Dec 142012
 December 14, 2012

barack obama marijuana 20/20 barbara waltersPresident Obama’s First Interview About Marijuana Legalization In CO and WA Is Full Of Empty Rhetoric

President Obama recently gave an exclusive interview to Barbara Walters which will air tonight on 20/20. In the interview President Obama talks about marijuana legalization becoming a reality in Colorado and Washington State, and how his administration feels about it. As expected, the quotes from the interview that have been released so far are full of BS. Let’s break down the interview, which was originally released today in an article by ABC.

“President Obama says recreational users of marijuana in states that have legalized the substance should not be a “top priority” of federal law enforcement officials prosecuting the war on drugs. ”We’ve got bigger fish to fry,” Obama said…” Really Obama?

If President Obama truly felt that way, then marijuana reform at the federal level would be a reality. If marijuana enforcement was truly not a ‘top priority’ than President Obama would heed to call from former President Jimmy Carter that we need to take away federal penalties for simple possession of personal amounts of marijuana.

“It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal,” he said, invoking the same approach taken toward users of medicinal marijuana in 18 states where it’s legal.

If Obama takes ‘the same approach’ towards recreational marijuana as he has medical marijuana, than all marijuana consumers better be on notice that they could be raided at anytime, that their landlords could be harassed at anytime, and that their assets could be taken at anytime. If medical marijuana hasn’t been a ‘top priority’ then good people like Montana resident Chris Williams wouldn’t be looking at over 80 years in federal prison right now.

“This is a tough problem, because Congress has not yet changed the law,” Obama said. “I head up the executive branch; we’re supposed to be carrying out laws. And so what we’re going to need to have is a conversation about, How do you reconcile a federal law that still says marijuana is a federal offense and state laws that say that it’s legal?”

Yes Mr. President, you head up the Executive Branch…Thanks for that political science 101 breakdown. Here’s some more breakdown for you Mr. President – the Executive Branch does more than ‘carry out laws.’ The Executive Branch, if it really wanted to, could be a catalyst for change in Congress, as has been done in the past. When it comes to health care, did Obama sit back and say, ‘well, Congress hasn’t changed health care laws yet, and all I can do is carry out what they do…’? Of course he didn’t. He used the ‘bully pulpit’ to put constant pressure on Congress to make change. Marijuana policy reform is no different than any other political cause that Presidents have fought for from a procedural standpoint. When Obama says ‘we need to have a conversation about that’ I think the entire marijuana community wants to respond with ‘No sh%t Sherlock, that’s what we have been asking for for years!!!!!’

“It makes sense for us to look at how we can make sure that our kids are discouraged from using drugs and engaging in substance abuse generally,” he said. “There’s more work we can do on the public health side and the treatment side.”

Drug dealers don’t ask for ID. The licensed and regulated storefronts that will be selling legal marijuana will ask for ID. If Obama truly wanted to keep marijuana out of the hands of youth, he would be in full support of Colorado and Washington State’s recent reforms. I truly believe that with REAL drugs, there definitely needs to be more done on the ‘public health side and the treatment side.’ However, marijuana is not a REAL drug, and so ‘waiting for more to be done’ in the area of public health and treatment is nothing more than a delay tactic.

I think readers can already tell that even before I see the whole interview, I’m pretty fired up about this. President Obama has a chance to make history by being the first sitting United States President to fight for sensible marijuana laws. He has every incentive to do so, yet he’s clinging to the same rhetoric he has been throwing around for years now. I hope non-marijuana consumers will see through this BS, and demand some REAL conversations about this. It’s all fine and great that Obama had a discussion with Barbara Walters about marijuana reform, but I won’t really care until he has a REAL conversation with his staff, with Congress, and with state officials in Washington and Colorado. Obama needs to use the ‘bully pulpit’ for what’s right; not for flinging empty rhetoric that goes no where.

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About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • JIM

    one other thing , I would realy like to see more action in VA , Are there any teams in or working for VA . I cant woek due to a degenerative cartlage disease, lots of my joints are bone on bone ,hurt to move to much , though I used to smoke a while back , and it really helped , helped you to ignore the pain, get out of the house, helped depression, and anxiety, But Law states that If I am in a pain management program and they shovel methadone and morphine into me,as much as I want that they are to drug screen me regularly (drug screen when they shovel the garbage into you with many awful side effects) and if canibis was to be detected then they would close there doors to me and no longer help , So If I used canibis in VA to help with depression anxiety , which works so well , then the state would tell me sorry, you will have to live your life in bed or non mobile the rest of your days, You will no longer recieve help with your daily pain from us. Just wanted to get that out, Havnt seen any other posts stating this. Again Good Luck everyone

  • lifeforpot

    Federal law is fierce and unforgiving. There are many non-violent marijuana offenders serving sentences of Life Without Parole in federal prisons. A real conversation would involve ending the war on plants and people.

    http://blog.norml.org/2012/12/14/help-needed-release-five-lifetime-marijuana-prisoners/comment-page-1/#comment-175540

  • DannyDan

    Pro-marijuana individuals should embrace the gateway drug argument and research ways to prove why it is better to legalize that outlaw because of it.

    I currently have to agree with marijuana being a “gateway drug” for two reasons:

    1) It brings you in contact with drug dealers that try to push you towards other drugs.

    2) It becomes clear, after using marijuana, that it is not as as addictive or dangerous as said to be and makes the consumer believe that similar claims to other drugs must be unfounded as well. With that in mind, the consumer feels it is safe to try other drugs.

    Therefore, I claim that it is the faults of the states and the federal government that marijuana is a gateway drug. By making it illegal and categorizing marijuana as dangerous as heroine and more dangerous than: methamphetamine; cocaine; mophine; oxycodone; opium; etc., it makes the consumer feel that those drugs must be just as safe or safer use. Since he’s already going to visit the drug dealer and be in possession of an illegal drug, why not try something new.

  • Polarbear

    Mr. President Obama don’t you want more money in your hands to solve some real problems? Don’t you realize how much money it takes to jail someone over recreational drugs or medicinal purposes we are all aware of. The cost to “house and feed” someone who was “busted” for it. The pay for the law enforcement to mess with this is taking away their time to find murders or rapes or theft. Taxes collected from the sale of Marijuana could be used to plump up the governments pockets so as to reinstate school needs, health ins, teachers etc. So once again my question is Mr. President Obama don’t you want more money??? Then make it legal with State regulations…ie, age, obtained, where allowed to smoke, etc. How hard can that be? Let those who are in for the charge of having marijuana out. Save money. Stop putting people in jail for having paraphernalia…more money for you Mr. President. It is a win win situation and should be an equal priority law as any other one. A lot of people are counting on you to deregulate it. After 44 years I am alive and rocking in my chair holding a……… as you Mr. President know you could do it if you weren’t afraid to be bucked up on. Time to put the gloves on and stop all this Try a little harder please.

  • Thisis_Insane

    Just a correction in terms here, folks. Marijuana is the word taken from the Mexicans they wanted to control, at the time the law was created back in 1937. It is really named cannabis, (sativa, indica, americana, whatever), and the term just help to lock a lot of people into the government touted and spouted logic that continues to cost people their lives and their ability to earn a living and feed their families. The Blacks they wished to control called it ‘Reefer’, and it’s the same deal. Word association used to help cement the attitudes were discussing here, when it is against the govt vested interests.

  • Thisis_Insane

    We heard Obama say the same thing before. Just before all those collectives and dispensaries filed their paperwork, brought in their supplies and set up shop. THEN the DOJ came in and had a good old time showing off the ability to terrorize and neighborhood, and the patients who need, what the came to take away. Holder is a loser and needs to step down, NOW.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aubrey.debliquy Aubrey John Debliquy

    The most relevant aspect of the Cannabis tradgedy slips clear under the radar screen. Generations of culture around the world has been effectively bullied, bludgeoned and opressed by zenophobic, coercive, powerful American trade policies into a state of denial and self demonisation. Now that the social and recreational drugs of choice, namely Alcohol and tobacco have proved to be dramatically more harmful than this much demonised innocuous weed, Article two and three of the Universal declaration of human rights Asserts the right to use this weed exactly as we please without hinderance. And what government health warning can we put on Cannabis product packaging? Perhaps the most useful thing may be to rather change the message on the tobacco product packaging to say “hello this is your goverment warning you that we are a bunch of arseholses who know this stuff kills hundreds of thousands of people every year but we have not got the balls to be honest and ban tobacco outright because we don’t want to piss off the powerful people who have bought our vote in congress.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.curry.1297 James Curry

    For the girl that lost her fiance i’m sorry. I’d say he had’nt used pot and did’nt know what to expect. Me I don’t drive not because of pot but because of my nerve medicine. I have done alot of stoned driving have class a cdl. Never had no accidents. So dude was doing something else beside driving.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1293966324 Chris Furney

    I have a colorado birth certificate and im in oregon. Can i get dual citizenship? If I got to Washington, am I a wetback?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=570923664 Chuck Peyton

    He claims that because it is a federal law that he just can not change it like we want him to even tho the vast minority want guns taken and he is all over that. It comes down to he acts on things that he wants to act on and leaves the rest alone. Hypocrite is what I call him. Instead of raising taxes he should regulate and tax MJ and so much of the money problems would be taken care of . not all but a lot.

    I am a former pot smoker I have been away from it for 30 years I do not have anything against it I just just choose not to use it anymore kind of like drinking and smoking tobacco

  • Stoli

    I don’t even smoke marijuana and and i think it should be legal for any american to smoke it if there 21 ! They do it anyway, why not legalize it and take the tax revenue to help get this country out of debt.

  • sergio

    i love how more and more people are speaking out and rising and being actually educated on the real facts of marijuana not the propaganda that our gov makes and brainwash people to thinking marijuana so harmful even more harmful then the usual things we eat and digest even though those things are way more harmful people dont even know that us humans are born ecs system which stand for endocannbinoid system which includes lungs kindey brain and other organs which makes us sleep eat relax and forget and marijuana has thc and cbds and other compounds but thier cannabinoids just like the ones were born with that is reason why also is healthy for us.

  • William Conde

    “The legal doctrine of “fruit of the poisonous tree” is fairly basic in its premise: if the information being used in a case was obtained through illegal means, then any other information gathered via that illegal action is also tainted by the poison from the initial illegal action.”
    Case In Point—The Laws Against Cannabis
    The very first item in making cannabis
    illegal is in the scheduling of cannabis as a schedule one substance. As a
    schedule one substance by definition it has no medical use and a high potential
    for abuse. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH, and most everybody, including most every politician knows it.
    I enter into evidence page 17 of the May 20, 2012 Amandala, head line “Marijuana relieves muscles tightness, pain of multiple sclerosis: Study” This is just one of hundreds maybe even thousands of recent studies showing some of cannabis therapeutic uses. Cannabis has and still is planet earths most widely used bush medicine for over 10,000 years in most every culture. When the truth is sought even one of the USA’s DEA’s top administrative law judge, Francis Young declared in a 1989 case in his finding of facts, ”that marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man”
    Maybe the laws remain because large pharmaceutical manufactures donate
    millions of dollars into the USA’s body politic. Why would they do that?
    Because cannabis has been so widely used for so many different ailments that it
    could safely replace such a wide variety of their products that they would lose
    billions of dollars annually, because you can grow it for free in your garden
    and they cannot patent it.
    You want to reduce crime and the cost and manpower of the legal system. Get rid of the illegal draconian cannabis laws and you will have twenty-five to fifty million less criminals in the U.S.A. alone. Also, cannabis laws violate just about every guaranteed civil rights of the constitution, which declares that it is the highest law of the land and that any law witch violates it is invalid.
    What if all violent criminals were to turn themselves in to the authorities tomorrow? It would be a great day. What if all cannabis users were to turn themselves in to authorities tomorrow?
    Use your imagination.
    Even though it is illegal, almost everywhere in the world today, it is still the
    NUMBER ONE OR TWO CA$H CROP, in most countries, as this is being written.
    Something you must understand, even though marijuana is this incredible cash crop that the INDUSTRIAL HEMP crop dwarfs marijuana when it comes to world market demand and total market ca$h value. It was a RAW MATERIAL for over 25,000 products in 1935, before it was made against the law, and can be used today for countless more.
    Not only has this unjust, unholy declared war cost us trillions of dollars
    worldwide and ruined millions of lives and negatively impacted billions more,
    but it has stopped us from using one of nature’s most incredible resources. It
    has not only cost us money out of our pockets and love from our spirit but it
    has stopped us from being able to create untold wealth for ourselves. If you
    see it as unclean, then for you it is unclean, but as for me, it is a holy
    plant and a blessing to mankind. Only those unenlightened condemning souls
    absent of Gods’ Love could wish to continue, this war on their own people.
    We do live in a democracy, Thank God, and the government is to represent, we the people. As the people, all things of the government are to put into reality our
    good condition and are to guard our freedoms. That is what I have been told. We
    are not brain-dead idiots and do not wish to be treated as such anymore. All
    those who would wish to continue this unjust, unholy war against the people,
    understand, what you are doing is wrong and Christ will forgive you, but
    mankind might not.
    REMEMBER
    PEACE and LOVE
    GIVE PEACE A CHANCE
    William Conde