While the terms of engagement between DEA and the medical marijuana community under an Obama administration won’t be fleshed out for many months, I’d like to remind everyone what exactly we’ve been told to expect. This is the Obama campaign’s response to emails about medical marijuana:
Thank you for contacting Obama for America to inquire about the Senator's position on allowing severely ill patients to use marijuana for medical purposes.
Many states have laws that condone medical marijuana, but the Bush Administration is using federal drug enforcement agents to raid these facilities and arrest seriously ill people. Focusing scarce law enforcement resources on these patients who pose no threat while many violent and highly dangerous drug traffickers are at large makes no sense. Senator Obama will not continue the Bush policy when he is president.
Thank you again for contacting us.
Obama for America
As I've argued previously, it's really quite silly to argue that arresting patients is a "poor use of resources" as though we'd persecute the sick if only we could afford to. The hysteria about "many violent and highly dangerous drug traffickers" is also utterly irrelevant and distracting, a frivolous pander to law & order types who may or may not require constant reassurance that Obama doesn't plan to end enforcement of all criminal laws on day 1.
And yet, despite the almost complete incoherence of Obama's position on medical marijuana, it somehow arrives at the conclusion that we must stop arresting medical marijuana patients and providers. Is there any ambiguity about that? If nothing else, the above statement insists convincingly that Obama has every intention of promptly discontinuing one of the worst excesses of the modern war on drugs. If this happens, it will be the functional equivalent of the chronically doomed Hinchey Amendment, and one could scarcely overstate the significance of such an event.