By Derrick Stanley
Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Sunday that marijuana is "not a factor" in the war on drugs. He added that solving the nation's drug problem does not involve "arresting a lot of users."
Kelly appeared on NBC's "Meet The Press" and discussed his work to stop the flow of drugs into the United States from Central America and Mexico. Host Chuck Todd asked whether legalizing marijuana would help or hurt his work.
"Yeah, marijuana is not a factor in the drug war," Kelly responded, adding later: "It's three things. Methamphetamine. Almost all produced in Mexico. Heroin. Virtually all produced in Mexico. And cocaine that comes up from further south." He said that in 2015 those three drugs, plus opiates, were responsible for the deaths of 52,000 people in the United States and cost the country $250 billion.
Kelly said the solution is to lower demand in the United States.
"The solution is a comprehensive drug demand reduction program in the United States that involves every man and woman of goodwill. And then rehabilitation. And then law enforcement. And then getting at the poppy fields and the coca fields in the south."