Did Obama Really Say He'd Respect State Medical Marijuana Laws? Yes.

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Fred Gardner at Counterpunch thinks I'm "way wrong" about medical marijuana politics under the Obama Administration:

Drug-policy-reform advocates are complaining bitterly that they have been double-crossed by Barack Obama. “What’s Behind the Obama Administration’s About Face Regarding Medical Marijuana?” asked Paul Armentano of NORML in the Huffington Post May 5.

“Obama’s Sudden, Senseless Assault on Medical Marijuana,” was the headline on a piece by Scott Morgan, associate editor of Stopthedrugwar.org. According to Morgan, “Recent months have brought about what can only be described as the rapid collapse of the Obama Administration’s support for medical marijuana.”

This is way wrong. There is nothing “sudden” or unprecedented about the DEA raids and other oppressive measures emanating from the Department of Justice. And neither Obama nor the DOJ ever expressed unambiguous support for medical marijuana. It was the reform honchos themselves who misread and misrepresented Administration policy.

 

So apparently, I misread statements like "I will not be using justice department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue," to mean that the President was saying he would not be using justice department resources to circumvent…well you get the point.

If Obama and Holder never intended for anyone to think they would respect state medical marijuana laws, then they said a series of really stupid things to the media. Yes, I'm as aware as anyone else of the vague language in the Holder Memo and the fact that many raids occurred prior to the recent escalation, but for reasons I would have thought obvious, those facts should hardly be held to immunize the President from the accusation that he broke a campaign promise.

This administration went to great lengths to convince the American public that interference with state medical marijuana laws would no longer be a priority at the Dept. of Justice. That is the standard by which they must will be judged.

Update: Put differently, this matter will only ever be understood by the general public and the press in one of two ways:

A. Obama said he'd respect state medical marijuana laws.

B. Obama did not say he'd respect state medical marijuana laws.

Between these competing interpretations of events exists a chasm of nuance that only very close observers like Fred Gardner are likely to fully comprehend. That's why I've adopted interpretation A, which is the more accurate of the two options.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Reefer Madness Continues


 

Regardless of all the research, science and technology the Reefer Madness Witch Hunt continues. President Obama knows the truth and fact of this issue, and even inhaled he stated, so what is the problem? Time to come through on your promise you committed to in the campaign which so many of us voted for. As you can see by the #'s who are not happy with the current events by the Feds in legally sanctioned states. Maine's medical marijuana laws were voted in by referendum vote of the People who are the Government, not just some representatives we appoint to do our work passing something. This is the Will of the People, and as long as constitutional, must be the final say in our democratic society, with out intervention of the appointed government.

Promise is a big word....

Hey Scott,

Your stuff is usually dead on so I am not going to break your balls for misinterpreting the rhetoric of Obama and Holder and the Ogden memo as a sign of hope with little change. I too wanted to believe that Obama had said he promised me something and that Holder backed him up. Remember, Holder was very anti-medical cannabis as Reno's patsy.

So I go to the video tape: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvUziSfMwAw

Here is the Obama interview so many of us took for a promise on the campaign, but listen closely. He say he thinks a properly regulated system, not one where mom and pops grow in their back yard, then he thinks that is "entirely appropriate." He says he thinks it is not a good waste of resources as confirmed in the hole-filled Ogden memo. The biggest part of the interview you fail to mention in this supposed promise is when he clearly states "I will not be spending a lot of political capital on this issue given all of the other issues we are facing." That is pretty clear to me. In fact, I am surprised that in his first few months any White House Official or Holder would state anything. In fact, in the Holder press conference you can see him squirm a bit when asked about it.

The fact is that I do not think Obama is calling the shots on this issue. I think enforcement agents are interpreting the memo to suit their political aspirations, as usual. When I was raided for providing medical foods, it was not about the candy, it was about the message and the fear they sent through our community. It is about control, and if you look at the raids that have happened they have all been politically motivated or motivated by other issues. Montana just happened to be repealing that week? Washington had a bill in the Senate on the way to the Gov. West Hollywood was apparently the result of a murder investigation that led them there for some reason. While it is unacceptable, it is what it is...bad policy from decades of lies and deceit that are fueled by big business lobbies and enforcement lobbies that make a great deal of change off of cannabis prohibition. But you know all that...

The question is what do we gain by hanging this pork chop around Obama's neck and influencing people to think he is a liar. A lot of folks in our community ARE issue voters. By asserting that Obama is to be held completely accountable for an issue he stated carried little weight is kind of nuts. It would seem that our best bet for reform would be in the second term of a light-skinned brother from Hawaii who admits to inhaling. Obama 2012....Getting around to all that other shit should be his cmpaign slogan. I am still hopeful Politics is slow. You ever try to get a cannabis ordinance passed in a small town. LOL. Put political pressure for sure, but I think when we change the tone from "do more to help us" to "don't vote for this lying asshole, we lose." That is my opinion at least.

Be Well, Mickey Martin

LOL Pipe Dreams Abound

'The biggest part of the interview you fail to mention in this supposed promise is when he clearly states "I will not be spending a lot of political capital on this issue given all of the other issues we are facing."'

'It would seem that our best bet for reform would be in the second term of a light-skinned brother from Hawaii who admits to inhaling.'

-What tea leaves are you reading? I think your reasoning is failing in geometric IF, THEN proof. You should try some more substantial logic. Reread your own words and try again.

Obama's position is plain. He wont spare political Capital

Seems that is the problem , that he will not tell us were he's coming from on the subject. In fact there is a petition that is going through right now to ask him to tell us exactly where he stands on these issues.

Obama Policy

 

the points you're trying to refute are at

 

http://www.counterpunch.org/gardner05132011.html  

 

You and Ethan Nadelmann and Paul Armentano and many, many others would not have been misled by Obama and Holder if you had considered the full context of their various statements.  The phrase you quote above was spoken by Sen. Obama, as a candidate running in the Oregon primary, to Gary Nelson of the Medford Mail Tribune in March 2008:

 

  “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. Again, 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 –I mean I want to be honest with you: whether I want to use a whole lot of political capital on that issue when we’re trying to get health care passed or end the war in Iraq, 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.”

 

 

These comments are double-edged at best, ominous on balance. Obama projects a rationale for limiting medical cannabis use to conditions designated by the medical establishment. He projects a rationale for prohbiting cultivation by patients and distribution by mom-and-pop operations. His reason for not siccing the cops on us does not acknowledge our rights but only that we're less a threat to society than terrorists and violent criminals. Most ominous was his reference to political capital.  I wrote about it in Counterpunch (2/4/09) as follows:  

Two Misleading Assumptions

Obama’s comment about using his political capital to achieve more important goals was said in a tone and accompanied by a smile that conveyed,  "This is a reality that you and I both understand..."  But it's a self-fulfilling reality that involves two misleading assumptions.  You and I and Barack Obama and Nelson of the Mail-Tribune know that the polls consistently show 75-80% of the American people wanting the marijuana laws to allow medical use. Relatively few voters woud be alienated if the new President directed the DEA to respect the relevant state laws  --or if his Attorney General classified marijuana as something other than a Schedule-1 drug. Those steps would not be unpopular with the masses and taking them would only cost Obama “political capital” if he’s defining it as something other than “popular support.”  So he must be referring to his political capital vis-à-vis the corporate elites and a Congress that does their bidding.   

And why assume ending marijuana prohibition would be a less significant political achievement than reforming the healthcare system or getting US troops out of Iraq?  Looking back at the changes  effected in 1932, ending alcohol prohibition doesn’t seem trivial compared to the public works projects and economic reforms instituted by FDR in response to the depression.

If and when impediments to medical marijuana use are removed and the American people begin to avail themselves of it en masse, the pharmaceutical manufacturers will lose a third or more of their sales. This unspoken consequence of legalizing medical marijuana is a certainty. Want proof? Doctors who have monitored cannabis use by hundreds of thousands of patients in California and Oregon can document a consistent pattern of decreased use of pharmaceuticals –a 50% reduction of opioid use, for example. Recall that the present depression was precipitated by a small drop in housing prices. The demise of Big Pharma would, in and of itself, impel healthcare reform. Our prevailing “healthcare system” has been configured to maximize drug-company profits, not the well-being of the American people.

Ken Estes said it perfectly to KTVU's Patti Lee, who did a piece about the raid that shut him down: “I know Obama’s got really serious issues. This is actually one of the serious issues…” The Jan. 22 raid in South Lake Tahoe might have been averted if drug-policy reform lobbyists in Washington had clout with Obama’s transition team. They didn't. George Soros and Peter Lewis paid --millions in campaign contributions-- but their operatives didn't get to "play." Whether the feds will continue to raid California growers and distributors should be clarified when a new DEA Administrator is nominated by Attorney General Eric Holder and appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee chaired by Pat Leahy of Vermont.

 
undrgrndgirl's picture

i just want to interject

that there ARE "mom and pop" pharmacies for the distribution of pharmaceutical drugs...though there are far fewer than there used to be...

The problem is big Pharma...the solution is their victims .

If we are agreed that the problem is big Pharmaceuticals who profit from their many victims, then we need to enlist our Doctor's help in stopping this assault. Of course we assume that the Doctors are not in collusion with the Pharmaceutical Giants. Of course we then have to consider our regulatory agencies and their revolving door associations with ...wait for it...TADA...The Big Pharmaceuticals.

sounds like the debate over DADT

and Obama, just substitute the terminology.

Sounds like we agree on the facts, but not the strategy

Mickey and Fred,

I appreciate both of your comments, and I'm sorry if my discussion of these issues gave you the impression that I wasn't aware of certain facts. I am, but I can understand how you concluded otherwise.

Where I think we differ is in our assessment of the politics of the situation. Obama's attempt to associate himself with a state's rights position (however vaguely or disingenuously) was a fascinating event in that it created a perception of progress that truly didn't need my help to take hold. I think they realized that support for this issue was so strong among Obama's base that they needed to placate us somehow in order to avoid a continuing controversy on the campaign trail.

The Oct. 09 Holder Memo announcement that they handed to the AP on a Sunday night cemented the fact that the White House actually understood that the general public would react positively to a story that involved the apparent softening of federal marijuana enforcement. It got positive press, which I think is a good thing because it sets a precedent that you can get good press by claiming you will relax drug enforcement.

Speaking for myself, that's a big part of where the excitement came from. In purely political terms, it was a remarkable moment. That the press and the public interpreted it positively is also a good thing in my opinion, because it set a high standard for the future. I think Mickey is right that Obama isn't paying attention, which is why this high standard that's been set is going to help us generate the massive public outcry that offers our only opportunity to turn this around. The public is way, way more pissed off right now than they would be if the administration never announced the Holder Memo. The impression that they were backing off came from the administration's messaging, not mine. I'm just holding them to the standard they set, which makes an abundance of logical and strategic sense to me.

And as for Mickey's final point that it's better to wait until Obama is re-elected, I'm just not willing to risk it. Once he's re-elected, it ceases to matter how he is viewed by voters who prioritize this issue. This fight has to happen right now, and if we get to the point where Obama is claiming he never technically guaranteed an end to the raids...great. The press and the public would not be impressed.

The Buck Has to Stop Somewhere

 

 

Regardless of who promised what to whom, or what a particular memo really meant, all of this craziness is happening on Obama's watch.  He is responsible.  He could end the war on medical marijuana for real (which he has the power to do).  He chooses not to.  Doesn't matter what his political reasons or priorities are.  He will be remembered for what he did, not for what he promised.  He will be remembered as the last US president to support the failed war on drugs.

Anyone who thinks Obama needs to be re-elected

is just plain nuts and doesn't understand our form of government or what the Constitution is supposed to do.  Obama is a big government, statist authoritarian -- "Do what I say, don't question, don't resist, I AM the law, the ONLY law, and you are just a peon!  Forget the Constitution, it doesn't apply to me or what I want to do to you!" -- and he is the very kind of politician we need to NOT be electing to ANY position in government, period!  Most of the Republican field that is trying to take his job are no better, only Ron Paul (and to a lesser extent Gary Johnson) is the kind of Constitutionalist statesman we should be electing to every political office in the nation.

undrgrndgirl's picture

why to you think

ron paul is any different? for him "he who has the money makes the law"...NOT what i want in dee cee, either.

But the fight has to be based on fact...

Scott,

I agree with the strategy that we need to continue to put pressure on, but I do not think misappropriating vagueness for promises and calling Obama a promise breaking liar is the way to do that. It is more of a personal attack on character rather than a factual argument based on failed policy. We gain nothing by smearing the man besides possibly discouraging a few hundred thousand issue voters to possibly not vote at all or vote for someone else. That is just bad strategy IMO.

And your assertion that we would be better off had no memo been released is absurd. As a person who spends countless hours in the chambers of City Hall fighting for this issue all over the State I can assure you the "perception" created by the memo has in fact moved some mountains for us. Do you remember this statement by Colorado AG John Suthers after the memo dropped?

""For the U.S. Attorney General's new policy to have any significance for Colorado, our state lawmakers must give clarification to Amendment 20 and create a regulatory scheme for the growing medical marijuana industry." The response to this was the groundbreaking legislation in CO that has done a great deal of good there to create the entire industry as we know it...what some have deemed the "model" for the country. I think the tens of thousands of patients that have a competitive and diverse coalition of medical cannabis providers there do not see the memo as entirely a bad thing. 

Nor do the dozens of cities I have worked with that have passed regulations allowing for access based on the "perception" that there is some level of acceptance at a Federal level no mean anything. It means a lot. It means victory for patients in those areas...see Stockton, San Jose, Richmond, Napa, and several other communities that have, or will have, access based on this "perception of progress." As a person who has been at these meetings for over a decade trying to convince these blowing in the wind local politicians of our legitimacy, there has been no stronger point made than the Ogden memo and the statements from Administration officials.

So I ask you this.....If you are not willing to risk it on an Obama second term, whose first term are you willing to risk it on? Because by personally smearing Obama as a promise breaking liar and creating a level of disgust with this hyperbole you are placing votes in the oppositions lap, and I can assure you that will not end pretty...and do not go getting all Ron Paul and Gary Johnson on me because that is a figment of your imagination and just not reality. Who is your better choice that you are willing to slander Obama based on what you admit is not a promise or even what he "really said" as your title suggests? Are you willing to gamble with that?

I am not cheerleading for Obama or saying we should not continue to harass him about this issue. I stood on the corner in the freezing cold a 7 am in SF the other day with my huge sign that ironically enough was a big Uncle Sam head that said "LIAR" on it, but it is the Government policy that is the lie not Obama's statements. When we lose the real focus of the fight and attack the President for not doing more based on our "perception" we shoot ourselves in the foot. The real lying assholes are the US Attorneys writing the letters in an attempt to get their name in the paper and the DEA that uses raids to make political points for their cronies. The game has not changed. These groups of paid to be asshole enforcers are gonna fight to the death and have no conscious when it comes to whether law is good or bad. They just care that it is law and if it is broken they see it as their right to fuck your life up. But Obama is not calling these shots, nor has he broken any promises. We all know drug policy is a political hot potato and the strategy of putting out a memo that creates perception but has no teeth seems to be a method of having cake and eating it too. On one hand you "placate" (perfect term) our supporters and open some doors for us...on the other hand you can still fall back on the fact that it really promises nothing to placate the prison/pharma/asshole lobbies and other opposing forces. 

I am not mad about the lack of movement. I am surprised there has been any movement at all, really. Did you really think Obama was going to embrace our movement and champion our cause 100%? That seems a bit silly in this political climate, doesn't it? I just say take the fight to wear it needs to be...you wanna call people out...call out the assholes that actually are calling the shots....start with these assholes: http://cannabiswarrior.com/2011/05/03/saber-rattling-feds-try-to-make-name-with-threats/

I think we are on the same page...it is just the semantics that I think we differ on and the fact that I think we must get Obama re-elected if there is any real shot at reform. Otherwise we could return to the really dark ages of medical cannabis.....

Keep up the good work......

Mickey Martin

Re: Fact

Mickey,

First let me clarify that I was in no way suggesting that we'd be better off without the Holder Memo...only that people are more pissed off due the subsequent betrayal that followed it, than if it had never been issued. Of course it has moved mmj forward in a major way and that's the point.

I guess we might never quite reach the same page on this, but I will hold Obama to his word that DOJ resources wouldn't be used to interfere with state laws. Any DEA raid, any DOJ threat is a violation of that and I will treat it as such. So will the press and the public, and that is Obama's doing, not mine. Your concerns aren't lost on me, but I honestly don't believe we'll get where we need to be until we learn exact a political toll from those who stand in our way.

"I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it."

-Franklin D. Roosevelt

We have to make Obama do this, and that won't happen by giving him a pass on any of this. Any argument that we should have expected this outcome (valid or not) is an argument for softening our response. That would be the equivalent of rewarding Obama politically simply because the Holder Memo wasn't strong enough to justify protests when it is abused. Well, that sounds like the sort of game plan they had in mind this entire time and I won't be found falling for it.

Respectfully,

Scott

Agreed....

Fuck it. Let's barbecue the traitor and ensure that someone else gets the Presidency in 2012. I mean fuck it...he alluded to shit and that means something. Who is this do nothing bastard to not get right on this shit? He is unbelievable. What an asshole?

Is that a hard enough response, because that is the message I am hearing loud and clear from reform circles. No one is saying give him a pass.....and if you want to talk about a "soft" response, beating him up for not rescheduling or telling Haag and the rest of them to nock it off...or whatever it is that you expect him to really do is as SOFT of a demand as I have ever heard. We want him to reschedule so that the industry will come to a screeching halt? Or do we just want him to instruct US Attorneys to stand down, so that the great experiment can play out? What the heck are we asking for? ASA was asking for rescheduling, which is fine, but leaves a lot to be desired, as access would probably decrease, as the prescription protocol leaves a lot to be desired, and penalties for unlicensed/counterfeit production of prescribed medicine would likely increase....is this our goal? Or is our goal legalization and freedom for cannabis users- patient or not?

I mean isn't the real message, "Who the fuck are you to tell me what plant I can grow and use?" or "Who the fuck are you to keep pulling us over, kicking in our doors and tapping our phones for using a safe and enjoyable plant?" Now that is a message. Not "Hey, you kind of said you would let us have medical marijuana and that you would not suggest wasting USDOJ resources on busting us...you are a big fat liar." Which one s the softer response? You want to hold this administration's feet to the fire, do it for the treachery they pulled with that "vigorously enforce the controlled substances act" shit during the Prop 19 campaign. Now there is some real bullshit.....Not this pansy, he said-she said BS that is only going to serve to make Obama seem like he has betrayed us completely and convince people that he cannot be trusted with a second term.

Is there a way to convey this message without the vitriolic tone we hear repeatedly these days? Is it just me, or is there a lot of anti-Obama rhetoric pouring out of reform central these days? I just think it is poor messaging that misses the mark. I think the message is "Medical should be a given. Adult use should be fundamental right given the safety of cannabis compared to other legal substances." I guess you can call him a lying sack of shit and hope that it makes him hear you better, but somehow I am not counting on it. Embrace the tea party spirit and ask "Who the fuck are you to tell me what I can do with my body and my back yard?" Now there is a message I can get behind.....but it is not just aimed at Obama...it is aimed at every politician, law enforcement agency, and big business lobby that has been allowed to play this charade out over the past 40 or so years of the Drug War.....

Just my thoughts,

Mickey

Agreed with agreed

I am just a hard working taxpayer that does not know much about the economics or other unintended consequences of legalization. But I don't give a royal fucking shit about the pharmaceutical companies going under and crashing the economy. The economy is already crashed... who cares?

This is the response THIS taxpayer and every other person I associate with wants.... "Who the fuck are you to tell me what plant I can grow and use?" or "Who the fuck are you to keep pulling us over, kicking in our doors and tapping our phones for using a safe and enjoyable plant?"

MMJ

Micky, just take a toke and chill. Obama has this on his radar and it's not like he hasn't been kind of busy. He's moved this along further thatn anyone ever has so try to be patient. Yeah, Ron Paul may get there there faster but he'll never get into the Oval Office. In the mean time we edge closer state by state. It's happening. Maybe not as fast as we'd like but it's happening. Obama 2012 Barbara

I agree with you Mickey.

I agree with you Mickey.  Cannabis is a medicinal gift from Our Lord.  It has been used as prescribed for us by numerous cultures through the ages. Only our ' modern society' has chosen to label it 'evil'. Who the heck are they to tell me how to heal myself ?

Obama can stop it!

Obama can stop it!

Ron Paul? Really?

If this were a one issue country, maybe....here is a quote from Ron's site saying we should lock up abortion doctors for murder....Yikes:

“The first thing we have to do is get the federal government out of it. We don’t need a federal abortion police. That’s the last thing that we need. There has to be a criminal penalty for the person that’s committing that crime. And I think that is the abortionist. As for the punishment, I don’t think that should be up to the president to decide." -Ron Paul

ot the old abortion leads to euthenasia...let's repeal Roe v. Wade....

“I am strongly pro-life. I think one of the most disastrous rulings of this century was Roe versus Wade. I do believe in the slippery slope theory. I believe that if people are careless and casual about life at the beginning of life, we will be careless and casual about life at the end. Abortion leads to euthanasia. I believe that.” -Ron Paul.

or his free market medical care stance....or the let's build a bigger wall on the border nonsense....ugh. Ron Paul is a creep....

I don't give a damn about how Ron Paul feels about abortion,

and I am a female who fully supports the right of a woman to determine for herself whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term.  He would never use the power of the federal government to impose his views on anyone (and as an obstetrician, his feelings about abortion are understandable, even if I totally disagree with him on that).  

If we want the federal government to return to recognizing ALL our unalienable rights (including the right to ingest whatever foods and herbs and drugs we so desire), he is the ONLY candidate we should be supporting.  He is a Constitutionalist, his sole purpose in running is to advance the idea that we need to make the federal government obey the Constitution in ALL things, he doesn't expect to win the nomination; but he could, if we would all support him.  There is no other candidate with that agenda, not even Gary Johnson.

undrgrndgirl's picture

wrong...

dennis kucinich supports both a woman's right to have an abortion AND everyone's right to put what they want in their bodies...

you're a fool to believe dr. paul would protect your right to govern your reproduction... as a former ob/gyn nurse (who assisted with abortions) i question dr. paul's integrity as an ob/gyn...

Ron Paul on Abortion

I want to say something about Ron Paul's statement on "Locking up abortion doctors for murder."  To some degree, Ron Paul is right.  If we take the issue of abortion in its true context, as far a what the laws of the land are regarding the preservation of life , I believe that we will all agree.

The clause in the Declaration of Independence that we quote so very often, but do not consider, when it comes to issues like abortion.  It states:

"We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal and endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to protect these rights governments are instituted among men..."

Based on that clause, I am both pro life and pro choice.  I am pro choice because I believe that two consenting adults should be able to get together and copulate and as long as they keep their business to themselves, neither I nor any entity of government has any business objecting.  I am pro life because I believe that adults should have the right to choose to have sexual intercourse, but if in the process a child is conceived and they decide to abort it, then, based on that clause in the Declaration of Independence that, "governments are instituted to protect LIFE," it is their constitutional duty to do whatever is necessary to preserve the life of that unborn child.  The question then is this, when is the conception considered a life?  Answer, the minute the decision is made to abort it.  You can't abort something that is not in progress. 

All issues, if viewed in light of the Supreme Law of the Land, can be easily resolved, but personal opinions must be set aside.

Definitely not Ron Paul

Mickey - I agree with you.  

The Ron Paul scenario reminds me of that Monty Python cartoon of the killer cars.  Killer cars are devouring people, so these giant cats arrive and eat up the killer cars.  People crowd around the giant cats exclaiming, "You've saved our city!" And then the narrator (Terry Gilliam) says, "but at what cost?" whereupon the cats begin devouring sky scrapers.  

I would also add that I don't feel betrayed by Obama. He did exactly what he said he would do.  Without spending too much political capital, he furthered the cause to end cannabis prohibition more than any other president.  

The Holder memo was a brilliant political move.  Without alienating the DEA (i.e. diminishing their power) the Holder memo put a slow leak in the tire of the DEA and the prohibition machinery - a leak which is not easily patched.  And since he changed no law, he has also taken the wind out of the sails of the DEA to object to this maneuver.  I think that's sheer genius.  Of course it is an abomination that the DEA still raids legal medical establishments, nevertheless, the medical marijuana movement has gained momentum in large part due to this memo.  And Obama knows as well as we do that federal agencies do not have enough personnel to hold back the tide despite the DEA's power play.  

This is not to say that Obama has done enough.  I agree with Mickey that it is our job to put pressure on this (and any other) administration to end prohibition.  But I also think it's naive to expect that Obama should or even can do the right thing vis a vis prohibition.  There are far more powerful players in this game than Obama; some of whom who have been around longer than Obama, and will be around long after he's gone.  It's unrealistic to expect Obama to be able to shrug off these special interests.  In order for him to do so, he will need tremendous pressure from the states, which is why he released the Holder memo which tacitly recognizes that the end of prohibition will be brought about by the states, not the fed.

Holder memo

Regardless of what the Holder memo contained, the federal government is still twisting arms to stop medical marijuana. Witness the actions of the state of Washington for proof.  It was a done deal until the feds made it clear that they would intervene, in one way or another.  That forced the politicians in Washington state to back off of what the citizens clearly want, by a strong majority.

Ron Paul or statist control freaks. Your choice, people.

I find it hilarious when people claim to be against the drug war and bash Ron Paul while supporting goons like Obama who don't give a shit whether or not you rot in government cage for using a non state approved drug. If Ron Paul is by some chance on the ballot in 2012, anyone who doesn't vote for him is effectively endorsing the war on drugs and the systematic murder of brown people. Plain and simple.

Ron Paul is the only hope for

Ron Paul is the only hope for this country and all that crap the person above just bashed him on is a lie Ron's stance on all these issues is that it should be up to the states to decide.  I find it funny that this whole country cant figure out that its getting screwed by a system that threw them overboard 50 years ago.  A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have.  The only enjoyable part of the big crack down that is soon to come will be watching all you suckers shout about your rights and get on your knees and beg the gov't to save you.  Then seeing the look in your eyes when you realized the gov't was the enemy all along and now its too late.

Help me Obie-RnPaul-Kenobie...you are my only hope...

If Ron Paul was our only hope, or any hope for that matter, I would consider him. He is an assclown side show. Sorry. A person who wants to lock up abortion Doctors is no hope. He is a ideologue like the rest. 

Alright...

Alright, Mickey, vote for prohibitionist Obama and then come back here and cry about it when millions more are arrested and/or incarcerated.  

 

Even you in your post noted that Dr. Paul said, "The first thing we need to do is get the federal government out of it."  This is referring to abortion.

 

So, ask yourself, as president, what makes you think Dr. Paul would want a new federal law banning abortion?  On issues like abortion, Dr. Paul has consistently said that he would leave it up to the states (as per the 10th amendment) on such issues.  NOBODY would be imprisoned by the federal government, the government that Paul would be head of, for abortion.  Besides, the probability of Roe v Wade being thrown out any time soon is about the same probability of my home state of PA legalizing cannabis within the next year.

OMG THIS DEBATE IS SO

OMG THIS DEBATE IS SO POINTLESS
 

if ron paul magically became president, do you think he could really dismantle the security state? by himself, with no congress and no local / state support? do you really think he could stop the wars? or legalize weed?  with no institutional pushback?  by decree?  without losing support of his benefactors who would have had to put him there with campaign donations in the first place?  without pissing off so many power-hungry bureaucrats, legislators, and generals?

 

all this just shows that by supporting either obama or ron paul, marijuana activists have no understanding of the political system and instead buy into one false narrative or the other. 

 

'statism' is institutional control by capital (mind you i am not saying capitalism here).  by which ever mechanism, 'free-market-capitalism' or 'statism', capital's goal is domination and reproduction. 

 

at every level capital controls and runs the state.  things that challenge this are not to be touched.

 

why do you think that the only thing the ideologues debate about is abortion, gun rights, etc? i.e. things that have nothing at all to do with capital. 

 

you are a fool if you think either ron paul or obama or ANY SINGLE POLITICIAN can do anything in the face of the institutions that this country is based on.

 

the only way forward for marijuan activism or anything other 'cause' is to stop being activist, stop protesting, and start making institutions irrelevant.  

 

stop relying on some poltician to represent you and represent yourself. 

 

 

 

 

OMG THIS DEBATE IS SO

OMG THIS DEBATE IS SO POINTLESS
 

if ron paul magically became president, do you think he could really dismantle the security state? by himself, with no congress and no local / state support? do you really think he could stop the wars? or legalize weed?  with no institutional pushback?  by decree?  without losing support of his benefactors who would have had to put him there with campaign donations in the first place?  without pissing off so many power-hungry bureaucrats, legislators, and generals?

 

all this just shows that by supporting either obama or ron paul, marijuana activists have no understanding of the political system and instead buy into one false narrative or the other. 

 

'statism' is institutional control by capital (mind you i am not saying capitalism here).  by which ever mechanism, 'free-market-capitalism' or 'statism', capital's goal is domination and reproduction. 

 

at every level capital controls and runs the state.  things that challenge this are not to be touched.

 

why do you think that the only thing the ideologues debate about is abortion, gun rights, etc? i.e. things that have nothing at all to do with capital. 

 

you are a fool if you think either ron paul or obama or ANY SINGLE POLITICIAN can do anything in the face of the institutions that this country is based on.

 

the only way forward for marijuan activism or anything other 'cause' is to stop being activist, stop protesting, and start making institutions irrelevant.  

 

stop relying on some poltician to represent you and represent yourself. 

 

 

 

Absolutely correct!

You said it true and loud.  Obama and most of the rest of the presidential candidates are all big government, statist, goons who truly deserve to fall off the face of the Earth (right into HELL, if there is such a place).  Ron Paul is our only hope to get the drug war ended once and for all, and to have our unalienable rights restored.

Yeah, seriously...

Supporting Obama = supporting a prohibitionist.  I mean, just look at the total number of drug arrests during Bush II and Obama.  Compare them.  Pretty much the same, give or take a few thousand.

Pretty clear cut.  Yet tons of drug policy reformers continue to support this guy while bashing Ron Paul, a man that has repeatedly stoop up for our ilk despite the fact that it is a fairly unpopular political stance to take.

Go ahead and bash Ron Paul and then when either A) Obama wins re-election or B) a GOP statist takes control, get ready for 4 more years of mass arrests, incarceration and misery.  Don't blame the Ron Paul people, we support the guy that actually walks the walk.

Change the Schedule of Cannabis, Cannabis Laws, & Drug Czar Laws

It is time to "Change the Schedule of Cannabis, Cannabis Laws, and Drug Czar Laws"

Read and sign the petition at

http://www.change.org/petitions/change-the-schedule-of-cannabis-cannabis-laws-and-drug-czar-laws

On abortion, Ron Paul is a statist control freak

He thinks a pregnant woman's body is community property. I would have a very hard time voting for him, but I don't think it matters, the Republicans are not about to nominate him.

Obama has been a very big disappointment to me, his refusal to reschedule cannabis as having medicinal use is just pathetic, and infuriating, coming from someone who said he wanted to follow science based policies. But I expect the Republican alternative in 2012 to be even worse on drug policy.

Ron just wants to let the

Ron just wants to let the states decide on abortion and not to have gov't funding for it.  He's right why should the gov't take money from me who is COMPLETELY against abortions and give it to somebody SO THEY CAN GET AN ABORTION!  Besides with birth control/condoms/diaphrams/spermicide/IUDs  you can keep yourself from getting pregnant if you don't want to be.  Why don't you practice a little responsibility while you act like a little ho instead of killing a child.  I can hear the rape argument already but their is also a morning after pill if you get raped.

undrgrndgirl's picture

pregnant women...

the ONLY community property ron paul believes in...everything else should be private...i'd laugh, but it's not realy funny.

What ever happened to listening to science obama?

Everyone and their mother knows marijuana has medical value- why is it schedule I then?  If objective scientists rescheduled it today- it would be far down the list and there would be no raids going on.

Which leads me to a power full collection of lobbies that directly gain money because of marijuana being illegal.  I'd say a major player would be those who receive the 25.6 BILLION from our National Drug Policy budget.

That goes not only to local police departments but rehabs and counselors.   What a hypocrisy when those are the same exact people crying the sky is falling when marijuana reform rears its head.

Not to rain on your parade,

Not to rain on your parade, Mickey.... Correct, Obama is constrained by political realities, but when you proceed with your arguments for "the light skinned Brother who inhaled" you make a possibly fatal assumption. A particularly unsafe assumption. To whit: you are assuming that the President actually supports medical marijuana in some form. This is a trap. Obama has proven himself to be a corporate whore and a tried and true supporter of the previous President's policies on virtually every front. Based upon his performance on dozens of issues of major concern to the constituency that elected him, it is not a safe assumption that he will move in our direction following his re-election. In fact, quite the opposite, he may have the gloves on prior to the election. Think about it, a hard crackdown on MMJ will then be as politically cost free as legalization. (the difference being, a crackdown won't alienate all of the potential donors to his Presidential Library and Foundation) That will not be the case with his successor, as that successor will have the same problem as Obama in his first term. Remember, MMJ, and marijuana legalization has transcended traditional Right-Left politics. No matter who the President is, he stands to alienate a part of his base by coming after MMJ. I for one am ot so confident that the President is on our side in this. Odds are he's the same as all the other jackasses that preceded him for the last forty years.

Fear and control?

 

 

For what?Lets face it,once you smoke a little cannabis the BS that spews like toxic waste from the mouths of politicians becomes totally unpalatable.Obama,the great con,knows this as well as anyone.The DEA thinks they run the world and that is done with fear and violence,even death without trial.This is somehow alright if it's in the name of the drug war.Just like taking property as well as criminal sanctions,done only in organized crime and drug trials.It is government sanctioned theft and a worse crime than anything else done in "the name of the law".The drug war,like gambling and prostitution,will one day be a great source of revenue for the worlds governments.Predatory and heartless they will one day go for the easy dollars and we'll long for the days that criminals who practise pure capitalism,gave us cheap dope and an unending supply.

Let's face it...

You had tried to hold Obama accountable for what he had said. No fault of your own. This President and his administration have a habit of talking out of both sides of their mouth. Obama is the perfect example of "If you try to please everyone, then you will really please no one."

This news is really getting painful.

More raids on marijuana dispensaries in Spokane

Obama's campaign "promises"

Obama made many, many statements that were quite obviously politically motivated.  None of those statements had anything to do with reality or with what Obama would actually do if he were elected. If anyone cares to remember the truth, Obama stated that he was going to have the "most transparent, bi-partisan administration that this country has ever known".  The exact opposite has proven to be the truth. We have seen beyond ANY shadow of a doubt that Barack Obama only makes politically motivated statements that are usually very carefully scripted. The vast majority of Obama's campaign 'promises' have been proven to mean nothing at all other than that he wanted more votes, and was therefore willing to say ANYTHING.  He has gone back on his word on medical marijuana, Gitmo, the Iraqi War, the Afghanistan War, taxes, he stated repeatedly that he would let the then-current capital gains tax rates for high earners expire, as well as the child-care tax credit that he vowed to expand, he vowed to eliminate all income taxation of seniors making less than $50,000 per year, to end no-bid federal contracts over $25,000.00, vowed to sign the Employee Free Choice Act, vowed to forbid companies in bankruptcy from giving executives bonuses, vowed to allow workers to claim more in unpaid wages and benefits in bankruptcy court, vowed to allow imported prescription drugs, vowed to mandate insurance coverage of autism treatment, vowed to create a National Commission on People with Disabilities, Employment, and Social Security, vowed to change federal rules so small businesses owned by people with disabilities can get preferential treatment for federal contracts, vowed to double the Peace Corps, vowed to centralize ethics and lobbying information for voters, vowed to allow five days of public comment before signing bills, promised tougher rules against revolving door for lobbyists and former officials, vowed to double funding for afterschool programs, promised to re-establish the National Aeronautics and Space Council, vowed to limit the term of the Director of National Intelligence, promised to give an annual "State of the World" address, vowed to pay for the 'national service plan' without increasing the deficit, promised to reduce earmarls to 1994 levels, vowed that within one year, the entire White House Fleet would be plug-in electric vehicles,  promised to provide an annual report on "the state of our energy future", promised to negotiate health care reform in public sessions televised on C-SPAN (that went well), and he promised to introduce a comprehensive immigration bill in the first year.  These are just a few of the vows, promises, and assurances that he gave to the American people for their votes.  None of these things happened. ALL of the vows were broken without a second thought. The basic truth is - HE LIED to get elected.  ANY freedom-loving American who believes in the American people should do some long hours of hard in-depth research on the actions and the statements of Barack Obama before even considering to vote for this openly anti-American for President.  This man has been given a pass on anything and everything that would have destroyed the political career of any caucasian candidate for any political office.  The press has shown that they're not willing to report on ANY news story that might cast any shadow on Barack Obama.  How many other Presidents attended church for twenty years at a violently racist church where the pastor would strut up and down his tax-free stage and chant G-- D--- America?  How many other Presidents would get away with calling someone "a typical white woman"?  How many other Presidents could give a speech in a foreign country in which he stated that "America is NOT a Christian nation" without any mention from the press back home?  How many other Presidents have shown openly anti-Semitic leanings and sent millions of dollars to support terrorists like Hamas, again without ANY real exposure to the folks back home?  If this lawyer/community organizer from openly corrupt Chicago politics is re-elected, it will mean the death of a free America, and it will mean that the children and grandchildren and other future generations of Americans will be forever chained to the government, paying the vast majority of their earnings to the government for whatever programs are in vogue at the time and, more importantly, for the debt-service that has been exacerbated greatly by the Obama administration.  There are many, many other things that I could mention, but I won't bother.  The sad truth is that there are many people who will vote to re-elect this man without the least regard for his words or his actions.  Many Americans have become so intellectually lazy that they'll reflexively vote for someone without ANY personal research being done.  We can see very clearly that you can't rely on the mainstream media for valid, factual, crucial and truthful information.  I beg of you, please don't curse the future of your children and the future of America as a free country based on the empty promises of a person who has proven that his word is not worthy of belief.

 http://stopthedrugwar.org/si

 

http://stopthedrugwar.org/sites/all/themes/drcnet/images/body_bg.png); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: rgb(182, 171, 142); line-height: 1.4em; font: normal normal normal 13px/1.5 Helvetica, Arial, 'Liberation Sans', FreeSans, sans-serif; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; background-repeat: repeat no-repeat; ">

OMG THIS DEBATE IS SO POINTLESS
 

if ron paul magically became president, do you think he could really dismantle the security state? by himself, with no congress and no local / state support? do you really think he could stop the wars? or legalize weed?  with no institutional pushback?  by decree?  without losing support of his benefactors who would have had to put him there with campaign donations in the first place?  without pissing off so many power-hungry bureaucrats, legislators, and generals?

 

all this just shows that by supporting either obama or ron paul, marijuana activists have no understanding of the political system and instead buy into one false narrative or the other. 

 

'statism' is institutional control by capital (mind you i am not saying capitalism here).  by which ever mechanism, 'free-market-capitalism' or 'statism', capital's goal is domination and reproduction. 

 

at every level capital controls and runs the state.  things that challenge this are not to be touched.

 

why do you think that the only thing the ideologues debate about is abortion, gun rights, etc? i.e. things that have nothing at all to do with capital. 

 

you are a fool if you think either ron paul or obama or ANY SINGLE POLITICIAN can do anything in the face of the institutions that this country is based on.

 

the only way forward for marijuan activism or anything other 'cause' is to stop being activist, stop protesting, and start making institutions irrelevant.  

 

stop relying on some poltician to represent you and represent yourself. 

 

 

 

 http://stopthedrugwar.org/si

 

http://stopthedrugwar.org/sites/all/themes/drcnet/images/body_bg.png); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: rgb(182, 171, 142); line-height: 1.4em; font: normal normal normal 13px/1.5 Helvetica, Arial, 'Liberation Sans', FreeSans, sans-serif; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; background-repeat: repeat no-repeat; ">

OMG THIS DEBATE IS SO POINTLESS
 

if ron paul magically became president, do you think he could really dismantle the security state? by himself, with no congress and no local / state support? do you really think he could stop the wars? or legalize weed?  with no institutional pushback?  by decree?  without losing support of his benefactors who would have had to put him there with campaign donations in the first place?  without pissing off so many power-hungry bureaucrats, legislators, and generals?

 

all this just shows that by supporting either obama or ron paul, marijuana activists have no understanding of the political system and instead buy into one false narrative or the other. 

 

'statism' is institutional control by capital (mind you i am not saying capitalism here).  by which ever mechanism, 'free-market-capitalism' or 'statism', capital's goal is domination and reproduction. 

 

at every level capital controls and runs the state.  things that challenge this are not to be touched.

 

why do you think that the only thing the ideologues debate about is abortion, gun rights, etc? i.e. things that have nothing at all to do with capital. 

 

you are a fool if you think either ron paul or obama or ANY SINGLE POLITICIAN can do anything in the face of the institutions that this country is based on.

 

the only way forward for marijuan activism or anything other 'cause' is to stop being activist, stop protesting, and start making institutions irrelevant.  

 

stop relying on some poltician to represent you and represent yourself. 

 

 

 

chopped liver and a few

chopped liver and a few others have it exactly right. federal government is owned by corporate lobbies and big banks. big pharma and alcohol will be big losers if cannabis becomes legal. reformers supporting obama are delusional.

 

this argument reminds me of the recent PBS documentary FREEDOM RIDERS about the civil rights movement. the kennedy administration had to be pressured over and over to finally give in and do the right thing. doing the wrong thing is the automatic default position of all successful corporate pols.  

He's like Kerry was on Iraq.

He's like Kerry was on Iraq. He said he'd support it before he opposed it.

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