Be careful not to assume the Drug Czar has power or information

Some concern has been expressed regarding this ThinkProgress piece

Federal prosecutors will crack down on recreational marijuana dispensaries and growers even in states where they are legal, U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske told a Canadian news magazine this week. The statement appears to be the first from a federal official to state explicitly that the federal government will prosecute dispensaries and producers once they are licensed in Washington and Colorado.

This makes it seem like it’s some kind of official government pronouncement, but I think that’s really reading too much into the statement.

Sure, it’s not hard to imagine our government being so pathetically dysfunctional as to have the President duck the question, the AG unable to discuss it frankly with the Governors of the states involved, and then have Kerlikowske announce it to a Canadian magazine.

But in reality, if you read the actual interview, I don’t think the Drug Czar has any more of a clue than you or I and is just frustrated.

After all, this is the same interview in which he slammed the administration:

“The administration has not done a particularly good job of, one, talking about marijuana as a public health issue, and number two, talking about what can be done and where we should be headed on our drug policy.”

The Drug Czar has very little real power or information. He is primarily a propagandist, there to oppose legalization (as required by law), deflect criticisms of the government’s war on drugs, and wrap up our completely corrupt drug policies in pretty paper by talking about the focus on treatment and our move toward some mythical “third way.”

He has no idea what the U.S. Attorneys will do.

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