The Required White House Response on Marijuana
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The Required White House Response on Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on July 29, 2014 at 17:14:42 PT
By David Firestone 
Source: New York Times 
Washington, D.C. -- When the White House issued a statement last night saying that marijuana should remain illegal — responding to our pro-legalization editorial series — officials there weren’t just expressing an opinion. They were following the law. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy is required by statute to oppose all efforts to legalize any banned drug.It’s one of the most anti-scientific, know-nothing provisions in any federal law, but it remains an active imposition on every White House. The “drug czar,” as the director of the drug control policy office is informally known, must “take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance” that’s listed on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and has no “approved” medical use.
Marijuana fits that description, as do heroin and LSD. But unlike those far more dangerous drugs, marijuana has medical benefits that are widely known and are now officially recognized in 35 states. The drug czar, though, isn’t allowed to recognize them, and whenever any member of Congress tries to change that, the White House office is required to stand up and block the effort. It cannot allow any federal study that might demonstrate the rapidly changing medical consensus on marijuana’s benefits and its relative lack of harm compared to alcohol and tobacco.“It’s a complete Catch-22,” said Representative Steve Cohen, Democrat of Tennessee, who has introduced legislation to change the requirement. “They should be giving Congress and the American people the benefit of the latest research, and yet by statute, they’re prohibited from doing so. They have no choice but to say they’re against it. Joseph Heller should be working there.”This situation is not altogether surprising, though, since Congress has been locked into a maximalist position on drug control for decades. Extreme law-and-order platforms have been Republican staples since at least Richard Nixon’s day, and Democrats have usually been too cowed to object. Thus we have hysterical language like this paragraph from the 1988 law creating the White House drug office, signed into law by Ronald Reagan:“The Congress finds that legalization of illegal drugs, on the Federal or State level, is an unconscionable surrender in a war in which, for the future of our country and the lives of our children, there can be no substitute for total victory.”That law was passed by the Senate on an 87-to-3 vote, and by the House on a 375-to-30 vote.Earlier this year, Mr. Cohen introduced a far more rational alternative, the “Unmuzzle the Drug Czar Act,” which would repeal the provision (passed in 1998) requiring the opposition to legalization, and would allow proper scientific studies.“This president has been so good on the science of climate change, but he’s not allowed to look at the science of drug policy,” Mr. Cohen said. “Why wouldn’t a politician be reluctant to put their head out on a limb on marijuana policy?”The chance of his bill making it out of a committee controlled by House Republicans is virtually nil.Source: New York Times (NY)Author: David Firestone Published: July 29, 2014Copyright: 2014 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite:   -- Cannabis  Archives 
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Comment #2 posted by Oleg the Tumor on July 30, 2014 at 11:51:57 PT
Betrayed again? No, really?
Ladies and gentlemen consider Barack Obama, the current Lame-Duck President of the United States (LDPOTUS).This is a guy who has smoked some fine Hawaiian weed in his time, and yeah, I'm a little jealous and I don't mind admitting it.For all the people whose lives have been destroyed because of an arrest for possession of a plant, one might think, might hope, might wonder if, as a black man also, would he seek to correct this great wrong when he had the chance?"Inappropriate" he said when his chance came. Nixon would have agreed wholeheartedly.Now, reduced to quacking his way through the last two years of his term with Decrees That Sound A Lot like a Duck, those of us who find cannabis to be of great use dealing with long-standing medical problems see his logic as questionable at best, and as a betrayal at worst.He thinks he has nothing left to prove, nothing more to lose.I suspect he is only half correct.
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on July 29, 2014 at 19:22:08 PT
White house reponse
When you realize that the "President" is just a hired PR agent for the nation's wealthiest families you begin to understand why their "response" sucks!
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