Once again another state is looking to declare citizens guilty of possessing and using drugs solely because they are out of work or need government assistance:
A Republican member of the Indiana General Assembly withdrew his bill to create a pilot program for drug testing welfare applicants Friday after one of his Democratic colleagues amended the measure to require drug testing for lawmakers.
The Supreme Court ruled drug testing for political candidates unconstitutional in 1997, striking down a Georgia law. McMillin said he withdrew his bill so he could reintroduce it on Monday with a lawmaker drug testing provision that would pass constitutional muster.
McMillin’s bill would overcome constitutional problems, he said, by setting up a tiered screening scheme in which people can opt-out of random testing. Those who decline random tests would only be screened if they arouse “reasonable suspicion,” either by their demeanor, by being convicted of a crime, or by missing appointments required by the welfare office.
I’m sure that “demeanor” will be judged fairly and without respect to someone’s race, education, and appearance. Certainly no prejudiced state welfare office bureaucrat wouldn’t misinterpret someone’s physical disability as being under the influence of drugs. There’s no way someone might miss a welfare appointment thanks to a broken down bus or missed ride.
Being poor is not reasonable cause to suspect someone may be using illegal drugs and, in fact, it has been shown time and again the people applying for assistance are less likely to test positive for drugs than the general populace.
Furthermore, drug testing disproportionately singles out marijuana users since it remains in one’s system the longest. Rather than discouraging a pot-smoking welfare recipient to stop, it gives incentive to switch to “synthetic pot” (K2 or Spice) that isn’t tested for or switch to alcohol and other hard drugs that eliminate from the system more quickly.
Finally, the proper response to the unnecessary, invasive, disgusting, offensive testing of poor people’s urine is not to institute unnecessary, invasive, disgusting, offensive testing of legislator’s urine. The proper response is to reject drug testing of all citizens without cause.
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