Obama Must Keep Marijuana Promise

  Obama Must Keep Marijuana Promise

Posted by CN Staff on November 20, 2008 at 08:18:37 PT
By Dana Johnson 
Source: University Chronicle 

Minnesota -- There is one campaign promise that President-elect Barrack Obama made that will easily be overlooked if America does not hold him to his word.Obama promised to cease the federal arrest and prosecution of law-abiding medical cannabis patients and dispensaries by appointing leaders at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney General's office who will respect the will of the voters in the thirteen states that have legalized the physician-supervised use of medicinal marijuana.
Doing this would not legalize marijuana but simply give our country a step in the right direction toward legalization.Though the legalization of marijuana was not a popular subject debated during the election, it is a popular subject for those who need marijuana for their health and well-being, and hopefully future politicians will realize the benefits legalization could have on this country.Though the "War on Drugs" was not widely discussed, the state of the economy was. Little do people realize how much money legalization could save our country.The "War on Drugs" that the U.S. fights costs an estimated $35 billion a year, according to the Washington Post. Somehow during this "war" marijuana was lumped into the same category as hard drugs, such as cocaine and heroin.They were all labeled as dangerous and addictive. Countless studies have refuted this and although chronically inhaling marijuana smoke is not unlike tobacco in potentially causing lung damage, marijuana has been linked to no deaths in the U.S.The removal of marijuana from the "War on Drugs" could save the U.S. billions of dollars a year.According to the Sentencing Project, drug arrests have more than tripled since 1980 to a record 1.8 million by 2005. Four of five (81.7 percent) drug arrests were for possession offenses and 42.6 percent were for marijuana charges.Nearly six in ten persons in state prison for a drug offense have no history of violence or high-level drug selling. These levels of arrests are simply deteriorating our government's limited resources and our citizens' limited tax dollars.This "War on Drugs" is also a war on young people. Currently, 74 percent of all Americans busted for pot are under the age of 30. Many young people have unregulated access to marijuana easier than they have to legal, age-restricted intoxicants like alcohol and tobacco.If marijuana was legal and regulated like alcohol and tobacco by the government, citizens would simply obtain marijuana the legal way. Fewer kids would interact and befriend dealers of marijuana that also push other illegal, more dangerous drugs.Under prohibition, young people are being busted in unprecedented numbers. Under legalization, if marijuana was treated like alcohol or tobacco (narcotics proven to be far more damaging) young people would need to wait until a mature enough age to decide if, in moderation, marijuana is something they would like to do.Funding for youth anti-drug campaigns have also been proven to be a waste of money as well. A $1.2 billion Congressional effort aimed at preventing and reducing youth drug use was found not to be effective by the U.S. Government Accounting Agency in 2006.If Marijuana was not such a taboo in our culture, youth would understand the importance of not abusing substances and using them responsibly. Such campaigns would not be necessary.College students are also being targeted by Congress. They are using federal college aid as a weapon of enforcement when it comes to denying college aid to those charged for drug offenses. I suspect this is how the government plans to save money: by denying future generations an education.Early in Obama's career he made statements that he needs to follow up on. The statements were in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana possession by adults by calling for the creation of a bi-partisan presidential commission to review the budgetary, social and health costs associated with federal marijuana prohibition, and to make progressive recommendations for future policy changes.On Election Day, voters in Massachusetts, Michigan and throughout the country gave Obama and the incoming Congress a mandate to end the Bush drug war doctrine, now the rest of the country needs to follow their lead.Hopefully the taboo against Marijuana in our culture will change in time for us to realize the benefits that legalization could have on our country.Source: University Chronicle (MN Edu)Author: Dana JohnsonPublished: November 20, 2008Copyright: 2008 University ChronicleContact: chronicle universitychronicle.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives

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Comment #20 posted by observer on December 01, 2008 at 11:17:22 PT
 Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director 
Cannabis law and policy news. Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, writes: So Far, Not So GoodIt has been painful from the outside looking in to watch President-elect Barack Obama begin to cobble together his cabinet officers and senior staff in regards to what prospects there are for substantive cannabis law reforms in this first term.White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel ... “For us regarding opposing drugs and any reforms, it is: harms criminal justice; children; the pharmaceutical process and the legalization stalking horse.” -R.E., 1997To put it bluntly, Bill Clinton and Al Gore lied their way up and down the countryside running for the Oval office in the summer of 1992, promising liberal donors, gay activists and drug policy reformers that if elected, at a minimum, they would expand the federal government’s Compassionate Investigative New Drug Program (a.k.a. IND, run by the Public Health Service), which allowed for a small handful of federally-approved medical patients to receive up to 300 ‘joints’ per/month for a serious medical condition.When Clinton and Gore took office in 1993, they immediately felt the political pressure from state politicians, major gay donors and activists, notably from California, who’d impressed upon Clinton the need for medical cannabis for AIDS and cancer patients.However, and disappointingly, rather than expand the important research program, Rahm and Co. moved to dismantle it, and by late July 1994 Clinton had canceled the IND program, grandfathering the group of eight patients in the program a columnist at the Washington Post deemed the Acapulco Eight. ...Attorney General Nominee Eric HolderNORML has serious concerns about the choice of Eric Holder as the next Attorney General because he has a long history of opposing drug policy reforms, perceiving cannabis smoking by adults as a public nuisance worthy of constant harrassment, promoting violent governmental intervention into the private lives of citizens who consume cannabis, supporting mandatory minimum sentencing and so-called civil forfeiture laws...
NORML Director Allen St. Pierre continues, here:
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Comment #19 posted by Hope on November 21, 2008 at 14:36:09 PT
It does hurt me, though,
if I think someone hates me.It does more inner harm, I'm sure, to the hater, but it does cause me pain to know that someone might actually hate me.
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on November 21, 2008 at 08:09:12 PT
OT: Weather Report on Sundance Channel
We turned off the news and turned on Showtime and this is on now. I find this documentary alarming for some parts of the world. The next war will probably be about water not oil.
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on November 21, 2008 at 06:47:20 PT

Hate hurts the hater and no one else. I avoid hate like it's the plague because it can consume a person. I don't hate Bush. I almost pity him because he will have a legacy that will shock future generations when they study about it all. I avoid getting caught up in hate by ignoring people who hate. I am drawn to people who have hope and tolerance like you.
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on November 21, 2008 at 06:39:21 PT

A better future for all
is what I meant to say.
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on November 21, 2008 at 06:38:45 PT

While worrying isn't a fast boil on the brain
and spirit like hatred is. It is a simmering hot. Not "Cool". The things we think of as hot and burning type emotions, anger, fear, hatred, simmering worry, etc., apparently, are very destructive to the well being of all that we are. Be cool!Chill!:0)And hope and work for a better a future for all.
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on November 21, 2008 at 06:31:22 PT

Don't worry...
I'm not overly worried. Like others have expressed, I have some concern about it... but it's not worrying me. 
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on November 21, 2008 at 06:17:32 PT

Life is too short to worry about things like who Obama appoints. After watching and listening to Obama for almost 2 years I get a sense of how he will want to lead the country. Our country has been royally messed up under the current administration and the future for many people will be bleak. They'll probably try to blame it on Obama and yet he has no power at all until he is sworn in January. Obama will make his own legacy. He will make people happy and annoy others. We are a big country and you can't please everyone. As far as drug policy goes I hope he honors what he said about leaving medical marijuana patients alone in states that have a medical marijuana law. I won't expect him to do anything he didn't say when he was campaigning. 
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on November 21, 2008 at 06:06:44 PT

Worrying about these appointments.
I try to keep in mind that it's true that people can change their minds about things. It's true that they could have had an epiphany of some sort. It's true that they could have a better understanding of reality, humanity, and prohibition than they did at one time. It ought to be true that they understand more about cannabis than they did once. We have no alternative but to express our ideas to our legislators and the President and to keep expressing our understandings and hope that it matters.
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Comment #11 posted by MikeC on November 20, 2008 at 21:20:21 PT

The GCW...
I too am concerned. I am for the most part an optimist but I don't like what I'm seeing thus far in Barack Obama's new administration. I really hope that I am worrying over nothing.
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Comment #10 posted by The GCW on November 20, 2008 at 20:41:35 PT

US CA: CA Medical Marijuana Advocates Concerned About Obama Appointments
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on November 20, 2008 at 16:38:07 PT

charmed quark 
I think WAMM wouldn't be bothered because of the way they dispensed it. I even think at one time WAMM had state approval and it was respected until the Bush Administration. It's been a long time and my details could be off a little.
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Comment #8 posted by charmed quark on November 20, 2008 at 16:13:47 PT

like WAMM?
They sure weren't making much money and they got shut down violently by the DEA.

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Comment #7 posted by FoM on November 20, 2008 at 16:06:02 PT

Can Pot Luck Grow in Ohio? 
November 20, 2008
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on November 20, 2008 at 14:43:06 PT

I always thought he meant patients. If a state has a medical marijuana law I assume he meant he won't go after them. I am not sure about dispensaries since most of them make a good deal of money I think but I really am not sure.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on November 20, 2008 at 14:38:03 PT

Trouble is...
I've read those statements that Obama apparently made about enforcement in states that have legal medical cannabis. He said he wouldn't raid and arrest "Patients". I didn't see where he said anything about calling off the dogs concerning suppliers or dispensaries. That stood out to me. Already, the DEA doesn't go after the individual patients themselves that much, it seems like.I hope he meant he'd call off the raids on dispensaries, caregivers, or other suppliers... but I haven't seen or heard that anywhere.
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Comment #3 posted by Toiddles on November 20, 2008 at 10:15:38 PT:

speaking of saving money
if we were to end the "war on drugs", the war in iraq, make the war on terror actually that and not an excuse for hyper militarism, and allow for domestic industrial hemp production... what would our economy look like then? And this is just the top of the list.
Industrial Hemp
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on November 20, 2008 at 08:57:59 PT

DEA, ONDCP funding
I hope that as Obama reviews various government programs to determine budget cuts, he will deem the DEA and ONDCP as examples of programs that do not work and either retools, downsizes or outright abolishes them.Those organizations should be glaring problems on his line-item list.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 20, 2008 at 08:24:58 PT

Obama's Medical Marijuana Promise
I can relate to this article.
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