Obama Administration Hazy on Marijuana Policy
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Obama Administration Hazy on Marijuana Policy
Posted by CN Staff on April 23, 2009 at 09:38:24 PT
By Taimur Gibson
Source: The Lamron
New York -- In response to a question taken at a town hall meeting regarding marijuana legalization, President Barack Obama was quick to say, "No, I don't think that [legalization] is a good strategy to grow our economy."Many people were disappointed by his reaction, as Obama did not offer any counter-arguments and completely ignored the potential medical and social benefits of ending the prohibition on marijuana.
Yes, some who wish to see marijuana legalized use it for recreational purposes, but the other benefits cannot be ignored. Cannabis is known to ease pain disorders, including the side-effects cancer patients experience throughout treatment.In addition to this, legalization would strike an enormous blow to organized crime, free up the overflowing prison system and reduce violence along the Mexican-American border.Our president is a very smart man; it is hard to believe that he has not seen these potential benefits. Why, then, did Obama not acknowledge any of these arguments for legalization? Why did he dismiss the question so quickly?The answers to these questions may lie in the actions of his predecessors. Particularly, let's take a look at Abraham Lincoln, whom Obama has been compared to at great length.Lincoln, the great emancipator, had to employ the political tactic of misdirection: the process of obscuring one's true beliefs through rhetoric. At the time, his progressive views on race were not acceptable to the majority of America, and it would have been political suicide to publically announce his opposition to slavery.In the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, Lincoln was quoted as saying, "I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races."At first, this may seem unbelievable, but think about it: If Lincoln had outright established his commitment to social equality he would not have been politically viable and would never have been elected. He had to hide his true beliefs in order to save the Union from the impending disaster of the Civil War.So when Obama was confronted with a question as controversial as one regarding drug laws, what other acceptable response could he have given? The Republicans are recalcitrant enough as it is. If Obama had seemed at all sympathetic to the drug-law reform, the Republicans would probably be even less cooperative toward any of his future plans.Furthermore, the subject is controversial enough with the American people that seeming sympathetic to legalization would seriously jeopardize Obama's chances of reelection. Finally, the president has much more important issues to worry about at the present moment.Notice his wording: Obama speaks only of the economy. He says nothing of medical or social benefits. Were he unilaterally opposed to legalization, he definitely would have addressed those areas. By answering the question the way he did, Obama left himself open to future reform without having to go back on his word.So what was the only possible response? Reduce the question to ridiculousness. Make it a joke. Laugh at it. Which is exactly what he did.Note: The president has displayed remarkable political acuity in his dismissal of the legalization of marijuana as ridiculous, while leaving the issue open for later debate.Taimur Gibson is a freshman IR major who sees through the purple haze of politicking.Source: The Lamron (NY)Author: Taimur GibsonPublished: April 23, 2009 Copyright: 2009 The Lamron Contact: lamron geneseo.eduWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #26 posted by FoM on April 24, 2009 at 15:28:10 PT
In First 100 Days, Obama Flips Bush Admin's Policy
Shifting Away From Calif. Pot Busts***April 24, 2009Excerpt: Signaling a drastic shift in the Bush administration's policies on drugs, Obama's appointed Attorney General, Eric Holder, said federal agents will relax their enforcement of marijuana laws and go after only those distributors who violate both state and federal law. California is one of 13 states that have either legalized or decriminalized the use of medical marijuana and permits its sale for medical purposes. However, it still violates federal law and under the previous administration, authorities targeted medical marijuana sellers under federal laws even if they complied with state laws.As a presidential candidate, Obama vowed to bring change in policies related to medical marijuana use. Advocacy groups applauded the change but raised their concerns about more than two dozen California cases that are hanging in a limbo in federal court. The move comes at a time when the Obama administration is taking a tougher stance on the problem of drug and weapons trade along the U.S.-Mexico border. Other states that permit marijuana for medical purposes are Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.URL:
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Comment #25 posted by FoM on April 24, 2009 at 13:16:56 PT
Here's Senator Webb's Interview
I am so glad that Obama is supporting Senator Webb with the reform.Webb: Marijuana Legalization Should Be Considered
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Comment #24 posted by bionic man on April 24, 2009 at 13:06:18 PT
Sen.Webb -MJ legalization on the table
raw story -Sen. webb puts MJ legalization on the table.
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on April 24, 2009 at 10:40:18 PT
One more point. Obama is no Clinton. I didn't vote for him because of his answer about not inhaling. Clinton is a shifty person. He was a want to be Republican. Southern Democrats are more like Republicans. I'll trust a Northern Democrat way sooner.
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Comment #22 posted by rchandar on April 24, 2009 at 10:34:49 PT:
PS--And yes, I was arrested under Clinton. So, you know where this is coming from.
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Comment #21 posted by rchandar on April 24, 2009 at 10:33:27 PT:
I'm not disagreeing with what you're basically saying--Republicans are known for spouting half-truths as "the story." Still, endorsing the WoD is good capital. Our President, being black, being controversial because he's black, may feel an urgent need to establish himself as a traditional, authoritarian figure, someone who will work with the enemy rather than try and tear it down.That being said. It's just going to be hard for Barack to do what no other President has done--admit that the WoD doesn't work, that we're being lied to. The WoD is dependent in our thinking upon just one factor: the finish line. The day when no drugs will exist in our communities. And that's the quandary Clinton faced. Our President, to many of us, still remains in question. We cannot rely upon him for "change."--rchandar
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on April 24, 2009 at 09:09:57 PT
I just want to make one point. I have seen more spin since Obama became President then I have in a long time. I have seen writers twist what he actually said (relating to the economy) and fire up hate towards him like most right wing folks do. I will never get caught up in a whirlwind of anger since it is counter productive when you have a reasonable President like Obama. The right is punching at air because they don't like Obama in general. 
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Comment #19 posted by rchandar on April 24, 2009 at 09:03:52 PT:
Hope, FoM
Obama dismissing us is enormously useful--for him. That's the problem: we have a President who never served in the armed forces, does not have a long list of law enforcement cronies. And so: With the economy in despair, take stock in the values and ideas (good or not good) you've had for generations. Believe in your Drug War. We'll hire another 100,000 cops, jobs will be created......Get the picture? Obama benefits enormously from endorsing the failed Drug War. No one can brand him a socialist, a conspirator, and so on. And the people go away happy that not much "change" is part of their daily lives. TV shows can go on promising Armageddon because of drugs, families can continue to discipline and moralize with kids who try MJ, court systems don't have to be changed and criminals remain criminals. Our response should not merely be aggressive and sublime: we will also have to point to the essential fact that lots of people buy our argument, that we've been working for a long time, and that we're not going to come away from this with a Clinton reign of terror. Remember--Clinton was a Democrat. MJ arrests went up from a mere 200,000 to about 750,000--in four years. That's what we should be about. We will have to confront Obama and, should he still dismiss us, find friends outside the Democratic Party who will hear the urgency of our effort.--rchandar
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Comment #18 posted by Hope on April 24, 2009 at 08:37:16 PT
I guess it's really an article in a blog at the Post site and not actually an article in the print edition.Some comments on it.
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Comment #17 posted by Hope on April 24, 2009 at 08:29:39 PT
Great thread!
This discussion is very interesting.My opinion runs to, quite simply, that Mr. Obama was a more sensible choice, for me, all around, than Mr. McCain. Mr. McCain was far too angry, cold, cruel, arrogant, and dominating. I sensed he, and his VP choice, were a tad the wrong kind of "Mavericks" for my taste. McCain was far too talented at dismissing people, and using the threat of overwhelming rage and intimidation to get his way. That's dangerously immature and indicative of lack of real character, as far as I'm concerned.This is an interesting article... out of Washington. Lone Ranger Rides Again To Legalize Dope(Full of info, as well as ignorant irritants!)Howard Wooldridge is doing worlds of good.Just thinking of Howard and the work he's doing brings an element of joy to my heart.Thank you, Howard!
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on April 24, 2009 at 06:54:47 PT
I don't understand why so many people think that Obama would just legalize marijuana. I look at life realistically. If it was that easy to change the law it would have been done already.
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Comment #15 posted by CanadianGanjaman on April 24, 2009 at 06:43:04 PT
I can't believe that so many people didn't expect this to be obama's reaction....I mean really... haha
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on April 24, 2009 at 05:39:30 PT
John Tyler and Vincent
I don't know what Obama will do about marijuana or drug policy but nothing he has said or done makes me believe that he will stiffen the penalties on marijuana. Equal with vegetables sounds good.Bob Marley -- Three Little Birds
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Comment #13 posted by John Tyler on April 23, 2009 at 21:06:55 PT
political game 
I think Obama is playing a political game here, but I would like a few “winks” along the way to let us know he hasn’t forgotten about us, and is still working on this issue in our behalf. At this rate, if the Fed do nothing, they will at least be surrounded by states with relaxed medical cannabis laws. Equal with vegetables is all I ask.
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Comment #12 posted by Vincent on April 23, 2009 at 20:34:50 PT:
Obama's response
I understand why Obama is skittish on the legalization issue. Those Republican animals are just perching on tree branches, waiting to swoop down on this President, like the vultures they are. Actually, when it comes to herb, the Democrats are no bargain either.
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Comment #11 posted by Bud on April 23, 2009 at 19:21:04 PT:
If He Thinks.....
...I'm going to wait til 2016, he's badly mistaken. He's got til the 2012 elections or he loses my vote and support. Laughed at, "what does that say about" comment, his DHS Director refering to me as a possible "extremist," he's losing points with me, to be sure. Promises, I've had, jokes, I'm through with.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on April 23, 2009 at 16:04:32 PT
It really is a persons own personal view that matters and I know others aren't hopeful but many people are. I read he has a 66% approval rating. I will give him time to get his drug policy team in place and not expect him to wave a magic wand and fix this overnight. This war has been going on full force since Nixon and it won't go away easily.A President isn't a Dictator so what he might believe won't necessarily be what will happen. Obama wouldn't be responsible if the right throws a wrench in it in my opinion.
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Comment #9 posted by AdaptBones on April 23, 2009 at 15:46:30 PT:
Half full?
FoM, I certainly hope that is the case. I really, REALLY want to believe he is on the up and up. But in my 25 years of life I have never encountered anyone with that much power who is on the up and up so...I really want to believe but it's something akin to unicorns and dragons to me; they may have exsited at one time but I think those times are long gone. But man, I really hope I am wrong about this one and Obama really has returned the spirits of the old kings back to this Earth just when we need them the most.
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Comment #8 posted by Had Enough on April 23, 2009 at 12:14:08 PT
re: lombar – Hemp World
“” IMHO Obama was told when he entered the white house (as in white lies) by the powers that be, don't change our marijuana laws, or else ...””***“”Funny that's just what I thought. The amounts of money that organized crime, police, and prison guard unions, would lose should cannabis be legalized are staggering... and they know it.””************I’ve had that same thought for quite a while too.They do know…but the stuff still continues…In my eyes…that is the real crime…and that issue needs to be addressed promptly…
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on April 23, 2009 at 12:05:33 PT
President Obama is very intelligent and has excellent timing. Timing is very important when trying to make wise decisions. We don't need a hot head. I prefer to think of my glass as half full rather then half empty.
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Comment #6 posted by AdaptBones on April 23, 2009 at 11:59:16 PT:
Time will tell
I really don't know which side to believe on this issue. On the one hand if he really is his own master and he is just playing a sauvey political game to avoid not showing his true hand until the end than I applaude him and he will go down in my personal histroy as the man who saved America. If on the other hand all those conspiracies are true and he was bought and sold long before anyone ever knew his name than I fear it will be the end of this country and indeed the end of the world as we know it, but not for the better. I suppose the only one who knows for sure is Obama himself. But I take heart in two facts; the first is that there are small signs he may be for the common citizen and not for the powers that be (although there is a LOT of evidence to the other side as well), and the second is look at the two former presidents Obama admires. Those two are JFK and Lincoln. Both of them VERY sauvey politicians who played their true cards close to their vest and then at the end either planned to turn on the powers that be or did turn on them for the betterment of the common citizen. So I hold out hope still that he will be part of the solution and not a continuation of the problem. Blessed be.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on April 23, 2009 at 10:40:05 PT
Senate Committee Recommends Medical Marijuana
By Kevin Landrigan, Staff WriterThursday, April 23, 2009Concord, NH --  A State Senate committee today recommended New Hampshire join 13 other states and legalize medical use of marijuana. The 4-1 vote of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee sets the measure (HB 668) up for a final vote in the Senate next week.The panel made several, technical changes to legislation the House of Representatives approved last month. The most significant creates a study into creating a system for cultivating and distributing marijuana legally to medically eligible patients.Tilton Democratic Sen. Kathleen Sgambati said there wasn’t enough time in this legislative session to craft that network.The bill would allow qualified patients or their caregivers to grow and possess six marijuana plants, six seeds and two ounces of the drug.Only those in constant pain, having seizures or severe, persistent muscle spasms or having severe nausea or vomiting and who aren't helped by legal medications for at least three months would qualify to use marijuana.Copyright: 2009 Telegraph Publishing CompanyURL:
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 23, 2009 at 10:26:07 PT
NH Sen Committee Recommends Medical Marijuana Bill
Thursday, April 23, 2009CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire Senate committee has voted 4-2 to recommend passage of a bill that would allow people with crippling ailments to grow and use small amounts of marijuana.The bill now goes to the full Senate for a vote.The bill, already passed the House, would allow severely ill patients or their caregivers to grow and possess six marijuana plants, six seeds and two ounces of the drug. It requires doctors to certify a patient has a debilitating medical condition and would benefit from the therapeutic or palliative benefit from using marijuana. Copyright: 2009 Geo. J. Foster CompanyURL:
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Comment #3 posted by lombar on April 23, 2009 at 10:08:40 PT
re: Hemp World
Funny that's just what I thought. The amounts of money that organized crime, police, and prison guard unions, would lose should cannabis be legalized are staggering... and they know it.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 23, 2009 at 09:57:24 PT
Just a Comment
I really appreciate this article. I didn't know what college this was so I did a google search and found out it is the State University of New York at Geneseo. I hope New York finally gets a medical marijuana law on the books. Go New York!
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on April 23, 2009 at 09:43:25 PT
Why did he dismiss the question so quickly?
IMHO Obama was told when he entered the white house (as in white lies) by the powers that be, don't change our marijuana laws, or else ...And, he is obeying like a charm ...
On a mission from God! Legalize it!
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