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Who Should Be the Next Drug Czar?

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We will have a new president in January 2009, and that means we will have a new cabinet as well, including a new head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP--the drug czar's office). Who should the next drug czar be? Do we want another general? Another drug war true believer? (Would that be a job requirement?) A doctor? A public health person? A lawyer? An activist? A politician? The progressive web site The Backbone Campaign is seeking "shadow cabinet" nominations. Anyone can nominate anyone. Here's the list so far for the drug czar position:
Nominee(s): Ethan Nadelmann Dean Becker Tom Hayden Gary Johnson Rep. Maxine Waters Russell Simmons Bill Maher Al Sharpton Keith Stroup
I'd be happy with any of these folks, including our buddy Dean Becker from the Drug Truth Network. I'll also suggest a couple more: Professor Peter Reuter of the University of Maryland, co-author of "Drug War Heresies," knows drug policy issues inside and out and is a pretty progressive fellow on these issues. And, of course, in a perfect world, the next drug czar would be Tommy Chong. But I don't know if he could make it through the committee hearings... Who's your nominee?
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Drug Czar

The best choice politically would probably be Gary Johnson. Most of the others would have a harder time getting through confirmation.

Part of the problem, though, is it's not just the drug czar, but also the entire mission and mandate of the ONDCP as enacted by Congress, which, if the new drug czar were to actually follow it, would force him or her to look a lot like Walters.

For example, this part of the job requirement:

(12) shall ensure that no Federal funds appropriated to the Office of National Drug Control Policy shall be expended for any study or contract relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of a substance listed in schedule I of section 812 of this title and take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form) that—
(A) is listed in schedule I of section 812 of this title; and
(B) has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration;

The ONDCP needs to be eliminated or changed. Otherwise merely appointing a new drug czar won't help.

- Pete Guither

psmith's picture

A point well taken. Maybe it's time for Reaganite tactics.

You know, appointing someone to head an agency whose mission it is to destroy it.


I was unaware that ONDCP's bylaws prohibit evaluating the merits of legalization.

Still, I imagine it's just a question of terminology. I'm glad you brought this up, Phil. It won't be long before we're looking at this issue much more seriously, which will probably involve studying the backgrounds of various unknown bureaucrats.

list of candidated for drugs czr

John stewart
woopy goldberg
Bruce Margolin
Willie nelson
and if all goes wrong and no money is available we can always have Paris Hilton
we know she ain't scared for being busted

Drug Czar

Jack Cole, LEAP

MaRena Collins
Colorado Springs, CO

Anyone from LEAP

Being a former prosecutor will lend some cred.

Drug Czar

Alexander Shulgin
Andrew Weil

Another person not in the list

I would nominate Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a strong advocate of medical marijuana in congress. Since he's a Republican the GOPers in the Senate would not choose to object due to their congressional courtesy and Dems wouldn't have any problem either.


I vote for Ron Paul.
If you want a former prosecutor, support me - William Cooke - .

Eric Sterling

Of course, no one would ever allow this to happen. But if it were up to me, I think Eric would be a superb choice. I'm sure he'd gladly step up.


I appreciate the humor of this premise, but PLEASE lets just abolish this wasteful government agency.


Bozo the Clown.

No wait. He's dead.

Come to think of it, good choice after all.


Alternative Choice: Wavy Gravy.

Gene Simmons

Gene Simmons

Drug Czar

Arnold Trebach
Lester Grinspoon

New Drug Czar

It doesn't matter. Shrub has set the precedent. The new president just signs an executive statement stating the czar can do whatever he wants.

New Drug Czar

I like Gary Johnson, anyone who can compete in an Ironman , run a state, and be a proponent for health and be conscious of natural medication is my choice. Weed is not crack, but alcohol is kinda like crack, except I see more people begging money for what I'm assuming is crack; speed, but more likely for alcohol. Or committing serious crimes against there fellow man to feed their monsters. Marijuana not the case. Our new czar should leave the herb alone, and focus on the drugs that damage our communities.

New Drug Czar

If you read below, it obviously doesn't matter how the czar conducts himself
as long as his bosses condone his actions.

I say gut it like a fish.

ONDCP Legislation

§ 1703. Appointment and duties of Director and Deputy Directors
How Current is This? (a) Appointment
(1) In general ...
(5) Prohibition on political campaigning
Any officer or employee of the Office who is appointed to that position by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, may not participate in Federal election campaign activities, except that such official is not prohibited by this paragraph from making contributions to individual candidates.

Gary Johnson, Nominate more academics less celebrities please

I concur with Gary Johnson
A couple additions:

Richard Bonnie -- Former member of Nixon's 1972 Schaeffer Commission -- Currently a law professor

Stephen Duke

And yes appointing someone to head a government organization that they wish to destroy, kind of reminds me (I was born in the Reagan years) of how Bush appointed John Bolton or some other guy to the UN, who had gone on record several times before saying how he though the UN was a worthless, ineffectual body which the U.S. shouldn't even bother associating with.

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