Next President Might Be Gentler on Pot Clubs

  Next President Might Be Gentler on Pot Clubs

Posted by CN Staff on May 11, 2008 at 20:27:57 PT
By Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer 
Source: San Francisco Chronicle 

USA -- Ever since California voters became the first in the nation to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, the state has faced unyielding opposition from the federal government, which insists it has the power to prohibit a drug it considers useless and dangerous.That could all change with the next presidential election.
As the candidates prepare for a May 20 primary in Oregon, one of 12 states with a California-style law, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois has become an increasingly firm advocate of ending federal intervention and letting states make their own rules when it comes to medical marijuana.His Democratic rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, is less explicit, recently softening a pledge she made early in the campaign to halt federal raids in states with medical marijuana laws. But she has expressed none of the hostility that marked the response of her husband's administration to California's initiative, Proposition 215.Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the Republican nominee-in-waiting, has gone back and forth on the issue - promising a medical marijuana patient at one campaign stop that seriously ill patients would never face arrest under a McCain administration, but ultimately endorsing the Bush administration's policy of federal raids and prosecutions.Political battles over exempting medical patients from marijuana laws have been fought mostly in statehouses and at ballot boxes since 1996, when California voters repealed state criminal penalties for those who used the drug with their doctor's approval. But the federal government has played an important role in limiting the scope of those state laws, and their effectiveness over the next four years may be determined by the next president.President Bill Clinton's administration opposed the California law from the start and won a court case allowing it to shut nonprofit organizations that supplied medical marijuana to members. Clinton's Justice Department also tried to punish California doctors who recommended marijuana to their patients by revoking their authority to prescribe any drugs, but federal courts backed the doctors.The Bush administration has gone further, raiding medical marijuana growers and clinics, prosecuting suppliers under federal drug laws after winning a U.S. Supreme Court case, and pressuring commercial property owners to evict marijuana dispensaries by threatening legal action. The administration has also blocked a University of Massachusetts researcher's attempt to grow marijuana for studies of its medical properties.Since 2001, federal prosecutors have won convictions in at least 28 California drug cases where defendants claimed they were supplying or using medical marijuana, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Prosecutors have filed charges in 22 more cases, and authorities have raided 10 growers or dispensaries without filing charges, the group says.The presidential candidates haven't discussed the issue in speeches or debates, but medical marijuana advocates regularly questioned them in Iowa and New Hampshire. The most sweeping changes were proposed by second-tier candidates - Democrats Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich and Chris Dodd and Republican Ron Paul called for repealing federal criminal penalties for marijuana - but of the remaining contenders, Obama has been the friendliest to advocates of medical marijuana.At a November appearance in Audubon, Iowa, Obama recalled that his mother had died of cancer and said he saw no difference between doctor-prescribed morphine and marijuana as pain relievers. He said he would be open to allowing medical use of marijuana, if scientists and doctors concluded it was effective, but only under "strict guidelines," because he was "concerned about folks just kind of growing their own and saying it's for medicinal purposes."Obama went a step further in an interview in March with the Mail Tribune newspaper in Medford, Ore. While still expressing qualms about patients growing their own supply or getting it from "mom-and-pop stores," he said it is "entirely appropriate" for a state to legalize the medical use of marijuana, "with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors."In response to recent questions from The Chronicle about medical marijuana, Obama's campaign - the only one of the three contenders to reply - endorsed a hands-off federal policy. Snipped   Complete Article: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)Author: Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff WriterPublished: Sunday, May 11, 2008Copyright: 2008 San Francisco Chronicle Contact: letters sfchronicle.comWebsite: CannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives 

Home    Comment    Email    Register    Recent Comments    Help

Comment #12 posted by FoM on May 14, 2008 at 13:17:20 PT
I thought this was interesting about the FDA.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #11 posted by FoM on May 14, 2008 at 10:17:29 PT
I agree with you. I don't think Obama is saying anything but what he feels. In this day and age what they say and what they do can come back to bite them very easily if they change their minds. I know that Senator Obama respects Governor Richardson particularly after the flack he took for endorsing Obama. He fought for New Mexico's Medical Marijuana Bill. That's a good close connection to an idea. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by Hope on May 14, 2008 at 10:07:58 PT
I hope I'm right.
My suspicion is that Obama isn't lying... like Bush was about this.Although... with their track record recently... I have no confidence in the FDA at all. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by FoM on May 14, 2008 at 09:40:07 PT
Obama To Stop Raids on Marijuana Clinics
By John TierneyMay 14, 2008USA -- During the current Bush administration as well as in the Clinton administration, federal officials opposed the efforts of doctors and clinics to prescribe marijuana for medical purposes in states where it had been legalized. But that policy will change if Barack Obama is elected, an Obama spokesman told the San Francisco Chronicle, making the clearest statement by any major presidential candidate on the subject.As I noted last month, neither Hillary Clinton and John McCain has taken an unequivocal stance regarding the policy of federal raids on clinics in states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. Neither one replied to the Chronicle’s inquiries, but the Obama campaign made its most explicit statement so far, as the newspaper reports: In response to recent questions from The Chronicle about medical marijuana, Obama’s campaign - the only one of the three contenders to reply - endorsed a hands-off federal policy.“Voters and legislators in the states - from California to Nevada to Maine - have decided to provide their residents suffering from chronic diseases and serious illnesses like AIDS and cancer with medical marijuana to relieve their pain and suffering,” said campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt.“Obama supports the rights of states and local governments to make this choice - though he believes medical marijuana should be subject to (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) regulation like other drugs,” LaBolt said. He said the FDA should consider how marijuana is regulated under federal law, while leaving states free to chart their own course.LaBolt also said Obama would end U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration raids on medical marijuana suppliers in states with their own laws.If Mr. Obama is elected, that policy change may affect New York, which is considering becoming the 13th state to legalize medical marijuana. As my Times colleagues Danny Hakim and Michael Grynbaum reported, the Democratic-led Assembly passed a bill last year legalizing medical marijuana. The majority leader of the Republican-led Senate, Joseph Bruno, said he supported legalization but differed with the approach in the Assembly’s bill, and the two chambers have not yet resolved their differences.Copyright: 2008 The New York Times CompanyURL:
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by ekim on May 12, 2008 at 20:08:44 PT
Mr Barr will you be taken many votes from McCain
wonder if Ron Paul will join you
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by John Tyler on May 12, 2008 at 20:00:21 PT
things falling into place
I saw an article in the Washington Post today that reported that McCain was having difficulty getting the right wing religious types to give him their support. (He just does not say or do the right things that turn them on, and get their juices flowing, or opens up their wallets and checkbooks either.) At this point they seem to think they might just sit this election out and let the Democrats win to teach the rest of the Republicans a lesson. They will then try to rerun Huckabee again in 2012. I can live with that. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by FoM on May 12, 2008 at 18:19:23 PT
Obama Speaks Out on Medical Marijuana
By The Marijuana Policy ProjectMonday May 12th, 2008 URL:
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by FoM on May 12, 2008 at 09:35:00 PT
Medical Marijuana Movement Loves Obama
By Karen Brooks May 12, 2008 Just got a notice from the happy folks over at the Marijuana Policy Project that Sen. Barack Obama "stands with us" on access to medical marijuana.I'm not sure this helps his campaign, although the growing number of states (a dozen, at least) that have approved the use and prescription of medical marijuana may mean that he'll get support on the issue. Here in Texas, the decriminalization legislation - way stronger stuff than what the Medical Pot People are pushing - comes from both sides of the aisle.So I guess what I'm saying here is, uhm, who knows if this will help or hurt him.Helpful, I know.Complete Article:
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by RevRayGreen on May 12, 2008 at 08:01:32 PT
this is the article
Bruce was talking about on an e-mail chain I'm subscribed to.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #3 posted by FoM on May 12, 2008 at 05:40:28 PT

I agree with you. I have learned so much following this election. It's been a long race but it soon will be over and we'll know how we can approach McCain and Obama about our issue and other issues of importance to us. 
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #2 posted by OverwhelmSam on May 12, 2008 at 04:13:08 PT

They Will FoM
I think we've created enough "issue" groups to completely Overwehlm Uncle Sam by educating the voters about their government. I would like our state and federal legislatures to start looking at the laws they pass through a different lens: If the proposed bill is good for the people, vote yes. If the proposed bill is good for the government and big business, vote no.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 11, 2008 at 20:29:31 PT

This Is What I'm Counting On
I have hope things just might change for the better.
[ Post Comment ]

  Post Comment