During an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly clarified the New Drug War declared this month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He said he is against anyone smoking marijuana, but that it will not be a "factor" in the new drug war against Latin American border smuggling gangs.
KELLY: Drug consumption in the United States is the problem. Just cocaine alone, when you consider the massive amounts of profit that come out of the United States. The the traffickers biggest problem is not getting drugs until now into the United States. The biggest problem they had was laundering the money.
So when you have that much profit coming out of the United States and that profit is managed by cartels that are beyond violent, and so you go to -- you go to the Latin American countries, Mexico, the United States, for that matter, you mentioned corruption already. The kind of money they can offer an attorney general in Guatemala or a police chief in Mexico, the kind of money they can offer -- and if you don't take the money, they're happy to send your, you know, your youngest child's head to your home in a plastic bag.
TODD: You've said, though, the hypocrisy aspect of it, meaning these Central American countries -- it -- is the idea of, for instance, marijuana legalization, does that help your problem or hurt your problem?
KELLY: Yes, marijuana is not a factor in the drug world.
TODD: This really is a cocaine, and in some cases, the opioid sort of copycats?
KELLY: It's three things -- methamphetamine, almost all produced in Mexico; heroin, virtually all produced in Mexico; and cocaine that comes up from further south. Those three drugs result in the death of, I think, last year, 52 -- in 16 -- 15, I think -- 52,000 people, to include opiates. It's a massive problem.
Fifty-two thousand Americans dead. You can't put a price on the human misery, the cost to the United States is over $250 billion a year.
The solution is not arresting a lot of users. The solution is a comprehensive drug demand reduction program in the United States that involves every men and woman of good will.