From Obama, Sanity on Marijuana Policy

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  From Obama, Sanity on Marijuana Policy

Posted by CN Staff on October 22, 2009 at 04:28:23 PT
By Steve Chapman 
Source: Chicago Tribune 

USA -- In 1973, Robert Randall was going blind from glaucoma when he discovered that smoking marijuana seemed to help his condition. That didn't matter to police when they found the Washington, D.C., resident growing cannabis and arrested him. Preferring to keep his sight, Randall sued the federal government, arguing that he was entitled to smoke pot as a "medical necessity."It was a far-fetched argument -- but it worked. In 1976, a court ruled in Randall's favor. Before long, the federal government found itself in the strange position of supplying marijuana to him and a handful of other patients under a "compassionate use" program.
The compassion didn't go very far. President George H.W. Bush stopped the acceptance of new patients into the program in 1992 rather than admit all those annoying AIDS victims, insisting that it sent a dangerous message to young people. The real danger, of course, was the message that government policy on cannabis was ignorant and irrational. But since then, one president and one drug czar after another has furiously resisted efforts to allow therapeutic use of the drug no matter how helpful it may be to the sick and dying. Until now. This week, the Justice Department kept a promise made by candidate Barack Obama when it announced that henceforth, "it will not be a priority to use federal resources to prosecute patients with serious illnesses or their caregivers who are complying with state laws on medical marijuana." The change is not only historic but humane and intelligent, two adjectives rarely applied to federal drug policy. Science has established that cannabis has useful properties for the treatment of various diseases, countless physicians have endorsed it, and 14 states have allowed sick people access to marijuana. But for three decades, the people in charge of drug policy in the federal government didn't give a rat's bottom. In 1996, after California voters approved a medical marijuana law, President Bill Clinton's administration fought it every step of the way -- filing lawsuits to close cannabis buyers clubs, threatening to strip the licenses of doctors who recommended marijuana to patients and denouncing the entire program as "a Cheech and Chong show." President George W. Bush's administration stuck to the same course. It raided California dispensaries and went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in a successful effort to crush the notion -- the conservative notion, come to think of it -- that states should have the power to set their own policy on pot. But before long, the idea had caught on not just in hippy-dippy California but in less fashionable places like Alaska, Maine, Michigan and Montana. Some 75 percent of Americans think doctors should be permitted to prescribe cannabis. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws reports that in 33 state referendums since 1992, voters have embraced liberalization 30 times. Most of the time, the two major parties are about as different as Coke and Pepsi. But last year, they presented a stark contrast on this issue. Republicans denounced the use of marijuana as medicine, while Democrats lined up to criticize the prevailing federal policy. Obama took a clear position, declaring it "entirely appropriate" for physicians to prescribe cannabis and pledging, "What I'm not going to be doing is using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue." But as opponents of the Iraq war, "don't ask don't tell" and Guantanamo know, a promise made by Obama is not exactly money in the bank. This time, though, he deserves full credit for doing what he said he would do, repudiating a bipartisan legacy of pigheaded stupidity. What's more, Obama may not stop there. Some reformers expect the administration to agree to let a scientist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst grow cannabis for research on its medical potential -- something the Bush administration opposed, lest the research contradict its ideology. During the campaign, Obama also indicated he favors scrapping a 21-year-old policy that forbids cities from using federal money to finance needle-exchange programs to block the spread of AIDS, and the House voted last summer to lift the ban. The White House drug czar has even solicited advice from critics of the drug war, whom previous drug czars saw as deranged.Robert Randall, who died in 2001, might have been surprised to hear the federal government admit the possibility that it was wrong about marijuana. He probably wouldn't have been surprised that it took 33 years. Steve Chapman is a member of the Tribune's editorial board and blogs at: Chicago Tribune (IL)Author: Steve ChapmanPublished: October 22, 2009Copyright: 2009 Chicago Tribune CompanyContact: ctc-TribLetter Tribune.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives

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Comment #49 posted by FoM on October 23, 2009 at 16:42:19 PT
It sounds like you are having a lot of fun. We went to San Francisco one time but it was when we were in the Semi Truck so we didn't get to see anything unfortunately.
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Comment #48 posted by Hope on October 23, 2009 at 15:51:06 PT
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Comment #47 posted by dankhank on October 23, 2009 at 15:39:12 PT
cat bowling
will check it out ...yrs ago there was elf bowling ... pretty funny, if you hooked hard left you could smack a deer ...I'm back at the Peoples Cafe ... they got good wifi ...The Haight is amazing, vibrant with hints of what was here once. I'm gonna buy a shirt or something. It's cool and light windy. Glorious day to sit and watch the crowds.a good cheezeburger, fries and glass of water 9.00 for food and free water ... aint America grand ... sometimes ... :-)
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Comment #46 posted by Hope on October 23, 2009 at 13:50:40 PT
Demonization still lives.
I'll file that bong water drinking and injecting along with the one where the "Police" said, "Meth addicts eat their scabs to get high."Lying, freaking, fear mongering, hate mongering, demonizing, freakazoid, arrogant, cruel, bullying, maniacs.
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Comment #45 posted by Storm Crow on October 23, 2009 at 12:46:33 PT
Who the heck is "educating" .........
These narcotic officers! Anslinger reincarnated? Drinking bong water will get you nothing but sick! It's used as a bad joke among high schoolers - getting the naive newbie to drink the bong water and watching him get sick! As for injecting bong water- that would be purest insanity! 
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Comment #44 posted by Canis420 on October 23, 2009 at 10:23:43 PT:
Bong Water?
I dont know anybody who would drink bong water...let alone inject it...YUCK
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Comment #43 posted by josephlacerenza on October 23, 2009 at 10:16:56 PT
Just a comment
"The Supreme Court said that unambiguously counts as a drug "mixture" under the wording of state law and sent the case back to Rice County District Court for further proceedings. The decision, authored by Justice G. Barry Anderson, noted that the liquid wasn't plain clear water, but had a pink color and fruity odor, and that a narcotics officer had testified that drug users sometimes keep bong water to drink or inject later."Injecting bong water?!!!!!!Who the F**K INJECTS bong water?!!!!These are the lies spouted by narcotics officers?We need these type of people off the street. They are not keeping ME safer with these absolute lies!!!
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Comment #42 posted by ekim on October 23, 2009 at 09:35:53 PT
fox rapping up week long mmj story
dir tv 359
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Comment #41 posted by FoM on October 23, 2009 at 08:53:40 PT
I'm sorry to say this but that is down right crazy.
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Comment #40 posted by Mark702 on October 23, 2009 at 08:46:16 PT
Bong Water
Minnesota votes to make bong water a controlled substance. Now you can face 7+ years in jail vs. what used to be a $300 fine. What great use of our limited resources...,2933,569269,00.html?test=latestnews
MI - Bong Water
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Comment #39 posted by ekim on October 23, 2009 at 08:10:34 PT
good going dankhank
thank you for all your efforts. this looks like a fun gameCat BowlingSubmitted by DaKine on Thu, 10/22/2009 - 19:09 Halloween game....hit the spacebar to roll the ball...
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Comment #38 posted by dongenero on October 23, 2009 at 07:30:22 PT
WP article
The comments section of that Washington Post article is filled with many pro-cannabis rebuttals.
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Comment #37 posted by FoM on October 23, 2009 at 05:45:34 PT
I didn't read those WP Blog articles either. They don't get me annoyed that way. The voices of the anti marijuana folks are getting quieter and I like it that way.
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Comment #36 posted by rchandar on October 23, 2009 at 04:09:40 PT:
Trojan Horse or Emissary of Peace?
I didn't read the article. But I get tired of maniacal statements like this that bely the thinking, 'we're America. We've got to stay 'America'." Meaning, 'we can't change. We have to always be what we were in the past."That can't work. It can't be good. Are any of us from those times, WWII, or even WWI? 9-11 spelled it out clearly-we are no longer a young civilization, but a mature republic. Our decision-making defines a very different role in the world from what it entailed in the past. To marry ourselves to that ineffable thinking is a sad mistake which will have fatal consequences on the world. To attribute the failure and demise of the collective American spirit or volition because of drugs can never be an effective compass into the 21st century--it is a catastrophic mistake we run the danger of re-proselytizing for a new generation of innocents and potential thinkers. The landslide of violence and the insidious forefront of poor 'vicious cycles' are exaggerated by the WoD--they create economic disparity and distort normal social relationships in so many ways. It calculates a formidable logic of human im-possibility by narrowing down the potential for achievement in one's brain. That's bad...--rchandar
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Comment #35 posted by rchandar on October 23, 2009 at 04:01:32 PT:
I don't think it's any kind of setback for us. It simply means that the standard of prosecuting cartels continues, and that some other cartel will pick up business.It does, however, complement us nicely in the short run. Meaning, "we're the government. If you are medically registered, we're not going to bust you, and if you're a MMJ business, we're not going to bust you. But the 'war' continues, for the right reasons. So don't worry, we're still in control and we're fighting crime."If it works, Obama is a masterful politician, true to his idea of "using resources effectively." He is also friendly with our cause to a degree--I say, 'to a degree' because no President other than (briefly) Carter did anything but sharpen public policy against drugs. He will try to 'sell' the idea of an intelligent war that recognizes the possible medical usefulness of MJ, thereby separating 'soft' and 'hard' drugs in our thinking--at least to an extent.The LA situation looks messier. Simply put, the Dutch model was a good point of comparison, and we shall see if a campaign on our front can result in some kind of licensing system that protects the seller and user in an analogous fashion. An Obama re-election in 2012 is a good sign for us, but we should never hesitate to put down accountability, management, and cultural roots so that, should Obama not be re-elected, enough vestiges of this 'new' policy--and is someone out there who could coin a term? Like Gorbachev, 'perestroika'?--would survive a change of government. Three years is a good, long time to cement this 'new' policy to survive future challenges. And yet, it's California. A state with 38 million people. I admit that we've never had a better shot than we do right now. And I've seen as much WoD as most of you have had. I don't think we had a tougher foe than Reagan, who made WoD ideological certainty.--rchandar--rchandar
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Comment #34 posted by Hope on October 22, 2009 at 22:09:58 PT
"Somebody named Lamar Smith"
He's a Congressman and is the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee. He's a Christian Scientist, as in member subscriber to the Cristian Scientist Monitor, and a big time prohibitionist.
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Comment #33 posted by Vincent on October 22, 2009 at 21:58:38 PT:
Obama's hope and CHANGE
Good evening all. Well I am happy that Obama's gonna stop raiding MMJ dispensaries. (I thought he did that months ago)
And of course, there's the usual chorus of negative voices.
Somebody named Lamar Smith, I think he's a Senator, came out with "I think that Obama, by making this decision,
has shown disrespect for Federal law". Say what? Is he serious? When the moderator said that she had heard some LA cops saying that it wasn't worth it to bust potsmokers, of couse this guy had to say he knew "a lot" of cops that feel like him. No surprise there...I'll bet he knows the "Archie Bunker" type of cop, hangs out with them.   I swear, I think that these people live in a different world than the one we inhabit. Did you ever see the "Star Trek" episode where Captain Kirk accidently enters a Parallel Universe, and everything there is dark and evil?
That's the world that prohibitionists are from. 
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Comment #32 posted by dankhank on October 22, 2009 at 20:47:26 PT
the haight
I met a guy named Daniel at Peet's coffeshop and brought him to the Haight. He's russian, a truck driver having trouble getting a load out of SF. I'm schooling him on all things Hippieish. fantastic dude. I know much about Russia, the cold war and stuff he knows. We are having a ball just talking about SF in the sixties, ;modern culture. We are in the :People's Cafe on ashbury. I told him that the Commies were all about People' this and that and I always think Commie Cafe when I hear People's.great to be here.
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Comment #31 posted by FoM on October 22, 2009 at 17:09:16 PT
One More I Watch
I really like The Ed Show on MSNBC at 6 PM too.
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Comment #30 posted by FoM on October 22, 2009 at 17:08:02 PT
I missed it. I don't watch CNN anymore. I haven't for a long time. I only watch MSNBC. They have a good show in the morning called Morning Joe and we watch Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow in the evening.
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Comment #29 posted by HempWorld on October 22, 2009 at 16:58:43 PT
Awesome with LEAP
present, good job!
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Comment #28 posted by HempWorld on October 22, 2009 at 16:55:06 PT
Lou Dobbs
On Marijuana now, CNN.
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Comment #27 posted by Hope on October 22, 2009 at 16:42:45 PT
And of course...
The RevRGreen is tearing em up, too.Good job!
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Comment #26 posted by Hope on October 22, 2009 at 16:40:45 PT
Saw your post at the WP.Well done!
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Comment #25 posted by FoM on October 22, 2009 at 16:10:48 PT
Have a wonderful time. How cool it must be! Enjoy!
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Comment #24 posted by dankhank on October 22, 2009 at 16:08:17 PT
tomorrow night
geuss how much fun I'm having the party is tomorrow night. /am downtown in SF, now, and when I'm done in Peet's I'm heading to pilgrimage at the Haight ... to all ....
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on October 22, 2009 at 16:04:19 PT
WP Blog: 'Medical Marijuana' is a Trojan Horse
October 22, 2009URL:
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Comment #22 posted by FoM on October 22, 2009 at 15:27:55 PT
There has been so much news I could have easily missed somethng important. No problem at all.
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Comment #21 posted by RevRayGreen on October 22, 2009 at 15:10:37 PT
my bad
I thought there was another player about to be unemployed.
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Comment #20 posted by mydnytmover on October 22, 2009 at 14:27:52 PT
Poll: Should marijuana be decriminalized?
By Troy Reimink | The Grand Rapids Press
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on October 22, 2009 at 14:15:29 PT
Is Justice Paving The Way for Legalizing Marijuana
October 22, 2009URL:
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on October 22, 2009 at 13:56:00 PT
I have no idea. I haven't heard anything about it.
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Comment #17 posted by RevRayGreen on October 22, 2009 at 13:33:00 PT
What is the name
of the last Bush DEA appointee who is about to be relieved from duty ?
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on October 22, 2009 at 13:14:36 PT
Comment 14I second that emotion!Be careful and have fun.
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on October 22, 2009 at 13:12:29 PT
Hank Williams - Settin' the Woods on Fire
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on October 22, 2009 at 13:02:12 PT
Have a wonderful time!
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Comment #13 posted by dankhank on October 22, 2009 at 12:49:46 PT
Ethan Russo studied three or four of the folks in the Federal "Compassion" program. I can't find it, in truth haven't looked hard, but DO have it on my CRL. I'm not at home, now and won't be for a few days.I'm sitting in a Starbucks, in Mill Valley, CA. Tonight is the super secret AMMA 10th Anniversary Celebration at a location to remain clandestine.I have gone to events on the east coast and midwest and now have decided to try one on the west coast.Last time I visited CA was 1994, so this is neat.The road warrior strikes again. :-)Anyone remember MASH? BJ Hunnicut was from Mill cool.I love to drive ... will probably die in a car ... and can't imagine any other way ...good to see you, ekim ... 
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on October 22, 2009 at 12:05:36 PT

Looks like this thing sort of "set the woods on fire"... in a metaphorical sort of way.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on October 22, 2009 at 12:04:58 PT

Storm Crow
It's been a great couple of day! I am really happy about this happening. Never before has any President done anything like it. We really are on a roll now! 
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on October 22, 2009 at 11:52:55 PT

Woo! Woo! Woo! Thank you!
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Comment #9 posted by HempWorld on October 22, 2009 at 11:45:00 PT

MPP Newsflash
Following the enormous victory for medical marijuana patients and their caregivers on Monday, a strong MPP champion on Capitol Hill, Congressman Sam Farr (D-Calif.), plans to introduce an important bill in Congress next week.While the new Department of Justice policy creates a de facto protection for patients and caregivers who are "in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana," the Farr bill — which MPP staff helped write years ago — will codify this protection in law.It will also address another injustice: Currently, medical marijuana patients in the 13 states where medical marijuana is legal are barred from telling federal jurors that their use of marijuana was for medical purposes, even when state laws explicitly permit medical use. Congressman Farr's Truth in Trials Act would guarantee defendants in federal medical marijuana cases the right to explain that their marijuana was for medical use. And more importantly, defendants could be found not guilty if the jury finds that they followed state medical marijuana laws.
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Comment #8 posted by Graehstone on October 22, 2009 at 11:42:53 PT:

One more try the last one didn't work and am hoping this one will.
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Comment #7 posted by Graehstone on October 22, 2009 at 11:40:19 PT:

99 seed ballons
Just ran across this and thoght to share. It's in German but you'll soon understand what's going on here.\
Overgrow the Government! ;)
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Comment #6 posted by Storm Crow on October 22, 2009 at 11:26:19 PT

Just a happy little FYI.......
I run a search on YahooNews for "Medical Marijuana" every day and usually I get one or two pages of articles per day- sometimes three or four pages on a "good" day. Yesterday, there were 20.5 pages of "medical marijuana" news articles! And most were FAVORABLE! Amazing and wonderful! The press is FINALLY catching on to what we know! 
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Comment #5 posted by dongenero on October 22, 2009 at 11:02:00 PT

cartels and prohibition
I have no support for these brutal, murderous crime organizations but.....
you can bust them until the cows come home. They aren't going anywhere. Any cartel individuals our Gov. take out will be quickly replaced. If we did make some impact on their operation with these arrests, it will only mean prices go higher, the risk/benefit only becomes more appealing to those inclined to seek their fortune. We're kidding ourselves thinking these arrests signify progress. Prohibition makes the business far too profitable for these groups to quit. And so it's been, for how many decades, while it only gets more violent. This action is temporary appeasement for the drug "warriors" who continue to beat their head against the wall but, achieves little meaningful progress.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on October 22, 2009 at 08:41:24 PT

Mexican Cartels
Eric Holder is talking on the news about a big raid on Mexican Cartels. I don't have any problem with that.Probe of Mexican Drug Cartel Leads to Nearly 1,200 Arrests in U.S.October 23, 2009,0,2644454.story
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on October 22, 2009 at 08:36:59 PT

I am very happy that we have Obama as President. I have never doubted him. It really is amazing since most of my life I didn't vote or care about anything political at all.
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Comment #2 posted by ekim on October 22, 2009 at 08:31:26 PT

The compassion didn't go very far."
Well yes that is true. But on the other hand the Uof Miss is still growing and sending out med grade cannabis every month. Just as it has since Mr Randall gained access back 
in 1976. But where are the studies of all these years of how those have been helped by the US Govt. is how we handle all potential new drugs in this country, and if the FDA gives its approval, we get our prescriptions filled at a licensed pharmacy. However, this has never been done with marijuana because we all know the results would be negative since the drug is far more dangerous than anyone wants to admit and its medical use is at best minimal.

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Comment #1 posted by runruff on October 22, 2009 at 08:20:48 PT

I met Robert Randall.
I met him at a hemp rally at the fed building in LA.We talked for quite a while. He showed me his tin of gov issue joints. we laughed about what swag it was. The feds were purposely giving him swag or they are too stupid to know the difference?Either way, at every turn, I saw the gov choose self enhancing policies over serving the people.I am liking prez Obama better these days. He could go a lot further though!
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