President Obama has nominated Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy (i.e., if confirmed he’ll be the new “drug czar”). Though Kerlikowske comes from a strong law enforcement background, his approach to drug policy has been called progressive. He presided over a city known for drug courts and needle exchange programs, a tolerance for the yearly Hempfest and mobile methadone vans. Some people are also saying that having a stepson with multiple marijuana charges has given Kerlikowske a painful but invaluable understanding of the complexities of drug problems.
What will all of this mean when he takes the national stage, and what will that national stage mean for the Northwest? What is your experience with state and national drug laws? What are you hoping will change — or stay the same?
- Dominic Holden: News reporter for The Stranger, member of the board of directors for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, former director of the Seattle Hempfest and chair of Initiative 75
- Scott Gutierrez: Reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
- Mike Bunyard: Needle exchange program coordinator for the Harm Reduction Center of Southern Oregon
- Mike Dugan: District attorney for Deschutes County