Schaffer Online Library of Drug Policy Sign the Resolution for a Federal Commission on Drug Policy

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Introduction to the Hoover Resolution

by Clifford A. Schaffer

July 15, 1993


On December 28, 1992 I wrote to Judge James P. Gray of Orange County, California to ask him to help me draft a letter which prominent people could sign, and ask others to sign, to show that they were united in demanding major reform of our national drug policy. Judge Gray, Dr. Clarke Smith, and I, wrote the bulk of the wording of what was to become known as the Hoover Resolution. By happy coincidence, Kathy Smith, the wife of Dr. Clarke Smith, arranged a meeting with Dr. Milton Friedman and Joseph McNamara to discuss the resolution. News of the meeting spread farther and more quickly than even we had intended and, before we knew it, we had a list of attendees for the meeting which included some of the world's most prominent citizens and internationally recognized experts on drug abuse, some of whom have been in the field for more than fifty years.

On February 26, 1992 we met at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, finalized the wording, and signed the resolution which calls for an objective Federal Commission to review the evidence on drug policy and to form a new drug policy which does not do so much harm. A list of these signers is enclosed.

The purpose of the resolution is to 1) draft a statement which all fair-minded people would agree with, and thus build a consensus for reform and 2) call for concrete action for reform.

Reaction to the resolution has been beyond our wildest dreams. The mayors and chiefs of police of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose held an unprecedented joint press conference to publicly sign the resolution. Major medical organizations, religious organizations, and literally dozens of judges, law enforcement officials, and others have publicly announced their support of the Hoover Resolution and the call for a Federal Commission to review and rewrite drug policy. We are also beginning to receive major support for the resolution from around the world. There will be more news about this later.

The resolution has received major news coverage across the nation, including an excellent article by Federal Judge Jack B. Weinstein in the NY Times, July 8, 1993, and a call for the Federal Commission by three Federal judges on Nightline on (or about) July 10, 1993. It has also received a combined total of several complete pages of coverage in the LA Times, the San Francisco Examiner, and the SF Chronicle, the Oakland Tribune, the San Jose News-Mercury, the Baltimore Sun, Newsweek (June 14, 1993), and many, many others. It has received more favorable news coverage for drug policy reform than any other single event of the last twenty-five years.

Some of the original signers of the resolution support "legalization" or "decriminalization". However, we do not ask anyone to support or endorse any particular approach to the drug problem. We simply ask everyone to admit that the current drug policy has not worked and that it is time to review the evidence in an open and honest commission and to form a new drug policy which does not do so much harm -- whatever that policy may be. Let's lay the facts on the table, and let the chips fall where they may.

I have enclosed a copy of the resolution, along with a list of signers, and some of the more important facts relative to drug policy.

We (the signers of the Hoover Resolution), ask that you sign the Resolution and send a copy to President Bill Clinton, The White House, Washington, DC. We also ask that you ask others to sign the resolution and send it in to Bill Clinton. If the Resolution is signed or endorsed by any groups or organizations we ask that you send those endorsements to: C. A. Schaffer, P.O. Box 1430, Canyon Country, CA 91386-1430.

Please remember that we are not asking you to endorse legalization, or decriminalization, or any other approach to drugs. We are simply asking you to admit that the time has come to re-examine the facts and fairly investigate other possible approaches.


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