|Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske requested — and got — a meeting with the editorial board of the Seattle Times after the newspaper endorsed marijuana legalization. The Drug Czar is bound by law to oppose marijuana legalization.
Immediately after the Seattle Times ran an editorial supporting marijuana legalization, Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske made plans to visit the newspaper on Friday, March 4 — presumably to tell them where they have erred. In response to that, cannabis legalization advocates plan to protest Kerlikowske’s appearance at the paper by rallying on public sidewalks around the Times building.
Yes, it may be the first time in history that protesters have shown up to support a newspaper editorial on any subject!
Some observers have wondered whether the meeting is an attempt at intimidation by the Drug Czar, especially since the Times is one of the largest newspapers yet to support legalization.
Protest Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske’s Appearance at the Seattle Times
LOCATION: Sidewalks adjoining the Seattle Times at 1120 John Street
TIME: From 7:30 a.m. until the Drug Czar departs the Seattle Times building
|Photo: Seattle Times
|Editorial writer Bruce Ramsey, who has been with the Times for a decade, penned the pro-legalization piece
The White House called “right after our editorial ran, so I drew the obvious conclusion — he didn’t like our editorial,” said Bruce Ramsey, the editorial writer who penned the unbylined piece.
“Marijuana should be legalized, regulated and taxed,” the Times
wrote on February 18. “The push to repeal federal prohibition should come from the states, and it should begin with the state of Washington. It is time for the next step,” the paper editorialized.
On Thursday, the Times hosted a live online chat about marijuana legalization including Ryan Blethen and Bruce Ramsey of the newspaper’s staff, along with legalization advocate Douglas Hiatt of Sensible Washington and legalization opponents Commander Pat Slack of the Snohomish Regional Drug & Gang Task Force and substance rehabilitation therapist Stephen Bogan.
“Legalization is wrong, confusing message for youth,” Bogan posted. “They think it is already ‘almost’ legal now. The drug can be addicting, dangerous for youth and children.”
“I believe that this will enhance the use of this drug amongst the youth of our society,” Commander Slack posted. “It will be impossible to keep it out of their hands under this bill.” Aside to Commander Slack: Yeah, since prohibition’s doing just a great job of keeping pot out of their hands, right?
“On the issue of youth: At what point do we say, yes, there is a problem with youth having certain things, but most people are adults, and the adults want them,” the Times‘ Ramsey posted. “And so do we set the rules for adults based on what we would desire for children?”
“Everything has consequences,” Hiatt posted, “but I am seeing very few negative ones associated with cannabis use, except of course the ridiculous criminal laws.”
“Sensible Washington strongly supports the Seattle Times‘ editorial stance on marijuana legalization,” the group, which is sponsoring a marijuana legalization initiative in Washington, said in a Thursday afternoon statement.
The organization said it expects to begin signature gathering on the legalization initiative “within a few weeks.”