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Barry McCaffrey

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 26, 2010

    Well, the ex-Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey that is. (As a rule, acting Drug Czar’s do not debate marijuana law reformers in public forums.)

    Below is the clip from this afternoon’s edition of the Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC.

    Before anyone comments, yes I am well aware that the host — who was clearly favorable to NORML’s position — did not give us equal time. Then again, former General McCaffrey is a regular consultant to MSNBC (and a guest) so the deference was to be expected. That said, Ratigan, to his credit, did allow me the first and the last word on the subject.

    Anyone who wants to read all of what I would have liked to have said, given the proper time, can see my recent commentary — Are U.S. Pot Laws the Root Cause of Mexican Drug Violence? — from last week’s online edition of The Hill, or you can listen to my recent appearance on FoxNews.com. I think they say it all.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director November 1, 2009

    Former Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey “Lies” To Beat The Band About Cannabis…Then Again, What Else Is New?

    In the media rush to cover the DOJ memo on the Obama administration’s redirecting federal law enforcement efforts away from arresting and prosecuting state compliant medical cannabis providers CNN’s Lou Dobbs interviewed former Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey and Cato Institute’s Tim Lynch…

    Checkout Tim’s on-point rebuttal of McCaffrey’s usual double-speak, and that of others like blogger Joe Campbell, who’ve simply called out McCaffrey as, in Mr. Campbell’s view, “a liar”.

    Any long time observer of Mr. Caffrey’s m.o. when being interviewed is to tell some whoppers to an unquestioning media, but in these recent videos McCaffrey, again, wrongly claims that no one gets arrested for cannabis; no one goes to jail or prison for cannabis-related offenses; that he didn’t lose in the seminal case Conant vs McCaffrey; cannabis is de facto legal in the United States, etc…Geesh! I guess when the hundreds of cannabis consumers who call the toll-free number (888-67-NORML) or email NORML this week post arrest looking for legal information and assistance, we”ll just inform them, ‘Don’t you know, according to Barry McCaffrey, cannabis is de facto legal, and that you didn’t really get arrested.’

    Makes one wonder how honest and credible McCaffrey has been for the last nine years as a paid, on-air military consultant for NBC News when his track record for anti-pot prevarications (I’m in DC…and therefore not suppose to use the word ‘lie’) are so obviously refuted. If he’d so obviously twist the truth about cannabis, would he mislead an audience or interviewer about America’s military and defense contractors?

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director August 8, 2009

    In an attempt to clarify an apparent gaffe made a few weeks ago to California media stating that “marijuana is dangerous and has no medicinal value”, drug czar Gil Kerlikowske in a new interview with his hometown media in Seattle has only slightly, almost imperceptibly, modified his remarks by now implying that somehow how ‘smoked‘ medical cannabis is not a legitimate and effective drug delivery method:

    When asked about his comments a few weeks ago Kerlikowske told KOMO news “I certainly said that legalization is not in the president’s vocabulary nor is it in mine. But the other question was in reference to smoked marijuana. And as we know, the FDA has not determined that smoked marijuana has a value, and this is clearly a medical question that should be answered by the medical community.”

    KOMO also reports:

    Kerlikowske’s stand on legalizing marijuana for everyone is more clear-cut. The Office of National Drug Control Policy, by law, actively works against legalizing drugs.

    Kerlikowske takes on last jab at cannabis by continuing his predecessor’s  proclivity to mislead the media and public by claiming “You know from the University of Washington, the number one call from young people for treatment here, after alcohol, is marijuana. So I’m not seeing the benefit to society with legalization here.”

    Number one, cannabis is not legal in Washington state, or anywhere in the US, 2) youth in Washington, and all around the US, after being ensnared by the hundreds of thousands per year by cannabis prohibition laws enforced by the criminal justice system (or university police), are provided with the Hobson’s Choice of either going to jail or so-called ‘treatment’.

    Mr. Kerlikowske should cease employing this rhetorical straw man as he is intelligent enough to know its inaccuracy, but continues to adopt the failed rhetoric of prior hardliner drug czars Gen. Barry McCaffrey and John Walters, who consistently made the same claims during their tenure, and lost credibility every time they continued to propound such obviously misleading propaganda.

    Kerlikowske’s latest unfortunate remarks affirm cannabis law reformers have much work left to do! Maybe our good drug czar should call actor Patrick Swayze and ask him ‘if he is benefiting from smoked medical cannabis?’

    Patrick Swayze, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer over a year ago, is using medical marijuana to relieve the pain of his last days of chemotherapy.

    According to a family insider, Swayze, 56, has found that smoking marijuana helps with his nausea, inability to sleep, and anxiety. The insider noted on the actor’s slight weight gain as well as adding that he (Swayze) feels more “normal than he has in months.”

    Pictures have surfaced of Swayze out with his brother Donnie looking much healthier than he had weeks before.

    “Patrick was rapidly losing weight because he couldn’t keep good down. He was so weak, he needed help getting around,” the source told the magazine.

    “Marijuana works extremely well for many cancer patients. It helps fight nausea from chemotherapy treatments and may alleviate anorexia or loss of appetite,” Dr. Ron Kennedy of Santa Rosa, CA, said of the situation.