Skip to comments.Obama Cracks Down On Medical Marijuana [even in states where it's legal]
Posted on 03/14/2012 5:16:56 PM PDT by grundle
In many ways, things have been looking up for supporters of medical marijuana. Opinion polls now suggest that the American public is swinging behind the idea and it's already legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia. But the Obama administration has been taking a very different view lately.
Marijuana has been cropping up all over the country, becoming legal for medical use in places like Montana and Colorado, where the drug's so available that it became a target on Saturday Night Live this year.
On that show's "Weekend Update," Seth Meyers drew laughs when he said, "A doctor in Colorado has converted two trailers into mobile doctors' offices to help dispense medical marijuana to patients in rural areas. Oh wait, you know, I'm sorry I read that wrong. Some guy in Colorado is selling weed out of a trailer. There you go."
But John Walters, director of the Office of Drug Control Policy during the Bush administration, told NPR the widespread use of marijuana is no laughing matter.
"It's a dangerous addictive substance and people are playing games with this and pretending because they think it's cool sometimes to not take it seriously," Walters said.
But you know who is taking it seriously these days? The Obama administration, which recently lashed out against the drug in three distinct ways.
First, on Monday, the White House released its National Drug Control Strategy, reporting that use of marijuana is the highest it's been in eight years. The policy document went out of its way to oppose marijuana legalization, arguing the drug is addictive and unsafe.
Second, late last week, the Drug Enforcement Administration concluded that marijuana has no accepted medical use. So the DEA rejected a years-long effort to reclassify marijuana from a heavily restricted drug like heroin under the Controlled Substances Act to one that can be used more widely.
Finally, the Justice Department has taken a tough line on marijuana too. Federal prosecutors say they won't go after sick people. But late last month, they warned that big medical marijuana shops aren't exempt from federal prosecution if they distribute the drug, even in states where medical marijuana is legal.
That disappoints Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which argues for rethinking the approach to drugs.
"Unfortunately what the Obama administration seems to be doing is trying to scare precisely those state and local authorities who want to design sensible regulations to make sure all of this is properly under control," Nadelmann said. "You know a lot of this I think is about the Justice Department sort of firing a shot against the bow, and saying don't go too far."
Remember that Saturday Night Live joke?
Well, newspapers in the state report that Colorado now has more than 800 medical marijuana dispensaries and more than 1,000 growers who have registered with state authorities. Medical marijuana is legal there. Lawmakers even developed a database to keep track of the businesses that grow and sell the drug.
But distributing and selling marijuana remain crimes under federal law. And U.S. prosecutors say they won't give growers and sellers a get-out-of-jail-free card.
In a June 30 memo, Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole wrote that over the past year, several states have considered legislation to "authorize multiple large scale, privately-operated industrial marijuana cultivation centers. ... Those who engage in transactions involving the proceeds of such activity may also be in violation of federal money laundering statutes and other federal financial laws."
That's fine with John Walters, who worked on the issue for President Bush.
"Many of these markets are making millions of dollars, they're not nonprofits as they've been declared in other places," Walters said. "They're getting the marijuana from some of the same criminal mafias in Mexico that are killing people daily."
That includes groups of criminals that ship tons of marijuana into the U.S., through secret tunnels like one authorities found last winter near San Diego. The passageway was almost a half-mile long, tricked out with electricity and special ventilation systems.
No one in the U.S. is surprised prosecutors are cracking down on those big networks. But Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance said he wonders about all the rest.
"The question's going to be what happens with the hundreds, and it may now even be in the thousands, of dispensaries that are not operating at that large scale," Nadelmann said.
In the past few months, the DEA has conducted smaller raids of medical marijuana shops in Seattle, West Hollywood and Helena, Montana, all places where the drug is now legal for patients.
hunh. hypocrite alert. obama’s got a pot smoker’s mug if I’ve ever seen one.
Must be an election year and he’s low in the polls.
This isn’t going to win him any votes, I don’t understand it. There must be some political reason for it.
This isn’t going to win him any votes, I don’t understand it. There must be some political reason for it.
So, who do we believe, the DEA or the HHS who has held a US patent on the use of medical marijuana since 2003?
He’s doing it for donations from drug dealers for protecting their profits.
Crony capitalism lives.
It makes him look centric which is what he needs.
There's a lot of money in pot, both to the dealers and to the law-enforcement and penal bureaucracies that live off busting pot smokers. And if it's made legal and anybody can grow pot in their back yards, lots of people's income goes away.
Very powerful drug bosses in Mexico are going to be subject to arrest without Obama. To keep the drugs flowing into the US from Mexico, he has to have the power to :
1) control the drug lords
2) control the price
He shuttled guns to Mexico via Fast and Furious. What makes you think he stopped when he got caught?
LOL Most of his support here in Oregon will boycott the election over this.
...the authority to enact laws necessary and proper for the regulation of interstate commerce is not limited to laws governing intrastate activities that substantially affect interstate commerce. Where necessary to make a regulation of interstate commerce effective, Congress may regulate even those intrastate activities that do not themselves substantially affect interstate commerce.
Scalia concurring in Raich
I will give a damn about that when they find the medicinal purpose for whiskey.
The cultivation and use of a common plant ought to be beneath the dignity of the state to address or acknowledge.
At some point in time, more important matters will demand attention. Don’t hold your breath, however.
“Congress may regulate even those intrastate activities that do not themselves substantially affect interstate commerce.”
Even Scalia has gone over to the dark side.
Will this cost Omama the stoner vote?
Ever watch the old TV show “The Untouchables” ?
Its really weird what the premise is.
They work to capture Beer Drinkers.
Follow the money.
Big Pharma. We have to keep taking their toxic drugs that cost a fortune and create other medical problems.
My daughter is on medical marijuana. She was in med school and had to drop out due to daily, debilitating migraines. She tried every medicine and combo thereof for 3 years with no relief.
Finally she got medical marijuana. It works. Can’t have that.
The only reason this Administration would oppose it would be to position a drug cartel so they have more control over the entire distribution market.
Obama’s a cokehead.
There are any number of medicinal purposes for Whiskey - it is commonly refeered to as the “sovereign specific”, the aid for what ails you.
This is not a joke - alchohol is used in medicine for all kinds of things.
From cough syrup to antiseptics, to anesthesia, ...
This from a dope smokin/Coke snortin TOTUS? I’ll bet he has a stash of both : )
Thankyou for that kind reply.
She was excelling, recognized by her profs and doors opened for her because of it. She would have been one of the best in Neurology. She worked so hard to get there and was crushed at having to leave school. I lovingly call her “my pothead daughter.” I am thankful that she has finally found relief. Those who mock have no idea what they’re talking about. (Or they are perhaps heavily invested in Big Pharma stocks.) It was a godsend.
>>>This isnt going to win him any votes, I dont understand it. There must be some political reason for it.<<<
Yes, there is a political reason for it.
It helps the Obama administration to have the people’s emotions and thoughts focused on minor issues that inflame the passions - contraceptives, racial division, smoking weed. While the masses are arguing with each other and divided over relatively small matters, the party can focus on consolidating power and control.
The people who want to vote for Obama probably already will, and those who smoke weed already don’t care about the drug laws. In fact, keeping weed legal assists the Democratic party project of tearing down the country by making rule of law seem petty and pathetic.
Back in my youth I was exposed to a lot of Marxist and Leninist philosophy in my political science classes. Misdirection and agitation propaganda are great tools for the control of the masses. In the meantime, Obama has explicitly made recess appointments when the Senate was in session, had his subordinates tell Congress that they’ll qualify decisions of war based on international approval, ruled without a budget for more than four years... and that’s just off the top of my head. Expect more to come.
God help us.
Meant to write “keeping weed illegal.”
Thirty years ago that was exactly what I believed. If "matters" get any more important no one is going to care what is legal or illegal. Not pot not murder not anything.
Big Pharma is not the problem. Big Gov, and its horde of bureaucrats who would be out of work, are the problem. For example, the main opposition to California's effort to legalize marijuana came from police organizations. As far as I can tell, Big Pharma stayed out of it. See URL below.
Perhaps but he’s got the eyes of a stoner.
And the only reason that criminals are the source of marijuana is that lying filth like John Walters have fought mightily to keep marijuana illegal.
During prohibition, doctors could, and did, prescribe ethyl alcohol for their patients.
But, like prohibition, the WosD is really about expanding the size and scope of the government than about the health and well-being of the citizenry.
And of course, if we simply legalize pot, all pot-related crime will go away?
No, it won’t.
People deal in pot (and all drugs) illegally not because pot is illegal, but because those people are first-and-foremost criminals. They choose crime because of the high-risk:high-profit ratio.
If you legalize pot, guess what. They will still deal pot illegally for the profit. Why? Because they are criminals.
Legalizing drugs will not eliminate drug-related crime. There will always be a black market for cheaper drugs or those that are still illegal.
If you legalize pot, guess what. They will still deal pot illegally for the profit.
Like the mob still deals alcohol illegally? LOL!
Yeah, there is no criminal sales of alcohol in the US.