The DPA proposal for decriminalization, the Drug Policy Reform Act, takes these first steps in dismantling the punitive apparatus built up over the past 50 years. To begin refocusing federal drug policies, the legislation shifts the authority for classifying and regulating controlled substances from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The legislation eliminates criminal penalties for all possession of personal-use quantities of controlled substances, and shifts federal resources away from futile enforcement strategies to supportive initiatives to protect the public health and safety.
Additionally, the bill:
- Eliminates the inequitable and harsh sentencing constructs, such as mandatory minimums drug conspiracy offenses, that have significantly led to mass incarceration;
- Provides for decarceration and expungement of records for those imprisoned under the current system;
- Eliminates collateral consequences of drug convictions, including denial of public benefits and educational loans, for individuals who have been convicted of drug offenses; and,
- Abolishes the enforcement agencies that have been primarily responsible for creating the harmful enforcement strategies of the past.