In the Studio: Gary Tennis of the NAMSDL

May 19, 2017

Gary Tennis, formerly Pennsylvania's Cabinet Secretary for Drug and Alcohol Programs and currently chairman of the board at the Santa Fe nonprofit National Alliance of Model State Drug Laws.

Last week, a memo from Attorney General Jeff Sessions came to light ordering federal prosecutors to seek the stiffest possible sentences for drug crimes, including nonviolent offenses.

Critics like Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Jeff Merkley of Oregon say the move will be a money drain and cause prison populations to swell. Those lawmakers yesterday introduced a bill intended to rein in AG Sessions's actions by giving prosecutors broader powers of discretion in sentencing.

Just after the Sessions memo was reported last week, KSFR's Ellen Berkovitch spoke with Gary Tennis, chairman of the board at the Santa Fe-based National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws and the former cabinet secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. They discussed approaches to drug policy and how it ties into some of the public health issues New Mexico chronically faces.