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Drug Czar Follies and Questions

A couple weeks ago, I let you know about an upcoming online event sponsored by Harvard, featuring the Drug Czar.

The audio file from that discussion is now available for download here (WMA file – 55 MB) [Thanks, Tom!]

kerlikowskeI’m attempting to listen to it. I’m really a text kind of guy (I despise video or audio of talking heads – I don’t have the patience, and I’d rather read the transcript, if available). The first part was mostly softball questions and vague answers. Things like how we need to look closely at finding the right balance between treatment and enforcement.

The questions from the field were apparently across the board and included quite a few of what the moderator termed “provocative” questions, some regarding medical marijuana. Gil said that that he’s waiting to talk more with the Attorney General and wait for science to help him out regarding medical uses of marijuana (apparently that means that there hasn’t been any science on medical marijuana yet) – even to the point of kind of admitting that he was ducking the question.

A good question got asked regarding the fact that many people arrested for marijuana end up in treatment whether they need it or not, taking up spaces that could be used for those who do need it.

The answer (and I think this was the guy with Gil, not Gil himself) was in two parts.

  1. We need more treatment. [paraphrased]
  2. “I think it’d be a mistake to imagine that marijuana is a benign substance. Yes, it’s quite true that not everybody that smokes marijuana needs treatment, but a growing proportion of people who seek treatment are those whose major problem is marijuana…” [Let me interrupt there. That’s only true if “seek treatment” means “are forced into treatment” and “major problem” means “drug they got caught with.”] “… Marijuana’s more potent than it’s ever been. It exacerbates other kinds of significant medical problems [?!?], and requires treatment. So we want to make treatment available for those people who need it.”

Wow.

That was 18 minutes and as far as I was willing to listen. Anybody else want to report on the rest, I’m all ears eyes.

Interesting side note to this. There’s some ultra-prohibitionist woman named Linda who does a lot of commenting on some discussion boards and shows up at some events on the west coast — from what I can tell, a kind of local Calvina Fay wannabe. She found my post on the subject, quoted from the comments and seemed fascinated by our ability to be… organized, I guess.

It’s interesting to see how it all works. From the time they receive the information, to how long it takes to get the word out to other pro druggies, and how the internet is so important in accomplishing that task.

As long as we’re being organized… Oops, we missed this one. The Drug Czar and Loveline’s Dr. Drew Pinsky.

[While I failed my job in organizing the druggies, I did manage to squeeze in a question myself before it closed. Won’t know until the transcript comes out whether they addressed it. Of course, I asked it using a nom de plume (actually, it was a nom de mal orthographiés).]

Finally, we’ve got a call for questions from George Stephanopoulos for his upcoming discussion with President Obama on Sunday.

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27 comments to Drug Czar Follies and Questions

  • R.O.E.

    “I think it’d be a mistake to imagine that marijuana is a benign substance.” This line caught me. I had to pick it apart.

    …a mistake to ‘IMAGINE’…

    Really? Shouldnt it go like this..“I think it’d be a mistake to ‘BELIEVE’ that marijuana is a benign substance.”

    To ‘imagine’ kind of suggests that even if someone did reasearch that shows it is benigh, You would treat it as though it were just a fantasy.

    Maybe its just me.
    WHAT? What do ya mean the reasearch has been done?

    🙂

  • jhelion

    I can’t wait for gil k’s michael douglas “traffic” moment. Not the hooked daughter scene, the BS renunciation scene.

  • kaptinemo

    “Linda”. Why am I not surprised?

    In the Political Crossfire forum is a 59 page debate in which Linda and her sycophantic friends had their heads handed to them, repeatedly, to the point the thread was formally closed in favor of the opposition. Every argument she made was swiftly shot down in flames. It’s a textbook example of how prohibs cannot debate, only pontificate.

  • Mike R

    One can only assume that when obviously intelligent people so passionately take up an arguement that’s impossible to win, there must be some serious incentive for placing their heads on the proverbial chopping block.

    Personally, I’d like to know who’s paying these people? Or maybe it’s personal? Maybe this lady kicked her child out of her home for getting caught with some pot? Maybe it’s some form of religious fanaticisim? No matter what it is, it can’t be rational.

  • Aye kap… as we well know – and many here have witnessed – Ms Taylor is a fanatic, plain and simple. I’ve offered to travel to Modesto and publicly debate her. She declined. Of course.

    They can’t win a debate. The facts won’t let them. And Gil should be handed his head on a plate. Science? C’mon Gil…

    in fact, as Seattle’s police chief you’ve had opportunity every summer to go down to the Seattle HempFest and get thyself educated. One day there and you’d be a much more educated guy. Plenty of help there from some of our movement’s best. In fact I bet Vivian McPeak would be more than happy to meet with you. Or Elvy, or Conde (that would be an experience you wouldn’t forget), or any number of folks. I’d love to have an hour or twelve of your time.

    So why is it Gil, you haven’t met our side? What are we, hamburger? No… we’re the voice of your conscience that won’t go away.

    And why is it DWR folks, that we don’t get audience at the WH, even the mediocre, backwater of the WH ONDCP? They know we’re here…

  • claygooding

    And what makes you think Ol Gil don’t smoke? They have read the same reports that we have,and have known since 1998 that cancer blocking attributes,and big pharm has been trying to develop a pill since then they can sell,but not too hard,after all,their money is made treating cancer,not curing or blocking it.

  • claygooding

    A Comparison Please,on one side of a page,list the people that would profit from marijuana legalization,on the other,list who profits from it remaining illegal.
    Then make a list of people that marijuana legalization marijuana will hurt.

  • claygooding

    Now,IMAGINE the difference in a prohibitionists list,and a realists list,and an advocates list.

  • kaptinemo

    “And why is it DWR folks, that we don’t get audience at the WH, even the mediocre, backwater of the WH ONDCP? They know we’re here…”

    Allan, as you guessed once before, it’s because they’re afraid of lending an air of legitimacy to reformers. It also means answering the question as to why we haven’t been asked to sit at the table before, as well.

    The truth is, we may not be the 800 lb gorilla or the elephant in the living room…but we are the gravity well. They get too close, they’ll get drawn in to the inherent reason and logic at the base of that well. And once they’re in, they can’t get out. And the first step of that is addressing drug law reform with the respect it’s due. And that requires acknowledging our opinion as being valid.

    That’s why they warily circle around the edge of that gravity well but don’t dare fall in. And why people like Linda act like cornered feral cats, frantically climbing walls, when they can’t escape being put in a room with a well-informed reformer. They make brave noises, but they do so while backing away as fast as their little legs can carry them…

  • At 150 lbs, I’m sure not the 800 lb gorilla in the room. But I’m strong and wiry, I’m old and cranky – and I’m pissed!

    And witness our dominance of the wwweb – we got backup. For miles and miles.

    Perhaps one question we should focus on w/ Gil and the WH is “Why are you ignoring the sizable and growing drug policy reform movement?”

  • iDub

    people, lay off Gil. He’s just following directions from his boss: Pres. Obama. A good question would be why is he ignoring science!?

  • @ iDub… we been asking that one for a looong time.

    There’s a whole list of questions and they’re getting backed up.

  • R.O.E.

    LOL..Souder FAILED! lol.

  • Chris

    kaptinemo, thanks for posting the link to that forum thread. I’m 8 pages in and there have only been three people saying anything in defense of prohibition… one is playing devil’s advocate, one smokes weed, and the other is Linda. Not much of a debate in my opinion.

  • kaptinemo

    Chris, and anyone else interested, here is a link which explains in detail the propaganda methodologies employed by the prohibs. When you read it, you can quickly see how limited the repertoire of the prohibs is. It explains why (aside limitations of intelligence and corruption of intellectual honesty) the prohibs cannot win any debates, if said debates are conducted in the usual fashion of question and response.

    They know they cannot win and therefore, as Allan said of Linda, they will not only refuse to debate, but in the case of Barry McCaffery when he was visiting London, England in his capacity as Clinton’s DrugCzar, actually run down an alleyway to escape reformers attempting to ask him questions.

    So much for the courage of their convictions…

  • yer a good lot,laddies and lasses. And just as the good kap’n said: “they’re afraid of lending an air of legitimacy to reformers”… along comes Ms Taylor and says this:

    “[…] I’m not interested in debating legalization. I never have been. The word…debate… could/would leave the impression that I believe there’s some validity to their postiion, which is based on fake science, and speculation. Let me make this perfectly clear. I DO NOT believe there is any validity to what they post.”

    Which of course is the position of a bigot. This “war” – as many have pointed out – is not about drugs. The WO(s)D is a culture war, plain and simple. And because people of all colors and cultures consume the good herb we cannot be discrimnated against by skin color, so they illegally seize our pee, our “precious bodily fluids.”

    I’m still uncertain when they tipping point will come, but this wall shall fall. It certainly did in Berlin… Whack! Thud!

  • Sukoi

    Thanks for that Kapt et al., I’d almost forgot about those threads at PC. But you know what, I think that they reached many and changed many minds and I can’t thank all of you enough for that…

  • back at ya Sukoi. We sailed the mighty (web) seas and swashed a few buckles. The DWR crew racked up some miles and a few notches on the post. Hats off to all. Huzzah!

  • sixtyfps

    I sent this off to George’s Q&A question-gathering software:

    “Given the windfall of tax savings and earnings economists have indicated will be likely to follow the abolishment of prohibition—along with people’s ability to choose marijuana, a common weed that DEA Administrative Judge Francis Young called “one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man”—why disregard the arguably profound synergy between ending the War on Drugs and the future of healthcare? Further, why have you reneged on your promise to sow science-based policy in an arena that’s so important to you (and us, your *snicker* online audience)?”

  • kaptinemo

    “Back at ya Sukoi. We sailed the mighty (web) seas and swashed a few buckles. The DWR crew racked up some miles and a few notches on the post. Hats off to all. Huzzah!”

    Indeed, it was Sukoi who alerted me to the existence of the PC Website and what was happening there. I’d been looking to sharpen my rhetorical knives on some prohib ‘whetstones’, and he (and of course, inadvertently, dear Linda) gave me the perfect opportunity. It truly was my pleasure, literally. But it wouldn’t have happened without his efforts. And it’s good to see you on here, Sukoi, we missed you.

  • claygooding

    When anyone from the ONDCP accuses us of false studies and science,they are only applying their rule book to us. They are required to refuse and refute any scientific or clinical study that shows medical applications for any schedule I drug.
    Still waiting for an interviewer to ask the ONDCP speaker;
    “Since it is required by congressional mandate that you deny any medical application of marijuana,in any form,how do you allow MARINOL,which is the very psychoactive part of the drug, and you claim is the reason marijuana is so dangerous?”

  • Sukoi

    Aw shucks – kicks pebble, hands in pockets – thanks Kapt and you too Allan; you guys just rock! I know that I don’t post often but I read here several times daily and now that Pete has this new site, it’s no longer blocked at my work.

    With regard to PC, theres almost always a new thread about cannabis re-legalization to jump in on and who could forget Malcolms thread spanning two years and 173 pages?

  • chris

    kaptinemo, thanks for the link. I’ve read it several times before already 😀 I can see from your posts at pcf that you call them out on these points whenever possible, very nice job.

  • and please… let us not forget what we did to John Kerry’s website! OMG! It was like… sooo awesome!

    Teamwork y’all, not stepping on toes, just doing whatever it is we all do, armed with the same info but in tune with our own preferences, we’ve done well. Real well. And we know they read this too. So major razberries to the Prohibs! PBBBBTTT!

    And another thing… we do what we do right out here in front of god and anybody who wants to see. Everywhere we are we have open forums, blogs w/ comments… and can they say the same? No. Their wwwebsites have at best moderated commenting. Hell ONDCP’s used to just swallow comments never to be seen again (Smaug’s big appetite). And – just because I like the sound of the word, here’s another to us:

    Huzzah!

  • Sukoi

    That’s a really good point Allan – we ruled the Kerry forum and we were pretty much ignored for our efforts. But we persevered and we are changing minds at an incredible rate and, as I’ve said before, that’s in no small part to the incredible efforts of our gracious host Pete.

    Thanks Pete, your couch is awfully comfortable and crammed to capacity with good company! Think that you can work in an ottoman and a few chairs to make room for more? They will most certainly be needed…

  • Klay

    Until I see an actual shift in policy – we are looking at windmills.

  • “looking at windmills”? Not familiar with that notion.

    But perhaps you meant “tilting at windmills…” Ah, the quixotic fantasies of Don Quixote. Charging down the sails of windmills as if they were giants to fight in an imaginary righteous war.

    “Tilting at windmills” refers to fighting imaginary foes (certainly not the case for us!) or, sometimes, fighting unwinnable or futile battles (and if I believed our fight was unwinnable, I wouldn’t be writing this blog). Even if we merely affect one person (and our successes are far beyond that, we wouldn’t be tilting at windmills.

    Sure, the pace of progress in actual policy change is frustratingly slow, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for optimism.