Friday, April 19, 2013

Drug Czar, Posing As a Reformer, Emphasizes the Importance of Busting People for a plant

Drug Czar, Posing As a Reformer, Emphasizes the Importance of Busting People for Pot:
Yesterday drug czar Gil Kerlikowske
addressed marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington,

declaring
that "the Justice Department’s responsibility to
enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged," since
"neither a state nor the executive branch can nullify a statute
passed by Congress." Yet it is equally true that neither Congress
nor the executive branch can
nullify
a state's decision to stop treating the cultivation,
possession, and sale of marijuana as crimes. And since states
account for 99 percent of marijuana arrests, that constitutional
reality has certain
practical implications
to which the Obama administration might
want to respond at some point. Even if Congress does not act
anytime soon to loosen or repeal the federal ban on marijuana, the
Justice Department has a great deal of discretion in deciding
how to enforce it.
Testifying before a House subcommittee today, Attorney General
Eric Holder
said
he is still mulling that over, five months after residents
of Colorado and Washington made history by voting to legalize
marijuana. "When it comes to these marijuana initiatives," he said,
"I think among the kinds of things we will have to consider is the
impact on children." Rep. Andrew Harris (R-Md.), who last week

urged
Holder to challenge the initiatives in court (despite the

iffy legal prospects
of that strategy), took advantage of the
hearing to do so again. "Your department could choose to attempt to
overturn those laws," he said. "That would send a message to
America's youth that marijuana is not a safe drug. Kids need clear
messages and I'm afraid we’re not sending them one." Action is
urgent, Harris said, "because children are dying from drugs." (If
Harris, who is a physician, has come across a death caused by
marijuana, he should publish his findings right away, because that
would be a first.) Holder promised Harris the Justice Department
will take a position "as quick as we can," which sounds faster than
"relatively
soon
" but probably isn't.
Speaking of sending messages to America's youth, Kerlikowske
tried to prove his bona fides as an advocate of "drug policy
reform" (yes, he really said that) by criticizing the
government-sponsored, pervasively parodied "This Is Your Brain on
Drugs" ads of the late 1980s. Kerlikowske prefers "Just Say
No." And again, I
am not kidding
.
The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, which produced the
spots Kerlikowske bashed, was still bragging
about them as late as 2006.