The U.S. drug czar weighs in on Canada’s pot habit

Gil Kerlikowske on the perils of pot legalization, and how Canada creates drug problems for the U.S.

Photograph by Logan Mock-Bunting

Gil Kerlikowske is U.S. President Obama’s director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy—more commonly known as the U.S. “drug czar.” His long career in law enforcement included serving as police chief in two border cities: Buffalo and Seattle.

Q: In the November elections, two states—Washington and Colorado—voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use. President Obama has said that the U.S. government has “bigger fish to fry” than to go after recreational users in states where it is legal. Where do things stand with regard to producers and distributors of marijuana, which is still illegal under federal law?

A: You’ll continue to see enforcement against distributors and large-scale growers as the Justice Department has outlined. They will use their limited resources on those groups and not on going after individual users.

Q: You’ve written on the White House website that “coming out of the election, we are in the midst of a national conversation on marijuana.” Is the U.S. headed for a patchwork of policies, state by state?

A: I think a patchwork of policies would create real difficulties. We still have federal law that places marijuana as being illegal. The administration has not done a particularly good job of, one, talking about marijuana as a public health issue, and number two, talking about what can be done and where we should be headed on our drug policy.

Q: There was such an evolution on gay marriage within this administration that it’s hard not to think that something might change on marijuana.

A: I don’t look at marijuana as a human right, or a civil right, or even in the same venue as gay marriage. This is a public health issue. There are significant health concerns around marijuana from all the science, not ideology. I don’t see the legalization of drugs and making them widely available as a good thing, and I don’t think locking everyone up is a good thing either.

Q: When you took office in 2009 you said you wanted the Obama administration to drop the term “war on drugs.” Why?

A: It was mostly elected officials who would use “war on drugs.” But my colleagues—prosecutors, police chiefs, sheriffs, never really talked about it as a war on drugs—they would use the term “you can’t arrest your way out of this problem.” The “war on drugs” is a good bumper sticker, but we know that the drug problem is unbelievably complex. There is no bumper-sticker answer.

Q: Have you done more to deal with the medical side?

A: We helped shift federal funding so that more money has flowed into drug treatment and prevention programs. We have tried using the bully pulpit of the White House to talk about the disease of addiction and to talk about it in a public health model.

Q: What shaped your view in that direction?

A: I had been a narcotics detective and then a police chief in two large cities that had, like most of our large cities, a drug problem. We would regurgitate the same people through the system. They’d be arrested for crimes, but they’d have a drug problem. They’d go off to jail and then they’d be back. Often without treatment, without after-care, and unsurprisingly they’d be back into crime.

Q: So why not just treat drugs as a medical issue, the way alcohol abuse is treated. Why not just drop the criminalization?

A: We arrest about 2.4 million people in this country a year for alcohol. We arrest less than 700,000 people for marijuana—and for all drugs, only 1.3 million. Alcohol is perfectly legal. So making drugs available without any sanction would only lead to more abuse.

Q: You’re talking about drunk driving arrests?

A: This is drunk driving and, where it’s still illegal, public drunkenness or intoxication, and violations of liquor laws. Often when people talk about legalization of drugs, they say that should only apply to people aged 21 and over. Well, if you look at the number of youth arrested for alcohol, it’s significant. The other part is if people go into drug treatment—and the research bears this out clearly—if they knock on the door and say, look, I have a drug problem and I need help, or if they go in with handcuffs on—the outcomes are pretty similar. The criminal justice system, if it has the right resources, can be incredibly helpful at getting people into treatment.

Q: In Canada, a large party of Liberal party delegates voted in favour of marijuana legalization. The party issued a report speculating that thousands of Canadians could find employment related to marijuana and pot tourism—as Americans would flock north. What do you make of that?

A: Well, I think of the experience of the Netherlands—they’ve had marijuana cafés for decades and in the last few years the government decided to close hundreds. One of the primary reasons they cite is marijuana tourism—people coming in from Germany, Belgium and other places have caused crime problems and other difficulties.

Q: One area where you’d like Canada to get on the same page with the U.S. is prescription painkillers, specifically OxyContin, or a generic version that has been approved for sale in Canada. What is it you’d like to see the Canadian government do?

A: [Impose] the requirement that with opioid painkillers, only tamper-resistant or abuse-resistant formulas could be on the market. Those that are not tamper-resistant can be easily abused: they can be crushed and snorted, they can be crushed and diluted with water and injected. That presents not only a great danger of overdose, but also increases the abuse because of the high that they get.

Q: Why is that an issue for the U.S.?

A: In the U.S., we really pushed our pharmaceutical industry to develop the abuse-resistant formulas. But if they are easily accessible in Canada, you will see them here. Our first seizure of these was in Milwaukee. So we are keeping a close eye to see if we see others.

Q: And they came from Canada?

A: We are almost certain that they did.

Q: The Canadian health minister, Leona Aglukkaq, has said the law does not allow her to ban an effective drug on the basis of misuse. Instead, she is requiring dealers to report unusual spikes in sales. She also says there is no scientific evidence that an alternative drug is tamper-resistant.

A: One thing that comes up is what is the definition of tamper-resistant. Frankly, if we see the kind that cannot be crushed, or if they are diluted in water they turn gelatinous, then we see that as particularly helpful.

Our Congress has made it very clear on these issues that if we feel we lack sufficient legislation, given what we’ve suffered from, the deaths—particularly in poverty-stricken areas of Appalachia—then we should ask for additional authorities.

Q: So are you suggesting our health minister should ask for legal changes?

A: What we’ve done is to say once the problem has been identified and been well-publicized, then our elected officials have been very helpful.

Q: So you’re suggesting she should do the same?

A: I think I’ll leave it at that.

Q: How extensive is the problem?

A: It continued to grow up until this last year at astronomical levels. More people dying of prescription drug abuse than heroin and cocaine combined. After marijuana, we see prescription drugs as the next most significant drug problem we have. It has covered every demographic, age, race, ethnicity, gender. And it’s a bit disproportionate in poor and rural areas.

Q: Why is that?

A: It was called “hillbilly heroin” for a while. A lot of people, especially if you work in agriculture or mining, could become injured and then receive these painkillers, and from there they could be widely abused. We spent four days in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia visiting rural areas.

Q: What did you see?

A: I visited a jail with 14 women in for drug issues—and 13 were there for prescription drugs. In these small rural areas, there wasn’t anyone who wasn’t affected in some way.

Q: You are also working on a northwest strategy for the border with Canada. Is more marijuana grown there?

A: That was the fact a few years ago. But now the U.S. is doing a great job of producing its own marijuana.

Q: How is your relationship with Canadian officials?

A: I’ve had a long relationship at high levels with Canadian authorities. The one area I disagree with is the safe-injection site in Vancouver. I toured that as police chief in Seattle. I took a vacation day, in fact. I understood the purpose was to reduce overdoses and fatalities, and I believe that was accomplished, but it gave me the clear impression of a government that had abandoned people. I walked block after block and saw people nodding off in doorways and on benches. Yes, they’d injected safely and hadn’t overdosed, but there was nothing else for them but to continue to get other drugs. I’m sure this will be a controversial statement. I’ve been told it’s changed. And I should go back and visit.

To hear more of Luiza Ch. Savage’s conversation with Gil Kerlikowske, please see this week’s iPad edition of Maclean’s




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The U.S. drug czar weighs in on Canada’s pot habit

  1. Mr. Kerlikowske is, as he is statutorily required to do, doing (and saying) whatever he needs to to prevent the legalization of cannabis. It’s codified into his job description and duties.

    So, when he says:

    “I think a patchwork of policies would create real difficulties. We still have federal law that places marijuana as being illegal. The administration has not done a particularly good job of, one, talking about marijuana as a public health issue, and number two, talking about what can be done and where we should be headed on our drug policy.”

    This is true. The Whitehouse, and for that matter the DEA, ONDCP, DHHS and a myriad of other Federal agencies continue to insist that cannabis is more dangerous than cocaine, methampetamine, prescription opiates, alcohol and tobacco. They assert cannabis is a gateway drug, despite statistics that show 91% of users never go on to harder drugs. And they all work actively together to cage people, deny them health and welfare benefits, take children away and all manner of oppression. So yeah, no one in government has any credibility on the issue. Kinda happens when you lie openly for forty years.

    “I don’t look at marijuana as a human right, or a civil right, or even in the same venue as gay marriage. This is a public health issue. There are significant health concerns around marijuana from all the science, not ideology. I don’t see the legalization of drugs and making them widely available as a good thing, and I don’t think locking everyone up is a good thing either.”

    I’ve yet to see a cop of any kind on active duty who thinks cannabis is a human right. That doesn’t mean it is not a human right. History has NEVER ONCE shown an example of laws prohibiting people from doing what they want with their bodies and lives. No, at the very core, a Prohibitionist is motivated purely by ignorance, envy, greed or hatred.

    “Our Congress has made it very clear on these issues that if we feel we lack sufficient legislation, given what we’ve suffered from, the deaths—particularly in poverty-stricken areas of Appalachia—then we should ask for additional authorities.

    What we’ve done is to say once the problem has been identified and been well-publicized, then our elected officials have been very helpful.”

    Translation: “Whenever a new substance is invented or discovered, we quickly push to make it illegal. We would rather codify into law a criminal market, absent regulations for quality and safety. We would prefer to enrich criminals, and fight with them. We will make sure we block all requests for research, and will conduct powerful raids with automatic weapons, attack helicopters, and maybe even a fighter jet or two if a kingpin gets too out of line. We will also rev up the propaganda machine and ensure that no one is looking at our massive failure to effect supply or demand of any substance. And we can sucker unwitting politicians into this trap EVERY SINGLE TIME! Look how quick we got everyone to lay down immediately on synthetic marijuana. They didn’t even ask if cannabis prohibition itself was the cause of this stuff. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel they’re so stupid and shortsighted.”

    “We arrest about 2.4 million people in this country a year for alcohol. We arrest less than 700,000 people for marijuana—and for all drugs, only 1.3 million. Alcohol is perfectly legal. So making drugs available without any sanction would only lead to more abuse.”

    To come to that conclusion, a person has to willfully ignore the results from Portugal, where we have 10 years of decriminalization of ALL drugs, not just cannabis. The results? Significant decreases in overdose deaths, HIV/hepatitis infections, long term dependency, usage by adults in all age categories, and most importantly among youths. There have also been marked declines in petty crime such as theft and vandalism, and a voluntary treatment program is resulting in better long term recovery rates. Did I mention the savings reaped from fewer arrests, court cases and incarcerations?

    Of course, Kerlikowske is on record as saying he doesn’t think the experience of Portugal will be matched here. Apparently, basic human behavior is different in Portugal than in the rest of the world.

    “The other part is if people go into drug treatment—and the research bears this out clearly—if they knock on the door and say, look, I have a drug problem and I need help, or if they go in with handcuffs on—the outcomes are pretty similar. The criminal justice system, if it has the right resources, can be incredibly helpful at getting people into treatment.”

    The same miserable results: 1 in 20 who enter addiction treatment remain abstinent for two years or longer. It’s doesn’t matter what the addiction is by and large. And I seriously doubt any cop, judge or prosecutor is qualified to determine what a person medically needs. It’s a statement on the arrogance of Prohibitionists to presume they know what’s best for people and how they should live. And he’s lying when he says he doesn’t think we should lock people up. If that were the case he’d ask his officers to ignore dispensaries. He wouldn’t say in one sentence they aren’t targeting individuals while they work diligently to remove the supply.

    “In the U.S., we really pushed our pharmaceutical industry to develop the abuse-resistant formulas. But if they are easily accessible in Canada, you will see them here. Our first seizure of these was in Milwaukee. So we are keeping a close eye to see if we see others.”

    ‘Pushed’ is the proper term for these goons. And to the net result that opiate addiction is still a major problem. Only, the goons have scared ethical physicians into not prescribing needed pain medication, leaving patient’s legitimately suffering and having to find relief in the black market, or through pain clinics, where the entire regime is designed to keep the pills flowing without the DEA knocking down the doors. Patient care and long-term outcomes are way down the list of priorities, with physician profit being at the very top of the priority list.

    To keep the DEA from kicking the doors in and shutting them down, they run drug screens and will kick anyone out of the program that tests positive for ‘illicit drugs’. Remember, they are beholden to the police first, thanks to guys like Kerlikowske and his lack of concern for human rights. So naturally, that includes cannabis. Never mind the VAST bank of peer-reviewed studies showing analgesic and other specific benefits for pain. Never mind that patients CONSISTENTLY report having to use less opiates when they use cannabis. Never mind that cannabis has been shown a highly effective strategy to help opiate-dependent patients reduce their intake of opioids. None of those things matter. It’s a Schedule I narcotic, and even though no one has ever died from cannabis in recorded history, and even though these myriad of promising medical benefits exist, guys like Mr. Kerlikowski insist otherwise. So if you test positive for any illicit drug, you are not entitled to painkillers in the program. And they wonder why they have no credibility in the public eye.

    “Yes, they’d injected safely and hadn’t overdosed, but there was nothing else for them but to continue to get other drugs. I’m sure this will be a controversial statement.”

    Well, when you don’t see this as a human rights issue, I guess you will still find some way to twist that into the notion that prohibiting something will reduce harms. Here’s a clue Mr. Kerlikowske: you and your ilk have done nothing but CAUSE harm. You and those like you have endorsed, enforced, and participated with vigor in a program and Prohibition that has resulted in MILLIONS upon MILLIONS dead and suffering, lives ruined and turned upside down. It’s resulted in $1 TRILLION of our tax dollars being wasted. It’s resulted in a public that sees the police and Feds as corrupt oppressors, and the public is correct. It’s resulted in disrespect for the law (given 100,000,000 Americans have used cannabis in their lifetimes). And it’s resulted in a cemented racial and class divide, with people of color and the poor being forever trapped in their situation because of this stupid law.

    Every last lawmaker and law enforcement person who supports or enforces this law has an unconscionable legacy. Whether they accept it or not, their hands are stained with the blood of their citizens and the cries of agony for those denied relief. That’s the truth.

    • Great comment; I feel as though you have done more research and thinking about this than the editors who did the interview and write up.

    • Good riddance to him. Washington state is now a better place.

    • WELL SAID…!! I guess they haven’t spoken to the members of LEAP….eh…???
      http://www.leap.cc

  2. “After marijuana, we see prescription drugs as the next most significant drug problem we have.”

    So basically what you’re saying Gil is that America’s number one problem is painkiller addiction, because we all know that marijuana isn’t really causing major problems as you would have us believe.

    • Excellent…! Pharmaceuticals are the USAs’ drug problem, NOT, an innocent healing herb….!.(sorry….! I realize you know this…!)

      • Let’s not forget that the 3rd leading cause of death in America is/was adverse drug reactions of pharmaceuticals . . . but let’s keep feeding those to people. It is more efficacious for eugenics purposes.

        • EXACTLY…. The true drug problem ……..!!

    • Oh Okay Gil .. Yeah, the people dropping dead from Pharma scripts .. is a less significant issue.. and people healing by using Cannabis .. Is The problem .. .. Just move away from the table and walk away because you haven’t the foggiest notion .. .. Idiot

    • What the idiot is saying is that we have a major marijuana problem because of the number of people arrested for pot. You want to see a real “problem”? Make coca-cola illegal, and see how many folks you’ll have to arrest. Major problem, eh, Gil? And these clowns are in charge of drug policy? Pathetic!

  3. “Q: You are also working on a northwest strategy for the border with Canada. Is more marijuana grown there?

    A: That was the fact a few years ago. But now the U.S. is doing a great job of producing its own marijuana.”

    LOL! That’s funny, right there.

  4. One of the fairly obvious conclusions from this dialogue is that alcohol should be criminalized, since it’s clearly much more of a problem than drug abuse is.

    The alternative conclusion is that arresting people for essentially victimless crimes (not drunk driving, but things like public consumption) is a terrible waste of resources and has a massive societal cost for very little benefit. Treating alcohol and drug abuse as a public health issue is a good idea and probably and effective solution. Curiously, we don’t tend to arrest people for being sick. That”s the whole problem with this approach: You CAN’T treat it as a health issue if you’re trying to treat it as a criminal one; the two ideas are inherently incompatible.

    • Project SAM wants to make it a health issue, rather than a criminal one, but they want to force people into treatment. Sounds to me like the people with the money and connections are still kowtowing to big pharm and the mental health industry.

      • Project SAM is garbage, frankly. The people, of course, know this. Poor, foolish Patrick Kennedy, needs to assuage his conscience and lessen the guilt he feels for being an alcoholic, and passing that to his child. INSTEAD of acquiring the proper info….this silly man goes after a healing herb… IGNORING THE FACT that it gives relief to people.. Makes them feel better…!! I do not forgive him for his ignorance……I think he is an embarrassment ……..
        http://www.leap.cc

        • I agree 100%. I think it’s interesting that this elitist prohibitionist likes to make rules for others, while ignoring them himself. SAM should be embarrassed by him.

  5. “The administration has not done a particularly good job of, one, talking about marijuana as a public health issue, and number two, talking about what can be done and where we should be headed on our drug policy.”

    and last but not least, a particularly poor job of staffing key positions with those who like to preach from the “bully” pulpit

    • Michelle Leonhart and Melinda Haag were ATROCIOUS CHOICES….!! Disastrous.

  6. Americans always have this BACKWARD WAY of thinking for the rest of the world.

      • Yes, we do……..!!

  7. He’s a company product, and will NOT amend his thinking, NO MATTER WHAT…! And THAT IS A PATHETIC SHAME. Dude…..talk to the members of LEAP…! They are the very cops we trusted to wage the war on drugs….! They have valuable info…..we should listen to them.. and we should PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY. Mr. Kerlikowske, I do not respect you…… a person who willfully chooses to ignore information, FROM THOSE WHO KNOW…!!!
    http://www.leap.cc

  8. “I don’t look at marijuana as a human right, or a civil right”. Of course he won’t admit the ‘drug war’ is racist…Kerlikowske supports the prison-industrial complex. When he says that he doesn’t support the “lock ‘em up” strategy, he is LYING.

    “Meet Matthew Fogg, a former U.S. Marshal whose exploits led him to be nicknamed “Batman.” When he noticed that all of his team’s drug raids were in black areas, he suggested doing the same in the suburbs.

    “If we were locking up everybody, white and black, for doing the same drugs they would’ve done the same thing with prohibition, they would’ve outlawed it,” Fogg says in the video produced by Brave New Films. “If it were an equal enforcement opportunity we wouldn’t be sitting here anyway.” Source: Colorlines dot com

  9. “I don’t see the legalization of drugs and making them widely available as a good thing”, he says. However, enjoy the alcohol and cigarettes (not to mention the easy access to guns). blind or just obtuse?

  10. What about the U.S gun problem?

    Loose U.S gun laws, play a big part in the gun trade that provides a steady stream of illegal hand guns for the Canadian black market.

    Why doesn’t someone throw that back at them?

    What a bunch of self righteous a-holes.

    • The black market for illegal firearms knows no nationality,,if the US didn’t provide the supply for Canada the market will find another supplier,,just as with any restricted or prohibited items there is a demand for.

  11. “Well, I think of the experience of the Netherlands—they’ve had marijuana cafés for decades and in the last few years the government decided to close hundreds. One of the primary reasons they cite is marijuana tourism—people coming in from Germany, Belgium and other places have caused crime problems and other difficulties.”

    In May 2012, at least 600 people immediately lost their jobs when all cannabis cafes in three Dutch border provinces were turned into members’ only clubs. Hundreds of people were arrested (in one provence alone) for drug offenses. In addition, Maastricht University researchers said that youngsters were being exposed to other drugs because the strict separation between hard and soft drugs no longer applied. There was also a sharp increase in demand for seeds and other equipment required to grow marijuana at home. By the end of October 2012, after it was clear to all that the new restrictive policy had resulted only in increased street-selling and associated criminality, the Dutch sensibly abandoning plans to roll out the ‘Wietpas’ over the rest of the country.

    The Dutch justice ministry announced, in May 2009, the closure of eight prisons and cut 1,200 jobs in the prison system. A decline in crime has left many cells empty. There’s simply not enough criminals.

  12. They arrest three times as many people for alcohol because alcohol has stupid built in,,drunks do stupid shit and it gets them arrested,,,marijuana users are usually arrested because they smell like marijuana,their car does or a LEO notices bloodshot eyes. If it wasn’t illegal then arrests for marijuana wouldn’t even be worth mentioning.

    Again,,the govt created the problem and for a few trillion more dollars the ONDCP can make it worse.

  13. “After marijuana, we see prescription drugs as the next most significant drug problem we have. It has covered every demographic, age, race, ethnicity, gender. And it’s a bit disproportionate in poor and rural areas.”

    After marijuana? What the hell is he smoking? It certainly isn’t marijuana. He just stated that prescription pain killers kill more people than cocaine and heroin combined, yet marijuana is still more dangerous than all of the above? What kind of message are sending out there with this obvious bias for Big Pharma?

  14. Gosh, so much reefer madness! I’ll just tackle this one:

    “We arrest about 2.4 million people in this country a year for alcohol. We arrest less than 700,000 people for marijuana—and for all drugs, only 1.3 million. Alcohol is perfectly legal. So making drugs available without any sanction would only lead to more abuse.”

    Yes. 52% of American adults use alcohol monthly vs. 8% for marijuana.

    Yes, there are 3x more arrests for alcohol… but there are over 6x more users.

    So, in terms of arrests per user, it would seem half as many arrests occur for alcohol, right?

    Furthermore, if legal alcohol arrests > illegal marijuana arrests, we’re comparing apples and oranges, aren’t we? What would the arrest figures for alcohol be if the mere smell of beer or sight of a beer can were probable cause to search homes and cars and make arrests upon the detection of even one half-sip left in a Budweiser bottle? Wanna bet it’s > 2.4 million?

    Finally, suppose we legalize marijuana and its use does go up. There would need to be one new monthly pot smoker for every two existing monthly pot smokers to approach the greatest use rates recorded (~15%) from 1979. And if the increase in marijuana use led to a decrease in alcohol and prescription use, wouldn’t that be a net positive?

  15. The gateway theory in decriminalized environments has been proven false (Portugal, Netherlands, etc). Yet this is still cited as scripture by drug warriors . . . we really need to do something about this because there are still a lot of ignorant people out there who believe such nonsense.

    • Our media in the US, needs to ask serious questions regarding the status of medical marijuana….and how people wind up going to jail, when they were heretofore LEGALLY COMPLYING WITH THE LAW…!!?!$&@. And WHY DO WE NOT SUPPORT THEM….??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  16. Gil is a NAZI

  17. These bureaucrats know that without marijuana, their jobs program dissolves. Kerli keeps trying to associate MJ with alcohol and opiates in a negative way in the interest of keeping the status quo. A slight re-aiming of drug control policy could lessen the impact of these substances, but that wouldn’t be good for “business”.

    Alcohol producers fight any legalizing effort, fearing that with a choice, people won’t drink as much. WOW! That might mean we come to terms with rampant alcoholism in this country, That’s not good for business.

    Recent studies have shown that people who have ingested MJ need far smaller doses of opiates to achieve sufficient pain relief. Well, that doesn’t sit well with Big Pharma.
    Oh Wait! That’s right, we have a problem with hillbilly heroin and maybe if they had a little weed to smoke they wouldn’t be crushing up pills and injecting them for the increased effect. Aw Darn! That might get the opiate problem under control. If that happens then we’ll have to let those druggies smoke pot and without pot being illegal, half of my drug war workforce will be out of a job. Unemployment ain’t funny when it happens to you.

    Yeah Kerli, just ask those people who have lost their jobs for testing positive for something that stopped affecting them a week before the test.

    What it really comes down to is the drug war cannot continue to be waged in the interest of increasing profits for business and preventing competition for business.
    When we treat the problems that sometimes result from drug use as health issues instead of criminal acts, then we can steer the real solutions and have some effect.

    Then your title will become “Health Czar” and people would think you were at least trying to do some good for the common man, and not just trying to perpetuate a broken system that insures that the status quo continues forever.

  18. if you are a canadian, please accept my apologies for sending the message that we are to you. WE are our biggest problem, there is no subject you can imagine that we are not hypocritical on. our bad.

  19. Prohibition is a crime. Those who support prohibition create criminals of citizens and support organized crime on a systematic basis. Prohibition creates corruption at all levels of government according to the U.N. This article is simply evidence of said corruption.

    • One of my favourite lines too BruceWayne Ryan!

      ‘If you support prohibition you support crime!”

      Lets end them both NOW.

      • Abraham Lincoln responded to this kind of repressive mentality in December, 1840, when he said “Prohibition/goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.”
        The Emperor Wears No Clothes, Jack Herer- chapter 2

  20. Let me get this straight, the Drug Czar believes Prescription drug abuse is SECONDARY to cannabis? You’ve GOT to be Kidding. Prescription drugs kill 200,000+ people per year (more than car accidents); marijuana has killed 0. What a joke. Tax and regulate it like alcohol, prohibition is the REAL public health issue.

  21. Gil Kerlikowske doesn’t know the difference between marijuana, synthetic marijuana, and heroin. I hope sequestration puts him out on the street.

  22. Q: What shaped your view in that direction?

    A: I had been a narcotics detective and then a police chief
    in two large cities that had, like most of our large cities, a drug
    problem. We would regurgitate the same people through the system. They’d
    be arrested for crimes, but they’d have a drug problem. They’d go off
    to jail and then they’d be back. Often without treatment, without
    after-care, and unsurprisingly they’d be back into crime

    =================================================================

    Maybe it had more to do with you, continually, making them spend their time and money on probation, or parole, or whatever it’s called, then on finding and continuing employment,. It could ALSO be that you have given them a criminal record, making them far less employable, thus leaving them no choice BUT to use crime for survival.

    You’re “making” the problems; where their were none………promise.

  23. Gill! Take a pill. After marijuana, we see prescription drugs as the next most significant drug problem we have. Limited resources. Come on. We all know that the American government has printed billions if not trillions of greenbacks to declare ware on it’s own citizens and will continue to do so. It is win at all costs even though they know it is a war that will never be won. Basically a Stalemate! If marijuana were legal and the money were spent on treating addictions instead of incarceration America would be much safer and better place to live. Then they wouldn’t need guns to protect themselves from themselves.

  24. Mr. Gil Kerlikowske, you can lead a horse to water………….but you can’t make him drink it…..
    With reference to the safe injection site, you can’t force people to quit, and you can’t force people to accept offers of help….What you can do is make an attempt at making the situation safe with the hopes that one day you might make a difference…

    Enough with this exhausting war on Cannabis…..A NATURALLY occurring substance which has been a complete part of our culture as human beings for thousands of years prior to your BS laws! Why don’t you absorb the energy spent on crackdowns on a bloody weed, and divert it to the cocaine and crack and heroine trades…..It is a HUMAN right! It is a plant that I could find growing on the side of a mountain, and I can enjoy without any form of extraction! You don’t have any right to justify legalities on this issue. Enough already!

  25. Over grow the Gov’t. Damn communist Fed. Gov’t……

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