Kerlikowske: Pot is dangerous and has no medicinal benefit

(West Seattle Blog)


Less than three months after announcing that he would not use the term “war on drugs,” Gil Kerlikowske, the former Seattle police chief and current White House drug czar, came out last week sounding every inch the drug warrior in an appearance in Fresno, Calif. Here’s Kerlikowske quoted by The Fresno Bee:

“‘Marijuana is dangerous and has no medicinal benefit,’ Kerlikowske said in downtown Fresno while discussing Operation SOS — Save Our Sierra — a multiagency effort to eradicate marijuana in eastern Fresno County.”

That’s a far cry from Kerlikowske’s eight years as chief of Seattle police when the department was (and still is) remarkably relaxed on most things pot. In 2003, Kerlikowske said during the campaign for I-75 that the local initiative to make marijuana SPD’s least enforcement priority was unnecessary since pot possession for personal use was already a low enforcement priority for the department. When then Drug Czar John Walters visited Seattle ahead of the election and held a press conference where he advised voters to reject the initiative, Kerlikowske was nowhere to be found (City Attorney Tom Carr was the lone elected official by Walters’ side). Voters passed I-75 overwhelmingly.

Other than his thoughts on I-75, Kerlikowske had very little to say about pot. But if he truly believed it to be dangerous and with no medicinal value, then why didn’t he bust stoners and medical marijuana patients all over town? Why didn’t he have his troops shut down Hempfest? Was Kerlikowske simply being politically correct back then in adhering to “Seattle values” on weed? Or is he just being politically correct now that he’s in charge of helping set federal drug policies which are decidedly anti-pot?

Either way, Kerlikowske’s sudden transformation certainly runs counter to the positive buzz that floated around him after he was nominated for the Drug Czar post earlier this year.

As for Kerlikowske’s claim that medical marijuana having no medicinal benefit, that doesn’t seem to be what the voters and legislators in 14 states with medical marijuana laws have concluded. And it sure doesn’t seem to be the conclusion of this 1999 Institute of Medicine report , authored by actual scientists, which concluded that marijuana possessed medicinal value.

3 Responses to Kerlikowske: Pot is dangerous and has no medicinal benefit

  • nwcitizen:

    I’ve seen this before. Take a fairly decent person and send them to Washington, DC and they change but not for the good. Kerlikowski now has an empire to run and marijuana is a “cash cow” that keeps his troops employed.

    Change does not come from the top. We “The People” must require change. So far, that’s not happening.

  • Cynic:

    “We “The People” must require change.”

    And just how, in this plutocracy, do we the people do that? We gave the White House and the House and Senate to the Democrats and with a few minor tweaks the same corporate power is still running things. The rich continue to get richer and the poor poorer. The health “care” industry and big Pharma are calling the shots in health care reform. The two illegal wars continue. The use of torture continues. Domestic spying continues. Erosion of our civil liberties continues. Obama is seeking to outdo the Bushies with his “indefinite detention” policy in which even if you are found innocent in one of his kangaroo courts he can still imprison you at his whim.

    Unfortunately most of “we the people” have been off with consumer goods and a celebrity culture and will do very little that their TV doesn’t instruct them to do-or think.

  • mark daniel:

    your not a cynic. you’re a realist