, , The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has denied NORML's request for a meeting with Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey. NORML had offered to meet with McCaffrey following comments made by the General on National Public Radio that he "welcomed" NORML's involvement in the national debate over drug policy.
According to a letter signed by Janet Crist, Chief of Staff,
The Director feels strongly that, in light of NORML's vigorous support for pro-marijuana ballot initiatives in California and Arizona along with its longstanding advocacy for the legalization of marijuana, the meeting you proposed would serve no useful purpose.
She added that,
Your organization's agenda to legalize the use of ... marijuana ... is unsupportable (sic) on health, safety, as well as humanitarian grounds.
It's a shame that the Drug Czar was not sincere in his offer to meet with NORML to discuss certain aspects of American drug policy,
said NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup.
He has said on numerous occasions that we cannot arrest our way out of the drug problem; NORML has said for 26 years that an adult marijuana user should not face criminal penalties. &nbps;I think that there are a number of points that we could agree on. &nbps;Certainly, healthy discourse on this pertinent topic can only move the issue forward.
Ironically, McCaffrey reiterated his invitation to meet with NORML representatives while speaking at American University in Washington D.C. on November 13. &nbps;This action prompted NORML's Executive Director to again request a meeting with the Drug Czar to discuss policy options.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of NORML @ (202) 483-5500.