The cannabis law reform community has been at the forefront of utilizing the internet to promote much-needed policy changes, so when the Obama Administration initiated its “We the People” online petition website, many of the most popular petitions suggested marijuana law and other drug policy reforms. Previously, President Obama has laughed off and ignored online please to reform marijuana laws, but the latest response from the White House, while not definitive by any means, may tell us that changes may be afoot.
From The Huffington Post:
President Barack Obama’s administration dispatched Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowskeand a well-known marijuana foe, to handle the query. He began by acknowledging that the nation was “in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana,” and then referred petitioners to the administration’s previous response to recent legalization measures passed in Colorado and Washington. Kerlikowske declined to say what, if any, progress had been made on the Justice Department’s review of those states’ initiatives, and went on to quote from Obama’s most recent comments on marijuana legalization, given to Barbara Walter of ABC News.
Tom Angell, chairman of legalization advocacy group Marijuana Majority, saw some promising signs in Kerlikowske’s rhetoric:
“From ‘legalization is not in my vocabulary and it’s not in the president’s,’ as Gil Kerlikowske often used to say, to ‘it is clear that we’re in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana’ is a pretty stark shift,” he said. “Of course, what really matters is to what extent the administration actually shifts enforcement priorities and budgets, but I sure do like hearing the U.S. drug czar acknowledge the fact that marijuana legalization is a mainstream discussion that is happening whether he likes it or not.”
In an email, Mr. Angell added, “I guess it makes a difference when marijuana legalization gets more votes than your boss does in an important swing state, as happened in Colorado this last election.”
The people have been speaking loud and clear to the Obama Administration that it is time to stop locking citizens in cages, seizing property and ruining lives over a plant that has never directly caused one single death. How can it make sense to President Obama, or any rational person, to have completely innocent people dying in SWAT raids because of a war being waged on a nontoxic, nonlethal plant? It seems that our recent electoral victories and ongoing organizing is finally moving the White House to at least acknowledge the national conversation over marijuana policy. It is up to us to continue flexing our political muscle at the ballot box, online, face-to-face, over the telephone and even snail mail to make sure that politicians and policy makers adhere to the will of the people. With more and more electoral victories on the way in upcoming years, President Obama and the next President and the next President will have no choice but to end a ridiculous war being waged against nonviolent citizens.
Republished with the special permission of the National Cannabis Coalition