Fail: Drug Czar Tries To Link Marijuana and Crime

The nation’s so-called ‘drug czar’, Gil Kerlikowske, convened a press conference last week to release new government data on drug use in America. The major talking points for the presentation were two fold:

*Insist that cannabis is linked to crime

*The public sentiment in favor of legalization is an unfortunate attraction to ‘bumper sticker solutions’

One could write a doctoral thesis on Mr.Kerlikowske’s supposition and claims, but suffice for space and time, let’s let the now much more watchdog media on the issue of ending cannabis prohibition better describe what they’ve figured out about ONDCP propaganda, data and the intellectual crime of omission. (Boy, do I have a book recommendation for them…)

Slate reported on the ONDCP’s well established proclivity to throw out data and insinuate causality…using squishy terms like ‘linked’:

On Thursday, Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, announced the results of a study that—at least according to him—demonstrated a link between marijuana use and crime. The study analyzed data collected via the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring program (ADAM II), which took urine samples from arrestees in five cities over a 21-day period last year. “Marijuana remained the drug most often detected in ADAM II arrestees in all five sites in 2012, ranging from 37 percent of ADAM II arrestees testing positive in Atlanta to 58 percent testing positive in Chicago,” the study reported. “In three of the five sites, over half of the adult male arrestees tested positive for marijuana.”

Kerlikowske, who opposes marijuana legalization, said in a speech Thursday that the study showed that America needs to “acknowledge and come to grips with the link between crime and substance use.” But correlation is not causation. Just because a high percentage of arrestees tested positive for marijuana does not mean that smoking marijuana made them commit crimes. Here are other things that over half of the adult male arrestees probably had in common: pants, food in their stomachs, a mother who loves them, an impoverished background, an affinity for one or more of the local sports teams.

Now, Kerlikowske only said that drug use and crime were linked, not that drug use causescrime. But still, the implications are obvious. Kerlikowske is not a stupid man, and he’s not actually a terrible drug czar. He has argued that drug abuse needs to be treated as a public health issue, not just a matter of criminal justice, and I couldn’t agree more. In his speech, Kerlikowske mentioned the need to move the drug policy reform debate beyond “bumper stickers.” One good way to do that is to move beyond studies that don’t necessarily say anything at all.

Reason’s Mike Riggs (a prolific and resourceful blogger about criminal justice matters) took the ONDCP to task one step further by busting the office for omitting alcohol related data and not informing the public more accurately about the most problematic and abused drug for incoming criminal defendants: alcohol

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy released a study last week that found the majority of arrestees in five metropolitan areas tested positive for marijuana at the time they were booked, and that many other arrestees tested positive for harder drugs. There was one drug missing from the report, however, and it appears it was omitted intentionally. That drug is alcohol.

When I wrote up the 2012 annual report on the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program II, I noticed that the methodology section contained a list of “data domains”; basically, a guide to the questions researchers asked each arrestee. Every question listed had a corresponding chart in the findings section of the report, save one: The data that researchers collected about alcohol consumption–how often arrestees had consumed five or more alcoholic drinks in a single session over the last three, seven, and 30 days, as well as in the past 12 months–was omitted from the report.

46 thoughts

  1. He said nothing about the medical uses for marijuana or the fact what these people were actually arrested for. The fact that these people had marijuana in there systems doesn’t mean they committed a crime to obtain it. Where’s that “link”. The fact is marijuana has natural healing properties and if you can use it to cure yourself then the money they get in the form of personal financial bonuses won’t come in. Try working on the war on addiction because if there is no demand there will be no need to supply it…DUH!!!

  2. What Causes Bigots to favor Specious Culture Wars?

    It’s not the Drugs, it’s The Drug War …and the Economy!

    The ring leader of the largest terrorist organization on Earth, the DEA, has the never to accuse it’s victims?

    End the Bigoted War on Drugs to Reduce gun violence, and the violence of the world’s largest per capita prison population.

  3. The only answer is, Gil Kerlikowske, Holder and the rest got to be getting huge sums of bribery money ( political donations )from Pharma & big Alcohol . They just aren’t giving up .

  4. …Meanwhile, those who have the propensity to,
    (but have NOT the SAFER alternative, i.e. cannabis),
    can allowably get destructive and criminally drunk
    because alcohol is NOT a dangerous, evil “ILLEGALDRUG™®”
    and THEREFORE, statistically “insignificant”….

  5. …uh, this is so void of meaningful data that the now enlightened and less gullible public is totally ignoring these skewed stats as they know propaganda when they read or hear it.

    To be fair, Gil Kerlikowske needs to go back to school to see what the rest of the planet has learned about Cannabinoids and the benefits it contains curing,CURING cancers and other diseases.

    He is just woefully ignorant and I hope that it isn’t because he is being paid to be ignorant by Big Pharma and the alcohol industries, which he NEVER MENTIONED ONE TIME!

    Yeppers, people use the internet and learn that anti-marijuana propaganda was just that, LIES and Deceit to profit the few and hurt the many.

    Uh, Gil Kerlikowske, you get an EPIC FAIL…

  6. They are simply linking the crime to cannabis to stop the production of other products in the market place. The real travesty is the continuation of outsourcing useless products that cause economic and environmental duress on the world. Pharma, food, transportation, clothing, etc will all change. The people who invested in these current ideals choose to shoot down the product to simply keep lining their pockets. Deception is a true salesmen tactic and since 1937 they have succeeded with the vale over our eyes. Enough is enough, the country is in turmoil, the economy and environmental safety of the Earth is in jeopardy. Hemp is the logical answer for more reasons than medical use or relaxing after a long day. Please read this and realize other than not buying their cigarettes or alcohol or ‘food-like’ food or ‘feel better’ medication they truly don’t care what you do. They simply want your capital to make there capital better. The devil will lose, because the burning bush want’s to help lead us to the promise land. We must simply walk in the right direction

  7. Gil Kerlikowske also worked for the Seattle Police Department. He wants the police to succeed and grow because that is what business he was brought up in. Marijuana arrests in 853,838 in 2010. If every person arrested makes them $10. $8,538,380, which is needed since annual growth rate of 1.6 percent for law enforcement jobs, which exceeds the 1.2 percent population growth rate in the United States. They need cannabis to be illegal because they would lose money. But when your either a cop/doctor/lawyer or in jail things start to make less sense. I hope people understand yes economics and money is good, but in this case it can’t be everything. You should never profit off of someone else’s life. Didn’t Lincoln try and abolish that once……hmmm

  8. It’s not the abuse its the addiction. People who don’t use don’t abuse. No matter what the addiction: food, gambling, alcohol,sex, power, porn, shopping etc. People are so spoiled to get what they want when they want they no longer have any self control. They only bash cannabis because of the world wide love of anything that is natural and healing. Healthy people don’t buy pharmaceutical products… taking money out of their selfish pockets!

  9. “He said nothing about the medical uses for marijuana or the fact what these people were actually arrested for.”

    not only that, just because you’ve been arrested doesn’t mean you’ve committed a crime, or even a violation. an arrest shouldn’t imply ANY guilt.

  10. LOL OK now do that same test with people with no criminal back ground 😀 1billion dollars says its higher then that test 😀

  11. I love the reporting guys and girls, put the officials on blast.. Take out the Corporate pressures and we might actually have Gil flip positions.. Keep up the research they can only deny the truth for so long..

  12. Look up “America’s Book of Secrets” The Drug Wars, it is a compelling documentary about the abuses of power in our system.. Looks to me like Military Cargo Planes full of some “powdery” substance.. Is this why we are in the dark on this? Is this how they get their funding for manipulating countries into bartering with our Private Corp? Asking questions..

  13. When the United States does what Belgium did and legalize ALL illegal drugs,and stop sending drug users to jail/prison, then we will see a definite decline in drug use, and be able to help those who need help the most.
    The move comes nearly two years after the Belgian parliament formally called on prosecutors and judges to “no longer interfere in the lives of people who use cannabis on a personal basis and who do not create harm or do not show dependence.
    It is time in the USA to do “something” different and stop this absurd “war on drugs” because the USA/CIA is the biggest drug trafficer on earth.

  14. Look up Prison Corp. Of America ( billions) would be lost in revenu, these insiders own large share’s of this stock. TAXPAYERS hir again. THE WAR on drug’s is Prohibition. The benift’s outweigh the harm. The question is ?? I watched hearing’s at3 AM – 4AM. LOOK UP Western Hemisphere hearing. The US has the largest prison population in the world , I call it profiteering. DEMAND senate give the taxpayer’s a copy of the STOCK’S being bought in the congress & senate.

  15. They were most likely arrested for marijuana… It wouldn’t be linked to crime if it wasn’t a crime

  16. The Drug Czar is just doing his job. The problem is that his job requires him to support stupidity and the will of the Feds instead of intelligence and the will of the people.

  17. Alcohol Prohibition became Drug Prohibition with a slight of hand legislative transposition. If cannabis is legalized, will the mediations perscribed by the healthcare industry professionals get back their validity in the public perspective? Will the ignorance and intolerance of the drug war continue as patients are granted greater decision making guidance through a corrupt and manipulated healcare industry?

  18. Seems like Gil is the only one who has been dumbed down and hasn’t done his homework on the benefits of marijuana legalization. He must be one of those people who would rather kill and imprison fellow human beings so he can live and prosper.. if the rest of us are dead or in prisons who’s rear will he be kissing then? Does he just hate the human race or what?

  19. truly disheartening that they have the best interest of their pockets in mind instead of the best interest of the people of the us and bordering countries. the crime “linked” to cannabis can be linked back to it’s legal status in every single instance of a violent crime being committed related to cannabis. Non-violent crimes of possesion shouldn’t even count in their statistics, because that as well is only related to its status as being illegal. you can’t just call something illegal one day and then 70 years down the road say it increases the crime rate when the crime rate is only related to it being illegal. ugh. truly truly disheartening to see that they want to continue the charade and ignore harm reductive drug reform that will benefit society in so many ways in favor of lining their pockets and keeping the status quo. it’s SICKENS me to my core every single day. i’m so fed up with it.

  20. Drug addiction of any kind should a health not a legal issue, I am from Canada and my Country has had at least 2 commissions who have come to that conclusion but they of course have been ignored.
    Here is a Link to a song on YouTube, check it out:

  21. So much for correlational analysis. bet a higher percentage tested positive for milk, wine, coca cola and buttered bread. why don’t we criminalize hershey’s and wonder bread. how absurd.

    Pharmacological EQUALITY!!!
    is purposely ignored / omitted from “findings”).

    If ALCOHOL were actually included in the
    ADAM II study-data, then
    IT would have to be RE-PROHIBITED,
    (or otherwise EVERYTHING ELSE
    would have to be RE-LEGALIZED).

    Pharmacologically speaking,
    even the most notorious,(but medically pure),
    hard illegal drugs are safer than alcohol…
    (Just as long as they’re not mixed with alcohol).

    And…based upon all of the above, CANNABIS
    should be MUCH more LEGAL than alcohol is now!!!

  23. Next it will be caffeine linked to crime, and of course soda is linked to crime. C,mon, big brother, stop trying to poision our minds with your blatant propaganda. People didn’t believe you then and surely the people don’t believe you now! FREE THE WEED!!

  24. I think the government, including and beginning with Barack Obama, should be embarrassed to still be trying to lob off this crap on us. Have any of them watched reefer madness lately? They’re not even satisfactory propagandists. They should be frightened of the more intelligent half of the country dismissing them for acting like a bunch of contolling fools. And, for whoever’s interested, Dr. John Ionnadis has convincingly displayed that 80% of published medical research is later shown to be wrong, so that’s what I think of their research–just more propaganda. Leave us the fuck alone…this is a democracy.

  25. He’s just riding out the final term of the Obama administration. He might even join MPP, but I doubt it. Right now he’s doing what he does best, acting like a chump.

  26. The link between Ganj and crime, is about as valid as booz and crime.The only difference is alcohol leaves your system after about 24 the LINK so to speak is not there because a subjects body washes it out.
    I have used Pot for 35 yerars never once had the urge to go out and Break The Law . Nor did being HIGH make me feel like that behaviour was alright in any way . The Czars link is simply a throw back to REEFER MADNESS . Where the idea of Pot use somehow makes one crazy and unlawful at the same time. I think the Czar should get his facts straight before presenting such a claim . The Feds desire to still paint Pot a being a hard narcotic hasd lost it’s ability to convince the General public now that 1 out of 3 American have tried Pot . They (the Fed) keep falling back upon 60 years of real bad propaganda to back there claims . One would think they would move on .

  27. my finding is that , the top money makers of this country get the final say so on cannabis…the big guys stand to lose the most if cannabis is leaglized.these guys are only doing what they are told. when they find a way to benefit, then they will give the ok…..sayin…..

  28. …why else would they drag this legalization thing out? its about corporate gain….they already know that cannabis is safer then alcohol…

  29. If they were tested for Alcohol use 95% of the prisoners would be users. Does this mean I can link Alcohol Use to Criminal Activity? Yes by this mans view on life I can. YES I CAN.

  30. Are they really worried about our safety? Just look at Boston and 9/11.. We still got hit even with trillions of dollars spent annually supposedly saving us.. All I see is an organization that got caught with their pants down and to stop it from happening again they pressure the public into giving up their unalienable rights to further promote the Prison,Executive and Legislative complex.

    For example:

    The Department of Defense spends a Trillion a year annually with 40 percent of the budget completely blanked out. The Department Does Not Cover Nuclear Weapon costs, Veterans Affairs, Foreign Military Aid or even the Defense of America..

    The Department of Homeland Security covers the Defense of America Post 9/11..

    Where is the money going? As taxpayers aren’t we supposed to get a letter that tells us where every penny we give them is spent? Especially now that there’s Congress messing with our voting rights as the public gains more knowledge..

  31. Telling me that a guy and his buddies that play in a sandbox all day and that worked with our CIA is that bad of a guy? When our troops that Bush and Cheney manipulated into doing the the Private Corporations dirty work of “Big Oil” and “Big Weapons” to keep the stats quo and investors happy all in the name of “Weapons of Mass Destruction”.. We still have troops all over the world, its to keep “Rebels” from keeping their natural resources, and to manipulate there government to give us the resources cheaper.. All the while kids just growing up being swindled into a job “military” because there aren’t many around, to turn around and kill another human? Whose the bad guy again? I get that there are not many jobs but do we have to create them this way?

  32. A series of documentaries that changed my outlook entirely and shows how Corporate Power runs all the way down to the law enforcement..

    Found on Netflix:

    “Speaking Freely” is a 5 part series documentary that discusses leverage throughout the Global Economy and how it effects everyone.

    “Farmageddon” is a documentary that shows how small farmers are getting the short stick when it comes to law reform.

    “The Dictator” shows how easily it is to corrupt people when money or self gain is involved.

    These are just a few to start with that shows from end to end that there is more to see then what we as public are being told and that wraps in with cannabis because there is a lot of misinformation coming down from the top and if the truth does come out then someone normally always gets fired or resigns.. As for Gil changing positions at this point is a toss up. I guess it depends on if the top says it’s ok for him to accept facts and not skew the public with misinformed doctored charts.. You can’t send back a chart just because it is true so that they can inflate the results to your liking. Peace and Love not War

  33. What crime? Who me? All I do is feed hungry cats,and grow green plants.

  34. G Joel you say Gil will probably join MPP WHEN HIS LAME ASS JOB IS DONE, BUT MORE LIKELY, HE WIL JOIN l.e.a.p. Law enforcement against prohibition! He could be an asset!Most people know that the “drug czar” — the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) — is an advocate for the government position regarding the drug war. But not everyone knows that he and his office are mandated to tell lies as part of their Congressional authorization.
    According to Title VII Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998: H11225:
    I guess getting a sixc figure salary is more important to these drug czars than personel character

  35. This is all madness. We are a huge social experiment. Money is their motivation pure and simple. There’s always going to be the master and the slave no matter what in a socialist environment. Telling us what to do what to think what to wear etc. What freedom do we really have. Let us be what we were naturally meant to be!! IT WONT PROFIT THEM NOTHING BUT PEACE! IS THAT NOT ENOUGH! DON’T THEY GET TIRED OF BEING A SLAVE AS WELL? Stupidity has run ramped in this whole world! We can only help ourselves and spread the word. IT’S GOING TO BE LIKE THE REALITY T.V SHOW THE COLONY..IF PEOPLE DON’T WAKE THE HELL UP! GOD SAVE US…HUH THEY BETTER WAKE UP AND SAVE THEMSELVES!

  36. Unless I missed it, none of you guys caught that this claim about pot is even more B.S. than you have talked about. Do NOT forget that coming up positive for T.H.C. does NOT mean you are high now. IN FACT, MOST people who come up positive are NOT high when they take the piss or hair test! Whereas alcohol test ONLY show if you are drunk NOW, tests for pot are specially designed to test, NOT if you are high when the test is taken, BUT to show if you have smoked pot WITHIN THE LAST MONTH!!!!

  37. Gil has an agenda-its called keeping his job!Gil also tries to link MJ and crime=exactly!But to be more exact, its illegal MJthat can be linked to crime. Thats one of the many reasons why it needs to become legal. Then you take away black market profits that are used to finance other illegal activities. what a tool!

  38. It is even worse than just the laws against marijuana being so harmful in the way people usually think about. IN ADDITION TO those harms caused by the biggoted laws, THOSE LAWS are causing people to smoke the “legal” stuff found in smoke shops & other stores. AND the “legal” stuff REALLY DOES cause harm to people’s brains. AND there is no telling what other harms the “legal” does to people’s bodies.

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