Welcome to the national conversation, Gil

Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske responds to the latest petitions regarding legalizing marijuana.

Thank you for participating in We the People and speaking out on the legalization of marijuana. Coming out of the recent election, it is clear that we’re in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana.

We’ve been in a serious national conversation for some time, and your boss was laughing at us. Now, he’s not laughing so much.

Tom Angell, of Marijuana Majority writes:

“I guess it makes a difference when marijuana legalization gets more votes than your boss does in an important swing state, as happened in Colorado this last election. From ‘legalization is not in my vocabulary and it’s not in the president’s,’ as Gil Kerlikowske often used to say, to ‘it is clear that we’re in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana’ is a pretty stark shift. Of course, what really matters is to what extent the administration actually shifts enforcement priorities and budgets, but I sure do like hearing the US drug czar acknowledge the fact that marijuana legalization is a mainstream discussion that is happening whether he likes it or not.”

It’s clear that we have forced a shift in the tenor of the national conversation, and that’s pretty sweet.

Note: Some have previously pointed out this page at Huffington Post, that shows Obama getting more votes than marijuana in Colorado in the final count, but the official results from the Colorado Secretary of State show that marijuana came out on top.


Side note:

Some reactions to the various legalization articles out over at The Reality Based Community. Mark Kleiman uses his usual “pox on both your houses” approach, convinced that his opinion is the one and only factual approach. He’s right, of course, to ridicule Patrick Kennedy’s ideas, but for the wrong reason. It’s not that Kennedy’s approach is lacking in facts, but rather that it’s wrong. Simply stating more facts (or more uncertainties) doesn’t necessarily make your argument correct.

Keith Humphreys, on the other hand, gives a glowing review of the Kennedy nonsense. Keith is dumb enough to agree with Kennedy, but smart enough to realize that he’d be skewered in comments, so naturally, for that post, comments are closed (Update: comments now open).

By the way, the Project SAM website is now live: LearnAboutSAM.com

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43 Responses to Welcome to the national conversation, Gil

  1. NorCalNative says:

    Same thing happened when MMJ passed in Michigan. Every county had a majority supporting MMJ and more votes were cast pro-cannabis than pro-Obama.

  2. n.t. greene says:

    I’m telling you, guys. This is a pretty good sign of things to come. While the response is mostly dismissive, there is the recognition that… a ‘discussion’ is going on. And c’Mon, Gil may as well have delivered a concession speech and his resignation, as his foes routed his policies at the state level soundly.

    The bell cannot be unrung. And the whole damn world heard it guys.

  3. claygooding says:

    Notice that they passed up the debate,,and wise of them to do so,,because then he would be forced to give proof of his unchallenged data and cherry picked statistics. His science would have to be backed up with information until now he never gives,,all he does is step up to the microphone and spit shit,,no questions allowed.

    • N.T. Greene says:

      Well, we have the ASA v. DEA ruling coming up this year, as well as possible legislation in Congress.

      …they passed up the debate because most of the debate has already happened without their participation. I feel like this “politicians only get shit done when they don’t have to take ANY responsibility for anything” bit is a big running theme in all this. ‘Derp a derp, there’s a discussion going on and we’re taking that into account but there is NO WAY we are getting our hands dirty with that.’

      Gil, for someone supposedly so hardline about policy enforcement, you came at this one with all the ferocity of a Yorkshire Terrier.

  4. stlgonzo says:

    OT: Police drug search intrudes on husband’s final moments with deceased wife


    This crap infuriates me more than I can possibly put into words.

  5. Dante says:

    This is more good news.

    Soon, anyone who says anything like “Legalization is not in my vocabulary” will be out of a job.

    Furthermore, it is my very strong opinion that we need to introduce a new word to all of our Federal Drug Warriors.

    That word is “Clawback”. Retirement & Health benefits cost money, and they should be taken back from any Drug Warrior. Heck, we should go after Congress, too.

    Are you listening, Drug Warriors? Payback is hell.

  6. Pingback: Welcome to the national conversation, Gil - Grasscity.com Forums

  7. claygooding says:

    I posted a comment at Frum’s “Risky Business” at the site,,,since 0 comments are showing for any of their propaganda I am almost positive it will still be 0 at the end of the sites short dying scratching.

  8. Francis says:

    It’s kind of hard to have a conversation with a man who’s pointing a gun at you. A true conversation is premised on reason and respectful give and take rather than force and threats. It is thus the antithesis of everything the drug war represents. So what does it mean when drug warriors like Gil start saying “hey, c’mon, can’t we talk about this?” It means they’re out of bullets.

    • claygooding says:

      Now comes the retreat mode,,,but will it be peaceful and orderly or will it be a scorched earth and spend even more trying to keep hemp banned,,they have lost mmj and recreational marijuana and they know it,,now comes the big boys.

      • Emma says:

        I don’t think that banning hemp is or ever has been a reason for cannabis prohibition. Before the US federal Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 many other countries and several US states had already banned cannabis because its intoxicating effects. The issue had been debated by the League of Nations for years. There is no evidence that the paper industry had anything to do with it.

        Cannabis prohibition in the US seems to be mostly due to save-the-children anti-drug hysteria (similar to the “legal highs” issue today), racism, fear of new cultural movements like jazz music, puritan skepticism (“if it’s fun it must be bad!”), and empire-building by Anslinger and other anti-drug bureaucrats (a good way to maintain power is to tell people you are saving them from a non-existent threat).

        • divadab says:

          Not sure I agree. Who benefited from making hemp illegal? The Cotton combine, Dupont (nylon), the brewers, and Hearst’s pulp & paper business, among others. It seems to me to be a clear case of commercial interests controlling government policy for their own profits.

          It was a coalition, the same coalition that keeps hemp illegal, with the addition of police and secret police employment, that makes for powerful vested interests.

          We who fight this well-funded machine (funded with our money!) do so as volunteers, exercising their civic duty to overturn unjust and unconstitutional laws. And we are winning, but how long has it taken! How much wasted money, let alone the oppression that has sunk the government into disrepute.

          I want to respect my government. How can you respect a government that lies as a matter of policy?


        • Duncan20903 says:


          Just because they benefitted doesn’t mean there was a conspiracy. It’s perfectly reasonable to suppose that Andrew Mellon got his son-in-law (Harry J. Anslinger) his job at the BNDD just to get his daughter and son-in-law out of the house.

          There are lots of us on this side of the table that find the theory of overt conspiracy causing prohibition to be laughable at best. Work for a couple of years with the big money movers and shakers and I think that you’ll find it reasonable to conclude that given the opportunity these people would just as soon cut each others’ throats as conspire with them. Hell, they might even prefer the throat cutting even if it cost them a couple of zeros.

          But neither does it mean a conspiracy of interests is out of the question. While W. R. Hearst likely wouldn’t have engaged in his yellow journalism if it would have cost him money it’s not unreasonable to think that the financial benefit outside of newspaper publishing that he gained from his absurd representation of cannabis in his newspapers was nothing more than frosting on the cake to him and that his primary interest was in selling more newspapers to collect more advertising revenue.

  9. Servetus says:

    Check out Project SAM’s wish list:

    We wish …

    To inform public policy with the science of today’s marijuana. [SAM wants to spew the same nonsense and misinformation prohibitionists have always flung at the public.]

    To have honest conversation about reducing the unintended consequences of current marijuana policies, such as lifelong stigma due to arrest. [SAM wants to talk about it, not do something about it.]

    To prevent the establishment of Big Marijuana that would market marijuana to children — and to prevent Big Tobacco from taking over Big Marijuana. Those are the very likely results of legalization. [Big Marijuana? How is Big Marijuana possible when anyone can grow their own pot? And even if there were something like Big Marijuana, why would it focus on the children’s market? Aren’t 120-million American adult consumers enough? And no, Big Tobacco has no intention of taking over Big Marijuana. Why? Because Big Tobacco knows that anyone can grow their own weed, and so in the mid-to-late 70s the tobacco companies decided not to pursue legalization. Source: Samuel Anderson, former Vice President of Marketing for Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company]

    To promote research of marijuana’s medical properties and produce pharmacy-attainable medications. [SAM wants to make sure Big Pharma takes over and dominates the marijuana market, and not the citizens.]

  10. Tony Aroma says:

    Since when did Barbara Walters interviews become official policy? That’s the best the Czar can do, refer to an interview on an entertainment show?

    • Matthew Meyer says:

      Right: “For a deeper understanding of this important policy affecting millions of Americans, check out this soundbite from Obama on Barbara Walters.”

      I mean, it just makes you laugh to keep from cryin’.

  11. Tony Aroma says:

    Anybody want to start a petition requesting statistics on previous petitions? I’d really like to know how many, if any, of these WTP petitions have actually been acted on. My guess, zero.

  12. claygooding says:

    Pennsylvania State Senator Prefiles Marijuana Legalization Bill, Pennsylvanians Approve


    Last week, state Senator from Montgomery County Daylin Leach announced his intentions to file legislation that would legalize the adult use of marijuana, in a way similar to the laws recently approved in Colorado and Washington.

    “I acknowledge that it may take a while, but like same-sex marriage,” stated Sen. Leach, “this will inevitably happen. Demographics and exposure will in time defeat irrational fears, old wives tales and bad science. This bill furthers the discussion, which hastens the day.”

    That makes 2 legislative bills in states and PA doesn’t even have mmj,,,of course we have seen many bills introduced and they never make it past committee hearings,I think they will make it to a committee hearing at least now. Perhaps my estimate of 3 was pessimistic. And Kerli’s limp wrist-ed statement above puts even more blood in the water,,,taxes available,,jobs available,,,once again,,hemp will save our ass.

    • N.T. Greene says:

      As I said way-back-when, once first blood was drawn… it would serve to greatly strengthen and embolden the resistance.

      All those plans for 2016 ballot initiatives may as well be exposed as “backup plans” at this point. God forbid a state pass legalization via legislature… then the fire will be totally out of control.

      If the demon bleeds, then it can most certainly be -killed-, after all.

  13. Matthew Meyer says:

    Sounds to me like someone is jealous of others’ press appearances:

    “But a TV booker asked to put together a show on marijuana legalization is likely to take the easy way out: find a legalizer to assure you that legality reduces addictive risk and a drug warrior to warn you that “marijuana destroys the brain” and invite them to go at the question. There’s no room for the experts.”

    • claygooding says:

      Niell Franklin or Judge Gray,,,against anyone?

      • Jose says:

        I’d like to see either with Sabet or Kerli.

      • allan says:

        aye… you think like I ‘n I… I think this is LEAP’s moment to shine. A letter to the Prez from all the former police chiefs on LEAP, co-signed by all LEAP speakers… asking for a meeting w/ him and Droop Dogg.

        • allan says:

          just for grins I went to the LEAP speakers list to see how many chiefs there are among all those Indians. At least a half dozen, but it had been a while since I’d looked at the list and Holy Cow! That’s an impressive assembly of badgeage, glad they’re all on my side.

          LEAP speakers’ list: http://www.leap.cc/speaker-list/

          And by the by, while I’m rambling on about LEAP, y’all do realize that LEAP has speakers all over the place and they have a speakers list because these folks speak to public and love being invited to do so. Utilize them…

        • claygooding says:

          Allan,I commented once how strange it feels agreeing with any law enforcement,,,about anything.

    • Peter says:

      And they are “expert” because? One hack journalist known primarily for his support of any and all extreme right-wing causes; one failed congressman known for drunken behavior, who now declares he has “almost two years of sobriety”; and the truly absurd “Dr” Kevin Sabet, who has made a living from spinning the drug war without any regard for science or the truth and who, as a Bahai, is presumably committed to a lifetime of abstinence from any and all mood altering substances, including alcohol. And these three want to be taken seriously as “the experts” on the science of cannabis reform?

      • claygooding says:

        I wonder if they will even get their first grant checks now,,,it won’t surprise me if they are a no-show in Denver,,,

  14. darkcycle says:

    R.E. Mr. Kleiman: I sense a man desperately scrambling to remain relevant. He’s not a tool, he’s a complete Craftsman Ratchet Set.

    • darkcycle says:

      With swivels.

    • strayan says:

      The guy Kleiman uses as his example of ‘passionate ignorance’ (a one Gary Becker) won a Nobel Prize in economics.

      Nothing would annoy Kleiman more than someone more qualified than he is.

      • stlgonzo says:

        Well Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, so the Nobel prize has kinda lost its luster.

        • Windy says:

          And Krugman won a Nobel, also, for economics. I have no respect for the committee which decides who deserves a Nobel, anymore, they’ve given it to too many people who do not deserve that kind of recognition.

        • Duncan20903 says:


          Is it really that much different from Teddy Roosevelt’s Nobel Peace prize in 1905, Woodrow Wilson’s in 1919, or Jimmy Carter’s in 2002? Perhaps Mr. Carter’s is different because he wasn’t a sitting POTUS in 2002. But christ on a crumpet 1919 was when Mr. Wilson signed the National Prohibition Act of 1919. I suppose that hindsight is always 20/20 can be used to excuse the latter but Mr. Wilson did get us involved in World War 1 in order to broker that peace. So if I were to thrash Mr. Kerlikowske to within an inch of his life and then call him an ambulance that I should get credit for saving his life?

        • allan says:

          “hey gil! you’re an ambulance!”

          there, I did it for you. but what the heck does that have to do w/ saving his life?

  15. Susan Soares says:

    Speaking of petitions, please take a minute to support our lastest casualty in Southern California in the drug war, Aaron Sandusky by signing the petition. http://www.cannabration.com/1/post/2013/01/pardon-aaron-sandusky-sign-the-petition-please-and-share.html

  16. darkcycle says:

    Kev-Kev is sounding more vicious and desperate, too. Huff post is giving him a platform to secure the noose about his neck. Seems they call on him regularly:

    • kaptinemo says:

      This is partly why we have such a hard time in the media…at least, until lately:

      “Kevin A. Sabet, former senior White House official in charge of drug policy

      Say what?. ‘In charge of drug policy’? Thought that was Gil’s job. Damn lousy, lazy so-called ‘journalists! They aren’t doing any source checking at all.

      Kevie was (and is) a mouthpiece, a waterboy, an over-paid ‘go-fer’. To call him a ‘drug policy expert’ is no different than calling a street-sweeper a ‘sanitation engineer without portfolio’. A clear case of resume-padding if ever there was one, and the LameStream Media are living up to their reputation by not pointing this out.

      Where are people like Nadelmann? He needs to be ripping Kevie a new one every time he opens his pie-hole, pointing out Kevie’s true status as the prohib’s version of Dr. Goebbels.

    • Windy says:

      The best comment I read there was by zenberry, quoting:
      It still looks like the feds are out of their jurisdiction; – if there was no interstate traffic, and all sales were intrastate, they would have no jurisdiction under the federal controlled substances act, which requires “interstate transport or sale”. If they were only violating the state’s laws (excessive plants, non profit status), then the state should be the ones who do the arresting – remember “states’ rights”? Oh yeah, it’s cannabis, sooooo… 76 years of cannabis prohibition and counting.
      If this guy had been manufacturing munitions or pesticides, (both actually dangerous substances), he’d be businessman of the year! –so who are the people with assessable damages caused by this man’s commercial activities? Remember restraint of trade? oh yeah, ….cannabis
      Ten years for “offending” some unconstitutional words in a law book, nobody was robbed, or defrauded, or raped, or killed, but ten years (no “good time” in federal jails) is what passes for justice in our culture of skewed values? How about his constitutionally guaranteed protection from “cruel and unusual punishment”? Oh yeah, cannabis….


  17. There is a good video interview with Dave Sirota about the petition and his take on the Obama Administration:


  18. QuaxMercy says:

    Proposed: To hold a Moratorium on raids, busts, dog shootings, property seizures, sentencing hearings, grandma shootings, cheap & humiliating feels by the side of the road, veteran shootings, all of it, All Of It – on HOLD – pending the deposition of ASA v DEA scheduling case

    Clearly, the Administration recognizes we’re on the awkward cusp, but rather than guiding a clear step forward, their passivity is being exploited by the careerists in DOJ, DEA, etc.

    We are currently seeing play out a ramped-up schizophrenic-on-steroids attack on the future of our economic sustainability – with federal raids & trials on legitimate providers in states that have declared themselves so – more by O in 1 term than Bush in 2 – with dire consequences for ALL concerned. Enough!

    Just as it was eminently reasonable to place Cannabis in Sched.1 on a temporary basis, pending the findings of the Shafer Commission, it would be fitting & proper to forgo prosecution until we have the decision and effect of the Court’s ruling.

    At the very least the Federal Judges will require the DEA to set-up hearings to take and review the evidence they have thus far managed to omit from the ken of previous schedule 1 challenges. Kind of like the prevention of presenting a medical marijuana defense in a federal trial . Corrupt – up, down & sideways.

    Let the presenters be SWORN in – and let them understand that they will be held accountable for the veracity of the evidence presented. Research cited that they knew or should have known was bogus will put them in jeopardy of perjury prosecution.

    No fouling of the record with blatant lies of the past.

    And require, as we move forward after the clearing of the record, that LEO not fall back on the same soon-to-be-definitively-debunked set of false presumptions.


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