The President’s Pot Problem

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  The President’s Pot Problem

Posted by CN Staff on April 22, 2010 at 06:58:05 PT
By Richard M. Evans 
Source: Providence Journal 

Northampton, Mass. -- Now that an initiative to legalize marijuana is officially on the California ballot this November, President Obama should brace for a strong jolt from the west.If the measure passes (the latest poll puts support at 56 percent), no longer will it be a crime under state law for an adult to cultivate, possess or transport a personal supply of pot. Moreover, cities and counties will be authorized to regulate and tax commercial production, distribution and sale of marijuana, subject to restrictions and protections for minors and public safety.
Revenue raised by marijuana sales would go to local governments, not Sacramento. Initiatives are also in the works in Washington and Oregon.The president’s dilemma, in confronting state repeal of prohibition, lies in that marijuana will remain prohibited under federal law. It’s not the first time something like this has happened.In 1923, during the prohibition whose era now gets a capital P, New York repealed its alcohol-prohibition laws, shifting the burden and expense of enforcement onto federal authorities. Not only did the state gain significant savings in law- enforcement costs, but perhaps as a consequence, for the remaining 10 years of Prohibition New York City escaped the level of crime and violence that plagued some other large cities, such as Chicago and Detroit. It also explains why, in movies of the era, police are often called the “Feds.”If California voters see marijuana prohibition as unsustainable and vote accordingly, howls will arise, most audibly from politicized public employees who see their jobs at risk. There will be the usual bleating about “sending the wrong message” to children, as if criminal-justice policy should be based on how it might be misconstrued by the immature. Moralists will sputter. Congress will bluster. It will be a splendid kerfuffle.Faced with no local marijuana enforcement, the president’s choices are limited. He could send in armies of federal agents to patrol the streets and surveil backyards and basements. In no time, surely, the corridors of federal courthouses would fill with sad-eyed teenagers and small-time pot dealers, and already overburdened judges will roar.Another option may be to retreat, as with medical marijuana, ordering federal police to ignore conduct that is in compliance with state law, including licensed and regulated farms, plants and shops. However, this restraint conflicts with the president’s constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” notwithstanding the stated reason for not interfering with medical marijuana was that the Feds simply do not have the resources.The president’s best option is the last resort of scoundrels and statesmen alike: to tell the truth. He can remind the nation that marijuana was outlawed early in the last century to oppress minorities, and, shamefully, its prohibition continues to serve that function. He can deplore how the government uses the marijuana laws to insinuate itself into the personal lives of Americans, leaving millions with stained records that rule out good jobs and even an education. He can lament how it is really marijuana prohibition that “sends the wrong message” to children, by conflating the concepts of use and abuse, undermining honest drug education.He could condemn the utter hypocrisy of outlawing marijuana, which has never killed anyone, while we regulate and tax alcohol and tobacco, both deadly, and celebrate drink as an integral part of many social rituals.He could admit the obvious fact that marijuana has become an inextricable part of our culture, despite decades of anti-drug propaganda. He could challenge the defenders of prohibition to tell us how many more people will have to be arrested, prosecuted and punished before marijuana is extirpated from our land, and how much that will cost, and where the money will come from to pay for it.On June 12, 1987, Ronald Reagan stood at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and exhorted Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” November may well deliver an exhortation from the voters of California to tear down the wall of marijuana prohibition.Might this be Obama’s Gorbachevian moment?Richard M. Evans is a lawyer in Northampton and maintains the Web site: http://www.cantaxreg.comSource: Providence Journal, The (RI)Author: Richard M. EvansPublished:  April 22, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Providence Journal CompanyContact: letters projo.comWebsite: URL:  -- Cannabis Archives 

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Comment #19 posted by Sam Adams on April 23, 2010 at 19:49:31 PT
how long can his dreadlocks grow by 2016?
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Comment #18 posted by The GCW on April 23, 2010 at 18:24:51 PT
That word, "prohibition" is revealing.When using the word, I like to also include "persecution and extermination.""The list of reasons to end marijuana prohibition, persecution and extermination is growing faster than the plant itself." I notice is the way certain newspapers edit what is sent to them. Example: I don't care for the word "marijuana" and I used the word cannabis but it gets replaced by people who may either dislike substituting cannabis for marijuana or perhaps they like the ring marijuana induces for the sake of perpetuating PROHIBITION.-0-
EXTERMINATING A GOD GIVEN PLANT -is the work of not good people.
-0-US CA: PUB LTE: Differing Intentions MT: PUB LTE: Medical Marijuana, Keeping Secrets CO: PUB LTE: Cannabis Prohibition Isn't Funny
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Comment #17 posted by kaptinemo on April 23, 2010 at 15:00:47 PT:
I can just hear the prohibs screaming
bloody murder when they hear the word 'prohibition' being applied to cannabis. Like the Knights of Ni when they hear the word 'it'. a bow, reformers: we started that, and right here. It was in this forum years ago that the drive began to link the present prohibition with the last one in the public's mind, and the prohibs put up such a wet-noodle response ("we're not 'prohibitionists'; we're preventionists that they were laughed at by their own, and soon stopped trying.(Image: nail pounded by hammer in sync with syllables of "PRO-hi-bit-ion! PRO-hi-bit-ion!") Our incessant mentioning of the word was picked up by the media and is reflected in the ever-increasing use of the term to describe the actual fact. Which grates on prohib nerves to no end. Small payback for the decades of murderous abuse. And sweet to the eyes and ears of anyone demanding sanity rule policy, not prejudice.
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on April 23, 2010 at 14:46:36 PT
No, he's just our President. 
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Comment #15 posted by Brandon Perera on April 23, 2010 at 14:16:11 PT:
Is Obama a puppet?
If i could get some answers on the topic please.
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Comment #14 posted by ezrydn on April 23, 2010 at 05:16:01 PT:
Great, yet Simple Article
One doesn't have to be highly eloquent to make sense. Here's a "letter" I think mose here will agree with:
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on April 22, 2010 at 19:55:57 PT
John Tyler
:0)That's all I could think, too. "Wow".This is an amazing opinion piece. The hard, simple, plain truth is an amazing thing.I remember an alarming time some years ago when skilled lying appeared to be going to be accepted as some sort of virtue. Like undercover narcotics investigators and confidential informants.It's a fine (to them) expensive (in so many ways) "game" they've been enjoying, hunting men and women and all... raiding... robbing... killing... terrorizing ... not for murder or torturing someone... for drugs and herbs and powders. It's got to end. There's been legalized highway robbery and extreme bullying. Murder. Testilying. Assault. Shootouts. Prison. For what gain? Militarized, riddled with corruption police and murderous cartels and dead, damaged, and ruined innocents all over the place?Maybe truth is going to come back more, in general, than it has been for awhile now.
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Comment #12 posted by John Tyler on April 22, 2010 at 18:33:02 PT
Wow, I haven’t read such eloquent common sense like that in a newspaper in a long time. Keep up the good work.
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Comment #11 posted by Brandon Perera on April 22, 2010 at 12:50:01 PT:
Great words!! I'd like to finally see families stopped being ruined because they like 2 smoke a little bit of dope here an there. 
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Comment #10 posted by Paint with light on April 22, 2010 at 12:40:29 PT
concise, clear, and correct
Congratulations Mr Evans.A great job in so few words."The president’s best option is the last resort of scoundrels and statesmen alike: to tell the truth."Truth will finally win."Truth", what a concept.There are more truth tellers on this web site than in all the halls of congress.Legal like idea even prohibs can understand. 
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Comment #9 posted by dongenero on April 22, 2010 at 12:24:41 PT
Hope- I like it!
That's much better. More Obama's style!Take note Rham. 
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on April 22, 2010 at 11:53:22 PT
"The utter hypocrisy of outlawing marijuana"
Truly, it is an "utter hypocrisy".
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on April 22, 2010 at 11:47:13 PT
I think it would be even cooler if he said, "As a predecessor of mine once said, "I think this would be a good time for a beer." (And maybe throw a whazzup sign.)
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on April 22, 2010 at 11:41:15 PT
Richard M. Evans 
Wow.Truer words never said and never said better.
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Comment #5 posted by BGreen on April 22, 2010 at 11:07:37 PT
Now is the time, before it's too late!
They're laying off teachers by the tens of thousands, but they'd still rather spend our dwindling resources on cannabis prohibition.The billions spent on attacking adults for cannabis could be used to keep every single one of these teachers in danger of losing their jobs and their livelihoods.Can we finally let common sense prevail and end this abhorrent war on cannabis?Yes We Can!The Reverend Bud Green 
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Comment #4 posted by dongenero on April 22, 2010 at 10:57:39 PT
Light up that joint!
FDR had a good quote when he repealed alcohol prohibition:"I think this would be a good time for a beer."I would love to see a 21st century reenactment by Obama:"I think this would be a good time for a joint."It will never go quite like that in this day and age but, we can dream.
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Comment #3 posted by Storm Crow on April 22, 2010 at 10:05:28 PT
Mr. Obama.....
Light up that joint!
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on April 22, 2010 at 07:59:22 PT
Richard Evans
Before I finished reading your article, I was standing, dancing to "Wild Nights"-Van Morrison!
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 22, 2010 at 07:18:06 PT

ABC News: Marijuana's Drug Status Should Change
Marijuana's Drug Status Should Change, Lawyers Say***Law Professors Argue That Current Classifications Block Medical Marijuana ResearchApril 22, 2010URL:
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