White House Nominates Kerlikowske as Drug Czar

  White House Nominates Kerlikowske as Drug Czar

Posted by CN Staff on March 11, 2009 at 10:33:51 PT
By Jennifer Sullivan and Steve Miletich 
Source: Seattle Times 

Washington, D.C. -- The White House today announced the nomination of Seattle police Chief Gil Kerlikowske as head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, putting him in position to become the nation's so-called drug czar.With Kerlikowske at his side, Vice President Joseph Biden made the announcement during a ceremony in the Executive Office Building next door to the White House.
"There is no one more qualified to take on this job than the chief," Biden said.Biden said Kerlikowske would oversee a comprehensive effort to tackle the nation's drug problems, weaving together law enforcement, treatment and recovery programs.One focus will be the increasingly violent Mexican drug wars, the vice president said.Kerlikowske, whose nomination is subject to U.S. Senate confirmation, said he would seek to bring a "seamless" approach to drug issues, telling the gathering, "There is much work to be done."The administration will remove the job's Cabinet designation — reversing an elevation of the office under President George W. Bush — although one administration official said Kerlikowske would have "full access and a direct line to the president and the vice president."Kerlikowske is widely expected among drug-reform advocates to bring moderate positions to the job, balancing traditional law enforcement efforts against drug trafficking with support for court programs that steer drug users into treatment and tolerance for needle-exchange programs and medical marijuana laws.Kerlikowske, 59, who has led the Seattle Police Department for more than eight years, told the department's top commanders recently that he expected to leave to take a top federal position.Mayor Greg Nickels will announce early next week his choice for interim chief, Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis said today. Seattle Deputy Chief John Diaz has emerged as front-runner, according to a City Hall source.Before today's announcement of Kerlikowske's nomination, The Washington Post reported that concerns surfaced recently when Kerlikowske's son from a previous marriage, Jeffrey Kerlikowske, was arrested last week for a parole violation in Broward County, Fla.The younger Kerlikowske has a criminal record that includes arrests for marijuana possession and distribution and was released from prison for battery in March 2008, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. In his remarks today, Kerlikowske referred to struggles in his own family with drug abuse.Kerlikowske, who was appointed Seattle chief in 2000 by then-Mayor Paul Schell, had worked the previous two years as deputy director of the Justice Department's community-oriented policing division during the Clinton administration.Sources said Kerlikowske established ties in Washington, D.C., and has strong relationships with Biden and U.S. attorney general Eric Holder, who served as deputy attorney general during the Clinton years.Kerlikowske began his career as a street cop in St. Petersburg, Fla., in 1972 and went on to serve as chief in two Florida cities, Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie.He led the Buffalo, N.Y., department in the 1990s, and left there for the deputy-director position in the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.In Seattle, Kerlikowske won credit for stabilizing the Police Department after the stormy departure of Norm Stamper as chief in the wake of the 1999 World Trade Organization riots, as well as the department's initial failure to unearth a detective's alleged theft of money at a crime scene.Crime rates dipped during his time as chief, reaching historic lows in recent years.But his tenure has at times been rocky, marked by controversy over allegations that he was too soft when it came to disciplining officers in misconduct cases.Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, when asked last month about Kerlikowske's possible departure, said "it would be important that we have a strong interim chief quickly and then we take our time and look at a permanent selection so we make sure we make the right choice."Councilmember Nick Licata, who serves on the public-safety committee, said last month he would like to see someone from inside the department given serious consideration for both the interim and permanent jobs if Kerlikowske were to leave.Kerlikowske's possible role in shaping drug policy for the Obama administration was applauded last month by local medical-marijuana advocates.In 2003, Kerlikowske opposed a city ballot measure, approved by voters, to make marijuana possession the lowest law-enforcement priority, saying it would create confusion.But in doing so, he noted that arresting people for possessing marijuana for personal use was already not a priority.Joanna McKee, co-founder and director of Green Cross Patient Co-Op, a medical-marijuana patient-advocacy group, said Kerlikowske knows the difference between cracking down on the illegal abuse of drugs and allowing the responsible use of marijuana.Douglas Hiatt, a Seattle attorney and advocate for medical-marijuana patients, said Kerlikowske would be a vast improvement over past drug czars, who he said used the office to carry out the so-called "war on drugs."President Obama has looked to the Seattle area for three appointments.Along with nominating Kerlikowske, the Obama administration has tapped King County Executive Ron Sims for deputy secretary of Housing and Urban Development and former Gov. Gary Locke for Commerce secretary.Source: Seattle Times (WA)Author:  Jennifer Sullivan and Steve Miletich, Seattle Times Staff ReporterPublished:  March 11, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Seattle Times CompanyContact: opinion seatimes.comWebsite: Articles:Seattle Police Chief To Be Named Drug Czar To Nominate Kerlikowske as Drug Czar

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Comment #14 posted by FoM on March 11, 2009 at 18:24:09 PT

If we get the laws changed in the states it won't be worth it for Mexico to smuggle marijuana to the USA.
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Comment #13 posted by Sam Adams on March 11, 2009 at 18:09:57 PT

The reason Canada is not disintegrating into civil war is because they have a big healthy economy. The illegal drug trade is a small chunk of the big picture.In Mexico, drug trade is probably a huge fraction of the total economy - maybe even greater than 50%. That kind of money flowing around quickly corrupts government officials and cops. Also cocaine and heroin from Central America comes in through Mexico, I doubt that any hard drugs are coming in from Canada. And I would guess that FAR more cannabis comes in from Mexico than Canada. Canada has high-end indoor cannabis, but Mexcio has BULK. The cheap outdoor schwag you see for sale in any college town is all from Mexico.
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Comment #12 posted by Taylor121 on March 11, 2009 at 17:37:36 PT

Texas Fine-Only Penalties Introduced
From Texas NORML:Hey all you Texas NORML supporters!We have another extremely important action alert to bring to your attention.HB 902 (, a bill to decriminalize minor possession of marijuana (up to 1oz), was introduced into the Texas House of Representatives by Rep. Harold Dutton (Dist. 142, Houston). If passed, HB 902 would make the possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana a Class C Misdemeanor, and under Texas law that means a fine up to $500 with no threat of arrest or jail time!!HB 902 has been assigned to the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee in the House of Representatives. There are a several different actions that need to be taken on this bill.PLEASE BE AS COURTEOUS AS POSSIBLE WHEN CORRESPONDING WITH LEGISLATORS!First, we need you all to contact your Representatives and ask them to please consider being a sponsor or co-author of HB 902.
You can find out who your Representative is by going to, Who Represents Me--Home, entering your address, and enter “House” for the District Type. Make sure it lists your “Texas State Representative”.Second, we need as many of you as possible to contact the Chairperson of the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, Rep. Pete Gallego (Dist. 74, Alpine), and respectfully ask that HB 902 be scheduled for a hearing. It would be most helpful if anyone is a registered voter in Texas’ District 74.Third, we need anyone who lives in the districts of the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee members to contact those Representatives and ask for their support on HB 902. When the bill does come up for a hearing, we desperately need to have the support of the committee or else it will not advance.
Below is a list of the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee members, their respective Districts, websites, and phone number.
You can send mail to any of these representatives here:
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768Chair:
Rep. Pete Gallego, Dist. 74, Alpine, TX
(512) 463-0566Vice Chair:
Rep. Wayne Christian, Dist. 9, Center/Nacogdoches, TX
(512) 463-0566Rep. Allen Fletcher, Dist. 130, Tomball, TX (Harris County)
(512) 463-0661Rep. Terri Hodge, Dist. 100, Dallas, TX (central)
(512) 463-0586Rep. Carol Kent, Dist. 102, Dallas/Garland, TX
(512) 463-0454Rep. Robert Miklos, Dist. 101, Mesquite/Sunnyvale, TX
(512) 463-0464Rep. Joseph E. Moody, Dist. 78, El Paso, TX
(512) 463-0728Rep. Paula Pierson, Dist. 93, Arlington/Grand Prairie, TX
(512) 463-0562Rep. Debbie Riddle, Dist. 150, N. Harris Country, TX
(512) 463-0572Rep. Allen Vaught, Dist. 107, Dallas/Garland, TX
(512) 463-0244Rep. Hubert Vo, Dist. 149, E/SE Houston, TX (Harris County)
(512) 463-0568Lastly, we need all of you to contact your State Senator, and respectfully request that a “companion bill” to HB 902 be introduced in the Senate. Without a similar bill in the Senate, this legislation will not make it to the Governor’s desk.
To find out who your Texas State Senator is go to, Who Represents Me--Home, enter your address, and enter “Senate” for the District Type. Make sure it lists your “Texas State Senator”.Also, don't forget that our regularly scheduled monthly meeting is this Wednesday, March 4th, 8:00pm, at Genuine Joe Coffeehouse (Genuine Joe Coffeehouse).
We'll be discussing some great recent news from D.C., the two bills in the Texas Legislature (HB 164 & HB 902), and several upcoming events.See you soon!Josh Schimberg
Director, Texas NORML
Texas NORML - Texas NORML - 31 - Male - AUSTIN, TEXAS -'s in the issues section at NORML for a prewritten letter. Thanks for any help you can give.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on March 11, 2009 at 14:16:09 PT

Czar Struck: Obama’s Brilliant Pick for Drug Czar
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on March 11, 2009 at 14:15:10 PT

NPR: Seattle Police Chief Named New Drug Czar
By Martin KasteAudio for this story will be available at approx. 7:00 p.m. ETAll Things Considered, March 11, 2009 · The Obama administration named Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske as the country's new drug czar. In Seattle, Kerlikowske was an advocate of community policing, as well as prevention and treatment as part of the answer to drug problems.URL:
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Comment #9 posted by Yoshi on March 11, 2009 at 13:01:00 PT:

If not now, when
What can the sensible reasons be for continuing prohibition? 
It has been a total failure on all fronts, except that it provides greater control for the police/prison and surveillance operations against the people.
The system is beginning to crack up, they will continue to shove square pegs up our round holes. 
The states must do what they can, the federal government is rotten to the core and will continue to show Americans that freedom is what they tell you it is, say no to drugs and line up for your anti-depressant prescriptions and tainted vaccinations.
More fun in the new world
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on March 11, 2009 at 12:58:30 PT

News Article From KATU
Should The State Take Over Growing, Distributing Medical Pot?By StaffSALEM, Ore. - Some lawmakers think the state should be the lone grower and dispenser of medical marijuana.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on March 11, 2009 at 12:49:15 PT

I have thought a lot about Mexico and the drug cartel. I think drugs are a means to an end for now but human trafficking and who knows what else is involved too. We don't have this problem on the Canadian border. Think about it. This is way more then a drug war in Mexico. It's a power struggle within the country itself I believe.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on March 11, 2009 at 12:46:02 PT

Al Roker Reporting: Medical Marijuana Video
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Comment #5 posted by Sam Adams on March 11, 2009 at 12:16:02 PT

It's so sad and frustrating - we could cripple the drug cartels in Mexico by legalizing cannabis - overnight! It would be a devastating blow - we'd hit all of them at once and instantly shrink their operation by 50%.Not only that, they'd all be replaced by American businesses. It makes me think there's very simple solutions to our economic problems as well.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on March 11, 2009 at 11:55:44 PT

It seems good to me.
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on March 11, 2009 at 11:21:26 PT

To me the demotion from Cabinet-level says a lot! Could this be the ship turning around?
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on March 11, 2009 at 10:52:37 PT

Two More States Consider Legalizing Med Marijuana
Minnesota and Illinois one step closer to legalizing the controversial treatments.By Zach OlivaMinnesota legislators advanced a bill on Tuesday that would legalize treating patients who have debilitating conditions with medical marijuana, according to Minnesota Public Radio. The state’s Senate Health and Human Services Budget Division advanced the measure on a divided vote.Last week, the Illinois House Human Services Committee advanced a similar legislation on a 4-3 vote.URL:
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Comment #1 posted by knightsmanx on March 11, 2009 at 10:40:51 PT:

uh oh...
Now they've gone and done it... THE WORLD IS GOING TO END!!!!! lol, j/k.They're giving us hope, but will it be enough?
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