Thursday, September 16, 2010

Another Kerlikowske absurdity: Discussion of medical marijuana is leading to more teenage marijuana use

Commenting on the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health on 2009 data, ONDCP Director Gil Kerlikowske says

"I can absolutely not rule out this constant discussion of so-called medical marijuana, marijuana legalization and the downplaying of marijuana harms that is prevalent in the media,"
according to Businessweek/Bloomberg, is the cause of an increase in marijuana use among teens aged 12 to 17.

In his silence, he tries to rule out the fact that ONDCP's Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign has been found -- repeatedly by ONDCP's own contractors and the GAO -- to have been counterproductive in reducing teen drug use. Nevertheless, Director Kerlikowske asked for $21.5 million more for this program in 2011 than in 2010.

In Kerlikowske land, he omits to mention the fact that the Federal government's Safe and Drug Free Schools Program was so effective, the ONDCP proposed that it be completely eliminated in FY 2011.

Isn't it more plausible that drug education -- or miseducation -- programs which have been proven to be failures might have something to do with an increase in the use of marijuana?

Teenage marijuana use went down for many years as more and more states passed medical marijuana laws starting in 1996. Medical marijuana and its advocacy have nothing to do with teenage marijuana use.

How does he explain the increase in teenage initiation of tobacco? Medical tobacco use?

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SSDP confronts Kerlikowske at National Press Club

Daniel Pacheco, a student from Colombia and a member of the Georgetown University Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter, respectfully challenged Gil Kerlikowke, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, on Sept. 16, 2010 at the National Press Club, on the suggestion of the past Presidents of Colombia and Mexico, that legalizing drugs would defund the violent cartels that are ravaging Mexico. See the YouTube clip here.

Kerlikowske said a couple of times that the cartel revenues from marijuana were a "small part" of their income, and that taking away this revenue would not transform these criminal organizations.

Pacheco, politely retaking the microphone, noted that revenues from marijuana amounted to 60 to 70 percent of the cartel's total revenue -- not a small part -- and that to summarily dismiss the suggestions of the former Presidents was disrespectful to the victims of the cartel violence.

Kerlikowske then said that the 60-70 percent estimate was released by ONDCP in 2006, based on 1997 data, and therefore was out of date. He offered no better, more recent number or alternative number, and thus simply repudiated data and analysis generated by his own office.

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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Marc Emery -- Government's Sentencing Memorandum

The U.S. Department of Justice filed this sentencing memorandum on Aug. 31 in the case of Marc Emery, a/k/a "The Prince of Pot".

The government makes this howler of a claim,

The government’s case was investigated and prosecuted without regard for Emery’s personal politics, his political agenda, or the ways in which he chose to spend the proceeds of his drug crimes.

I protested in May that this case was a perversion of justice.

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New York Marijuana Business Conference, Oct. 25-26

A media company that hosts business conferences is holding a conference on the marijuana business in New York City, Oct. 25-26, 2010. Lots of top speakers!

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Mexico -- Is the state "failing?"

George Friedman at Stratfor published a mind-boggling analysis of the situation in Mexico in April.

He argued that the violence in Mexico is largely in the little populated North, and does not threaten the state. The violence is for control of the profitable drug trafficking routes, but does not threaten the Mexican heartland.

The drug trade is so profitable it enriches Mexican banks and institutions because most of the profits remain in Mexico. Thus Mexico has little incentive to stop the drug trade -- it is not in Mexico's national interest.

Friedman acknowledged that the U.S. can:

1. accept the status quo.

2. figure out how to reduce drug demand.

3. legalize drugs.

4. "move into Mexico in a bid to impose its will against a government, banking system and police and military force that benefit from the drug trade."

He concluded, "The United States does not know how to reduce demand for drugs. [See Peter Reuter's recent paper "How Can Domestic U.S. Drug Policy Help Mexico?" on this point.] The United States is not prepared to legalize drugs. This means the choice lies between the status quo and a complex and uncertain (to say the least) intervention. We suspect the United States will attempt some limited variety of the latter, while in effect following the current strategy and living with the problem."

"If . . one accepts the idea that all of Mexican society benefits from the inflow of billions of American dollars (even though it also pays a price), then the Mexican state has not failed -- it is following a rational strategy to turn a national problem into a national benefit."

So when might American policy makers begin to consider that control of these profits remain in criminal hands and will be used for criminal purposes?

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