The mild-mannered Midwesterner had some wild days at Princeton:
Officers found enough marijuana in his room to fill two size 12 shoe boxes, reports of the incident say. He and the other inhabitants of the room were also charged with possession of LSD and prescription drugs without a prescription. ... “I don’t make excuses for anything. Justice was served,” he said in an interview on Monday. “I had used marijuana and I was fined for that, and that was appropriate,” he explained.
Aaron Houston adds context:
Daniels was also busted about six months prior to President Nixon signing the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (on October 27). If that law had been on books in May 1970, Daniels could have faced an array of charges, including several felonies. And if he had been busted after 1998 when the Higher Education Act's Aid Elimination Penalty took effect, he could have lost any federal financial aid as the result of a drug conviction.
I hope that when Daniels says fining him was an "appropriate" punishment he means that a fine should be the maximum penalty for possessing several pounds of marijuana and LSD. If not, does he believe it's right to punish drug arrestees more harshly than he was treated?
Paul Waldman digs up an anti-drug op-ed written by Daniels in 1989 and calls it "a pretty extraordinary combination of whitewash and hypocrisy". Waldman:
The comically mild penalty he received -- a $350 fine, no jail time, no probation -- was a salutary wake-up call that allowed him to go on to a productive career. And he presents this as evidence in favor of laws that would absolutely destroy the career of anybody caught in 1989 (or today) doing what Daniels was caught doing. A couple of hundred thousand students have lost their financial aid, in many cases meaning they had to drop out of college, because of a conviction for possession or sale of drugs. If Daniels were in college today, and thus had actually served time as a convicted drug dealer, not only would he have no political future, he wouldn't have much of a future at all.