ONDCP willing to sacrifice public safety to push political agenda

For some years now, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has had a public agenda of fighting marijuana legalization by promoting the dangers of “drugged driving,” pushing for zero-tolerance laws that would essentially make it illegal for anyone who uses cannabis to ever drive, regardless of impairment.

They have regularly lied about the science behind cannabis and driving, often by implying that testing positive is the same thing as impairment (this writer even filed a successful petition for correction of some of the false information on the ONDCP website).

On Thursday in Vienna, at the 58th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the United States and a few others led a session titled “Developing a comprehensive response to the challenge of drug-impaired driving.”

At this session, Richard Baum, International Policy Branch Chief at ONDCP made some remarkable statements, as reported by CND Blog (Note: CND Blog reports as events happen at the sessions and paraphrases the statements made, so this is not an exact quote. I’d be happy to post any clarifications or corrections.)

Richard Baum , ONDCP, US

This is an important issue because it is a factor that affects people’ve lives in many ways. We’re all at consensus within drug policy that we want our families to be safe on the roads, so it’s good that we can come together and work on this issue collectively.

In the US, we have a problem with drug driving and an irony is that drunk driving is relatively less of a problem. In 2014 a survey found that 8 percent of people on the road had alcohol in their systems. 21 percent had three or more drugs in their system. [emphasis added]

Once again, note the conflation of “drugs in their system” with “problem.” And even with ignoring the differences of how long drugs stay in the system, the study never gave that percentage for “three or more drugs.”

But here’s the really outrageous point. Baum is indicating that drunk driving is “less of a problem” than drugged driving.

And, of course, that’s ridiculous. There’s no doubt that drunk driving is a much more serious problem than driving while testing positive for other drugs. That has been noted clearly by the NHTSA (pdf)

Here are the relative risks of crashes based on the drug used:


So Baum’s assertion that “drunk driving is relatively less of a problem” is not only horribly wrong, but it’s dangerous.

What Baum and the ONDCP is promoting is that public policy would be well-served by shifting focus from drunk driving to drugged driving. And that would provably be a recipe for highway disaster.

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48 Responses to ONDCP willing to sacrifice public safety to push political agenda

  1. thelbert says:

    i’d say there is a lot of drivers high on cannabis that are not detected, because they are not causing problems. alkies are easy to detect.

  2. John says:

    I’ve a question for this Baum asshole: Which group would you rather share the road with (they’re in the oncoming lane), a line of one hundred alcohol intoxicated drivers, or one hundred cannabis using drivers?

  3. claygooding says:

    They just can’t stand it,,their poster child since the were created,,the very reason the DEA was created,,to remove the hippies from the Whitehouse lawn,,is getting away from them and now they are throwing shit in every direction like the cage full of batshit crazy
    monkeys they are.

    And we are still guarding the opium crops.

    • DEA Contributes to Shortages of Drugs With Controlled Substances: Report

      Seems like the powers that be are doing just that-all in their power to see that problems continue … by generating the problems themselves.

      The cures are far worse problems than any of the “problems”.

  4. DdC says:

    If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.

    NHTSA study: No evidence marijuana leads to higher crash risk

    The International Narcotics Control Board

    Marijuana may be even safer than previously thought

    FDA Reverses Its Position on Daily Aspirin ecp

    The OiNkDeCePion

  5. darkcycle says:

    Uh huh. They have a comment section. It currently shows zero (0) comments. No responses allowed.

  6. CJ says:

    Pete i just got around to getting online. are you staying in midtown? i am not kidding, i would like to get a photo with you/an autograph. i am going to be at Union Sq today from 12am for awhile and in the neighborhood thereafter. it would be wonderful to get an autograph, id like you to sign my book which ive collected signatures in of people i admire

    • Pete says:

      Sorry, CJ. I have already returned to Illinois. I’ll be in New York again in June, I’d love to get together with you then.

  7. Duncan20903 says:


    So what are you saying Pete? Would you have the poor man get fired for not telling lies? Well I guess it’s not unreasonable to ask for him to do his job of telling those lies with a little less fervor and zealotry. But lying is mandatory at the ONDCP so this just another day at the Office.
    OK, the DC re-legalization effort is moving from the sublime to the ridiculous as of this very moment.. Oh my gosh, what’s next? Will somebody actually prove that Ms. Bowser isn’t a crook? There’s never been a DC Mayor who wasn’t a crook! There would be an epidemic of brain lock in the metropolitan area if that happened.

    Mayor Bowser offers marijuana activist D.C. license plate number ‘420’

    Adam Eidinger, the chairman of the D.C. Cannabis Campaign, led efforts to put a marijuana legalization initiative on last November’s ballot. The Washington Post reports Mayor Muriel Bowser offered him the 420 tag number.

    Bowser said in a letter to Eidinger that the tag number was an “opportunity to acknowledge your commitment to and work on behalf of your neighbors in the District.” She did not acknowledge the number’s significance.

    I couldn’t even have imagined this.happening up until about 30 minutes ago. Simply unbe-fucking-lievable.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Have I mentioned that I’ve got an idea of how to put the “impaired” driving controversy to bed once and for all? Somebody goes over to Salem and gets the list of the people on the OMMP patient database. Somebody else does over to the DMV and gets the patients’ driving records. It really shouldn’t be too hard to quantify the patients’ relative driving ability by comparing those data to the driving records of the general population. Yes, this is doable in compliance with HIPAA. You just need a couple of Chinese walls. My problem with it? It’s an all or nothing bet.

      Why do I favor Oregon? Because of the potential 70,000 sample size and Tom Burns being the Oregon’s Director of Marijuana.

      The Oregon Liquor Control Commission announced Tom Burns will be the agency’s Director of Marijuana Programs.He will lead implementation of Measure 91, the marijuana legalization law passed by voters in November.

      Tom Burns served as the Director of Pharmacy Programs at the Oregon Health Authority since 2008, where he oversaw the implementation of Oregon’s medical marijuana dispensary program.“Tom has navigated these waters before on the medical side,” said Steven Marks, OLCC Executive Director. “Tom will lead the implementation of Oregon’s recreational marijuana law with a measured approach that protects children, promotes safety, and brings the marijuana industry into the regulated market.”


      Burns: “If it’s going to be legal, let’s stop hiding it behind walls and doors. You can put security systems in place and make sure no one gets to the product.

      “You give a different message to the community and to your patrons about what’s going on inside if you don’t have open windows and light. … It’s time to let people see what’s going on. It will cause a dialogue among the supporters and opponents and that dialogue always leads to better outcomes.”

      On his perceptions of the medical marijuana industry:

      “I expected to see long-haired hippies coming out of the woods wearing tie-dyed T-shirts. That is not the face of the marijuana business community. The business community are young, bright, articulate, educated business people who want to make lots of money in this business and they are working like mad to do that and they are willing to work inside a legal system and to protect the investment they have made from the potential of a law enforcement action.”

      On his relationship with police:

      “Their first reaction was these people are criminals and they need to be treated as criminals. And it took me a while to finally figure it out. OK, I get it. Yesterday they were criminals, but today they have been willing to come out from behind the curtain and be licensed and regulated by the state of Oregon. Let’s not look backwards. Let’s look forward. If they play by the rules and honor the agreement we have, which is that you come inside the box and be protected and you live by the rules, then the fact that they were breaking the law two weeks ago, I don’t care about.”

      A Kleiman he ain’t.

      So what’s next? A new studio album from Pink Floyd? Oh wait, that happened last year. Never mind.

  8. pfroehlich2004 says:

    Hey Pete, could you post the URL for whatever site you pulled that graph from? Would like to make use of it.

  9. jean valjean says:

    Here’s Baum’s “21 st Century” drug policy bs for the UN:


    Sounds remarkably like SAM’s phony Third Way.

  10. Will says:

    I just love the bar graph accompanying this post. I can hear the collective request from the ONDCP, the DEA, SAM, and various law enforcement organizations across the country;


    “We would like to focus your attention on the substances that barely register a blip on this graph. In doing so, please ignore the 900 foot tall black bar on the right. Thank you”


    Sure, no problem (puhleeze!).

  11. kaptinemo says:

    So…he’s trying to peddle what amounts to an American non-‘problem’ invented out of torturing statistics to a planet already suspicious of us (hundreds of WMDs, anyone?) and a planet whose many cultures have first-hand experience with many of the substances – partly because they came from there and are culturally endemic – that Uncle Sam is officially hysterically, hand-wringingly, weak-bladder afraid of.

    You know, Uncle’s been doing this international dog-and-pony, Chicken Little crap for a long time, now; over a hundred years. This is getting embarrassing.

    Some of the ‘developmentally challenged’ can be mainstreamed. But do you want them representing US national drug policy at international fora? Because, given that this is (obviously) the latest crise-du-jour for ONDCP to dabble in (and how much is it going to cost the taxpayer this time, another Billion?) you can’t help it if the other delegates are not wondering if, given the inanity of the topic, that is what was sent.

    Boondoggles to argue about government-supplied solutions to government-created problems. The equivalent of cloistered monks arguing about angels dancing on pin-heads.

    Enough of this crap. It’s long past time to flex some political muscle and let your Reps and Sin-a-tors know you’ve had it with this modern-day version of die Ahnenerbe, full of nuts and cranks dreaming up BS to justify the unjustifiable.

    We’re the majority, now. Let Congress know you’ve had it with the incredibly wasteful (a Billion here, a Billion there, lah-dee-dah, business as usual…) ONDCP. Their record of failure-after-failure (and involving themselves illegally in the electoral process!) is indefensible; the facts speak for themselves.

    In an aside: Where do you think Kevvie’s money is coming from? The PIC industries are pikers; Uncle’s picking up the tab, and it’s being routed through ONDCP! And once more we’re paying for the knife they’re trying to shove in our kidneys from behind!

    At the least, some long-delayed Congressional investigations regarding these demonstrably fiscally profligate clowns are long overdue. Time to make them sweat for a change.

  12. Frank W. says:

    I saw some CSpan hearing last week and heroin seemed to be the fashionable Killer Drug as Michele Leonhart called for more money and more police power. All while the other pigs at the trough grunted approvingly. Heroin could be the new moneymaker for The Corporation (although it’s been serving them handsomely for so long).

  13. Mr_Alex says:

    Anyone beginning to see the connection between the ONDCP and Straight Inc aka Partnership for a Drug Free America?

    • Duncan20903 says:


      I sure have. Back in the first years of the 1990s. That is if the “connection” to which you refer is a subject of mutual interests.

  14. strayan says:


    Remember the hysterical nonsense about how marijuana ‘shrinks your brain’ that we suffered through last year?

    Turns about those good citizens and scientists in BS free Colorado have thoroughly debunked it. They also happened to identify the real cause of those ‘brain changes’ (alcohol):


  15. strayan says:

    Now, getting back ON topic.

    If you read the actual scientific literature on drugs and road safety you regularly see some version of this:

    The much higher crash risk of alcohol compared with that of other drugs suggests that in times of limited resources, efforts to curb drugged driving should not reduce our efforts to pass and implement effective alcohol related laws and policies. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3893634/


    increasing drug-driving enforcement at the expense of a reduction in drink-driving enforcement may actually decrease the positive impact on road safety. As the risk and share of injuries is higher for alcohol, targeting driving under the influence of alcohol should always be the first priority of law enforcers. http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/attachements.cfm/att_192773_EN_TDXA12006ENN.pdf

  16. Servetus says:

    Richard Baum and the ONDCP are treading on the territory of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHSTA is the agency whose clearly stated purpose is to keep our vehicles and roads safe, not the ONDCP. The ONDCP’s agenda is prohibition. Its charter legally mandates that the ends justify the means, which the ONDCP interprets as permitting the use of deceit. This makes subsuming the ONDCP with the NHSTA not only a possible government policy violation, but a dangerous one as well.

    Mr. Baum and the ONDCP typify bureaucrats and bureaucracies who want to be the tail that wags the dog. Internecine battles ensue, bureaucrats jockey for attention and promotions within their own organizations while engaging in battles with competing bureaucracies for more power and dominance within the government. The more corrupt the agency, the more likely it is to happen. The Nazi SS evolved in this way under the leadership of Obergruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich (AKA Butcher of Prague).

  17. Rick Steeb says:

    Sorry, but that is one asinine graph. I am not disputing the alcohol stats, but none of the other substances’ bars make any sense, e.g.”any illegal/legal drug” bars are either missing, or antidepressants, painkillers etc. aren’t drugs.

  18. A Critic says:

    So stimulants reduce accidents? Who woulda thunk.

    • B. Snow says:

      That actually makes sense, stimulants could reduce the odds of accidents for some people – especially those that may be inclined to loss focus or concentrate on the road.

      As long as we’re talking about people using (rational/semi-rational) amounts of stimulants – or the few anti-depressants that can have mild stimulant effects.

      The lowered bars for those bars/columns indicate that the people had a “change in odds of an accident” that was slightly lower/(less) than sober drivers.

      The “nonexistent bars/columns” indicated that there was no change in the odds of an accident.

      According to this article and graph – which represents drunk (intoxicated at dwi or dui levels) drivers compared to drivers that tested positive for the presence of drugs in their systems.

      Also, in the notes of the graph it says that “only the change in alcohol odds is statistically significant”

      What this says (IMHO) is that “per se dui” laws have no sound justification for their existence. They aren’t indicating any impairment, just prior or semi-recent use by the driver…

      Testing drunk driving is fairly effective, testing for other drugs well = not-so-much. It’s not an accurate sign of driver impairment, or danger at that time.

      • DdC says:

        Stimulants dissipate/negate? alcohol. I passed a New Years sobriety check once after 8 orange drivers of vodka by snorting coke after each drink. Speed is the capitalists drug of choice. College kids cramming for midterm DARE exams popping white crosses. Truckers coast to coast turnarounds, black beauties getting the produce to the market on time. Mothers lil pick me upper. Models diet pills and kids for ADHD, which cannabis is also used. Rednecks smoking boats doing piecemeal work. Doctors on 36 hour shifts and cops on stake outs needing to stay awake when coffee doesn’t get it. Then all branches of the armed forces dole out go go pills while they fear hemp seed granola bars. Just give me weed, whites and wine, show me a sign… I’ll be Willin‘ ☺

        Ice: The new menace and horror to society

        Aging? Got Ganja?

        • Windy says:

          Black beauties (Biphetamine 20s), the cleanest speed ever, used to keep me going all weekend, I’d get so much done (including housework, yardwork, and even time for creative stuff, plus have great waterbed sex on Friday and Saturday nights), fall asleep about 10 PM Sunday night, sleep soundly all night, and be ready for the work week at 6 AM Monday morning. My second favorite drug is speed, but I haven’t even seen a black beauty since the 70s. My favorite drug is MDMA and I haven’t seen any real MDMA since the 80s. I don’t call cannabis or acid drugs, they are a completely different trip, but i enjoy the first everyday and the second about once every couple years.

  19. Servetus says:

    Dr. Aaron E. Carroll, a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine, has a well-referenced op-ed at the New York Times where he compares the virtues and vices of alcohol versus marijuana among teenagers. He concludes:

    March 16, 2015 — When someone asks me whether I’d rather my children use pot or alcohol, after sifting through all the studies and all the data, I still say “neither.” Usually, I say it more than once. But if I’m forced to make a choice, the answer is “marijuana”.

    It’s the same advice I got from my doctor when I was a teenager: “I’d rather see you do that than drink.” Some things never change. Dr. Carroll is obviously a man who thinks about the children all the time. And the New York Times is the newspaper other newspapers emulate. What this means is the prohibitionists are no longer “main stream”. Instead, prohibidiots and prohibitches are extremist radicals whose ideology, when acted upon, harms children.

    Policies must change to protect the children. Prohibitionists must be forced to register with the local police. And we’re going to need an Internet database that locates and warns of prohibitionists who might be living in our neighborhoods.

  20. Heads Up says:

    An older cousin who is not cool with 420 came back east from Colorado recently, she said there was a drug sniffing dog checkpoint in Kansas where everyone drives through slowly and any car that makes the dogs react is pulled to the side.
    The drug war is really all about control over people and ushering in the fascist police state while making money and nothing else.

  21. Heads Upper says:

    P.G. read up on the drug checkpoints with many stories from truckers and travelers from across the nation, they are fake.
    The signs are real but the cops are looking for people to throw out stuff or turn around, or exit into a rest stop and are waiting there.
    One article referenced this page. The checkpoints were ruled unconstitutional in 2000 by the Supreme Court in a case named City of Indianapolis vs. Edmond.
    Sorry I should have checked the webbernett tubes first and I think my cousin may have embellished the story.
    So entrapment is legal?

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Nah, you just don’t know the definition of the word “entrapment” in the law. In order to be entrapment the police would have had to have enticed someone who was not already inclined to break the law to drive through the checkpoint. Someone who goes to Colorado of their own volition and either intended to or for whatever reason except direct enticement of someone not inclined to break the instant law or a promise to “look the other way” by law enforcement can’t be entrapped. I’m not certain what you’re calling entrapment here but unless you’ve left something out there isn’t any of that going on.

      It certainly appears to me that City of Indianapolis v. Edmond, 531 U.S. 32 (2000) is directly on point. My question is, why didn’t the people caught up at these checkpoints notice them on their way into Colorado?

    • darkcycle says:

      You’re right about them looking for people turning off and exiting, but wrong about the searches at the checkpoints. A dog sniff ISN’T A SEARCH according to the Supreme court. A dog’s hit on a scent IS probable cause to search.
      These checkpoints are a real problem, and lots of folks have discovered that to their ultimate dismay. You don’t have to TALK to them, you don’t have to be detained by them. All you have to do is cause that doggie to alert, and you’re toast.

  22. Duncan20903 says:


    Everyone knows that the prohibitionist motto is to “never let the facts get in the way of disseminating an effective piece of hysterical rhetoric.” Tired of waiting for tragedy to occur? Go ahead and just use fiction. So the sycophants of prohibition have once again lowered the floor for utter stupidity and set a new all time record low. Could you please ‘splain how the heck they make their efforts appear so elegant and effortless? Oh well, this one is from the “this sure feels more like a sub-basement than a floor” category:

    Brooklyn mom says daughter is partially paralyzed because of pot brownie

    Empire Blue Cross also isn’t falling for this bullshit either. I think that’s significant because we’ve got Blue Cross and they just don’t play the “don’t approve unless the insured appeals a denial” game. We used to have Aetna and it was the complete opposite.

    • claygooding says:

      Are we seeing,,for the first time,,the mainstream media holding off running this as they normally do with this kind of article,,it’s been up five days and even Christian Science Monitor hasn’t run it.

      It is pure fiction though,,if the NIDA had found any combinations of the chemical compounds in marijuana could even possibly maybe sorta be connected to marijuana use in the 22,ooo harm studies they have done we would have already debunked it.

      Ohhh,,The Daily Mail owns that station,,some Brit thought this up one pint over the line

      • Duncan20903 says:


        Well if you find that amusing I’ll tell you the very short story of that post. I often start posts then for some reason or other either I get distracted when I start following links. Anyway, that post sat in it’s own tab for two days. I stumbled back into it and decided to post, but the original link was dead. I want to say it was the New York Post but honestly don’t recall well enough to swear to it. I just did another search and picked the first link that worked.

        My favorite part of the story is how the girl bought the brownie and shared with two of her friends. But oh no, Miss Virgin Mary was clueless that it was a pot brownie. I’ll bet she was wondering why brownies were selling for $10 a bite. Yeah, I was born at night, but it wasn’t last night.

      • Servetus says:

        Maureen Dowd set the standard for the pot brownie effect. Thanks to Maureen, the American public knows Dowding is not fatal.

        Now that we have the Dowd standard, it needs to be quantified. One dowd, two dowds…based on how many dowds it takes before the pot brownie consumer can no longer drag themselves into bed before they fall asleep.

  23. Yes, Baum was a muffin head. I attended that session in Vienna. Baum did give me 3 M to clear up some of the questions the panel raised (no cops on the panel)..Oxi intoxicated drivers were mentioned as a real hazard.

    They – the panel- admitted knowing not too much about the issue and much, much more research is needed. I had a good chat w/ the guy from the EU afterwards…we will stay in contact.

  24. kaptinemo says:

    OT: Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder Claims The Justice Department Is More Racist Than Ferguson (Hmmm. He must have been reading at DEAWatch, huh?)

    I’m not gonna critique it. Just read it. Just don’t let the industrial-strength denial drip off your screen onto the table; it’ll leave a big brown stain that won’t come out. And no amount of air freshener cuts the stench.

    I said they’d get crazier and crazier, didn’t I?

    Since the DrugWar is demonstrably racist at its core, all of its agents, regardless of how they personally feel, are, perforce, carrying out a racist policy.

    All of them. No exceptions due to skin color.

    So, what can one say except that when the DrugWar house is riddled with racist termites, it doesn’t matter to argue which termites are local or imported. It doesn’t matter which part of the house is the ‘least’ infested with those racist termites, the whole thing needs to come down.

    Pots and kettles and hypocrites, oh my!

    • kaptinemo says:

      More and more, as the DrugWar takes its toll on civil society, I am reminded of a line from the old BBC “I, Claudius” series: “Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud, hatch out!”

      They are. They are. The DrugWar, whose racist poisons have been lurking in the mud of American society for years, is hatching out its foul brood for all to see. No matter how hard the L/MSM refuses to connect the dots, they make it obvious that DrugWar = institutionalized racism. You’d have to be mentally null – or a professionally obtuse DrugWarrior – not to see that.

      And reformers are the only ones ready with the legislative Clorox to kill the damn things. Which the denizens dwelling in that mud don’t want us to use; they like mud, it’s so profitable.

      • primus says:

        They feed into that aspect of humans where many cling to what is familiar, despite the obvious advantages of change. The old saw that ‘conservatives are fighting tooth and claw to retain programs that, 20 years previously, they had fought tooth and claw to oppose’ is indicative of that.

  25. kaptinemo says:

    I said they’d pull this scheisse: Obama: States decriminalizing pot could pressure Congress to reschedule the drug

    from the article:

    “Let’s put it in perspective,” Obama said in response. “Young people, I understand this is important to you, but you should be thinking about climate change, the economy, jobs, war and peace, maybe way at the bottom you should be thinking about marijuana. I’d separate out the issue of the criminalization of marijuana from encouraging its use.”

    A fool? No. A tool? Should be obvious by now as to whose tool he is.

    He just lost a huge amount of support for the Dems. The ‘young people’ he is so condescending of know this issue is critical to regaining lost rights, a rejuvenated hemp-based, sustainable economy not based on petrochemicals, a healed and revitalized environment, etc. In other words, they know ‘The Big Picture’ better than he does, and he just proved it.

    A reminder: google June 6 2008 Chantilly Virginia to acquaint yourself with his masters…whose voice you just heard.

    • claygooding says:

      Obama also said in an interview that young adults should not be so determined to legalize marijuana but become determined to deal with climate change and economical issues.

      My post on FB:

      Easy for you to say mfer,,you got away with it and young people’s lives are still being ruined because you don’t have the nuts to move cannabis from Schedule 1.

      Now he has done made me mad again. I hope that was his intention because as far as we have come he just drove another fuckin nail in prohibition’s coffin,,,that will end up being worse than telling a pissed off woman to calm down.

      • kaptinemo says:

        They really, truly believe they’ll be in the catbird seat forever. They really do. That’s why this condescending nonsense.

        Now you can expect the Dems to (foolishly!) risk further alienation from the very people it needs to survive. This is the Party Line from the Dem leadership, or you wouldn’t have heard this verbal bilge spill from his lips.

        The Dems really are that dumb. Do they honestly think they can insultingly browbeat their base, and not pay a price?

        The new electorate is not interested in political machines, as it was the machines that trashed their futures. But those who run the machines are clearly delusional and still believe they have importance…and are increasingly unable or unwilling to change to adapt and survive to the new electoral environment. The machines seek to continue to dictate what constitutes political reality, when the political reality is outpacing them.

        People want cannabis legal again. The machines don’t. The attitude evinced by the machines are that they will impose their will regardless of the new political reality. As government becomes less responsive to the needs of that new electorate, and tries to impose it’s (unrealistic) will upon what outnumbers it, societal friction will increase.

        This is recipe for a revolution.

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