by Gary Fields, (Source:Wall Street Journal)
14 May 2009
Kerlikowske Says Analogy Is Counterproductive; Shift Aligns With Administration Preference for Treatment Over Incarceration
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s new drug czar says he wants to banish the idea that the U.S.  is fighting “a war on drugs,” a move that would underscore a shift favoring treatment over incarceration in trying to reduce illicit drug use.
In his first interview since being confirmed to head the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske said Wednesday the bellicose analogy was a barrier to dealing with the nation’s drug issues.
“Regardless of how you try to explain to people it’s a ‘war on drugs’ or a ‘war on a product,’ people see a war as a war on them,” he said.  “We’re not at war with people in this country.”
View Full Image Gil Kerlikowske, the new White House drug czar, signaled Wednesday his openness to rethinking the government’s approach to fighting drug use.
Mr.  Kerlikowske’s comments are a signal that the Obama administration is set to follow a more moderate — and likely more controversial — stance on the nation’s drug problems.  Prior administrations talked about pushing treatment and reducing demand while continuing to focus primarily on a tough criminal-justice approach.
The Obama administration is likely to deal with drugs as a matter of public health rather than criminal justice alone, with treatment’s role growing relative to incarceration, Mr.  Kerlikowske said.
Already, the administration has called for an end to the disparity in how crimes involving crack cocaine and powder cocaine are dealt with.  Critics of the law say it unfairly targeted African-American communities, where crack is more prevalent.
The administration also said federal authorities would no longer raid medical-marijuana dispensaries in the 13 states where voters have made medical marijuana legal.  Agents had previously done so under federal law, which doesn’t provide for any exceptions to its marijuana prohibition.
During the presidential campaign, President Barack Obama also talked about ending the federal ban on funding for needle-exchange programs, which are used to stem the spread of HIV among intravenous-drug users.
The drug czar doesn’t have the power to enforce any of these changes himself, but Mr.  Kerlikowske plans to work with Congress and other agencies to alter current policies.  He said he hasn’t yet focused on U.S.  policy toward fighting drug-related crime in other countries.
Mr.  Kerlikowske was most recently the police chief in Seattle, a city known for experimenting with drug programs.  In 2003, voters there passed an initiative making the enforcement of simple marijuana violations a low priority.  The city has long had a needle-exchange program and hosts Hempfest, which draws tens of thousands of hemp and marijuana advocates.
Seattle currently is considering setting up a project that would divert drug defendants to treatment programs.
Mr.  Kerlikowske said he opposed the city’s 2003 initiative on police priorities.  His officers, however, say drug enforcement — especially for pot crimes — took a back seat, according to Sgt.  Richard O’Neill, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild.  One result was an open-air drug market in the downtown business district, Mr.  O’Neill said.
“The average rank-and-file officer is saying, ‘He can’t control two blocks of Seattle, how is he going to control the nation?’ ” Mr.  O’Neill said.
Sen.  Tom Coburn, the lone senator to vote against Mr.  Kerlikowske, was concerned about the permissive attitude toward marijuana enforcement, a spokesman for the conservative Oklahoma Republican said.  [drug war] Others said they are pleased by the way Seattle police balanced the available options.  “I think he believes there is a place for using the criminal sanctions to address the drug-abuse problem, but he’s more open to giving a hard look to solutions that look at the demand side of the equation,” said Alison Holcomb, drug-policy director with the Washington state American Civil Liberties Union.
Mr.  Kerlikowske said the issue was one of limited police resources, adding that he doesn’t support efforts to legalize drugs.  He also said he supports needle-exchange programs, calling them “part of a complete public-health model for dealing with addiction.”
Mr.  Kerlikowske’s career began in St.  Petersburg, Fla.  He recalled one incident as a Florida undercover officer during the 1970s that spurred his thinking that arrests alone wouldn’t fix matters.
“While we were sitting there, the guy we’re buying from is smoking pot and his toddler comes over and he blows smoke in the toddler’s face,” Mr.  Kerlikowske said.  “You go home at night, and you think of your own kids and your own family and you realize” the depth of the problem.
Since then, he has run four police departments, as well as the Justice Department’s Office of Community Policing during the Clinton administration.
Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance, a group that supports legalization of medical marijuana, said he is “cautiously optimistic” about Mr.  Kerlikowske.  “The analogy we have is this is like turning around an ocean liner,” he said.  “What’s important is the damn thing is beginning to turn.”
James Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation’s largest law-enforcement labor organization, said that while he holds Mr.  Kerlikowske in high regard, police officers are wary.
“While I don’t necessarily disagree with Gil’s focus on treatment and demand reduction, I don’t want to see it at the expense of law enforcement.  People need to understand that when they violate the law there are consequences.”

0 thoughts

  1. The former Director of the National Office of Drug Control Policy under George Bush Sr., William Bennett appeared on CNN’s State of the Union with John King yesterday, Sunday, May 17, 2009. He was asked how he felt about the current administration’s position of not using the phrase, War on Drugs. He stated as long as Law enforcement is used as the main strategy it won’t be a problem. He stated that we have not had a drug war since the 80s. He also slipped during the interview and said they need a hard hand on the back of the head. He said this as he made and clenched a fist. He quickly corrected his phrase to a hand on the neck. He obviously believes a drug war is still necessary. His position seems to be one of justification of the drug war he waged regardless of the consequences. He says drug use was driven down by 50% in the late 80s. This is just another attempt to color the failed drug war as a success. He needs to fess up; he put everyone he could in jail undoubtedly with a hit to the head along the way when ever possible. He used our tax dollars to create the largest prison population in the history of our planet. Government should be concerned with ensuring personal freedoms of its citizens not taking away the peoples freedoms. I hope the new czar brings real change and not just a new title for the same old thing.

  2. Old King James Ver. – Ezekiel 34:29 Raw Living sun grown Afghan satva ingested in the most nutricious plant on Earth. Toking , ganja butter ,and hemp oil are great for healing , but there is the best method is over looked and should be added to these for total ganja healing in the body. Heat releases THC but kills the real raw living healing nutrients in Afghan sativa ganja vital for healing. Jack LaLane-cooked food is dead food!!! “RAW LIVING SUN GROWN AFGHAN SATIVA INGESTED!” Ganja Paste: Freshly picked raw living sun grown sativa grind finely and mix with liquid aloe or aloe gel in an unatractive ganja paste. I alway drink down 4oz of chilled liquid aloe to wash it down and to inhance healing. The Best way to fight diseases is to never get it to start with. If infants were fead ganja paste in their baby food all the way to the elderly , our health care would almost be solved. Ganja Sativa for disease prevention, cheaper safer medicine and a stronger economy !!! 420 nation Twilight Onearmbiker

  3. He is not trying to end the war on drugs at all, he just wants to call it something else. Just like when we invade a country, kill its citizens and take their natural resources as our own and call it “Freedom”.
    Kerlikowske is just a puppet. The war will continue, they will just brainwash the next generations into thinking its not a ‘war’. No matter what they call it, policies will never change for the better. They will continue hunting down gentle bud smokers and caging us with murderers and rapists and ruining our chances at a future in an increasingly narrow minded society.

  4. I think it’s time to organize a movement of cannabis smokers to go to Richard Nixon’s grave and piss on it. After all, he’s the one who threw out the recommendation of his own commission to legalise. If enough people go and piss on Nixon’e grave, they’ll (law enforcement) have to invest a lot of money to protect it – perhaps with a barbed wire fence. How appropo……………

  5. New Rights for Children in MA! The new laws about dealing or toking up on church and school property are great! I always thought people who did that were really scum anyways. Anyway I totally think something more has to be going on here to keep our 66% vote here as well! For people who arent sick the under an ounce ticket law is pretty cool. It’s great to know that there is a new issue about turning to harder drugs out there. I really feel less people will with pot out there.
    Is there anyway we can also rally to get my Medi Back too? I’m sick I need my Medi! Why isn’t it Legal???!! All the other States are going to do it I know it! I mean Decriminilization is here its really weird we can’t get our Dagga meds.

  6. It’s all about the weed man..pass that bong and stop bogarting that joint. Do you know why I say that? Because people have weed regardless of the laws. IF they didn’t they would get off their butts and organize and raise money and lobby their representatives. Until then Pass the bong cuz I got mine but I want it in public. Public consumption like alcohol.

  7. hello all,
    It seems to me that most people are missing the point… it doesnt realy matter why or how this prohibition began, what is important to understand is why it continues…. money! There are industries that believe they will loss profitability with the legalization of grass… 1) pharmacuetical industry. Who would willingly take the dangerous , side effect ridden, untested and inefective drugs these dealers are peddling if they had a legal alternitive? the drug companies cant patent grass …. its a natural substance, they can only patent a process for refining or synthesizing it, ie marinol… ( gee wally, if it has no medical use why are they trying to synthesize it?) 2) the lumber industry. anything you can make from wood you can make from hemp ( except actual wood) our forests and woodlands are cut down at an alarming rate and the majority of products could be made from hemp, which is a renewable resourse ( unlike forests that take decades to regrow) 3) the liqour industry,(do i really need to explain this one?) the simple fact is , corporate america has a vested interest in keeping grass illegal and they are using our tax dollar to maintain their profitability! its all about the money… the way for us to win is to spread the word to the uninformed that legalization is in the best interest of the nation , from an economic, environmental and sociallogical standpoint

  8. ndkelley Says:( gee wally, if it has no medical use why are they trying to synthesize it?)
    Thanks for the laugh friend. Yes, marinol, synthetic THC is widely available through perscription (FDA approved)for certain illnesses. I think its important for people to be informed so they understand how we got here and that they have been lied to for the last 70 years and counting. Sort of like the civil rights movement. Here is a cartoon you might emjoy on just what you said about hemp. I think we are in a war that was declared on the people by those who control the goverment.

  9. #108 Charles Johnson Says:
    May 21st, 2009 at 7:20 am
    ndkelley Says:
    (gee wally,
    if it has no medical use
    why are they trying to synthesize it?

    Thanks for the laugh friend.
    synthetic THC is widely available through prescription
    (FDA approved)
    for certain illnesses.
    I think its important for people to be informed
    so they understand how we got here
    and that they have been lied to for the last 70 years and counting.
    – Sort of like the civil rights movement.
    Here is a
    you might enjoy on just what you said about hemp.
    I think we are in a war that was declared on the people
    by those who control the goverment.
    It’s also a war declared on the American farmer:
    Willie Nelson
    Hemp and the Family Farma>

  10. WE MUST, get the lumber and paper industries on side, itt should be easyish to turn em, they would make more money
    we get these 2 giants onboard and it would be a major help
    its hammer time

  11. O’ beloved congress, ye that hear the plight of the people, come to your senses I beg of you. I urge you to see the error in your ways, prohibition was enacted on black propaganda and lies. The people here have spoken, and many, many more have not for they feel their voices will be not be heard. I believe in our constitution and our resolution. For over seventy years the people have spoken through their actions and their resolve, we will not let this go quietly into the night. We will fight as long as you fight against us, as a house divided against itself will not stand. Our house is strong, our resolve is strong and our faith in you is unwavering yet strained. We know the injustice of this prohibition well, for over seventy years we have peacefully called out for reform. We’ve been patiently waiting for change, for rationalization and understanding all the while being viewed as slackers and criminals. We are Americans. We are the descendants of Washington and Jefferson, we invoke the creed of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We urge you to call off the war on the ones who support you and this country. The possibility of bio-degradable plastic, bio-fuel, durable clothing, and the most efficient source of paper on the planet is cause enough to end the prohibition of industrialized hemp. Must we wander in the desert for seventy more years when the promised land is just across the river? Leaders of the free world, you have a responsibility to address these issues in earnest. I appeal this prohibition but I speak for many more who would, but are to afraid to speak out, in fear of retaliation. Heed our voices lest you look back and regret, when this land of freedom is gone and all that remains is the memory of freedom, that our voices called out for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. May the lord our god bless you and keep you. Abolish the apathy in our congress toward the persecution of its own people. Enlighten our leaders and renounce a failed policy, replenish the trust of the people toward their government. If you would be so bold as to repeal this mistake, through the repine of the people, O what America could be! We are resolute in our purpose, we will not go away, help us to save this great country before it is too late. I will, for now, retire my petition in hopes of your diligent and prompt response.

  12. #110 adhd Says:
    May 22nd, 2009 at 8:40 pm
    WE MUST, get the lumber and paper industries on side, itt should be easyish to turn em, they would make more money
    we get these 2 giants onboard and it would be a major help
    its hammer time
    HEMP’s advantages:
    – 1) Shorter growth-cycle than trees…
    (quicker and greater seasonal-yields than trees).
    – 2)A more durable product.
    – 3)Requires LESS fertilizers and pesticides.

  13. The thing we’ve got to focus on here is ARRESTS and how they have hit an all time high – nearly 1 million – last year. In the two states that have decriminalized, NY and CA, the highest amounts of arrests are occurring. Shouldn’t there be fewer arrests in states that have decriminalized? And Obama seems to be one of the biggest supporters of the drug war. He wants more prisons, more police, and more arrests for pot users.
    Obama is just another Washington politician who is not for the American people.

  14. We all need to realize who made it illeagal, our represenitives, write them and tell them you disagree with the laws that are in effect and anyone that imposed them on us.
    We were not afforded our right to vote on the issue of leagalization. They decided that Marijuana was to be included as a dangerous drug on the list only because of the number of users, which would afford them the need to enforce larger numbers of law enforcment and to expand the CIA and FBI.

  15. Are all people so ignorant or indifferent that they have failed to listen or educate themselves that the illegal drug ‘czars’ are bigger contributer’s to our polititian’s coffers than the ‘Big Three’ combined…this is simply a case of our so callled leader’s being paid off to see it’s citizens hurt in any shape or form. Wake up America…and I don’t seek the pleasure of drug’s, but may at some stage of my life…Talk about ease of tax burdens…please….

  16. as long as I can be arrested or hassled at work with my employment threatened, nothing short of full legalization will work for me.

  17. #116 fireweed Says:
    May 31st, 2009 at 9:37 am
    as long as I can be arrested or hassled at work with my employment threatened, nothing short of full legalization will work for me.
    – I concurr.
    Anything less,
    (‘decrim’, ‘quazi-legal’, ‘practically-legal’),
    are vague, unacceptable, half-ashed…).
    Illegal EXCEPT

  18. Word up. Finally some sense, the fact is just that most republicans just don’t get the importance of marijuana reform. Alot of democats do not get it either, but we HAVE to re-elect obama. If he doesnt get to Marijuana reform in his first term it is because he has tons on his plate, we all can get that. But i really think in his second term we have a good chance for legalization. CALL YOUR LEGISLATURES! SEND MESSAGES! SPREAD THE WORD FOR LEGALIZATION!

  19. How do you spell ignorant ? ANSWER: THE GOVT. . After all is it not ignorant to not listen to the people and facts as well as keeping marijuana in prohibition when the govt. could use the legalization and taxation towards a good cause/ causes that will help our nation fight terrorists as well as the cartel. The Govt. should not violate the peoples constitutional rights and really should listen to the people being it is the people who vote them into office and when they need our votes during election time but hey we do not know shi* . I know i wont vote for Levie when election time comes around if he is not willing to support us. The time for ignorance is over and the time for legalization and taxation of marijuana is now….. Let us not go into the night with out a fight for our rights as voters as well as Americans. We the people (the patriots of America) need to fight for ours and other Americans rights that was passed down to us from our four fathers….. Let us show them we are no push over and will stand up for our rights as Americans….
    Look at this and let us get this in the ranks to help our cause .

  20. As much as it seems the time has come for the legalization of marijuana… the truth is we all know the government is gonna do anything they can to stop it. The governments problem is that marijuana is a plant that cannot be patented, therefore there’s no big money to be made off of it. You could do the study right in front of their faces.. show all the good it can do and all the bad that it can’t and they’d still laugh in your face and find a way to twist it. I mean, isn’t anyone else sick of anti- marijuana campaigns that depict getting your face drawn on by friends or being left behind with no ride at a party because your stoned friend forgot you as reasons not to use? Or how about the latest ‘don’t use it just because your friends say its cool’ BS? How about this guys? What if I want to do it because I want to do it? Missed that one, huh? Where’s the real evidence?…. The answer is it’s not there.. because it doesn’t exist!!! Quit lying about EVERYTHING, STOP taking care of big business and yourselves first, and for God’s sakes… STOP TURNING YOUR OWN CITIZENS INTO THE ENEMY!!! If we can’t trust them on something so simple and petty, what’s gonna make us believe anything they say anymore? Well, for me, the answer is nothing… Loud and Clear.

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