Homeland Security Secretary: Pot's ‘Not A Factor’ In War On Drugs

By Kelly Burch 04/19/17

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly spoke out about marijuana and drug consumption on Meet The Press last Sunday.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on "Meet The Press"
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on "Meet The Press" Photo via YouTube

The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security said that marijuana is “not a factor” in the War on Drugs—and that efforts to lower drug use would be more effective if they applied a “comprehensive drug demand reduction program,” instead of arresting users.

Speaking Sunday on Meet the Press, DHS Secretary John Kelly was asked whether marijuana legalization undermined national security. He replied that marijuana is not a major factor, but that DHS is focused on three types of drugs believed to be causing the most harm in the United States. 

“Methamphetamine. Almost all produced in Mexico. Heroin. Virtually all produced in Mexico. And cocaine that comes up from further south,” he said.

Kelly said that the United States needs to decrease demand for drugs, but did not elaborate on how that would be accomplished, other than saying, “It has to involve everyone. Sports figures, Hollywood, the president.”

Kelly said that while the drug business remains as lucrative as ever, drug cartels will continue to use bribery and violence to elude the law.  

“Drug consumption in the United States is the problem,” he said. “Just cocaine alone, when you consider the massive amount of profits that come out of the Uniter States. The biggest problem traffickers have … is not getting drugs into the United States. The biggest problem they have is laundering the money.”

Kelly said that drug money is used to facilitate violence. “When you have that much profit coming out of the United States, and that profit is managed by cartels that are beyond violent,” the money can be used to bribe officials, he said. People who refuse bribes often put themselves and their families at risk.

The suffering in South America, and among American drug users, motivates Kelly to "fight" the war on drugs. “You can’t put a price on human misery,” he said. 

In addition to discussing drugs, Kelly also touched on immigration enforcement, both in terms of securing the boarder and of finding visa over-stayers who remain in the country illegally. 

“The law on the books are pretty straightforward,” he said. “If you are here illegally you should leave. Be deported. The law is the law.”

He added that the Trump administration is more aggressively pursuing the deportation of criminals. When asked for an example, he said that someone with multiple DUI’s would now be deported, whereas that person might not have been deported under previous administrations. 

Watch Kelly’s entire interview here:

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.