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Obama's Pot Reform Goes Up In Smoke
Posted by CN Staff on May 30, 2012 at 07:13:04 PT
By Clarence Page 
Source: Chicago Tribune
USA -- I would shrug and say "So what?" to the latest details from President Barack Obama's pot-smoking past, except for one thing: He stirred so much hope as a candidate for sensible marijuana policy reforms but, as president, has delivered so little change.David Maraniss brings all that back to mind with his forthcoming book, "Barack Obama: The Story," which has been leaking like a sieve to major media in advance of its publication. Published accounts of Obama's days at Punahou, the private Hawaiian prep school that he attended in the 1970s, make the future president sound like a classic stoner.
"When a joint was making the rounds," Maraniss writes, the young Obama "often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted 'Intercepted!' and took an extra hit." Whoa, dude!As Barry Obama and his basketball buddies, among other friends, partied in a Volkswagen minivan, "When the pot was gone," Maraniss writes, "they tilted their heads back and sucked in the last bit of smoke from the ceiling." Or in Washington terms, one might say they were trying to make maximum use of available resources.Whether such details amuse or appall you, it's not news that young Barry Obama enjoyed a toke or two back in his school days. In his memoir "Dreams from My Father" and on the campaign trail, he was refreshing in his candor compared with Bill Clinton, who famously said he smoked but "didn't inhale," or George W. Bush, who refused to confirm or deny accounts reporters had received from his friends.All three were elected anyway, a sign of how much the times and attitudes have relaxed about the demon weed. A significant turning point came in November when the Gallup Poll found that, for the first time in its 42-year history of asking the question, a majority of Americans believe marijuana should be legalized nationwide. "Ending the war on cannabis consumers is no longer a political liability," Erik Altieri, communications coordinator for pro-legalization NORML said recently. "It is a political possibility."Activists were elated when Obama acknowledged that legalization was "an entirely legitimate topic for debate"  the first time a sitting president has made such a statement, according to Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. Obama promised to maintain a hands-off approach toward California's pot clinics that adhered to state law, which legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes in 1996. "I'm not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws (on medical marijuana)," he said, according to Rolling Stone magazine.But activists' joy quickly evaporated as marijuana arrests surged to new record highs  more than 850,000 in 2009 and in 2010, according to the latest annual FBI crime reports. That's more than half of all drug arrests, contrary to the popular but reckless notion that "nobody" gets busted for grass anymore.And federal agents have launched more than 100 raids in nine medical marijuana states, resulting in at least 61 federal indictments, according to data compiled by Americans for Safe Access, an advocacy group. The raids have closed down dozens of distributors operating legally under state law, and a high-profile training academy for providers in Oakland, Calif.It is against the backdrop of those events that Obama's youthful weed indiscretions raise intriguing new questions, such as: Would today's Barack Obama arrest young Barry Obama?The answer, judging by his recent interview with Rolling Stone, appears to be maybe not, as long as young Barry were a medical marijuana patient.The president claimed there is no contradiction between current policy and his earlier comments: "What I specifically said was that we were not going to prioritize prosecutions of persons who are using medical marijuana," Obama said. "I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana  and the reason is, because it's against federal law."Or, as the old saying goes, there's always a loophole  especially when you're dealing with lawyer-politicians.The president noted that, "there haven't been prosecutions of users of marijuana for medical purposes." Maybe not. But any sense of clarity about the federal marijuana policy has gone up in smoke.Clarence Page is a member of the Tribune's editorial board and blogs at chicagotribune.com/pagespage. Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)Author: Clarence Page Published: May 30, 2012Copyright: 2012 Chicago Tribune CompanyWebsite: http://www.chicagotribune.com/URL: http://drugsense.org/url/7bgzm4xZContact: http://drugsense.org/url/DKtD0QMfCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/cannabis.shtml 
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Comment #8 posted by Paul Pot on May 31, 2012 at 00:29:23 PT:
confessor
He has confessed to a serious crime.Why isn't he in jail?
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #7 posted by greenmed on May 30, 2012 at 23:36:14 PT
Hope
I was relieved too when I finally 'got' the last sentence.The situation still bears watching. The dispensary system is and will be under attack by both committees before the council vote.From the link...http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-la-pot-ban-20120530,0,3547975.story
Pot shop ban advances in L.A. City Council
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on May 30, 2012 at 21:37:49 PT
Thank you, Greenmed.
I read it quickly, too and skipped the comprehension of "committee" and flew over the last sentence.Dang.So much for Reading Comprehension today.*sigh*I'm thankful it hasn't passed the full council yet. I was devastated reading this.Duh! So sorry.... but glad!I also couldn't comprehend why there were only two comments on this all day.It's such a relief... at least for the moment.There is so much to read and so little time.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #5 posted by greenmed on May 30, 2012 at 20:23:17 PT
proposed ban
Okay, I really should slow down enough to read carefully."The proposal will be considered by the council's Public Safety Committee, then the full council."
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Comment #4 posted by greenmed on May 30, 2012 at 19:18:03 PT
L.A. medical pot shop ban
"The Planning and Land Use Management Committee"Who are they to make such a broad repurcussive decision? Surely this must go before the full city council for an on-the-record vote?The prohibitionists complain about "dispensaries proliferating" and patients "abusing" the law, but then make an end-run through a business committee that has their focus on anything but the welfare of patients.
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on May 30, 2012 at 18:58:14 PT
Council committee approves medical pot shop ban 
http://www.sacbee.com/2012/05/30/4525201/council-committee-approves-medical.htmlThis is not good. People are going to lose jobs. People are going to suffer. People will be fined and jailed and raided and God only knows what all the bad repercussions of this will be.
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Comment #2 posted by afterburner on May 30, 2012 at 09:14:16 PT
U. S. - Addicted to Prohibition. 
U. S. - Addicted to Prohibition. Don't Have the Money. Can't Stop.US NJ: PUB LTE: Drug War Is Gateway To Drugs.
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v12/n295/a03.html .
Pubdate: Sun, 27 May 2012.
Source: Record, The (Hackensack, NJ).
Copyright: 2012 North Jersey Media Group Inc.
Author: Robert SharpeUS CA: PUB LTE: Crackdown Aids Cartels.
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v12/n295/a02.html .
Pubdate: Mon, 28 May 2012
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Copyright: 2012 SF Newspaper Company LLC
Author: Robert SharpeSince President Obama got shellacked by the popular support for the Tea Party, he has been courting the conservatives and ignoring his popular base. Maybe he thinks that if people still re-elect him despite his youthful cannabis dalliance that he will then have a free hand to promote real federal government cannabis policy reform. 
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Comment #1 posted by Oleg the Tumor on May 30, 2012 at 08:02:23 PT:
The Audacity of Intercepted Hope
The latest in Non-Fiction FictionTo save the American dream, a youthful President must make a terrible decision. Tip-toeing through a minefield of shaky European economies, he must decide whether he should reconcile his own cannabis experience with America's World War II history and walk forward as a "great leader bearing great risk", or cave in to his backers and tell the seriously ill and dying that their testimony regarding cannabis, their numerous petitions for change and their desire to be buried without the stain of a federal offense is "inappropriate".
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