Despite our disappointment with the substance of Obama's policy on controlled substances, we can and should applaud the president for at least understanding that the thoughtless tough-on-drugs pandering of the 80s and 90s has no place in modern American politics.
It is simply Orwellian for the drug czar to focus on the disproportionate impact of our nation's drug problem on African-American communities without acknowledging the disproportionate racial impact of drug law enforcement.
Back in June, representatives of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition marched from the National Press Club to the Office of National Drug Control Policy headquarters. Our mission: to hand-deliver a copy of our new report.
Americans are becoming more dependent on drugs, despite years -- decades -- of our War on Drugs. Somehow, confiscating marijuana, cocaine, and illicit painkillers has not reversed our addictive proclivities.
For Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske and his mindless rhetoric, never forget the words of novelist Upton Sinclair, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
It will happen. Marijuana will be legalized in California. In the interests of public health and safety, human rights, personal liberties, and sound fiscal policy it makes far more sense that it happen next Tuesday, not the next election.
If we can agree on an initiative that's drafted to appeal to swing voters (meaning it can't be too radical) and it's placed on the November 2012 ballot, I predict that marijuana will be made legal in Washington state in just 26 months.
It seems odd that the Obama Administration, which proudly declared an end to the "War on Drugs," opted to keep one of the Bush Administration's most vehement drug warriors and give him such a significant role at the ONDCP.
Though the White House's new National Drug Control Strategy embraces specific policy options counter to those of the past thirty years, it differs little from its predecessor on fundamental issues of budget and drug policy paradigm.
President Obama spoke for millions when he said drug use should be treated as a health issue instead of a criminal justice issue. He has failed, however, to change the drug war budget in a meaningful way.
A person addicted to heroin needs the drug as much as a diabetic needs insulin. How he or she gets it is problematic, but until we legalize and tax heroin, we need outreach programs to alleviate suffering and save lives.