White House Responds To Marijuana Legalization Petitions


The Raw Story
Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske is the wrong place to go for the truth about marijuana

The Obama Administration has just released a new response to three WhiteHouse.gov petitions on marijuana legalization. Perhaps significantly, for the first time Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske is now saying “it is clear that we’re in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana.”

“I guess it makes a difference when marijuana legalization gets more votes than your boss does in an important swing state, as happened in Colorado this last election,” Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority, told Toke of the Town Tuesday night. “From ‘legalization is not in my vocabulary and it’s not in the president’s,’ as Gil Kerlikowske often used to say, to ‘it is clear that we’re in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana’ is a pretty stark shift.
“Of course, what really matters is to what extent the administration actually shifts enforcement priorities and budgets, but I sure do like hearing the U.S. drug czar acknowledge the fact that marijuana legalization is a mainstream discussion that is happening whether he likes it or not,” Angell told us.

But to expect more than the same tired old lies, the same stale rhetoric, from the Drug Czar would simply be unrealistic, sad to say.

“At President Obama’s request, the Justice Department is reviewing the legalization initiatives passed in Colorado and Washington, given differences between state and federal law,” Kerlikowske’s response reads. “In the meantime, please see a recent interview with Barbara Walters in which President Obama addressed the legalization of marijuana.”

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
Barbara Walters interviews President Obama about marijuana
Barbara Walters:
Do you think that marijuana should be legalized?
President Obama:  
Well, I wouldn’t go that far.  But what I think is that, at this point, Washington and Colorado, you’ve seen the voters speak on this issue.  And as it is, the federal government has a lot to do when it comes to criminal prosecutions.  It does not make sense from a prioritization point of view for us to focus on recreational drug users in a state that has already said that under state law that’s legal.
…this is a tough problem because Congress has not yet changed the law.  I head up the executive branch; we’re supposed to be carrying out laws.  And so what we’re going to need to have is a conversation about how do you reconcile a federal law that still says marijuana is a federal offense and state laws that say that it’s legal.
When you’re talking about drug kingpins, folks involved with violence, people are who are peddling hard drugs to our kids in our neighborhoods that are devastated, there is no doubt that we need to go after those folks hard… it makes sense for us to look at how we can make sure that our kids are discouraged from using drugs and engaging in substance abuse generally.  There is more work we can do on the public health side and the treatment side.
It’s important to note, of course, that Kerlikowske’s job description as Drug Czar includes the fact that he is bound, by law, to oppose marijuana legalization. Beyond that, as pointed out by Pete Guiter at Drug WarRant, the Drug Czar is required by law to lie as part of his Congressional authorization.
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-
is listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812); and
has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration;
By law, the Drug Czar must oppose any attempt to legalize the use of marijuana in any form.

Therefore, despite the fact that there is extensive evidence of medical marijuana’s safety and effectiveness (including the fact that even the federal government supplies it to patients), and clearly the drug czar would know about all this information, he is required by law to lie about it.

The White House emailed me in response to my signing of a petition,” activist Soap Box posted on Facebook. “At the bottom of the email they asked for my thoughts about their response. I know no ones ever going to read it… but… I just couldn’t help myself.
Generally I feel your system is a catchall assuagement tool for the mis- or un-represented masses. (That would be most of us. And by most I mean the highest % of people. Real people. Citizen people. Not corporate people, or rich people, but just regular people who have to live here.)
Over and over again “you” (let’s just refer to the entirety of the US Government as “you”) have shown little to no interest in actually addressing the concerns of the people, even when they reach, surpass, and obliterate your signature requirements.
For example, cut+pasting a transcript from a Barbara Walters interview *could* be construed as an answer, but only when the question is addressed. Let me summarize what I just read:
Direct Question:
-Dubious positional statement
-Description of why its a complex issue.
-Description of why it sucks to be President in such a situation.
-General statement of semi- but mostly un-related blather that no one, anywhere, disagrees with.
-Utter dismissal of original question.
I’m seeing a lot of problems here.
We couldn’t have put it better, ourselves.