Does Obama Support Legal Pot or Not?

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  Does Obama Support Legal Pot or Not?

Posted by CN Staff on October 29, 2010 at 12:40:48 PT
By Justin Elliott  
Source: Salon 

California -- The Obama administration publicly opposes Proposition 19, the California ballot measure that would legalize pot. But the White House, perhaps fearful of angering the already frustrated Democratic base, is being conspicuously careful not to draw too much attention to its own stance on the issue.Attorney General Eric Holder went on the record earlier this month in a letter to former chiefs of the Drug Enforcement Administation saying that the Department of Justice "strongly opposes" Proposition 19. And drug czar Gil Kerlikowske was in the state last week criticizing the measure. But as far as the administration's active opposition to the measure goes, that's about it.
"It seems like they feel compelled to shake their finger at California. [But] they haven't been super forceful," Tom Angell, spokesman for the group "Yes on 19," tells Salon.There has been speculation that Proposition 19's presence on the ballot will promote turnout among progressive voters, helping California Democrats -- even though statewide candidates Barbara Boxer and Jerry Brown, like the Obama administration, oppose Proposition 19. That theory could explain why the White House is not eager to talk about its stance on the issue.When Salon contacted the White House, a spokesman repeatedly declined to criticize the initiative, instead referring all inquiries to the Justice Department. A DOJ spokeswoman referred us to Holder's letter on the issue. And when we called the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (led by the drug czar, Kerlikowske), a spokesman was careful to point out that Kerlikowske went to California last week only after he was invited there by a local group. That's a distinction without a difference, but it's another sign that the administration is not eager to broadcast its opposition to the measure.Angell, the Yes on 19 official, characterizes the administration's opposition as lukewarm. He points to a plea from a group of former DEA administrators, who, in the event Proposition 19 passes, want the federal government to sue California, asserting the Constitution's Supremacy Clause. (This is what the administation did in the case of Arizona's immigration law.) In his response letter, Holder pledged that federal drug law would be "vigorously enforced" and that the DOJ was mulling its legal options in case the initiative passes. But, Angell notes, Holder fell short of promising to sue California over the measure.As for the president himself, he has not commented publicly. When asked about the measure at an MTV youth forum earlier this month, he seemed to play down the idea of prosecuting people for possession of small quantities of drugs:QUESTIONER: So my question for you is this: When Arizona passed a law, the Justice Department said it infringed upon their jurisdiction and struck it down. However, when California passed the legalization of marijuana, an issue with drugs -- which also ties into federal policy -- the federal government said that they would stay out of the way. How do you reconcile those two things, particularly how they relate to the border and the security of our country?OBAMA: Well, let me first of all be clear. When it comes to our approach to federal drug enforcement, we take federal drug enforcement extraordinarily seriously, spend a lot of money on it. But obviously we have to figure out who is it that we're going after, because we've got limited resources. And so decisions that are made by the Justice Department or the FBI about prosecuting drug kingpins versus somebody with some small amount in terms of possession, those decisions are made based on how can we best enforce the laws that are on the books.Support for Proposition 19, meanwhile, has in recent weeks been rapidly losing support in the polls after months of maintaining a small lead. It would be supremely ironic -- and would suit the Obama administration just fine -- if supporters help propel anti-Proposition 19 Democrats to victory in California, even as the measure itself falls.Justin Elliott is a Salon reporter. Source: Salon (US Web)Author:  Justin Elliott Published: October 27, 2010Copyright: 2010 SalonWebsite: readermail salon.comURL: -- Cannabis Archives

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Comment #14 posted by Celaya on October 30, 2010 at 21:10:28 PT
That's great you posted that info already. Sorry I haven't been able to spend as much time in the reform sites that I would like. I have been helping to wage the battle for Prop 19 at the Sacramento Bee comments sections (as jontomas).We are clearly winning, but it gets frustrating when prohibitionists continue to raise the SAME tired, refuted arguments over and over - as if no one had ever shown them how ridiculous they are.I'll be glad when Tuesday gets here.
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Comment #13 posted by ekim on October 30, 2010 at 18:02:24 PT
H.E. the credit for the link goes to Kapt
Stossel has a great lady on saying think the best and forget the rest.dir tv 359
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Comment #12 posted by Had Enough on October 29, 2010 at 20:53:07 PT
I read that piece in your link…It took a while to read it all...but it is a good one…a very highly recommended good read.Thank you…***ekim’s link…The History of the Non-Medical Use of Drugs in the United States by Charles Whitebread, Professor of Law, USC Law SchoolA Speech to the California Judges Association 1995 annual conference
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on October 29, 2010 at 18:24:15 PT
Thank you. Keep up the good work you are doing. We have come a long way in a short time really.
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Comment #10 posted by ekim on October 29, 2010 at 17:50:25 PT
good for Stick i cant find the patience to anwser 
FoM i see your point about parents.
I have offered the peice of how CA had been doing research in cellulose ethanol for many years and is a leader in the field. Haviig spent 17 million in the early 2000s for the Natioal Renewable Energy Dept.Where are the parents that know of this work, Arnold has had 8yrs and it makes one only wonder what might have been.- and even the first lady of CA has said no to 19.but karma is baaaacckkkkk and just maybe ol moonbeam will be
reenergized he will be given a do-over.speaking of good Parents who was President in 1962
And what do you think happened as a result of that conference? Commissioner Anslinger named the pharmacologist from Temple University the Official Expert of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics about marijuana, a position the guy held until 1962Anslinger said, "And I don't mean good musicians, I mean jazz musicians." Friends, there is no way to tell you what a torrent ensued. Within 24 hours, 76 newspaper editorials slammed him, including special editions the then booming trade press of the jazz music industry. With three days, the Department of the Treasury had received fifteen thousand letters. bunches of them were still in bags when I got there -- never been opened at all. I opened a few. Here was a typical one, and it was darling. 
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on October 29, 2010 at 17:12:22 PT

Last night we got a call from Gallup. That's a first. My husband answered all the question with honesty and maturity. They asked him if he minded the Tea Party. He said I don't mind them at all but it sure brings out the crazys and the lady laughed.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on October 29, 2010 at 17:09:51 PT

That's a nice dream. He is a worldly wise man. I'm sure he isn't against it. If he didn't have 2 children he probably would be much more open then he can be. No one wants their kids to do any substances and it often takes until the children are adults until a person feels comfortable about really speaking their mind.
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Comment #7 posted by DrDunkleosteus on October 29, 2010 at 16:55:42 PT:

I had a dream
...last night, where I was listening to the radio in my car and I heard Obama had changed his position on Cannabis and decided to publicly support prop 19. Just a dream... but perhaps not for long.
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Comment #6 posted by Sam Adams on October 29, 2010 at 16:24:02 PT

I thought the recent Gallup Poll was very encouraging, they are a conservative company. It appears that we have entered a period of rapidly changing opinion about cannabis! only a few days left!!! this is sort of like having your team in the Superbowl, except 10 times more exciting
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Comment #5 posted by John Tyler on October 29, 2010 at 14:29:19 PT

Surveying is a funny thing. Accuracy depends on how the questions are worded, who or what is doing the asking, and the sample group that is being asked. Who is paying for the survey can also influence the outcome.  I can only hope that the public is fed up with cannabis prohibition and votes to end it.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on October 29, 2010 at 14:26:36 PT

I agree. I have the SFC article  posted and it was published on the 29th. The above article was published on the 27th. It is swinging back our way now.
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Comment #3 posted by Celaya on October 29, 2010 at 14:13:01 PT

Support for Prop 19 Down? - Not Really
From this article:>>>"Support for Proposition 19, meanwhile, has in recent weeks been rapidly losing support in the polls"But scratch the surface, and you find:>>>"The campaign team behind Proposition 19, which is working to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana for Californians over 21, has noticed an odd trend among public and internal polls on the measure: People are less likely to tell a live person that they support legalizing pot than an automated pollster.....Bernstein was so curious that on Oct. 13-14, the campaign ran side-by-side polls - one using live questioners, the other using automated voices. When a live person asked, 41 percent of the respondents favored legalizing pot, but when asked by an automated questioner, 56 percent said they supported legalization, according to the internal poll."(more)
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on October 29, 2010 at 13:59:04 PT

OT: Obama: Terror Explosives Found, Bound for US
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 29, 2010 at 13:05:51 PT

Yes on 19 Buys Ads on Stewart, Colbert
October 29, 2010URL:
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