Thirty-six years after then-candidate Jimmy Carter campaigned on the decriminalization of marijuana, federal drug policy hasn’t softened much at all, to the dismay of former Carter drug policy advisor Dr. Peter Bourne.
In a rare interview, he says the Obama administration’s approach to marijuana is “totally insane.” He thinks “they should be bolder,” urging Congress to decriminalize and considering an executive order if necessary. Currently, what they’re doing—raiding medical-marijuana dispensaries, defending pot’s classification as a drug as bad as meth—“doesn’t make any sense at all.”
Bourne, who calls himself the original “drug czar,” also says the federal government should take a hands-off approach in the states, where he is heartened by a burst of progress. Current polling in Colorado and Washington suggests that ballot initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana may succeed, while 17 states support medical marijuana, and 12 “now treat a personal stash like a minor traffic offense.”