Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bye, bye 'War on Drugs'

Posted By on Thu, May 14, 2009 at 12:11 PM

But, will marijuana be legalized anytime soon? Don't hold your, um, breath.

In other news, drug czar? Czar?! When are they going to change that title?

Czar [zahr, tsahr] noun: emperor or king; the former emperor of Russia; an autocratic ruler or leader; any person exercising great authority or power in a particular field.

This is America — citizens (are supposed to) rule here, yo.

The Obama administration's new drug czar says he wants to banish the idea that the U.S. is fighting "a war on drugs," a move that would underscore a shift favoring treatment over incarceration in trying to reduce illicit drug use.

In his first interview since being confirmed to head the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske said Wednesday the bellicose analogy was a barrier to dealing with the nation's drug issues.

"Regardless of how you try to explain to people it's a 'war on drugs' or a 'war on a product,' people see a war as a war on them," he said. "We're not at war with people in this country."

The Obama administration is likely to deal with drugs as a matter of public health rather than criminal justice alone, with treatment's role growing relative to incarceration, Mr. Kerlikowske said.

Already, the administration has called for an end to the disparity in how crimes involving crack cocaine and powder cocaine are dealt with. Critics of the law say it unfairly targeted African-American communities, where crack is more prevalent.

The administration also said federal authorities would no longer raid medical-marijuana dispensaries in the 13 states where voters have made medical marijuana legal. Agents had previously done so under federal law, which doesn't provide for any exceptions to its marijuana prohibition.

Read more from the Wall Street Journal.

Comedians speak out: Legal drugs v. Illegal drugs.

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