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Iowa Democratic Party drug stance: bound to turn some heads

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2016 | Drug Charges

“[P]utting cocaine back in Coca-Cola.”

Such a reference was bound to crop up regarding an official platform position announced recently by the Iowa Democratic Party, and party principals have been quick to address it and put things into a proper context.

“No one is advocating a libertarian drug free-for-all,” states one Democratic delegate responding to questions that have emerged concerning the innocuous sounding “plank 293.”

Here’s what that stated principle, now ensconced in the party’s 2016 State Platform, calls for, in these exact terms: “legalizing all drugs.”

But hold on, says one party spokesperson, who states that “the brevity of the document doesn’t encompass the true meaning.”

The true focus of plank 293 is on more closely linking drugs with medical treatment and rehabilitation rather than with criminalization. Connecting those dots, say some party delegates, is more easily done by stressing legalization rather than a term like “decriminalization,” which still carries penal implications.

The bedrock emphasis, notes one commentator, “is to reframe drug abuse as a medical rather than criminal issue.”

Will the platform fly? That is, will it gain traction and eventually be adopted as state law in Iowa?

Our readers can likely state the outcome of plank 293 confidently and quickly, given that no state in the country — no place on earth, in fact — has an all-drugs-legal statutory scheme. One media report on the plank’s wording states that the platform language “has abysmal prospects when it comes to actually becoming law.”

And, of course, the plank’s architects know that, with one of them noting that its true intent is as a “divestment strategy in the drug war.”