Drug Czar Says Obama Hasn't Done 'Good Job' On Marijuana
White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske, who said this November America is "in the midst of a serious national conversationa about marijuana," told Canada's MacLean Magazinethat the Obama Administration could step it up when it comes to adressing pot policy.
Asked if the U.S. is headed toward a state-by-state 'patchwork' of weed policies, he said:
I think a patchwork of policies would create real difficulties. We still have federal law that places marijuana as being illegal. The administration has not done a particularly good job of, one, talking about marijuana as a public health issue, and number two, talking about what can be done and where we should be headed on our drug policy.
Still, that doesn't mean he thinks marijuana policy is a particularly important issue. He also said:
I don’t look at marijuana as a human right, or a civil right, or even in the same venue as gay marriage. This is a public health issue. There are significant health concerns around marijuana from all the science, not ideology. I don’t see the legalization of drugs and making them widely available as a good thing, and I don’t think locking everyone up is a good thing either.
Of course, unregulated marijuana is already widely available, but his rhetoric becomes especially troubling when he advocates for some kind of marijuana policy middle-ground. If weed is illegal, people will still be arrested for it. And if Kerlikowske truly believes marijuana to be a public health issue, removing it from the criminal justice system would be a step in the right direction. Moreover, to focus on science instead of ideology, one might open the door to marijuana research, which the drug's Schedule I's classification makes incredibly difficult to legally conduct.
Read the full interview here.