Your Tax Dollars At Work

Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske, along with five previous drug czars (including gambling addict William Bennett), have an op/ed in today’s Los Angeles Times condemning California’s Prop. 19.

Given that the Drug Czar is required by law to oppose any and all efforts that would seek to legalize marijuana — including “any study … relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of” cannabis — his vitriol should not come as a surprise. Nevertheless, his commentary clearly begs the question: How is it appropriate for Californians to pay taxes to cover the salary of a federal official who spends a significant part of his time telling these same taxpayers how to vote on a statewide ballot measure?

As far as Kerlikowske’s specific allegations against Prop. 19, suffice to say that you’ve heard them all before — including this whopper, “Law enforcement officers do not currently focus much effort on arresting adults whose only crime is possessing small amounts of marijuana.” (Really? Then how do you explain this? Or this? Or this?)

NORML has already submitted a rebuttal to the L.A. Times. Our allies at Fire Dog Lake also have posted a strong refutation which you can read here. No doubt the headline says it all: “CA Prop 19: Drug Czars’ Latest Anti-Marijuana Propaganda is Easily Refuted.”

Here’s a snippet:

Their argument that a tax on legal marijuana would raise almost no money is just plain silly.

“Regarding the supposed economic benefits of taxing marijuana, some comparison with two drugs that are already regulated and taxed — alcohol and tobacco — is worth considering. People don’t typically grow their own tobacco or distill their own spirits, so consumers accept high taxes on them as retail products. Marijuana, though, is easy and cheap to cultivate, indoors or out, and Proposition 19 would allow individuals to grow as much as 25 square feet of marijuana for ‘personal consumption.’

“Why would people volunteer to pay high taxes on marijuana if it were legalized? The answer is that many would not, and the underground market, adapting to undercut any new taxes, would barely diminish at all.”

I guess the Drug Czars have never heard of convenience before. Most people don’t actually like dealing with criminals or drug dealers. They would rather buy their vodka or marijuana from the liquor store down the street than spend their time tracking down some shady criminal smuggler to save a few bucks on taxes. The end of alcohol prohibition is in fact the perfect test case for this insane theory that legalization would result in almost no decrease of the black market. The reality was an almost immediate destruction of the black market for alcohol. Do you or any of your friends or family currently get liquor on the black market? I doubt it.

It’s a sound response — to which I would add, I guess the Drug Czar has never heard of supermarkets; because last time I checked these facilities had entire sections of the store dedicated to the sale of fruits, vegetables, and plenty of other food stuffs that folks could grow cheaply and easily on their own — but most don’t. Why? For the same reason most marijuana users, even under legalization, won’t likely grow their own pot: they either don’t have the time, the space, or the expertise to do so. And even among those who do — most folks would simply prefer to pay a premium for the convenience of not having had to do it themselves.

As for the rest of the Czar’s rhetoric, it’s simply more of the same and the folks at FDL nail it.

This is what makes the fight to end our war on marijuana so difficult. The other side is not interested in an honest policy debate. Instead of honest argument, they rely on half-truths, distortions, twisted logic, ridiculous statements and naked propaganda. Sadly, America, this op-ed from Kerlikowske and friends is your wasted tax dollars at work.

61 thoughts

  1. Boy , you can say that again !

    America is waging a war against its own people . Many of these people have chosen death over years of imprisonment . Many have been killed by those who enforce these silly laws and many more have been murdered while in prison or smuggling Marijuana to and from the border or because criminals will kill a grower rather than pay for it .

    America is commiting genocide against its own people .

  2. It’s in the drug czar’s job requirements that he say *whatever he wants* to dissuade cannabis use.

    Even if that means lying.

    I’ll say that again:

    This job office in our US government REQUIRES that the drug czar lie, if necessary, to protect the illegal drug trade.

  3. When can we have a serious debate with the opposition?

    …one that involves each side actually answering each others’ questions in a public forum?

    Why hasn’t this happened yet? When is this gonna happen? Will it ever happen?

  4. of coarse not these men are proffit driven despicable proffiteers in human misery and are crimnals in the eyes of 80 percent of americans .they know soon enough they will be tried for war crimes against american citzens . funny i think that a tall tree and a hemp rope is thier future and we the people will have as much mercy on them as they have had on us i say let em swing

  5. All communities can use the extra money, but hasn’t anyone thought about the economic damages associated with less alcohol and opiate abuse? We might put some rehab facilities and funeral homes out of business. We’ll also need less emergency vehicle drivers, police officers, homicide detectives, domestic violence social service workers, corrections officers, coroners, dialysis technicians, and crime scene technicians. Where will they go? And I just know we’re going to miss the Mexican cartels once they’re gone.

  6. By oppressions woes and pains!

    By our sons in servile chains!

    We will drain our dearest veins,

    But they shall be free!

    Lay the proud usurpers low!

    Tyrants fall in every foe!

    Libertys in every blow!—

    Let us do or die!

  7. And to think that we pay this smuck to spew this trash on our public. We are a country of fools.

  8. As you well know, Appearances can be deceiving, Which brings me to mention how this hypocrisy is still continued. We are under the illusion of being controlled, whether it be from a badge, or a gun, It is all the same. What WE as humans(no persons excluded)must do is keep living the life WE want to live. No beaurocrat can take our happiness away. Information is contagious. Spread it. Live life as free as possible – Fred Flintstoned – – – – – — — – – — –

  9. Personally, I hope they don’t collect a single penny. The last thing our government needs is more taxes. Most of our tax money is already wasted on useless garbage like the DEA as it is. The billions saved not perpetuating this tyranny should be enough to please anyone.

  10. I couldn’t even read past the 1st paragraph in the Times op-ed. “Besides, any revenue would be wiped out by increases in healthcare and criminal justice costs.”

    Um…can someone explain to me, if cannabis becomes legal to grow/possess/re-sell/smoke, how does this increase criminal justice costs?

  11. 72 killed in Mexico & still Feinstein does’nt get it .
    This violence continues making us all victims of a failed
    drug war . Everyone…….we need your support on Proposition 19 . A no vote on 19 will continue what we witnessed . Doesn’t , Whitman , Feinstein ,Boxer & Rubuo’s bid for California’s Senate get it ?

  12. The drug czar’s authority is arbitrary. That means that it is made up. It is fake and not based on science, not based on history of effective policy; not based on reason.

    It is authority “because I said so.”

    And this person is not elected, like the President or members of congress, this person is appointed (hand-picked) by another individual.

    Yet has an even more direct impact on the day-to-day lives of real people than even the President.

    The scheduling of drugs into classes has nothing to do with actual safety or potential for harm. If that were true, the DEA would be harshest on arsenic and cyanide and would be schedule one, wouldn’t they?

  13. I think the citizens of the United States need to stand up in great anger and tell the President this is much larger than even these bozos spreading lies at taxpayer expense. 72 people were massacred in just one murderous rage by drug gangs in Mexico today. Perhaps over a trillion of dollars a year in just the United States alone are spent on all drugs, enforcement, incarceration, and collateral damage. 10’s of thousands of deaths per month, and millions of ruined lives per year. Criminal and terrorist gangs are financed to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars per year. I’ve had enough, haven’t you?

    It’s time that everyone tell Barack Obama a real leader and a real man with one fast executive order could save the lives of so many thousands and stop ruining millions of peoples lives with these failed policies:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

    Comments: http://www.JBirdz.org

  14. It’s just plain silly to spend billions of dollars of our tax money on a drug war the government will lose one way or the other on marijuana prohibition. There will be no justice until marijuana prohibition is repealed. As far as the drug czars go, they all must be AMERICAN COMMUNISTS, they repeat what the hire ups tell them what to spew out of their mouths, whether right or wrong. Our BERLIN WALL is MARIJUANA PROHIBITION and the wall is coming down brick by brick as time goes on. ONLY IN AMERIKA!

  15. Excellent Article, Let this be the start of the “Great Cannabis Debate” Like the one Arnold Schwartzenager and the Mexican President wanted and 70 percent of what America wanted.

    Point being, Kerlikowske cannot back up his allegations. History repeats itself. History has taught us that after something becomes legal, we have no need to make it. This includes alcohol and tobacco. Now please tell me how those are any different from marijuana.

    What “the other side” does not want us to see is that once Cannabis becomes legal, that makes Hemp production legal. Hemp is Fiber and then it could be used for oil and so forth. They have to realize it was legal for 1,922 years. It’s been illegal for 70 years. So…then…we’re off to debate it.

  16. This came out today. BBS Special Cannaboid receptors heal and protect our brain. Study done in DC.

  17. hah!

    It really seems like the local opposition to prop19 is doing poorly for these clowns to have to step in.

  18. When you consider that every one of the drug czars has depended on marijuana for justification for over one half of the trillion dollars they have wasted on the war on drugs,what other response could they have? That and they are mandated to do anything necessary to keep any schedule 1 drug from being legalized in any form by congress.

    Schedule 1 drugs have no medical benefits. Never mind that 14 states and our nations capitol have medical marijuana laws,with hundreds of doctors writing recommendations for thousands of patients. Never mind all the studies which have shown that marijuana has many medical benefits,many of them paid for by the ONDCP and ignored when medical attributes and possible medical applications were reported by researchers,even though their studies were initiated looking for harm in marijuana,not medical efficacy.

    Never mind that these people lose billions in funding when marijuana is removed from their control. If the ONDCP and the DEA were working in the private sector where accomplishments are required,they would be job hunting.

    I heard America ranks the lowest in education but the highest in drug use? It’s nice to be number one, but there is a solution. All we need to do is prohibit education. If it’s as successful as the prohibition of marijuana,everyone will be doctors,lawyers and rocket scientist.

  19. Clearly, less government overhead, more taxes, less citizen hassel, less “crime”… legalize now or be voted OUT OF OFFICE!

  20. Just more of the same from a guy who was appointed by a president who has chosen to play peek-a-boo with this issue.

  21. You know what’s funny? If they legalize marijuana and DON’T collect tax money they’re hoping for, the politicians will claim “legalization failed”, not because of a rise in crime or accidents (the fears they claim to have) but because it didn’t generate the revenue they hoped it would.

  22. I won’t grow my own cannabis. Why? Because curing the plants takes weeks and lots of time and effort: http://www.a1b2c3.com/drugs/mj009.htm. I’m sure once prohibition is over, we will have choices of herbs – from cheap outdoor grown to expensive indoor medical grade, and lots in between.
    Medical users should not have to pay taxes on their medicine. We don’t pay taxes on perscriptions filled at a pharmacy.

  23. The creation of the DEA is one of the biggest mistakes this country has ever made! The current Czar is only further proof!

  24. I’m sitting here reading the news today, and I come across this gem. I am so disgusted with my country’s Drug War these days. As a youth I took on the views I was expected to about drug users. Whatever happens to them, they deserve, right?

    Putting aside the fact that we’re allowing the government to terrorize, murder and economically ruin our own neighbors and family. What about the immigrants families. So may people are dying over our country’s failed drug policy it is turning into a hidden holocaust.

    Can you imagine your husband, brother, wife, sister, son or daughter trying to sneak into America to get a job, so they can send money home and end the suffering for your family. Only to find out, that instead, they were thrown, alive, into an abandoned mine?

    The next time you see something in the news about the Drug War, or read about one of your neighbors losing their lives over being busted and having their car confiscated, or their home and loss of employment, possibly the Right to Vote. Imagine one of your loved ones, barely alive, bones broken, lying atop dozens of other broken dying and dead people. Knowing what their ultimate fate would be. Imagine for ten minutes the last person down the hole, the softest landing, was your most loved one…. I dare you. It probably took that person DAYS to die. And you think Christ suffered?

    How do those people go to sleep at night, thinking about that?Their relatives are dead, over our war on Vices. And now I wonder, how do we go to sleep at night, while our neighbors, and people we do not even know are paying this price.

    We look down our noses and condemn ancient cultures for human sacrifice, just as we do drug users. Yet we send our sons and daughters off to war over oil. We allow countless thousands to be sacrificed in the name of the Drug War every year.

    Everyone needs to take a critical look at our nation’s drug policy and our own personal views. There must be a better way.

    How many people do you know who have fallen prey to this money grabbing machine called the Drug War? Every drunk driving death is a victim of our nation’s failed drug policy. Every tobacco death is another example of failed drug policy and our nation’s knuckling under to corporate money and not serving the interests of it’s people. Every thug who falls in the street, or loses his employment and voting future is another human sacrifice.

    Stop human sacrifice over failed government policy!

    We need to write our representatives, hand write and postal mail, not email. Pour your heart out, give your honest opinion, tell the stories of the people you know who have fallen, or been sacrificed. Better yet, make an appointment, and go speak to them.

    In my youth I thought drug prohibition was the right thing. Now that I have learned about the Prohibition of Alcohol and how it caused our modern gang problem as we know it. Now that I have lived through 30 years of the Drug War I see it was nothing but a political device to cause money to flow to pork projects and more importantly, win elections.

    When Marijuana was made illegal in 1937 with the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act. It was over the protest of many clear thinking American who knew the outcome of Prohibition, Al Capones and Mafias. They knew the prohibition of Alcohol caused more harm than Alcohol. The LaGuardia Committee Report on Marihuana in 1944 was commissioned by the Mayor of New York who was against it. It concluded that the prohibition of the drug, was far more detrimental to society than the drug itself.

    Nixon’s Drug war started off with a bang, and a special commission to show how justified the Drug War was. But the report showed quite the opposite, it was unjustified. Unfortunately, the war had already begun and the report was covered up.

    We cannot stop the illegal drug trade. It has never been stopped, anywhere. Even in countries where the penalty for possession is death, there is a drug problem. There is a drug problem in prisons. If you can’t keep drugs out of prisons, how in the hell can you control it in the public venue?

    I AM NOT SAYING MAKE DRUGS LEGAL. But addiction is not a criminal problem, it is a medical problem. Giving drugs the same status as tobacco and alcohol does not mean people can work or drive under the influence. These things are ALREADY illegal.

    I know these three things though.

    We must decriminalize it, and as soon as possible. The day people can grow their own, and sell and give it to their neighbors and friends is the day there is no longer any reason for people to have crime syndicates to supply the drug habit machine.

    (Imagine the boost to the economy! all those billions not going back to the Cartels but instead into buying new stuff, and paying off credit cards)

    It must be regulated and kept out of the hands of minors. It is currently easier for our youngsters to get marijuana and hard drugs and illicit pharmaceuticals than it is for them to get beer or cigarettes.

    It SHOULD be taxed and regulated to help pay for the social harms it causes. Let’s be honest, there is a dark side to all drugs and addiction, even our beloved ganga.

  25. “…it is important to note that tobacco, like marijuana, also is just a plant. It is as easy to cultivate as marijuana and it is currently legal to grow on your own property with no 25-square-foot restriction. Yet, as they admit, very few people grow their own tobacco.”

    This quote from the Fire Dog Lake rebuttal is probably true as far as it goes, but if tobacco and cannabis are equally easy to grow (reference, please…it may be that marijuana is even easier to grow outdoors than the fussy tobacco plant, but I’d love to see some research), then why should cannabis users be happy to pay 10-20 times more for their product? After all, a pack of 20 of the best tobacco cigarettes still costs less than $10 at full retail. The same amount of legal marijuana might retail for $100 or possibly much more.

    Even though a marijuana user will go through much less product than a typical tobacco user will each day, that is no justification for such disparity in the retail price if the production costs are equal. That disparity is what will encourage much more home growing, at least until legal pot is as abundant and cheap as tobacco and alcohol.

    Until the retail price of legal pot drops dramatically, I can see a big business in home growing kits for indoor and outdoor cultivation…maybe even counter top units that use seeds developed for that purpose. Such units already exist for veggies and other herbs. Even if they cost a few hundred bucks to initially set up, it would be a bargain if legal pot retails at current black market prices. But a simple outdoor garden would be the least expensive way to go. I’ve done that myself, gotten very nice quality, and for the cost of soil, fertilizer and water.

  26. I sure hope Richard Lee and the rest of the Prop 19 people are prepared to deal with the current and upcoming attacks by the drug warriors against this bill. This article is only the beginning. And I would suspect that the warriors do not want to go down without a fight. And the fight is about to get a whole lot dirtier.

    The best counter to these attacks is not just a defense with a rebuttal; but also the Prop 19 people need to also go on the offensive. We see how politicians, like John McCain, trash the opposition on TV for example. I think there needs to be TV and radio ads where these Drug Czars are exposed. On all levels! The first thing that needs to be exposed to the masses in CA is that the drug czar’s job is to lie about marijuana. Show this fact to the people. Prop 19 people need to demonstrate that these people are only concerned about keeping their jobs rather than serving the American people.

  27. I belive its time for a good old fashen prayer day. No Joke. A prayer for prop 19 to pass
    AMAN

  28. I’ve heard both from the DEA and cops, that its not their job to make laws just enforce them. Yet every time I turn around, there they are telling people what laws they should pass. It seems to me that these people never stop lying, and never want to listen to reason. The good news is that we all know this and stopped listening a long time ago.

  29. Honestly, if these people believe the rhetoric they spew, I feel really sorry for their families and close associates. If I had to deal with a bigoted and biased person like our ‘drug czar’ on a daily basis I would probably end up killing him or myself after a while.. Their ONLY argument against cannabis is ‘it’s bad for you because we say so’… Give me a freakin’ break. They refuse to allow the study of the plant and it’s uses, yet they continue to allow cigarette companies to continue purposely poisoning tobacco, allow alcohol companies to raise the alcohol content in their beers/liquor, and allow big pharma to issue brand new drugs practically every quarter with the only requirement that they work better than a placebo AKA NOTHING!!!! Anti depressants sold by big pharma nowadays are FLUORIDE COMPOUNDS, which have been PROVEN to cause CANCER and BRAIN LESIONS!! Yet a NATURAL anti-depressant (cannabis) continues to be struck down on the baseless accusation that just because it is a smoked substance it causes cancer? Which, again, is based off of tobacco studies, which has poisonous additives added to it in cultivation and processing in the name of ‘flavor’.. I don’t know what kind of cannabis the DEA and the ‘drug czar’ is looking at, but I have never once ran into a ‘dirty’ batch of cannabis with additives.. EVER!

  30. Another point im gonna make is that the expensive cost of marijuana is linked to supply, demand, risk, and maintenance.

    You start growing decent herb in a former corn field publicly with no need for lighting or otherwise you eliminate risk and minimize maintenance, you also increase supply. Pot will be become so cheap it will bankrupt the cartels overnight and rebound the economy, it will be so cheap they will have to left the once per person rule as well when im paying 5plus tax for a gram

  31. if it where up to me pot would have been legal years ago. as far as the drug czar goes he is just as waste of time and out off touch with reality. more or less a bobble head.

  32. Im with Grandma420, I think the Legalization of Cannabis is being held up,in part, because of Hemp.The loss of profits to BIG oil,Dupont,the Cotton industry,and the like, would be enormus.Im sure they pay alot of money(lobby) to keep Cannabis illegal.The Drug Co’s are still going to make their money reguardless,legal or not,they have Marinol and Sativex allready and many other useless chemical concoctions for sale.

  33. The L.A. Times comentary by the current and former drug Czars reads in part, “No country in the world has legalized marijuana to the extent envisioned by Proposition 19, so it is impossible to predict precisely the consequences of wholesale legalization.” Evidently, the Czars do not consider the United States of America a “country,” since there was a time in America when there was no illegal drug use, including marijuana. That period of time was the majority of time this country has existed. I’ll “predict precisely the consequences of wholesale legalization.” I predict it will allow increased freedom and liberty, which is God’s will for people God gifted with inalienable rights, as acknowled and cited in the Constitution of the United States of America. The needs of Gil and his ilk extend well beyond a simple American history lesson. They need some good lawyers and professional psychiatric help. Gil’s smoke and mirror fabricated fantasy reality goes beyond any altered consciousness I’ve ever seen induced by drug consumption.

  34. Biggest contributers to Senators are BIG Pharma ; http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2009/12/pharma_friends_an_analysis.html………and who is against Marijuana are these SENATORS , McCain , Feinstein , Boxer , California’s Rubio bid for Senator ,in fact this Rubio guy says in his ads , ” even if you don’t vote for me – vote NO on Propostion 19 & i am so much against Prop. 19 i am spending my own money to defeat Prop. 19 ” Well , its his money but he got every cent from Pharmaceutical .
    If that link does not highlight – Go to ; Maplight . Do some searches re; Senator contributers / punch in ; Pharmacies /Pharmaceuticals / political contributions / etc .

  35. Truth Doctor , it did work for some reason ,go to , Maplight , Senator contributions or Polilitical contributers .

    You are RIGHT ON !

  36. How many people really care what they think? If it’s their job to lie to the American people because it’s written into rotten laws, then they do it. The government and the majority of so-called investigative journalists and reporters echo off one another like a little love fest. It’s as if they are a bunch of parrots squawking prohibitionist caws, something right of an old Monty Python’s Flying Circus episode.

    May their sounds remain irrelevant cacophony!

  37. That’s that ONDCP bullshit to oppose any attempt to legalize cannabis [lie like hell]. On the other hand the Controlled Substance Act clearly states that if Cannabis has current medicinal pur-pose and/or effecacy and a low potential for abuse, it must by law be removed from a schedule I substance to a shedule III subsatnce, therby allowing research. See how they fuck each other up with their contradictory bullshit. Frankly, it’s pretty much up to Health and Human Services and the FDA to decide what is or isn’t. By the way, FDA has been pushing pot for many, many years with their Investigory Drug Program. Damn! Another bullshit governmental deal. They just have their heads so far up their ass that a burp will blow their panty hose off.

  38. The Anti-Proposition 19 are making fools of themselves by lying. What are anti-marijuana prohibitionist really afraid of, or are they just neurotic?

  39. It’s kind of creepy, actually. It’s like we’re living in this totalitarian government, and these “political officers” are flat-out lying to the public. And the major newspapers are printing their lies.

    It doesn’t feel like America.

  40. 45 Lou

    Creepy ain’t the word. They’ve got too much to lose.
    America – we’re going to have to fight to get that back! Ba! Ba! Ba! The devil is in the details.

  41. I’ve goofed up my reply on #44.
    I should have said “marijuana prohibitionist” instead of “anti-marijuana prohibitionist”.
    Anyway, the point I was making was the excessive amount of fear that is being used against marijuana.

    The law will pass, and then we will all know the truth.

  42. What we have here is failure to communicate ! You prohibitionists need to get your mind RIGHT !

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