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Oh, to be drug czar

August 10, 2013
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With Gil Kerlikowske scheduled to move to customs and borders, CelebStoner asked Tommy Chong about the drug czar position, ’cause face it – Tommy’s way more entertaining than Gil.

Tommy Chong: If I Were Drug Czar

The first thing I would do if I were Drug Czar is empty the jails of people doing time for drug-related offenses.

I would then turn Detroit into the largest grow room operation in the world. Every empty room in Detroit would be related to growing marijuana.

I would legalize the growing and production of hemp throughout the world.

I would open rehab facilities that offered marijuana as a gateway drug to the sober world.

And I would not tax growers. I would only tax marijuana from the retail side in the form of a business tax and then only a very small tax.

I would legalize (with doctor’s supervision) all drugs, including heroin, cocaine and meth.

Of course, there isn’t a single thing on that list that he would have the actual power to do as drug czar (and I’m sure he knows that – this interview was for fun and to make points). He might be able to provide funding for the rehab facilities, but that’s about it.

In fact, the drug czar doesn’t seem to have all that much power to actually make changes independently.

“ONDCP advises the President on drug-control issues, coordinates drug-control activities and related funding across the Federal government, and produces the annual National Drug Control Strategy…”

Where the drug czar’s power comes is in influencing policy and in being the voice of policy.

If I were drug czar (no, thanks), I would probably get on as much media as possible to talk about the failure of drug policy as it exists, to recommend that the states be given the opportunity to try different policies, and to lobby Congress to help make that happen. I would also use whatever leverage I had in the administration to advise reining in the abuses perpetrated by the DEA and other federal agencies. And, I’d recommend a budget where interdiction and domestic enforcement were dramaticaly slashed (I’d be overruled, of course, but I might get some coverage).

What would you do?

Speculating about what you could actually do as the drug czar isn’t nearly as much fun as unfettered speculation. For a lighter approach, read my piece If I were Contrarian-King of the United States, which I wrote some years ago, but still holds up pretty well today.

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Pete Guither is the editor of drugwarrant.com

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