"Drug Czar" Gil Kerlikowske said it himself this spring and repeated it in El Paso this week at the 6th Annual Border Security Conference: the phrase "War on Drugs" is inaccurate.
He told El Paso independent media The Newspaper Tree that there is no evidence legalizing marijuana would reduce the Drug War violence.
In a brief interview he repeated his stand that neither he nor President Barack Obama believe legalizing any drugs is worth talking about or discussing.
The Newspaper Tree notes that by law, the drug czar must opose any attempt to legalize the use (in any form) of illicit drugs. "The statute says we have to absolutely resist (legalization)," it quotes Kerlikowske as saying.
Kerlikowski also said that the administration intends to turn the focus of the War on Drugs to a public health problem: "We brought a group of prevention specialists together not long after I became the director. And the prevention specialists felt that their voices in quality prevention programs have not been heard."
When asked whether there is a difference between marijuana and hard drugs like cocaine, he deferred the matter to the attorney general.
And medical marijuana? "I think the medical marijuana, we're reserving that question for the medical community. The decision on whether marijuana actually has a medicinal benefit within its chemical compound is a question we're going to let science answer."
Did the end of Prohibition reduce violence in Chicago, and is that a possible model for legalizing marijuana? "I'm not sure I'd liken what we're talking about to Prohibition, but I don't think anybody thought after Prohibition was lifted crime ended as a result," Kerlikowske said.