Top Drug Official: The Old War On Drugs Is All Wrong

Despite 44 years of aggressive policing and incarceration at the cost of a trillion dollars, 21 million Americans are still addicted to drugs or alcohol. The drug epidemic in America is at its worst ever, because the war on drugs, says Michael Botticelli, was all wrong.

Botticelli, the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, has embarked on a new strategy he thinks is starting to make a difference. And the more compassionate approach that he espouses comes from his own experience: Botticelli is the first “drug czar” to be a recovering addict himself. Scott Pelley’s interview with this reformer will be broadcast on Sunday Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Botticelli hates the term “drug czar.” “Because I think it connotes this old “war on drugs” focus to the work that we do. It portrays that we are clinging to the kind of failed policies and failed practices in the past,” says Botticelli.

Was the war on drugs all wrong? asks Pelley. “It has been all wrong,” he says. “We can’t arrest and incarcerate addiction out of people. Not only do I think it’s really inhumane, but it’s ineffective and it cost us billions upon billions of dollars to keep doing this.”

What ’60 Minutes’ Didn’t Tell You About Legalized Marijuana

COLORADO:  On Sunday night, ’60 Minutes’ revisited a story it had previously aired on the state of Colorado’s legalized marijuana industry, going back to the state in order to get an update. The story gave a great broad overview of the industry, but by trying to cover so many parts of this business, many things were missed.

The ’60 Minutes’ piece, called ‘Colorado Pot,’ noted that it isn’t easy to make money in legalized marijuana, but then like most of these general stories, zoomed in on the giant safe full of cash. The public assumes that because these businesses are awash in cash that they are profitable. That isn’t necessarily the case. The story did touch on the seed-to-sale software, but didn’t note that for the huge warehouse full of plants featured in the story, the software company could be charging anywhere from $0.25 to $0.45 an RFID or bar-code. These bar-codes can’t be reused and a big warehouse like the one on the show that is growing thousands of plants is spending thousands for inventory tracking.

The show was accurate in describing the difficulty these business owners face in finding a bank. Most of the major banks will not service these customers and some of the state chartered banks that were stepping in are now pulling back. First, they are concerned about the new Attorney General Loretta Lynch who is not for legalization. Secondly, it’s expensive for the banks to handle these customers. The amount of employees required to fill out all the paperwork to keep the banks in compliance make these money losing customers. The banks have to fill out SARS paperwork or Suspicious Activity Reports on the accounts. This takes people and time and while these businesses may be swimming in cash, it doesn’t pay off for the smaller banks. The big banks have said they won’t allow this type of banking until marijuana is no longer illegal at the Federal level.