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Drug Czar: Legalization Arguments Don't Hold Up
Posted by CN Staff on March 05, 2011 at 06:03:48 PT
By Jonathan Martin, Seattle Times Staff Reporter
Source: Seattle Times 
Seattle, WA --  Current U.S. drug czar and former Seattle police Chief Gil Kerlikowske said he returned to the rainy Emerald City to talk about prescription-drug abuse, but he found that marijuana was on the mind of Seattleites.In an afternoon meeting with The Seattle Times editorial board, which last month called for the legalization of marijuana, Kerlikowske said he doesn't "think legalization arguments hold up" to scrutiny. He reiterated the Obama administration's position against legalization, but he said the national drug-control strategy had tried to shift the debate to "looking at the drug problem as a public-health problem."
Kerlikowske was in town to be keynote speaker Friday at the convention of the Seattle-based Science and Management of Addictions Foundation. He joked about speculation around town that he had been "dispatched" by the White House to chastise The Seattle Times for its endorsement of marijuana legalization. "I was going to shake my finger at you," he said.Outside, about 25 protesters had gathered to support the Times' editorial position, a rare moment when protesters picket in favor of a newspaper. "Gil, get with the Times," one sign read.Locally and nationally, the public's attitude toward legalization is shifting.A Pew Research Center poll released Thursday showed 45 percent of Americans favor legalization, up from 16 percent in 1990, while 50 percent remain opposed, down from 81 percent two decades ago. Washingtonians are more in favor, with 56 percent in favor of legalization, according to a SurveyUSA poll last year.Kerlikowske said proposals to legalize and tax marijuana are misguided. "If legalization is a way to fund the country and states and cities, I think we're making a significant mistake when we think it's just a benign drug."But he also said President Obama has shifted the focus on drug policy by describing it as a public-health problem. The administration has asked for increased drug-treatment funding, while money for interdiction is stagnant, Kerlikowske said.He noted he officially called an end to the "war on drugs" after taking office two years ago. "I don't know how you missed that," he joked.Kerlikowske also said there was a public "backlash" against medical marijuana, which is legal in Washington and 14 other states and the District of Columbia. He noted the Montana state House had voted to repeal its law, and dozens of cities and counties in California installed moratoriums on dispensaries.But last week, the Washington state Senate passed a bill by a 29-20 margin that would legalize dispensaries, grow operations and food processors. The bill is now expected to be heard in the state House, where its prospects are less certain.Recent amendments to the bill, SB 5073  that would allow municipalities to effectively ban dispensaries, and limit medical professionals from solely focusing on medical marijuana  eroded support for the bill among some medical-marijuana advocacy groups.Police are also opposed, but like the recent changes, said Don Pierce, executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs."The whole idea of dispensaries is a non-starter for us," he said.Source: Seattle Times (WA)Author: Jonathan Martin, Seattle Times Staff ReporterPublished: March 4, 2011Copyright: 2011 The Seattle Times CompanyContact: opinion seatimes.comWebsite: http://www.seattletimes.com/URL: http://drugsense.org/url/5qSJQDhICannabisNews -- Cannabis Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/cannabis.shtml 
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Comment #4 posted by rchandar on March 13, 2011 at 22:36:59 PT:
Poem For A Lame Drug Czar
For those of us
who aren't good at anything,who aren't loved, who have no chance of fellowship,
who have been rejected by the glamor and pomp and capitalist vicissitudes of another egotistical society,for those of us who aren't strong of body,
who can't number in thousands our "conquests,"for those who are riddled every day with insults,
threats,for those of us who bear handcuffs for looking different,We are not going away.We will not give in.In the end, You will,End this War.MURDER OR VICTORY.--rchandar
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Comment #3 posted by herbdoc215 on March 05, 2011 at 08:05:12 PT
I was there and it was Cold
But a good time was had by all and the times was very cordial to us? The times they are a changing! Peace, Steve
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Comment #2 posted by aslader on March 05, 2011 at 06:17:05 PT:
the ignorance that guides us
Maybe Obama's view of America's drug addiction as a public health problem should be heeded by puppets like Kerlikowski. This fcuking country..and especially its worthless politicians, are in dire need of a complete overhaul
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 05, 2011 at 06:06:21 PT
Thanks Goodness He Isn't John Walters
Excerpt: He joked about speculation around town that he had been "dispatched" by the White House to chastise The Seattle Times for its endorsement of marijuana legalization. "I was going to shake my finger at you," he said.
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