Monthly Archives: April 2013

national

Obama’s drug czar addicted to pro-prohibition fallacies

President Obama’s hand-picked ‘drug czar’, former police chief of Seattle Gil Kerlikowske, denounced legalization of cannabis for personal consumption by American adults at a National Press Club event.

US Drug Czar speaks about drug policy at the National Press Club

Kerlikowski characterized the legalization of drugs in his discussion of cannabis legalization in Washington and Colorado as an “extreme position”, and went further to state bluntly that the Obama administration opposes “drug legalization.”
Obama's Drug Czar and McGruff

“The Justice Department’s responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged,” Kerlikowske reminded reporters in prepared remarks.  He added, in what can only be interpreted as a warning to the citizens of states that have legalized cannabis through local democratic processes, “Neither a state nor the  executive branch can nullify a statute passed by Congress.”

Kerlikwoske then attempted to append a ‘public safety’ rational to his articulated support for a federalized law enforcement crack down on states that have voted to allow adults to use cannabis recreationally by admonishing, “Nor should we lose sight of the fundamental fact that using marijuana has public health  consequences, and the most responsible public policy is one that restricts its  availability and discourages its use.”

Kerlikowske, flanked by health professionals specializing in treating drug addiction, said that the Obama administration’s approach to drug policy was not to wage a “war on drugs” nor was it to “legalize drugs”, rather, Kerlikowske said, the Obama administration favors focusing on reducing “drug use and its consequences” primarily drug addiction.  Kerlikowske said that the key component of the Obama administration’s approach to drug control is to focus on the “disease of addiction.”

Kerlikowske also compared what he termed “substance use disorder” with “progressive diseases”  stating that intervention by health professionals who have access to addiction treatment programs sponsored by the government is a “key aspect” of Obama’s approach to drug policy.  Kerlikowske did not comment on the irony that medical professionals across America prescribe the medicine of cannabis to treat many progressive diseases, including Parkinsons Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.

Kerlikowske’s position that the federal government should take legal action because of the public dangers threatened by cannabis’s addictive properties are not shared by former US Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders who told CNN in 2010, ““Marijuana is not addictive, not physically addictive anyway,” when she called for federal legalization of cannabis.  While the level of addiction that cannabis users experience is debatable, no health researcher or public health authority has stated that cannabis is more addictive than the legal consumer products alcohol and tobacco.

national

cannabis legalization links : 04.12.2013

Vermont House backs marijuana decriminalization : Burlington Free Press

Marijuana legalization group replaces vandalized pro-pot billboard in downtown Portland : The Oregonian

Majority Now Supports Legalizing Marijuana : Pew Research Center for the People and the Press

Marijuana Research Funding Cut as Support for Drug Grows : Bloomberg

Legal marijuana draws crowds to US states : Irish Examiner

New in Congress: A marijuana states’ bill of rights : Seattle Post Intelligencer

As Marijuana Goes Legit, Investors Rush In : Sci-Tech today

Pennsylvania Marijuana Legalization Bill Formally Introduced : the Daily Tribune

Alabama, Pennsylvania Marijuana Legalization Bills Introduced : the Daily Chronic

national

Breaking : Obama Justice Department serves Oregon officials with warrant seeking the identities of the state’s medical cannabis patients

The Seattle Post Intelligencer has reported that the US Department of Justice secured a court order demanding that the state agency in Oregon that oversees the provision of medical cannabis to Oregonian patients who are suffering from serious, and in some cases, life threatening diseases to turn over records that personally identify patients, care givers and suppliers of the medicine.

The search warrant was filed in November of 2012 and requires the Oregon Medical Marijuana Project to turn over the names, addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, and driver’s license numbers of “patients, growers and care givers in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program database files.”

The state officials who register patients and suppliers of medical cannabis were ordered by the US Department of Justice to not disclose the existence or contents of the search warrant. The federal demand for patient records was discovered in public court filings.

A spokesperson for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program was concerned to ensure that Oregon patients understand that the agency’s patient records are stored in a secure location and cannot be accessed without a written request from a patient, in the same fashion that other sick American’s medical records are protected.  The agency’s spokesperson said that while the privacy of the state’s medical cannabis patients is of paramount importance, the agency was compelled by the federal government to turn over the otherwise safeguarded patient identifying records.

The federal investigator who sought the demand for the patient’s records from the courts said in his request for the warrant; “I am familiar with narcotics trafficker’s tactics in using the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program to shield their activities…(and I have) cause to believe that the records from the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program will contain evidence of…conspiracy to commit marijuana and trafficking offenses.”

Patients who suffer from debilitating, chronic and terminal diseases have been able to receive prescriptions for medical cannabis from doctors in Oregon since 1998.  During that period of nearly 15 years; during the final 2 years of the Bill Clinton presidency and over the 8 year course of the George W. Bush presidency, there are no previous warrants known to have been served upon the Oregon Medical Marijuana Project for patient’s private medical records by the federal government.