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Clinton and Obama's Positions on Medical Marijuana Aren't Good Enough

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton echoed Barack Obama's statement that medical marijuana raids are a bad use of law-enforcement resources. Via DrugWarRant:

What would you do as president about the federal government not recognizing Oregon's Medical Marijuana Program as legal?

We've got to have a clear understanding of the workings of pain relief and the control of pain. And there needs to be greater research and openness to the research that's already been done. I don't think it's a good use of federal law-enforcement resources to be going after people who are supplying marijuana for medicinal purposes.

So you'd stop the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency's raids on medical marijuana grows?

What we would do is prioritize what the DEA should be doing, and that would not be a high priority. There's a lot of other more important work that needs to be done. [wweek.com]

Honestly, this "not a good use of resources" argument for ending medical marijuana raids is the weakest excuse possible for taking the right position on this. Of course it's not a good use of resources, but that isn't why we should refrain from harassing sick people. We don't do that because it's just wrong. Why can't you say that? Are you afraid?

This fiscal argument against medical marijuana raids isn’t just incoherent, it's politically useless. When polling data shows overwhelming public support for medical marijuana, and John McCain looks vicious and cruel by comparison, it's time to go on the offensive. There's no sense in failing to call out McCain on his wildly unpopular position. But you can't accuse him of cruelty unless you acknowledge that this is genuinely cruel and not just a poor investment.

I don't think this is necessarily a matter of educating Clinton and Obama about where the people stand on medical marijuana. I think they know that. Unfortunately, I fear it's all they know. They've stumbled cluelessly into the right position, but they lack the will and/or the knowledge to debate it and capitalize on the easy political points it offers them.

The way the winds are blowing, I'd wager that either of them could have clinched the democratic nomination already simply by speaking more bravely about this and other drug policy issues. That sure would have livened up this mindnumbing spectacle for one thing. They'd never attempt it for fear of nasty attack ads and so forth in the general election, but since it's going to come up anyway, you're always better off throwing the first punch.

Senators, the next time someone asks you about medical marijuana, tell us that you know it works and that's why you support it. Tell us that John McCain thinks it should be a crime and that he's wrong. Not only is this the best political answer, it's the truth.

Update: In comments, MPP's Bruce Mirken points to recent statements from Obama that go a bit further than Hillary's remarks yesterday. I am still dissatisfied, but I suppose it could now be claimed that Obama's position isn't confined to just the "bad use of resources" argument. He has acknowledged the legitimacy of medical use in certain circumstances, which is a step in the direction I'm advocating.

Update II: Some have argued in comments that I should have mentioned Ron Paul and Mike Gravel's positions on medical marijuana in this post. I disagree. My central point is that the democratic nominee would be wise to improve their medical marijuana position in anticipation of the general election against John McCain. To my knowledge, neither Ron Paul nor Mike Gravel will be running in the general election. We've covered those candidates previously, but with respect to their supporters, I don't consider them relevant to the specific argument I'm making here. It's not that I don't appreciate the contributions of Paul and Gravel, but this post isn't about them.

(TThis blog post was published by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

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Clinton & Obama's Positions On Marijuana Aren't Good Enough

The headline say's it all. Clinton and Obama's Position on Medical Marijuana is Not Good Enough!!! So NEXT--they are out of here!!!!!

Oli

Not even a mention of Ron Paul? The only real Conservative who would do away with the Federal Drug War and let the states decide for themselves?

Watch Obama and Hillary do a 180 once elected and continue the raids, they're all the same bought and paid for politicians.

Just like Bush running on a platform of non-intervention in 2000...

Wake up people!!

Are you kidding me?

We covered Ron Paul's candidacy. But it's becoming increasingly clear that he's not going to be president, to put it mildly.

If he's got something up his sleeve to take over the republican convention, send a link.

In the meantime, I'm staying focused on the remaining candidates.

We're on the same side Scott...

A simple sentence reminding your readers that, yes you have covered Ron Paul and his positions are A+ to the Drug Reform community would have been enough.

By omitting his name, you're perpetuating the MSM lie that he's not even running anymore. Check how CNN is doing it http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/04/09/house.olympics/index.html

As for taking over the Republican convention, we're doing it by showing up in droves at County conventions and forcing the Republican party to adopt to our platform... http://www.connietalk.com/paul_mccain_delegates_040808.html

Ron Paul and his revolution aren't going away anytime soon, better get used to it!

Seriously, Scott

Mike Gravel is still running too. Please include a line about his A+ positions on drug policy in all future blogs on presidential candidates. It's fun and easy to do. Stop supporting the mainstream media!

Please also mention the libertarian candidates in all future blogs as well. Bob Barr is running now! He'll definitely end the raids!

are you kidding me

ron paul is on the oregon primary scott. oregon is a state of the union

?

I never said Ron Paul wasn't running in the primaries.

The fiscal argument politically useless?

I find this hard to believe, given that the most politically viable piece of medical marijuana legislation in Congress (the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment) is, in essence, a fiscal argument against government interference with state medical marijuana laws.

Other pieces of legislation, like Barney Frank's 'State's Rights to Medical Marijuana Act, rely on compassion and have failed politically.

Obama's Position May Be Better Than Clinton's

http://www.medicalmarijuanaprocon.org/pop/candidateviews.htm#obama

Barack Obama, U.S. Senator (D-IL), stated in a Mar. 22, 2008 interview with Gary Nelson, Editorial page editor for the Oregon newspaper Mail Tribune:

"When it comes to medical marijuana, I have more of a practical view than anything else. My attitude is that if it's an issue of doctors prescribing medical marijuana as a treatment for glaucoma or as a cancer treatment, I think that should be appropriate because there really is no difference between that and a doctor prescribing morphine or anything else. I think there are legitimate concerns in not wanting to allow people to grow their own or start setting up mom and pop shops because at that point it becomes fairly difficult to regulate.

I'm not familiar with all the details of the initiative that was passed [in Oregon] and what safeguards there were in place, but I think the basic concept that using medical marijuana in the same way, with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors, I think that's entirely appropriate.

I would not punish doctors if it's prescribed in a way that is appropriate. That may require some changes in federal law. I will tell you that...the likelihood of that being real high on my list is not likely. What I'm not going to be doing is using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue simply because I want folks to be investigating violent crimes and potential terrorism. We've got a lot of things for our law enforcement officers to deal with."

best answer yet.

Impotent candidates aside, obama's statement above gets a B+ from me. I think its a great point to say that federal law enforcement agencies ought to, and do, have larger fish to fry than doctors prescribing and patients consuming a federally banned substance. His tact certainly is something to behold.

Prove me wrong! No one has yet! Marijuana is LEGAL in America!

Who cares what these politicians, judges and DEA says. The law and our rights do not support their abuse of power. The government has violated everyone's rights that has been arrested and imprisoned for marijuana possession.

The law is on my side and I have proved it. Now wake up to what I am saying.

In my opinion marijuana is legal in America. The problem is that people do not know their rights and their lawyers don't know them either. That is why I wrote the book "Why Marijuana is Legal in America." Based upon one's permanent "rights and liabilities" created by U.S. Congress in the 1939 Statutes at Large that a person has the right to be an illegal user.

Do a search and read U.S.C. Title 26, Section 7851 (b)(1) of the current code. The current code still backs up what congress did in 1939. Copies are available on Barnes and Noble if you want to check it out or go to www.outskirtspress.com/marijuana.

To cut to the chase or short version is that Congress established the right to be an illegal user by paying a $100 transaction tax per ounce for an illegal user. All rights can still be claimed today. Claim it or lose it. The transaction tax was later abolished by the Supreme Court but you still have a right to be an illegal user, with no transaction tax. That's the facts and your rights in a nutshell.

You can email me at michael@vandeburg.com. I can't guarantee every email a reply.

Cannabis Hemp is the #1 bio-fuel on planet earth. Industrial Hemp will change every industry in America and create millions of new jobs. Do some research and stop listening to this government babble and lawyer legalese or words of witchcraft to steal your mind and property. Think for a change!

Author Michael Vandeburg

Hillary is a LIAR.

While meeting with members of the audience at a July 13 campaign rally held at Victory Park in Manchester, a GSMM (Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana), a volunteer told Sen. Clinton, "Twelve states allow medical marijuana but the Bush administration continues to raids patients," to which she responded, "Yes, I know, it's terrible." When the volunteer asked, "Would you stop the federal raids?" Sen. Clinton responded, "Yes, I will."

Hillary is now dodging the raid question with this "understanding the workings of pain/need for research" bull sh*t. Of course this is deliberate. Her pharma friends most have gotten to her, which means she would continue to use our tax $ and law enforcement to target, RAID (possibly hurt and/or kill), prosecute, and possibly INCARCERATE people for following a doc's recommendation, if elected.

Real Great Platform. And while sick people are dying in jail, Hillary will be "looking into" her Merck stock and helping the FDA pass another VIOXX.

In other words, Hillary is all "thumbs up" with the pharmaceutical companies & cops deciding MEDICINE. Another reason not to go to Medical school.

If Hillary can't keep her word & doesn't have the spine to END THE RAIDS, then she definitely doesn't have the spine and INTEGRITY to run our country.

What a lying @$#%! She's not even in office and she's already lying through her teeth DAILY!

Obama also has stated he would end the raids, but also has wiggled a little bit.

He needs to take back the BS about not letting legitimate patients grow their own; that's scary. Even if the FEDS reopened their medical marijuana program to new applicants, their federally grown stuff is some of the worst stuff on the planet. Of course legitimate patients should be able to grow their own!

We definitely don't need to pay the gov't to do what they have proven to do very poorly...and the people have proven to do MUCH better.

Paul and Gavel do rock on this issue, and it helped to increase their popularity.

Hillary AND Obama are missing an opportunity to emerge as COURAGEOUS, INTELLIGENT, AND COMPASSIONATE by not speaking more decisively about the insanity of warring on patients, physicians, and non-lethal medicine. They could use all the medical support (ACP, IOM, NEJM, APHA, etc...) to tell the truth, for once.

Attacking sick people is wrong for a million reasons. Why is so hard to muster up the courage simply to say it? Obama and Hillary's lack of conviction & clarity on this issue makes it very hard to believe either one has any real substance, intelligence, or compassion.

States' rights to define accepted medical use of marijuana

Congress actually ensured Tenth Amendment protection (states' rights) by including a "states' rights" component in the federal drug law at 21 U.S.C. 903. This was recently interpreted by the United States Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Oregon, 546 U.S. 243 (2006) to mean that states have the ultimate authority under the federal drug law to determine accepted medical use. Since 12 states have made that determination, federal drug law has now been amended and requires federal rescheduling of marijuana to a different schedule.

For example, the United States Supreme Court recently wrote in United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative, 532 U.S. 483, 492 (2001), "The Attorney General can include a drug in schedule I only if the drug 'has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,' 'has a high potential for abuse,' and has 'a lack of accepted safety for use . . . under medical supervision.' 812(b)(1)(A)-(C). Under the statute, the Attorney General could not put marijuana into schedule I if marijuana had any accepted medical use."

Because marijuana has currently accepted medical use in 12 states, the criteria for a schedule 1 controlled substance, 21 U.S.C. 812(b)(1), no longer applies to marijuana and federal law requires that marijuana be rescheduled immediately.

States have the right to determine accepted medical use pursuant to the federal drug law and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration must immediately reschedule marijuana to a schedule that does not conflict with 21 U.S.C. 903 as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Oregon.

Carl Olsen
Iowans for Medical Marijuana
http://www.iowamedicalmarijuana.org/

Think for a change!

I'm with Michael Vandeburg, we have to think for ourselves and not follow this horse & pony show the gov't puts on for us! We as the people of America need to take our country back and start living our lives, as were intended. We are under attack from our Gov't, lets grow up people and push back! We have the right to Freedom, not spending life in jail for smoking a plant that grows in the ground...
Please step out and make a difference!!!!!

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