White House Vows Drug Policy Shift
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White House Vows Drug Policy Shift
Posted by CN Staff on April 14, 2010 at 09:39:18 PT
By David Corn
Source: Mother Jones
Washington, D.C. -- The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy zapped out a press release on Wednesday morning noting that its director, Gil Kerlikowske (aka the Drug Czar) was testifying before a House subcommittee that the Obama administration is implementing a "new direction in drug policy." From the release: With drug use accounting for tens of billions of dollars per year in healthcare costs, and drug overdoses ranking second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of accidental death, the Nation “needs to discard the idea that enforcement alone can eliminate our Nation’s drug problem,” Director Kerlikowske said. 
“Only through a comprehensive and balanced approach – combining tough, but fair, enforcement with robust prevention and treatment efforts – will we be successful in stemming both the demand for and supply of illegal drugs in our country.“The forthcoming National Drug Control Strategy calls for addressing our Nation’s enormous demand for drugs by scaling up our public health policy response, integrating treatment programs into mainstream medicine, and recognizing that effective drug policy requires engagement at the community level,” Director Kerlikowske said.He also noted that ONDCP would continue to work to “break down the silos between the prevention, treatment, and law enforcement communities– and the greatest use must be made of the finite resources at our disposal.”The statement also pointed out that Obama's 2011 budget request seeks a 6.5 percent boost in funding for drug prevention and treatment programs.But this new direction will not be heading toward legalization. As its director was testifying, ONDCP's website featured an article by Harvard grad student Viridiana Rios that argues against legalization:As the situation in Mexico and along U.S. border towns has become desperate, calls for legalization are intensifying. The city of El Paso, Texas, passed a resolution calling for studying the merits of legalization as a means to curb violence, and the Arizona Attorney General has also discussed the option of legalization in front of the US Congress. California is considering a measure in November's election.Might legalization help the situation? My view is likely no. Any legalization attempt focuses on the marijuana markets which are not the core of the violence problem. It is highly valued drugs such as cocaine or heroin the ones which organized criminals are fighting for, it is these drugs that fund terrorist and criminal groups around the world.Even in the unlikely scenario of an all-drugs liberalization, it is unrealistic to expect a significant diminishing of the influence of Mexican cartels.The Obama administration is heeding the calls for drug reform when it comes to prevention, treatment, and harsh criminal enforcement. But with moves to legalize marijuana in California and elsewhere seemingly gaining momentum, the administration's reformers are not in sync with the reformers outside the government.David Corn is Mother Jones' Washington bureau chief. Source: Mother Jones (US)Author: David CornPublished: April 14, 2010Copyright: 2010 Foundation for National ProgressWebsite: Justice Archives
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on April 15, 2010 at 14:08:01 PT
I agree Gil is an asset. He isn't a bad person in my opinion and doesn't have the disposition of Walters thank goodness.
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Comment #16 posted by ezrydn on April 15, 2010 at 14:01:39 PT
Gil's Oath
When he was asked to "swear to tell the truth," I was waiting for him to say "I'm sorry, sir. That's not in my vocabulary."That, in and of itself, would be a truth. LOLGil didn't have a clue and the committee didn't want to hear "stories." They wanted FACTS and there were none to be had.This guy is probably our best asset. (wink)
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on April 15, 2010 at 10:08:54 PT
I was happy to see Dennis grill Gil like he did.
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Comment #14 posted by runruff on April 15, 2010 at 09:45:36 PT
I was so pleased to see Dennis!
I felt some hostility from him toward Gil the drug cop. [how does a so called intellectual society come up with a cop in charge of important life saving or life taking drugs? This position is for a doctor!]He did not let him slide with his vague and unproven theories and prognoses, designed to prolong and enhance this bloody, make work for cops, debacle.Gil the drug cop is a cad. He is the classic wolf in wolf's clothing! If I am any judge of human behaviour, he was lying with all the gusto and verve he could muster! He is will to pursue this ungodly claim that the gov has some right to control my garden and my medicine!Look, the awful destruction to our country and our rights as human beings, this guy is willing to accept reward to insure we don't get these things. He is there to insure that there will be no domestic peace! You will not and can not have a contented populace so long ans they are living under prohibition in a free democratic society! They either know this and don't care or are powerful but really stupid!
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Comment #13 posted by dongenero on April 15, 2010 at 07:57:10 PT
I do support this President. I think he will likely prove to be one of the better Presidents of my lifetime, if not the best. He's off to a good start though with crazed opposition.Regarding cannabis law reform, it is indeed long overdue. It's a source of frustration for us that tests our patience, despite having made more progress in the last couple years than in the previous 35 years. We're all so weary of hearing the endless prohibitionist propaganda.The closer it gets, the more I want to drive it home.
Even with relatively rapid progress, the wheels of change move more slowly than we would like.
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on April 15, 2010 at 05:08:52 PT
So true, old friend. So true.The "general welfare" of our nation diminished severely when the government turned so many people, everyone really, into "suspects", if not actually "criminals".Of course, back when they drummed up the prohibition, they were only after the few "degenerate" "others" they imagined existed. Now, that the prohibition by law worked so well, the singled out "Others" are a significant, for sure, portion of the entire population. But still, it's certainly not the "crime" of using cannabis, that is so generally destructive to the welfare of society... it's the suspicion. The suspicion is destructive and costly. And everyone is suspect and is suspected. Everyone. And the suspicion itself has turned into big business... drug tests.
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Comment #11 posted by afterburner on April 14, 2010 at 22:38:52 PT
Legalization Is Long Overdue
Take away the cannabis from the cartels by regulated sales, you take away cannabis from the black market. Take away cannabis, you take away most of the the market for cocaine and heroin from the cartels -- and reduce the violence. The federal government can "provide for the general welfare" by rescheduling cannabis.
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Comment #10 posted by Canis420 on April 14, 2010 at 19:53:28 PT:
was a great day for drug policy reform. Ethan was awesome. How do we acquire the questions (and answers) that were submitted off stage to both Gil and the other panel that the congressmen said will be submitted?...anybody?
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Comment #9 posted by Shielde on April 14, 2010 at 17:52:37 PT
From the article from the Harvard student
"As the experience of Latin America during the nineties showed, market liberalization does not increase efficiency unless preconditions such as a functional judicial systems and credible law enforcement institutions are in place. Such is the historical experience, and such should be our goal."Well despite the fact that the person is talking about the governments in Mexico and other areas, this statement could easily apply to our own government. We already have a functional judicial system, despite the fact that it is clogged with some useless cases. We need to work on the credible law enforcement institutions that exist in USA. The main fact is one of the problems we here and many people elsewhere have with our law enforcers is not how most of them do their job, but the laws they enforce.Another random thing is our own government at one point says the cartels largest profit is from cannabis and then allows info that says legalizing it will not effect the cartels. 
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on April 14, 2010 at 17:28:09 PT
I definitely  support our President. Today was a great day to see Dennis Kucinich in charge and Ethan Nadelmann hitting as hard as I have ever seen him hit. I trust Dennis Kucinich to work hard to do the best he can.
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Comment #7 posted by rchandar on April 14, 2010 at 17:16:14 PT:
Support Your President
Because not one President since Roosevelt has said or done anything other than to condemn and jail us as complicit with a morality problem. Meanwhile, my brothers and sisters, fight on...--rchandar
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Comment #6 posted by rchandar on April 14, 2010 at 17:14:31 PT:
I Told You So, But...
...but that doesn't change our objectives one iota, not at all. If anything, we should push harder on the state initiatives because they're basically saying that heroin and cocaine are the main problem. Vigorous anti-prohibition ballot measures at the state level will limit and negotiate the "collateral damage" caused by WoD rhetoric. I want you all to recognize that strategies of imperialism and punishment re-invent themselves every few years, to revive failing policies. From Gandhi, the movie: "I believe the path of truth and love have always won out. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible. But, in the end, they always fall."--rchandar
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Comment #5 posted by dongenero on April 14, 2010 at 15:07:13 PT
"tough, but fair"
"Fair" is giving your citizens freedom and responsibility."Tough" is apparently what it is for them to understand.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 14, 2010 at 14:45:48 PT
News Article From The Huffington Post Blog
My Testimony To Congress on The War on Drugs***By Ethan NadelmannApril 14, 2010The U.S. House Domestic Policy Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), held a hearing today on the White House's drug war budget and forthcoming 2010 National Drug Control Strategy. The Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (also known as the drug czar), Gil Kerlikowske, gave testimony. I also testified. Below is the testimony I gave today:URL:
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Comment #3 posted by James Crosby on April 14, 2010 at 14:25:37 PT:
This is no policy shift... It's what they have been doing this entire time...So, is their plan: "tough, but fair, enforcement"Or is their plan to: "heed" the calls of drug reformers when it comes to "harsh criminal enforcement"? Which one is it!?This is NO policy shift...
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on April 14, 2010 at 11:28:21 PT
Policy shift, hmmmm. 
Well, I know it's the way Republicans generally go about such things but, simply stating that it is a policy shift does not make it so.They could take another page from the conservative play book and give it some kind of snazzy, "up is down", or "black is white" type name. How about "The Policy for Peace Toward the People". That seems ironic enough. Then send out the jack-boot thugs with battering rams.Nadelmann did really a nice job in the hearing. But, I remain unmoved by what ONDCP deems a policy shift. They are so far off the back, policy shift for them would be switching from the term 'marihuana' to 'marijuana'. 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 14, 2010 at 10:00:18 PT
Kerilkowske Signals A New Direction in Drug Policy
April 14, 2010Mike’s reported on the White House’s shift away from a “war on drugs” mentality toward an increased focus on prevention and treatment. Today, National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske emphasized that shift in testimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s subpanel on domestic policy.From a press release sent along by the Office of National Drug Control Policy:URL:
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