The Drug Czar's Only Job is to Oppose Legalization (And He Sucks at It)

Posted in:

Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske is back in damage control mode again following Mexican President Felipe Calderon's call for a debate on legalizing drugs.

Kerlikowske, known officially as the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, spoke this morning at a border security conference in El Paso, where he tried to debunk the belief that taxing and regulating currently illegal narcotics would somehow put narco-traffickers out of business.

“[Traffickers] would not change their ways and turn to legal pursuits if drugs were legal,” he said. “Legalizing drugs makes them cheaper, makes them more accessible and therefore makes them more widely abused.” [Texas Tribune]

I would love for Kerlikowske to explain to me how legalization is going to completely change everything, yet somehow fail to affect the illicit market. Rather obviously, if drugs become much cheaper, the cartels get screwed. That is so painfully simple, I'm running out of ways to explain it.

As usual, the argument once again comes down to this ridiculous division over whether or not legalization hurts drug kingpins. It shouldn't take more than a kernel of common sense to solve this riddle, and if that's too much to ask, history has also settled this debate rather decisively for us. We did once ban the most popular drug in the country, and then legalized it again, so there's plenty to be learned from that experience if one is so inclined. Alcohol prohibition was the only period in American history during which the alcohol industry was controlled by murderous gangsters. Everyone knows that.

Of course, the only reason we even have a drug czar is to confuse people about how drug policy actually works. We've spent enormous sums over the years empowering government propagandists to distort the debate, and if there's anything remarkable about Kerlikowske's various comments on legalization, it's how bland, brief and boring they've been. His job is literally to clarify the Obama administration's opposition to legalization in as few words as humanly possible, so as to avoid getting anyone excited. His goal is to make the conversation less interesting, and he does a pretty good job.

Unfortunately for the drug czar, it really doesn't matter very much how he expresses his opposition to legalizing drugs. He's just the latest stooge to be tasked with the miserable duty of dealing with us, and as long as we keep forcing the subject, we're scoring points.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

the real heart of the trafficker

The traffickers would not change their ways because they love evil for evil's sake. The cash to be made from a throttled market is low on their agenda since they were BORN WRONG and would prefer to pass out pink colored pot brownies and meth than MAKE A BUCK.

JJ, do you actually

JJ, do you actually believe that traffickers would still be able to earn the same profits they currently do if the drug market were government-regulated and supplied by licensed businesses?

I was going to comment on

I was going to comment on this exact sentiment. It seems that there are a lot of people in this country (and world) who believe that there are two types of people, those "born wrong" who just want to pursue a life of crime whatever the mechanism, and those who are born good and take a regular 9 to 5 and never break a law in their lives.

This is the most ridiculous notion I have ever heard. Drug dealers do not start selling drugs because they are "evil" or"born bad". They start selling drugs because there is A WHOLE LOT OF MONEY TO BE MADE IN BLACKMARKET DRUG DEALING! Dealing drugs is far safer than robbing a bank or breaking into a house. It also has far less moral ramifications than human trafficking or murder for hire.

Drug dealers, in general, are not subhuman evil monsters looking to spread evil. Most are quite ethical, and in no way want to resort to violence, though their job sometimes demands it. If the money were taken out of the illegal drug market, would they get "real jobs"? They would HAVE NO CHOICE! The easy money would be gone and unless they would want to put their lives at risk doing violent crime, which most wouldn't because they have families and children, they would have to get a job.


drug dealing

drug dealers tend to deal drugs to survive and "make a buck"... the drug problem/war is directly tied to poverty. When you grow up in Mexico w/ no options for a career and no education and then a drug kingpin approaches you about some dirty work he needs a no-name for, the kingpin's paycheck is much more desirable than any bullshit job you can get w/ a legit in a legit industry. 

Come on Now

Obviously legalization doesn't instantly turn any specific criminal into a productive member of society.  That was never the point, and you're response is pure straw man material.

But if you seriously think that robbing cartels of two thirds of their income stream won't, over time, severely restrict their power and reach, you're simply insane.  As they say, money makes the world go round.  As long as we keep funneling marijuana money to criminals, that world will keep spinning around as fast as ever.

One of the learning channels

One of the learning channels recently had a special on drugs and pretty much said that gangs, cartels, and mafia's money is on average 80% funded by marijuana alone. Granted I don't know where they came up with that number and it definitely changes from group to group....It is still very clear that the most popular "drug" is marijuana and we support the criminals at the top. Some people say those groups will just go on to worse things, but there has to be a market for those things!


A lot of Mexico's problems all lie right here in the United States with our demands for goods.

Predicting Prop 19 Outcomes

We actually have [prescription] drugs that are highly legal, highly taxed, highly regulated and highly controlled. We have found as a country [that] we are totally incapable of keeping those drugs out of the hands of young people,” —Kerlikowske (Texas Tribune).

If Mr. Kerlikowske, his pricey crew, and the entire country are totally incapable of keeping prescription meds out of the hands of young people, then how can he possibly think the government is any better at keeping illegal drugs out of the hands of anybody who wants them?

Ineffective as always—an irredeemable failure for nearly a century—Kerlikowske now believes he and his team can predict what will happen if Prop 19 passes? 

Drug enforcement has no record it can stand on when it comes to being right about anything.  Prohibitionists exist to perpetuate themselves.  Their opposition to marijuana legalization and regulation gives them a better chance of getting what they really want: their continued existence.


A simple observation settles

A simple observation settles a lot: drug dealers do not sell aspirin, ibuprofen, caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol. Why not? Because the profit to be made doing so is so much less than the profit from selling illicit drugs that they don't even bother. Especially since consumers would rather get their drugs from legitimate sources than murderous drug cartels if they are given the choice. Any thug that enters the legal market will be shut out by more responsible sellers, because most people don't want to support violent criminals. 

Drug Czar is Required by Law to Lie

According to Title VII Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998: H11225:

Responsibilities. –The Director– [...]

(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 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812) and take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form) that–

  1. is listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812); and
  2. has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration;

And guess who was the author of that pile of crap,

Our own dear VP, Biden!

29,000 dead in Mexico means zero to Imperial AmeriKKKa...

Mexican dead have no affect on the national does a million in Iraq...a few get some pathos when the dogs are shot in no -knock Swat HELL arrests for medical cannabis...not people killed or terrorized...we our dehumanized to is our culture. Religion is worship of death in the Superpower tribe and minions of this World,therefore,people need to change their religion...LOVE and LOGIC is the THC MINISTRY.

Problem with Verbage

Look at this statement:  “Legalizing drugs makes them cheaper, makes them more accessible and therefore makes them more widely abused.”

Pray tell how something will be "abused" if it's legal?  Chewing gum is legal.  How many sticks to I have to cram into my mouth before I become an "abuser?"  At what point does the use of a legal substance cross the "abuse" threshold?  Can a legal substance BE abused?  The answer to that is YES.  Take alcohol as your prime example.  So, legal substances CAN be abused.  So, how does one know when they've become an "abuser?"  Do we require someone to tell us so?  Is it codified somewhere?

To use a legal substance is NOT to abuse it!  Please, let's get this crap straightened out.  My old English Prof is having fits!

stop throwing your seeds

stop throwing your seeds away, when you roll one up go for a walk,dig a little dirt and plant your seeds. drive them insane with all of the little green weeds growing everywhere and helping people live independently.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <b>

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School