Has a US president ever effectively ended the war on drugs via the pardon power?
Given the talk by Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, Harry Browne, and Andre Marrou to pardon those convicted of federal drug offenses, the question comes to mind, has anybody actually done it, or it it just theoretical.
Well, it has been done, JFK did it.
See references here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...f-Clemency_2-1Democratic President John F. Kennedy pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 575 people during his term. Among them are:
First-time offenders convicted of crimes under the Narcotics Control Act of 1956 - pardoned all, in effect overturning much of the law passed by Congress.
http://www.druglibrary.org/special/king/dhu/dhu16.htmZaragoza and the stream of thirty-, forty-, and fifty-year in-mates who followed him into the federal institutions, who were barred from parole and therefore had no incentive to take part in rehabilitative programs, played havoc with enlightened prison administration throughout the federal system. But in the eyes of lawmakers that was seemingly a trifling price for the political benefits that are always believed to flow from posturing as relentless warriors in the battle against dope. (It should be noted that in 1962 President Kennedy quietly used the pardon power to release several dozen of the most hapless victims of the 1956 Act.)
http://www.newyorkcriminalattorneybl...fice_in_1.htmlJOHN KENNEDY TAKES OFFICE IN 1961 AND OPPOSES MANDATORY MINIMUMS
In 1963, President Kennedy assembled the President’s Advisory Commission on Narcotics and Drug Abuse to address the country’s drug problem. Recall, at that time, drug offenders were facing the mandatory minimums found in Narcotics Control Act of 1956. The Commission studied drug use and the laws pertaining to those who abused drugs. The Commission concluded that rehabilitation rather than retributive punishment was essential to addressing the problem.
President Kennedy’s disagreement with mandatory minimums was evidenced by his extensive use of his pardon power to free inmates languishing in prison. President Kennedy’s issuance of pardons and his commutation of lengthy drug sentences indicated to Congress his desire for a change in federal sentencing for drug offenders. This change, however, would not come about until 1970. As discussed in my next blog, after President’s Kennedy’s tragic assassination in the fall of 1963, President Lyndon Johnson also opposed mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses.
To make Kennedy even more remarkable, he was killed before his term ended, and as we know, the best time to pardon is right at the end of your term. Who knows how many more would have been pardoned had Kennedy not been killed. And imagine what Bobby Kennedy could have done had he not been killed.
TO sum up; we now have another reason to believe that JFK was our greatest president since the time of our Founding Fathers.