Feb 202012
 February 20, 2012

rick santorum is evilRick Santorum’s Stance On Marijuana

If there’s one thing that I can take away from the videos that I have seen about Rick Santorum talking about marijuana, and the things I have read about Rick Santorum talking about marijuana, it’s that he is struggling with this issue. Rick Santorum admits to smoking marijuana in college, yet admits at other times that he doesn’t know anything about marijuana. Rick Santorum says that states have ultimately have all the rights, yet the feds should be in charge of each states’ drug laws. Here is a quote from Rick Santorum from one of the videos I posted below:

“I would make the argument that states have the rights, but they don’t have the right to do anything they want to do…states under the Constitution probably have the right to do it, just like they have the right to do medical marijuana laws, but legally, but I don’t think they morally have the right to do things that are harmful to the people in their community and therefore I think the federal government should step in.” I listened to the audio twenty times to make sure I captured every word that rambled out of Rick Santorum’s uncomfortable mouth.

So let’s break down this quote. Rick Santorum makes the argument that states have the rights, but not to do anything they want to do. I think it’s pretty straight forward – either states have the rights or they don’t. If states can’t do what they want to do, I think it’s logical to conclude that they do not have rights according to Rick Santorum. States can only do what the federal government says they can do according to Rick Santorum’s stance on marijuana. Rick Santorum goes on to make the legal claim that according to the Constitution, states have the legal right to ‘do medical marijuana laws.’ However, Rick Santorum goes on to argue that medical marijuana is a moral issue, that it is ‘harmful to the people in their community,’ and that therefore the federal government should step in.

Wow Mr. Santorum, after admitting that you don’t know much about medical marijuana laws, you sure do have strong opinions about the subject. I agree with Rick Santorum on one thing – medical marijuana is a moral issue. Good morals involves being compassionate toward a suffering human. Good morals involves reserving judgement and not applying stereotypes to something you admittedly know little to nothing about. Good morals involves allowing someone who is suffering to pursue a healthier remedy than the poison that is pushed by the pharmaceutical companies that support Rick Santorum’s campaign. You talk a good game about morals Rick Santorum, but you don’t practice what you preach. Below is some other information that I found on the net. My official grade for Rick Santorum’s marijuana policy is a F-. If Rick Santorum is so willing to bash marijuana policy and bow to the feds before he’s even out of the Republican primaries, imagine what Rick Santorum would do when he gets into office after beating Mitt Romney…the thought of it makes me feel the same way I do when I read the description for Santorum on a Google search!

From 2012.republican-candidates.org – Santorum position on Marijuana

Despite being a user during his time in college, Santorum is not in favor of legalizing marijuana. Santorum explains,

“There is a difference between legitimate issues of character – someone’s behavior – and the issue of whethersomeone who has done something wrong in their life, now because of those mistakes, can’t talk about what is the rightthing to do. Politicians who have stumbled personally, are capable of making values-based arguments. I don’t think that’s hypocritical. That’s a dangerous line that many folks tend to cross over – that because you made a mistake, you can’t talk about this or that issue. We all make mistakes.

For example, I smoked pot when I was in college. Does that mean that I can’t talk about drug use? Does that mean that I can’t talk about how that’s a bad thing? Of course not. You learn from those experiences.”

Even during that time, I knew that what I was doing was wrong. But just because I failed, that does not mean that I shouldn’t be able to talk about it. That’s a different issue. It’s not hypocrisy, as long as you don’t say, ‘I thought it was right, and now think it was wrong.’ If you knew what was going on, and most people do, you have moments of weakness. It happens to all of us. But that should not deter people from talking about what they believe is right.”

March 11, 2011, National Review, Santorum: Let Newt Make His So-Con Case

Santorum repeated his comments half a year later, this time to Piers Morgan on CNN.

“Well, yeah, I admitted you know, back when I was running for the Senate, that when I was in college that I smoked pot and that was something that I did when I was in college. It was something that I’m not proud of, but I did. And said it was something that I wish I hadn’t done. But I did and I admitted it. I would encourage people not to do so. It was not all it’s made up to be.”

Rick Santorum admits he doesn’t know anything about medical marijuana, and gives one of the worst explanations for his position after a anti-gay tirade:

The lady in this video sets up Rick Santorum so well on this question about marijuana. She leaves Santorum no room to dodge the question, kudos:

 

 

Santorum Targets Rick Perry’s Support Of Medical Marijuana

By Phillip Smith

With the contest for the Republican presidential nomination now in full swing, the candidates are looking for any issue on which to attack their competitors. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum thinks that in medical marijuana he has found an issue with which to lay into arguable front-runner Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Santorum is attacking Perry for the latter’s states’ rights approach to medical marijuana, a stance the Texas governor articulated in his book Fed Up! and which his spokesman reaffirmed this week to the Washington Post. In Fed Up!, Perry wrote that while he opposed marijuana legalization, he supported the right of states like California to legalize it themselves.

vote for marijuana“When the federal government oversteps its authority, states should tell Washington they will not be complicit in enforcing laws with which they do not agree,” he wrote. “Again, the best example is an issue I don’t even agree with–the partial legalization of marijuana. Californians clearly want some level of legalized marijuana, be it for medicinal use or otherwise. The federal government is telling them they cannot. But states are not bound to enforce federal law, and the federal government cannot commandeer state resources and require them to enforce it.”

That wasn’t the only reference to marijuana and state rights in the book. “If you don’t support the death penalty and citizens packing a pistol, don’t come to Texas,” Perry wrote. “If you don’t like medicinal marijuana and gay marriage, don’t move to California.”

Queried this week by the Post about the passages, Perry spokesman Mark Miner reaffirmed Perry’s position. “While the governor is personally opposed to legalizing the use of medical marijuana, if states want to allow doctor prescribed medical marijuana, it seems to him that under the 10th Amendment, they have the right to do so.”

That was something Santorum, who is struggling to break into the front ranks, thought he could sink his teeth into. “Gov. Perry was quite clear too in his recently published book, that the definition of marriage should be left up to 50 different state interpretations,” a Santorum spokesman told the Post. “It’s certainly Gov. Perry right to believe marriage can be redefined at the state level, that marijuana can be legalized and that tax dollars should be used to give illegal aliens special college tuition rates, but that’s completely out of touch with what most Americans believe.”

But on medical marijuana, at least, it is Santorum who is out of touch. National polls on medical marijuana in the past decade show support levels of above 60% in every poll, and up into the 80% zone in some polls.

Two other Republican contenders, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico, also support medical marijuana. But Perry’s is the most prominent voice in the pack to adopt a favorable position on the issue.

(This article was published by StoptheDrugWar.org’s lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Artilcle From StoptheDrugWar.orgCreative Commons Licensing

Powered by

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.
  • http://www.advancednutrients.com/hydroponics/index.php Hydroponics

    Romney is a flip flopping say anything.Â

    Ron Paul is the best choice, not because he wants to free hundreds of thousands of blacks and latinos from the biased drug war, and end prohibition, he will stop our evil intentions in the international community.Â

    Obama has shown his real intentions.Â

    P.S.Â
    Please don’t get your information about Ron Paul, from the reefer madness mainstream media.

    • Zachary Everett

      Once again I ask, just how will President Ron Paul, a Republican, get even his own party members in Congress and the Senate to go along with “freeing the hundreds of thousands of blacks and latinos from the biased drug war”? His party is the bastion of the anti drug warriors. I can just see the Republican Congressmen and Senators from GA. TN. MS. VA. FL. OH. AZ. etc etc going along along with that. Wake the hell up already. Sadly, Ron Paul would be the most ineffective President in history. The road to Hell is paved with the good intentions of men like him.

      • Billy Shears

        Zach, by electing this man to the highest office we would certainly put a little fear in the others.  Congressmen and Senators would be forced to realize that the people are tired of being opressed by the moralizing, money hoarding rulers of both parties. Vote for the best man, period.  That’s Ron Paul.

        • Bbeierle21

          Billy Shears, you speak the truth my man.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000337399327 Charles North

    SANTORUM IS A SELLOUT IDIOT!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/buzzzerd1 Jamesh Gee

    No comment really applies to a p.o.s.krone

  • Denbee

    ” but I don’t think they morally have the right to do things that are harmful to the people in their community and therefore I think the federal government should step in.”Â

    Oh yes, how sweet!  Our Federal Government as the upholder of morality!  Is he for real?  I trust my government about as much as I trust my local police.  Almost 50 years of “drug wars” has left me on the fringes of society.  Prohibition and the “drug laws” taught me to trust no one.  They taught me to fear and loath our local jackbooted police.  They taught me that facts and truths don’t seem to matter, that prohibition was really just a huge jobs program for our police, courts and jails.  Waterboarding, watergate, experiments on citizens without their knowlledge, Bay of Pigs, Christmas bombing of Hanoi…and you want our government as morality brokers?  You just lost my vote sir.
    Ron Paul for President!

    • Zachary Everett

      I feel the very same way. However you do understand that Ron Paul is a member of the Republican Party don’y you?  You wouldn’t vote for a KKK member just because he said he would change the current drug policy would you? And assuming he could get through his own party’s primary and become elected to the office of the President, do you truly think he would be willing to use his political capital on drug policy? just how much help do you think his party members in congress would give him on that? It’s laughable to think that Republicans in Congress or the Senate would support President Paul on that issue.

  • guest

    Iv gotten great bud through the mail from buddepot.tk

  • BudsDirect

    wow that sucks to hear because I liked most of the other stuff he has to say, for the most part anyway. He’s had some bad moments and said things to make me say “hmmm” but this was all I needed to hear. He’s not my candidate, thanks for the great article.

    BudsDirect (dot net)

  • Klaus Vorman

    Santorum is a narrow minded bible thumper from the MidWest. Wants life to magically go back to the 1950’s.

  • http://profiles.google.com/mortamus Mort Lew

    We do not need a bible thumper in the white house we do not need any religion in the white house WHAT WE DO NEED IN THE WHITE HOUSE IS SOMEONE WHO CAN LEAD AND NOT FOLLOW LIKE RON PAUL!!!

  • Zachary Everett

    Wow an idiot who can’t finish a statement consisting of just a few sentences without contradicting himself…. running for the highest office in the country. Oh yea I forgot, the Republicans tried that last time with Palin.

  • www.BudsDirect.net

    I personally think you all think to poorly of conservatives. I would consider my self a republican politically and a libertarian when it comes to individual freedoms. I’m a conservative and I believe people should live and die by their own choices, until those choices infringe on the rights of others. I’m a disabled veteran, voted for Bush..TWICE! And he was more of a man and more of a president than Barrack Hussein Obama will ever be. Obama not only broke almost all his promises prior to election, but he’s went even farther than that and has initiated a war on pot unlike any other president in history! Don’t you people research this shit? Go to my site and you can read a couple articles on your Buddy Obama and his current Marijuana Policies. You’ll get closer to legalization with a Republican in office, it’s the truth. Just look at what Obama is doing right now closing 100’s of dispensary’s, raiding collectives, etc… When in 2008 he said it was up to the States to regulate? Now it’s up to HIM and he’s going balls to the wall, shutting down more pot shops than Bush could ever dream of. GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT! REPUBLICANS AREN’T THE ENEMY! Some of you have been seriously led astray. Vote Republican and you’ll see Marijuana legalized within the next 4 years. Vote Obama and you deserve the misery that comes with it.Â

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OEBPGVRDEV3QQBLDLJYO46XAMU Rider

    Someone else who thinks the government knows how you should live and what you should do….go jump in lake…never get my vote.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Justin-George/13752189 Justin George

    Watched Santorum on tv the other day trying to figure out who he was instead of just accepting what people wrote about him in articles. He was big into claiming he wouldn’t let his personal religious beliefs come into play in such a way that he forced them on other people, but if he was honest with himself he would have to admit that’s what he’s doing with marijuana. Alcohol is somehow right and marijuana is somehow wrong? Come on. That is just decades of scare tactic education speaking. That isn’t an actual look at human nature, substance use, and harm reduction. Alcohol is a factor in  73% of all felonies, 73% of child beating cases, 41% of rape cases, 80% of wife battering cases, 72% of stabbings, and 83% of homicides, and this is somehow the ”legal drug” we say is the only acceptable option for adults? How does our logic hold up when we see traffic fatalities drop 9% in states with medical marijuana because alcohol sales dropped? Are we honest enough to face the facts or would we rather cling to our education of fear damn the consequences?

    • Bbeierle21

      It’s kind of sad that the main source of marijuana related violence comes from the government.

    • http://normlsucks.com/ Jose

      He is nothing more than a hypocrite Christian ready to throw the first stone.

  • http://normlsucks.com/ Jose

    If Ron Paul isn’t on the ballot, I’m voting for Obama.  In another four years we have another chance at getting a pro-marijuana president.  I do not trust Santorum at all.

    • Bbeierle21

      Even if Rick gets elected, he can’t just simply change the marijuana laws, the truth spreads every day and the support for medical marijuana continues to grow too.

      Also, If Rick, being a TRUE christian, should be okay with marijuana, as it is one of the main ingredients in the Holy Anointed Oil, in the bible.

      • http://normlsucks.com/ Jose

        Baloney, if Rick was elected he could issue an executive order to cease any further prosecution of marijuana violations at the Federal level.

        And promoting medical marijuana gives new reasons to be sick.  I think we have enough sick people already.

      • http://normlsucks.com/ Jose

        He could also pardon anyone in Federal prison serving only for marijuana violations.  This could all be done on day one.

  • BudsDirect

    @jose3:disqus  please read this:
    Back when he was running for president in 2008, Barack Obama insisted that medical marijuana was an issue best left to state and local governments. “I’m not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue,” he vowed, promising an end to the Bush administration’s high-profile raids on providers of medical pot, which is legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia.But over the past year, the Obama administration has quietly unleashed a multi­agency crackdown on medical cannabis that goes far beyond anything undertaken by George W. Bush. The feds are busting growers who operate in full compliance with state laws, vowing to seize the property of anyone who dares to even rent to legal pot dispensaries, and threatening to imprison state employees responsible for regulating medical marijuana.With more than 100 raids on pot dispensaries during his first three years, Obama is now on pace to exceed Bush’s record for medical-marijuana busts. “There’s no question that Obama’s the worst president on medical marijuana,” says Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “He’s gone from first to worst.”
    The federal crackdown imperils the medical care of the estimated 730,000 patients nationwide — many of them seriously ill or dying — who rely on state-sanctioned marijuana recommended by their doctors. In addition, drug experts warn, the White House’s war on law-abiding providers of medical marijuana will only drum up business for real criminals. “The administration is going after legal dispensaries and state and local authorities in ways that are going to push this stuff back underground again,” says Ethan Nadelmann, director of the Drug Policy Alliance. Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, a former Republican senator who has urged the DEA to legalize medical marijuana, pulls no punches in describing the state of affairs produced by Obama’s efforts to circumvent state law: “Utter chaos.”In its first two years, the Obama administration took a refreshingly sane approach to medical marijuana. Shortly after Obama took office, a senior drug-enforcement official pledged to Rolling Stone that the question of whether marijuana is medicine would now be determined by science, “not ideology.” In March 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder emphasized that the Justice Department would only target medical-marijuana providers “who violate both federal and state law.” The next morning, a headline in The New York Times read OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO STOP RAIDS ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSERS. While all forms of marijuana would remain strictly illegal under federal law — the DEA ranks cannabis as a Schedule I drug, on par with heroin — the feds would respect state protections for providers of medical pot. Framing the Obama administration’s new approach, drug czar Gil Kerlikowske famously declared, “We’re not at war with people in this country.”
    That original hands-off policy was codified in a Justice Department memo written in October 2009 by Deputy Attorney General David Ogden. The so-called “Ogden memo” advised federal law-enforcement officials that the “rational use of its limited investigative and prosecutorial resources” meant that medical-marijuana patients and their “caregivers” who operate in “clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state law” could be left alone.At the same time, Ogden was concerned that the feds not “be made a fool of” by illegal drug traffickers. In that vein, his memo advised U.S. attorneys to focus on going after pot dispensaries that posed as medicinal but were actively engaged in criminal acts, such as selling to minors, possession of illegal firearms or money-laundering. The idea, as Holder put it, was to raid only those hardcore traffickers who “use medical-marijuana laws as a shield.”The Ogden memo sent a clear message to the states: The feds will only intervene if you allow pot dispensaries to operate as a front for criminal activity. States from New Mexico to Maine moved quickly to license and regulate dispensaries through their state health departments — giving medical marijuana unprecedented legitimacy. In California, which had allowed “caregivers” to operate dispensaries, medical pot blossomed into a $1.3 billion enterprise — shielded from federal blowback by the Ogden memo.The administration’s recognition of medical cannabis reached its high-water mark in July 2010, when the Department of Veterans Affairs validated it as a legitimate course of treatment for soldiers returning from the front lines. But it didn’t take long for the fragile federal detente to begin to collapse. The reversal began at the Drug Enforcement Agency with Michele Leonhart, a holdover from the Bush administration who was renominated by Obama to head the DEA. An anti-medical-marijuana hard-liner, Leonhart had been rebuked in 2008 by House Judiciary chairman John Conyers for targeting dispensaries with tactics “typically reserved for the worst drug traffickers and kingpins.” Her views on the larger drug war are so perverse, in fact, that last year she cited the slaughter of nearly 1,000 Mexican children by the drug cartels as a counterintuitive “sign of success in the fight against drugs.”In January 2011, weeks after Leonhart was confirmed, her agency updated a paper called “The DEA Position on Marijuana.” With subject headings like THE FALLACY OF MARIJUANA FOR MEDICINAL USE and SMOKED MARIJUANA IS NOT MEDICINE, the paper simply regurgitated the Bush administration’s ideological stance, in an attempt to walk back the Ogden memo. Sounding like Glenn Beck, the DEA even blamed “George Soros” and “a few billionaires, not broad grassroots support” for sustaining the medical-marijuana movement — even though polls show that 70 percent of Americans approve of medical pot.Almost immediately, federal prosecutors went on the attack. Their first target: the city of Oakland, where local officials had moved to raise millions in taxes by licensing high-tech indoor facilities for growing medical marijuana. A month after the DEA issued its hard-line position, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag warned the city that the feds were weighing “criminal prosecution” against the proposed pot operations. Abandoning the Ogden memo’s protections for state-sanctioned “caregivers,” Haag effectively re-declared war on medical pot. “We will enforce the Controlled Substances Act vigorously against individuals and organizations that participate in unlawful manufacturing and distribution activity involving marijuana,” she wrote, “even if such activities are permitted under state law.” Haag’s warning shot had the desired effect: Oakland quickly scuttled its plans, even though the taxes provided by the indoor grows could have single-handedly wiped out the city’s $31 million deficit.Two months later, federal prosecutors in Washington state went even further, threatening state employees responsible for implementing new regulations for pot dispensaries. U.S. attorneys sent a letter to Gov. Christine Gregoire, warning that state employees “would not be immune from liability under the Controlled Substances Act.” Shocked by the threat — “It subjected Washington state employees to felony criminal prosecution!” — Gregoire vetoed the new rules. A similar federal threat in Rhode Island forced Chafee to follow suit, putting an indefinite hold on the planned opening of three state-licensed “compassion centers” to distribute marijuana to seriously ill patients.In isolation, such moves might be seen as the work of overzealous U.S. attorneys, who operate with considerable autonomy. But last June, the Justice Department effectively declared that it was returning to the Bush administration’s hard-line stance on medical marijuana. James Cole, who had replaced Ogden as deputy attorney general, wrote a memo revoking his predecessor’s deference to states on the definition of “caregiver.” The term, Cole insisted, applied only to “individuals providing care to individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses, not commercial operations cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana.” Pot dispensaries, in short, were once again prime federal targets, even if they were following state law to the letter. “The Cole memo basically adopted the Bush policy,” says Kampia, “which was only that the Justice Department will not go after individual patients.”In reality, however, the Obama administration has also put patients in the cross hairs. Last September, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms moved to deprive Americans who use medical marijuana of their gun rights. In an open letter to gun sellers, the ATF warned that it is unlawful to sell “any firearm or ammunition” to “any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for me dicinal purposes.” If your doctor advises you to use medicinal pot, in other words, you can no longer legally own a gun. Hunting advocates were outraged. Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat from Montana, wrote a furious letter calling on the Justice Department to reassess its “chilling” policy, declaring it “unacceptable that law-abiding citizens would be stripped of their Second Amendment rights.”Since the federal crackdown began last year, the DEA has raided dozens of medical-cannabis dispensaries from Michigan to Montana. Haag, the U.S. attorney for Northern California, claims the federal action is necessary because the state’s legalized pot dispensaries have been “hijacked by profiteers” who are nothing more than criminals.
    It’s true that California has no shortage of illegal pot dealers. Nonmedical marijuana is the state’s largest cash crop, raking in an estimated $14 billion a year. And demand is growing, in part because former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger thwarted a ballot measure aimed at full legalization in 2010 by removing criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of pot. But instead of focusing limited federal resources on off-the-grid growers in places like Humboldt County, who are often armed and violent, Haag targeted Matthew Cohen, a medical-marijuana farmer in Mendocino who was growing 99 plants under the direct supervision of the county sheriff. As part of a pioneering collaboration with local law enforcement, Cohen marked each of his plants with county-supplied tags, had his secured facility inspected and distributed the mari­juana he grew directly to patients in his nonprofit collective.Cohen appeared to be precisely the kind of caregiver that the Ogden memo advised should be given safe harbor for operating in “clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state law.” But last October, DEA agents stormed Cohen’s farm in the middle of the night and cut down his crop. Sheriff Tom Allman, who learned of the raid on his turf only an hour before it was executed, was outraged. “Matt Cohen was not in violation of any state or local ordinances when federal agents arrived at his location,” Allman says. In January, Haag took the fight to the next level, threatening county officials like Allman with federal sanctions. Three weeks later, county supervisors voted to abandon the program to license and monitor Mendocino’s legal growers. “This is a huge step backward,” says Allman.Haag’s treatment of urban dispensaries has been equally ham-handed. She recently shuttered one of the oldest dispensaries in the state, a nonprofit that serves a high percentage of female patients in Marin County, which has the nation’s highest rate of breast cancer. She has threatened to seize the properties that landlords rent to legal pot dispensaries. And in San Francisco, she targeted Divinity Tree, a cooperative run by a quadriplegic who himself relies on prescribed cannabis for relief from near-constant muscle spasms. At a time of high unemployment and huge budget deficits, the move killed more than a dozen jobs and deprived the state of $180,000 in annual tax revenue. In San Diego alone, the feds have shut down nearly two-thirds of the county’s dispensaries. Statewide, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union estimates, the federal crackdown has destroyed some 2,500 jobs in California. It also sent street prices soaring by at least 20 percent, putting more money in the hands of actual criminals.In addition, the federal war on medical marijuana has locked pot dispensaries out of the banking system — especially in Colorado, home to the nation’s second-largest market for medicinal cannabis. Top banks — including Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America — are refusing to do business with state-licensed dispensaries, for fear of federal prosecution for money-laundering and other federal drug crimes. In a House hearing in December, Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado warned Attorney General Holder that strong-arming banks will actually raise the likelihood of crime. If pot dispensaries have to work outside the normal financial system, Polis told Holder, “it makes the industry harder for the state to track, to tax, to regulate them, and in fact makes it prone to robberies, because it becomes a cash business.”The IRS has also joined in the administration’s assault on pot dispensaries, seeking to deny them standard tax deductions enjoyed by all other businesses. Invoking an obscure provision of the tax code meant to trip up drug kingpins, the IRS now maintains that pot dispensaries can deduct only one expense — ironically, the cost of the marijuana itself. All other normal costs of doing business — including employee salaries and benefits, rent, equipment, electricity and water — have been denied.
    The agency has used the provision to go after Harborside Health Center, one of the largest and most respected providers of medical cannabis in California. Its Oakland branch, serving 83,000 patients in conforming with state law, paid more than $1 million in city taxes last year — placing it in the top 10 percent of local businesses. “It’s incredibly tightly run and very, very professional,” says Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance. “But it’s also big — and it may be that big is bad as far as the feds are concerned.” Slapped with an IRS bill for $2.5 million in back taxes, Harborside now faces bankruptcy. “It’s profoundly inaccurate to characterize us as a ‘drug-trafficking’ organization,” says Harborside president Steve DeAngelo. “We are a nonprofit community-service organization that helps sick and suffering people get the medicine they need to be well. This is not an attempt to tax us — it’s an attempt to tax us out of existence.”
    Supporters of medical mari­juana are baffled by Obama’s abrupt about-face on the issue. Some blame the federal crackdown not on the president, but on career drug warriors determined to go after medical pot. “I don’t think the federal onslaught is being driven by the highest levels of the White House,” says Nadelmann. “What we need is a clear statement from the White House that federal authorities will defer to responsible local regulation.”The White House, for its part, insists that its position on medical pot has been “clear and consistent.” Asked for comment, a senior administration official points out that the Ogden memo was never meant to protect “such things as large-scale, privately owned industrial marijuana cultivation centers” like the one in Oakland. But the official makes no attempt to explain why the administration has permitted a host of federal agencies to revive the Bush-era policy of targeting state-approved dispensaries. “Somewhere in the administration, a decision was made that it would be better to close down legal, regulated systems of access for patients and send them back to the street, back to criminals,” says DeAngelo. “That’s what’s really at stake.”The administration’s retreat on medical pot is certainly consistent with its broader election-year strategy of seeking to outflank Republicans on everything from free trade to offshore drilling. Obama’s advisers may be betting that a tough-on-pot stance will shore up the president’s support among seniors in November, as well as voters in Southern swing states like Virginia and North Carolina that are less favorable to drug reform. But the president could pay a steep price for his anti-pot crackdown this fall, particularly if it winds up alienating young voters in swing states like Colorado, where two-thirds of residents support medical mari­juana. In November, Colorado voters will likely consider a referendum to legalize all pot use for adults — and undercutting enthusiasm for the issue will only dampen turnout that could benefit the president. “Medical marijuana is twice as popular as Obama,” notes Kampia. “It doesn’t make any political sense.”
    The sharpest and most surprising rebuke to the administration has come from centrist governors who are fed up with the war on medicinal pot. In November, Gregoire and Chafee issued a bipartisan petition to the DEA, asking the agency to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug, the same as cocaine and meth — one with a recognized medicinal value, despite its high potential for abuse. “It’s time to show compassion, and it’s time to show common sense,” says Gregoire. “We call on the federal government to end the confusion and the unsafe burden on patients.”A petition by two sitting governors is historic — but it’s unlikely to shift federal policy. Last June, after a nine-year delay, the Obama administration denied a similar petition. An official at the Department of Health and Human Services left little hope for reclassification, reiterating the Bush-era position that there is “no accepted medical use for marijuana in the United States.”
    For law-enforcement officials who handle marijuana on the front lines, such attitudes highlight how out of touch the administration has become. “Whether you call it medical or recreational, the marijuana genie is out of the bottle, and there’s no one who’s going to put it back in,” insists Sheriff Allman of Mendocino, whose department had been targeted by federal prosecutors for its attempts to regulate medical pot. “For federal officials who plug their ears and say, ‘No, it’s not true, it’s not true,’ I have some words for them: You need to get over it.”
    The story is from the March 1, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone.