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Legalization: Drug Czar Avoids Answering Question on Fed Response to California Initiative

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #626)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office) head Gil Kerlikowske declined to directly answer a question about how the federal government would respond if California voters passed the Tax, Regulate and Control Cannabis Act, the marijuana legalization initiative sponsored by Oaksterdam entrepreneur Richard Lee. Kerlikowske's no comment came in a Thursday webcast on ABC News' Top Line program.

Gil Kerlikowske in his Seattle days
Kerlikowske said he wouldn't speculate on how the Obama administration would respond to a legalization victory in November. "Since it hasn't passed -- right now it would be improper to speculate on what the federal government's role is," he said.

The Obama administration has made it clear it would respect the rights of medical marijuana patients and providers in states where it is legal, but it is not at all clear that it would respond in the same way to legalization for personal use.

When prodded, Kerlikowske said the federal government could respond in a variety of ways, including filing lawsuits to litigate differences between state and federal drug laws. "You can envision a lot of different things," he said.

Let's hope that come November, the question is no longer hypothetical and the administration will be forced to grapple with the question of how to deal with Californians having voted to free the weed. Then things could get really interesting.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Screw what the federal government thinks. They should have never had the chance to dictate definitions of morality in the first place. New time, new age. We no longer have to live under the influence of right wing religious nutballs who hand us their version of morality as they pork the neighbors wife or drink copious amounts of alcohol and pop pain killers "Oh but those are legal". Screw them all and their _ucked up laws. I will decide what I put into MY body. Always have always will. Would just like to see it legal and real. Oh, and in case you have not noticed, I depise the US government and all their bullshit.

Fri, 04/02/2010 - 8:41pm Permalink
mike boutin (not verified)

The Ca. tax and regulate initiative DOES NOT "free the weed" and when journalists keep saying it, they are not doing a very good job at their "job! It creates NEW FELONIES and leaves the implementation up to jurisdictions that have already proven they do not want Cannabis in their towns! Under this new proposition, a 21 yr old man who gives his 20 yr old girlfriend a joint will be guilty of a felony. A FELONY!!!! REALLY! Is that what you want? 1 plant per property? That is not free the weed, wake up people!

Sat, 04/03/2010 - 10:15am Permalink
yes390 (not verified)

In reply to by mike boutin (not verified)

The California tax cannabis initiative does NOT restrict private cultivation to one plant per property. You can grow as many plants as you want in 25 square feet of garden.

for details.

Tue, 04/06/2010 - 1:17am Permalink
Jean Boyd (not verified)

between real legalization and legalization. And as far as the Federal Government...I do not know who they are anymore. I am sure there are some good people in there. l imagine that the good will outweigh the bad. I will think that the Federal government does nothing. One in eight people are felons. The word felony has lost it's meaning. The info age is ending. We are moving into the age of Aquarius. The cannabis plant will lead the way to the greening of the earth again.

Sat, 04/03/2010 - 2:52pm Permalink
doctorK (not verified)

I worked for years in drug addiction clinics of Philadelphia, and I have seen hundreds of cases of severe physical dependence on pain-killer opiates as well as all kinds of "nerve" and "sleeping" pills. This kind of severe dependence is accompanied by a pronounced withdrawal syndrome - including seizures, vomiting, terrible bone pain, loose bowels - you name it. An overdose with any of these substances can easily lead to death. CNN reported a couple of days ago that thousands of our veterans are dependent on all kinds of prescription narcotic drugs while the VA Administration stubbornly refuses to utilize medical marijuana, even though it would be very helpful in many cases, and even in the States where it is legal. Canada, on the other hand, pays for medical marijuana for its veterans (which would be so much cheaper than the synthetic chemicals of many prescription drugs). It is worth repeating (for the millionth time) that marijuana is immeasurably safer than alcohol.
During my years as an addiction medicine physician I have never seen a case of marijuana overdose, or even a physical withdrawal associated with its use, and the only very rare and very questionable cases of "marijuana addiction" were those coercively "referred" by the Parole or Probation department after a person failed the drug test. I cannot possibly say this better than the following quote:
" Cannabis will one day be seen as a wonder drug, as was penicillin in the 1940s. Like penicillin, herbal marijuana is remarkably nontoxic, has a wide range of therapeutic applications and would be quite inexpensive if it were legal." - Dr. Lester Grinspoon, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Los Angeles Times, May 5, 2006

Sun, 04/04/2010 - 11:42am Permalink

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