Obama, Bush Drug Czars Team Up Against Prop 19

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Photo: The Straits Times
Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske has joined with the past five Drug Czars under Bush and Clinton administrations to fight against marijuana legalization under Prop 19 in California.

‚ÄčWhat do you get when you put six Drug Czars together? Same old bullshit, except more of it.

It was probably inevitable, but that doesn’t make it any less deplorable. Obama Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske has joined forces with five past directors of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, including czars who served under Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush, against California’s marijuana legalization voter initiative, Proposition 19.

You would think that six so-called “drug experts” working together could come up with better-reasoned arguments against Prop 19 than these tired old talking points by tired old bureaucrats.
Not that anybody’s surprised that Kerlikowske, and by extension, the Obama Administration, opposes pot legalization. Gil’s already helpfully let us know that legalization isn’t in his vocabulary.
“No country in the world has legalized marijuana to the extent envisioned by Proposition 19, so it is impossible to predict precisely the consequences of wholesale legalization,” write Kerlikowske, John Walters, Barry McCaffrey, Lee Brown, Bob Martinez and William Bennett in an August 25 Los Angeles Times op-ed piece.
Of course, “no country in the world” had tried representative democracy “to the extent envisioned” by our Founding Fathers, either, but we didn’t let that stop us, did we?

Speaking of which, Gil and the other Czars neglected to mention that marijuana was legal in the United States for 161 years, from the founding of the republic in 1776 until the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.
The assembled Drug Czars aren’t even above peddling outright misinformation — such as a bogus “statistic” that indicates cannabis use increased among Dutch teens due to their tolerance of “coffee shop” marijuana sales — when in fact, rates of use for adolescents are lower in the decriminalized Netherlands than in the United States, which has marijuana prohibition.

Photo: Green Lifestyle Magazine

‚ÄčThen, the Czars try to make marijuana seem a lot more dangerous to driving than it really is, citing a 2004 “meta-analysis” published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review of “studies conducted in several localities” which showed that between 4 and 14 percent of drivers who sustained injuries or died in traffic accidents tested positive for THC, an active ingredient in marijuana.
What they failed to mention was that between 4 and 14 percent of drivers who were NOT in traffic accidents would ALSO prove positive for THC. At any given time, at least 4 to 14 percent of drivers are high on pot — without causing accidents.
The assembled Drug Czars also try to make hay of the fact that lots of people will be home-growing marijuana if Prop 19 passes, in the 5×5 plots allowed under the legalization initiative.
“Why would people volunteer to pay high taxes on marijuana if it were legalized?” the Czars ask.
Well, first of all, lots of folks don’t have the time or inclination to grow marijuana, and will happily pay dispensary prices, including taxes, to avoid that trouble.
And secondly, if lots of people grow their pot at home and bypass the commercial sector entirely, SO WHAT? Self-reliance is a good thing, and you’d think Drug Czars would be happy that lots of people would choose to cut the drug cartels out of the action.
Then, the tired old Drug Czars push the tired old argument that the healthcare and criminal justice costs associated with marijuana legalization would exceed any tax revenues collected, because that’s the way it is with alcohol and tobacco.
Hey, Drug Czars! All six of you! How could you have spent your LIFETIMES studying drug policy — you did do your homework, didn’t you?? — and managed NOT to learn that marijuana is NOT tobacco (not only does it NOT cause cancer, it helps to prevent it) and marijuana is NOT alcohol (how many incidents of violence, and how many vehicular accidents, do you personally know are attributable to marijuana?).
The only good point the Drug Czars make is that Prop 19 would “burden them with new and complicated enforcement duties” when it comes to “ingesting or smoking marijuana while minors are present.”
“Would this apply in a private home?” the Drug Czars ask. “And is a minor ‘present’ if they are 15 feet away, or 20? Perhaps California law enforcement officers will be required to carry tape measures next to their handcuffs.”
Good point, guys — that’s something that will need fixing if Prop 19 passes. Too bad that’s the only valid argument you have!
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