Obama Signals Support For Changing Course
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Obama Signals Support For Changing Course
Posted by CN Staff on April 17, 2015 at 20:14:11 PT
By Matt Ferner
Source: Huffington Post
USA -- In an interview that will air for the first time this weekend as part of CNN's latest installment of its medical marijuana documentary series "WEED 3," President Barack Obama signals support for medical marijuana and for rolling back the federal government's war on drugs.CNN's chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, a vocal supporter of the legalization of medical marijuana, asks Obama in the documentary if he supports the goals of a historic Senate bill introduced in March that seeks to make several major changes in federal law, including drastically reducing the federal government's ability to crack down on state-legal medical marijuana programs, encouraging more research into the plant and reclassifying marijuana as a less dangerous drug.
"You know, I think I'd have to take a look at the details," Obama began in response, "but I'm on record as saying that not only do I think carefully prescribed medical use of marijuana may in fact be appropriate and we should follow the science as opposed to ideology on this issue, but I'm also on record as saying that the more we treat some of these issues related to drug abuse from a public health model and not just from an incarceration model, the better off we're going to be."Obama went on to use current tobacco policies as an example of a model the United States could employ to move away from its punitive approach to drug users."One of the great victories of this country has been our ability to reduce incidences of smoking, increase the incidences of seat belt use," Obama said. "You know, we save tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of lives every single year. We didn't throw anybody in jail; we just made sure that they were well-informed and if somebody has an addiction, we made sure that we made it easy for them to get help. And I think we need to re-emphasize that approach, because we don't want to encourage our kids to engage in drug use, but there are going to be more effective ways than, too often, the approach we're taking today."The U.S. has the largest prison population in the world -- housing 25 percent of the globe's prisoners, but only 5 percent of the total world population. That figure has been boosted by often harsh and lengthy sentences for nonviolent drug possession or distribution crimes. According to research from the Sentencing Project, a prison sentencing reform group, there were around 40,000 drug offenders in U.S. prisons in 1980, but by 2011, that number dramatically increased to more than 500,000.Obama's comments to Gupta echo sentiments he voiced in February backing the removal of criminal penalties for nonviolent drug offenders.Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a co-sponsor of the Senate bill Gupta was referencing, also sat down with Gupta in CNN's new documentary and slammed the federal government's marijuana laws as hypocritical."We now have had three presidents that have admitted to smoking marijuana," Booker said. "People that are in public office all throughout the Senate have said, 'Hey, I've smoked marijuana recreationally.' How much of a hypocrite do you have to be to say that I broke American laws using pot as a recreational thing and that I'm not going to support this idea that as a medicine for severely sick people, that they shouldn't be able to access this drug?”Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, told The Huffington Post that U.S. tobacco policies could be effectively applied to marijuana nationally."I’d agree with President Obama that we should look at how we've reduced cigarette smoking rates to historic lows, and apply those same tools to marijuana," Riffle said. "That would require moving marijuana out of the Controlled Substances Act’s list of schedules altogether, just like tobacco, and instead using taxes, honest education and sensible regulations. That’s what’s working in Colorado now, and what every major poll shows the majority of Americans are ready to do."Under the Controlled Substances Act, or CSA, the U.S. has five categories for drugs and drug ingredients. Schedule I is reserved for what the Drug Enforcement Administration considers to be the "most dangerous" drugs without currently accepted medical value. Marijuana has been classified as Schedule I for decades, alongside substances like heroin and LSD.Riffle says the medical marijuana protections bill introduced in the Senate last month is a "great" bill, but also explained that he's critical of one provision that only moves marijuana to Schedule II -- the same schedule as cocaine and methamphetamine."That’s obviously not the appropriate category, and moving it there wouldn’t address bigger obstacles to research, like the DEA and NIDA’s control over the supply of marijuana available to researchers which the bill does separately," Rifle said.To date, 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, and 13 others have legalized the use of limited marijuana extracts for certain conditions. Multiple studies have shown a range of potential medical benefits, suggesting marijuana combats aggressive cancer, slows the spread of HIV and stunts the progression of Alzheimer's disease.Recent polls suggest a vast majority of Americans approve of legalizing, or at least decriminalizing, medical marijuana.CNN's "WEED 3: The Marijuana Revolution" premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. EST.Source: Huffington Post (NY)Author: Matt Ferner, The Huffington Post	Published: April 17, 2015Copyright: 2015, LLC Contact: scoop huffingtonpost.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help 

Comment #25 posted by runruff on April 21, 2015 at 08:33:29 PT
The Bible says...
When legalizing returns, there will be much thrashing and nashing of teeth ( covered by a federally funded dental plan)
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Comment #24 posted by Hope on April 21, 2015 at 08:07:57 PT
Comment 22
Wow! That is something. I have missed both the Bing Pulse questions you posted. Remember how eons ago, sometimes, we'd talk about what some of us imagined legalization might be like? It was impossible for me to imagine... but it sure is lovely to see. 
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on April 20, 2015 at 20:15:50 PT
It's the HOW that is a totally different question.
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Comment #22 posted by FoM on April 20, 2015 at 20:14:31 PT
95% say it should be legalized for recreation use. I love how the question was worded. How Do You Think Pot Should Be Legalized?
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Comment #21 posted by Hope on April 20, 2015 at 16:00:43 PT
It's so good for us. Two things I especially liked in Weed 3. All the time lapse photography of the cannabis plant. And what he said about people (like us) that "Never give up".Against all odds. Little bitty David, us... all of us "Regular people", that have been so concerned with this cruel and deadly injustice... and the giant of giants, the government of the United States and their true juggernaut's load of prohibitionist supporters. I think it's safe to say we've taken them down. The truth has taken down cannabis prohibition. It fried the lies of this prohibition like bugs in a zapper... or eggs in a frying pan. I think it's safe to say we are really winning this struggle for freedom, liberty, truth, and justice.The pen, the keyboard... the mind that is blessed to use them well... is "Mightier" than the sword.... and not nearly as messy. We've helped end bloodshed... instead of meting it out, as our enemies in this matter are prone to do. I'm so thankful for that. I'm celebrating now. Beginning to celebrate. I dared not before. I'm not afraid to feel a little celebratory, for the first time, about our progress. Whoo hoo! Hot dog! Hallelujah! It sure is a good 4:20!
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Comment #20 posted by Had Enough on April 20, 2015 at 12:08:46 PT
We have Progressed...
420.... :)
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Comment #19 posted by runruff on April 20, 2015 at 05:06:02 PT
Should be a national holiday
It"s 420 everyday here at Hunky-Doryville
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on April 20, 2015 at 04:21:30 PT
Happy 4/20! We sure have come a long way!
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Comment #17 posted by Hope on April 19, 2015 at 22:12:29 PT
:) It is here, anyway.
Delightful. Have a good one, one and all.
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on April 19, 2015 at 22:10:48 PT
Merry, Happy, and Joyful 4:20! 2015!
Love and Peace!
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on April 19, 2015 at 20:33:06 PT
It was very good. I think Dr. Gupta did another excellent job. The program after it High Profits was OK and I will watch the next one in the series. If it gets better I will watch the rest. 
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on April 19, 2015 at 19:59:36 PT
Ten Things You Didn't Know About....
Whatever the particular show is about. They are all good, but the one about marijuana did more good than not, I expect.Weed 3. I got called away from the tv while the President was speaking. I need to go back and watch that again.
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on April 19, 2015 at 19:54:09 PT
Weed 3
I think it was pretty good. Dr. Gupta's specials apparently do a lot of good.You'll should watch that show Ten Things You Didn't About... in this case, Marijuana. It was helpful, too, I think. It related a lot of truth.In Weed 3 I enjoyed watching the time lapse photos of cannabis growing. Really sweet.
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on April 18, 2015 at 18:40:57 PT
I am too. Lets hope that we are a little further on down the road after tomorrow night since Dr. Gupta is so well respected.
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on April 18, 2015 at 17:05:41 PT
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Co.) Rep. Steve Cohen (D- Tn.)
More "Heroes in the strife".More "Voices representing justice and honor".
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on April 18, 2015 at 16:49:56 PT
Tomorrow night. 
I'm very excited and hopeful. Something I don't usually allow myself to be.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on April 18, 2015 at 14:16:09 PT
It is going to be good TV on CNN tomorrow night from 9 to 11.
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on April 18, 2015 at 12:02:36 PT
Being thankful for the voices that we, the people
are now hearing actually representing a previously ignored, even despised, multitude. I'm thinking of being thankful for Rep. David Simpson down here in Texas and Sen. Booker there in New Jersey. There are more. Coast to coast. World wide. I have been outraged and incensed for many years at what was actually happening in the War on Drugs. It's been awful. Absolutely awful, but I felt absolutely powerless to do anything about it. Powerless and outraged. Then I saw Bill Buckley speaking with Ethan Nadelmann. Then I knew the truth was going to prevail. Right was going to prevail over wrong and good over evil. Eventually. And it is. We're seeing it happen. Finally. I can almost breathe.Those angry, loud noises in the prohibiting world we live in are the hissing, wrenching, grinding, moaning, cracking, popping, thundering, sliding, breaking, snapping, crashing, rumbling, lightening flashing amazing sounds of a great mountain crumbling and falling into the sea.
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on April 18, 2015 at 11:43:17 PT
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.)!
It seemed pertinent to know more about Sen. Booker than I do, and as I was educating myself, half way through the Daily Beast article I was reading, I realized who he is, and was.He was that very privileged young man that that moved into the projects in New Jersey when he was in college and was speaking out for people, his neighbors, right then and there. Quite a remarkable young man and apparently, still is.I was impressed then and I'm impressed now with Mr. Booker.
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Comment #6 posted by HempWorld on April 18, 2015 at 10:03:10 PT
Warmer upper... (for W 3)
Weeds 2 on CNN 4 PM Pacific time, today!
Weeds 2
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on April 18, 2015 at 09:37:04 PT
Wow is it great to see you! It's been a long long time!
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on April 18, 2015 at 08:50:45 PT
Long time, no see!Good to see you're still kicking!
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Comment #3 posted by Jose Melendez on April 18, 2015 at 08:29:48 PT:
Re: Joyce! 
Finally:from:" . . . 2015 isn’t 1975, and support for decriminalization and legalization is once again slowly spreading. And Pettigrew and Nalepka feel the need to at least sound a warning about the potential unintended consequences.[How marijuana legalizers are winning the battle for hearts and minds]Initiative 71 passed by wide margins in 142 of the District’s
143 precincts in November, including Pettigrew’s area of Capitol Hill. Although she voted against it and encouraged others to do likewise, she recognizes that African American voters largely supported legalization “not because they felt it was good, but because it solved a problem.”“Marijuana use in the city is so widespread, but only African Americans are being arrested,” she says." - - -First: 4/20 Day?
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Comment #2 posted by John Tyler on April 18, 2015 at 07:45:38 PT
come on Hillary
I wish Hillary would get on board with cannabis. Even now, with majority support for cannabis re-legalization, she is still not firm in her support. I hope she “evolves” on this point soon.
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on April 17, 2015 at 21:02:39 PT
3rd time
A Charm...
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