Obama Names Ed Jurith as Interim Drug Czar

Obama has named Edward H. Jurith as the Acting Director of the ONDCPObama has named Edward H. Jurith as the Acting Director of the ONDCPEdward H. Jurith, the longtime lead lawyer for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), has been named the interim director of the agency by President Barack Obama.

Obama announced the appointment on Jan. 20 — Inauguration Day. Jurith replaces Patrick M. Ward, named interim ONDCP director just eight days earlier by former President George Bush. Ward is ONDCP’s acting deputy director of demand reduction.

This is Jurith’s second stint as acting “drug czar” — he was appointed acting ONDCP director by President Bill Clinton in the waning days of his administration, replacing Barry McCaffrey, and led the agency for nearly a year before President Bush named John Walters to lead ONDCP in December 2001.

Jurith has served as ONDCP’s general counsel since 1994; prior to that he worked as staff director and counsel at the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control, founded by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.). During his time in Congress, Jurith helped draft the Anti-Drug Abuse Acts of 1986 and 1988, which remain cornerstones of federal drug-control policy.

Jurith’s responsibilities at ONDCP include providing legal advice on compliance with federal law and as related to the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign and other ONDCP programs.

Jurith also has served on the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Substance Abuse and, since July 2008, has served as an at-large member of the board of Faces and Voices of Recovery.

Pat Taylor, executive director of Faces and Voices, called Jurith a “dedicated public servant.”

“We have a lot of respect for him,” she said.

Jurith also has occasionally represented ONDCP in public forums, such as a December 2008 debate on medical marijuana with Dan Bernath, assistant communications director of the Marijuana Policies Project. “Jurith didnĀ¹t lie, bully, or accuse me of secretly trying to get children hooked on marijuana,” wrote Bernath on his blog after the debate. “His arguments at least had some basis in legal fact, although I believe they were far too narrow to justify denying seriously ill patients access to safe, effective medicine, let alone arresting them for it. But he was civil and thoughtful.”

– Article from Join Together



  1. Anonymous on

    To all those who say that Obama doesn’t have the ‘time’ to decriminalization, the first thing Rosevelt did after becoming president was ending the prohibition on alcohol. There was also a war going on at the time too. Obama is the work of a highly elaborate advertisement campaign to make the rest of the world more at ease with the US’s “does as I say not as I do” policy.

  2. Fubard on

    And that’s the saddest, most baffling part – the americans are long past the point where they can keep pissing away money on prohibition.

    Their economy’s in freefall, their banks are insolvent, their deficit may hit as much as 2 trillion (yes, that’s trillion with a T!) dollars this year, and yet the concept of *not* spending hundreds of millions of dollars imprisoning utterly harmless people is still firmly in the realm of the unthinkable.

    They need to re-establish a grip on reality. Soon.

  3. Anonymous on

  4. Anonymous on

    We’re not talking about changing laws. Obama does have authority to stop DEA raids on medical marijuana dispensaries, and he promised that he would do so as President.

    Not only has he done nothing to stop it, but the raids started up again shortly after the election.

    I would love for mj to be decriminalized or legalized (hello tax revenue!), medically and relationally. I want some regulation & quality control so I can be assured my medicine is safe, not full of fungus or butane, etc. I want everyone who’s in prison for simple possession out (and that would save us a lot of money!). However, I do realize that our country is facing more important problems.

    The DEA raids, however, are ridiculous. They don’t stop drug sales or consumption. There is no purpose for them other than to line the DEA’s pockets. Making a profit by stealing from sick people is not the DEA’s mission statement, as far as I know.

  5. Anonymous on

    No actually he can’t just “sign the order”. Presidents can’t just make something a law because they write it down and sign it. We have these two things called the House of Representatives and the Senate. They make the laws. The president can then sign or veto them, but he cannot just create a law because he feels like it. The bill has to start in the House or Senate by one of the officials that WE elect. If you want laws to be changed you need to be lobbying your representatives in congress.

  6. Anonymous on

    Your right. on his homepage right after he was elected he asked the people what was most pressing. #1 answer legalize it! So 10 days bull#@#@ DEA has already raided and stolen all the goods from So lake Tahoe legit dispensary. He came in guns loaded has already sent exec. letter to top aids pushing for oath of military to presidents office not the constitution. Look out Canada you may be poland. WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Chicago Is My Hometown on

    Just like there are a million other things *all he has to do is just sign*. Mmhm. Yeah. OK.

  8. jeremiah on

    If Obama wanted to end the federal medical marijuana raids, all he has to do is sign the order. It doesn’t take a lot of time or thought – just sign it. That’s it!

  9. Chicago Is My Hometown on

    I’m all for decriminalization of marijuana, among many other drugs. However, I don’t think that is at the top of Obama’s list, nor do I think it should be. We are in a major economical crisis, a goddamn war we shouldn’t be in and a civil rights movement for same-gender lovers. Give him some time to get our country back to our large-population-of-middle-class-americans-living-the-dream and then lobby for decriminalization. I think we can all agree that the economy is the most important thing. If it goes down, so does all the money to buy weed. So relax. He appointed Jurith because he knows the job, and pleases the Repubs. That doesn’t mean Obama actually have to take this guy’s advice, nor does it mean he can’t write a bill against Jurith’s (somewhat flimsy) arguments against decriminalization.

  10. voted Obama in Indy on

    Im sorry that everyone thinks one man can change a country in just 10 days. Obama is president of the USA he didn’t just take control of a country by killing the old leader their are things he has to do so that others follow him instead of fighting him the whole time he is in office. If Obama just started changing everything around with out a plan of attack he wouldn’t have a chance to spend 8 years in office. I don’t care who you are if you are President you want to be re-elected so you can spend the most time influencing the country as you can. So give Obama time he has to put out all the fire’s that have been caused over years and give the economy a boost before he can take on this issue 100%. I do believe he needs to stop the DEA raids and give the Medical issue a nug but people its been 10 days what the hell are you Fox News?

  11. Anonymous on

    YEA! Different label, and wine bottle, but same fuck-up bush boy wine inside!?! “What they did to us?, Now they will do to you.” signed The Indians.

  12. aevismokesbud on

    obama sucks. he smoked marijuana and did cocaine, but he shelves his cabinet with all these conservatives and neo conservatives. i voted for ralph nader. america blows. stephen harper sucks, too. obama claimed in a debate that he advocated decriminalization of cannabis. he raised his hand, when asked by anderson cooper, along with dennis kucinich. now, as president, he is proving that he is just as conservative, narrow minded, myopic, hypocritical, and murderous as the other 42 white dudes who were president before him, with the exception of jimmy carter. carter is cool.

  13. Anonymous on

    yup that’s right sir, they will ride us into the ground .. sheep

  14. joe on

    So war on non violant people goes on and on
    oh well USA will become broke soon.
    Watch and see . Just watch the econamy that will tell the truth.