Gil Kerlikowske, U.S. Drug Czar, Criticizes Obama on Marijuana

Categories: Marijuana
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Someone done fucked up
Now that it's President Barack Obama's second term and all, drug policy watchers can rightly feel and act impatient. This was when the president would finally do something clear-cut about drug policy -- and specifically marijuana policy.

The Justice Department's non-intervention in Colorado and Washington's successful marijuana legalization initiatives -- in stark contrast to the DoJ's October surprise that helped kill California's Proposition 19 in 2010 -- was seen as more proof that something was at last stewing in Washington. Even Tea Partiers could get down with a shrinking Drug War bill; what better time than now?
Gil Kerlikowske is getting impatient. On a recent visit to Canada -- where cannabis is decriminalized, hemp is legally grown, and the sky has not yet fallen -- the U.S. drug czar admitted to public affairs journal Macleans that his bosses and coworkers "have not done a particularly good job" of talking up marijuana as a public health issue. Which is hard to do when, a few answers later, Kerlikowske himself ranks cannabis as the nation's No. 2 drug scourge behind prescription pill abuse.

In a wide-ranging interview, Kerlikowske is -- as always -- asked first about marijuana. But he quickly moves into the meat of the drug debate present day: prescription pills like the oxycodone that serves as "hillbilly heroin" in areas where even methamphetamine might be seen as a reasonable alternative. This is a Canadian issue, as pills that are easy to crush up and snort, cook, and shoot were seized in Milwaukee, and they "almost certainly" came from Canada, the drug czar said.

One wants to sympathize with Kerlikowske. He's not in an enviable position. When he warns of the "patchwork" of conflicting state and reminds us that federal law still makes marijuana illegal, he sounds not unlike someone trying to chaperone a college party. The rules changed a long time ago; where have you been?

But it's also a bit hard to take him seriously as he insists, against all odds and against science, that marijuana belongs in the same conversation as alcohol and prescription pills. Not long ago, he told a San Francisco audience that marijuana is not medicine (hopefully no AIDS or cancer patients or chronic pain sufferers were in the audience). And then in the same Macleans interview, Kerlikowske says that after "hillbilly heroin," marijuana is the country's biggest drug threat.

Strangely, Kerlikowske also drops debatable figures to Canadian media. Kerlikowske claims that drug war arrests have declined during the Obama Administration. While we can't say why any data-driven police officer would offer incorrect numbers, by the FBI's own statistics, drug crimes (aka "drug abuse violations") still account for more arrests than any other crime. So he's right: The White House hasn't done a good job in reshaping the debate as a public health issue. There are far too many people in handcuffs for that.



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5 comments
jose257
jose257

Kerlikowske probably has to take epilepsy medicine to keep his conflicted brain from going into seizure.

We can only hope that sequestration puts him out of a job.  Unfortunately, libraries and parks will be defunded before this lunatic loses his money.


malcolmkyle16
malcolmkyle16 topcommenter

An open letter to Gil Kerlikowske

Occasionally some unfortunate people end up with a job that makes other people dislike or even hate them. it’s no fun and it's actually not that easy to continue doing something that you know is doing great harm, a full seven days of the week. It must be extremely depressing for you. No doubt it's also very dangerous to your health and must even lead to you feeling extremely insecure - especially when thinking of all those angry citizens who have generally become cheesed off with the serious disruption you've caused to their once productive and peaceful lives.

So what should you do? 

Simply, and humbly, hang your head in abject shame. Come clean; admit you have unwittingly become part & parcel of one of the most insidious and counter-productive government policies in the history of mankind. Then start praying that you get to keep those pathetic, shrunken testicles.

bridgetwaters
bridgetwaters

I appreciate that this is his job, and he's doing what he was hired to do.

Having said that, the maggot is waiting for dispensaries in Washington and Colorado to open up so he can swoop down and confiscate the assets.

I would not open up a cannabis business in Washington until the states' rights bill is passed.

bridgetwaters
bridgetwaters

I appreciate that this is his job, and he's doing what he was hired to do.

Having said that, the maggot is waiting for dispensaries in Washington and Colorado to open up so he can swoop down and confiscate the assets.

I would not open up a cannabis business in Washington until the states' rights bill is passed.

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