Jan 212015
 January 21, 2015

Obama marijuanaIn anticipation of President Obama’s delivery of the State of the Union address, former United States Representative Anthony Weiner published an article for Business Insider explaining that now is the time for President Obama to make a push for federal marijuana reforms. Mr. Weiner felt that such efforts should be laid out in the State of the Union address. That of course didn’t happen, as I wrote about after the speech was over. However, the things that Anthony Weiner talked about in his article can still be pursued. Below are the three things that Mr. Weiner feels Obama can do right now:

1. Make it legal for scientists to study the benefits of marijuana:

There is now broad consensus in the medical community that there are legitimate and hugely helpful uses of cannabis as treatment for many diseases and ailments. For example, the oils have been shown to reduce seizures in children with epilepsy and the plant is in wide use to help soldiers calm the symptoms of PTSD. But in a bizarre Catch 22, the only way to study marijuana is to be in violation of federal law that still makes it illegal to own the stuff.

Cannabis is considered a Class 1 narcotic by the Food and Drug Administration. As such, it is treated as though it has high abuse potential and zero medicinal value (even Cocaine isn’t Class 1). Because of this federal regulation, marijuana can’t be used in a study or even transported to a clinician’s lab.  In his address this evening, the President should announce he is asking the FDA to review whether marijuana should be reclassified so we can conduct further scientific research.

2. Announce that states rights will be respected on marijuana laws: 

State legislators and voters have set up regimes in their states with laws, regulations, and taxes for marijuana. However, a law abiding citizen of Connecticut or Alabama could still find themselves at the wrong side of a federal indictment because of the schizophrenia that exists between federal and state law enforcement.

For the most part, the Justice Department has taken an unofficial hands off policy. Still, if the President drops a line or two into his speech on Tuesday that makes it clear he respects the rights of the states here, it will calm the concerns of many in those jurisdictions, encourage investment, and also probably get both sides of the aisle clapping at once in a Congress where that rarely happens.

3. Deregulate the banking industry for marijuana businesses. 

Drug-related crime is down in states that have legalized some uses of marijuana. Just as drug reform advocates predicted, when you lift an industry out of the black market, regulate it, and tax it, the criminals move on to other things. However, because of the federal banking regulations, lawful marijuana businesses can’t use normal banks. Because of this one crime is on the rise: business having stashes of cash that they can’t deposit anywhere stolen.

This isn’t an easy problem to untangle because of the thicket of anti-money laundering laws that are on the books and the different bank charter rules in the 50 states. Still, the area is ripe for executive action that few could disagree with: order the treasury department to review the laws to accommodate legal marijuana businesses.

Anthony Weiner makes some great points in the article I linked to above, and I encourage you to read it if you get the chance. The time is indeed ripe for President Obama to do something bold in the area of marijuana policy. Public opinion is in favor of comprehensive marijuana reform at the federal level. More and more politicians are getting on the right side of history. It’s time that President Obama did the same.

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  13 Responses to “Former U.S. Rep. Explains What Obama Can Do Right Now To Support Marijuana”

  1.  

    Johnny —

    On behalf of America’s Cancer patients, thank you for all your great work.

    There are two petitions readers can sign on thewhitehouse.gov web site.

    The first is to get Marijuana taken off of Schedule1.

    https://petitions.whitehouse.g

    The second is for full legalization of Marijuana.

    https://petitions.whitehouse.g

    It would be great if you could tell your readers about the petitions, about contacting the whitehouse comment line, emailing the Whitehouse, and calling and emailing their Senators and Representatives, and all other things they can do to help get Marijuana legalized at the national level.

    Between now and when the Judge in California is expected to rule about taking Marijuana off of Schedule 1, more than 100,000 Americans will die of Cancer.

    Cancer patients can’t wait.

  2.  

    There are two petitions readers can sign on thewhitehouse.gov web site.

    The first is to get Marijuana taken off of Schedule1.

    https://petitions.whitehouse.g

    The second is for full legalization of Marijuana.

    https://petitions.whitehouse.g

    It would be great if you could tell your readers about the petitions, about contacting the whitehouse comment line, emailing the Whitehouse, and calling and emailing their Senators and Representatives, and all other things they can do to help get Marijuana legalized at the national level.

    Between now and when the Judge in California is expected to rule about taking Marijuana off of Schedule 1, more than 100,000 Americans will die of Cancer.

    •  

      Jeff, I’d like to sign the petitions, but you cut and paste this comment, so the links end in “…”

      I appreciate your enthusiasm, which certainly exceeds my own — you’ve left similar (often identical) comments on dozens of articles, especially those concerning the ongoing legislative drama in Georgia (I really appreciate that, in particular). Doing that is great in terms of “covering a lot of ground,” so to speak, but at the end of the day, you’re just cutting and pasting. This is just my opinion, but I feel that’s really lazy. Worse yet, anyone else who may not already be an advocate for reforming our cannabis laws — someone still forming an opinion — could also notice the dry repetition and draw their own conclusions. Best case, they don’t care. Worst case, they think cannabis advocates are too lazy or too stoned to be bothered to do more than Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V.

      I know it’s time-consuming (and can sometimes be a huge distraction), but if you were to take a few minutes to put some thought into your comments instead of going for the “spray and pray” method of advocacy, I think you’d reach just as many people, but more deeply if you engage each article upon which you comment, individually.

    •  

      These are excellent initiatives, but it seems we’re attempting to force politicians to bite off more than they can comfortably chew.
      It would appear to be much less problematic for them to push for rescheduling rather than the entire load in one swoop.
      Rescheduling is the most important step since it would give doctors the authority, without punitive recourse from the feds, to prescribe medical marijuana.
      Once the feds and the general public have an opportunity to see the positive impact of it on a variety of medical conditions the door will have been unlocked for pursuing an across-the-board legalization initiative.

  3.  

    Honestly, I had little hope of cannabis getting a single syllable of the 2015 SotU speech. The more I consider the issue, the more convinced I am that both parties are stalling it as long and as best they can (for a plethora of reasons) hoping against all odds that public opinion reverses on the cannabis issue. Well, that’ll only happen if an enormous EMP wipes out the whole internet. The Information Age has made prohibition untenable and legalization inevitable. IMHO, we’ve already reached the fabled “tipping point” and normal, rational folks are desperately trying to figure out why our lawmakers aren’t getting on the same page as the rest of the country.

    When’s the last time anyone actually talked about the “tipping point,” really? Perhaps I simply haven’t run across those articles, or perhaps we’re just THERE already, so nobody feels like we should talk about it like this far-off goal. These days, the most conservative states in the country are polling damn-near 50% support for full legalization, which is where support was in our most liberal states ten years ago.

    What’s tragic is that Anthony Weiner, now that he’s disgraced and ostracized by mainstream politics, is free to say/do what he wants based on a logical thought process — he doesn’t have to start with a conclusion and work his way backwards to a rationalization his campaign contributors approve, anymore. He can speak out against prohibition all he likes now that there are no longer any “corporate sponsors” to upset. Or maybe I have it wrong, and explicit sex scandals have a way of changing a guy’s perspective. In that case, here’s hoping Obama gets hammered and wanders into a brothel wearing nothing but a smile.

  4.  

    Memos ,memos more memos
    WAtch GW PHArma , politricksters
    Lobbyists with the FEDLUBE Epidiolex
    The Tipping point,the genie and the red herring are having tea.
    “Inevitable”

  5.  

    Not that I am a fan of Mr.wiener but his article is correct. It would of been nice if any of these things would of been addressed. But nobody including our president wants to deal with Marijuana. This is not a topic they can sweep under the rug. Come on America speak up and let our government know how you feel.

  6.  

    He can reschedule. That will fix the rest.

    •  

      How? By which path political does doing so occur ? The 2016 political elections, are already underway. America’s cash-driven democratic delivery system leaves little room for conjecture. What ramifications would doing so now have on the President’s political Party, of which he is the head in open 2016 Senate and House seats? Especially in Red States. American’s now live under a newly elected socially conservative US House and Senate member majority. One result of only 36% of American’s bothering to cast a ballot. The minority rules in American politic’s and they aren’t cannabis progressive’s to say the least.. Therefore, Two-three line bumper sticker slogans which offer no solutions with all due respect eventually become irrelevant, not to mention tedious.

  7.  

    get a conservative to share their veiw , listen , and then require payment in full

    •  

      How about requiring ‘payment in full” for launching future foreign war’s rather than on cannabis? This, as the US Congress appears to be on the verge of trying to scuttle the Iranian nuclear diplomatic talks. The result of Congress adding more Iranian sanctions, before diplomacy has had a chance to succeed will only lead to more war. Which some Americans seem to apparently want.

  8.  

    Reclassify cannabis/hemp as unregulated dietary food supplements.

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