather than wait till the finish when all that vetting and screening had been carried out, we’re going to do that very first 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 course of action by applicants who the overall health division had rejected.
“I do not consider we acquire something by beginning more than,” he stated. “We are in the middle of a course of action. No one has a license, no a single is going to get a license till we meet the requirements of the application course of action.”
Patrick was also criticized for failing to stick to up with patient advocates who urged him to efficiently implement the system.
“It seems the governor desires to skip out of workplace with out addressing healthcare marijuana simply 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 healthcare cannabis licensing course of action to develop “a additional streamlined, effective, and transparent course of action that makes it possible for the Commonwealth to sustain the highest requirements of each public security and accessibility.”
Regardless of opposing marijuana decriminalization and expressing issues about healthcare cannabis legalization, the governor did sign numerous drug policy reform bills throughout his time in workplace.
Patrick signed legislation in 2012 that decreased mandatory minimum sentences for people today with non-violent drug convictions. He’d introduced a package of bills that integrated a contact for the repeal of such mandatory minimums the preceding year, earning praise from reform advocates.
“We need to have an successful and accountable re-entry system for these leaving the criminal justice technique,” Patrick stated in a statement. “Combining probation and parole, and requiring supervision just after release, requires the greatest practices from other states to assure each public security and expense savings.”
A different piece of legislation the then-governor proposed was to decrease the scope of “drug-cost-free college zones,” exactly where people today charged with drug crimes would face mandatory minimum sentences. He encouraged lowering 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 enable them enable themselves,” he stated.
But in 2012, Patrick signed a bill prohibiting particular synthetic drugs named “bath salts.”
On The Campaign Trail
So far, Patrick has not created drug policy a center-stage challenge in his campaign. Nevertheless, his internet site says his agenda includes “making meaningful fixes to the major systems that regularly fail to meet contemporary requirements.”
“This implies a justice technique that focuses significantly less on warehousing people today than on preparing them to re-enter accountable life,” the internet site 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 Connected 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.
Many news reports from the time also noted that Patrick stood opposed to the modest proposal to eliminate criminal penalties for low-level cannabis possession.
Oddly, two years earlier, Patrick was asked about a decriminalization proposal throughout a debate and stated that when he’s “very comfy with the thought 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 healthcare cannabis initiative when Patrick was in office—in spite of the truth that he declined to endorse the measure.
Asked about the proposal throughout a radio interview with WBZ, the then-governor very first cited an argument in assistance of legalization created by conservative author William F. Buckley Jr., who stated regulating drug sales would eliminate a profit motive for illicit dealers. But 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 a great deal 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 consider, what we’re supposed to do.”
In September 2012, he stated that he does not “have a lot of enthusiasm for the healthcare marijuana” measure, which was set to go just before 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 consider California’s practical experience has been mixed, and I’m sympathetic to the people who are in chronic discomfort and searching for some type of relief.”
“I truly have to defer to the healthcare views about this and men and women will get a opportunity to vote on this,” Patrick stated in April 2012. “I haven’t been paying a great deal consideration to it.”
Although his administration struggled to implement the system just after voters had authorized it, Patrick stated in August 2014 that “I want frankly we didn’t have healthcare marijuana.”
— Sharman Sacchetti (@SharmanTV) August 20, 2014
Patrick does not seem to have publicly weighed in throughout the Massachusetts campaign about legalizing marijuana for adult-use, which voters authorized in 2016 just after he had left workplace.
In 2012, Patrick stated throughout a State of the State Address that Massachusetts should really reevaluate how it treats people today convicted of non-violent drug offenses.
“In these situations, we have to deal with the truth that just warehousing non-violent offenders is a pricey policy failure,” he stated. “Our spending on prisons has grown 30 % in the previous decade, a great deal of that simply because of longer sentences for very first-time and nonviolent drug offenders. We have moved, at enormous public expense, from therapy for drug offenders to indiscriminate prison sentences, and gained absolutely nothing in public security.”
“We need to have additional education and job education, and absolutely additional drug therapy, in prisons and we need to have mandatory supervision just after release,” he stated. “And we have to make non-violent drug offenders eligible for parole sooner.”
He also stated that the “biggest trouble is that our method to public security has been to warehouse people today,” and that the “answer is new policies, not larger warehouses.”
“We’ve been warehousing people today for whom what they truly need to have is therapy and not just time,” he stated throughout a town hall occasion in 2009.
Patrick voiced assistance 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 simply 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 with out rising drug use.”
Patrick later criticized then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R) for vetoing the legislation, stating that the official “put misguided ideology just before leadership in public overall health.”
Individual Encounter With Marijuana
Patrick stated in 2012 that he has in no way “experienced marijuana myself” but that throughout his college years there “was almost certainly 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 healthcare 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 turn out to be a mainstream challenge 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 prove additional resistant to policy modifications such as descheduling that the majority of candidates now embrace.
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