Hmm, could there be hope that our nation’s ignorant and costly war on (some) plants might be ending? Or at the least shifting in importance? There is at least a glimmer of hope that the new Drug Czar nominee is not a direct descendent of Harry Anslinger and his followers like Brian McCaffrey and William “slots” Bennett.
Under [Police Chief Gil] Kerlikowske, Seattle has been a model for sensible marijuana policy, including the famous Seattle Hempfest at which the Seattle Police Department performs a public safety role while declining to make marijuana arrests. Following the passage of a 2004 lowest priority initiative, the city’s already-low rate of marijuana prosecutions fell even further, suggesting that Kerlikowske was responsive to the will of voters.
In that sense, he offers a dramatic departure from ONDCP’s shameful history of undermining state medical marijuana laws and inserting itself into state politics for the purpose of thwarting reform efforts. In an office typically run by military officials and political hacks, Kerlikowske would bring expertise in community policing and public relations.
As drug czar, I have no doubt that Gil Kerlikowske would oppose drug legalization and serve as our primary opponent on many issues. Nevertheless, at first glance, my gut instinct is that after several drug czars from hell, a guy from Seattle doesn’t sound so bad.
Read more about Gil Kerlikowske including:
Last year, he sat on a panel of researchers who found that mining private citizens’ bank, telephone and other electronic records in counterterrorism investigations produced few results while posing serious risks to civil liberties.