Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock: Who Will Be Obama’s Pick For ‘Drug Czar’?

Is saving the Drug Czar nominee as the last cabinet pick indicative of the low priority assigned by the incoming Obama administration to the so-called ‘war on drugs’?

With the entire cabinet nominated (save for US Ambassador to the United Nations and director of the Central Intelligence Agency), who is President–elect Obama going to nominate as director of the Office Of National Drug Control Policy (a.k.a. ‘Drug Czar’).
To date, Obama and Co. have prioritized the cabinet nominations of:
Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Treasury, Secretary of Homeland Security, Attorney General, Secretary of Interior, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Secretary of Education, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Environmental Protection Agency, Secretary of Veteran Affairs, National Security Adviser, Director of National Intelligence, Director of National Economic Council, Director of Securities and Exchange Commission, US Trade Representative and Director of Office of Management and Budget.
But no Drug Czar (or Czarina)!
Obama told the media yesterday that his entire cabinet would be nominated before he is to begin his last semi-sane holiday break this week with his family. But as of 10AM this morning (eastern), there has been no nominee announced for ‘Drug Czar’.
Hmmmmm. One wonders why not?

Looks like one reputed nominee for Drug Czar, retiring Republican congressman Jim Ramstad of Minnesota is getting hung up in the political vetting process. Some in the media and in drug policy reform inform NORML that Atlanta police chief Richard J. Pennington might emerge as the potential nominee. Some speculate that current Drug Czar transition team leader, Dr. Don Vereen, might pull a ‘Cheney’ and offer himself up as the best person to head the ONDCP.
Whatever the case and whomever the nominee, is the ONDCP nominee and their staff going to closely adhere to Obama’s stated goal that health (and environmental) policy-making in his administration, unlike the current Bush White House, will be guided by contemporary and credible science—and not ideology or politics?
In Obama’s now weekly radio address, he asserted this morning that science and rational thinking is going to instruct much of his decision-making in the realms of education, public health and environmental protection. To demonstrate such, this morning Obama nominated two prominent scientists—not political hacks—to fill important science policy-making roles in his new administration (Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

“Because the truth is that promoting science isn’t just about providing resources – it’s about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology. It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient – especially when it’s inconvenient. Because the highest purpose of science is the search for knowledge, truth and a greater understanding of the world around us. That will be my goal as President of the United States.”
-President-elect Barack Obama (December 20, 2008)

NORML certainly hopes that Obama’s professed support for science over political ideology logically extends to repairing and overhauling the country’s totally flawed and decidedly unscientific approach in administering a functional and economical criminal justice system—fueled in large part by antiquated and misguided illicit drug laws, notably the abject failure of 70 plus years of cannabis prohibition laws.
In the interim, please join me (and thousands of other drug policy reform supporters), with a bit-of-tongue-in-cheek, in advancing Drug Policy Alliance director Ethan Nadelmann, Ph.D as Obama’s next Drug Czar. Now that is change I can believe in!
Who President-elect Obama nominates for Drug Czar I believe will strongly demonstrate whether or not he genuinely believes in science as a guiding principle in replacing failed, feckless, racist and politically expedient law enforcement efforts to ‘control’ drugs with, ultimately, effective, commonsense, scientific and public health-based alternatives to America’s failed war on some drugs.

0 thoughts

  1. my current message to legislators is to allow production of american recreational drugs to foremost stop the hemmorage of 50 bil a year from this country. the farciful pricks DO understand money. as far as the thousands who are in jail on poss. charges who have never bothered to write a letter in their lives to a politician, shame on YOU. have you no interest in your fellow man???

  2. How many gun owners do you know who say ” I like canidate X on most issues but the NRA endorses cadidate Y, I’m gonna vote for X anyway.” ( no hate mail I own 2 rifles). How many Senior Citizens say ” Gee I guess I agree with candidate X on just about everything except social security and medicare. For 32 years I’ve listened as people make logical argument’s, Quote the constitution, appeal to compassion and every year the situation just gets worse. Any Pot smoker who voted for Obama, or Bush, or Clinton, or Bush, or Reagan, need only look in the mirror, the Drug Warrior IS you. (And yes me). Every election NORML needs to publish a nationwide voter guide. Don’t endorse ANYONE (they will disown it), instead publish a list to vote AGAINST, usually this will include both cadidates, but very soon subtle differences will emerge. Medical marijuana laws pass with 60+ majorities in every state. Next time some unbalanced creep shoots a whole room full of people just watch every politician interviewed on the news preface any comment with, ” I support the 2nd amendment”. (Just an example no hate replies) Finally, Obama did say HE WAS NOT going to spend any political capital on this issue, after Bush, Clinton, and Reagan, Not making the situation worse is a BIG, BIG, improvement. Obama may not be a friend but you’ve not yet made him an enemy. Even if much of his cabinet and VP are enemies. Don’t antagonize him by making an ass out of yourself on HIS website. If you must comment on change.gov paraphrase his own words. Suggestion ” I DO NOT FAVOR THE WAR ON MARIJUANA AND WILL NOT VOTE FOR, DONATE TO, OR GIVE ANY MORAL SUPPORT TO ANY CANDIDATE THAT DOES. PERIOD. As that non-head Frank Zappa ( R.I.P.) used to say about the draft. “VOTE LIKE A BEAST”

  3. I was heavily influenced in favor of Obama by his seemingly reasonable stance on marijuana. However, I’m now growing a bit wary since Obama’s cabinet appointments are not people who have historically shared his stated or implied comments regarding de-emphasizing marijuana law enforcement.
    My college-age sons are NOT criminals! They’re typical, average, American kids who should never be arrested for something as innocuous as pot and given a permanent blemish on their otherwise spotless record, a record which would follow them for life. Obama himself openly admitted to smoking pot and said on tv, “I inhaled; that’s the whole point” in his youth so, in my mind, it would be hypocritical for him to endorse extending these draconian laws while ignoring all medical research indicating marijuana is an effective medication for a variety of illnesses and conditions.

  4. Sorry, I’m not proficient in written communication, but just so you get my point. If you voted for ALMOST any Democrat or Republican since 1980 ( the year things stopped getting better and started getting worse). YOU VOTED FOR THE WAR ON MARIJUANA. Yes, your voice was heard, loud and clear. YOU ARE THE DRUG WARRIOR.

  5. look. The approach is all wrong — Cannabis is a medicine, contrary to popular belief it has helped myself, as a patient of medical marijuana, be successful in decreasing the use of harmful and potentially fatal prescription drugs such as klonopin. Medical Marijuana has many benefits that outweigh the risks. You do the research. One last thing…the government was actually founded on the use of marijuana…it was actually a key crop grown on mount vernon by our very own founding father, George Washington! furthermore, marijuana was not considered a ‘recreational’ drug until the mormons went to mexico and had a bad trip because it was against their faith(1910)!!

  6. I’m hoping (without reason) that he’s holding it to the last because he’s torn between the politics and how he really feels about it. If he’s had it, he liked it.

  7. ok, here is what we do. have a 20 million man march on the capitol lawns and dont forget to bring your bong and your gun, or papers or pipe or vaporizor your choice but dont forget your GUN. this will start the process that is needed to restore the constition. its called civil unrest, disobediance, revolt, restructioning government back to the will of the people. life, liberty. and the pursuit of happiness. GOD bless us in our strugle to free ourselfs AGAIN. freedom is a fight we have to fight to keep free.

  8. Missing the point! There is no need for a socalled Czar if there is no Office of National Drug Control Policy.Certainly there is a better use for the office space.

  9. After Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton left office they both came out for decriminalizing marijuana. This view will, hopefully, find favor in the new administration (and a statement signed by both Carter and Clinton would help) because before the industrial hemp re-revolution can assist America’s farmers the question of marijuana laws will have to find settlement. Obama may not want to use political capital on this, which constitutes the safe but economically unwise approach. The issue needs a high-profile figure to present it to the public, and I think Jimmy Carter may become that figure as a principled late-in-life act of reason.
    Randy Kryn
    December 23, 2008

  10. The only thing any politician understands or cares about is VOTES. Not logic, not the Constitution, not compassion, maybe not even money. Why should any politician stick his neck out for you when your going to vote for him anyway. Tell obama that YES WE CAN agree to disagree on some issues while working together on others, BUT liberalizing marijuana laws is NOT one of them. If you don’t support us. we don’t support you.

  11. I heard he changed positions on this issue.
    But think about it, even if he did there would be some downsides. Big brother taxing you up the ass, and socialist policies picking our wallets, leaving us less money for weed.
    Until government get’s out of the business of the nanny state, marijuana will never be legal. Because of the laws we are forced to pay for every other irresponsible citizens healthcare, such as ciggarette smokers.

  12. … it is always SO silly for Leaders to talk about
    respecting science when establishing social policy.
    They depend on the bullies’ bullshit world view!!!
    The essential problem with governments being scientific
    is that they would have to admit the basic social facts:
    civilization is a system of organized lies & robberies.
    As in the thread
    Mainstreamers’ “Cannabis Primer” Post#: 6886 …
    On our English language forum:
    That “Cannabis Primer” report talks about
    “an accurate, scientific, reality-based education program”
    about cannabis … however, that report is NOT based on
    “accurate, scientific, reality-based education program”
    about the real nature of governmental power itself …
    As long as the fundamental social fact that
    “Sovereignty is based on the power to rob.”
    continues to be denied, then it is WRONG
    to talk about society being “scientific.”
    Governments based on false fundamental dichotomies
    are based on the big bullies’ bullshit world view.
    It is laughably absurd to think current “Leaders”
    will go through the necessary paradigm shifting
    to understand that marijuana laws have NEVER
    been based on anything but huge lies, and
    lots of violence, from governments …
    In particular, Obama seems like a
    narcissistic Uncle Tom, who had to
    please the big money people to then
    be able to become the USA President.
    At best, Obama MIGHT “decriminalize”
    as ways to do more neoprohibitionism.
    That is slightly better than things getting worse …
    Anyway, the basic problem is that we ARE scientific enough
    in physics and biology to make mass destruction weapons,
    but, we are not scientific enough about our civilizations
    to be able to admit why weapons were the first priority.
    The day our world leaders admit the social facts
    that they are simply the heads of the currently
    best organized gangs of criminals, then, and
    only then, will society become “scientific.”
    In my opinion, that is the ONLY WAY
    that we might survive having gotten
    those real mass destruction weapons.
    Of course,
    that seems practically impossible to imagine now.
    Of course,
    it seems far more likely that the weapons shall
    eventually be used by people
    in suicidal / genocidal ways.
    It is precisely because we had this huge contradiction
    of science and technology applied to weapons, BUT
    not applied to society, (except in various ways
    that promote the established huge lies, and
    back up those lies with greater violence)
    that we are trapped inside an insanity of having
    prepared weapons whose only applications are
    to practically commit suicide / genocide …
    The same massive insanity that applies
    to the death and debt controls is in
    the current cannabis controls too.
    A science-based cannabis policy is a non-starter,
    since the current policy is based on huge lies,
    which have been backed up with coercions for
    decade, after decade, after decade, and so
    have become only more and more and more
    psychotic with the passage of time …
    As I have been learning, and thinking out loud,
    about all these issues on the Web site of the
    Marijuana Party of Canada, developing my kind
    of political philosophy based upon the ideas
    of subtraction and robbery, and following
    through a spiral of digressions from the
    pot politics, to the bigger systems …
    Leaders that do not talk about and do not try to change
    the fractional reserve banking systems, are serving the
    fascist plutocracy and building a fascist police state.
    Neolithic civilization is a social pyramid system,
    that is based on keeping the majority of people
    too ignorant and afraid to change that system.
    Pot prohibition was one of their tools of persecution
    that allowed the slave drivers to attack more people.
    Obama is clearly working for the big slave drivers!
    The ONLY real hope come from the possibilities
    that the governments will simply no longer be
    able to justify the expenditures needed to
    keep enforcing their evil pot prohibition.

  13. Easy there ladies and gents just be patient,we dont need to change the law one bit.Just give this goverment a few more years and we will be in a total calapse.Economy will fall apart,no jobs,no food, no utilities,complete and total lawlessness.We can all turn the calander back about 100 years or so ,there will be no goverment to control us.I allmost forgot i am sure a forien goverment wil be glad to step in to recoup some of the debt we owe.Sit back relax watch the show drink a cold brew after all that prohibition didnt work.

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