By Steve Elliott of Toke of the Town
The Obama Administration has officially “responded” to the “We The People” online petitions regarding marijuana legalization. Well, kind of — if you’re willing to dignify a bureaucrat mouthing the same old meaningless platitudes by calling that a “response.”
Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske chose to respond to eight petitions regarding cannabis law reform with one blanket response. Speaking of which, ol’ Gil tried to put a wet blanket on the grass-fire that is the legalization movement, but it turns out all he could do is blow smoke.
Conventional wisdom dictates that when you have to make a press release, but really want it to get as little media attention as possible, you release it late on a Friday — which is exactly what the White House has done with this one. That way, all the top-line reporters have gone home or are bar-hopping by the time the release hits, and it has Saturday and Sunday to blow over before the week’s regular news cycle resumes Monday morning.
Kerlikowske struts about self-importantly on a dead stage, completely unaware that history has passed him by. His refusal to even meaningfully engage with drug policy reform advocates shows that worse than being useless, he is just in the way — a willing part of the problem.
“When the President took office, he directed all of his policymakers to develop policies based on science and research, not ideology of politics,” Kerlikowske’s response begins. Doing great so far, eh? Maybe he’s going to mention all those studies that show cannabis is not only medically very useful, but also remarkably non-toxic! Yeah, right.
“So our concern about marijuana is based on what the science tells us about the drug’s effects,” Kerlikowske lied.
According to scientists at the National Institutes of Health- the world’s largest source of drug abuse research – marijuana use is associated with addiction, respiratory disease, and cognitive impairment. We know from an array of treatment admission information and Federal data that marijuana use is a significant source for voluntary drug treatment admissions and visits to emergency rooms. [Editor's note: Kerlikowske is lying. Almost ALL of the unfortunate schlubs in "marijuana rehab" are there under court order, and would be thrown in jail if they didn't agree to the "treatment." Source: a report from the federal government!] Studies also reveal that marijuana potency has almost tripled over the past 20 years, raising serious concerns about what this means for public health – especially among young people who use the drug because research shows their brains continue to develop well into their 20’s. Simply put, it is not a benign drug.
Like many, we are interested in the potential marijuana may have in providing relief to individuals diagnosed with certain serious illnesses. That is why we ardently support ongoing research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine. [Editor's note: Kerlikowske is lying. The federal government has done everything in its power to BLOCK medical marijuana research, recently even denying respected University of Massachusetts researcher Dr. Lyle Craker permission to grow cannabis suitable for such studies.] To date, however, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition.
As a former police chief, I recognize we are not going to arrest our way out of the problem. We also recognize that legalizing marijuana would not provide the answer to any of the health, social, youth education, criminal justice, and community quality of life challenges associated with drug use. [Editor's note: Kerlikowske is lying. How the hell would he know what effects legalization would have, if he's never tried it? What we do know is that regulated models like the policy of "tolerance" in the Netherlands and of decriminalization in Portugal have been proven to reduce drug use, especially among teens.]
That is why the President’s National Drug Control Strategy is balanced and comprehensive, emphasizing prevention and treatment while at the same time supporting innovative law enforcement efforts that protect public safety and disrupt the supply of drugs entering our communities. [Editor's note: Kerlikowske is lying. The federal government's drug enforcement budget is heavily weighted towards enforcement, not treatment.] Preventing drug use is the most cost-effective way to reduce drug use and its consequences in America. And, as we’ve seen in our work through community coalitions across the country, this approach works in making communities healthier and safer. We’re also focused on expanding access to drug treatment for addicts. Treatment works. In fact, millions of Americans are in successful recovery for drug and alcoholism today. And through our work with innovative drug courts across the Nation, we are improving our criminal justice system to divert non-violent offenders into treatment.
Our commitment to a balanced approach to drug control is real. This last fiscal year alone, the Federal Government spent over $10 billion on drug education and treatment programs compared to just over $9 billion on drug related law enforcement in the U.S.
Thank you for making your voice heard. I encourage you to take a moment to read about the President’s approach to drug control to learn more.
Sadly, that seems to be the best that the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy could come up with in response to online petitions with a total approaching 151,000 signatures.
Kerlikowke’s, er, “response” did absolutely nothing to address the questions of medicinal use addressed by several of the petitions to which he was supposedly responding. Neither did it answer the concerns regarding states’ rights and the freedom of states to chart their own courses when it comes to cannabis policy.
P.S. It seems Obama just didn’t have the sack to make the response himself. Hypocritical pot-smoking bastard.
Article From Toke of the Town and republished with special permission.