Sarah Palin: 'Just Say No' Campaign Wasn't Realistic

By McCarton Ackerman 02/18/16

To most everyone's surprise, Sarah Palin has displayed surprisingly liberal views on drugs over the years. 

Sarah Palin: 'Just Say No' Campaign Wasn't Realistic
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Even Sarah Palin isn’t a fan of the “Just Say No” campaign made famous in the ‘80s. The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee made her thoughts known on the National Geographic Channel series Generation X, which aired its first of six episodes last Sunday.

The War on Drugs was one of the topics tackled among the talking heads that included Senator Cory Booker and journalist Alison Stewart. Palin expressed her belief that the drug-abstinence campaign spearheaded by Nancy Reagan was impractical, declaring “how easy it would be to sit your child down and say ‘Just say no.’ It’s not that easy. Great intentions, though!”

Booker also spoke about the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which led to a “100 to 1 disparity” in sentencing for possessing crack cocaine versus powdered cocaine. The act mandated a five-year sentence without parole for having five grams of crack cocaine, but those caught with 500 grams of powder cocaine received the same sentence. The episode cited a statistic that 85% of those arrested under this act were black men. The 100:1 disparity was eventually brought down to 18:1 under the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which required a person to possess 28 grams of crack cocaine in order to receive a five-year sentence.

Palin has shown surprisingly liberal views over the years when it comes to drugs. She told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt last November that legal marijuana is “no big deal” and shouldn’t be a controversial subject. Although she hasn’t outright supported legalizing pot because “that would just encourage our young people to think that it was okay to just go ahead and use it,” she has previously stated that she supports decriminalization measures.

"I grew up in Alaska when pot was legal anyway. It was absolutely no big deal. I mean you didn't smoke it because your parents would strangle you,” she said. "But when it comes to picking our battles, for many of us in Alaska, legalization of marijuana just was never really a bright blip on the radar screen."

Palin echoed similar sentiments on Fox News in 2010. During an interview with Rep. Ron Paul, she said that “if somebody's gonna smoke a joint in their house and not do anybody any harm, then perhaps there are other things our cops should be looking at to engage in and try to clean up some of the other problems we have in society.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.