America’s president’s appointee for a top Department of Justice position claims that she never advocated for all drugs decriminalisation- except during that time when she championed for the decriminalisation of all drugs possession. Confusion regarding her stand on this matter is why multiple GOP senators tried unsuccessfully to prevent her appointment from progressing last week.
In written replies to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s members that attained a tie vote on advancing her name to the floor chamber on Thursday, Vanita Gupta (nominee for associate attorney general) was repeatedly questioned about her drug policy opinion, specifically her perspective on wide-range decriminalization.
Members, such as John Cornyn, also questioned Gupta’s stock share in Avantor, a firm that makes a chemical commodity associated with heroin production.
Gupta said that she has never supported all drugs decriminalization, and she doesn’t back decriminalizing all drugs. She added that she co-authored a post in 2012 that called on states to decriminalize minor possession of all drug substances, specifically cannabis, and for meagre amounts of other intoxicating substances.
Gupta worked with the DOJ during Barack Obama’s tenure and also served in high-ranking positions at the NAACP, ACLU and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. She appears to be denigrating her previous stand on decriminalisation by creating a difference between seconding decriminalising possession and authorizing drugs.
However, that distinction is misleading. Advocates define decriminalisation as generally applying to drug possession and don’t use the word when referring to allowing retail sales of presently prohibited substances. In another language, Vanita supported the decriminalisation of all drugs.
Despite asserting she never supported decriminalization, Gupta also wrote in a testimony that while her opinion on these matters has evolved, due to her experience serving at the Justice Department and addiction in her family, she has never said or thought that all drug substances should be legalised.