Marijuana legalization's biggest enemies -- and their Colorado ties
The other two individuals in the Rolling Stone top five are both current members of the Obama administration. Coming in at number three is Michele Leonhart, chief administrator of the DEA. Back in June, we shared a dust-up between Leonhart and Colorado Representative Jared Polis that was caught on video. During a Congressional hearing, Polis tried his damnedest to coax Leonhart into admitting that marijuana is not nearly as dangerous to the public as crack, meth or even heroin. But she adamantly, hilariously refused to do so.
Here's that clip.
And the fifth member of the quintet? Obama administration drug czar Gil Kerlikowske, who once said, "Legalization is not in my vocabulary and it's not in the president's," and has been quoted as saying that medical marijuana "sends a terrible message" to the youth of America.
Still, Kerlikowske's statement that the country is "in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana," made in response to a WhiteHouse.gov petition calling for legalization, heartened Tom Angell, chairman of the organization Marijuana Majority and a close follower of events in Colorado.
In another post published last week, Angell wrote, "From 'legalization is not in my vocabulary and it's not in the president's,' as Gil Kerlikowske often used to say, to 'it is clear that we're in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana' is a pretty stark shift.
"Of course, what really matters is to what extent the administration actually shifts enforcement priorities and budgets," he added. "But I sure do like hearing the U.S. drug czar acknowledge the fact that marijuana legalization is a mainstream discussion that is happening whether he likes it or not."
Has Kerlikowske seen the light? Clearly, Rolling Stone has some serious doubts.
More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: Project SAM touts public-health approach to pot in fighting legalization."