A conference report by Senate and House negotiators to extend for four years provisions of the USA Patriot Act includes a provision giving new meaning to mission creep: A comprehensive anti-methamphetamine package restricting the sale of products containing ingredients needed to cook the drug and providing new tools to police and prosecutors to combat meth dealers.
The Patriot Act is bad law to begin with, but the problem here is not just that the meth provision has zip to do with terrorism, it’s further evidence that legislators – and I mean both Democrats and Republicans – will use any excuse to enact their political wish lists.
And another problem: There's a meth epidemic, to be sure, but as a lobbyist involved with the legislation tells Glenn Reynolds of the Instapundit blog:
My trouble with the Combat Meth Act is that state legislatures have been enacting their own anti-meth laws, reflecting local wisdom, experience and policy choices. Passage of a federal bill preempts those decisions. The feds get into the act because fighting meth is politically popular, not because the new law is particularly well-considered.