It’s tough being the drug czar – people keep criticizing

Stamper delivers critical drug report to Kerlikowske’s office

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 administration’s drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, matter-of-factly declared during a newspaper interview that he was ending the analogy of the “war on drugs”. But this wording change and the Obama administration’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.

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11 Responses to It’s tough being the drug czar – people keep criticizing

  1. Cannabis says:

    Good ol’ Gil is hard at work writing the outline of the National Drug Control Strategy, which is now more than four months late, so he can’t come downstairs for just anyone. What kind of message does that send to the children? We can lecture you about being a responsible member of society, but we don’t have to turn in our work on time. I thought that once Tom McClellan left there would not be as much infighting and they would just get it done. It’s obvious that the ONDCP is much like a recalcitrant teenager who doesn’t want to write papers and would much rather spend their time playing video games. How much do you want to bet that Kevin Sabet is running a Minecraft server in the basement?

  2. allan says:

    Poor Gil… to be so testicle-less. Of course this is not a good sign for Gil, when his peers come knocking and he has to peek out from behind the curtains and whisper to his mom “tell them I’m not here” does not bode well for the coming weeks and months. That frying pan has to be getting a little hot, eh Gil?

    Major props and kudos to LEAP, another well done, well planned and pointedly delivered action.

  3. Gart says:

    Next Friday, June 17, millions of citizens around the world will have another reminder, if one were needed, of how resilient bad ideas and bad policies are. That day 40 years ago a callous, cynical Dick, Dick Nixon, declared that the US was at war, at war with drugs.

    Next Friday will be an opportunity any sensible, rational person should take to let their politicians know that Prohibition and the so-called War on Drugs is not only irrational and ineffective, it is barbaric, inhumane and a crime against humanity. So, wherever you are in the world, take any step, no matter how small it may seem, to let those who are supposed to represent your interests know that it is time to pursue more enlightened drug policies. So for those in the UK, for instance, you can join Release campaign Drugs – It’s Time For Better Laws here:

    Prohibition is not, and has never been, the solution to the so-called drug problem; on the contrary, it has only made things worse. And remember, it is Prohibition itself which must be ended. It should not be confined to a particular drug or to one side of the drug trade. It concerns not just marijuana, but all drugs; not just the decriminalisation of the demand but perhaps more importantly, the legalisation and regulation of the production, too.

    Gart Valenc

  4. malcolm kyle says:

    Occasionally, some unfortunate people end up with a job that make other people dislike or even hate them. It’s no fun and can be very stressful. It’s really hard to go and do something that you know is doing nothing but harm seven days a week and it can become quite depressing, dangerous even. It may also lead to you not only feeling guilty as hell but also very insecure at the thought of all those angry citizens that have generally become pissed off at the thought of all the mayhem you’ve caused to their lives.

    What can you do? Easy; humbly hang your head in abject shame, and come clean. Admit you have unwittingly become part & parcel of one of the most horrific government policies in the history of mankind, and then hope you’ll get to keep your pathetic shrunken testicles.

  5. Plant down Babylon says:

    Just more proof that you should send any amount of support you can to LEAP!!

  6. Jake says:

    I wish that avoiding the issue wasn’t such an effective method of stifling debate/reform. We all know that if Gil actually got up in public and debated Norm or Neill he would be brutally beaten. By avoiding it all together he avoids press quotes, he avoids being humiliated and he avoids scrutiny of the failed policy he heads up. As a result, many are oblivious… or worse – they go along with the status-quo.

    It is the same with Obama.. “A legitimate topic for debate”, sounds good.. then ignored. Or the Global Commission.. ‘we don’t believe’ blah blah.. ignore. It is a lot harder to raise issues if the opposition won’t even talk about it, but their time will come… this expensive policy can’t go on forever.. especially when the USA has to borrow another couple of trillion dollars to avoid defaulting…

    • But it will go on so long as the proper palms are being “greased” (directly or indirectly) and the racketeers continue to amass huge fortunes on what constitutes a complete and total sham.

      • Jake says:

        or until the public sees just how much of an outrage the policy is and demands change… but I feel that unfortunately the financial argument may win out short-term.. as money seems to be more important than freedom and liberty to some…

    • Windy says:

      Jake, I hope you posted that first paragraph you wrote to the Seattle Times article’s comment section. If you have not, please do.

  7. world's tiniest violin plays misty says:

    The proven formula for failure is this best government money can buy declaring war on something.

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