Obama Nudges The Ball Forward on Marijuana
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Obama Nudges The Ball Forward on Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on January 20, 2014 at 07:26:55 PT
By George Zornick 
Source: Washington Post 
Washington, D.C. -- In an interview with the New Yorker released on Sunday, President Obama made perhaps the strongest endorsement by any sitting president on relaxed marijuana laws. Pushed by interviewer David Remnick, Obama acknowledged that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol in its effect on consumers. He also noted the obvious racial and economic disparities in enforcement of marijuana laws. “Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do,” he said. “And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.”
A fully budded marijuana plant ready for trimming is seen at the Botanacare marijuana store ahead of their grand opening on New Year's day in Northglenn, Colorado, in this December 31, 2013 file photo. The District of Columbia will take a step closer toward decriminalizing marijuana on January 15, 2014 with a move that will make smoking a joint in the U.S. capital a violation comparable to a parking ticket. In fact, the president backhandedly came close to endorsing outright legalization of the drug for recreational purposes, by offering a modified endorsement of new laws in Colorado and Washington that do exactly that:Accordingly, he said of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington that “it’s important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”Obama circled back around and noted the new laws in both states could be “a challenge” because of the potential for legalization of other, harder types of drugs. He also noted he has advised his daughters not to smoke marijuana. So it wasn’t an outright endorsement.But the moment was still significant in several ways. In context of the United States’ long-running and highly problematic war on drugs, it is quite notable to have a president come out and say that marijuana isn’t nearly as harmful as it is often made out to be and to back serious changes in the legal regime governing the drug.Obama is correct about the racial disparities at work here: The American Civil Liberties Union issued a report last year finding that African Americans are four times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana, despite similar rates of use.The White House’s record is somewhat checkered on this issue. On the one hand, early in Obama’s time in office, his administration stepped up federal crackdowns on marijuana producers sanctioned by state law, a move that was highly criticized by reformers. However, Attorney General Eric Holder recently took steps to relax federal prosecution of marijuana offenses and said the Justice Department won’t challenge new state laws on marijuana. Obama’s comments may reflect a real evolution in his approach to drug policy, and one that may have long-lasting effects.But there is, of course, also a political angle here. Whether he meant to or not, Obama was positioning himself and his party on the correct side of an issue that many Democrats feel could reap serious political rewards in the coming months and years.For example, in Florida, strategists on both sides of the gubernatorial race there believe a statewide referendum to legalize some marijuana use could tilt the contest to Democrats. Republicans have filed a legal challenge to keep it off the ballot, because they openly admit it may bring young people and minorities — traditional Democratic voters — to the polls in unusually high numbers. “It’s an issue that the Democrats can use to pump up the youth vote,” Alex Patton, a Republican political consultant told Bloomberg Businessweek. “The politics of it are dangerous for the GOP.”And Florida isn’t the only place marijuana will be on the ballot this year. At least four other states will put the issue before voters, and people outside those areas are no doubt following the evolving debate closely.Polls have shown recent spikes in support for legalized marijuana. Gallup found 58 percent of Americans favor legalization, and other surveys show majorities also share Obama’s view that the drug is not physically or mentally harmful. I have no idea if Obama’s remarks were a calculated move, but his party’s prospects this fall seem likely to improve as a result.Source: Washington Post (DC) Author:  George Zornick Published: January 20, 2014Copyright: 2014 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL:  -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #35 posted by Oleg the Tumor on January 25, 2014 at 06:41:06 PT:
The Paradigm Shifter Used to be an Automatic . . .
. . . but now its stuck on "Manual"."I have no idea if Obama’s remarks were a calculated move, but his party’s prospects this fall seem likely to improve as a result."Whenever you see a personal opinion followed by a comma followed by another personal opinion posing as fact, you are witnessing "spin".
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Comment #34 posted by FoM on January 23, 2014 at 05:00:43 PT
Paint With Light
That is how I feel about it all too!
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Comment #33 posted by Paint with light on January 23, 2014 at 00:55:45 PT
I meant to post this under this thread
This is paraphrased from "A call to Unity".I wanted to post this on MLK day but could not find the original quotation.We should acknowledge that hard work has brought us a mighty long way;and while we may not be where we want to be,or where we ought to be,we should be thankful we are not where we used to be.Source: like alcohol and eventually like tomatoes.
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Comment #32 posted by FoM on January 22, 2014 at 19:49:29 PT
You hit the nail on the head! Good job! Exactly!
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Comment #31 posted by BGreen on January 22, 2014 at 19:34:13 PT
Exactly, FoM and Observer
There is a choreographed dance going on here. This is part of the plan. We've seen this dance before. Of course it signals a change. The words speak for themselves. The "denial" is obviously not true but the prohibitionists still believe it.This is the same thing we saw with the Defense of Marriage Act, Don't Ask Don't Tell and gay marriage. Obama said the words, it was seemingly rolled back in the press, people accused Obama of recanting on his promises and then it happened.Obama knows that the only way to stop things is by first allowing the sheer stupidity of something to be exposed. He had to let the drug warriors ramp up their attack on cannabis in order to finally shut it down by exposing the inhumanity. The Democratic party can't survive by forcing things into place. Obama learned how to manipulate the purveyors of hate and he is doing that with cannabis, too.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #30 posted by FoM on January 22, 2014 at 17:00:20 PT
I never thought he meant more then he said in the article.
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Comment #29 posted by observer on January 22, 2014 at 15:11:03 PT
Official Denial of Policy Shift
WH: Obama's comments on marijuana don't signal policy shift, it is being officially denied. So it must be true! Never believe anything until it has been officially denied. -- Claud Cockburn
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Comment #28 posted by schmeff on January 22, 2014 at 12:30:34 PT
"ad-hominem" - an example:
Isn't Ernest Istook a funny name? My spell-checker thinks it's funny - in ways that Smith and Jones apparently are not. Perhaps the double 'o' spelling is evocative of other, similarly-spelled words like loon, tool, kook, boob, drool, goon, fool, doop, roob, mooron, idioot...It's almost as if, knowing nothing other than his name, one could guess he was a racist Republican redneck from Oklahoma.
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Comment #27 posted by schmeff on January 22, 2014 at 08:43:44 PT
Well Said, Universer.
When Istook predictably sank to the old canard about cannabis causing brain damage, it was clear that poor Ernest Istook leave of his senses, or more likely sense never graced poor Ernest. Many cannabis users will relate how their use of the kind herb improved their creativity, outlook and analytical thinking, and though Istook would probably say that type of information is merely anecdotal, surely someone with his head so deep in the sand could benefit from checking it out. (Of course I'm anthropomorphizing here - Istook probably doesn't use words like "anecdotal.")Why would the American public elect toker Obama president if he had brain damage? They'd had enough of that with his predecessor. Apparently, cannabis brain damage is very subtle. I'm not a huge fan of this President, and could call him a lot of names, but no credible person could call him brain-damaged. Not so sure about Istook.As Universer points out, the web is full of inarticulate, reactionary beings unable to effectively communicate their thoughts, who, when the going gets tough, will invariably resort to profanity or ad-hominem attacks when their intellectual capacity is exceeded. By contrast, the posters here at C-News are well-read, thoughtful, generally polite (myself excepted) and proficient at language and critical thinking. If that is an indication of brain damage, more of the drug warriors could use some.
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Comment #26 posted by Universer on January 22, 2014 at 00:48:25 PT
Fullness of Thought and Word
Non-sequitur alert:The following thought occurred to me while scanning the many comments beneath FoM's posting of HuffPo's piece examining Obama's recent remarks in the New Yorker. Relevantly, it just so happened I scanned said comments right after choking down Ernest Istook's drivel-laden response published by the unscrupulously right-wing Washington Times, and scanning the comments beneath that.The thought: Man, we is some smart people.Hold your nose, pop over to the WashTimes site, find and ignore Istook's wild-eyed fever-dreamed arm-waving but look at the comments underneath it.The Washington Times' audience is unflaggingly neocon, the type that demands not to be tread upon while insisting upon doing the treading ... but what is striking, immediately observable just by casual glance, is how simple the thoughts, how hackneyed the reactions, how unevolved the rationale, how mistake-prone the language (at times to the point of illegibility), how angry the tone, how truculent the invectives, how worthless all the commentary proferred by a crowd that is largely hostile to the vicissitudes of their status quo -- the status being that "dopers" are lazy, dangerous and morally repugnant enough to deserve the worst punishment because won't someone please think of the children once these insane "marihuana addicts" take to the streets to kill daughters before crashing through that inexorable gateway to smack and meth.(Of course, I here just stated the whole of their perspective more succinctly than most of them ever could, and even threw in the added bonus of spelling everything right.)Looking at our comments, by comparison, one sees complete sentences featuring collegiate words correctly implanted into theses presented in paragraph form, and where emotionality might get involved, empathy straight away follows. The contrast is blinding.Keep that stuph up. Spread that stuph around. Blow them stereotypes all to bits. That stuph matters.Little hurts our cause of negating their "stupid stoner" perception more than making a post that removes all doubt.Man, we potheads do be some smart people.(For example, I wager most of you don't even need to look up "truculent" or "vicissitudes.")((( Heh. I said 'doobie.' Heh. )))((( Okay, so I belie myself. Still: Smart works. ))) 
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Comment #25 posted by afterburner on January 21, 2014 at 21:54:43 PT
schmeff #3 Please Save the Children
Wonderful letter to the President. Similar arguments could, should and will be made about Prime Minister Harper's obsession with prohibition, punishment and mandatory minimums. The children of Canada who now get caught in youthful experimentation with cannabis face career destroying repercussions. PM Steven Harper give the children of Canada the truth. Stop relying on disproved studies and racist propaganda. Stop equating dangerous street drugs with non-toxic cannabis.Justin Trudeau has a lot riding on Colorado pot experiment: Tim Harper.
Thu, 09 Jan 2014 Jan 08, 2014.
Viewpoint: Ottawa should be watching Colorado pot law.
Viewpoint: Winnipeg Free Press (excerpt) Emery: Marijuana Legalization vs. the Conservative Party in Election 2015. By Marc Emery - Monday, January 13 2014
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Comment #24 posted by FoM on January 21, 2014 at 18:04:03 PT
That brought tears to my eyes. That is all that life is about!
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Comment #23 posted by The GCW on January 21, 2014 at 17:40:07 PT
Even better, One Day
Matisyahu, One DayI really like this, it just about makes Me cry tears of joy, watching it.
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Comment #22 posted by Oleg the Tumor on January 21, 2014 at 17:37:50 PT:
WOW! #12 Istook - "Fool of a Took" - Gandalf
What will these people do when lies and inflamatory hate speech ignites as it comes out of their mouths?Then, when they realize that this is all that they have ever done and will ever do . . .Burn On!
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Comment #21 posted by The GCW on January 21, 2014 at 17:23:17 PT
One Day
Matisyahu Day
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Comment #20 posted by Sam Adams on January 21, 2014 at 15:03:02 PT
more fake outrage
Bill Maher loves to make fun of the Republican fake outrage machine. >>> Mr. Obama might as well have rolled that money into a joint and smoked it on national television."This would be actually be a quite reasonable course of action for him at this point.  He's already drank a beer on national TV, and he's smoked cigarettes many times in front of the cameras. Showing up in Colorado to smoke a joint would be shrewd political move.
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Comment #19 posted by BGreen on January 21, 2014 at 13:20:49 PT
Read to the end for the credibility killer
Ernest Istook is a former Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Oklahoma.Three strikes = "nuff said.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #18 posted by schmeff on January 21, 2014 at 10:59:23 PT
"Taxpayers have spent billions of dollars warning about drugs, often about marijuana, but these efforts were dramatically undercut by the president’s comments. Mr. Obama might as well have rolled that money into a joint and smoked it on national television."Taxpayers have had billions of dollars extorted from them and flushed down the toilet by ignoids like Istook, with nothing to show for it. Almost any use for those billions would be preferable to the colossal fraud perpetrated by the Drug War.
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Comment #17 posted by HempWorld on January 21, 2014 at 10:35:17 PT
Dear President Obama,
It doesn't matter if pot is bad for you or not! What matters is that pot is used as a marker for colored people (among which yourself) and it is thus used in a Eugenics program thought up by our rulers and masters to keep people down!Please, let's all get this, thanks!Back By Popular Vote! Thank you God/Yahweh/Elohim!The American public has spoken: It's not about whether marijuana is good or bad for you, or how the majority or minority sees it. It's about whether prohibition of something, say alcohol or marijuana, or other, is good policy. And that, we can now say, is a horrible racial divide and a societal devastation. See alcohol prohibition from the 20's. But that one, at least, was not as damaging to minorities then, but it certainly was for society as a whole.Further study has made it clear to me that the prohibition of marijuana is a eugenic policy instrument. It is no coincidence that prohibition on this substance started after 1911, in-synch with the rise of the Eugenics movement. The nature of the drug-war was racist right from the start and by design. It has worked un-abated, as career-hungry jackals surrounding a herd of meek subjects, continuing to cull the American population and to keep people of color down and out, for over a 100 years now: "The superior species the eugenics movement sought was populated not merely by tall, strong, talented people. Eugenicists craved blond, blue-eyed Nordic types. This group alone, they believed, was fit to inherit the Earth. In the process, the movement intended to subtract emancipated Negroes, immigrant Asian laborers, Indians, Hispanics, East Europeans, Jews, dark- haired hill folk, poor people, the infirm and anyone classified outside the gentrified genetic lines drawn up by American raceologists." From:  Eugenics and the Nazis -- the California connection" To say that marijuana has been given a bad rap over the past few decades, is an understatement. If you’re like most Americans, you have been led to believe that marijuana is a dangerous and addictive drug that has destroyed the lives of millions of teens and adults. You have been encouraged to believe that marijuana causes lung cancer and is a “gateway” to harder drugs. The government has even tried to convince you that most people who use marijuana are losers who sit around on couches all day doing nothing. (these are all lies, by the way)Frequently it is something responsible adults choose to do specifically instead of alcohol. And for good reason! Marijuana is, statistically speaking, safer then water! Alcohol is toxic, addictive, harmful to the body, it is more likely to result in injuries, more likely to lead to interpersonal violence than marijuana and alcohol kills, marijuana does not. Let me state this differently; marijuana is not toxic! Marijuana actually has benefits and medicinal properties, it even fights cancer! It is simply something that some responsible adults choose to do because it is better for them without being a nuisance to others. Why would this be a bad thing?Thus, the time has come that we need to regulate/legalize to make it less available to our kids (just like cigarettes and alcohol). And we certainly do not want our kids to grow up, starting as little marijuana dealers, as is the case under the current laws, and this is something that has been going on in US society for decades...In the end, when marijuana is available at your local liquor store, it will be off the streets and into a regulated sales system with checks and balances. Marijuana will lose its appeal and its use will decrease, as it did wherever else it was decriminalized and regulated in the world. (The Netherlands, Portugal, Colorado and Washington states)
Legalize it, end race purification!
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Comment #16 posted by schmeff on January 21, 2014 at 09:06:27 PT
Calling Your Boss a Liar: Dumb Move #1
Of course, intellect has never been in the driver's seat of the Drug War.I've been thinking that as more and more people get educated about the crimes of the Drug Warriors, not only will cannabis be freed, but talk will come about some sort of amnesty for the victims of prohibition. Indeed, the discussion has already begun.As one might expect, this has caused some unease among the Dungeon-masters and Torturers of the American Gulag. This could be problematical. Let's face it, nobody wants to deal with a bunch of pissed-off psychopaths. As well, it could jeopardize our reputation as the most incarcerated 'free' people on earth. So I propose that the drug war victims be released and replaced with the drug war victimizers. Even Steven.I'll start the ball rolling with a partial'll undoubtedly come up with other eligible candidates. Names have been changed to protect the innocent. As if.Bully Bill Bennett, Bury McHalf-Free, Assa Huffenpuff, Michelle Lyin'heart, Andrea Barfwell, Calvenal Fey, abNorma Vocal... None of these sociopaths deserve any compassion or consideration for the death and destruction they've promoted. Even so, I'd happily put roses on their graves, if they could be located. I'm sure none of the above would opt for a 'head' stone.
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Comment #15 posted by runruff on January 21, 2014 at 07:44:25 PT
As a fly on the wall at ONCDP...
I hear yammering, screeching, wailing and gnashing of teeth! Hands are frantically wringing while someone in the background is calling BO every name in the book.For some reason the name "Waterloo" comes to mind.Wish you all could have been there!signed;Wally Fly
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Comment #14 posted by kaptinemo on January 21, 2014 at 07:42:43 PT:
The madness intensifies
Folks, do you realize what this means?Obama must now defend his Administration by denouncing the discredited studies the prohibs are always trying to pass off as being valid in an attempt to snooker the public which is usually too busy to fact-check. In doing so, the entire rotten edifice of cannabis prohibition may about to explode into a million pieces. For truths which have long been denied or ignored by previous Administrations must now be used by the current one to defend itself.And since cannabis prohibition is partly rationalized on the basis of decades-old racist pseudoscience, this will air out publicly that racist pseudoscience, which will in turn reveal the true, racially bigoted history of cannabis prohibition, in all of its' syphilitic, pustulent glory.In other words, in order to defend itself from attack, the White House must now produce the long-suppressed scientific truth to counter prohib lies. The Administration must now take up the banner of reform and defend it against prohibitionism.This feels like something right out of a Kafka novel.
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on January 21, 2014 at 06:32:09 PT
Just a Note
I tried to post this article on CNews but the coding was messed up so I had to post it in a comment.
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on January 21, 2014 at 06:30:55 PT
Obama is Lying About The Dangers of Marijuana
By Ernest IstookJanuary 21, 2014Washington, D.C. -- President Obama’s latest claims about marijuana are contradicted by research and official positions of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which is part of the White House. And Mr. Obama’s words have anti-drug leaders worried about negative repercussions among youth.Mr. Obama claimed to The New Yorker magazine that marijuana is no worse than cigarettes or alcohol and he promoted state efforts by Colorado and Washington to legalize marijuana, which remains illegal under federal law. The National Drug Control Policy’s official stance, posted on the Website, says the opposite of Mr. Obama on all counts.For example, as documented in agency reports, marijuana smoke has significantly more carcinogens than tobacco smoke.And as reported by the government’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, adolescent use of marijuana does something that alcohol does not; it causes permanent brain damage, including lowering of IQ.Taxpayers have spent billions of dollars warning about drugs, often about marijuana, but these efforts were dramatically undercut by the president’s comments. Mr. Obama might as well have rolled that money into a joint and smoked it on national television.URL:
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Comment #11 posted by schmeff on January 20, 2014 at 14:22:33 PT
Did I say Drug Explainment Academy? One of the (apparently rare) symptoms I'm experiencing with the flu is this unexplainable tendency to channel bush the Shrub.My apologiness. You know what I was saying to try.
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Comment #10 posted by kaptinemo on January 20, 2014 at 13:46:53 PT:
Wicked, schmefff, wicked!
As in you nailed them good. Right through the toes of their shoes into the floor. Let's see them squirm around in-place when they realize their present position via this move makes them exceptionally vulnerable.The prohibs have always (cynically) used children as budgetary human shields; that's how they get the 'disinterested' to turn off their higher faculties and think with their glands, going from thinking Human being to bloody-minded cavemen ("Ugh! Must save kiddies, save kiddies!") with one throw of the switch. You've turned that around on them, and in a way I guaran-effing-tee you will be read by those who need to.No comments there yet, but I'm ready. 
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on January 20, 2014 at 13:40:13 PT
It has been all positive. It's like it's about time.
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on January 20, 2014 at 13:38:23 PT
I didn't know. That's wonderful news. It's positive seeming?
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on January 20, 2014 at 13:35:32 PT
Two threads with one comment.
I was thinking Kaptinemo's red pill, blue pill comment was in this thread, too.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on January 20, 2014 at 13:20:38 PT
It has been on almost every hour today on MSNBC and was mentioned last night on NBC Nightly News. Marijuana reform must stay on TV and it will move very fast.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on January 20, 2014 at 13:18:20 PT
I am very happy about this too. One more major hurdle is over. Little by little we keep moving forward. 
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on January 20, 2014 at 13:13:49 PT
This made my heart beat fast when I saw it.
The title and who published it.I'm smiling, too, FoM!Outstanding letter, schmeff."Drug Explainment Academy" That's a good one!Still brilliant, Kaptinemo. Still brilliant.
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Comment #3 posted by schmeff on January 20, 2014 at 12:41:47 PT
Please Save the Children!
Dear Mr. President,My daughter came up to me today and said, "Dad, the President says that pot is no more harmful than alcohol.""You know what I taught you about believing what a politician says," I replied, "But in this case, based on what I've learned in life, I believe he's telling the truth.""So does that mean that the other Schedule I Controlled Substances like heroin and cocaine are also less harmful than alcohol?" she asked. (You'll have to excuse my daughter, Mr. President - she reads a lot and has a logical and curious mind.)Respectfully sir, is there anything the power of your office could do to prevent our impressionable youth from making logical but dangerous conclusions based on the evidence they've been given? I'm no rocket scientist, and I know you're not either, but you and I grew up in the '70s so I'm taking a wild guess here and betting that we both realize heroin and cocaine have a potential for deadly overdose that marijuana does not.Does it make any sense for the people who work for you to give different and conflicting marijuana information to our precious children, the promise of our great nation's future? I refer specifically to the confused folks at the Drug Explainment Academy, who continue to promote the fiction that cannabis, cocaine and heroin are all pretty much the same in terms of potential harm. Surely the boss of any organization would realize the moral implications of having their employees promote dangerously inaccurate information for the consumption of our children, who lack the maturity and analytical skills to know better.Please Mr. President, direct your people at the DEA to de-schedule marijuana and put an end to deadly misinformation. Do it for the children.Sincerely,schmeff
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on January 20, 2014 at 09:25:21 PT
interesting the way the media completely ignores the factual record on Obama.  No mention of ramping up the military raids on medical MJ providers, no mention of cruel, long jail sentences for disabled med. MJ activists. It seems that rhetoric has departed from reality. 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on January 20, 2014 at 07:48:02 PT
I Can't Help But Smile
Onward we go!
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