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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Kofi Annan, Former UN Secretary General, Says It's Time to Legalize Marijuana

Posted By on Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 3:30 PM

click to enlarge Barack is cool with it
  • Barack is cool with it

An endless parade of low-level drug offenders, advocates, and faceless bloggers like us could ask for an end to the War on Drugs, but who's going to listen to such nonentities?

Who can get attention on the matter are former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, a former chair of the Federal Reserve, and the former presidents of Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, as well as Bay Area foreign relations impresario George P. Schultz. And let's not leave out everyone's favorite playboy entrepreneur Richard Branson.

They're part of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which issued a 24-page report today that argues for the legalization of marijuana. At the very least, they want a serious reconsideration of the War on Drugs, which these VIPs declare to be an abject failure.

Such a blue-ribbon coterie should be harder to ignore for most -- but not for President Barack Obama's administration, which roundly dismissed the report and its recommendations.

But there's nothing really new in the reports; arguments for a public health model rather than a law enforcement model for drug "offenders" has been proposed before. In typical UN fashion, the report is a bit muted when calling leaders of the world to account.

To wit: "Political leaders and public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately: That the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the War on Drugs has not, and cannot, be won."

Read the report for yourself. Then try to cook up a dismissive response to the report's recommendation that's a wee bit stronger than the undeniably weak sauce served up by Washington officials who argue for more of the same.

"Making drugs more available -- as this report suggests -- will make it harder to keep our communities healthy and safe," said Rafael Lemaitre, a spokesman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy. White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske likewise pooh-poohed the report in general without providing specific rebuttals.

Oh well. Not like anyone ever listened to Kofi Annan anyway.

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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