Washington, D.C. (FNN)—In a move some are describing as a "news dump" timed to coincide with the attention being paid to President Obama’s foreign trip, the Justice Department announced the Administration’s plans to introduce legislation to legalize and regulate the manufacture, sales, possession, and use of what are today legally known as Schedule I drugs.
Additionally, Schedule II through Schedule V drugs will be made available to adult members of the public at their request, with a doctor’s prescription no longer being required before such drugs can be dispensed.
The drugs being "legalized" through this legislation would include marijuana, LSD, heroin, cocaine, and ecstasy; also included will be all pharmaceutical drugs currently under restricted distribution: among those are Xanax, OxyContin, and Viagra.
"Since the Inauguration, we have received more input on this issue than on any other" reports Department of Justice spokesman Harry Paratestes. "Many people will also recall that the question on this issue garnered a very large number of votes from the public in the run-up to the President’s recent Internet Town Hall meeting."
Presidential Press Secretary Robert Gibbs continued to maintain this afternoon that legalization is not "a good strategy to grow the economy"; but conceded that questions of cost and the ineffectiveness of anti-drug strategies were driving the push for a new approach.
"it really is ridiculous" Gibbs admitted in an impromptu press availability today, "I mean, we are literally sponsoring a website and ads that claim drugs make you bad at video games, for God's sake. Whoever came up with that idea must have competed in the Special Olympics of Advertising before we hired them."
DOJ spokesman Paratestes also noted Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s recent testimony before Congress, in which it was revealed that the Drug War is costing the US Government about $40 billion annually—but not having any real impact on ending a $40 billion dollar a year business.
"This Administration has committed to reducing this year’s deficit by 50% in four years’ time, and if we hope to reach that goal, we have to be willing to eliminate any spending that doesn’t serve its intended purpose—and we absolutely don’t want to continue spending in ways that are demonstrably counterproductive", Paratestes said.
The legislation would allow the states to choose from several distribution models.
Paratestes reports that states may incorporate any of several elements from the suggested distribution options, or they are free to create a distribution model of their own.
"We assume some states will distribute certain drugs, such as marijuana and hashish, in a manner similar to the way alcoholic beverages are retailed today; with bars or coffeehouses providing a venue for public use, and grocers or other retailers providing an outlet for sales for home use."
Paratestes went on to comment that the States might look to Canada for an answer as to how other dugs can be distributed. "Drugs such as codeine and Robaxin have been sold over-the-counter by Canadian pharmacists for decades with no serious problems, and there’s no reason to believe such a plan wouldn’t work in the US as well."
An additional distribution model Paratestes described would channel the sales of these newly legalized products through the State Liquor Stores which are already operating in 18 states.
Paratestes emphasized that an important element of the new legislation is funding for thousands of new spaces in treatment programs throughout the country: "If there is one thing we have learned over the years, it is that money spent on treatment represents a good return on investment for the taxpayer; and as I said earlier, this Administration is absolutely determined to spend every tax dollar wisely."
Press Secretary Robert Gibbs offered an additional comment on the proposed legislation at today’s press availability: "In addition to the cost reductions we know we will realize after this legislation is enacted, we expect an almost immediate reduction in cross-border violence from within Mexico as the highly lucrative black market for these products disappears, along with the incomes of the drug gangs who are today engaged in that violence."
When contacted for a statement, unnamed sources close to Rush Limbaugh said that they would "miss the thrill of picking up" Limbaugh’s various prescriptions; describing the visits to multiple pharmacies on the same day to pick up hundreds of illegal pills as "not quite as big a rush as meeting Ann Coulter, but pretty close."
One of Limbaugh’s employees lamented the lost relationships as well: "I always enjoyed talking to the pharmacy workers" the anonymous source said "after spending a few years working for Excellence In Broadcasting, they were pretty much the only rational people I would talk to all day."
The proposed bill already has several potential co-sponsors, and passage, although contentious, should be possible in today’s legislative environment.