Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske Plays Dumb About Marijuana Arrest Policy
On Tuesday, I had a chance to question the drug czar about his enthusiasm for drug treatment at an event in D.C. Mike Riggs at Reason has good coverage of the exchange.
The other good question came from Scott Morgan, of StopTheDrugWar.org, who asked if Kerlikowske supported compulsory treatment of casual drug users, and if arresting marijuana users and forcing them into treatment was an effective policy. This time, Kerlikowske played dumb:
"Again, that’s a bit of a myth. If someone’s arrested for a small amount of marijuana, and the determination is made they have to go into treatment, treatment beds and space are a valuable commodity. I think professionals can clearly assess when someone is in need of treatment. Compulsory treatment is not something I’m as familiar with in great detail at the local level."
It's an incredible thing to say, so utterly divorced from reality and plainly absurd to anyone remotely aware of how our marijuana policies and criminal justice system operate. It's hardly a secret that when the cops catch you with pot, they bust you and haul your ass into court where you're ordered to attend classes about how you shouldn’t smoke pot.
Our courts are open to the public and you can just walk in and watch this happen to a dozen people in one afternoon. It's worth doing if you haven't before.
The drug czar says that addiction is a medical condition, but it's certainly the only medical condition with which you get diagnosed not by a doctor but by a judge in criminal court based solely on the fact that a cop found marijuana in your pocket one single time.