Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey was in New Mexico on Thursday (10/8) to publicly condemn Governor Gary Johnson for his public stance against prohibition. Speaking to a group of law enforcement officials, McCaffrey called Johnson's support for the legalization of drugs "astonishing and embarrassing" and called the governor "Puff Daddy Johnson."
Most curious of all, however, was McCaffrey's reference to the Monday morning meeting between Governor Johnson and Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) in Washington DC, which had been reported on in the national media. McCaffrey told his audience today that "[Johnson] should be ashamed for talking to a bunch of college students and telling them that marijuana use is great and heroin use is great."
Shawn Heller, President of the George Washington University SSDP, told The Week Online that McCaffrey was badly misinformed.
"That's the most absurd thing I've ever heard. The governor said nothing of the sort. Governor Johnson was very clear in stating that he believed that drug use was a handicap. He told us that it was important for young people to understand that the costs of drug use far outweigh any perceived benefits. It's disturbing that a man in Barry McCaffrey's position would slander Governor Johnson like that."
Kris Lotlikar, who works with both SSDP and DRCNet, told The Week Online that McCaffrey's statement was indicative of the policy he represents.
"Barry McCaffrey was not in that meeting. No one from ONDCP was in that meeting. It is a complete fabrication. We shouldn't be surprised though, because the whole drug war is built on lies. They talk about education while their budget goes to prisons. They say it's not a war while we send troops and weapons into Colombia. They talk about protecting kids, even though kids can buy any drugs they want, at any age, because there's no one asking for ID under prohibition. Barry McCaffrey has once again sent a message to young people that we cannot believe a word that comes out of his mouth."
The Drug Reform Coordination Network is a sponsor of SSDP and facilitated the meeting. Adam J. Smith, DRCNet Associate Director, said that McCaffrey's statement points to the government's fear of the growing campus anti-drug war movement.
"Apparently, General McCaffrey was pretty disturbed by the fact that Governor Johnson met with SSDP. The thought of a full-fledged anti-prohibition movement on college campuses -- encompassing a broad cross-section of students with concerns ranging from AIDS and racial discrimination to privacy and property rights -- is frightening to the drug war establishment. Having had the pleasure of speaking with the Governor at this meeting, I strongly doubt that he will be frightened away from the campus movement by such tactics."
ONDCP was not available for comment on this story at press time.