During a press conference last Thursday, Daniel Pacheco (SCS ’11) confronted National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske about long-standing drug policies in America.
Pacheco, a Colombian graduate student studying public relations and corporate communications, said that he was “looking to make a statement” about drug policy reform.
“The United States is the largest drug market in the world,” he said. “Criminal organizations profit from the money earned from American drug users, which allows them to cause more violence in Latin America.”
After Pacheco, who is active with Students for Sensible Drug Policy, asked figures involving drug cartel’s revenue, Kerlikowske responded by debunking the merits of commonly-cited statistics on the topic.
“The number that has been often cited in the press—58 to 60 percent of cartel revenues comes—was introduced by [Office of National Drug Control Policy] in 2006. Unfortunately, the history is that it was based on 1997 information,” he said. “Everyone that recognizes these cartels clearly understands that their revenues have changed a lot since 1997.”
Pacheco also delivered 52,000 signatures to Kerlikowske, on behalf of the SSDP’s Just Say Now campaign to legalize marijuana.
According to a report released the day before the press conference, more than 850,000 people were arrested for marijuana violations in 2009. (Approximately 88 percent were arrested for simple possession.) However, marijuana usage rose during the same time period.
h/t Huffington Post