Loading

The Hill: “Obama Drug Plan ‘Firmly Opposes’ Legalization as California Vote Looms”

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 11, 2010

    So this is your administration on drugs. Any questions?

    Obama drug plan ‘firmly opposes’ legalization as California vote looms
    via The Hill

    The Obama administration said Tuesday that it “firmly opposes” the legalization of any illicit drugs as California voters head to the polls to consider legalizing marijuana this fall.

    The president and his drug czar re-emphasized their opposition to legalizing drugs in the first release of its National Drug Control Strategy this morning.

    “Keeping drugs illegal reduces their availability and lessens willingness to use them,” the document, prepared by Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske, says. “That is why this Administration firmly opposes the legalization of marijuana or any other illicit drug.”

    Is anyone surprised? You shouldn’t be. After all, this is the same Gil Kerlikowske that has said repeatedly that legalization is not in his vocabulary, and publicly stated, “Marijuana is dangerous and has no medicinal benefit.” And this is the same administration that recently nominated Michele Leonhart to head the DEA — the same Michele Leonhart who overruled the DEA’s own administrative law judge in order to continue to block medical marijuana research, and publicly claimed that the rising death toll civilians attributable to the U.S./Mexican drug war “a signpost of the success” of U.S. prohibitionist policies.

    UPDATE: Director Kerlikowske will appear live tomorrow on WAMU, Wednesday, May 11, (likely in the first hour between 10-11am, eastern) on the Diane Rehm Show. Listeners can call (1-800-433-8850), email or Tweet their questions to the Drug Czar.

    Yet, given that national polls now indicate that an estimated one out of two Americans nationwide support legalization, and that a solid majority of west coast voters and Californians back regulating the retail production and distribution of pot like alcohol, it seems politically counterproductive for the administration to maintain such a ‘flat Earth’ policy. So what could possibly be their reasoning?

    It’s actually spelled out here, in the White House’s 2010 Drug Control Strategy:

    We have many proven methods for reducing the demand for drugs. Keeping drugs illegal reduces their availability and lessens willingness to use them. That is why this Administration firmly opposes the legalization of marijuana or any other illicit drug. Legalizing drugs would increase accessibility and encourage promotion and acceptance of use. Diagnostic, laboratory, clinical, and epidemiological studies clearly indicate that marijuana use is associated with dependence, respiratory and mental illness, poor motor performance, and cognitive impairment, among other negative effects, and legalization would only exacerbate these problems.

    There it is in black and white — in less than 100 words: The federal government’s entire justification for marijuana prohibition; their entire justification for a policy that has led to the arrest of over 20 million Americans since 1965, that is responsible for allowing cops to terrorize families and kill their pets, that has stripped hundreds of thousands of young people of their ability to pursue higher education, and that is directly responsible for the deaths of over 20,000 civilians on the U.S./Mexico border. And that’s just for starters.

    Yet the entire premise for maintaining the government’s policy — that keeping marijuana criminally prohibited “reduces [its] availability and lessens willingness to use [it]” — is demonstrably false. Under present prohibition, more than 1/3 of 8th graders, more than 2/3rds of 10th graders, and some 85 percent of 12th graders say that marijuana is “easy to get.” Even according to the stridently prohibitionist group CASA (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University), more teens say that they can get their hands on pot than booze, and one-quarter say that they can buy marijuana within the hour. That means, President Obama and Gil Kerlikowske, that 25 percent of teens can obtain marijuana as easily — and as quickly — as a Domino’s pizza!

    This is your “proven” method for “reducing availability?” Don’t make us laugh.

    By contrast, dozens of studies from around the globe have established, consistently, that marijuana liberalization will result in lower overall drug use. For example, no less than the World Health Organization concluded:

    “Globally, drug use is not distributed evenly, and is simply not related to drug policy. … The U.S. … stands out with higher levels of use of alcohol, cocaine, and cannabis, despite punitive illegal drug policies. … The Netherlands, with a less criminally punitive approach to cannabis use than the U.S., has experienced lower levels of use, particularly among younger adults. Clearly, by itself, a punitive policy towards possession and use accounts for limited variation in national rates of illegal drug use.”

    In fact, NORML has an entire white paper devoted to addressing this issue here.

    Of course, the best option to truly reduce youth availability to cannabis is legalization and regulation. This strategy — the same one that we employ for the use of virtually every other product except cannabis — would impose common sense controls regarding who can legally produce marijuana, who can legally distribute marijuana, who can legally consume marijuana, and where adults can legally use marijuana and under what circumstances is such use legally permitted.

    But we already know that this option isn’t in the administration’s vocabulary, now don’t we?

    I’ve written time and time again that this administration ought to view marijuana legalization as a political opportunity, not a political liability. They obviously aren’t listening. Nevertheless, it is the voters who have led — and will continue to lead — on this issue, and it is the politicians who will follow. Could we expect it to be any other way?

    After all it was the federal government that followed the states lead in 1937 — federally criminalizing pot, but only doing so after virtually every state in the nation had already done so. California, for instance, outlawed marijuana use in 1913 — nearly a quarter of a century before the Feds acted similarly. Likewise, it is going to be the states — and California in particular — that are going to usher in the era of re-legalization.

    And it will be the Feds who eventually will have no other choice but to fall in line.

    157 Responses to “The Hill: “Obama Drug Plan ‘Firmly Opposes’ Legalization as California Vote Looms””

    1. silverleaf420 says:

      Capital F F F Obama bin laden he is an illegal get wheres his birth certificate how could America be so blind to vote that mistake of a human being in anything. He is a waste of space, air, time, he is driving this country down a hole. Its sad please America Impeach this dumbo eared crazy man. And how did he become part of the elite. Him and the rest of the government are hiding alot youtube search John Moore The Liberty Man what the government isnt telling you. Legalize Marijuana search famous marijuana quotes see what George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, plus many others have said about this great gift. Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.” – George Washington

    2. None says:

      I feel president Obama is a hipacrit since he used to smoke in excess and knows the stigma and paranoid feelings behind the scenes.
      This country wants to control us through fear and intimidation. The three P’s are petrification, paranoya and paralization. The blue lights cause it the cars marked police or government. Come on we feel it on the road even when we are not moving a dime.
      We have to get Marajuana out of the courts Fedrally someday and into the house at the dinner table.
      Smoking and not being able to grow is making this country so damn poor as well as the smokers.
      Capitol hill only cares about themselves first and there fat wallets Democrat or republican only care about control.
      Marajuana should have been Fedrally medically legalized a very long time ago instead of lied about for many years. I wont get into the history of dupont or the big three or even 3m but just know way back this wonderful plant was made illegal for money purposes. I once felt there would have been a great depression food shortage but no way. Most would have smoked the great depression away if you catch my drift.
      Enough for now but one more thing yall know how gas is making us poor. Hemp seeds could help bring gas down under a dollar once again especially diesel, check out colorado gas prices. The price of all types of oil could be drastically reduced. What do you do when you cannot smoke a joint but smoke a cigerette. How much is the USA charging now. We are being F)*&^%$ all around by capitol hill and it will never end so get ready to live in a hellish country.

    3. None says:

      One more thing Obama said he would end the fedral raids and that he used to smoke and seemed he loved it just to be President and win against Mcain and Mrs. Clinton.
      Election Manipulation will keep ruining this country till we find a better way to choose the leaders.

    4. Susan says:

      I can not take prescribed pain medication, due to ulcers of the stomach. I can not even take tylonol or alleve or even asprin without it causing me to be hunched over in worse pain, vomiting and crying for hours at a time, hence I do not take pain meds. They gave me some suppositorys to use, which can cause worse issues for a person with ibs issues. Hence I do not use unless its so bad that i just have to have some relief. If i had a gun, i would shoot myself to be quite blunt. I am in constant pain, do not sleep good, eat right, can no longer even do house cleaning due to pain. What happened to compassion? Would You do anything to help a family member feel better? Or would You say tough titty lil kitty live with it. Thats how I feel.

    5. Karun says:

      Cigarettes KILL a DOC will never prescribe a cigarette yet they are legal Pot is natural its herbal, it does not contain 800 carsenogins like cigaretts. This should have never been illegal- How often do you hear someone was killed by a stone driver- booze does that. Most people smoke at home-while they are relaxing…..I have a lot of pain in my back and chronic insonmia-only pot helps!

    6. Susan says:

      Our President LIES!! When he first wished to become our leader he was all for pot. What happened to this thought, plan, desire and words he spoke before taking his oath in office of wanting it to be legal?? Hence my lack of caring wtf he has to say about it anymore, nor my belief in anyone running for any goverment office. They lie to get in and then resend what they once spoke they stood for! SAD OBAMA….
      THEN END.

    7. Cynti says:

      When did marijuana become illegal and why? It use to be legal? Why is it legal in some states- not others? Today I went to the doctor and asked is it dangerous putting this in my lungs (have had breathing issues) they said NO!!!!! No research has said it causes harm to the lungs -they said don’t smke cigarettes it will cause harm.President needs to stick by his original thought and make it legal.

    Leave a Reply