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Nevermind, Barack Obama Wants to Arrest Marijuana Users After All

For one brief glorious moment, we thought Barack Obama supported marijuana decriminalization. He said so in 2004 and his campaign reiterated it yesterday, only to subsequently retreat and pledge support for current marijuana laws.
At first, Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said that the candidate had "always" supported decriminalizing marijuana, suggesting his 2004 statement was correct. Then after the Times posted copies of the video on its Web site today, his campaign reversed course and declared he does not support eliminating criminal penalties for marijuana possession and use.

"If you're convicted of a crime, you should be punished, but that we are sending far too many first-time, non-violent drug users to prison for very long periods of time, and that we should rethink those laws," Vietor said. The spokesman blamed confusion over the meaning of decriminalization for the conflicting answers. [Washington Times]

Indeed, as Pete Guither notes, no one is really sure what "decriminalization" actually means, which likely explains the Obama campaign's ultimate unwillingness to be associated with the term.

And that tells you everything you need to know about why meaningful debate of our marijuana laws is continuously excluded from mainstream politics. Since the relevant vocabulary words have no universally accepted definition, candidates attempting to discuss marijuana would be forced to use entire sentences or even paragraphs to express their opinions. This is not something they will do voluntarily.

Note, for example, that everything we know about the major candidates' drug policy positions has emerged as a result of someone explicitly asking them. The tortured evolution of Obama's views on marijuana occurred only because this information was demanded of him. First, Bill Maher forced Chris Dodd to discuss the issue, resulting in Dodd's endorsement of marijuana decrim. Then, Tim Russert asked other democratic contenders whether they disagreed with Dodd. The front-runners sheepishly raised their hands in opposition to even mild marijuana reform. Finally, when the Washington Times forced Obama to clarify his conflicting positions, Obama's campaign briefly endorsed reform before finally concluding that they opposed decrim even though they're still not sure what it is.

The conventional wisdom among my colleagues seems to be that Obama "gets" the drug war issue. Everything he says and does can be attributed to his presidential aspirations, I'm told, and we should be grateful that he at least flirts with criminal justice reform. That's fine as far as it goes, but I continue to question the fundamental political wisdom of refusing to talk about marijuana. It's an issue people care about. It's an issue that gets headlines. And it's an issue that's been handled about as poorly as one could possibly imagine for a long long time.

I believe that marijuana reform, properly and passionately framed by an eloquent and viable candidate, could prove to be far less toxic than the brilliant campaign strategists in Washington D.C. collectively assume. And it is nauseating to consider that this terrible war on marijuana users owes its survival as much to a flawed political calculus as to the actual beliefs and convictions of those who sustain it.

(This blog post was published by'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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Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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No, actually: Decrim v Legalization

"Indeed, as Pete Guither notes, no one is really sure what "decriminalization" actually means, which likely explains the Obama campaign's ultimate unwillingness to be associated with the term."

The distinction between decrim and legalization is very clear and simple.

Decrim is simply not busting people.

Legalization is building a regulated and licensed marketplace in order to put the gangsters out of business.

Decrim does not remove the billions of dollars in subsidies available today to the black market distributors. Legalization will defund the criminal class that today preys on the drug markets.

Anti Drug War: Ron Paul - NOT Barack Obama

This is true. Not only does Obama oppose the end of the War on Drugs - he's not even close to as awesome as Ron Paul on this AND EVERY OTHER ISSUE.

Ron Paul will end the War On Drugs immediately in January 2009 - vote Ron Paul!

Marijuana Laws: Ron Paul vs. Barack Obama:

The only way

to end the war on drugs is to make it a political liability for the national level politicians who support it.

A vote for any drug warrior is a vote for the drug war.

The President

Please, Is he the man ? How many times can he flip flop ? Do we realy want a man like him ? Even if he were elected, how long before he changes his mind.

we're doomed...i just know it

all of my neighbors are all up in arms over something they saw on tv
seems some politican got busted for something that wont make any difference to me
well i'm sure its all true and im tired of this too but i cant pray for some one to fall
let all these people do what people do i'm just happy to be here at all

i'm happy to be here to vote randomly on who ought to take the next dive
i'm eager to see what the outcome will be and all the hilarity on saturday night live
lately its all scandal tv these days i guess thats where the real money must fall
down from the haze of some hollywood hill i'm just happy to be here at all

todd snider

its a sing-a-long !!!

its a sing-a-long, folks...jumpin on in and hang on!

i'm happy to be here to see how it goes when everything blows in their face
i've been walking my tennis shoes right through my souls just tryin' to keep up with the rest of the race
lately i stare out my windows these days watching my dog chase his ball
i'll do my job what ever it pays i'm just happy to be here at all

todd snider

vote for the only one to communicate common sense

I am a union IBEW member. I always vote democrat, it benefits my way of life. But this is the first time I have to turn my back on my party. i do not trust obama, he is not playing straight with us. How can anyone support a leader that changes convictions like the wind direction? If we behaved like that our personal lives would be chaos. It takes personal conviction to direct ones life in the correct direction, a place where you want to be. I have always loved cannabia, she is the beacon that gives me strength,makes me happy, and powers my peaceful, karmic convictions.
I am voting for Ron Paul. He is the only one that tells me what he wants to do straight forward, no politician rhetoric deceptive flip flop. That is what makes me respect him. He knows what needs to be done, and he speaks his truth. I agree with his truth. His platform needs to become our countrys realities. People have said a vote for a candidate like him is a wasted vote. A vote of your own conscionse is NEVER a wasted vote!!! Let us change this country for the better this time, finally!
On another note, I hope Eddy Vetter runs for pres one day, I will vote for him too.

They're right, those who are telling you to vote for Ron Paul

He is the only candidate who will, with no niggling, with no backtracking, with no waffling, END the federal war on drugs; and without the federal war on drugs, the individual states' wars on drugs will die, too. Cut of the head of the snake and the whole snake dies. A vote for ANY other candidate is a vote to continue the war on drugs. It IS that simple.


Personally I am not going to vote. if you vote you are against true american ways.

To show these dictators who really runs the place we will simply boycott the fake voting system.

Besides, if bush gets his way china will crash the market and people will riot, bush will call marshall law and stop te 08 elections, kill who he pleases trying to take over the world for the illuminate and his douchebag daddy.


The best thing we can do is show that we want to be announced, then have a REAL federal election.

None of the media will help you, they are bought off by illuminate. This government, or regime I should say, wants to KILL YOU, not help you. The dictators that want the highest power of all just show how greedy they are, they want to be able to tell everyone how to live and by that they want to impose their way of life onto everyone else.

We cannot allow this, besides if bush gets his way the 08 elections won't even happen. I am telling you we need to stock up on ammo and high calibur weapons, because we need to get rid of these treasonist red coats trying to ruin our country from the inside since 1933!

This Isn't a Black or White Issue , Mr. Obama ...

Either way We Need Some One Who Can Think for Themself and Not Be Another Puppet. example: "We need more scientific evidence first"- What About The Nixon Commission's Report Advising Decriminalization of Marijuana? that was done by the Gov. Thirty years ago the United States came to a critical juncture in the drug war. A Nixon-appointed presidential commission had recommended that marijuana use not be a criminal offense under state or federal law. But Nixon himself, based on his zealous personal preferences, overruled the commission's research and doomed marijuana to its current illegal status. He Threw away the report without EVER READING IT!

Despite the commission's recommendations, Nixon and Congress ignored the report. Since then, more than 13.2 million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges, including some 735,000 in 2000 - the last year for which federal data is available.

Also: It Has NEver Killed Anybody EVER!

in 1989 it was found by a group of scientists in isreal that we have BODY PARTS MEANT TO TAKE IN CANNNABINOIDS and even produce our own natural cannabinoids. - anandamide for example fits into our CB1 and CB2 Cannabinoid Receptors and help Regulate many important body functions including :

* appetite * bone density * mood regulation * reproduction * blood pressure * Learning capacity * motor coordination ...

Let me also add theres NEVER been a direct Link Between Cannabis and Lung Cancer.
THC has anti cancer propertys which have been demonstrated and cry for further investigation but this can only happen if we allow our scientists all around america access to it...

Too bad mr. obama cant see that marijuana prohibition is based off of 1920's racism towards BLACKS and Hispanics and that anyone endorsing this pohibition (whether they know it or NOT) is also endorsing this racism. it all links back to our first american drug Zcar Harry J. anslinger. who lied about "blacks and latinos" making satanic music (jazz) and luring in white woman and raping them and getting the strength of 10 men and stupid sstuff that which quiet fankly ISNT TRUE!!!

" its not a black or white issue , Mr. Obama ...


End mairjuana prohibition. its unconstitutional.

~ Luis Hirschlieb

" Marijuana is Only Addictive In The Sense That All Good Things In Life Are Worth Repeating"

3rd party Candidates are Poor Choice and Ruin Chances

You people who feel that votng for Ron Paul (assuming he runs as an independent) or for Ralph Nader is the best choice because they are for drug-decriminalization is completely ignorant and not well thought through at all. When people vote for either of those candidates, their votes are going for someone who has ZERO chance of winning the election, while at the same time they are taking votes away from the next most liberal candidate (Obama if he is in the race). Thus, voting for Nader or Paul, rather than Obama is not only a waste of a vote, it is taking a vote away from Obama who has the next most sensible policies, and the most sensible policies out of those who can ACTUALLY BE ELECTED. So while Ron Paul and Ralph Nader may be the ideal candidates fro drug-reform, the fact that they are completely unelectable makes it foolish to vote for them. Instead one should limit their choices to the electable candidates (whoever is nominated from each party to run). In today's presidential elections only the candidates from the main political parties (dems and rebulicans) stand a reasonable chance of winning so a person must look at those two candidates and decide which one is most favorable to drug reform. That will almost certainly be whatever Democrat is nominated, Obama or Hillary, but if it is Obama in the election, than he is most certainly the best bet for someone who wants to see some drug-reform. Votes for Nader and Paul are a waste, and lessen the chances of the mainstream Democratic candidate because they take away part of the far-left (shortsighted I might add) liberal vote. Just as many people think that had Ralph Nader not ran in 2000 that Gore would have won the election, the same thing may happen in this election. Do not let your idealism ruin the chances of the only practical drug-reform candidates (Obama certainly, and probably Hillary). Remember that the Republicans, no matter how they personally feel about drug laws, must still tow the party line, and that line is for VERY harsh drug-legislation. That is why the Democrats are more likely to be drug-reformers.

I hope that this makes sense to people. In summation, Nader and Ron Paul are too extreme to be elected (no question about this, there is no chance for either of them). Most votes for them will, however come from the far left-wing, people who would otherwise have voted Democratic. The Democratic candidate is going to be, no matter who it is, the most likely to reform drug law out of those who have a real chance of being elected (the Reblican candidate and the Democratic candidate). Thus, when people vote for Nader or Paul instead of for the main Democratic candidate, they not only waste their own votes, but they decrease the percentage of votes held by the Democrat because it is a reasonable assumption that most people who vote for Ron Paul or Ralph Nader would have voted for a Democrat over a Republican. So when you have a close race it can tip the tide in favor of the republican candidate, who is almost certainly going to be less friendly to drug-reform. For example in a race of 100 people, you have 49 people vote R, 47 vote D, and 4 vote other (Paul or Nader). If those two were eliminated the results would have been 49 R, 51 D. This obviously is an oversimplification, but it works in that way essentially and it can doom the only real chance we have for drug-reform.


I would think that

I would think that "decriminalization" means to not make something a crime anymore. perhaps you should choose a different term on what you wish would happen. Perhaps you want to be able to posses a certain amount of marijuana before it is considered illegal, as long as it is packaged for obvious personal use. If you sell it or buy it illegally, you should be punished. If you transport more than the legal amount, it should be a felony. Someone will always try to make a dollar off of it, no matter how legal or illegal it is. You folks that want to just be able to smoke a joint every now and again need to read the current law and come with a revised law yourselves and present that to the Legislature. It's not the president you'll be dealing with, it the entire legislative cabinet that will decide how far the laws go. Not one person.

First things first.

The fundamental problem is money's power to obscure truth. The whole policy-making apparatus of the USA is enslaved to money. Change that, and everything else can be fixed. As long as dollars count more than the truth, our country cannot adapt to reality. As Darwin showed, organisms either adapt, or they die. Maybe the USA just needs to die and be swept aside, but I hope
for a better answer. I love the USA; its founders remain personal heroes of mine, even with all their foibles. In fact, *because* of their foibles.

I'm following the brand-new Change Congress ( initiative with great interest. There is room for hope, there. The Presidential race is a side-show in terms of the possibility of real reform. Real reform can only come from Congress, believe it or not. (And it *is* hard to believe, in view of its execrable performance for the last 16 years. But it's true, because that's what the Constitution says. All we need is congresspeople who are more beholden to individual voters than to campaign contributors.)

America's # 1 agricultural crop

America's # 1 agricultural crop is...
Google it if you don't believe!


lol this is a joke. If you do drugs just do them and dont get caught. They're never gonna legalize it.

Cynthia McKinney

Also, The Green Party's Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney would decriminalize and legalize Hemp.

Daren Fiske

Obama Will Legalize; He Just Can't Promise That Yet

Even if Obama is being careful not to be too controversial his previous statements show how he really feels about the marijuana issue. I bet Obama will form a presidential commission to make a recommendation on marijuana and then unlike Nixon actually follow its recommendations. By having a commission study the issue he would make it less controversial and have a good reason to change his mind back to what he really thinks.


don't we just leaglize and tax it.

and i thought decrimializing it would mean that only so much of it is legal and over a certain amount you will get punished.

beer good weed bad

lol People are really nuts...

I say if weed is a drug and is a scheduled 1 then so should alcohol...

I wish someone would tell us what alcohol does for us and why its still legal.

Joe the Farmer

Hey Joe where you going with that bong in your hand

maybe I'm just ignorant

but what does someones vote on meth laws have to do with marijuana reform? I love weed really I have probation papers to prove it but if someone told me I could legalize marijuana with a snap of my fingers but it would make meth legal too I'd have to cut off my finger just to be sure I wouldn't do it by accident. Meth is terrible it kills people and ruins lives. The fact that it made meth worse is a by product of poor thinking and they probably couldn't have foreseen that happening. Obama isn't a street crime analyst it said we will be harder and meth and he put a check next to it. I would have too. Meth and crack should never be legal.

Yep, you're ignorant

Only ignorant people want the government to tell individuals what recreational drugs they can put in their own bodies.  The ignorance of prohibition is what causes 99% of the black market violence and theft associated with prohibited drug use.  The remainder of the health problem is negligible.  In addition, to the pragmatic benefits of ending all prohibition, there is a moral benefit as well: every individual has a right to determine what is right for their own life, so long as they do not violate anyone else's equal individual rights with their choices.

But guess what, ignorant collectivists of America?  ...Evolution is soon going to make it impossible for you to enforce your drug laws.  There are new superhuman intelligences being born, and they --being highly intelligent and highly-educated-- will not tolerate drug prohibition (nor any prohibition of voluntary behavior).  A true free market of individual choice is now being born with these synthetic intelligences.

Enjoy the brutality inherent in the antiquated primate mentality while you occupy your positions at the top of the dung heap, collectivist humans!  ...Your days are numbered in a countdown to the technological singularity.



I Blame Americans

Quite simply, a large number Americans do not understand the constitution like they should, or really anything the government does for that matter. People are ignorant and blind, and because of this, very easy to manipulate. It isn't just marijuana--although it is quite definitely a focal issue--it circulates to all facets of the political arena.

I will start with Marijuana. Here is a substance that was a foundation for our country (hemp was perhaps the most vital of all colonial crops, it was Washington's primary crop, our flag was sewn from hemp, laws were passed FORCING farmers to grow hemp in the 1700's), yet it was allowed to fall into prohibition. The only reason why hemp was criminalized was to line the pockets of government officials, private investors, and large pharmaceutical companies. Like the Nazi's, Harry J. Anslinger and those within the Federal Bureau of Narcotics utilized unfounded propaganda to spread fear of something many had little knowledge of: MARIHUANA (Anslinger liked this nomenclature because it was an obscure Mexican term which many didn't know was actually a product of hemp). Because so many American's (including politicians) didn't know what "marihuna" was, Mr. Anslinger's policies were quickly accepted and Marijuana became a "dangerous narcotic." Not only was this law passed on sheer ignorance, you cannot forget the awful choice the government made to lie in front of Congress. When this whole situation was unfolding, prohibitionists had little opposition (their propaganda was very effective), but it is known that a representative of the American Medical Association named Dr. William C. Woodward attempted to set the picture straight. He stood up before congress to attack Anslinger and the Bureau of Narcotics because they warped the position of the AMA to appear as though it supported the bill. The bill was passed to the house where a committee member stood and said that a "Dr. 'Wentworth'" (he didn't even have the right name) announced the AMA's 100% support of the criminalization--the bill passed on an outright lie. Americans only want the quick easy way out. This country was founded on strong set of obligations which the government was supposed to adhere to. I am saying it now, WE ALLOWED ALL OF THIS TO HAPPEN, WE ARE FEARFUL, IGNORANT, AND UNWORTHY OF THE LEGACY OF OUR FOREFATHERS.

It isn't just the war on drugs, we Americans have allowed far more than that to take place. In modern times, just take a glance at the PATRIOT ACT. If Obama does nothing to dismantle this constitutional injustice, then he is just as horrible of an American as any of his predecessors. I really don't even feel like this deserves much more discussion, it is quite obvious what is wrong with it, let's just hope it dies quickly.

Civilian Americans have also DIRECTLY contributed to certain 'crimes against America.' Observe censorship. In the fifties, preachers called the music of Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, and any other vessel for Rock and Roll an abomination on God and promoted mongralization of the races. These were, oddly enough, the basic arguments against certain pieces of literature. Even Fahrenheit 451 was slashed--this is a book about the kind of evil that happens when you burn literature for the good of mankind. AMERICANS DESTROY WHAT THEY FEAR AND DON'T UNDERSTAND. THERE IS NO CURE FOR THIS.


I will close in quoting the tenth amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." The simple definition would be that any powers not given to the government by the constitution belong to the states and the people. My reflection on this passage: THERE IS NO ROOM FOR THIS PROMISE TODAY. We are no longer the "home of the brave" if we can so easily dissolve our promises when standing in the shadow of fear. Shame on us, we have failed.

Most solemnly,

give it a minute...

Before Obama took office nearly everyone recognized the situation he was going into. Now, only a few weeks later, it seems that people are falling right back into that American "i want it now!" mentality.

It's no secret that Obama supports AT LEAST the decriminalization of marijuana, and drug policy reform in general. Right now however, he is in a bit of a political pickle. If he starts acting to decriminalize right now he is going to entirely alienate a fairly large portion of congress. If he wants support for his economic policies, unfortunately drug policy has to be placed on the back burner.

Give him a minute! He seems to be well aware of the benefits of having some sort of regulated marijuana economy, especially in our current economic state, but sometimes you have to pick your battles.

Obama did it!! No more federal med marijuana busts!!

Obama did it!! No more federal med marijuana busts!! Awesome!!

Marijuana, People over the government,

Okay listen Im from a small city called Zachary La. Im still in high school. Okay now listen pple are gonna smoke marijuana no matter wtf are government. All i know is that if the good people of america would stand up to are government that they would be scared the middle class and lower class are the back bones for the country are governments too worrie about some rag- head that half of pple could care less. What you pple need to worrie about is the One World Governmet or this planet x bullshit that all these dumb fucks keep posting on youtube.
Anyways people shouldnt be scared of the US government, if the people of the US wanrt something to pass you have to fight for it fuck are government there scared and jellious because that can tax marijuana why can every state be like Clorodo, Cali, or Maryland were ist legal to carry an OZ (28.5g) and people pay tax of 50 bucks a month instead of worring about giving africa and iran or one of those sand countrys are fucking money nobody cares about the middle east not were i from. My name is Cameron J. Reynaud and if anybody has any information on when Ron Paul will run again and about this marijuana. Stick to the constution thats all we have left fight for your rights in owning a gun or haveing weed everything eles i understand why you go to jail, why smoke crack thats fucking pointless smoking weed just like a damn cig its just cigs or so much worst for you because of the chemicals weed can grow anywhere. And the dumb shit about this dude named Rockfella you will never have your onw world government.
any comments leav'em at [email protected] or find me at ([email protected]) look me up if you feel the same any of you holy rolling asshole( i do belive in god so dont go there with me)

wat up?

maybe all of yall just need to smoke some killa dro and chill.

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