Drug czar is an informal name for the person who directs drug-control policies in various areas. The term follows the informal use of the term czar in U.S. politics. The 'drug czar' title first appeared in a 1982 news story by United Press International that reported that, "[United States] Senators ... voted 62–34 to establish a 'drug czar' who would have overall responsibility for U.S. drug policy." Since then, several ad hoc executive positions established in both the United States and United Kingdom have subsequently been referred to in this manner.
The first US Drug czar was Harry J. Anslinger who served as the first Commissioner of the Treasury Board-created Federal Bureau of Narcotics from 1930-1962, under the administrations of five presidents: Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy. Legislative efforts for marijuana prohibition under Anslinger included a push for all states to adopt similar drug laws, the Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act and the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which in effect criminalized the drug and set the stage for marijuana prohibition.
Nixon and Ford administrations
- Jerome Jaffe, head of the Special Office for Drug Abuse Prevention
- Myles Ambrose, head of the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE)
- Robert DuPont, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and head of the Narcotics Treatment Administration
- Peter Bourne, Director of the National Drug Control Policy
followed by Lee I Dogoloff
- Carlton Turner PhD, ScD, Director of the Drug Abuse Policy Office. Turner, while working as drug czar, was in communication with Elisaldo Carlini, a scientist in Brazil whose lab was studying the beneficial effects of CBD. Turner helped establish the Marijuana Research Project at the University of Mississippi.
- D. Ian McDonald, MD. Deputy Assistant to the President, Drug Abuse Policy Office
- Vice President George H.W. Bush, who created and oversaw the Vice President's National Narcotics Border Interdiction System
- The Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy
- (Opioid czar): The Chair of the Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission. Note: In March 2017 it was announced that governor of New Jersey Chris Christie was to head the Commission.
In Washington State, the consultant to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board determining statewide procedures and regulations following legalization was "quickly dubbed 'pot czar'". A similar cannabis regulation staff position in Oregon Liquor Control Commission was also called "marijuana czar".
- Anthony H. Gamboa (4 January 2005). "Letter to Hon. John W. Olver & Hon. Henry A. Waxman, subject: Office of National Drug Control Policy" (PDF). csdp.org. U.S. Government Accountability Office. pp. 14–15. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
We conclude that ONDCP’s prepackaged news stories violate the ban on covert propaganda, but its use of the term "drug czar" to refer to ONDCP’s Director does not violate the ban on self-aggrandizement.
- German Youths Choose Alcohol Over Cannabis, Drug Czar Says, Deutsche Welle, May 5, 2008
- Lewis, Amanda Chicago (23 May 2020). "A Hidden Origin Story of the CBD Craze". New York Times. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
- Patrick McGreevy (April 7, 2016), "Has she smoked weed? What will happen with recreational pot?: A conversation with California's first marijuana czar", The Los Angeles Times
- Sacramento 'Pot Czar' preparing for legalization of recreational marijuana sales, KXTV ABC 10 TV News, October 31, 2017
- Ben Livingston (April 10, 2013), "Don't Call Him the "Pot Czar": Mark Kleiman Is Advising the State on How to Run a Legal Pot Industry", The Stranger
- Anna Staver (December 18, 2014), "Oregon's marijuana czar ready to look for answers", Statesman Journal, Salem, Oregon
- Senators urge Obama to deliver consistent message on marijuana Fresno Bee, July 29, 2014