Obama Says MJ Reform is Not on Agenda for 2016
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Obama Says MJ Reform is Not on Agenda for 2016
Posted by CN Staff on January 29, 2016 at 17:36:59 PT
By Christopher Ingraham 
Source: Washington Post
Washington, D.C. -- Marijuana advocates hoping for a substantial shift in federal marijuana policy in the last year of the Obama administration are likely to be disappointed.At a briefing Friday, White House press secretary John Earnest said any progress on marijuana reform would need to come through Congress. President Obama had signaled his position a day earlier at the House Democratic retreat in Baltimore, saying marijuana reform is not on his list of end-of-term priorities, according to Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.).
Cohen said he asked the president whether he wanted to "reschedule" marijuana. The federal government considers marijuana a Schedule 1 controlled substance, "the most dangerous class of drugs with a high potential for abuse and potentially severe psychological and/or physical dependence." Many lawmakers want to see it moved to Schedule 2, which acknowledges the plant's medical potential. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders wants to remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances altogether.But Obama's answer on the rescheduling was "disappointing," Cohen said in an interview. "On marijuana, he gave the same answer as when I asked him seven years ago: 'If you get me a bill, and get it on my desk, I'll probably sign it,' " Cohen said (emphasis his).At the briefing, Earnest clarified further: "There are some in the Democratic Party who have urged the president to take this kind of action. The president's response was, 'If you feel so strongly about it, and you believe there is so much public support for what it is that you're advocating, then why don't you pass legislation about it and we'll see what happens.' "Obama's approach to the issue has long frustrated activists. "This isn't the first time President Obama has unnecessarily tried to pass the buck on marijuana rescheduling to Congress," Tom Angell of the pro-marijuana group Marijuana Majority said in an email. "It's unacceptable and frankly embarrassing for a president who has so nonchalantly acknowledged his own marijuana use to allow the federal government to continue classifying cannabis in such an inappropriate category."There is an administrative process in place for the Drug Enforcement Agency to reschedule or deschedule a drug. But as the Brookings Institution has noted, the DEA has historically not been eager to take action on this front. "Four petitions that have been initiated to reschedule marijuana or remove it from the schedules entirely have been denied or stalled by DEA with disposition times ranging from five to more than 20 years," its report found.The DEA is reviewing another petition to reschedule pot, but given the history, most observers are skeptical that anything will change this time around."I don't think they're doing anything," Cohen said. "They've slow-walked it for all these years." He'd like to see the White House be more vocal about the process. "The president could just tell them to get it done," he said.The latest public opinion polls show broad support not just for marijuana reform, but also outright legalization: Fifty-eight percent of Americans want to see marijuana use fully legalized, according to the latest Gallup polling on the issue. And a 2015 CBS news poll found that 84 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana for medical use.Moving marijuana to Schedule 2 of the Controlled Substances Act is a more modest step than full legalization or legalization for medical purposes. It would simply remove some of the barriers to research on uses of marijuana, barriers that the Brookings Institution recently said were "stifling" medical research.Among people who study the issue, there is near universal agreement that marijuana doesn't belong in the same category of substances as heroin, as even the DEA has finally acknowledged. The consensus among researchers is that it's a lot less dangerous than alcohol, too.A federal classification that stands in such stark opposition to expert consensus "breeds contempt for the government," Cohen said. But if this week's remarks are any indication, addressing that contempt is not high on the White House priority list for 2016.Christopher Ingraham writes about politics, drug policy and all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center.Source: Washington Post (DC)Author:    Christopher Ingraham Published: January 29, 2016Copyright: 2016 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL:  -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on February 09, 2016 at 23:13:19 PT
I agree that President Obama is likely balking at having the end of cannabis prohibition be part of his legacy as our first black president. In fact, I think he should be concerned, not about any more jokes at his expense, but about missing this opportunity to protect people from any more harm from the terrible injustice of the prohibition of cannabis.
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Comment #13 posted by gloovins on February 08, 2016 at 11:56:11 PT
Hasn't done shite....
Obama epitomizes apathy when it comes to cannabis reform. He physically could not care less about our cause or the people who rot in prison because of it. I have noticed over the years, he never likes to talk about cannabis the issue. He always makes the conversation short and curt. Everytime. It is of my opinion that he knows he is dishonest and a hypocrite -- for he smoked and I am sure enjoyed cannabis as a youth but now views that use as a "crutch" or something unproductive. Oh he can drink a beer, hell, even brew it in the fking White House and give it away (drug dealing,no?) but oh no, for those adults who want to enjoy cannabis instead -- no no no. Oh ok, a state legalizes it? Oh yeah, we'll look the other way, sometimes. BUT, gotta keep that Schedule 1 hammer in place just in case. Obama = lame. 
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Comment #12 posted by jetblackchemist on February 06, 2016 at 20:46:48 PT
GCW; no worries... we are all humanity; and one of the best things we can do when we come across something usually used to divide us?.. Is well; try on their shoes... as seeing as many different perspectives as possible, allows for a more realistic 3D view of the world... lots of stuff looks good on the paper even the fake shadows appearing as 3 dimensional that trick us with depth without really having any. Cheers er I mean... what is the 4:20 equivalent anyway? Oh right puff puff pass; oh look interception by Obama...GCW going for the tackle, Obama breaks loose Touch down! and everyone had fun and no one got hurt; that's the point of life isn't it? Too bad we have millions of casualties on the way to knowing better... until next time my friend
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Comment #11 posted by The GCW on February 06, 2016 at 00:39:09 PT
I like Your insight on how Obama may be approaching the cannabis issue from a first president of color perspective.Thanks
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Comment #10 posted by jetblackchemist on February 05, 2016 at 20:22:55 PT
4:20 is a fine time...
Alcohol and tobacco are not scheduled at all... if we recall Mr. Obama's answer of cannabis being less harmful than alcohol when the DEA refused to state it didn't fit the schedule with old scare rhetoric... so we kinda know where he stands on scheduling... to not be on the schedule list at all if we really want to regulate it like alcohol and tobacco.I understand that rescheduling would allow x, y, and z BUUUT why aim so low... full legalization right? Regulated like alcohol and tobacco IS the gold standard initiative for states to tax... states right to legalize has the green light from his administration doesn't? So people need to get out educate and petition their local and state electorate for changes... he obviously has the hands off approach full in favor of legalization but he doesn't want to be "that guy" as he has already slandered and mocked by political pundit bigots his whole term, I don't think he wants to link the first president of color to legalizing a substance when the ignorant want to say people of color are over all drug addicts and criminals etc. if SHTF for some reason over legalization he simply doesn't want to extend more damage to people of color than has already been dealt in this country by what many critics call too much executive over reach with the pen as is... but he certainly hasn't stood in the way if people take action through the proper channels. If removed from the schedule completely is the real win to go for isn't it? Scheduling leaves it under tons of bureaucracy and over sight... Of course; as a medicine and something to ingest consumers want it to be safe, so the FDA involved seems to make some sense... but no need to even be on the schedule for that especially one that basically says; even looking at it will kill you. The legal cannabis industry itself has been proud to make sure it is grown and sold at a gold standard from the pride they take in the industry and people they serve... imported black market doesn't care if it was soaked in rat poison or anything else; as sheer greed has always been their motivation when it comes to drugs, not health.There's my two cents; 4:20 is right on time no need to mess with re-schedules at the federal complicating states rights just drop it off the schedule and let states manufacture, sell, and regulate as their citizens want it to be. 
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Comment #9 posted by Oleg the Tumor on February 04, 2016 at 13:07:25 PT
Thus Spake the Oxymoron - Let them eat cake!
"At the briefing, Earnest clarified further: "There are some in the Democratic Party who have urged the president to take this kind of action. The president's response was, 'If you feel so strongly about it, and you believe there is so much public support for what it is that you're advocating, then why don't you pass legislation about it and we'll see what happens.' "For those of us with epilepsy, brain tumors, cancer, MS, PTSD and many other conditions that carry a second mortgage, this bon mot is less than helpful.For a guy who cannot get anything done without an executive order to say "let Congress do it" is hypocritical, obstructionist, and plain wrong.I thought that there might be a chance that we'd get a pardon at the last moment, but this statement means that Obama has permanently caved in to his investors, instead of We the People.In my opinion, he is still the double-stuffed Oreo we elected and re-elected seeking Hope and Change.Eight years later we have neither.I have outlived the expectations for my condition and am on borrowed time.I can come to terms with dying. But dying as a federal criminal is another thing. Mr. President, you are wrong! 2016 MUST BE THE YEAR!
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Comment #8 posted by The GCW on February 03, 2016 at 17:07:20 PT
Obama has been helpful but We are not waiting.
"Americans are expecting President Obama to end cannabis prohibition on the federal level, one way or another, before the end of his term. What will cannabis prohibitionists do then?"US CO: PUB LTE: Next Step
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Comment #7 posted by runruff on January 31, 2016 at 10:58:43 PT
Joe Beerbreath 
He is 40, work's at the local 7-11, for minimum wage. Sells dime bags on th side. He has two daughters by two different women, does not live with either. In 40 years Joe has never left his town. Never left for anyreason, so he says.
"So, do you vote," I asked him? 
He'll yeah, he snapped! "Voting is the only thing keeps us from being taken over by communist"!"OK, so who are you voting for, for president in 2016"?He looked thoughtful for a minute, now who's running"?
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Comment #6 posted by Sam Adams on January 31, 2016 at 09:29:34 PT
we're ruled by these big bureaucracies that serve the elite, just like the Soviet Union and 1984, don't be distracted by the presidential dog-and-pony show
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Comment #5 posted by Paint with light on January 30, 2016 at 15:54:45 PT
I think we are in a lot better shape as a country because of Obama.Just think where we could be if he had dealt with a more reasonable legislative branch.I just wonder what his rationale is for the position he has taken in regard to cannabis.Is it harm/health fears, economic fears, societal fears, or what.We need, at least, rescheduling.There is still time.It is still up to those of us out here in the land of reality to keep chipping away at the wall. One brick/state at a time.Eventually more legal than alcohol.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on January 30, 2016 at 04:45:46 PT
I will miss him when he is not our President. I remember I believed he would take us far and he has and I am grateful. I do worry how it will go under a new President. Hillary is in trouble and the Republican ads will rake her over the coals. If Bernie wins and can beat Trump I would be so happy. Without Obama as President we wouldn't have come as far as we have.
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on January 29, 2016 at 23:30:46 PT
Obama deserves some credit.
Some. Could He do more? Yes.Could He have done less? Yes.I still believe He may do something.The movement is further along in part because of His stance.& keep in mind, WE ARE NOT WAITING ON GOVERNMENT.-0-The federal government considers cannabis a Schedule 1 controlled substance, "the most dangerous class of drugs...But I don't believe Obama considers cannabis "the most dangerous class of drugs...Pressure is increasing, not decreasing.
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Comment #2 posted by Paint with light on January 29, 2016 at 21:46:35 PT
Disappointing but consistant
Obama is still relying on the trickle up theory.Legalization is inevitable.His inaction will cost more innocent people a lot of money to continue to rent their freedom...........if they have the resources.At least he has not stood in the way of the changes that have taken place.I may be wrong but I believe people of color will save us from the tRUMP.Almost legal.........almost legal.......everywhere.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on January 29, 2016 at 17:39:51 PT
Sad To Read
I was hoping that it would be all done by now but now we will have to get Trump to get on board since I really think he is going to win. I love Bernie though. I would never vote for a Republican but if that is what we get we have to get answers.
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