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Pelosi Suggests Movement Post-Election on Medical Marijuana

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #742)
Politics & Advocacy

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told a bloggers' roundtable Wednesday that Democrats might be interested in making changes in federal law around medical marijuana after the November elections, Raw Story reported.

Pelosi and President Obama in happier times (
"I've been very clear on the subject of medical marijuana over time, in committee and on the floor as leader," Pelosi said. "I think that it would be really important to do that," she said.

"It would be hard for anyone to agree with the fact that someone who has HIV/AIDS or has cancer and they find relief from pain in medicinal marijuana that should be something that should be a priority to raid on the part of the Justice Department. Going along with that, we need to address some of the penalties for any nonviolent crimes that are out there."

Pelosi has previously attacked the Obama administration for the Justice Department's campaign of raids and threats against California medical marijuana providers, but this is her strongest statement yet on the topic.

Federal law and the Justice Department do not recognize medical marijuana, but there are options short of revising the Controlled Substance Act that could bring relief. The Justice Department could be persuaded to go back to the policy it adopted early in the Obama administration of not going after providers in compliance with state laws, or the administration could reschedule marijuana.

Another possibility is a ban on federal spending for raids on state-sanctioned medical marijuana facilities. But a bill that would do that was defeated in the House in May. A third alternative is for the administration to simply use its executive authority to reschedule marijuana for prescription availability under the Controlled Substances Act.

"Medical marijuana is one of those issues where if you get enough states, where when you get enough then you get it," Farr told Raw Story. "California had already started that process because of cost concerns. That didn't cause any scandals or upheavals."

Whether Pelosi's words will lead to any real change remains to be seen, but the most powerful Democrat in the House has just put the administration on notice that she's not happy with its medical marijuana policies.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


mbmanonthemoon (not verified)

I know there's always a cynicism that goes along with politicians, but we should be glad to have this ally.  She's consistently supported medical marijuana and decrim.  However if she becomes speaker again (pretty unliklely this year but still possible) I wouldn't expect her to push this legislation.  As speaker she has a record of having her members avoid tough votes and there's a lot of Democrats who would be too scared to vote for something like this.  Also the chances are much worse for this in the Senate.  Bottom line, the anti-drug war movement needs to continue to focus on policies at the local and state levels where change can happen more quickly.  

Thu, 07/12/2012 - 3:03am Permalink
Highlydoubtful (not verified)

Unfortunately, Obama and the Democrats will have already lost my vote by then. If the Dems want my support, I want to see some movement on this BEFORE the election. And to those who might think that people like me are "shallow one-issue voters" like several condescending politicians have already suggested, understand this: in light of the abhorrent ongoing DEA crackdown on the medical marijuana industry, it is apparent that President Obama has already lied to us about his intentions on this issue. It is no longer just about medical marijuana. It is about the honesty and integrity of our elected officials. I will no longer abide by nor endorse politicians who lie. Corrupt and dishonest politicians are the bane of democracy and a blight on our political system. They need to be held accountable, and I have two tools at my disposal with which to do this: my opinion and my vote. If that makes me a shallow one-issue voter, then so be it.

Thu, 07/12/2012 - 3:27am Permalink
William Aiken (not verified)

In reply to by Highlydoubtful (not verified)

Our narrow-minded critics such as MSNBC commentator LZ would like to pigeon hole drug reformers as one issue voters, who only care about just getting high. The reality is there are many fundamental larger issues that cloak the raiding of dispensaries, such as: The violation of the 10th amendment, the government's infringement of the doctor/patient relationship and the freedom to chose your health options are among just a few of the rights that our government violates with these raids. This blatant and bold move by the Obama administration is fueling the shift in the public's perception on marijuana. The fact that Obama reversed his position on the raiding of dispensaries makes the hypocrisy even more clearer to the average voter. The fact that he campaigned as a reformer then governed as a drug warrior helps our cause for change and weakens our opponents argument that these raids are a valid use of government resources.


So I join  Highlydoubtful as one issue voter. Neither Obama or Romney can be trusted to do the right thing. Gary Johnson offers voters a real change, even though he doesn't have a prayer this time around, a vote for Johnson will help the Libertarian party have a stronger presence in the 2016 presidential campaign when this war on marijuana will undoubtedly played a bigger factor than it has in this election cycle. While Obama and Romney avoid talking about the war on marijuana Johnson is willing and ready to take it head-on. There's a slim possibility that Johnson may qualify for a seat at the presidential debates if he can poll at 15%. If you are a serious minded drug reformer, don't waste your vote on Obama. Make it count toward the future of drug reformer.

Thu, 07/12/2012 - 9:23am Permalink
Clearwater Phil (not verified)

In reply to by Highlydoubtful (not verified)

I am pretty much in the same camp at Highlydoubtful on this.  I have even e-mailed the Obama campaign and told them straight up that I'll write them a big check TODAY if they reschedule cannabis, but not a dime until that happens.

As a Florida voter, I've made the decision that if it looks like Obama is either winning or losing come election time, I'm going to vote for Gary Johnson.  If it's close, then I'll vote for Obama.  I'd rather take my chances with Obama than go for a Corporatist Theocrat any day.

Sat, 07/14/2012 - 1:21am Permalink
Paul Pot (not verified)

Any politician that stands with the people on this issue is going to be part of a future government.

Thu, 07/12/2012 - 7:58am Permalink
Anh Hung Can Sa (not verified)

"Another possibility is a ban on federal spending for raids on state-sanctioned medical marijuana facilities. A bill that would do that passed the House in May, but awaits action in the Senate."

The only legislation of this sort that I know of was defeated in the House back in May by a vote of 262-163. Is there another bill that I haven't heard about?

Thu, 07/12/2012 - 8:55am Permalink
Nemo (not verified)

Suuuuuure she won't. Riiiiight.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told a bloggers' roundtable Wednesday that Democrats might be interested in making changes in federal law around medical marijuana after the November elections,

Uh huh. And there'll be ponies and cookies and rainbows all around, and lots and lots of pixie dust, too!

They 'might' be interested? They 'might' be? How about they'd better be. Real progressives are deserting the Dems in droves over just this issue, not to mention all the other betrayals of progressivism this Administration has been guilty of. Give them another chance to sucker us? After what they've already done?

They really do think we're as stupid as they so evidently are. If they're so pee-their-pants scared of Romney and need every vote, then they had damn well better start acting like it, with immediate halts of all raids and return of confiscated meds and property. And that's just the beginning.

Thu, 07/12/2012 - 9:27am Permalink
Dante2 (not verified)

Here it comes - the wave of false promises that candidates make during an election year. 

After the election, the promises are forgotten.  Poof!  Back to the way it was, until the next election cycle.

How many more times do you need Lucy to pull the football away before you realize it is a trick, Charlie Brown?

Let's send a message that even the dolts in Washington DC can understand.

Vote All Incumbents Out This November.  Both Parties.

Thu, 07/12/2012 - 10:47am Permalink

There are a lot of people who are going to reshape the voting dynamic this year by refusing to vote for President Obama unless he reschedules cannabis before the November election.

Cannabis reform is more popular than the president. 56% of Americans want it legalized and upwards of 80% are ok for medicinal use.

It is hard for Americans to trust our own DoJ when the are laundering money and selling guns to drug cartels.

In Mexico, there is someone getting killed on average every half hour. The cartels are getting richer, and millions of American citizens are being labeled a criminal over a plant.

Our President comes across as less than truthful regarding his policies on medicinal cannabis. He does not need congress to make an executive decision and reschedule cannabis.

The people on the internet have made it the number one reform issue every year, but we get laughed at. You tube went so far as censoring anything to do with cannabis the last time.

We see Eric Holder getting a free pass to be in contempt of Congress over a drug/gun deal.

Medical Marijuana dispensaries that are proven to be state compliant have had attacks stepped up against them. (Oaksterdam, Harborside)?? wtf?

Nowadays, a patient is unable to use a credit card to purchase medicine, and dispensaries are now getting threatened to have property stolen from them, because the DoJ is manipulating the system.

There have been a couple of peer reviewed scientific studies, that have backed up the assertion that cannabis has medicinal properties, albeit the National cancer Institute had to omit a week later that cannabis had "antitumor affects"

The United Nations is even behind decriminalization of drugs, and believes that rehabilitation not incarceration is better, but our President ignores this.

Latin American countries have tired of our crusade against drugs, and sought a dialog at a recent convention for reforms and our President ignored them.

Millions of people are going to ignore President Obama's name on the ballot, because he has ignored us.





Thu, 07/12/2012 - 11:53am Permalink
Dirty Harry (not verified)

"Democrats might be interested in making changes in federal law around medical marijuana after the November elections"...and afterwards they can decide not to do anything, or tighten things and make it worse. Talk about being vague. Romney will probably make things worse. When he was asked about industrial hemp, he said he never heard of it before! He apparently does not know much about American history.

The economy is so bad, marijuana laws should take the back seat to getting someone in who can turn this country around. Legal medical or in general legal marijuana won't mean a thing when everyone is out of work and broke.

Thu, 07/12/2012 - 3:10pm Permalink
mexweed (not verified)

In reply to by M Simon (not verified)

Mormons have a superior record in preventing $igarette addiction-- Utah has 13% of adults compared to nationwide nearly 20%.  If Romney works with Church instead of Government (hooked on $igarette tax revenues) or Party (Repuglicons get 2/3 of $igarette industry campaign donations),

1.  He could ban $igarettes and switch addicts over to vaporizer, e-cig or screened one-hitter;

2.  This would COLLAPSE hot burning overdose profits and leave the oligarchs no money to bribe bureaucrats and elect Repuglicons who suppress cannabis  (remember, Repug. voting base is 20 points more anti-cannabis than Dems).

If you have a legal mind, get busy and write up a proposed Emergency Constitutional Amendment abolishing the Electoral College bullschnitt and Captive Primary system, substituting a September Primary and a November top-two Runoff to giving Gary a fighting chance.

Meanwhile vote against any Repug. within reach, put in Pelosi, and get rid of Low-Tar Johnnie with his "advisors" Bruce Gates from Philip Morris and John H. Fish, Vice President for Legislative (sic) Affairs at R. J. Reynolds.

Fri, 07/13/2012 - 6:16pm Permalink
M Simon (not verified)

In reply to by mexweed (not verified)

Attacking tobacco is attacking schizophrenics.

Some schizophrenics benefit from pot some don't.

Do not be hating on any drugs.

Hate gives the man power over you.



Fri, 07/13/2012 - 10:38pm Permalink
mexweed (not verified)

In reply to by M Simon (not verified)

The article you refer to makes the point that schizophrenics are self-medicating with nicotine to help with "cognitive" deficits, but don't forget, it took generations of corporate hatefearteasing alias advertising to create today's monster $igatette ad-fiction empire and schizophrenics just turned out to be at least as easy to fool as anyone else.  There's no indication that nicotine monoxide squeahs are a good medication for anyone's memory problems or whatever, anyway if you want to help a schizophrenic, then give him/her-- or show them how to make*-- a 5.5-mm-i.d.-screened-crater CHOOMETTE with a 20" flexible extension tube which permits 25-mg single tokes of sifted cannabis, tobacckgo, catnip or any herb.  It's not the nicotine tobacckgo per se that is harmful, rather the hot burning overdose 700-mg $igarette which instead you can break down into 28 relatively harmless servings in a choomette, kiseru, midwakh, sebsi or other one-hitter.  "More Herb Vitamin, Less Monoxide."


*See "Make Smoke Pipes from Everyday Objects", "Sift Herbs for Smoking Use", "Make a 1/4"-diam. Screen for a Single-Toke Utensil" etc.


Sat, 07/14/2012 - 6:01pm Permalink
M Simon (not verified)

In reply to by mexweed (not verified)


You know any schizophrenics? Ever visit a schizophrenic group home? I have - frequently -  and you are blowing smoke. Try doing an online search on the matter. Schizophrenics are the last people to be advertised into anything. And don't forget who those taxes support. The same man who is oppressing you. Brilliant. Really.

And do some research into anti-tobacco propaganda. It is just as nuts as anti-pot propaganda. Are there health risks from tobacco? Sure. Are they any worse than a steady diet of McDonalds? Doubtful.

Let me repeat - hate is how the man controls you. Hate and fear actually.

Don't be using government to punish people who have habits you don't like. What if they decide to punish you for your habits? Oh. Wait. They already are. And your response is to punish some one else? How enlightened. You will have to introduce me to your guru.


Sun, 07/15/2012 - 5:35pm Permalink
saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

In reply to by M Simon (not verified)

Vaporizing would seem to be a lot healthier, especially when we're talking about tobacco. You obviously know a lot more about schizophrenics than I do, it is worthwhile encouraging them to vaporize instead of smoke? What about encouraging them to use cannabis instead of or complementary to tobacco?

Sat, 07/21/2012 - 4:08pm Permalink
MR_Bimble (not verified)

Cannabis is a schedule one drug - no medical value - So why has Sativex from GW Pharma been issued a license & is legal when it's just two types of cannabis dissolved in alcohol and flavored with peppermint.

Big pharma + bribes (lobbying) to politicians = big profits from MJ whereas the rest of us are criminals... 

Thu, 07/12/2012 - 3:31pm Permalink
Mr. Lucky (not verified)

If you liberal morons believe Pelosi, then you are about to get fooled again. Obama is a drug warrior, and the lawn jocky of Goldman Sachs. A second term of Obama will be more of the same.

Thu, 07/12/2012 - 5:32pm Permalink
Clearwater Phil (not verified)

In reply to by Mr. Lucky (not verified)

Don't be so quick to think that Obama is in Wall Streets pocket.  Check out the top doners for Romney.

Sat, 07/14/2012 - 1:28am Permalink
David762 (not verified)

I would like to suggest to Speaker Pelosi that some vaguely promised movement toward relaxation of the persecution of cannabis after the elections will be far too late. As far as I am concerned, the duplicitous and authoritarian nature of a majority of Democratic politicians regarding everything from cannabis prohibition to the national security police state to perpetual overseas conflicts is no longer acceptable nor will it be tolerated.

Boot them All out of office - none deserve even a public office such as dog-catcher / animal control officer. The Democratic Party can either return to their traditionally populist agendas, or they will be rendered as obsolete as a rotary phone. If there isn't an "October Surprise" that includes legislation passed & signed that eases current cannabis persecution, there is no compelling reason to support the Democratic Party whatsoever.

The Green Party & the Libertarian Party are looking pretty darn good these days, even if I am forced to "write-in" my preferences on the November ballot. No more "Bravo Sierra".

Fri, 07/13/2012 - 8:24am Permalink
Thinking Clearly (not verified)

Neither can many more to come. While we wait for Nancy Pelosi's promise to be fulfilled, there will be no more dispensary systems left in the continental US.

Medical patients will be returning to what? Some new and improved pharmaceuticals?

Talk is cheap. The DEA and IRS aren't waiting for Nancy Pelosi.

Its long past time to wait for the discussion to begin with this kind of carnage from the Justice Department and the rest of the US government. In the meantime, the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing? Lets all play dumb and watch it all go down. Is that the motto of the government right now? Of Obama?

You bet it is.

Fri, 07/13/2012 - 5:02pm Permalink
M Simon (not verified)

Drug warriors Pelosi and Biden are friends with the Genovese and Gambinos respectively.

Does that explain everything?

Fri, 07/13/2012 - 10:07pm Permalink
saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

with drug war reformers? Your words mean nothing, Pelosi, you DC Democrats have stabbed us in the back too many times.. Introduce some bills BEFORE the election. And as suggested above, if Obama wants to stop stabbing us in the back, he can have his buddy Attorney General Holder reschedule cannabis right now so the feds are no longer making the pathetic and despicable claim that cannabis has no medicinal uses.

Sat, 07/14/2012 - 12:06am Permalink
Conscientious … (not verified)

That most commenters on this article aren't falling for the election year BS.  Gives me hope.

Sat, 07/14/2012 - 10:36pm Permalink
M Simon (not verified)

In reply to by Conscientious … (not verified)

 And Hallelujah.

Sun, 07/15/2012 - 5:41pm Permalink

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