Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Obama taps Seattle Police Chief for Drug Czar

Seattle Times

By Steve Miletich and Mike Carter

Seattle Times staff reporters

Chief Gil Kerlikowske's career spans 36 years, eight of them in Seattle.

Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske has accepted a job in the Obama administration, most likely overseeing the nation's drug policies, according to sources familiar with the chief's plans.

Sources say Kerlikowske is expected to be named head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a Cabinet-level position otherwise known as the drug czar. The office, established in 1988, directs drug-control policy in the U.S. It's subject to Senate confirmation.

And what do you know...he's progressive on drug policy too!

Kerlikowske's possible role in shaping drug policy for the Obama administration was applauded Tuesday by local medical-marijuana advocates.

In 2003, Kerlikowske opposed a city ballot measure, approved by voters, to make marijuana possession the lowest law-enforcement priority, saying it would create confusion. But in doing so, he noted that arresting people for possessing marijuana for personal use was already not a priority.

Douglas Hiatt, a Seattle attorney and advocate for medical-marijuana patients, said his first preference would be for a physician to oversee national drug policy.

But Kerlikowske would be a vast improvement over past drug czars, who have used the office to carry out the so-called "war on drugs," Hiatt said.

Kerlikowske is a "very reasonable guy" who would likely bring more liberal policies to the job, Hiatt said.

I know Douglas and if he is happy with this pick then I can probably be fairly comfortable with it too. Things are looking up!

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