US General Comments on Cannabis Legalization

As of Monday, February 11, 2013, General John Kelly has voiced his opinion on the recent state legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado. Kelly, head of United States Southern Command, stated to the Jamaican press that the recently established laws were “dumb” and “irresponsible in my opinion”. 

Interestingly enough, the United States Southern Command, or USSOUTHCOM for short, is purported by Kelly to be focused primarily on cocaine trafficking from Southern America and surrounding areas into the United States or in his words it “Revolves around cocaine coming out of Latin America through Central America into the US.” His statement is quite transparent, isn’t it?

Besides that, it’s quite interesting that someone who is in the military is advocating public policy—especially to the Jamaican press. What place is it for him to be picking sides on an issue that’s not related to his job title?
According to the Jamaica Gleaner, “The general argued that the proceeds from illegal drugs generate enormous profits that are corrosive to countries.” In relation to the current debates about marijuana reform that are happening in Jamaica and surrounding countries, the fact that Kelly is giving his opinion on the topic could be dubious.

In other Caribbean areas, such as Grenada, legalization and decriminalization efforts of marijuana have stalled. The Prime Minister of Grenada recently affirmed that there no current plans exist to change the classification of the drug. Clearly, the issue is still incredibly contentious and would benefit from a lack of outside influence. Although the United States has a history of interfering with other country’s issues, it seems like it could do a better job of leaving this to the policy makers in the Caribbean.

In reality, the purpose of Kelly’s interview is unknown. With his true intention hidden, only time will shine light on the issue.