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Obama Is Asked To Defend His Administration’s Opposition To Medical Cannabis — He Can’t

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director August 16, 2011

    [Update! A slightly edited version of this commentary, entitled ‘If Obama can’t articulate his position on marijuana, why won’t he reconsider it?’, is is now online at The Hill.com’s Congress blog here. Please review and leave your feedback for members of Congress and their staff here.]

    Regardless of one’s opinion of President Obama as a political figure, it is hard to deny his skill as an eloquent orator. So it is notable, even newsworthy, when the Commander-in-Chief is publicly at a loss for words.

    Such was the case yesterday at a Presidential Town hall in Cannon Falls, Minnesota when a flustered, tongue-tied Obama attempted in vain to explain why his administration continues to oppose efforts to allow for the legal use of cannabis as a doctor-recommended medicine.

    Confused? Perhaps this transcript will help to better articulate the President’s position:

    Audience member: “If you can’t legalize marijuana, why can’t we just legalize medical marijuana, to help the people that need it?”

    Obama: “Well, you know, a lot of states are making decisions about medical marijuana. As a controlled substance, the issue then is, you know, is it being prescribed by a doctor, as opposed to, you know — well — — I’ll — I’ll — I’ll — I’ll leave it at that.”

    And leave it at that he did.

    It is curious that President Obama — someone who is use to speaking extemporaneously in public — could not articulate one single legitimate reason (nor could his former Press Secretary) why his administration believes in continuing the federal ban on marijuana, including the use of medical marijuana for ill patients. Obama’s failure to communicate becomes even more surprising when one considers that within just the past few weeks, high-profile members of the Obama administration have publicly put forward several alleged ‘justifications’ for why the federal government ought to be in the business of denying medical marijuana to sick people.

    For instance, the White House’s 2011 National Drug Control Strategy, released in July, devoted an entire section to rebuffing the notion of cannabis’ use as a legitimate therapy, stating:

    Marijuana and other drugs are addictive and unsafe, especially for use by young people. Unfortunately, efforts to “medicalize” marijuana have widened the public acceptance and availability of the drug.

    There is no substitute for the scientific approval process employed by the FDA. For a drug to be made available to the public as medicine, the FDA requires rigorous research followed by tests for safety and efficacy. Only then can a substance be classified as medicine and prescribed by qualified health care professionals to patients.

    In the wake of state and local laws that permit distribution of “medical” marijuana, dozens of localities have been left to grapple with poorly written laws that bypass the FDA process and allow marijuana to be used as a so-called medicine. … Outside the context of federally approved research, the use and distribution of marijuana is prohibited in the United States.

    In addition, less than one-month ago, Obama’s hand-picked DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart formally denied a nine-year-old petition calling on the agency to initiate hearings to reassess the present classification of marijuana as a schedule I controlled substance without any ‘accepted medical use in treatment.’ Leonhart’s justification, as stated in in the July 8, 2011 edition of the Federal Register:

    [Cannabis possesses] a high potential for abuse; … no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; … [and] lacks accepted safety for use under medical supervision. … [T]here are no adequate and well-controlled studies proving its efficacy; the drug is not accepted by qualified experts. … At this time, the known risks of marijuana use have not been shown to be outweighed by specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials that scientifically evaluate safety and efficacy.

    So if the Obama administration is willing to make such allegations in writing, then why is the President afraid to own up to and repeat these claims in public? Likely because he, like a majority of Americans, are aware that there isn’t a shred of scientific support for the administration’s ‘Flat Earth’ position.

    So if the President of the United States can’t publicly articulate why we continue to arrest over one-half million Americans each year for possessing marijuana, then why are we as a nation continuing to engage in this destructive and illogical policy?

    156 Responses to “Obama Is Asked To Defend His Administration’s Opposition To Medical Cannabis — He Can’t”

    1. Michael says:

      If we all voted in the Republican Primary for Ron Paul, and then if he wins he could take the young and liberal votes away from Obama.
      If we voted for Ron Paul in the Primary but Perry wins, then you can still vote for Obama in the general election as the lesser of two evils.
      This idea and instructions on how to vote in the Republican Primary needs to be pushed on the internet.

    2. Greenhands says:

      1st, Editor, dont know who you are but stop talking like you know. you keep telling what is or isnt going to happen. You KNOW nothing… in actuality you only THINK you know. ex. who thought a dark skin man with a “muslim” name would actually be elected potus? NO ONE. so for real shut up. thanx

      We all know the truth. Liars can be counted on to… LIE. Politicians, Lawyers, USA puppets who say things like GOD bless the USA… what about the world? what about the rest of the ppl of the world? no just the USA… self righteous pricks any & all of them. they lie about everything, food, freedom, faith, so-called schools which are in reality training facilities for the youths initiation & brain washing into the system of slavery… i mean freedom. where they are taught that those living here were savages & worth less than animals. you know what they did to them? one guess… LIE. “we just wanna live here in peace & harmony”… here have these blankets infected with smallpox & here have this whiskey so when we “come in peace” with our army & their rifles & itchy trigger fingers we can kill your babies & nearly cause your entire race to be EXTERMINATED & you cant even defend your homes, families, land & lives! to this day NEVER recovered, still on the crummiest land they were corralled into like cows & still plagued with rampant alcoholism. in essence they were totally destroyed as a race of people upon the earth. & now they are building walls to “keep” mexicans out after they took their lands ie TX, Cali, etc by war aka murder from the mexicans. its their homeland not lightskinned ppls who came in “search of religious freedom.” how can you be so oppressed that you flee willingly from it & then turn around & do it to those whose land you are a guest in?

      What im saying is it’s not the potus it’s the system that has been in place & perfected over centuries of corruption, hypocrisy & TYRANNY. Your children are being programmed as robots to work their lives away for the system. Babylon has transcended time & continues on over & over again new & improved with each coming. learning from the successes & failures of the previous. all that matters is the system, you, you children, their children, their children & so on & so forth are no more than cogs in the machine.

      So the true problem is us. or should i say the weak, naive, brainwashed, idiots who believed & passed on the lies to the next generations & were/are to egomaniacal to stop & think for themselves & realize that they were/ARE being used to power the machine.

      they say heres our standards & give it a grand title… THE Declaration of Independence! they say this is how we will rule. & yet the very HEMP paper it was originally written on is illegal to produce today in the same country! they claim to be a country of morales… but deny the moral foundation they founded themselves on & try to seperate thrmselves from it. you know seperation of church & state BS… only to require presidents, politicians, & even witnesses to swear on the bible. but anyone who cares about the WORD & what it actually says. swearing on the WORD is blasphemy… & if you are seperated why swear by anything of JAH?

      This plant that is apart of us, created creations, that literally have receptors in our brains that are activated by the ingestion of ganja is another instance of those in power abusing said power as all tyrants have & will continue to do as long as their slaves accept it. until ppl stand up together as a FREE & UNITED people & say WE WILL OVERCOME & BELIEVE IT… all we will ever say is what the next liar tells us to say.

      like… yes we can.

      the sad part is YES WE CAN. if we realized we actually DO hold the power. if we dont buy the shitty lives made up of the newest meaninless material distraction & DO NOT continue like dumbarses to keep up with the Joneses we could. We could hold them responsible. We could fire them if they dont do what they say. We could be FREE. but instead the majority accepts the lies & easy life of vanity & materialism, greed & envy. look at my new red/yellow/silver car isnt it cool, look at my clothes see the label im cool, check out my watch see how it sparkles its cool, check out my dinner reciept my plate of food cost 85$ because im cool. what you are is a misguided brainwashed child that has been Lied to & deceived into believing that the immaterial is the material. WAKE UP PEOPLE. Bob Marley tried to tell the world decades ago so why am i wasting my breathe. because…

      WE the people should CARE. we should care about one another as we care for ourselves. WE should care if we’re being lied to, WE should care that NONVIOLENT PPL ARE BEING IMPRISONED BY CORRUPT MEN who only care about their power & their status & their money & their their their. i think we should all familiarize ourselves with the actions of The Good Samaritan & practice life in that way & see what happens… cant be worse than now.

      How is it okay to steal ones freedom & cage them for interacting with NATURE? How is it okay to tell a “FREE” person what they can & can not put in THEIR bodies? How is it okay to destroy the lives of children & families over a NONLETHAL plant that grows from seed to “weed?” How can you live with yourself if you support those that practice such Freedom? HOW CAN YOU JUST CONTINUE TO SIT THERE IN FRONT OF YOUR SCREENS of glowing light? HOW can it be changed? Get UP Stand UP & Fight for YOUR RIGHTS-(Bob Marley) & stop being insane.(def. doing same thing over & over again & expecting different results-Einstein) If WE want change we have to make changes. the system is a joke, setup by the rich for the rich. setup to exist by the lives of the less fortunate. setup to hold you down & lift themselves up. think about this… if “our representatives” truly cared about us… why would they not insist on all having the same healthcare they do? answer is easy, they dont. stop believing that they are watching out for or over you. they are watching out for themselves. always have always will.

      only way to overcome is to overcome. do not buy their gas do not buy their material nonsense do not listen to them at all… because

      YOU CAN TRUST A LIAR… to be a liar.

      OVERGROW the govt OVERGROW the world

      & KNOW if we treat others as we want to be treated it can all change

      [Editor’s note: If all this verbiage is supposed to be a defense of Rep. Paul possessing any chance at all to be elected president, you’ve wasted a lot words as you might as well wish for a leprechaun to get elected president. However, if the leprechaun was younger than Paul he might have a better chance of election.]

    3. […] policy question. At a presidential Q&A in Minnesota a few weeks ago, NORML's Paul Armentano notes, Obama had the following […]

    4. […] question. At a presidential Q&A in Minnesota a few weeks ago, NORML’s Paul Armentano notes, Obama had the following […]

    5. Purolator says:

      You know what. I think we should re-instate prohibition. I don’t like alcohol. Legalize pot and ban alcohol. You don’t even need fake science to prove it.

    6. […] that is a question this administration has consistently indicated that the President is unable or unwilling to […]

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