Peter Bensinger, a former head of the DEA, led a panel teleconference press conference today calling on the Obama administration and Attorney General Eric Holder to publicly come out against marijuana legalization ballot initiatives coming up in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington state. So far, the Obama administration has remained silent on the issue.
Bensinger and the other panelists were speaking on behalf of all 9 of the last DEA administrators, every former Drug Czar from 1989-2008, and others, in calling for strong action to stop marijuana legalization. Besides Bensinger, the participants included: Bill Bennett and John Walters, former directors of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (Drug Czar); Richard Beary, chief of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Orlando, Fla.; Robert DuPont, founding director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and representing the American Society of Addiction Medicine; and others.
After Bensinger's opening remarks, the first question was asked by Executive Intelligence Review's Dennis Small. The exchange was as follows:
"MODERATOR: The first question is from the line of Dennis Small of EIR magazine.
"SMALL: Thank you very much, and thank you all for your stance against drug legalization. My question is, that in light of the clear evidence that marijuana and other drug decriminalization and legalization only increase drug consumption, and production, and money laundering, could you please comment on the reports that the reason that the Obama administration has been so soft on legalization, is because both his 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns have been financed in part by laundered drug money. [Commotion among panelists] Three points: First, the scandal around the Obama campaign's fundraising, [Bensinger tries to break in] where the Republican National Committee asked Attorney General Holder to investigate; and the second and final point is the role of George Soros, who is a notorious promoter of drug legalization, in the financing of the Obama campaign. Thank you.
"BENSINGER: I'd like to tell you that we're not going to speculate on the politics of this issue. This is Peter Bensinger. I don't know that it serves any purpose, and I can't speculate on the rationale. I do know that Attorney General Holder on October 13, 2010, when California was considering this, wrote a very clear letter stating that the Department of Justice strongly opposes Proposition 19, and that it would enforce the Controlled Substances Act. I also know that the President, at the Organization of American States in Cartagena, spoke earlier this year, I think in July, saying he was against legalization. What we are asking for them to do is to speak out again now. Next question.
"MODERATOR: Your next question is from Matt Sledge of the Huffington Post.
"SLEDGE: Hi, I was actually, I was going to ask a question about the politics of this issue as well, but maybe before I start that: The last questioner suggested that Obama wasn't speaking out against legalization because he accepted laundered drug money. Do you reject that suggestion, or not?
"BENSINGER: I won't comment on it. And I don't have any knowledge that that is the case. We're not here to discuss his campaign funding or the politics that are involved in this. We're here to talk about the science, the law, the conflict between these proposals and ballot initiatives and the U.S. Constitution and the Controlled Substances Act and Supreme Court decisions.
"SLEDGE: So you will not reject the suggestion that President…
"BENSINGER: I won't entertain it. Next question.
"SLEDGE: Okay, on… [his phone line was cut at this point]"
At the conclusion of the press conference, Bensinger announced that an audio file of the entire event would be available on the website of http://www.truecompassion.org