Drug Policy

U.S. Drug Czar on Legal Pot in Colorado and Washington: It's "very clear that federal law will continue to be enforced"

Gil Kerlikowske tells Marketplace radio, "There are questions in front of the Department of Justice. They've made some statements, and it has been very clear that federal law will continue to be enforced."

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Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske went on American Public Media's Marketplace Thursday to respond to the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington state. 

"What really troubles me," Kerlikowske said, "is that in Washington state, which really prides itself on independence, it was $6 million of outside money that was raised in order to advocate for legalization. Pretty hard to compete against $6 million in outside money." 

(Kerlikowske is right that a lot of outside money went into funding Washington state's legalization campaign. But it wasn't all outside money, and it wasn't all big dollar contributions, as I detailed in The New Republic.) 

Interviewer Kai Ryssdal then asks Kerlikowske about the "change of heart" the Obama administration seems to have had about medical marijuana. "The president came in saying, in essence, 'We have better things to do with our time.' Now in the last two years, there has been more vigorous enforcement of drug control laws." 

Kerlikowske's response is that the federal government said it would not go after medical marijuana users, and has in fact not gone after them. But "there has been nothing that I have seen or heard from the Department of Justice that says 'Look we're not going to continue to enforce federal law,'" Kerlikowske said of medical marijuana growers and sellers. "And we're going to continue to take a hard look at those people who are involved in making money on essentially a violation of federal law."

Ryssdal then asks Kerlikowske the question on every drug reformer's lips: Will Washington crack down on legal pot in Colorado and Washington?

"There are questions in front of the Department of Justice," Kerlikowske said. "They've made some statements, and it has been very clear that federal law will continue to be enforced. And I think we'll wait and see what those decisions are from the attorney general and the Department of Justice." (Listen to the full interview here.)

Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said this about Colorado and Washington: "This is an ongoing debate. We are formulating our own response to the votes of two of our states as you know — what that means for the federal system, the federal laws and law enforcement."

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  1. “Pretty hard to compete against $6 million in outside money.”

    is Gil a volunteer?

  2. Pretty hard to compete against $6 million in outside money.

    Holy fuck I hate that “outside money / outside influence” bullshit.

    1. If your opponent had more money and won, then they bought the election. If they had more money and lost, then your ideas triumphed.
      Heads I win, tails you lose.

      1. If you raised more money than your opponent and won, then your ideas triumphed. If they had less money and won, then you blame your campaign manager.

    2. Pretty sure all inside money for legalization was greater then all money raised (inside and outside) against.

  3. Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said this about Colorado and Washington: “This is an ongoing debate. We are formulating our own response to the votes of two of our states as you know ? what that means for the federal system, the federal laws and law enforcement.

    Translation: That federalism shit ain’t gonna fly.

    1. Democrats: States rights are icky!

      1. Except that Democrats in Congress are the main sponsors of the bill to exempt Colorado and Washington from federal drug enforcement. The “federalist” Republicans are nowhere to be found.

  4. Normally, I would be savoring epic schadenfreude over all those Blues who were absolutely sold that Obama was going to be better on this issue.

    But people are dying, so I’m just going to embrace rage as a secondary emotion.

    “What really troubles me,” Kerlikowske said, “is that in Washington state, which really prides itself on independence, it was $6 million of outside money that was raised in order to advocate for legalization. Pretty hard to compete against $6 million in outside money.”

    What a fucking concern troll. Your boss won “in spite of*” outside money, but yet somehow Washington is just a slave to it

    * not really

    1. [Raises finger, then does Picard imitation]: “Enrage.”

    2. in Washington state, which really prides itself on independence

      let me read that again.

      in Washington state, which really prides itself on independence

      BUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA

  5. Kerlikowske’s response is that the federal government said it would not go after medical marijuana users, and has in fact not gone after them.

    Aside from attempting to make it impossible for them to obtain it, that is.

    1. Translation: “Instead of locking up medical marijuana users, we’re instead sentencing them to lives of agonizing pain because they can no longer obtain their medication. That’s way more humane, isn’t it?”

      See comment below wrt to kicking and curb stomping this asshole.

  6. “And we’re going to continue to take a hard look at those people who are involved in making money on essentially a violation of federal law.”

    As I’ve said before.
    1) feds sue under supremacy clause
    2) feds stop sending money to states
    3) feds ignore state law and bust the growers and sellers with stuff to steal

    Looks like option 3 is winning. Dunphy? Where’s my twenty bucks.

  7. I can’t think of anyone alive today that I despise more than Gil Kerlikowske. He’s way, way, way more obtuse than his boss. He’s simply a fuckface.

    1. Is that even a word?

      1. Yes, “obtuse” is a word.

      2. How about corpsefucking douchehmmer? Is that better for you?

        1. That would be corpsefucking douchehammer.

          1. Darn. Because I thought you were accusing him of being a douchehummer, as in someone who gives hummers to douches that had previously been used to fuck corpses.

            Which is a lovely, appropriate image.

          2. Corpsefucking is obvious, but douchehammer?

            Is it a hammer made of douches? If so that doesn’t seem very effective.

            Is it a hammer to be used on douches? If so what makes it different from any other hammer?

            Is it a hammer that abuses douches before abusing corpses?

            I don’t get it.

            1. Is it a hammer to be used on douches? If so what makes it different from any other hammer?

              It’s a poor builder that blames his tools.

            2. If you don’t think a douchehammer would be effective, you haven’t talked to the front row of a Gallagher concert.

        2. Now who’s being naive, Kay?”

    2. The sad thing is that Kerlikowske is actually slightly a relative improvement over previous DEA heads. It’s just that in the face of changing state laws, the Feds aren’t accomodating, which is why he looks extra bad.

  8. I should point out that in past state-level marijuana decriminalization ballot questions, Gil Kerlikowske’s outfit poured incredible amounts of money and had federal civil servants actively campaign against the decriminalization.

    So the whining of that enemy of freedom about “outside money” is especially delicious.

    Gil, if you or a staffer are reading this, I want you to know that in 100 years, you will be thought of in the same way we think of Comstock: if people remember you at all, they will remember you as hateful little savage that tried to keep the dark ages going a little longer. Your great-grandkids & their descendants will be embarrassed to number you among their ancestors or will treat you with contempt and scorn.

    That will be your legacy, to be treated like garbage, to be held in slight regard and to be mocked. To be seen as a net minus on civilization.

    I hope you are proud of yourself, because we aren’t. In fact, if you would put a gun in your mouth and paint your office wall with your brains, we would consider it a kindness.

    1. So Tarran, how do you really feel about him?

      1. Oh, the good Lord tells us to love our enemies, so I love Gil Kerlikowske. I just want him to kill himself.

        1. Nobody needs to know the tears you will shed at his funeral are tears of joy…

          1. Everyone brings joy to life; some by entering, some by leaving.

    2. … if people remember you at all, they will remember you as hateful little savage that tried to keep the dark ages going a little longer.

      I’ve previously said that in a couple hundred years, the War on Drugs will be remembered as the Salem Witch Trials are today.

      1. In the Ages of Mankind, this will be considered The Stupid Age, because we knew enough to no longer be ignorant savages, yet rejected in favor of continuing to brutalize one another.

        1. Unless human nature changes, we will always be in the Stupid Age. We’ll just be stupid about something else.

        2. We are, as my father likes to say, “Three steps out of the cave with some fancy toys.”

      2. That won’t do the people they burned any good. Let’s speed this thing up.

  9. Gil Kerlikowske is paid to lie to us, so I fail to see why anything that drips out of his orifices is worthy of attention.

  10. $6M? Geez, Gil’s office, which does nothing but spew anti-drug propanganda, had a budget of $26.2 BILLION last year. The fact that $6M overcame that $26.2B is pretty telling about the relative merits.

  11. And no one can come up with part of the US budget that can be cut.

    1. Really. Obama’s vaunted tax increase on the “rich” will raise roughly $40B a year. I can save over half that just by cutting Gil’s useless office. Getting rid of the DEA would save another $2.4B. I bet we can save the remaining $11.4B by not locking up non-violent drug users/dealers.

  12. BRING IT GIL. Let’s see what Washington state thinks of you busting their own pot stores.

    1. Washington cops won’t participate, I hear.

    2. What T said. At best, they’ll just stand aside, mildly protesting.

      1. We’ll see. Plenty of CA cops are happy to shine up their jackboots and join the fun. I don’t know why there wouldn’t be the same kind of cops in WA.

  13. And no one can come up with part of the US budget that can be cut.

    You savage; if one dollar is cut from the budget, millions of innocent children will die.

  14. God what a punchable face. Actually he’s beyond mearly punchable, he’s kickable. As in I’d love kick him in the head as hard as I can and then curb stomp his face into oblivion. What an asshole.

    1. It goes well beyond punchable or even capriole.

      It is a face that deserves to be upended in an outhouse and left there until the feet stop squirming.

  15. He’s simply a fuckface.

    And not in the *good* way.

  16. It is interesting that wankers like this are out here…well, wanking about it. Yet we have heard nothing from the zero himself.

    1. Not surprising, it is a variation on the “Good Tsar” theme:

      True believers can tell themselves that, if it weren’t for the ‘evil underlings/conspirators’, the “Good Tsar” would set things right.

      So long as he says nothing, he doesn’t have to admit there is a problem.

    2. The zero is perfectly content to let his petty functionaries do all the dirty work. He knows that neither the sycophants in the media or his adoring worshipers will ever call him on anything like this. There are still people out there who think he supports MJ legalization. In reality he supports anything that gives the federal government more power, which is exactly what the WoD is all about.

      1. …or what Aresen said.

    3. Almost as if he doesn’t want to get the shit from this horrible policy on his jacket. Perhaps he’s already thinking about his run for a third term.

    4. Executive branch managers are speaking for the president. Obama takes full responsibility for what Susan Rice said on Benghazi. That buck Kerlikowske is passing stops on the Oval Office desk too.

  17. they’ll just stand aside, mildly protesting.

    Despite claims to the contrary, I suspect their entanglements with federal level law enforcement initiatives explicitly require them to render aid and assistance in federal enforcement efforts.

  18. Let me get this straight. Federal laws apply to Federal situations, not State. The State has the right to create laws as well. As long as this stays within Sate borders there is no Federal involvement unless involved with a Federally owned spot (park, building, etc).

    For example, the States do NOT have to have a mandated speed limit. The only way the Federal gov’t can enforce these requirements are a reduction in road subsidies. Another one, there is no law against public nudity in Federal parks, but many states have prohibitions in State parks. Can’t have it both way folks!

    States’ rights first, Federal rights second, always!

    1. To quote Tim quoting Michael Corleone: “Now who’s being naive, Kay?”

  19. Gil. What Tarran suggested, please do humanity a favor and blow your fucking brains out.

    …..it has been very clear that federal law will continue to be enforced.

    Is that all you can do Gil? Is that all you got? God, what an idiot. So Gil, your’re telling me the federal law enforcement is gonna enforce federal law. MAn that is some brain trust you have there Gil. Top. Men. Indeed.

    But we should feel lucky. If this is all Gil and his fellow chimps are going to do, the stoners are going to win.

  20. “And we’re going to continue to take a hard look at those people who are involved in making money on essentially a violation of federal law.”
    Gil, do you mean they’re finally going after the Banksters? TIA
    In the meanwhile, lock your door and have no communication with the outer world. We’d all be better off.

  21. I wonder how Gil Kerlikowske’s kids and grandkids feel about being related to one of the most horrific people alive today? Are they embarrassed, ashamed or merely chagrined about their association with such a deliberately stupid individual?

  22. The Feds are very afraid of the growing public realization that for the “war on drugs” to continue to spend scarce resources on marijuana enforcement just doesn’t make sound economic sense.
    States are starting to “say no to feds” and this is the first step towards questioning the federal power grab that has been ongoing since the Civil War.

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