The Drug Czar’s Office Doesn’t Know What to Say about Marijuana Legalization

‘It’s safe to say that ONDCP as we know it has been completely destroyed’.

I’ve previously noted the reluctance of the current administration to actually debate marijuana legalization. When cornered, they’ll say they’re against it, but they won’t say why or offer any interesting observations about our marijuana laws.

Another great example appeared in this superb MSN piece on the merits of legalizing and taxing marijuana. The article goes on and on about the economic benefits of legalization, to which the drug czar’s office replied with a shrug:

A spokesman for the drug policy office declined to comment, saying the office wanted to wait until the Senate has confirmed Obama’s drug czar nominee, Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske.

This wait-and-see response may sound reasonable enough, but it’s totally nuts when you consider that opposing legalization is literally one of the fundamental purposes of the this office as defined by law:

Responsibilities. –The Director– […](12) shall ensure that no Federal funds appropriated to the Office of National Drug Control Policy shall be expended for any study or contract relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of a substance listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812) and take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form) that–

1. is listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812); and
2. has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration;

That is all perfectly straightforward, and yet the office currently has no talking points prepared when a reporter calls for a quote about marijuana legalization? ONDCP has never been anything other than a clearinghouse for unhinged drug war propaganda. It is literally a factory for designing crazy arguments against legalizing drugs. So if they can’t answer a simple pot policy question without the help of a guy who doesn’t even work there yet, then it’s safe to say that ONDCP as we know it has been completely destroyed.

Once the new drug czar arrives, the office will no doubt regroup and formulate some kind of response to the thunderous cries for reform that presently surround them. I’m sure whatever they present will be deeply problematic. But it is simply delicious to witness even a temporary collapse of the once-great government drug war propaganda machine.

– Article from Stop the Drug War (DRCNet).

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