Obama's interesting pick for drug czar

The Seattle Times is reporting this morning that President Obama has chosen Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske to serve as head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

While a police chief doesn't strike me as a particularly progressive choice for drug czar, I am definitely intrigued by the reaction on the Drug War Chronicle blog:

It appears that we may soon be faced with the most promising drug czar ever to occupy the position.

More from Scott Morgan on the Drug War Chronicle blog:

To be clear, Kerlikowske is not a friend of drug policy reform to any extent I'm aware of. What matters here is that I see no evidence that he is a vicious drug warrior of the sort commonly associated with the drug czar post. Given that ONDCP is mandated to oppose reform efforts and has typically embraced that role, a less confrontational and reefer madness-driven drug czar is really the best case scenario from a drug policy reform perspective.

Under Kerlikowske, Seattle has been a model for sensible marijuana policy, including the famous Seattle Hempfest at which the Seattle Police Department performs a public safety role while declining to make marijuana arrests. Following the passage of a 2004 lowest priority initiative, the city's already-low rate of marijuana prosecutions fell even further, suggesting that Kerlikowske was responsive to the will of voters.

This does sound very promising. But I'd like to hear more from others who are familiar with Kerlikowske.

Sensible marijuana policy from the U.S. government would be a long-overdue, welcome change. Let's hope this really is a step in the right direction.

Tags: Drug Czar, drug policy, Drug War Chronicle, Gil Kerlikowske, marijuana, Office of National Drug Control Policy, War on Drugs (all tags)



Seems like a pretty tolerant policy what I see.

Correctly phrased, he is no fanatic drug warrior or idealogue.

Tis true, Hempfest is an non-bust festival, Seattle is a pretty left leaning town, so no one worries too much.

I never see anyone being rousted for smoking, I think the cops have bigger fish to fry.

Gil is a smart guy, an interesting choice. Not sure why they plucked him out, but they could have done worse IMO.

by WashStateBlue 2009-02-11 09:11AM | 0 recs
More on Gil

http://www.seattle.gov/police/leadership /chief.htm

Has had some rocky moments here in Seattle, but overall, I think the community supports him.

by WashStateBlue 2009-02-11 09:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's interesting pick for drug czar

Is Drug Czar a cabinet level position?  I ask only because I wonder what his prospects for Senate confirmation are.

Interesting article.  I hadn't heard of him.

by Jess81 2009-02-12 05:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's interesting pick for drug czar

I believe all the Czars are cabinet level.

by yitbos96bb 2009-02-12 05:25AM | 0 recs
He will be confirmed

Gil is very smart, and of his misteps, they have fallen BOTH of the too much law and order and too much taking on the Police establishment.

No smoking guns on either side, I think he will be acceptable to both sides.

Now, hopefully he hasn't cheated on his taxes!!!!!!

by WashStateBlue 2009-02-12 07:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's interesting pick for drug czar

Making it legal or at least sending it to the states and letting the states decide would be the best thing.

by yitbos96bb 2009-02-12 05:24AM | 0 recs


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