Obama fights pot legalization right till the end

"Legalizing drugs is not the answer to this nation's problems," says Obama administration drug czar

By Justin Elliott
November 2, 2010 9:43PM (UTC)
main article image
Susan Recht smokes a marijuana cigarette at the San Francisco Medical Cannabis Clinic in San Francisco, in this photo taken Oct. 15, 2010. In a campaign season brimming with partisan rancor, leading Democrats and Republicans in a few states have found common cause in opposing ballot measures they say would wreak havoc by legalizing marijuana and slashing tax revenue. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) (AP)

We wrote last week about the Obama administration's delicate stance on Proposition 19 -- opposed, but not so eager to talk about it for fear of offending potential Democratic voters in California.

On Friday, though, Obama drug czar Gil Kerlikowske spoke out again in opposition to Proposition 19, this time on a trip to Florda:


[Kerlikowske] mocked the claim from proponents of Proposition 19 that legalization "solves every problem ... It's touted as some type of answer. Legalizing drugs is not the answer to this nation's problems."

But what about medical marijuana, especially as a treatment for chronic pain that harsh narcotics like Oxycodone are used to treat? Sorry, Cheech:

"Marijuana is not medicine," Kerlikowske told New Times. "We have a process in this country for developing medicines that's world-renowned. The popular vote has never been a part of it. Treatments should be determined by scientists and not by voters."

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy is also touting a new "fact sheet" on its website about the horrors that marijuana legalization would reap.

If recent polls are right, Proposition 19 will likely go down today:

Justin Elliott

Justin Elliott is a reporter for ProPublica. You can follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin

MORE FROM Justin ElliottFOLLOW elliottjustin

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2010 Elections Barack Obama California Drugs Latin America War Room