When Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske responded to a White House petition on marijuana legalization in the fall of 2011, he went on and on about the “dangers” of marijuana and why there was no way legalization was going to happen. Fast forward a little over a year and two state recreational legalization victories later, and the same man is responding a little differently to another petition calling for legalization.

420times_000014567863XSmallAddressing the Legalization of Marijuana
By Gil Kerlikowske

Thank you for participating in We the People and speaking out on the legalization of marijuana. Coming out of the recent election, it is clear that we’re in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana.

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. In the meantime, please see a recent interview with Barbara Walters in which President Obama addressed the legalization of marijuana.

We reported on the President’s comments here.

“Coming out of the recent election, it is clear that we’re in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana.” This has been clear for some time Mr. Kerlikowske, you and your boss are just very late to the party and have been on the wrong side of this issue from the beginning. You are still on the wrong side, but it is encouraging to see some movement in the direction of being right.

“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. 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,” said Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority. “Of course, what really matters is to what extent the administration actually shifts enforcement priorities and budgets, but I sure do like hearing the US drug czar acknowledge the fact that marijuana legalization is a mainstream discussion that is happening whether he likes it or not.”

Officials in the federal government should welcome issues that they can leave to the states; in theory this would allow them to focus on federal issues of more importance, like the struggling economy or the hemorrhaging budget or the several wars we are still involved in. But in practice, most elected officials like power, and they want to decide on as many issues as possible.

Progress is slow, but it is progress just the same. The White House stills lags popular opinion on marijuana by quite a bit, but at least the are finally moving to close the gap.

– Joe Klare

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About The Author

Joe Klare has been writing about marijuana issues for the past 5 years online, in print and on air.

13 Responses

  1. Captain Cannabis

    If you believe ANYTHING that comes out of the White House, regardless of which political puppet they’ve propped up in there, you’re a fool. The alcohol companies, Big Pharma, etc are still forking out cash to keep this herb prohibited and they won’t stop anytime soon.

    • MeeMan

      Like you wrote, there are far too many companies that have a vested interest in keeping this remarkable plant and its diverse products, out of common circulation; all for their money, or rather, your money going into their bank accounts.

      The moral thing to do is to return this plant back to its former status of production crop, health-food source and herbal medicine but the Billions that those other companies would lose, compared to the few hundred Million that would be gained, is what keeps the lies and hysterical propaganda rolling-in with one form of Reefer Madness BS after another.

      But as they say, “Times; they are a-changing.”

      • drmaddogs

        Many people don’t consider what a 5-15% loss of revenues would do to Publicly traded companies stocks, bonding and CDSs valuations. I believe therein is the crux or mechanism that the ‘companies’ fear a loss in. Those ‘dirivitives’ are worth many more times than the actual sales totals/revs from sales.
        In essense, many billions could, or at least; threatened by inclusion of cannabis products.
        To say nothing of the 50 Billion a year ‘Drug war’ funding(this includes the money given away to fight Drug Wars in the 50-60 countries outside the U.S.)
        Then there is the tempting drug washing that the Primary Dealers to the Fed(B Of A and Wells Fargo-fined a Billion these last 4 years… so figure 4 bill in actual drug money handled).
        The there is the tried and true effect of dealing with the drug originators by the CIA. They ‘allow some to pass’ and ‘some to not pass’.. all according to agendas.
        Helicopters given away to communities promising to use them 20% for ‘Grow’ or Drug enforcement.
        Now a Program is quickly gaing ground for free drones also.
        Anyway, like H.Clinton said about if MJ would ever have it’s prohibition removed, “No, there’s too much money in it”. The Drug War has been wonderfully successful, if your on the right side of the trade lolol.
        The right side being in the Govt sponsered, tax paid Fiat stream for prohibition.
        I will not be holding my breath to see any change from the Whitehouse, quite the opposite in fact. Especially when considering this opens the door to States taking their rights back from Federal potentates, Milk might be allowed to be drank without treatment! My God.. cats sleeping with dogs!
        Or Beef farms allowed to grow their own Grain.. what an apcolypse that would be…for ADM and Monsanto!

      • MeeMan

        It’s even worse than that. If the hold over the full production of Cannabis Hemp were to be removed then people would grow enough to turn into clean-burning/zero-carbon emission fuel and that would break the Federal Reserve’s hold over the World’s dependence upon needing to buy the US Dollar in order to buy crude oil. Thus, the Petro-Dollar would lose value because who would need to buy a debt-riddled paper I.O.U. note to buy fuel when they can grow their own?
        The Dollar would collapse as the World’s currency, followed by the Oil companies hold over the fuel market, followed by the banks that deal with all these transactions and the banks that launder all the drug money and the Military industrial Complex.
        In essence, the USA and many of its companies could come to a grinding halt in a few years if Cannabis Hemp flourished around the world the way it once did.
        So it’s never been about people smoking a plant, it’s always and only ever been about companies wanting your money and preventing people making their own stuff from this plant (stuff from clothing, to health food, to healthy non-toxic medicines, to ropes/sails, to bio-degradable plastics and paints, to clean-burning fuel and cooking oils to the most pernicious of things; curing cancers!)

        Free the Weed and Free the World!

      • drmaddogs

        I agree with everything but the “clean-burning/zero-carbon emission fuel”. Cleaner perhaps.
        Combining carbon and O2 will always create C02(heat/burning).
        More efficient uses perhaps,,, pellatizing, slow burns…or high heats, injection… like done in the most modern coal plants, or even post burn removal of Co2 with lime or chems…
        But Co2 is a result of burning.
        That is not to say Dow Chem would not have a kiniption fit, as would Dupont with having a non petrol based competator in use for the wide ranging industries using oil/hydrocarbons in their proccesses.
        Before the 2008 falloff a great deal of speculation money was going towards ‘Alternative’ studies concerning something to replace Big Oil.
        If the Fed manages to fool society once more with an artificial bubble, maybe we might see something arise… but I am hoping it will not be carbon based burning.

      • MeeMan

        Each time the Hemp based ethanol/methanol fuel was used in motor car trials, the engines were stripped down and found to be still clean(zero carbon deposits) and was even remarked that when a white gloved hand was wiped against the inside of the exhaust the glove remained clean. Thus I used the term clean-burning. As close to zero-carbon emission as possible.
        As far as CO2 is concerned, I must remind you that CO2 is NOT an unwanted gas. It is very much wanted and needed to sustain life on this planet. What the fk do you think plants breath in?
        Don’t fall for the BS hype and lies that were surmised from a faulty, simplistic and ill-regarded computer simulation of the World’s ecosystem. It wasn’t correct at the time and still remains incorrect.
        The “Carbon-footprint”, and related wording, are nothing more than a tax-scam. If you didn’t get that then, with respect, you may want to take a course in flora biology and the food chain of this planet.
        I’d be more concerned over the fact that we’ve set off over 2,000 nuclear bombs since WW2, have had a few severe nuclear melt-downs, from 3 Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukishima etc., and are poisoning our air with a variety of toxins and our food with a variety of toxins and GMOs that mutate genetic biology of following generations.
        Being raised in a mining village, I can honestly say that a little extra carbon or CO2 is the least of my concerns. It’s not like I can still smell and taste the coal dust in the air, like before.

      • drmaddogs

        “White glove exhausts” happen with a number of alternatives.
        I am familiar with the Photosynthisis process.
        I am aware that “Carbon Tax” schemes are abused.
        But you said zero carbon emmision, and that is not possible.
        As far as the plants versus people and the whole global warming, I do not believe humans can change direction. Whether people cause or additive to the increase in Co2 levels really matters not. Believe it or not, breathing coal or radiation, while giving us cancer, heavy metals and breathing problems, I think more consideration should be given to climate change.
        Does it matter who is at fault, or does it matter if humans try to moderate the problem?
        Personally. I think the world, living 80-90% close to the oceon, are setting themselves up for a collapse. A collapse based on what could be very simple results..the water got higher.
        So, I filter my water, air, raise my vegatables and wait for when billions of people leave the ‘beach’.
        I did my studies, ran the research and so far the curve is maintaining. I suppose I should not be concerned about 1/2 the population not having access to water, food and ‘them’ coming ‘here’. But I do.
        States rights are closer to the needs of the people than a central govt. The central has shown an inabilityto adjust before it is to late. Like the MJ issue, like climate change.
        Oh, and don’t assume my biology classes from 40 some years ago went to waste…please.

  2. yankee2

    What I want to know is what right Kerlikowski thinks he has to go against the will of the people. A majority of Americans in general support the legalization of marijuana. What business does he have telling us we can’t have our way? Is THAT what he calls “representation?”

    The truth is that prohibition does not stand up to scrutiny. Marijuana is simply NOT that harmful, while, ironically, prohibition IS. Prohibition has been the culprit for 75 years, at least. There is no true justification for continued prohibition, and a lot of justification for ending it.

    The truth is, the only way to EVER win the Drug War, for both sides, will be to legalize drugs, and regulate them.

    Whether we tax them or not I’ll stay out of… no, actually, taxing them would be a good thing, paying any administrative costs of legal marijuana, which I predict will be low.

    I’m pretty sure pot smokers are far more willing to pay our fair share of taxes than corporations and bankers and other corporate executives…

  3. Robert Doyle

    There is a hidden group who benefit from keeping their money flow coming. The only safe way to decrim is by the petition to voters to change the old archaic laws proven to be based on no science nor social facts. One state at a time. We can force the item to a state ballot, which is nearing reality. The crazies are already in the positions to harrass the President. This too must change, deleting the haters from our Congress .

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