The Obama administration's new drug czar says he wants to banish the idea that the U.S. is fighting "a war on drugs," a move that would underscore a shift favoring treatment over incarceration in trying to reduce illicit drug use.
... Mr. Kerlikowske was most recently the police chief in Seattle, a city known for experimenting with drug programs.
In 2003, voters there passed an initiative making the enforcement of simple marijuana violations a low priority.
The city has long had a needle-exchange program and hosts Hempfest, which draws tens of thousands of hemp and marijuana advocates.
Seattle currently is considering setting up a project that would divert drug defendants to treatment programs.
Mr. Kerlikowske said he opposed the city's 2003 initiative on police priorities.
His officers, however, say drug enforcement -- especially for pot crimes -- took a back seat, according to Sgt. Richard O'Neill, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild. One result was an open-air drug market in the downtown business district, Mr. O'Neill said.
"The average rank-and-file officer is saying, 'He can't control two blocks of Seattle, how is he going to control the nation?' " Mr. O'Neill said.
- DRUG ABUSE WILL NOT GO DOWN -
- THOUGH PROSECUTION AND INCARCERATION CERTAINLY WILL GO DOWN.
- AND WITH MORE SCUM ON THE STREETS... CRIME WILL GO UP.
MARK MY WORDS: OBAMA WILL GIVE US A CRIME WAVE.
MORE ON OBAMA'S "LOST" YEARS AT COLUMBIA HERE.