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Obama’s 2012 National Drug Control Strategy: An Invitation For Change

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no drug warBy TJ Green

Yesterday, President Obama, through the White house Office of National Drug Control Policy, released his 2012 National Drug Control Strategy. For medical marijuana and legalization advocates alike, this report illuminates a path to creating a dialogue with the President during an election year on an issue of utmost national importance. It is a time for change on cannabis, and President Obama admits it in his opening remarks:

Illicit drug use in America contributed to an estimated $193 billion in crime, health, and lost productivity costs…we cannot afford such a drain on our economy and public resources. While difficult budget decisions must be made at all levels of government, we must ensure continued support for policies and programs that reduce drug use and its enormous costs to American society. In doing so, we will not only strengthen our economy but also sustain the national character and spirit that has made the United States a world leader. I look forward to continuing to work with the Congress and Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial leaders, international partners, and the American people in this important endeavor.

Drug Czar Gil kerlikowske Marijuana

Gil Kerlikowske

Upon further review, the report details the Administration’s reasons for not yet flipping the switch on medical marijuana. The Director of National Drug Control Policy, R . Gil Kerlikowske, followed up the President’s opening remarks with his own preface, in which he reminds us of “the spirit and substance” of Obama’s National Drug Control Strategy as originally published in 2010. For Obama, it boils down to numbers. The President’s goal, as reiterated by Director Kerlikowske, has always been, “a 15 percent reduction in the rate of drug use and similar reductions in drug use consequences over the course of five years (2010-2015).” The report goes on to state, “while illicit drug use among teens did not change significantly between 2010 and 2011, there have been significant increases in past-month use since 2006, mostly driven by increased rates of marijuana use.” To move Obama on marijuana, advocates must make a concerted effort to create national and local strategies for reducing youth access to marijuana. If adult marijuana use is to become a protected right, it must be protectable exclusively for adults, with mechanisms in place that effectively reduce access to cannabis by children.

Of importance to the medical marijuana movement, are the White House’s reasons for not yet creating an accessible national medical marijuana program. Again falling back on youth drug use, the report states:

One possible influence on this observed trend in drug use and perception of risk is the decreased exposure of youth to prevention messages and the presence of messages and policies that downplay the consequences of drug use. While the Administration supports ongoing research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine, to date, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine has found the marijuana plant itself to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition. The Administration also recognizes that legalizing marijuana would not provide the answer to any of the health, social, youth education, criminal justice, and community quality of life challenges associated with drug use.

One thing is certain, President Obama will not consider full legalization in an election year, but medical marijuana provides a middle ground where he could, segment illicit and medical uses of cannabis, to further his goal of showing a 15% reduction in illicit drug use. First, medicinal marijuana advocates must persuade the Institute of Medicine to provide the President an updated report supporting medical marijuana as a legitimate form of alternative medicine–a position held by 3 out of 4 Americans. A broad national medical marijuana policy would also bolster President Obama’s mission to reduce youth drug abuse by disrupting cartels in favor of domestic suppliers, which allows for stricter control of access to the drug. Yes, some teens will gain access to the drug from their parent’s supply, but that is a lesser evil than the dealer who has a little coke or meth to throw in as a sample. A national medical marijuana program would also create jobs, reduce financial waste on prosecuting medical marijuana patients, growers, dispensaries, and schools, and keep our citizens out of prison for adult medical marijuana use. This can be the year for medical marijuana, only if advocates pull the right levers–reductions in youth access through regulation and the exclusion of cartels from the market, reductions in expenditures on the medical marijuana crackdowns, and the economic benefits of domestic cannabis production, supply, and regulation.


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  • Xbillydakiddx

    Marijuana has no ill side effects. It also does not cause death. it is the safest alternative to pills for pain mgt. God gave man herb bearing seed and saw that it was good

  • Ray

    “If asked to serve on a jury deliberating a violation of state or
    federal drug laws, we will vote to acquit, regardless of the
    evidence presented. Save for a prosecution in which acts of
    violence or intended violence are alleged, we will – to borrow
    Justice Harry Blackmun’s manifesto against the death penalty
    – no longer tinker with the machinery of the drug war. No
    longer can we collaborate with a government that uses
    nonviolent drug offenses to fill prisons with its poorest, most
    damaged and most desperate citizens. Yet this war grinds on,
    flooding our prisons, devouring resources, turning city
    neighborhoods into free-fire zones. To what end? State and
    federal prisons are packed with victims of the drug conflict. A
    new report by the Pew Center shows that 1 of every 100 adults
    in the U.S. – and 1 in 15 black men over 18 – is currently
    incarcerated. That’s the world’s highest rate of
    imprisonment.” Time.com 12/21/08 ED BURNS, DENNIS LEHANE,
    GEORGE PELECANOS, RICHARD PRICE & DAVID SIMON

  • Of course he did. How else might he justify maintaining a slave population… sorry, prison population… at levels that are so absurdly profitable. Actually, inmates are better than slaves because not only can you use them for free labor but you can make money selling contracts to house them, feed them, clothe them, watch them, etc..
    And best of all, all operating expenses can be offloaded to the american public.

  • Meanwhile children go on to softer drugs like paint fumes and glue?

  • Jorge Maravilla

     AWESOME! it’s election Year EVERYBODY>>> the LOBBYST that had Bought The Senate, MR Obama, and all POLITICS regardless of  party, they are ALL the SAME! just ike when I work in the automobile “bussines” now Mr. Obama  has 2 tell the people that he LYED once  b4 that OH! we are doing good we have 15% less smoker in a 5 year spread oh WOW! Mr” “Smarty pants’ 15%  divided in 5 years it’s bout  3 % REDUCTION, meanwhile they still STEPPING ALL OVER OUR RIGHTS!!! while WE get Them ELECTED  so we can get RAPED and LYE Once  again!!  any Comments!!