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Marijuana Legalization Won’t Solve Drug Problem: Kerlikowske

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Legalizing marijuana will not solve the country’s drug problem, the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske, said Wednesday.

Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, Kerlikowske said state laws in Colorado and Washington that have legalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana present complex questions, UPI reports.

“The Justice Department’s responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged,” he said. “Neither a state nor the executive branch can nullify a statute passed by Congress, nor should we lose sight of the fundamental fact that using marijuana has public health consequences, and the most responsible public policy is one that restricts its availability and discourages its use.”

The Obama Administration has committed more than $10 billion to drug education programs and support for expanding access to drug addiction treatment, he told reporters.

14 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of MZ
    MZ / September 18, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    Hundreds of physicians writing for the American Medical Association believe marijuana is indeed a gateway drug to harder drugs, both psyiologically and culturallym and believe it is addictive. The DEA demonstrates that a great majority of violent criminals test positive for drugs, of which marijuana is very prevalent. Note too that practically every single mass murderer on US soil in recent decades where medical records are known, used drugs in the past, of which marijuana is the common denominator in ALL of them, You name the psychopath, though not necessarily high at the time, they almost assuredly they had a pothead history that likely contributed to their messed up brains, Loughner, Manson, Dahmer, McVeigh, Tsarnaes, Klebold/Hairs, Lanza, Manson, Bundy, etc All of them, Look it up, Though correlation is not causation, the link is probably stronger than DNA evidence in crime solving.

  2. Ben House / April 24, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    Come on folks, international groups we have signed contracts with about drug issues are upset with US over Colorado and Washington. He has some real wars to fight and needs to make public statements.
    Having watched this war on drugs since going to Vietnam in 1971 to fight heroin abuse I have observed lots of cottage industries spring up and become dependent on the war. They do not want it to go away anymore than the arms dealers want combat wars to stop.

  3. Ken Wolski / April 22, 2013 at 10:20 am

    I agree that “using marijuana has public health consequences.” Eighteen states and the District of Columbia passed laws that say marijuana can IMPROVE the health of the public when used in a medically supervised program. I also agree that “the most responsible public policy is one that restricts (marijuana’s) availability and discourages its use.” But the current federal policy does not reasonably restrict marijuana’s use from, for example, the patio at McDonald’s. Federal policy forbids any and all use of marijuana–possession of a single joint can result in a year in federal prison and a $1000 fine. These draconian penalties are inconsistent with the emerging scientific awareness of marijuana’s health benefits and America’s growing dissatisfaction with the failed and racist War on Drugs.

  4. billinsandiego / April 19, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    Yep. The Drug Czar is absolutely correct. And legalizing prostitution won’t decrease people with sex problems either. But is that why marijuana is illegal? Because there are “drug problems?” Should we reintroduce alcohol prohibition because we have drinking problems? I don’t recall reading that National Prohibition did that well back in the 1920′s. Perhaps we should separate the power of law enforcement and heavy-handed police tactics from personal problems with substances – unless the laws are simply there to get at “certain kinds of people,” rather than “certain kinds of personal activity.”

  5. Carl Olsen / April 19, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Okay, legalization of marijuana won’t solve the drug problem. So, let’s legalize marijuana, and then we’ll solve the drug problem. Getting a non-toxic plant out of the way will clear the road and pave the way for solving real drug problems.

  6. PWKaplan / April 19, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Marijuana should remain illegal because a mother is afraid her daughter will get a contact high at McDonald’s? Is there no end to the paranoia about drugs in this country? Why is it so hard to understand that issues are complicated and simple-minded (not necessarily simple) solutions rarely work? Drug abuse will not be ended by criminalizing or decriminalizing it. The public health problem of addiction will be modestly improved if possession of drugs is decriminalized and the ridiculous amounts of money wasted on enforcement with and imprisonment of addicts is funneled into their treatment. Treatment on demand won’t solve addiction either. It will just make it easier for people to get help when they need it/are ready for it. The only thing that is sure is that as a society we have become addicted to stupid policies like criminalizing drugs–if the definition of addiction is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Mr. Kerlikowske may mean well, but he is disastrously out of touch with the needs of both the country as a whole and the substance using population in particular. His view of an America about to be overrun by reefer madness would be laughable if it didn’t ruin so many lives for no useful reason.

  7. Avatar of Jack Palmer
    Jack Palmer / April 18, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Neither is placing marijuana in the same category as more harsh even deadlier drugs. It shocks alot of people when they find out where marijuana sits in the Federal Classifications of “drugs”. After watching a special on some other drugs; illegal ones. I learn that some become so dependent that depriving the body without it, can lead to death.

  8. Cindy / April 18, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Drinking in a public venue does not get the person next to you high. Smoking in a public venue CAN get the person next to you high. Aside from the addiction discussion, there are broad public health concerns such as ‘contact highs’ that the pro-marijuana contingent ignore. Colorado is already struggling with this: if my 10 year-old kid and I want to sit on the patio at McDonalds and somebody fires up a joint, my child and I are exposed to marijuana smoke. Who’s rights prevail?

  9. DocBarry / April 18, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Every time I read another bureaucrat justifying a law that was as well thought out as the way to stop machine guns. You can’t own a sub-machine gun without a tax stamp, so that same stroke of genius was applied to Marijuana by Hearst, Anslinger, et al. How about making cigarettes illegal? Do you think that people will 100% stop smoking, or will smokers be forced to do business underground, with people that don’t pay taxes. Oh, I forgot, does Marlboro pay taxes? Probably not, I don’t even believe that Phillip Morris exists any longer. However, Does the United States Government not realize that there are probably as many people smoking a different type of tobacco, and because they do, they are now criminals. Doesn’t anyone realize that 5,000 years ago marijuana was prescribed medicinally in China? What is most ironic to me, is that our nation is experiencing financial stress, instead of changing public policy, that would add tax dollars to our coffers, and save trillions by ending the War on Drugs, and cease incarcerating people because they smoke a different cigarette, maybe freedom will mean something. What happened to “The Bill of Rights?”

  10. Avatar of Fran McAndrew
    Fran McAndrew / April 18, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Legalizing Marijuana allows the natural consequences of addiction to follow. As numerous people use alcohol in a safe and sane manner, so to could marijuana be another way to address acute stress.

  11. Philip Appel / April 18, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Legalizing marijuana will not solve the country’s drug problem–which one? Will doing one thing solve anything? Another fatuous speech from a public official.

  12. Avatar of Sherry Callear
    Sherry Callear / April 19, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Love this comment! Exactly.

  13. billinsandiego / April 20, 2013 at 12:09 am

    Poor analogy. Those who fought hard to change Colorado’s and Washington’s marijuana laws would welcome the arrest of someone stupid enough to “fire up a joint” at McDonalds (a public place), which is still illegal in both states.

  14. Joshua / April 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Clearly spoken by someone that has never been in a situation where marijuanna was smoked, a contact high simply does not work that way. We already have the indoor clean air act, which completely eliminates 100% of the problem to which you are referring.

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