By Joe Campbell
October 28th, 2009
former drug czar Barry McCaffrey and was outraged at the blatant lies he told. Lynch points to two specific lies:Tim Lynch from Cato@Liberty appeared on CNN with
- that it is a “fantasy” with “zero truth” that “the Drug Enforcement Administration or any other federal law enforcement ever threatened care-givers or individual patients” regarding medicinal marijuana; and
- that it was “nonsense” that the DEA was “going to threaten doctors simply for discussing the pros and cons of using marijuana with their patients” until the Ninth Circuit held that such a restriction was unconstitutional.
Of course, McCaffrey is no stranger to eliding the truth. I posted a video a while back pointing out another whopper McCaffrey told – this time to an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations:
De facto legalized? Yet McCaffrey himself attacked those politicians who suggested even allowances for medicinal marijuana:
After California passed a compassionate use initiative in 1996, McCaffrey warned doctors in the state that their privileges to prescribe narcotics would be stripped by the DEA if they prescribed or recommended marijuana use. In July 1998, as part of the anti-pot campaign, the drug czar claimed that Holland, a country with liberal drug laws, had a murder rate double that of the United States. In fact, although robberies have increased in the Netherlands since pot was made widely available in the late 1980s, the country’s murder rate is scarcely a quarter of the U.S. rate. McCaffrey never corrected himself. When Gary Johnson, New Mexico’s maverick Republican governor, spoke in favor of decriminalization, McCaffrey flew out to the state and claimed that Johnson had said “heroin is good.” [my emphasis]
If we are to believe his comments now, he apparently secretly did not oppose legalization while he was drug czar – as I reported earlier, he said at the same event as the above:
QUESTIONER: …[W]hy not just legalize drugs?
Former Drug Czar, General BARRY MCCAFFREY (retired): …[S]ince I’m not in public life, [I can say] I actually don’t care. I care about 6th graders through 12th graders. If you’re 40 years old, and you’re living in Oregon, and you have 12 giant pot plants in the back of your log cabin, knock yourself out.
Yet despite the fact that he claims marijuana is de facto legalized and that he secretly didn’t care if it was legalized, under his leadership as drug czar continuing through his successor’s term, arrests for mere marijuana possession went way up [pdf] – and not just for large amounts as he suggests here. Yet arrests related to marijuana surpassed that of both heroin and cocaine in McCaffrey’s first year as drug czar – and almost matched that of all non-marijuana-related drug offenses.
According to a study by Ryan S King and Marc Mauer [pdf], “Marijuana arrests increased by 113% between 1990 and 2002, while overall arrests decreased by 3%” – and the bulk of these arrests (over 50%) were of small users.
Under Barry McCaffrey, the War on Drugs became the War on Marijuana – yet he claims marijuana was de facto legalized; Barry McCaffrey himself personally attacked politicians who supported medical marijuana laws, supervised an agency that deliberately went after people following state laws allowing medicinal marijuana, and threatened any doctor who mentioned to a patient that marijuana might help him or her with prosecution – yet any recitation of these facts documented at the time and afterwards, he refers to as “fantasy” and “nonsense.”
On top of it all, he now claims to have not even opposed the legalization of marijuana as he supervised the War on Marijuana.