Obama's Own Drug Czar Is Now Publicly Criticizing Him for Not Responding to Legal Pot in Colorado and Washington

OEA - OAS / photo on flickrOEA - OAS / photo on flickrIt's been 97 days since Colorado and Washington voters legalized the recreational sale of marijuana in their states, and the Obama administration has yet to disclose how it will respond.

At least one prominent figure is tired of waiting. In an interview with the Canadian publication Macleans,  Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske—Obama's own drug czar—says his boss's administration "has not done a particularly good job of talking about...where we should be headed on our drug policy."

The relevant section of the Q&A is here: 

Q: You’ve written on the White House website that “coming out of the election, we are in the midst of a national conversation on marijuana.” Is the U.S. headed for a patchwork of policies, state by state?

A: I think a patchwork of policies would create real difficulties. We still have federal law that places marijuana as being illegal. The administration has not done a particularly good job of, one, talking about marijuana as a public health issue, and number two, talking about what can be done and where we should be headed on our drug policy.

Q: There was such an evolution on gay marriage within this administration that it’s hard not to think that something might change on marijuana.

A: I don’t look at marijuana as a human right, or a civil right, or even in the same venue as gay marriage. This is a public health issue. There are significant health concerns around marijuana from all the science, not ideology. I don’t see the legalization of drugs and making them widely available as a good thing, and I don’t think locking everyone up is a good thing either.

Equally fascinating is Kerlikowske's belief that it doesn't matter whether people with drug problems enter treatment voluntarily: 

[I]f people go into drug treatment—and the research bears this out clearly—if they knock on the door and say, look, I have a drug problem and I need help, or if they go in with handcuffs on—the outcomes are pretty similar. The criminal justice system, if it has the right resources, can be incredibly helpful at getting people into treatment.

Read the whole interview here.

H/T Tom Angell  

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  • John||

    There are significant health concerns around marijuana from all the science, not ideology.

    So if the all important "science" showed that gay adoption took a psychological toll on kids, he would be against it? Color me skeptical.

    And since control of your own body is no longer a civil right but a "public health issue", I guess this guy has a real problem with Roe v. Wade. Right?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Don't expect intellectual coherence from these folks, it's all about what feels good, what gets the funding, and what gets the votes.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    Or with homosexual activity, since HIV is a public health issue.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    Zeb gets to this below.

  • ||

    HIV is not restricted to homosexuals and is an infectious disease.

    Man-to-Man is most likely d/t anatomy here and the mucous membranes of rectum (the receiver is most likely to contract HIV or any other STD).

    Man-to-Woman, next as a man is dumping a load of semen into her vaginal cavity and she is very likely to contract HIV/STD.

    Woman-to-Man d/t anatomy harder than M-to-W but certainly not improbably (lots of length in that male urethra and "backsplash" is not as likely) but does depend on the pathogenicity and virulence of the pathogen.

    Woman-to-Woman, not impossible but it takes some work, but can be transmitted via vaginal secretions and sharing infected sex toys.

    So, yes, it is a public health concern, and a another Groovy Medical Iron Law is born:

    "Infectious Disease is a Bright Line"

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    GRIDS!

  • BuSab Agent||

    Oh come on. You know the only inalienable right is absolute control of the contents of one's womb. Everything else is subject to compelling state interests.

    /sarcasm

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I miss when things like smallpox were referred to as "public health issues".

  • John||

    And they of course are fucking up the actual public health issues like West Nile or antibiotic resistant disease. Too busy worrying about pot and guns to worry about the other stuff.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Gil Kerlikowske awakens every morning from uneasy dreams and finds himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.

  • Almanian!||

    We can only hope

  • ||

    Yes, but if IIRC, his sister was cute.-)

  • Brett L||

    Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske—Obama's own drug czar—says his boss's administration "has not done a particularly good job of talking about...where we should be headed on our drug policy."

    Does anyone else hear a bus? Run, Gil, run away!

  • LTC(ret) John||

    I dunno - maybe he just wants O! to totally repudiate those decisions and declare jihad on teh drugz!

    "A: I think a patchwork of policies would create real difficulties. We still have federal law that places marijuana as being illegal. "

    NO PRISONERS!

  • R C Dean||

    I think a patchwork of policies Constitution would create real difficulties

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    No, that's a drone. It makes a distinctive buzzing sound as it approaches.

  • John||

    [I]f people go into drug treatment—and the research bears this out clearly—if they knock on the door and say, look, I have a drug problem and I need help, or if they go in with handcuffs on—the outcomes are pretty similar. The criminal justice system, if it has the right resources, can be incredibly helpful at getting people into treatment.

    I am thinking this guy has hit on the solution to the national obesity epidemic. And I love how "the results are similar" as if sticking someone with a lifetime criminal record and taking away their right to vote and get student aid were inconsequential.

  • Brett L||

    Well, that and one (drug courts with adjudication suspended/withheld pending successful completion) sends (mostly) young people who aren't addicts to hang out with real addicts by court order. What could possibly go wrong.

  • John||

    If you are found with drugs, you have a drug problem. Didn't you know that Brett?

  • Way Of The Crane||

    You meet the best connections in Narcotics Anonymous.

  • mr simple||

    So you can change people now, regardless of whether or not they want to? Huh, I guess all of my personal experiences have been wrong.

  • BuSab Agent||

    Must be so, since an incredible percentage of women believe this to be true. I believe in all of history nagging has NEVER worked, but that doesn't stop anybody from doing it.

  • entropy||

    He said it was the same outcome. He didn't say it was a successful outcome.

  • Jordan||

    When you've lost Gil "Piece of Shit" Kerlikowske...

  • tarran||

    Ah yes, the cracks are starting to grow in the court of King Barrack the Ineffectual, the First of His Name.

  • Zeb||

    What a turd. There are significant health concerns about buttsex too, but that doesn't make gay rights any less of a human/civil rights issue. And the right to do what drugs you want is far more of a fundamental right than gay marriage (which really has little to do with rights and is mostly about extending legal privileges in an equitable way).

  • ||

    Issue #1: Rectal rip!

  • ||

    Allowing a big dick to penetrate your asshole is a civil rights issue, but inhaling the smoke from a plant is all about the public health.

  • ||

    See here. If you are involving another person, it's a public health issue.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    +1 bong

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Why does anal stimulation always have to be discussed in the context of homosexuality? Can't heterosexual or omnisexual individuals appreciate anal pleasure as well?

  • John||

    Steve Smith agrees.

  • ||

    Whatever floats your boat man. This is a libertarian site.

  • SugarFree||

    Why does anal stimulation always have to be discussed in the context of homosexuality?

    Because is has nothing to due with the anal region except incidentally. The shame that is being attached to gay sex is the act of being penetrated, of taking on the female role in sexuality.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    That's shame?

  • SugarFree||

    That's shame?

    It is for those so insecure in their masculinity that any suggestion that they are feminine constitutes a challenge of their identity.

  • ||

    The Iron Sheik says it makes you humble

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    [Jethuth Chrith]

  • entropy||

    So if you shove pot up your ass, then is it a civil right?

  • entropy||

    I dub this "Butt-toking".

    In 6 months teenagers in CO will be all over it.

  • ||

    Only if another man shoves it up there

  • SugarFree||

    The criminal justice system, if it has the right resources, can be incredibly helpful at getting people into treatment.

    Efficiency and effectiveness at achieving evil results is not a virtue.

  • Almanian!||

    I believe I have a....final....solution of sorts....for the drug problem, Herr Free.

  • tarran||

    The Inquisition, when it has the right resources, can be incredibly helpful at getting heathens and heretics to reject Satan.

  • SugarFree||

    A carjacker, when he has the right resources, can be incredibly helpful at relieving you of your vehicle.

  • tarran||

    A carjacker, when he has the right resources, can be incredibly helpful at relieving you of your vehicle at reducing your carbon footprint.

    FIFY

  • BuSab Agent||

    +1 thumbscrew

  • Almanian!||

    I finally sat down and watched (most of) "The Fog of War". FASCINATING! I mean seriously - it was awesome.

    Two thoughts:

    1) What would have happened if McNamara had stayed at Ford? Conclusion: probably wouldn't have changed the course significantly for either Ford OR the US.

    2) While the old dawg was really engaging in some ways, listening to him even years later basically say "Yeah, I made some mistakes, but basically we were always trying to do what was BEST FOR AMERICA™" is kind of blood chilling. "You clueless, arrogant FUCK!"

    This guy - and pretty much every other cabinet official and policy wonk inside any administration - sounds exactly the same.

    Frightening - we've been doomed for years - it's just more and more apparent. Ugh...

  • John||

    They live in a world where no one is ever held accountable. It more civilized times, when someone fucked up badly they were done. They literally left public life and lived in disgrace. But right around the beginning of the 20th century that started to end. And important people just moved on to important jobs even after they had fucked up the one they had. McNamera screwed up and entire country and an entire US war effort. Yet, he went on to head the World Bank.

    This kind of thing has gone on so long that they have stopped even believing they are capable of mistakes.

  • BuSab Agent||

    What difference at this point does it make?

  • tarran||

    Scott Adams explained this using Catbertian Public Choice Theory.

    Essentially, when you are a manager who needs to promote an underling, you have a great incentive to promote the guy who screwed up a big project.

    You don't want to promote a nobody; otherwise your bosses might question your smarts.

    You don't want to promote someone who is super-competent, he might end up being promoted to your job or even above you.

    But someone who has run a failing project, and is thus experienced, but is not as good as you is perfect!

    And this phenomenon is a very successful strategy when running an organization that rarely faces consequences for failure.

  • John||

    Wow. You just described my office. I work with some very smart and competent people. And every single one of them is at the action officer level. Every person in any kind of leadership position is basically a bullshit artist that has either massively fucked up something big or is in the process of fucking something up.

  • tarran||

    I've long argued that Scott Adam's books and South Park will be sufficient for historians to accurately and comprehensively document the culture of the U.S. in the 1995 - 2005 period.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Why stop at 2005?

  • tarran||

    I haven't read dilbert since about 2003... so I don't know if it's still good.

  • Brett L||

    Its pretty spot on.

  • R C Dean||

    Past its prime, but there is no end to material, so its still worth a few seconds of your time.

  • ||

    Welcome to the United Stated Air Force.

  • John||

    That is the thing. It is not that I just think I am smarter than everyone in charge. I know a ton of people that are wicked smart and better than I am most things. The problem is not that I am not in charge it is that none of those people are either.

    Just once I would like to see someone I respect get ahead. I would follow them to the moon if I had to.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    I have had a couple of commanders that were that good - needless to say, they never made it past O-6 or O-7.

  • ||

    I had one. Best CC I ever had. People person. Retired a 3 star 10 days ago, according to the interwebz.

    Every once in a while, one slips through.

  • tarran||

    My CO made it to O-10. He made flag without any friends in Congress: that's how much of a water-walker he was - I heard the battlegroup commander, and O-7, marveling at the phenomenon.

    So good guys do on occasion get promoted.

    He was lucky in a Napoleonic sense. For example, as an O-6, during a very public Q&A session with the Chief of Naval Operations for CO's of seagoing vessels, Willard politely, but thoroughly ripped a new one in the CNO after the CNO claimed that the personnel assignment in the Navy was operating in a hunky dory manner (At that point I had 8 guys in my division - doing the work of 35). It worked; over the next few years the Navy started move towards adequately staffing ships getting ready to deploy. And he got promoted.

  • R C Dean||

    The problem is not that I am not in charge

    Odd. I find that generally is the problem, for me at least.

  • Finrod||

    Little-known fact: the 'Drug Czar' is the only government official that is required by law to lie to the American people, since his job is defined to oppose any and all attempts at relaxing drug laws, no matter whether that position defies fact and logic or not.

  • Almanian!||

    Unless he says, "Because fuck you." Cause that would be the truth.

  • sarcasmic||

    Reminds me of a Dilbert cartoon I have on my wall.

    Boss, at a meeting: "I have a budget meeting tomorrow with our CFO. I'll be competing against all of the other departments for precious budget dollars. This won't be easy because of all the other departments at staffed with professional liars."
    Dilbert: "That's a bit of an exaggeration, don't you think?"
    Boss: "What do you call marketing?"
    Dilbert: "Ok. I'll give you that one."
    Boss: "Sales?"
    Dilbert: "Right, but..."
    Boss: "PR?"
    Dilbert: "Well, yes..."
    Boss: "Finance?"
    Dilbert: "I forgot about that one."
    Boss: "Legal?"
    Dilbert: "Wow."
    Boss: "Do the next one yourself."
    Dilbert: "How about Human Resour...."
    Dilbert: "You win."

  • Brandon||

    Never seen this one, but it's accurate. Accounting and Operations are the only actual useful parts of any given business.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Neither group though are "revenue generating" for most companies though... and I say this as someone who works in ops....

  • Way Of The Crane||

    he criminal justice system, if it has the right resources, can be incredibly helpful at getting people into treatment detaining people against their will.

    FTFY

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I don’t look at gay marriage as a human right, or a civil right, or even in the same venue as marijuana. This is a public health issue. There are significant health concerns around same-sex intercourse from all the science, not ideology.

  • Enough About Palin||

    You do know that only a small percentage of gay men engage in anal sex, don't you? It's like 12% or something like that. Tossing the girlfriend's salad raises health concerns as well, but you are still permitted to marry her if she says yes.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I knew there was a danger that someone would take that comment seriously, but I made it anyway. Because Danger is my middle name.

  • SugarFree||

    "Of" is your middle name, moran.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Fine. It's my Confirmation name.

  • ||

    Fist of Danger Etiquette.

    Has a nice ring to it.

    A nice anal ring.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You do know that only a small percentage of gay men engage in anal sex, don't you?

    If that's true, then what's the point? You go through all the hassle of not having your marriage not recognized and you don't even get to go back door on your bed buddy? Geez.

    Anyway, Confirmation name.

  • Capt Ace Rimmer||

    Motherfucking drug war is a plague on humanity. Akin to a medieval Inquisition. Fact that Gil can't appreciate the scope of the suffering and terror that his values inflict is par for the course for these types of crimes against humanity. Gil thinks he's the good guy.

  • tarran||

    What a guy!

  • SugarFree||

    In a perfect world his descendants will change the family name and try to hide their relation to this foul pustule of a man.

  • BuSab Agent||

    Like Hitler's cousins right?

  • SugarFree||

    Yup. Robert and Martha Hitler of Carbondale, IL are no more.

    This is why so many people are named "Smith" and "Jones."

  • BuSab Agent||

    Heh, Illinois Nazis.

  • Brett L||

    Most of the Illinois Nazis gather in Springfield regularly, although they have a strong contingent in the Chicago City Council.

  • Brandon||

    I will now be suspicious of anyone named Smith or Jones. Especially if they have quotation marks around their names.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Wait, were these real people? I have to know.

  • BuSab Agent||

    Hitler had a half brother, Alois, who had children; several of the descendents of this line moved to America with the rest remaining in Austria. All of them except Willie Hitler (and eventually even him) changed their names and laid really low.

  • ||

    Alois Hitler's son, William Patrick Hitler, served in the US Navy as a Pharmacist's Mate in WWII.

    He changed his name after the war but he served in the navy under his birth name.

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    But, do we still get to have William Bennett disemboweled on the steps of the White House, and put out our joints in his entrails while be begs for mercy?

    Although, somehow, that seems to be inadequate punishment for that vile repository of human feces.

  • SugarFree||

    We will probably have to settle for exhuming him, beheading the body and hanging him in a gibbet.

  • BuSab Agent||

    Don't forget the salt and fire to keep him from returning from the dead.

  • marshaul||

    I agree. It really doesn't get much lower than drug czar, past or present.

    It's hard to think of a human being more worthy of contempt.

    Plague on humanity is right.

  • John||

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....print.html

    Obama "Job of Debt reduction nearly done". No that is not the Onion. No one is this dishonest. I really think he is this stupid.

  • BuSab Agent||

    Why would you expect anything different from Affirmative Action President?

  • Brandon||

    For the past few months he's at least been hedging by saying "deficit reduction." Did he actually claim to have reduced the debt? The thing that's gone up $5 trillion during his administration? The thing that only Shrike and Tony believe he has actually reduced? Jesus christ, what an asshole.

  • Proprietist||

    Despite the enacted savings, “debt remains on an upward path — on course to exceed 100 percent in the early 2030s, 200 percent in the 2050s, and 300 percent in the 2070s,” the report says. “These levels are clearly unsustainable.”

    100 percent more than today's debt, or what? We've already exceeded 100% of GDP.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The administration has not done a particularly good job of, one, talking about marijuana as a public health issue, and number two, talking about what can be done and where we should be headed on our drug policy.

    Gil presumably favors treating marijuana addiction as a psychological aberration, with forcible sterilization as the default solution to the problem over the long term.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    So you can change people now, regardless of whether or not they want to? Huh, I guess all of my personal experiences have been wrong.

    You just weren't hitting them hard enough.

  • mgd||

    The administration has not done a particularly good job of, one, talking about marijuana as a public health issue, and number two, talking about what can be done and where we should be headed on our drug policy anything.

    FIFY.

  • StackOfCoins||

    Equally fascinating is Kerlikowske's belief that it doesn't matter whether people with drug problems enter treatment voluntarily

    Really? Forcing people into things they don't want or needs seem absolutely essential to an asshole statist like Kerlikowski. In his mind it's probably better if they are forced.

  • ||

    Gil Kerlikowske is among the most evil people on the face of the earth.

  • Paul Pot||

    The drug czar doesn't believe in legalization even though there have numerous precedents to show that liberalizing drug laws leads to reductions in crime and drug use. Now that Colorado and Washington have legalized there will be no way of avoiding the results. In twelve months time it will be clear what the effects of legalization are. There will be less crime and less drug use, fewer car fatalities and income for the state and jobs for people in a new industry. After that more states and then nations will start reforming their laws. It doesn't matter what the feds do it's out of their hands now. They could allow the states to take a path of reform and at worst all they can do is slow down the process of reform. Whatever, drug war politics is changing big time over the course of the next year or two.

  • Kendall Rigdon||

    Stunning to me that no one raises the notion that the Drug Czar is an unconstitutional appointment to begin with. The Feds have become so bloated, so enamored with their own existence that they no longer understand or care about those they supposedly represent.

    Human nature is consistent. It is self-serving. It's a survival instinct. People do drugs because they want to; they become obese in most cases because they want to; they do poorly in school because they don't care.

    There should be no Federal drug laws because the federal superstructure is too far removed from the people. If people in Colorado want to smoke pot, that should be their majority vote choice. If you don't like it. Move.

    Federal laws exist because manipulators use terms like "public policy" and the "general welfare" as an excuse to regulate. When you regulate, you must enforce. And, enforcing costs money, so you must tax. The particular issue, like marijuana, is truly irrelevant to the politician. As long as they have power, they will continue.

    The only true answer is to sever the federal ties with the States. Stop taking their money. Tell them no. Then you can meaningfully participate in your state government and issues. Live local. Buy local. Govern local.

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