"Legalization is not in the president's vocabulary....Marijuana is dangerous and has no medicinal benefit," Love, Obama's Drug Czar

Hey, remember all the speculation that Barack Obama might be, you know, better on pot issues than his various awful predecessors, partly because he, you know, bragged at times about inhaling ("that was the whole point")? As the liberals like to say, He won, get over it. And for those of us who value individual rights and a sane (not hysterical) drug policy, get over that too. Here's Obama's drug czar Gil Kerlikowske talking in Fresno, California yesterday: 

"Legalization is not in the president's vocabulary, and it's not in mine," he said.

Kerlikowske said he can understand why legislators are talking about taxing marijuana cultivation to help cash-strapped government agencies in California. But the federal government views marijuana as a harmful and addictive drug, he said.

"Marijuana is dangerous and has no medicinal benefit," Kerlikowske said in downtown Fresno while discussing Operation SOS—Save Our Sierra—a multiagency effort to eradicate marijuana in eastern Fresno County.

It's particularly galling that Drug Czar K is pretending (like all those who came before him) that marijuana has no medicinal value. Whole thing here.

Hat tip: Marijuana Policy Project, who is keeping the right (and tight) tabs on this sort of depressing development.

And sing along to "Obama, You're No Stranger to The Bong":

Reason on drug policy.

Reason.tv on drug policy.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Xeones||

    Yo, fuck Gil Kerlikowske.

  • ||

    Color me shocked.

  • ||

    "Marijuana is dangerous and has no medicinal benefit,"

    Fucking potheads getting glaucoma just so they can smoke up.

  • ||

    Shocking, President Obama governs pretty much like how Senator Obama voted, with the exception that having become president he's more appreciative of Presidential powers?

    Hope and change didn't mean what people hoped? People read way too much into his rhetoric of understanding people, and thought he secretly agreed with them?

    Senator Obama voted far left on economic policy. He talked a more moderate game, and sounds intelligent and seems to understand all sides. But he made very few definite promises, and even those (close Gitmo, auction cap-and-trade, no insurance mandate) seem to be negotiable. He's the black Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

  • ||

    ♫ There's nothing in the street
    Looks any different to me
    And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
    And the parting on the left
    Is now the parting on the right
    And the beards have all grown longer overnight

    I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
    Take a bow for the new revolution
    Smile and grin at the change all around me
    Pick up my guitar and play
    Just like yesterday
    Then I'll get on my knees and pray
    We don't get fooled again ♫

  • ||

    Any good way to know when these clowns think they have enough cover to go back to business as usual on DEA pot dispensary raids?

  • ||

    I do give him credit for the F-22, but it's hardly a reason to have voted for him over Sen. McCain, since McCain led the floor fight to kill the F-22.

    The F-22 issue is the one example of Obama acting like the bipartisan figure willing to fight his own party that people seemed to Hope for. Everything else, he's fighting the moderates much more than he's fighting the left of his party.

    His approval rating is still 10th out of the last 12 president at this point. Yeah, it's above Clinton's, but of course early Clinton governed differently and lost Congress hard.

  • ||

    "Marijuana is dangerous and has no medicinal benefit," Kerlikowske said

    Period; the end.

  • hmm||

    Incoming finger pointing and laughing at pothead friends.

    Of course when I usually see them they are stoned and could careless either way. Since you know getting pot is about as hard as getting the bag of Cheetos that goes with it.

  • ||

    Any good way to know when these clowns think they have enough cover to go back to business as usual on DEA pot dispensary raids?

    Sure. The raids will start up again.

  • ||

    I wonder if anybody laughed out loud when he delivered that line.

  • ||

    I have heard quite a few people talking as if Obama has issued an Executive Order legalizing dope and prohibiting enforcement of the laws against it.

    Should I give them a heads-up?

  • Xeones||

    Should I give them a heads-up?

    Naw, they'll find out when the po po break down their door and shoot the dog one night.

  • ||

    Could someone please tell those selfish dying people that use marijuana to stay alive to get with the program?

  • Elemenope||

    Could someone please tell those selfish dying people that use marijuana to stay alive to get with the program?

    To be entirely accurate, people use marijuana to ameliorate suffering, not to increase survivability.

    And FWIW, no sane person who has watched politics in the US for the last 50 years should think that a president would ever embrace the idea of drug legalization unless and until they were forced into it.

    But if he goes back on his word on the MM clinics, I'm not going to ever vote for him again. Do not pass go, do not collect my bitter cynical vote.

  • ||

    I want to have an artist do a paiting of that picture of BO and put it in my office. I think a painting of that picture is what should go up in the Captitol with the other presidential paintings. It just sums up what a pimp Obama is at heart.

    I just can't beleive anyone can say "marijuna is dangerous" with a straight face anymore. He might as well pronounced it "marijahuna" in a good redneck southern accent to complete the effect.

  • ktc2||

    Those who use marijuana for wasting syndrome use it to increase survivability. If they can't eat sufficiently well to maintain normal body weight and nutrition their mortality rate increases.

  • WWJGD||

    The drug czar is simply reacting to the fear that marijuana use will create a race of super fish-men a la Phelps and everyone will leave America and live in the ocean.

  • ||

    To be entirely accurate, people use marijuana to ameliorate suffering, not to increase survivability.

    To be entirely accurate, people use marijuana to ameliorate suffering. When they suffer too much, they don't eat. When they don't eat, they die or they decide to kill themselves (since the DEA has terroized many pain doctors into not giving large doses of narcotic Therefore, many people use marijuana in order to stay alive.

  • Cal Lipigian||

    To be entirely accurate, people use marijuana to ameliorate suffering, not to increase survivability.

    I don't think that is entirely true. The ability to eat and keep down food while undergoing certain therapies has a direct impact on survivability.

    And even if it were true, who gives a fuck? Terminal people should be able to smoke any damn thing they want.

    And FWIW, no sane person who has watched politics in the US for the last 50 years should think that a president would ever embrace the idea of drug legalization unless and until they were forced into it.

    Bullshit. Things change. Anyone who watched the last 50 years would know that. MJ legalization would not be the third-rail it was a generation ago.

  • ||

    narcotics)

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Terminal people should be able to smoke any damn thing they want.



    FTFY.

  • Michael||

    Somebody please remind me.....what the fuck do we need all of these "czars" for again? This question is particularly vexing seeing that just about none of them have any substantial expertise in the respective fields to which they've been assigned. For example, this clown's degrees are in criminal justice in addition to an FBI secret decoder ring of some sort. How the fuck does that qualify him to make assessments about whatever dangers (real or completely imagined) might be posed by drugs? Wouldn't someone with a medical background be better qualified to make such judgments?

  • ||

    I appeal to a no less authoritative source than Willie Nelson. Willie freely admits that when he started in music all of his friends did nothing but drink wiskey and smoke. Had he continued down that path, he would be dead now just like all the other country musicians of his generation who have long since drank themselves to death. Instead, Willie discovered te vile herb and stopped drinking. He is alive and well today he says primarily because he started smoking pot and stopped drinking.

  • ||

    TAO beat me to it.

  • ||

    Then fuck sanity.... Here are a couple of examples of this kind of reasoning from history. Many thought these ideas to be insane. But now, as in the past apparently, moral cowardice = sanity.

    And FWIW, no sane person who has watched politics in the US for the last 50 years should think that a president would ever embrace the idea of drug legalization allowing women to vote unless and until they were forced into it.

    And FWIW, no sane person who has watched politics in the US for the last 50 years should think that a president would ever embrace the idea of drug legalization releasing blacks from slavery unless and until they were forced into it.

  • ||

    Wouldn't someone with a medical background be better qualified to make such judgments?

    No. Pigs and the criminal justice complex know better than all about how you should live your life.

  • alan||

    Every now and then, I'm speed reading a thread a little too loosely, and I catch my self thinking, 'Tony is saying something sensible and not irony troll worthy? That can't be.', and I double check, and it is actually a Troy post. Similar spelling throws me sometimes.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    alan, I keep doing that too. Troy, you're accidentally giving Tony good karma.

  • Elemenope||

    And even if it were true, who gives a fuck? Terminal people should be able to smoke any damn thing they want.

    I wholeheartedly agree, and also agree with striking the word "terminal".

    Bullshit. Things change. Anyone who watched the last 50 years would know that. MJ legalization would not be the third-rail it was a generation ago.

    I was very particular about my assessment. It is no longer a third-rail to talk about in certain parts of the country, but the president is a nationally-elected officer. Being able to have the conversation in California or Massachusetts does not mean you can do the same in Alabama and Idaho.

    And the parallel between this and the earlier civil rights movements are on point, but entirely in a different way than you think; in both those cases, the pressure came from the bottom up, and from states towards the national scene. Neither started from the top down; in both cases, the president was basically the last person to sign on, having been "forced" (by political currents) to do so. Politicians are by the very nature of the system encouraged to be cowards, and this is more true, not less, as one looks further from the local scene.

  • ||

    Everything else, he's fighting the moderates much more than he's fighting the left of his party.

    That's funny. Because the left of his party thinks he's too moderate and trying to hard to build consensus with people who don't negotiate in good faith (the GOP and the Blue Dogs -- the blue dogs are especially annoying -- whereas now they are screaming about how to pay for health care, they made nary a peep when the GOP passed the Medicare Drug prescription plan, which didn't have any money set aside to pay for it, and threatened to fire the actuary if he dared to tell the true cost of the plan)

    The problem to most of his supporters is that Obama isn't governing from the left enough. His most ardent supporters tend to think that he is too moderate for his own good, and too willing to let the handful of so called "moderates in Congress be the most powerful people in Washington.

    Look at health care reform. I know that around these parts you think he is being a radical socialist, but he really isn't. He is too willing to compromise to get something passed rather than demanding a "good" bill (one with a strong public option that takes the insurance industry head on).

    Most people who voted for him (rather than voting against McCain), want true health care reform that takes the power away from the the insurance companies. They want a public option or a Single Payer/Universal Coverage system, and they would be more than happy to see the health insurance industry players leave the sector completely.

  • ||

    "The problem to most of his supporters is that Obama isn't governing from the left enough. His most ardent supporters tend to think that he is too moderate for his own good, and too willing to let the handful of so called "moderates in Congress be the most powerful people in Washington."

    I wouldn't call that "most of his supporterts". Instead of that, I would say "the sizable majority of his supporters (about 20% of the population) that are completely batshit insane and think the only reason the Dems don't control all 535 seats in Congress is because they are just not leftist enough.

  • ||

    In all seriousness Tom, if Cap and Theft and Healthcare don't get out of the Senate, exactly what has the group you are talking about gotten out of the Obama Administration beyone a kiss and a promise to respect them in the morning? At what point, if ever, do those people start rebelling?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Because the left of his party thinks he's too moderate and trying to hard to build consensus with people who don't negotiate in good faith (the GOP and the Blue Dogs



    Shorter Tom: people who disagree with me are arguing in bad faith.

    threatened to fire the actuary if he dared to tell the true cost of the plan



    you mean like the CBO meeting?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    a majority of people do support a public health care plan.

    who fucking cares? Dare we libertarians once again reel off the number of brutal government oppressions the "majority" of people backed at any given point in history?

    Yikes.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    He is too willing to compromise to get something passed rather than demanding a "good" bill (one with a strong public option that takes the insurance industry head on).



    Because insurance companies have the audacity...the nerve...the, the GUMPTION to dare to make a profit.

    Those bastards!.

  • ||

    "He is too willing to compromise to get something passed rather than demanding a "good" bill (one with a strong public option that takes the insurance industry head on)."

    The only reason we don't have paradise on earth is because of the evil insurance companies refuse to provide it for us. But I thought the insurance companies were evil profit driven Scrouges who deny their customers fair treatment. Yet, I am also told by Obama that "people need to stop taking treatments that don't make them better". So which is it Tom? Are insurance companies greedy bastards who deny vital treatment or are they spend thrifts giving heart transpants to 95 year old ladies dying of cancer? And if they are the latter, how is the government option going to save any money?

  • ||

    Make that the former not latter.

  • Seward||

    The majority of Americans do not support a public health care option when they are asked to increase their taxes to pay for it. If you dig down into what the public wants you find that they want lots of good health care for everyone, and especially for themselves, and not to pay for it. Wow, public choice economics regarding the nature of voters is vindicated again!

  • The Angry Optimist||

    But I thought the insurance companies were evil profit driven Scrouges who deny their customers fair treatment. Yet, I am also told by Obama that "people need to stop taking treatments that don't make them better". So which is it Tom?



    Woah, John - uh, good point, dude.

    Finger snaps for John, everybody!

  • Punk||

    ...majority of people support a public health plan...

    Says which survey? What was the methodology? Does anyone know WTF this "plan" is?

    Gimme my herb, dammit.

    Legalizing pot might have a positive societal effect. You can theorize that if people switched from booze to weed, there would be less domestic violence (in my EMS days, the beatings were 98% alcohol induced), which may lead to less hospital visits and less need for police, which leads to lower costs.

    That's it! Weed = cost savings! Fuckin' love that kind of logic.

  • ||

    That can't be.', and I double check, and it is actually a Troy post.

    Thanks.

  • ||

    Thank you AO.

  • Tim||

    Legalizing pot might have a positive societal effect. You can theorize that if people switched from booze to weed, there would be less domestic violence (in my EMS days, the beatings were 98% alcohol induced), which may lead to less hospital visits and less need for police, which leads to lower costs.

    There is some research indicating that cracking down on marijuana supply leads to increased drunk driving deaths.

  • Rich||

    > I wonder if anybody laughed out loud when he delivered that line.

    I'm sure more than one attendee was chewing on her/his lip to avoid it -- especially if they were stoned.

  • ||

    Another no sequitor the Obama people put out is the idea that Americans are being denied needed medical care because they don't have insurance but at the same time having a government option that provides that care is going to save money. If the problem is that we have all these millions of people who don't have access to healthcare, how is providing them that healthcare going to save us money?

  • Punk||

    There is some research indicating that cracking down on marijuana supply leads to increased drunk driving deaths.

    ...and increases in 24/7 convenience store revenues.

    All I can say is that I've never come across a stoner who was itching to beat the hell out of someone. They're more interested in screwing and eating (or vice versa).

  • ||

    "All I can say is that I've never come across a stoner who was itching to beat the hell out of someone. They're more interested in screwing and eating (or vice versa)."

    Go to one of the cafes in Amsterdam sometime. They are quiet and everyone is polite and cool. No way could you put that many drunk people in a small place and keep the peace. Getting stoned at worse makes someone annoying and stupid. Getting drunk makes a percentage of people violent unhibited assholes. Look at sporting events or concerts where people get drunk. You end up with fights and sexual assaults and vandalism and God knows what else. There is a reason why they cut off beer sales after the 7th inning. If they sold joints at baseball games, there would be no danger in selling them all night.

  • ||

    HOW CAN ONE GOVERNMENT AGENCY DENY THE MEDICAL
    PROPERTIES OF A PLANT THEY CRIMINALIZE WHILE ANOTHER GOVERNMENT
    AGENCY HOLDS THE PATENT TO THE VERY SAME MEDICAL PROPERTIES OF THIS PLANT THEY DENY EXISTS? (US PATENT# 6630507)

  • Punk||

    Actually, I think the statists are missing a golden opportunity here. Why have a violent public when you can have a docile one?

    Gov't: We're here to search your house and we don't have a warrant.

    Stoner: Sure dooood! Just grab me my Fritos and bring 'em over to me before you leave.

  • ||

    I think Troy should change his handle to "Cannibal Perk."

    Then they will fear him.

  • ||

    But if he goes back on his word on the MM clinics, I'm not going to ever vote for him again. Do not pass go, do not collect my bitter cynical vote.

    El, are you really saying you're a single issue voter, and your issue is "somewhat reduced raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in CA"?

    There are scads of other reasons not to vote for the guy, but as long there isn't a noticable uptick in those raids, you're in for four more years?

  • ||

    Elemenope,

    Do the raids already done on MM Clinics under the Obamastration not count, which Radley and others have reported? Hasn't there been three? And the Justice Dept. would drop the prosecutions of MM sellers at the stroke of an Obama pen, right? A pen that hasn't been uncapped.

    He could have put a stop to it the minute he took over office. That he didn't means that he broke his promise.

    (Don't read this as hostile. I'm just busy and posting on the fly.)

  • Rowdy Rodney Peepers||

    I think Troy should change his handle to "Cannibal Perk."

    Then they will fear him.


    Personally, I get an image of a buff Brad Pitt in an unfortunately terrible movie when I see 'Troy'.

    My rather mild dyslexia makes me think of 'eliminate the pope' when I see elemenope.

  • Tim L||

    Did anybody notice the drug addiction relief ad for marijuana by PacHills? Indicates it is the "Top Marijuana Rehab." Got to love the irony.

  • ||

    "Did anybody notice the drug addiction relief ad for marijuana by PacHills? Indicates it is the "Top Marijuana Rehab." Got to love the irony."

    Who goes to rehab for marijuana? It is like going to rehab for caffine addiction. Seriously.

  • Hacha cha||

    who goes to rehab for cannabis? people FORCED to by the government or kids forced by their parents. cannabis doesn't cause physical dependence.
    like I said in another story, just watch, cannabis WILL be rescheduled to either CII or III after GW Pharmaceuticals completes their US clinical trials. it is almost certain to happen during Obama's term. not that Obama will have done jackshit to reschedule it, its just a matter of the projection for when the clinical trials are estimated to be completed.

  • ||

    like I said in another story, just watch, cannabis WILL be rescheduled to either CII or III after GW Pharmaceuticals completes their US clinical trials.

    Doubtful. Best case scenario is that GW Pharm gets its particular preparation rescheduled, but the plant stays where it is.

  • ||

    I think Troy should change his handle to "Cannibal Perk."

    So, Suge, which Fallout 3 perk would you be? Daddy's Boy?

    Personally, I fancy myself more Cyborg. If not Lifegiver.

  • Hacha Cha||

    Sativex is derived from cannabis plants, they don't use synthetic THC (dronabinol). how are they going to argue that cannabis should remain schedule I if a product made from real cannabis has passed efficacy and safety tests? I highly doubt GW is going to just change their formula to dronabinol and synthetic CBD. with sativex, they don't synthesize cannabinoids, they grow them. wouldn't they be forced to do the tests over again if they change the formula?

  • Cheech||

    Yet more evidence that all bakeheads should be motherfucking killed.

  • ||

    Hope gil burns in hell.

  • ||

    R C Dean,

    I am ACTION BOY!

  • AB390||

    If you're as angry about this as I am, DO something about it. Pick up the phone and call your legislators in Sacramento. Tell them to legalize marijuana now. Details at yes390.org

  • ||

    The war against drugs is a war created by government agencies (the DEA). A war which they cannot possibly win, for if somehow they did win this war, they would all be out of a job.

  • ||

    I am ACTION BOY!

    Not Bloody Mess?

  • ||

    No job, no dope, no change, no hope.

  • ||

    I don't smoke anymore, but used to.

    I don't believe anyone should tell you what you can and can't put in your body. Just like I CHOOSE not to partake, I CHOOSE not to tell you you can't, and I respect YOUR right to make that same CHOICE I did.

    Simple really.

    BTFU Gvmt.

  • Wylie Wilde||

    The more things change, the more things stay the same.

  • Hucbald||

    Obama is a lawyer. Our insane drug laws are the biggest bonanza of all for lawyers. What part of this equation is difficult to calculate the resultant for?

  • ||

    And FWIW, no sane person who has watched politics in the US for the last 50 years should think that a president would ever embrace the idea of drug legalization unless and until they were forced into it.

    You should also have noticed that if the president wants to do something, he makes it out to be a decision forced upon them as if there are no alternatives.

    Sorry for the lateness of the reply..

  • ||

    Anybody with a brainstem knew Obama would hire people like this moron and keep stupid policies like the war on (some) drugs in place.

    Obama is a statist. The State is all in everything, and nothing is outside the State.

  • ||

    To the ignorant ideologues who say that marijuana is of "no medical value" it bears emphasizing that marijuana has over 3000 years of historical use as a medicine.

    That means it has more of a historical track record as medicine than virtually EVERY other drug in the modern medical pharmacopia.

    In fact, cannabinoids (eg marijuana and hashish) were one of the most commonly used and medically prescribed drugs in the United States during the 19th century, leading all the way into the early 20th century. Cannabis wasn't formally removed from the US medical pharmacopia until 1940. . .which is in living memory of the oldest generation of currently living Americans.

    Queen Victoria of England was prescribed medical marijuana for menstrual cramps by her personal physician Sir Russell Reynolds, who wrote in the Lancet (one of the most respected medical journals in the world today) "that cannibis. . .is one of the most useful medicines that we possess".

    Now, one can make an argument that cannibis has potential for abuse, and in most cases, there are better drugs available today. But that's a different sort of argument.

    The claim that cannibis has "no medical use". . .that is just a blatant lie.

    The claim that is has "no accepted medical use" is just tautological. It has "no accepted medical use" largely because its banned, and the Federal Gov't is obstructionist in permitting research and medical use.

    Even accepting that marijuana has potential for abuse, its potential for abuse and physical risk is CERTAINLY less than other drugs that doctors are permitted to prescribe legally today (including oxycodone and other opiates, various sedatives, cocaine, et).

    Were marijuana restored to prescription drug status, it would see medical use as a drug.

  • TallDave||

    Sigh, another President who smoked but insists no one else can.

  • ||

    Did anyone expect Obama to allow any freedom?

  • MarijuanaLobby||

    See stats on what American Cities & States can save on Taxes if Marijuana were decriminalized.

    http://MarijuanaLobby.org

  • ||

    People are so ignorant these days..
    Why can people do some research and find the facts about marijuana. The Government has been brainwashing people for decades, since the movie "reefer madness" till now.

    NO ONE HAS EVER DIED FROM MARIJUANA

    ITS IMPOSSIBLE TO OVER DOSE

    ITS BEEN PROVEN TO SHRINK THE CANCER TUMOR TO HALF

    YOU CAN MAKE FUEL OFF MARIJUANA (ONE OF THE REASONS WHY THE GOVERNMENT WANTS IT ILLEGAL)

    IT DOSENT KILL BRAIN CELLS

    These are straight facts.

    People, don't believe the Government.
    How can you believe a Government that says that the air is safe to breath, when it isn't.
    What people need to do is think, not be ignorant, and do some research.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement