Marijuana: Obama drug czar cites "serious national conversation" about legalization
Since the passage and signing of Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, Coloradans and folks for and against policy reform nationwide have waited for word as to whether the federal government will block implementation of the law.
The latest clue to the feds' approach comes in a letter from Obama administration drug czar Gil Kerlikowske, in which he acknowledges that the country is "in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana."
The letter was prompted by three marijuana-legalization-related petitions at the White House's We the People website. As we've reported, a slew of petitions calling for marijuana reform have cropped up since voters blessed A64.
Among them is a document submitted by syndicated columnist David Sirota, who was just disappeared from his KHOW talk-show gig, and Amendment 64 proponent Mason Tvert, whose petition asked vice president Joe Biden not to crack down on Colorado and Washington, both of which passed cannabis measures in November.
The lion's share of Kerlikowske's letter -- prompted by the petitions reaching the 25,000 signature level quickly enough to trigger an automatic Obama administration response -- features quotes from the President's recent interview with Barbara Walters, in which he said individual users wouldn't be targeted while arguing against more universal legalization. But prior to citing the Justice Department's ongoing review of the Colorado and Washington measures, and alluding to the differences between federal law and those in the states in question, Kerlikowske writes, "Coming out of the recent election, it is clear that we're in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana."
Pete Souza A White House photo of Obama's sit-down with Barbara Walters.
This phrase strikes Tom Angell, chairman of the organization Marijuana Majority and a close follower of events in Colorado, as significant.
Continue for more about Kerlikowske's comments, including the entire letter and a video.