A peace plan for the federal drug war

American Union > Uncategorized > A peace plan for the federal drug war
Posted by: Brian
Category: Uncategorized

Let states decide for themselves

Most Americans, myself included, can’t remember a time when we weren’t fighting the war on drugs. After more than 50 years, it’s clear that the strategy of trying to cut off the supply of drugs isn’t working. According to a 2021 survey of American voters:

  • 83% say the War on Drugs has failed, and 65% support ending it.
  • 64% support repealing mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes.
  • 61% support commuting, or reducing, the sentences of people incarcerated for drugs.

These are strong numbers, yet Congress is utterly failing to provide any leadership on the issue. Fortunately, the legislative process process is being crowdsourced to sidestep the gridlock, and the political leverage needed to persuade Washington to act is generated by the American Union of swing voters.

For those looking for a better alternative to traditionally dysfunctional politics, the Trump-Biden Peace Plan is a single legislative package offered to all 2024 candidates for federal office. The three main planks will end poverty, end mass incarceration, and end the endless wars. As Michelle Alexander crystallized in The New Jim Crow, ending mass incarceration requires ending the war on drugs.

As a long-overdue upgrade to the US Code, the legislation will phase out the federal drug war in three stages, beginning October 30, 2024, when we succeed in demanding pre-election passage of the Trump-Biden Peace Plan in exchange for the American Union’s winning bloc of swing votes on November 5.

Phase One: Implemented on passage in 2024:

1. Acknowledge the new policy

While recreational drug use can certainly cause harm, criminalizing it causes far more harm. The legislation will send a clear message that America’s interests are best served by pursuing justice, not punishment, with the following language:

It is the sense of the Congress that incarcerating or otherwise subjecting an individual to criminal penalties solely for recreational drug use is not justice, which the Preamble to the Constitution requires be established by the people of the United States.

2. Begin opting out of United Nations treaties

The United States has been a global leader on many issues, and one of them is promoting the international war on drugs. There are multiple United Nations treaties which bind us to maintaining criminal penalties for drug use, such as the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, adopted in New York in March 1961. It requires that drug possession, distribution, transportation, etc, “shall be punishable offenses” with “imprisonment or other penalties of deprivation of liberty” for “serious offenses.”

Fortunately, these treaties allow the United States—or any signatory nation—to opt out by giving notice that it intends to do so. By requiring the president to give such notice by the end of 2024, we will be free to repeal laws related to the federal drug war one year later.

3. Decriminalize drugs on the federal level

As of September 2023, drug offenses make up 44% of the federal prison population. To end mass incarceration, we’ll stop adding new ones by decriminalizing drugs. Because of the UN treaties, this is done by adding an affirmative defense to the US Code, rendering moot any prosecutions in violation of the more enlightened policy.

Notwithstanding any other provision in law, it is an affirmative defense to any federal drug offense that the drugs were intended for recreational use by a consumer. Nothing in this subsection may be construed as prohibiting charges for non-drug offenses incidental to the drugs in question.

As of September 30, 2023, the federal Bureau of Prisons reported more incarcerated people for drug crimes (44%) than any other category. (Source)

In addition, as part of a larger criminal justice reforms, all mandatory minimums for drug offenses are stricken from the US Code.

4. Lift restrictions on access to the banking system

Federal law prohibits banks from doing business with those in the legal cannabis industry. Congress’ dysfunction is perhaps best exemplified by their failure, for years, to enact this common sense reform. (Part of the problem is some members putting electoral politics over policy, which is why tying legislative passage to electoral success for Congress is a winning strategy for the American Union.)

Phase Two: Implement within one year

5. Establish the Drug War Restorative Justice Office

The war on drugs, which has disproportionately impacted communities of color, has accumulated many harms. A new office inside the Department of Justice would be responsible for a grant program that would fund community services, including job training, reentry services, literacy programs, youth recreation or mentoring programs, legal aid, and health education programs.

It also includes substance use treatment for all who want it.

The Drug War Restorative Justice Office is funded through a 12% retail sales tax on recreational sales in states that decide to permit such sales. (Medical sales would be exempt.) Until that revenue begins to arrive, funding would be liberated from the Drug Czar’s current budget.

6. Food and Drug Administration to issue rules

Street drugs are killing more than 100,000 Americans a year precisely because they are unregulated. The Food and Drug Administration will issue rules and standards for the quality, purity, and labeling for the sale of legal drugs in the United States, which will dramatically decrease the number of needless deaths.

The Trump-Biden Peace Plan is a piece of federal legislation, and limited in what it can dictate to states. Some may continue the misguided policy of drug prohibition—Kansas didn’t repeal alcohol prohibition until World War Two—but for those who want to pursue real harm reduction strategies, these rules will serve as opt-in to a framework of national regulation and taxation.

7. Expunge previous federal drug convictions

Federal courts would be required to review their records for drug offenses where the individual has completed their sentence—no longer incarcerated, or on probation or parole—and expunge the conviction. After the records are sealed, those individuals can treat the incident as if it never occurred, and would be exempt from any penalties for failing to disclose it.

8. Review the cases of those still serving their sentence

As part of larger criminal justice reforms, a review system is established where those incarcerated for more than 10 years can petition to have a court reduce their sentence in the interests of justice. Those convicted of a drug offensive would also be eligible, and entitled to a rebuttable presumption that the court shall reduce their sentence.

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Phase Three: January 1, 2026

9. Repeal the Controlled Substances Act and its ilk

Having provided notice to the United Nations that we would be withdrawing from our drug war obligations, all drug offenses would be repealed on January 1, 2026, thus bringing an end to the federal war on drugs.

By establishing national standards for a marketplace, America will embrace a common sense strategy of harm reduction, and ensure unadulterated recreational drugs are available to those adults who are permitted by local laws to purchase them. Just as important, the United States would change the global conversation about drug use.


If you’re one of the two-thirds of Americans who know that it’s time to end the war on drugs, and also have no expectation that Republicans and Democrats will provide the leadership to make this happen, you need a better option for setting national policy.

You need a union to represent you.

When just 3.5% of voters join the American Union, pledging to vote together as a national bloc for the endorsed Republican and Democratic candidates across 470 federal contests, we will control the outcome of the 2024 election.

The House of Representatives.

The US Senate.

The Presidency of the United States.

Politicans and parties who want to win (spoiler: it’s all of them) will need our votes, giving us leverage over the entire system. With this power comes great responsibility. What sort of nation do you want the United States to be? A 3.5% union of Americans can collectively bargain for a better social contract: one that doesn’t incarcerate people for using recreational drugs.

Become a member of the American Union by contributing 25¢ a day and making a good faith pledge to vote together—and vote with power!—on November 5, 2024.

Join now for $7/month!

Author: Brian