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Obama: States Reforming Marijuana Laws Could Lead To Federal Rescheduling

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barack obama marijuanaPresident Obama has been frustrating in a lot of ways to marijuana activists. Has he taken some steps to reform marijuana laws? Sure. For instance his administration late last year issued a memo stating that if Native American tribes wanted to cultivate and sell marijuana on tribal lands, that would be OK. But President Obama has dropped the ball a lot too in regards to marijuana reform, especially when it comes to rescheduling marijuana.

The fact that marijuana in classified as a Schedule I substance according to the federal government is a slap in the face to logic and science. In a recent interview with Vice Barack Obama stated the following:

“We may be able to make some progress on the decriminalization side. At a certain point, if enough states end up decriminalizing, then Congress may then reschedule marijuana,”

That statement in itself is very frustrating, because 1) if Obama can concede that progress is being made at the state level, and that those reforms will influence Congress, why doesn’t he get on the right side of history and fight for the inevitable, and 2) why does Obama constantly try to pass the task of rescheduling marijuana to Congress, when he can start the process himself? This is something that Marijuana Majority’s Tom Angell has pointed out over and over. Below is what Tom had to say in reaction to President Obama’s comments:

“The president is right that as voters force more and more changes to state marijuana laws, national policymakers will have no choice but to catch up. But he should think again about how important this issue is. On average, there’s a marijuana possession arrest in the U.S. about every minute. Billions of dollars are wasted on enforcing prohibition laws that don’t stop anyone from using marijuana but do ruin people’s lives with damaging criminal records. And the black market is controlled by drug cartels and gangs that use violence to protect their profits. This is a serious issue, and the president needs to treat it as such. In fact, his administration can reschedule marijuana without any further Congressional action needed. He should do that.”

Below is the full interview that Obama did with Vice:

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33 Comments

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  3. Lonnie barber on

    I had the same thoughts about the grammar and spelling. If you aren’t interested in your own language enough to try communicating correctly,why try?

  4. ĐΣFΣCŦΣĐ on

    well Obama constant lies bothers me. He failed as a president and we should point that out.

  5. He has nothing to do with Bush, and the continued attempts to blame him for Obama’s failed promises are lame.

  6. In reality, it all starts at the top and trickles down when it comes to government-related issues, so no, Obama is not off the hook on this issue because he’s some promises throughout his tenure that have never been acted upon and likely were never serious for him, but they made good sound bites.

  7. He doesn’t have a prayer if he runs, but at least he tells the truth about the way he views Cannabis.
    His heart attack stunt on TV was funny, but really all it accomplished was getting a few laughs at the time and few people take him serious as a presidential candidate.

  8. Given his ever increasing arrogant mindset, habitual failure to come through of his promises, and general disregard for the country, odds are nearly nil that he’ll do anything meaningful on this issue.

  9. Or in other words, IF the feds rescheduled cannabis, then the state of Washington could finally and LEGALLY collect taxes on their so called recreational cannabis scheme after nearly 2.5 years after the election that made it so?? Well…I’m half right as they’ve been collecting taxes and breaking federal law since this hair-brained idea was hatched. But what’s a little law breaking amongst friends anyways, huh??

  10. Let’s move the Narrative away from one of partisanship to one of finding the better solution. Legalization is getting a lot of traction in more and more States. Everything seems to be falling into line for Legalization. If you have Politicians that are on the wrong side of History, make them history. Vote the bumbs out. The top GOP presidential candidates are all falling in line rather nicely; do they see the writing on the wall.?.. Only a true Reefer Madness believer will fight the known truth and accepted facts. It is a form of willful iignorance , thus the madness.

  11. For all of the many policy failures he has endured these past 6 years, Rescheduling and moves towards decriminalization, could be his Legacy. He could take claim to truly being on the right side of History. He could make moves to truly healing this Nation, physically, economically, social~in a community organizer~justice sort of way. It would be another missed opportunity to do the right thing.

  12. Police took turns beating the crap out of me and my handcuffed friends because marijuana is illegal. No I wasn’t provoking the police PR anything, I’m a very rational and peaceful person. In fact, during this incident, we wete all saying “why arr you doing this? What did we do? Wr have a right to know!!!” But since we wete 19 atvthe time, they figured we didnt lnow anything. So ignorant. I knew my right when i was 15. Why? Cuz i knew that someday something absurdly disturbing like this would be thrown in my face. Because that just america….. Messed as hell. Then after all that, we didn’t have to pay a penny cuz they realized they werent dealing with typical 19 year olds, but also said we can’t go around telling people about this. Wtf??? I’m going to tell everyone and their mother until Obama hears about it…. Or at least till those bully cops get fired. Now when I see them around the cities I just smile at them cuz I know I’m stronger minded than some asshole cops who still act like high schoolers…. /end rant of truth

  13. Lawrence Goodwin on

    Right on, PeaceOnEarth! I voted for Gary Johnson in 2012, and I will again if he runs next time. Most of the man’s radical ideas seem rather sensible. I go bonkers every time someone scoffs at Johnson’s candidacy, saying “he’ll never win.” It’s widespread apathy among our fellow voters that truly dooms us to the campaigns of only Democrats and Republicans. The gridlock on cannabis policy will not break until we try something completely different. Go Gary Johnson! Let the growers of Cannabis sativa, indica, etc. be free once again in these United States!

  14. Dear Mr. President: All you have to do is make a couple of phone calls to the lawyers in the basement, then pick up one of your fancy White House pens and sign on the dotted line. Done. Sure, the next President could override your action, but they would have to be insane. The bottom line: you don’t want marijuana legalization as part of your “legacy.” Congress mostly doesn’t want it because their richest donors are opposed, and the fun-money would dry up. Only we want it. and we’re going to have to fight for it in every state until the feds finally cave. Democracy at work?

  15. First It’s because Obama will only do the minimum on reform he doesn’t think it’s his problem when he will be out of office in 2016. I can guarantee that if we were at the same point 6 years ago as we are today our President would be doing mire for legalization since he would do what it takes to be re-elected.
    Secondly legalization and rescheduling Marijuana will hurt the black market but also stop the criminal minded assholes that like to rob legal medical Marijuana growers. I can think of 3 different families terrorized by armed robbery looking for a easy score. One such family lost a 19 yr old daughter and sister because the robbers took her and put her in the trunk of a car and then started shooting her between the legs. What kind of sick fuck do this? All for her step fathers personal plants. This is what legalization can and will stop. It will stop the criminals who pray on the legal growers.

  16. I don’t like this at all. It doesn’t show leadership of any sort.

    By saying we should be more worried about the economy, jobs, war and peace, and climate change… he misses the point. The Drug War has an effect on all those things:

    1. Legalization generates jobs and tax revenues, instead of the financial waste of fighting the Drug War.

    2. The truly horrific amount of death taking place in Mexico right now is because we put the Mexican drug cartels in business and we keep them in business. (Simply by keeping drugs illegal, we hand the whole drug economy over to them.)

    3. The Drug War has us dropping chemicals on large swaths of land, trying to destroy these hated coca and marijuana plants… and illegal growers set up in our national forests, with no regard to environmental consequences.

    Mr. President: you had the chance here to show leadership and do something. Instead, you tell us to pin our “hopes” on a do-nothing Congress to eventually do something about this. Shame on you.

  17. PleaseReschedule on

    Agree at what point is legalization or at least rescheduling come to the forefront ….. It is forefront right now for some like Jeff M. serving life in Missiouri, yea it is a pressing issue for him and lots of others!

  18. My local representative is a conservative Republican, and he supports legalization. Also, David Simpson another conservative Republican from my state, has sponsored a bill calling for complete abolishment of the marijuana prohibition laws.

  19. Intergalactic Pimp on

    I certainly dont seek every oportunity to blame Obama, and actually rarely have on a forum, but in this interview he is minimalizing the effects of prohibition and the harm it causes this country. He is scared to support it. I have a sneakin suspicion his views on pot are a lot like his views on gay marriage. He supports legalization but won’t ‘come out’ until there is overwhelming support nationally.

    While legalization isnt the MOST important issue in our world today, it’s certainly a lot more important than he’s making it out to be, and he knows it.

  20. Screw Obama, Hillary and most of the democrats. With the exception of Cory Booker, Jared Polis, Steve Cohen, Earl Blumenauer and recently Kirsten Gillibrand, I don’t hear anybody else trying to push the issue.

    Come 2016, there’s only one candidate that I will support and donate money to, and his name is GARY JOHNSON. The former NM governor has been pushing the issue since 1999. And at that time, he took a lot of heat from a lot of prohibitionists, so why reward the democrats with your vote (they consider you a criminal and few would do anything other than lip service to the cause)? In 2012, which presidenti candidate brought up or was asked about Cannabis almost 100% of the times he was interviewed? I guess you should know who by now.

  21. stellarvoyager on

    I don’t disagree that that has been the case up until now, but things are starting to shift on the conservative side. For the most part, they’re a lot worse than progressives, but look at people like Diane Feinstein or Debbie Wasserman-Schultz as a case in point. Or Obama, who seems willing to let the status quo remain in effect until possibly a Jeb Bush gets in afterwards and wages drug war 2.0: more oppressive and costly than ever. Obama could do something to prevent that outcome, but he won’t.

    I myself am a liberal. I’m just very frustrated with how many of them have treated our cause with an attitude of “yeah, we support legal weed, but we won’t fight for it because there are so many other things that are ‘more important’.”

    And EVERY politician, conservative, liberal and centrist, should be asked what they are doing to legalize the herb! Don’t let the liberals off the hook just because they’re liberal.

  22. How is this a “blame liberals” issue??? Conservatives are WAY more anti-pot! Google the republican reaction to DC legalizing! Spoiler- they threatened to throw the Mayor in JAIL! LIBERALS are the ones who are pushing for legalization. I know it’s fun to blame Obama for everything but if you want results, you need to focus your anger at the right people. Start with your local, conservative politicians & ask them what THEY are doing to legalize.

  23. stellarvoyager on

    Excuses, excuses and more excuses. And pot jokes, dismissiveness, being told to “wait your turn”, and put-downs. That is all we ever get from this administration.

  24. stellarvoyager on

    Towards the end of the interview, Obama said that young people are too focused on legalizing marijuana and should focus on other “more important” issues instead, such as global warming, gay marriage, etc. Good grief, Obama, when will our issue finally be “important enough” that all of the other liberal causes we have loyally supported, and taken a back seat to because they are “more important than marijuana”, finally return the favor and support us? Try telling someone who is serving a life sentence for cannabis that the cause of reform should be “at the bottom of the list”, as he put it. Try telling that to someone whose future employment prospects are ruined because of a cannabis conviction.

    I am tired of liberals treating us as a low priority and telling us to wait our turn behind every other cause. The only reason many of us have been voting with the progressives has been that thus far, they have been less hostile to our cause than conservatives have been. If that changes, you can kiss our support and money goodbye. The left in general and Obama in particular need to understand that we will no longer accept being “second priority” to every other cause they deem “more important”, while paying only lip service to our cause, which is at its core about as progressive as it gets — racial justice, economic justice, ending mass incarcerations — come on! How about being grateful for our support over the decades and returning the favor?

    Obama really just wants this issue to go away. Guess what, Obama? You don’t tell us what we should be supporting, we tell you what we want and you listen to us. That is your job. Get it?

  25. All I’ve heard for six years is that the President can’t do jack because Congress impedes him. The 113th Congress passed fewer laws than any previous Congress, including Truman’s infamous “do-nothing” Congress. They voted (pointlessly) to overturn “Obamacare” a million times, knowing the votes accomplished precisely zip. The President knows fully well Congress won’t move on this issue, so for him to kick the can down that particular road is absolutely infuriating, especially considering he doesn’t NEED Congress to reschedule.

    Anyone who has paid the least bit of attention to this issue at any point in the last decade is accutely aware that the power to reschedule any substance is granted almost unilaterally to the executive branch in Section 811 of the Controlled Substances Act. Nixon’s office crafted the CSA to make sure he could criminalize any substance liberals and minorities enjoyed. So President Obama doesn’t need Congress to make a real change. The President can order the Attorney General and/or the Secretary of HHS to begin the process — Congress doesn’t have to do anything to make this a reality. This is an issue that, unlike almost any other issue, the President can act on without Congress getting in the way.

    More to the point, the President could do this and Congress would have to get their act together to STOP him from doing it, which is about as likely as snow in July.

    Just goes to show us how racist we all are. We assumed he wouldn’t be a spineless prick like his white predecessors because of his skin color. We assumed the first black President would recognize the #1 method of suppressing the black vote in America, the drug war, and that he’d do something about it. We should have known better.

  26. I checked our local jail log this morning. Out of 107 inmates, 38 are incarcerated on petty drug offenses.
    Many of those inmates are barely old enough to be treated as an adult.
    The president wants young adults to stop seeking marijuana legalization, I guess he prefers they carry criminal records for the rest of their lives.

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