It is often frighting to see the level of ignorance regarding drug policy among the elected officials tasked with setting it. In preparation for the Senate Judiciary Committee’s oversight hearing on the Drug Enforcement Administration, ranking minority member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) put out a prepared statement with these lines:
Another challenge for the DEA is the ongoing threat of synthetic drugs. This has been an issue of concern to me for some time, since my constituent, David Rozga, committed suicide after smoking synthetic marijuana.
Just last year, news reports linked a synthetic form of ecstasy called “Molly” to the deaths of at least four young people in Boston, New York, and here in Washington.
There is so much factually wrong with these six words it is hard to know where to begin. The terms “ecstasy” and “molly” effectively refer to the exact same thing. Most people using the terms ecstasy or molly are talking about the drug MDMA. Obviously, since they exist in an unregulated black market unscrupulous dealers will sometimes sell other drugs as “ecstasy” or “molly,” but these names are meant to be basically interchangeable. A quick Goggle search of the word “molly” would have immediately made this clear to the Senator.
In addition MDMA is not a naturally occurring molecule so all ecstasy is already “synthetic.” Saying a “synthetic form” of ecstasy doesn’t make sense.
Apparently, Grassley is very worried about this new form of MDMA which is actually just the exact same MDMA that has existed for years, because he doesn’t understand that slang often changes and the 80 year old senator can’t be bothered to take three seconds to do a basic internet search. It is like worrying about a new form of marijuana known as “weed.”
As ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Grassley is arguably one of the most important people in Congress when it comes to drug policy. If Republicans win control of the Senate next year and Grassley becomes chairman of Judiciary Committee he would probably become the most important person in Congress regarding drug policy.
This should help to explain to people why federal drug policy is so terrible.
Photo by Gage Skidmore under Creative Commons license