How Will Washington D.C. Respond To Legal Marijuana

In an interview with publication Maclean’s of Canada, Gil Kerlikowske, The U.S. drug czar may have shed a little light on future federal policy concerning Colorado and Washington’s voters decision to legalize marijuana. Gil Kerlikowske said “You’ll continue to see enforcement against distributors and large-scale growers as the Justice Department has outlined. They will use their limited resources on those groups and not on going after individual users.” He went on to say that he did not see marijuana as a human or civil right issue, but as a public health issue. As the interview moved into prescription drug abuse and the influx of Canadian pharmaceuticals where he suggested tamper resistant medications that would not crush or gel when mixed with water. He also touted that our drug interdiction officers work closely with lawmakers to increase manpower in troubled areas. He is also in favor of mandatory drug rehab saying that people who go to rehab voluntarily or under court order have virtually the same success rate. Then he made what I believe is a stupid statement. Speaking about prescription drug abuse he said, “It continued to grow up until this last year at astronomical levels. More people dying of prescription drug abuse than heroin and cocaine combined. After marijuana, we see prescription drugs as the next most significant drug problem we have. It has covered every demographic, age, race, ethnicity, gender. And it’s a bit disproportionate in poor and rural areas.” If more people are dying from prescription drug abuse than heroin and meth combined, how is marijuana the most significant drug problem we have when virtually no one dies from marijuana use and the public health issue is grossly overstated. Where is the damage to society that justifies this heavy hand from the Justice Department against marijuana. I believe the message here is that we can expect more of the same from federal authorities. They will continue to ignore the will of the people, raid and prosecute growers and distributors and anyone who gains enough notoriety to deserve their attention. Also I would expect the harassment of property owners and property confiscations to continue, but it is unlikely that they would ever have the manpower to go after individual users of recreational or medical marijuana. Eric Holder is promising an official response soon. He might say something different but I don’t have a lot of hope. These changes need to come from Congress.

Randy Johnson