|Addiction Treatment Industry Newswire
|08/30/2013 -ATIN – In one of the biggest shifts in federal anti-drugs policy since Nixon launched the now famous – infamous? – War on Drugs in the 1970s by creating the DEA, amongst many other things, the Obama administration has publicly declared that it will no longer seek to use its constitutional right to supersede state law when it comes to marijuana, which as everyone knows is now legal in Colorado and Washington. The drug, which addiction medicine specialists will tell you is dangerously psychologically addictive despite the claims of radical marijuana rights groups like NORML, is decriminalized in 17 more states and study after study has shown that police often use the drug’s illegality to unfairly target minority youth for arrest.
New Drug Czar
The policy shift was heavily signaled when a few weeks ago President Obama announced that his long-time drug czar, former Seattle top cop Gil Kerlikowske, would soon be officially nominated for the job of running borders and customs federal forces, a job more suited to his enforcement temperament. It would have been very difficult for the president to implement yesterday’s big marijuana policy shift with Kerlikowske still in the post of drug czar, the key presidential office that coordinates tens of billions in War on Drugs spending between the myriad agencies that carry out the policy like SAMHSA, the DEA, FBI and even the CIA, among many others. Refusing to cross the “thin blue line” and go against his cop brethren, whose national and local associations vehemently oppose any form of drug legalization, Kerlikowske adamantly insisted that the Obama Administration continue harsh marijuana enforcement even in states whose clear wishes were the opposite.
Words are Cheap
Kerlikowske did ban the use of the term War on Drugs from official pronouncement, but words are cheap. Ultimately, and hopefully, it likely became clear to the president that his administration has not done nearly enough to reverse the decades old War on Drugs and the untold harm it has done. Kerlikowske was not willing to go far enough to dismantle the vast Prison Industrial Complex infrastructure that has grown up around the drug war. Like alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, the War on Drugs will widely be seen one day, as it is beginning to now, ultimately to have been one of the most foolish and misguided national policies in history.
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