When he attended Princeton during the late sixties and early seventies, Mitch Daniels ’71 was arrested, fined,
(but not jailed) and jailed (for two days) for possessing LSD, some pills, and two shoeboxes full of marijuana. In a Washington Post op-ed published in 1989, Daniels blamed the whole affair on an “unfortunate confluence of [his] wild oats period and America’s libertine apogee,” whatever that means.
This week, Daniels was named president of Purdue University, where no one, ever, smokes marijuana, does drugs, or consumes alcohol underage.
Daniels is uniquely unsuited to head a university. (To take any kind of employment in higher education, really.) In the same op-ed he detailed his collegiate indiscretion, Daniels argued for strict sanctions on users caught with quantities of drugs far smaller than those he himself, at Princeton in 1970, was caught with.
Last year Jacob Sullum, at Reason, detailed the extent to which Daniels escaped a much harsher penalty:
Daniels’ assertion that “justice was served” obscures what a huge break he got. Under current New Jersey law, possessing more than 50 grams (about 1.8 ounces) of marijuana is a felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison. Given the amount of pot Daniels had (enough to fill two shoeboxes), he easily could have been charged with intent to distribute, which under current law triggers a penalty of three to five years (for less than five pounds). And at the time of Daniels’ arrest in May 1970, New Jersey’s marijuana penalties were even more severe. Six months after his arrest, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided a case involving an 18-year-old who was caught with a tiny amount of pot (clearly just for personal use) and got a sentence of two to three years in prison.
The policy content of Daniels’s op-ed doesn’t really do him any favors, either (from ProQuest): Read the rest of this entry »