Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly’s weekend appearance on Meet the Press contained a curious statement about marijuana’s role in the War on Drugs.
The Setting: While discussing how America can stop drugs and immigrants from infiltrating its borders, Meet the Press host Chuck Todd asked Kelly whether legalizing marijuana would help or hurt his work.
The Comment: “Yeah, marijuana is not a factor in the drug war,” Kelly responded. He later added: “It’s three things. Methamphetamine, almost all produced in Mexico. Heroin, virtually all produced in Mexico. And cocaine that comes up from further south.”
The Reaction: The comments have puzzled, to put it nicely, most anyone with knowledge of the War on Drugs. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, 643,121 arrests were made in America for marijuana in 2015 — nearly half of America’s arrest total (1.49 million) for drug violations. It’s hard to mesh those statistics with denying marijuana as a major component. Unless…
The Silver Lining: If a major cog in Trump’s cabinet — albeit not the most vital member in this matter — truly doesn’t see marijuana as a War on Drugs target, does this mean the cannabis community has been overreacting to strong rhetoric coming from the White House about crackdowns, upholding federal law, and comparisons to heroin? Or is the administration just struggling to get on the same page?
Watch the full interview: