Breaking News:Dangerous Delays: What Washington State (Re)Teaches Us About Cash and Cannabis Store Robberies [REPORT]

Drug Czar Doesn't Want to be Drug Czar Anymore

It's hard to imagine a worse job than defending the drug war every single day, and it looks as though Gil Kerlikowske has had about all he can take:

President Barack Obama‘s drug czar is among the contenders to become the first Chicago police superintendent in Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel‘s administration, the Chicago News Cooperative has learned.

Gil Kerlikowske, whose formal title is director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, met last week with Emanuel in Chicago and was in town again over the weekend for an interview with the police board, sources told the CNC. (Chicago News Cooperative)

This could make for an early end to Kerlikowske's term as head cheerleader for the U.S. War on Drugs, but it isn't hugely surprising. He struck me as a rather reluctant drug czar, willing to read the script, but uninspired when it came to the dirty game of D.C. drug war politics. I'm tempted to speculate that he never fully appreciated the extent to which the job simply involved performing public relations duties as Americans grow increasingly disgusted with everything that office stands for.

His recent clash with the Seattle Times over a marijuana legalization editorial made for some pretty embarrassing press and really cemented the already well-understood nature of the drug czar position as basically a cranky government stooge who wags his finger at proponents of policy reform. It's not glamorous work, but worse, it isn't even important in any of the ways that someone like Kerlikowske would want it to be. You don't get to fix or change anything, so unless you love the drug war exactly the way it is, the job is utterly unrewarding.

If Kerlikowske does move on, it will be the second high-ranking departure from ONDCP under Obama, and it should raise new questions about what the hell actually goes on over there.

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 ONDCP Propaganda Machine seems to be losing traction. Deep mud requires good tires . Maybe the oncoming cannabis legalization tsunami is in view of D.C. . 

No more drug czar. We don't

No more drug czar. We don't need to be paying someone to lie to the people about how the drug war has ended. Really its over so i can go smoke a joint out on the street.... Nope i will still get arrested.

Let's hope they don't replace

Let's hope they don't replace him with another John Walters.

They would probably put that one woman there.

I can't remember her name ; she didn't make any impression on me. All I know is that in her eyes marijuana was created by the Devil.

Michele Leonhart? The pyscho

Michele Leonhart? The pyscho head of the DEA? I hope she becomes drug czar because it would be the straw the broke the camels back. Her approach would cause significant resistance. 

cjf86's picture

I agree...that woman is a

I agree...that woman is a psycho and completely out of control.  She's hell bent on going after every drug dealer, user, grower...whatever.  Lay off the anti-marijuana crusade and clean up the drugs that are actually causing harm to people....

Created by the devil... but

Created by the devil... but yet its alright for all of those religious figures in their precious bible of standards to smoke it, and use hemp for all the glorious uses it has

A rather reluctant Drug Czar, really?

Are you serious, Scott? A rather reluctant Drug Czar? Haven't you read the mission of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy? No funds, no research, no discussion of legalisation is allowed. Only a zealot, an ambitious zealot to be precise, is interested in such a job. 

Gart Valenc


He's the least enthusiastic drug czar we've had. By far. Every word he ever said was soft compared to Walters. To assume he's exactly like the others simply because he took the job is silly.

Message or Messenger

What matters is the message, not the messenger. To think otherwise, that's really silly.

Gart Valenc


Gart, I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say. I think there are many important reasons to study how Kerlikowske handled the position differently than his predecessors. I could spend all day enumerating them. Moreover, his approach was dramatically different, both in terms of what he said and how he said it. 


I believe what Gart is saying that it doesn't matter if lube is used or not - we're still taking it up the ass...

Let's Play the Fill the Gap Game; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: rgb(182, 171, 142); line-height: 1.4em; font: normal normal normal 13px/1.5 Helvetica, Arial, 'Liberation Sans', FreeSans, sans-serif; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; background-repeat: repeat no-repeat; ">

He's the least enthusiastic ___________ (murderer, fraudster, etc.) we've had. By far. Every _____ (weapon, method, etc.) he ever ________ (used, conceived, etc.) was ________ (less powerful, less distressful, etc. ) compared to (Al Capone, Bernard Maddoff, etc.) To assume he's exactly like the others simply because he ___________ (killed, defraud, etc. only a handful) is silly.


Gart Valenc

In Gil's defense

I can remember when Obama first appointed Mr. Kerlikowske for the job of Czar. At the time it seemed like a brilliant choice,because if you remember where he came from, was a very progressive state, when it comes to cannabis. So let's see what kind of two faced liar the President can find to continue his bulls##t campaign against the Americas and the rest of the world.

im not surprised

who would want a job where everyone considers you as a criminal on par with Hitler .

We don't need a drug czar. we

We don't need a drug czar. we need to do some de-funding.

No more Drug Czars allowed

I think it is time to remove the Drug Czar. I consider this a free country I don't need any type of Czar. Let alone any Drug Czar. Ending the war on drugs. Otherwise known as the war against america by americans… End the war, People to be responsible enough to choose what substances they need or do not need. This is supposed to be a free country. 

Obama Lied!


Hahahahaha... Well ya thAt's

Hahahahaha... Well ya thAt's what they get paid to do is lie and put forth bills that make us less free so that corperations have the freedom not the people it is classic transition to slavery! Get ready itS coming full steam! unless we stand up as the citizens of the UNITED states of America that we are and demand that we ought to be free and take this beautiful country of ours back!!!! STAND UP PEOPLE!!!! And open your eyes! This land has been fought for by Man for centries, and right now evil is winning this war! Either we take it back now or loose freedom forever! Politician or pro-liers! Democrate or republican they are both the same just a different name to elude the people into thinking they have a choice! They are both on the same team! All about money and power and could give two shits about our freedom! VOTE Libertarian!

Sue the damn federal government







  • I have been lobbying my so-called “representatives”, at both State and federal levels, on this issue for more than 35 years. They seldom respond, and the few responses have always been pretty much “thanks, but kiss off, we aren’t changing anything” couched in politically neutral phrasing.

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result, well I think a lot of us who’ve been insane concerning this issue have suddenly become very sane and have realized we need to do something drastically different, something more, because contacting the sold out whores in government hasn’t worked in the past, isn’t working now, and will never work in the future. If nothing else, that fact is eminently clear.

    So what do we do, well there are the 5 things David762 over at NORML ( suggested, and there is one more: the individual States must repeal all criminal and civil penalties associated with any aspect of the cannabis trade for anyone 18 or older, just as WA’s I-1149 will do. Each State has its own methods of getting a law passed, but State citizens need to force the issue in States that do not have the initiative process, as WA does. Once a sufficient number of States have done this, the federal law will have to change, it’s one of the Constitutionally legal ways to change the federal government.

    The federal government does NOT have the necessary (legitimate) Constitutional power to get itself involved in ANY way in State laws, nor may it force the States to enforce its laws within the boundaries of the State.  That US attorneys are actually telling State government those lies is outrageous.

    But getting to the drug czar, having him visit various States which are considering MMJ and legalization, to lobby the media, members of the State government, or groups of citizens is absolutely unconstitutional, and he should not only be booed every time he tries this in future, the citizens of the States where this has occurred should bring lawsuits against him, the ONDCP, and the administration for that breach of the Constitution (which is a LEGAL and BINDING CONTRACT between the People, the States, and the federal government).  Why this tactic hasn't been used before is just flabbergasting to me.






    Is ONDCP’s Ship Sinking?

    You don’t need to be a rat to desert a sinking ship, but it helps. 

    There are times when a cry of ‘I won’t take it anymore!’ turns bureaucrats into heroes, people who achieve everlasting fame by flipping off the status quo.  Heroes seize opportunities and make history.  Lesser mortals descend into gloomy wormholes of public deceit. 

    Kerlikowske might avoid the wormhole, but he won’t be a hero for ‘ending the drug war’, either.  Something as simple as a ‘take this job and shove it’ speech could make him a public figure comparable to Daniel Ellsberg.  A book that exposes the deepest, darkest, ugliest secrets of the ONDCP/DEA would make Gil a big pile of money. 

    But no?  The whole public service concept crumbles when public servants like Gil Kerlikowske refuse to spill their guts.  Ask not what your countryman will do for you, cause he won’t be doing anything. 

    Perhaps it’s not completely the Drug Czar’s fault.  Chance dictates landing a crummy job or two in one’s career.  However, if the last two years of Kerlikowske’s life really mean anything, he will come clean and tell the world what he knows about the fraud he directed as the nation’s chief drug officer. 


    Sorry, Giordano

    But don't we all realize by now that he will be slapped with a gag order as he's walking out that door the final time?

    Maybe he can be conduit for change in Chicago.

    In his previous hat, Gil was in the heart of Marijuana hot spots. Legally he looked like he understood the war on drugs and the benefits to honing in, or even ending prohibition all together; but politics is a beast that will eat it's own tail just to make sure not to lose it. Even if Gil did want to bring change and believed in it in his heart of hearts, he would have to through himself into the fire of likely unemployment and political leprosy if he tried to stand for repeal of prohibition in the position he holds now. This not only takes conviction, but a certain level of self- destructive martyrism that is an awful lot to ask of any self serving man.


    In order to join the legalization argument, this man would have to change almost every lifetime aspiration he has ever worked toward and see how he can benefit from such change for his family and himself. Maybe Chicago will give him the garden in which to grow in the truth and come to his senses.


    We all have hopes, but he has a job. If he thinks it is a risk, then he will probably avoid change.

    Peace to all.


    are my comments being removed?

    End the drug war

    There is but one answer, folks, and I'm surprised no one's seeing it: take a lesson from people with real guts to battle government oppression, the Tunisians and Egyptians, and organize a march.  If the many millions and diverse faces could embody this civil war perhaps then our "nobody" president (whom I voted for) would do something that really mattered and reform this God-awful catastrophe of public policy.  But unfortunately our brother in charge is exactly the chump I was afraid he was.  So far, with an inconsequential stay on Philadelphia street and a book with way too many "furthermores" in it to submit to historians, he's headed for "the heap" of forgettable presidents, who put politics ahead of real chances at history.  And as no less an authority than Pete Rose once said, the only true sin is to be boring, I'm sorry Mr. Prez, but you're boring. 

    But Gil, he seems decent to me, and I fear what could follow him.  Obama has not yet shown any answer to Republican vitriol, and it seems so easy to me to "expose them.  Don't forget, this is "their" war.

    Let's Play the Fill the Gap Game

    He's the least enthusiastic ___________ (murderer, fraudster, etc.) we've had. By far. Every _____ (weapon, method, etc.) he ever ________ (used, conceived, etc.) was ________ (less powerful, less distressful, etc. ) compared to (Al Capone, Bernard Maddoff, etc.) To assume he's exactly like the others simply because he ___________ (killed, defraud, etc. only a handful) is silly.


    Gart Valenc

    The next drug czar

    The best quality we can realistically hope in the next drug czar is one that is willing to debate and defend the policies of the drug war. It's unlikely someone will have the moxie to stand up to face their critics but if the next drug czar made himself available to such venues, the publicity would certainly favor our side. 

    our time

    how is the drug czar put into office? if it is through a voting process then lets vote somebody in office that is pro drug (not opiates) or somebody that knows the truth and not scared to tell it. if the president or someone else puts him/her in office then lets send a bill in telling our government that we want to elect our own drug czar. we should really start to figure this out somewhere else and not just on the internet. if a unwanted drug czar is put into office, the people should have some kind of power if they stay in office or not, should we not? we can with the president and our senators. we need to use our power as citizens to the full extent and not only voice our opinions but to also put it to work. sitting at home on the computer is not getting us anywhere. get out and teach somebody the truth about drugs, and make difference. Those who are saying that they hope michele dont get out in office need to stop thinking about stopping and stop her by voicing your opinions. as of now i do not have as much of power to stop anything because i am only 17 but i know for a fact that there hundreds of readers that are over 18 and can vote. just do it.

    Reality check

    I think some of you are drawing the same conclusions many other people around the world are clicking onto, as much as they say we live in democratic countries, democracy is meant to be about listening to what your voters want, not what big business want, so in reality we are under psuedo dictatorships, except they make us feel like we live in a democracy.

    I would say Kerlikowske entered with good intentions to find how hamstrung his job was in reality, by what I have read it went against the trend he was setting where he came from.

    Some say we should rise up and stand against the oppression, the problem with that is, is the govt will roll out the troops, round up the leaders and countries would be put under martial law.

    Stripped bare you will see that it is the pharmaceutical industry that is behind all this, it's all about controlling the flow of money. Cannabis is the best medicine for many different conditions, it is non toxic and you can't overdose on it. What we are seeing now however is a pharma industry starting to make their own cannabis based preparations while still keeping the main ingredient illegal. I would say govt intent is to do as they did with opium and make a certain amount available for the pharma industry legally available whilst keeping the real stuff illegal.

    Finally consider this statement:

    A recreational user is but a medical user who hasn't realised it yet.

    JUST SAY NOW!!!!

    I wish my job was fighting marijuana prohibition ha! I would truly love to wake up every morning fighting for what i believe in and for what's right. My own grandma looks at me differently cause i smoke weed? Why?  marijuana prohibition does more harm than marijuana itself (marijuana is harmless) come on its so obvious! and my grandma cant even realize it. Teens and young adults are just growing a simple plant and yeah some get busted and thrown in prison but are getting raped! and for what? Smoking a plant that has been around for more than 5 thousand years. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew weed and hemp. If they were alive today i really do believe they would be ashamed for jailing people for smoking a substance that they thrived on. If i had one wish it would be for my voice to be heard for legalizing a very useful plant and stop throwing non violent tax paying citizens in jail for simple position... If only the world could hear my voice!!                                        



                                                              VOTE RON PAUL!

                                                           FREEDOM OF CHOICE!

    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