They are two former Seattle police chiefs on opposing sides of the debate on legalizing drugs. And on Tuesday, Norm Stamper walked to the office of the nation’s “drug czar” Gil Kerlikowske in Washington, D.C., to deliver a critical report on the Obama administration’s failure to pull the plug on war on drugs.
Stamper appeared at the National Press Club at a news conference of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a national group that favors regulating sales of all illicit drugs, including marijuana, heroin and cocaine. Kerlikowske, who succeeded Stamper as Seattle’s top cop in 2000, opposes legalization.
LEAP members walked four blocks from the Press Club to Kerlikowske’s office at the Office of National Drug Control Policy near the White House. Kerlikowske sent a staffer downstairs to fetch the report.
Couldn’t go downstairs yourself?
Couldn’t meet with a fellow former police chief?
Are you that afraid of us?
Stamper said he was “personally disappointed” that Kerlikowske hasn’t matched his rhetoric two years ago to treat drug abuse less as a matter of law enforcement than as a public health problem. Stamper also said Kerlikowske was wrong to doubt the medical benefits of marijuana.
According to a spokesman for the drug control policy office, the fiscal 2011 federal budget includes more money for drug prevention and treatment ($10.4 billion) than on domestic law enforcement ($10.4 billion).
Here’s the full report from LEAP: Ending the Drug War: a Dream Deferred
President Richard Nixon officially declared a war on drugs on June 17, 1971. Thirty-eight years later, on May 14, 2009, the Obama administrationâ€™s drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, matter-of-factly declared during a newspaper interview that he was ending the analogy of the â€œwar on drugsâ€. But this wording change and the Obama administrationâ€™s many subsequent changes in verbiage have had no corresponding significant change in policy from that of the Bush administration.This report details the ongoing carnage resulting from our failed prohibition policy while the administration has simultaneously tried to score political points by adopting the rhetoric of an evidence-based policy.
It’s a pretty damning report of the Obama administration as a continuing culpable force in drug war destruction, while pointing out that every administration has been at fault.