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Federal Representatives Urge New Direction With New Drug Czar Pick

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Gil Kerlikowske drug czar marijuanaBy Phillip Smith

Five Democratic members of Congress are calling on President Obama to use the naming of a new drug czar as an opportunity to take a big step toward fully embracing a drug policy based on science, reason, and facts. The five representatives made their call in a letter sent to the White House Thursday.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (the drug czar’s office) is charged with advising the president on drug control issues, setting federal drug control policy, and producing an annual report on national drug control strategy. Its current head, former Seattle police chief Gil Kerlikowske, is resigning to take on the position of commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.

“We commend you and your Administration on the recent steps you have taken to pursue smarter sentencing and policies that respect state laws regarding marijuana,” the congressmen wrote. ”We urge you to nominate a new director of ONDCP who will develop policies based on science rather than ideology and move away from the failed policy of criminalizing marijuana. The new director should promote fact-based education and use medical science and behavioral research to end the questionable practice of equating marijuana with dangerous drugs like heroin, crack, and methamphetamine.”

The signatories are US Representatives Steve Cohen (D-TN), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Sam Farr (D-CA), Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Jared Polis (D-CO).

The congressmen noted that the position of drug czar has historically been filled by individuals with law enforcement backgrounds who have viewed drug policy as a matter of criminal enforcement rather than as a matter of public health — regardless of the medical science and public research available. That needs to change, they said.

“We ask that you break from this tradition and nominate someone with a background in science,” the letter said. ”Particularly in light of the rapidly growing public support for marijuana legalization and broader drug policy reform, it would be a mistake for you to appoint someone who merely continues to prosecute the failed war on drugs.”

Instead, they wrote, “the new director of ONDCP should promote scientific research into the benefits and risks of marijuana legalization and be guided by the results of those findings. He or she should take note of the growing movement at the state level to make marijuana legal for medical or personal use and help shape national policies based on the lessons learned in those states. At a minimum the new director should urge strict adherence to the recent DOJ guidelines regarding criminal enforcement in those states.”

It has been nearly six weeks since Kerlikowske’s pending resignation was announced, but there has so far been little hint of who the White House has in mind to replace him. The congressmen are suggesting that it’s time to break the mold and head in a new direction.

Article From StoptheDrugWar.org - Creative Commons Licensing - Donate

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Johnny Green

Johnny Green is no longer with The Weed Blog because he was caught redhanded stealing money from TWB and using black hat strategies to inflate pageviews to try and lure unsuspecting investors. We hope Johnny has learned from his mistakes and wish his family well.

28 Comments

  1. Ah, Colorado. When I decided to move from Houston, Denver was one option I looked into. But it’s a really expensive to live. Plus, it gets really cold there, which could affect pain management efforts. I thought it might be a future option if prices for pot remain so high here in the Q. And perhaps public pot bars are a pipe dream (excuse the pun and all the words beginning with “P”), but maybe there could be a private club that charges a $1 membership fee. Sign me up.

  2. Me too, but I think the new laws prohibit that here in Colorado, at least public ones. However, there has been talk about private clubs…and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t have to worry about people with guns.

  3. Can’t wait for weed bars. They will be more popular than regular bars. A place to sit back, relax, and discuss all the world’s problems. Sounds like heaven to me. :)

  4. If I ever go into a Starbucks and see someone with a gun, I’m going to turn around and walk out the door (unless it’s a cop). But I suppose that would be better than walking into a bar full of drunk pistol-packin’ varmints.

  5. I’ll take that job (even though I suspect you’re kidding). I read that 85% of people drink coffee – which means I’m surrounded by a lot of hopped up, jumpy people. Usually carrying around guns (or bad attitudes)…

  6. Yes, I picked up on that after I posted my response, but thanks for the warning. I feel kinda silly, typing up a thoughtful response to what turns out to be a troll. Live and learn, I guess.

  7. Don’t forget “The Department of Homeland Security.” If that name doesn’t creep you out, you aren’t paying attention.

  8. “Donald Westington’s” responses to me on another forum were identical, and identically insane. Weedblog Commenters: For what it’s worth, I suspect “Mr. Westington” is a paid troll and/or a psychopath with typing skills, who has no interest in civil discourse and should be ignored.

  9. Dear Mr. Westington: I was referring to the very small list of candidates that would be willing to take the job of Drug Czar. I don’t think a “real” Democrat or liberal would want or take that position. Unless of course they were tied to the prison system through corporate donations. I think you make a good point about “false dichotomies” but I don’t have another adjective I can use other than “far-right-wing.” Since you think I am such a moron, perhaps you could give me some other ways to describe someone who still thinks the war on drugs is a good idea in any shape or form. I mean, I guess the person appointed to be this Czar could be a Progressive (perhaps in another couple of decades). Anyway, you were right to call me out about labeling people. Sorry about that. (Oops, should I not be so liberal about it?)

  10. Calm down and have another drink, Don. If you think the “right wing left wing” dichotomy is phony, you sure aren’t demonstrating it. And who would you have voted for, if given the choice? Ayn Rand?

  11. Donald Westington on

    BTW, why don’t you say something about Obama keeping the War on Drugs
    going? Why don’t you say something about him lying about not using
    federal resources to go after medical marijuana dispensaries where
    medical marijuana is legal? Why don’t you say something about how
    Obama’s administration has performed more medical marijuana raids than
    even the Bush administration? Would you say that Obama, the man I know
    you voted for like a weak minded media-brainwashed idiot that you are,
    is a “conservative”? By your definition, he acts like one, wouldn’t you
    say? Again, how’s that Obama vote working for you? Should have voted
    with reason rather than your weak-minded emotions. Also, fuck Romney and
    fuck McCain, because I have a feeling that you might think I’m a
    Romney/McCain supporter. I’m not, nor have I ever been. So HA!

  12. Donald Westington on

    You’re what is wrong with this country. You liberals are the same way,
    but more hateful and racist. If idiots like you would stop adding
    validity to this phony “right wing left wing” false dichotomy, and
    realize that politics isn’t that simple minded, then we as a country can
    move forward. I know plenty of conservatives that want pot legal. It
    just sounds to me like you’re bitter about something (like most
    liberals). BTW, how’s that Obama vote working for you now, moron?

  13. Donald Westington on

    BTW, why don’t you say something about Obama keeping the War on Drugs going? Why don’t you say something about him lying about not using federal resources to go after medical marijuana dispensaries where medical marijuana is legal? Why don’t you say something about how Obama’s administration has performed more medical marijuana raids than even the Bush administration? Would you say that Obama, the man I know you voted for like a weak minded media-brainwashed idiot that you are, is a “conservative”? By your definition, he acts like one, wouldn’t you say? Again, how’s that Obama vote working for you? Should have voted with reason rather than your weak-minded emotions. Also, fuck Romney and fuck McCain, because I have a feeling that you might think I’m a Romney/McCain supporter. I’m not, nor have I ever been. So HA!

  14. Donald Westington on

    If painkills2 had his/her way, this would be Russia. But yes, our country is on it’s way to becoming Russia.

  15. Donald Westington on

    You’re what is wrong with this country. You liberals are the same way, but more hateful and racist. If idiots like you would stop adding validity to this phony “right wing left wing” false dichotomy, and realize that politics isn’t that simple minded, then we as a country can move forward. I know plenty of conservatives that want pot legal. It just sounds to me like you’re bitter about something (like most liberals). BTW, how’s that Obama vote working for you now, moron?

  16. The problem is :

    According to Title VII Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998 :
    Responsibilities: The Director “Drug Czar”
    (12) shall ensure that no Federal funds appropriated to the Office of National Drug Control Policy shall be expended for any study or contract relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of a substance listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812) and take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form) that–
    (A) is listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812); and
    (B) has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration;

    Congress must change that!

  17. If anything, Obama has failed to ignore the advice of those who suggested that compromise with a corrupt, cynical and anarchist far-right was ever possible. Fortunately, he seems to have recovered from that weakness and decided to tell them all to shove it. Excellent idea, I would say.

  18. Please if he was put in that position it would be the first unselfish, caring, sensible appointment a rights raping president has ever been a part of. Bah what a shame its so unlikely.

  19. Who else but a far right-wing conservative wants to keep up the war on drugs? But look what happened to the ATF without someone at the helm. Yeah, leave the seat vacant. Strip the position and the office of power. And what gives? Only 4 (unknown) senators sign on to this letter? Come on…

  20. Yah because lumping cannabis in
    the same category as heavy duty
    drugs puts the cannabis market
    in the hands of junkies That’s not
    only a public health concern That’s
    a public safety concern

  21. Best would be to leave the position unfilled and that may happen. Obama may not want to hear anybody else’s “advising”.

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