obama medical marijuana enforcement
Ending Marijuana Prohibition Marijuana Video

Obama: More States Likely To Legalize Marijuana

obama medical marijuana enforcementYesterday Barack Obama did an interview with Hank Green on YouTube. There were a lot of topics covered, but by far the most intriguing to marijuana supporters was a brief segment on Obama’s views on marijuana. I want to thank Tom Angell for making that segment happen, because I saw him asking over and over about it happening on YouTube via Twitter. I’m glad Hank Green listened! Tom Angell also broke the story to the marijuana world in his article for Marijuana.Com, an excerpt of which can be found below:

“What you’re seeing now is Colorado, Washington through state referenda, they’re experimenting with legal marijuana,” the president said in response to a question from SciShow and VlogBrothers host Hank Green.

“The position of my administration has been that we still have federal laws that classify marijuana as an illegal substance, but we’re not going to spend a lot of resources trying to turn back decisions that have been made at the state level on this issue. My suspicion is that you’re gonna see other states start looking at this.”

Obama’s words on their face are not that revolutionary. Of course more states are going to legalize marijuana. With so much momentum from recent victories, public opinion, and so many solid efforts being pursued across the country, it’s fairly obvious that more states will legalize marijuana. However, the words are still very significant in that Obama could have chuckled and scoffed at the question, similar to what he has done in the past. However, he answered the question straight on, he didn’t brush it aside. And while he smiled while the questions were being asked, Obama didn’t do it in a smart ass kind of way that he has in the past.

Kevin Sabet was quick to declare the response from the President as a blow to the marijuana community because Obama didn’t say straight up that he supports legalization. While that would have been great for marijuana activists, the fact that he didn’t straight up say that he opposes all efforts should actually be seen as a defeat for marijuana opponents like Mr. Sabet. If I were Kevin Sabet, I wouldn’t being chiming in on the President’s stance. And trust me Kevin, when a United States President inevitably expresses full support for legalization, and it’s inevitable Kevin, it will mean game over for people like you, at which point you will finally have to get a real job.

The full video of the marijuana segment can be found below:

  • Valient

    The sad part is that you know that they can’t ask questions that he can’t skirt around.

    Something like “Marijuana’s legal status is based solely on the criteria in the Controlled Substances Act. We now have overwhelming scientific and medical evidence that it doesn’t match any criteria to be scheduled at all, let alone be considered one of the most harmful drugs. Your Attorney General or Secretary of Health and Human Services could change its schedule at any time without any fear of (legally backed) Congressional interference or complaint. Why is it still Schedule 1?”

  • $20 A LID

    “The position of my administration has been that we still have federal laws that classify marijuana as an illegal substance”. Am I wrong or hasn’t he had the SOLE power to declassify marijuana all along? I was led to believe that either the president or the attorney general had the ability to do that.

    • I think he is expecting the courts to overthrow the CSA. See my other comment on this thread:

      http://www.theweedblog.com/obama-more-states-likely-to-legalize-marijuana/#comment-1813777295

      ====

      Sometimes the price is sixty-five dollars… ;-)

      • You just linked back to this thread. And when you brought this up before, I asked you which court case you were talking about, and you never answered.

        • Of course I linked back to this thread. It is what I said I was doing.

          And I may have missed the notification of your question. I don’t read my e-mails some times. I’m busy.

  • Jeff deutsch

    President Obama has the power to issue an order to remove Marijuana from Schedule.1 and should do so immediately. Its wrong to make America’s Cancer patients wait even one second longer. They’re Americans suffering and dying in pain.

  • Jeff deutsch

    Please call the whitehouse comment line at (202) 456-1111 and ask that President Obama use his executive authority to remove Marijuana from Schedule 1 immediately. There also two petitions you can electronically sign at petitions.whitehouse.gov. One to remove Marijuana from Schedule 1 and one to legalize it completely. You can also email the President by going to whitehouse.gov and clicking on “contact us”. While you’re at it, contact your senators and congressional representatives as well. Ask your friends to do the same thing. The more people who do so, the faster things will change for the better.

  • Helen

    He basically said enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act is unconstitutional when he said there is a potential for unequal application of the law in medical states versus states where it’s illegal. That violates the Equal Sovereignty clause of the U.S. Constitution.

    • That was not the CSA. It was the law passed by the Republican House (I’m sure Supak will show up to tell me more Democrats supported it) that prevented enforcement of the CSA in MMJ states.

      That of course refers to the Schweder case: http://edca.typepad.com/eastern_district_of_calif/2015/01/recent-schweder-marijuana-case-filings.html

      I think he is expecting it to overthrow the CSA with respect to cannabis.

      • If my name was Stupak, I’d be related to a Vegas Billionaire or a retired conservative Democratic Representative from Michigan.

        “It was the law passed by the Republican House”

        If 20% of Republicans join 92% of the Democrats, you still call this “passed by the Republican House”?

        And you say you’re not a Republican.

        • Fixed your name. And my name is Simon. Related to the Omaha Simons. ;-)

          I’m a libertarian. And it was passed by a Republican house. Just with Democrats in the majority. Thing is there are procedural rules the Republicans could have used to block it. They didn’t. That is significant. It means that even though they are silent they are silently in favor.

          I got that word last year from our lobbyist in Congress, Howard Wooldridge. You should sign up for his newsletter. He said roughly, “A lot more Republicans are in favor of ending Prohibition than will come out and say so.”

      • Helen

        Nah, he made no reference whatsoever to the congressional defunding action. He spoke exclusively about his administration’s approach, so when he said “it” presents the possibility of unequal application of the law, he was referring to his adadministration’s policy not to enforce the CSA in MMJ or recreational states under certain circumstances, as expressed in the Cole Memo.

        • Look at this case:

          http://edca.typepad.com/eastern_district_of_calif/2015/01/schweder-post-evidentiary-hearing-briefing-and-section-538-of-recent-appropriations-law-.html

          It is about the unequal application of the laws based on the actions of Congress. I would bet he is following it.

          • Helen

            I’m a lawyer who has been following Schweder and I’ve read every brief. The Equal Sovereignty case is based on unequal application of both the CSA and, now, Section 538 of the new spending act. Your initial comment on my post was “That was not the CSA” and that comment is wrong. Obama was referring only to his administration’s application of the CSA being possibility unequal. I understand that the Schweder case now also implicates the defunding statute.

          • OK. You may be right. OTOH I could be correct. (probably inartfully expressed) In any case a minor point. The best thing is that the whole dang system of Prohibition is crumbling.

          • Helen

            I just hope Judge Mueller doesn’t find that the defunding statute is unconstitutional without also finding that the CSA is unconstitutional. Seems like that would be a win for the DEA. And that could well happen – the defunding statute is unequal ON ITS FACE – that is, it actually lists the MMJ states by name – whereas the CSA does not. Although such a ruling would have no precedential value, the DEA might be emboldened to use appropriation funds to raid medical growers/sellers, at least in the territories of the Eastern District of Calif.

          • I hadn’t thought of that. But given the evidence presented (link for those not following closely)

            http://edca.typepad.com/files/doc-378–amended-defense-brief.pdf

            I don’t see how cannabis stays in Schedule One. The only question for me is what schedule the Judge will put it in. Herbal would be very good. But anything other than One would break the dam.

            The other thing that seems obvious to me is that the government case is very weak and they have not done their best to win. I think the fix is in They want to lose. The question then becomes – will they appeal it or wait for other districts to address the issue? I think it will go to the Supreme Court. Sooner or later.

          • Helen

            The judge has no authority to reschedule or deschedule cannabis, unfortunately. And she can dispose of this Motion to Dismiss without even ruling on the Schedule 1 question. But even if it doesn’t go our way, let’s not lose sight of the fact that cannabis FINALLY got its day in court, and the importance of that cannot be understated. We don’t get a chance to effectively cross examine Kevin Sabet when he appears on cable news shows. Nancy Grace is not subject to the rules of federal evidence when she spews her lunacy. And we’ve never had the chance to fully present our case in open court with the testimony of scientific and medical experts, patients, and hundreds of pages of legal arguments, facts, and logic. So regardless of the outcome, this case is already a massive victory for cannabis law reform that will start the dominoes falling in courts around the country, and that is what will force Congress or the DEA to reschedule, or more appropriately, deschedule, cannabis.

          • Can’t the Judge declare the law null when it comes to cannabis?

          • Helen

            No. Well, she can declare it null as to this case and these defendants only. She can say the scheduling is unconstitutional, dismiss this specific case, and let the defendants out of jail – where some have been held for three years already – that’s about it. If the same defense is used by marijuana defendants in other courts, those other courts do not have to follow her lead because Federal District Courts have no precedential value. If other marijuana defendants make the same case in the the Eastern District of California, her colleagues on the bench – that is, other Eastern District judges – will probably rule the same way she did for purposes of consistency and unity unless they feel very strongly that she was wrong. If the government appeals and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirms Judge Mueller’s decision, then prosecutors will have a very difficult time trying to convict marijuana defendants in any of the 9 western states that the 9th Circuit encompasses. But even that wouldn’t change the scheduling, although it would likely force the DEA to reschedule if they ever wanted to convict another marijuana defendant in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Alaska, or Hawaii under the CSA.

  • Nathaniel

    There is something to be said for this interview: Obama is essentially catering to states rights regarding this issue. He said just as much which indicates to me he is in favor of allowing states to figure this out on their own. Any additional support, even in a back handed fashion, is good for the community at large.
    The reason Obama has not come out for a complete repeal of prohibition is probably several layers thick.
    First and foremost we have to remember he is the voice for an entire party. What he says, and how he says it, speaks volumes for a party that just took a beating in the mid terms. He cannot risk further alienation and expect to get anything else done while he is still in office.
    Secondly, he has a wealth of lobbyists that put him in office that are not ready for prohibition to disappear. There are far too many corporations making a mint off having pot illegal and many of them contributed to his campaigns.

    Lastly, I think he, and his staff, are acutely aware that this is still a divisive issue in many parts of the country. As a supposed representative for all of the nation it is his duty to carefully weigh all of the opinions regarding marijuana and consider there is merit in many different views points.
    This interview, as it was, showcases his ability to be a spectacular politician while continuing to keep his friends [the corps that got him elected] happy enough.
    I did not vote for him, but I can understand why folks did. He is very charismatic and, at times, honest. That does not happen in this modern age of politics.

    • Here’s what I can’t stand, though, about Obama’s position here… If states wanted to, say, treat black people like second class citizens again, should the states get to do that? If not, why? Because black people have rights as US citizens which no states can violate. Obama believes this.

      So, why, then, do people who say, need a cheap, widely available, easy to produce medicine not get those same rights? Do we not have a right to the best medicines? Do we not have a right to privacy with out Doctors (abortion, for example). Or do states have a right to force women to give birth to their rapist’s baby? To deny pain medications doctors think are best?

      Obama seems to always be a moderate. Pragmatic. Careful. He didn’t want to get out ahead of the public on gay marriage, and he doesn’t want to get out in front of this. But now he openly says that marriage is a right for ALL Americans. This is not something he said when he ran for office the first time.

      And rescheduling is not something he promised either time he ran. But you can tell that he’s trying to move the ball incrementally instead of throwing the Hail Mary. There’s something to be said about that. He’d piss off a lot of hippie punchers if he just up and reschedules, so he’s trying to avoid getting them all riled up by being a little more stealthy about it. Letting the culture catch up, yada yada.

      Meanwhile, people suffer needlessly. It’s one of the things that sucks most about our Democracy. It’s slow. But it sure beats the alternatives.

      • Nathaniel

        And I think this is why he has not bothered to attempt to ‘throw the Hail Mary” as you put it. Things move very slowly at a national level because of the complications I mentioned earlier.
        Those other practices you proposed do not really correlate what we are talking about here. Any one of those predicaments you proposed would be eviscerated by the general public, not so with the marijuana issue. Just because ≈55%, or so, of Americans support decriminalization of some sort does not mean there is a mandate from the masses to outright repeal prohibition.
        There absolutely are those who are suffering from not having quality, inexpensive meds, and as a result are living a life riddled with a bit of turmoil, but I can’t readily say there are millions suffering. Thousands? Sure. Tens of thousands? Maybe, but there likely aren’t hundreds of thousands that have real need that do not have access.
        I am all for complete removal of prohibition of all drugs, but I can say that with the job I have, with no one hanging on my every word. Obama does not have that luxury so he must be a bit more revised in what he says and how he says it.

        • “Those other practices you proposed do not really correlate what we are talking about here.”

          They most certainly do. A federal right is a federal right and no state can take it away. That was the whole point of ending Jim Crow with the Civil Rights Act. It was the whole point of ending slavery. It’s been the whole balance of power battle since day one in this country.

          “Any one of those predicaments you proposed would be eviscerated by the general public”

          They have 20 week bans on abortion all over the country. There are majorities in some states that would ban all abortions if they could.

          But whether those things would happen or not isn’t the question. They question is should the Federal Government allow them to happen? Do states have the right to discirminate against gay people marrying? No. But plenty of them are still trying to.

          “but I can’t readily say there are millions suffering. ”

          How much unneccesary suffering, exactly, is OK?

          • Nathaniel

            The supreme court ruling regarding gay marriage has not yet been decided. http://www.aol.com/article/2015/01/16/us-supreme-court-to-rule-on-same-sex-marriage-this-year/21131049/?ModPagespeed=noscript
            I could not find federal limits on abortion, be them late stage availability, dangers to the mother, or regarding rape or incest. Perhaps you have a credible link?
            Slavery will never return regardless of the few wingnuts that continue to exist.
            You have to ask yourself how much political capital is it worth? Right or wrong Obama opted to spend very little regarding this grassroots push to federally legalize.
            To answer your question, how much unnecessary suffering is OK? None in my opinion, but I am not president. If I was I would most certainly approach the problem from a different perspective.

          • I’m aware the court hasn’t decided, but I have. People have a right to marry. A FEDERAL RIGHT. No state has the right to take that away from them. And if the court rules the wrong way, it will be like Dred Scott. The court might say people don’t have a right, but the court is wrong, and will, hopefully, correct it’s mistake as it did, eventually, with Dred Scott.

            And I wasn’t talking about federal limits on abortion, although there are, like the Hyde Amendment.* I was talking about state restrictions. And again, that’s the point. I don’t think states should be allowed to deny Americans their rights.

            Are you familiar with the 9th amendment?

            “Slavery will never return regardless of the few wingnuts that continue to exist.”

            You’re missing the point, which is that state’s SHOULDN’T have the right to return to Jim Crow, or slavery… The fact that they likely wouldn’t has nothing to do with the point that they SHOULDN’T be allowed to.

            Understand?

            State’s rights have limits. That’s what ending Jim Crow, and ending slavery, was all about. The federal government protects the rights of all Americans. No state can take them away.

            * And related laws…

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyde_Amendment

            > The Stupak–Pitts Amendment, an amendment to the Affordable Health Care for America Act, was introduced by Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan. It prohibits use of Federal funds “to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion” except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother,[9] and was included in the bill as passed by the House of Representatives on November 7, 2009. However, the Senate bill passed by the House on March 21, 2010 did not contain that Hyde Amendment language. As part of an agreement between Rep. Stupak and President Obama to secure Stupak’s vote, the President issued an executive order on March 24, 2010 affirming that the Hyde Amendment would extend to the new bill.

  • Kevin Sabet* concern trolling….

    * Long time right wing nut job:

    > Kevin Abraham Sabet-Sharghi, Ph.D., aka Kevin Sabet, has been a headline-grabbing right-winger ever since his U.C. Berkeley days—where he did not study science or medicine despite his current appointment as an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Florida.

    http://www.alternet.org/drugs/5-biggest-lies-anti-pot-propagandist-kevin-sabet

    “Yes, Obama duped young people by not doing every single thing they want. So now, they’ll all vote Republican. It’s like when I want some bread, I won’t settle for half a loaf. Instead, I will have a muffin of broken glass.”–Stephen Colbert

    • ACA is hitting the young particularly hard. And every year for a while it is going to hit harder.

      • Troll much, or just learning?

        Honestly. Who said anything about the ACA?

        But since you mentioned it, I guess I can’t just let you bullshit unchallenged.

        http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/29/upshot/obamacare-who-was-helped-most.html

        > The biggest winners from the law include people between the ages of 18 and 34; blacks; Hispanics; and people who live in rural areas. The areas with the largest increases in the health insurance rate, for example, include rural Arkansas and Nevada; southern Texas; large swaths of New Mexico, Kentucky and West Virginia; and much of inland California and Oregon.

        > Each of these trends is going in the opposite direction of larger economic patterns. Young people have fared substantially worse in the job market than older people in recent years. Blacks and Hispanics have fared worse than whites and Asians. Rural areas have fallen further behind larger metropolitan areas.

        What hit young people hard was supply-side economics. The very core of the GOP soul, which you Glibertarians want to practice in an even more extreme form.

        For example, do you support repealing Reagan’s EMTALA (which says ERs have to treat patients even if they can’t pay)?

        • Uh. Going from not buying insurance to paying any amount is an infinite increase. And the young typically didn’t buy insurance. It didn’t seem like a good bet unless it was part of a job.

          You know, that was one of the premises of ACA. Getting the young in the insurance pool to help cover expenses. Which is why the young don’t like it.

          ================

          How Much Does Obamacare Rip Off Young Adults? We Ran The Numbers.

          Obamacare is still struggling to sign up young people. In order to offset the high cost of the older, and probably less healthy people who are joining Obamacare plans, the White House must coerce a sufficient number of thirty-somethings to also join. Problem is, the health plans are too pricey to make economic sense for many young adults.

          Just how costly are the Obamacare plans for young beneficiaries?

          We ran the numbers. Here are our results:

          ================

          Well you have to admit the ACA is a boon to the ranks of the enforcers. So there is that.

          ================

          Cannabis medicine fully exploited could save $1 trillion a year in medical expenses.

          • Infinite increase? Going from 0 to a small amount isn’t an infinite increase. Your propensity for ridiculous right wing assertions belies your supposed non Republican-ness.

            First, the ACA doesn’t need young people so much as it needs healthy people. In fact, healthy old people are even better, since they pay more.

            Second, many young people found they ALREADY qualified for Medicaid and just didn’t know it (woodwork effect). Many more got Medicaid under the expansion, if their state took it.

            Third, not having insurance is very risky, even for young people. When something bad happens, they go bankrupt, and we all get stuck with the bills. I thought you glibertarians were all about NOT having other people take free rides on the rest of us?

            So, either you repeal Reagan’s EMTALA so these kids can just die when something happens and they can’t afford the care, or you get them covered. I’d prefer Medicare for all. What’s your idea, TROLL?

            “the health plans are too pricey to make economic sense for many young adults.”

            As for that bullshit, well, it’s just bullshit. Even without subsidies, plans for younger people are much cheaper than the $350 a month (nonsubsidized) plan my wife gets. And if they’re making enough to not get subsidies, then they should pay their own way instead of free riding off the rest of us.

        • Poll: Millennials turn on Obama, don’t like Obamacare, either

          President Obama’s approval rating among Americans age 18 to 29 – so-called Millennials – is at an all-time low, with nearly half saying they’d recall him.

          • My kid doesn’t like paying his car insurance bill either. Boo hoo. And if you’d read the NYT article, which you obviously didn’t, you probably would have spared me this latest bit of glib trolling.

            What you avoided, though, is the real tell… Now, do you support repealing the EMTALA? Or not?

  • Sinclair

    At least something was said to bad it wasn’t on national tv. As for Kevin sabotage (auto correct)(that’s funny ) He’s a parasites he will find something he can leach on.

  • Johnny oneye

    Who is “we”

  • Youngblood

    At least it was a positive comment! Has anyone started a pro & con list on this very for real fight? Well if not someone needs to & if someone has please share it with the whole world!! Us pee ons should have first say instead of politicians. Once the political people see the economy grow from this plant that grows naturally with no added chemicals, then maybe they will lighten up with a joint! Ya never know they might like it!

  • RobertChase

    Obama never had the gumption to take on federal Prohibition directly, opting instead in effect to defer to state laws on cannabis. This strategy does force Fascist (Republican) prohibitionists to militate for federal power as opposed to states rights on the subject, but it does nothing to change the unconstitutional classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug or to challenge the irrational and draconian criminal penalties for cannabis and other drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. More to the point, a policy of not enforcing federal law that directly contradicts state laws cannot be pursued indefinitely; it is an open question as to whether even a Collaborationist (Democrat) would continue Obama’s policy regarding cannabis and there is ample reason to doubt that a Fascist (Republican) would. It would certainly be a calamity for all the budtenders et alia who moved to Denver to work in the cannabis-industry if it is ordered closed in two years, and this is an imminent possibility.

    We need to realize that retail cannabis is seated under the Sword of Damocles, and to understand what dire penalties are still being applied to people outside the State-sanctioned system. Making cannabis more acceptable is fraught with difficulties; unfortunately, our greatest impediment is that so many are oblivious of how far we are from that goal: most people who use cannabis do not grasp that the plethora of felonies for cannabis under State law stands as an absolute repudiation of the notion that cannabis is OK, even in Colorado. If we want freedom, we must organize politically; time is running out before we may be confronted with the loss of even the taste of it we have had so far.

  • tromy

    Just wondering how long the Sabet troll will continue receiving his funding for being an idiot.

    • My guess is that his funding will outlive federal cannabis prohibition.

  • SeahagNW

    I hope we can encourage the president to declassify marijuana before he leaves office. Then it can be studied and used for medicine by those that already know of its healing powers.

  • DCS90

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