Saturday, February 14, 2009

Obama names Drug Czar

Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske has accepted a job in the Obama administration as the new Drug Czar. It could be worse.

Here are some comments on Kerlikowske's appointment by those in the know:

From The Seattle Times

In 2003, Kerlikowske opposed a city ballot measure, approved by voters, to make marijuana possession the lowest law-enforcement priority, saying it would create confusion. But in doing so, he noted that arresting people for possessing marijuana for personal use was already not a priority.

"Oh God bless us," said Joanna McKee, co-founder and director of Green Cross Patient Co-Op, a medical-marijuana patient-advocacy group. "What a blessing -- the karma gods are smiling on the whole country, man."

McKee said Kerlikowske knows the difference between cracking down on the illegal abuse of drugs and allowing the responsible use of marijuana.

From Join

"The one thing I can say about Gil Kerlikowske is that he'll be a far better drug czar than his predecessor," said Norm Stamper, Kerlikowske's immediate predecessor as Seattle police chief and currently the head ofthe drug-policy reform group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)."He's an intelligent, thoughtful guy ... the jury's out on his views on the drug war. He opposed Seattle's I-75, which made simple marijuana possession the lowest enforcement priority in the city, but he's respected the law."


Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, called Kerlikowske's selection as drug czar a "potentially transformative moment.""Kerlikowske is clearly familiar with drug policy reforms, and has not been a forceful opponent," according to Nadelmann. "Although a police chief may not be an ideal pick, given President Obama's call for'shifting the paradigm, shifting the model, so that we focus more on a public health approach,' we remain hopeful that he has the potential to provide much needed national leadership in implementing the president's campaign commitments."


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