Scare tactics are nothing new in the raging debate over Washington's Initiative 502. And today former Drug Czar John Walters, part of what's described as a coalition of "former DEA Administrators, Drug Czars and leading national addiction health experts," added fuel to the fire during a national conference call with the media warning against the legalization of marijuana.
The purpose of the conference call, in the words of a press release distributed this morning hyping the event, is to warn of an impending "constitutional showdown" should states like Washington, Colorado and Oregon take action to legalize marijuana.
As the press release notes:
In letters to President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, these respected voices [the aforementioned coalition of federal drug officials and addiction health experts] noted that these initiatives would legalize the production, possession and sale of marijuana, in direct violation of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Their goal is to remind the U.S. Justice Department that if, on November 6th, voters in Colorado, Oregon and Washington vote to legalize marijuana use, they will trigger a Constitutional showdown with the Federal Government that outlaws its sale, use and possession.
Of course, as New Approach Washington's Alison Holcomb has noted, forcing a showdown with the feds over our nation's failed drug policies is part of the point of I-502.
Still, judging by reports, Walters and his cohorts did their damndest during this morning's conference call to scare the bejesus out of anyone who remains on the marijuana-legalization fence.
Former drug czar John Walters fears the use of marijuana will explode to the same numbers as those who regularly drink alcohol, which he estimates at 133 million users.
"What's the country going to look like if there are a hundred million marijuana users?" asked Walters. "This isn't a joke, this isn't hard to see. It's a clear and present danger."
While a country with "a hundred million marijuana users" might seem scary to some, I'd argue that a country where 241,000 people have been arrested for marijuana possession over the last 25 years in Washington alone - with a disproportionate number of them African American and Latino - is far, far freakier.