Politico Reports On Obama’s Medical Cannabis Conundrum

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director April 23, 2012

    The most widely read political website, Politico.com, covers the now clear controversy the Obama Administration has found itself in regarding its semi-articulated medical cannabis policy position post hundreds of law enforcement closures of medical cannabis dispensaries since the fall of 2011.

    Beyond bringing this political quandary regarding medical cannabis to a well informed readership, what is notable about the reportage is that buried in the piece is an apparent recent confrontation between cannabis law reform proponent Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and President Obama at a swank fundraiser directly across the street from NORML’s offices at the St. Regis Hotel where Frank confronted the President about the disparity between his rhetoric in favor of medical cannabis and the recent law enforcement actions of his Justice Department.

    Frustratingly, the President claims that he does not know what is going on in states like California, Washington, Montana and Colorado regarding DOJ’s efforts to seriously retard patient access to medical cannabis.

    Obama sees his history on medical marijuana enforcement differently. The president was again asked about the Justice Department medical marijuana policy at a high-dollar fundraiser at Washington’s St. Regis Hotel filled with liberal mega-donors who paid $35,800 a plate to attend. According to a source with knowledge of the event, which was closed to reporters, Obama reportedly said that the DOJ was raiding purely on a case-by-case basis.

    Frank says he got a frustrating response when he buttonholed Obama to complain that this wasn’t true: Obama told the Massachusetts Democrat that, to the best of his knowledge, the 2009 hands-off policy remained in place.

    Frank told POLITICO that he’s preparing to send the president press clippings to demonstrate that raids continue across the country.

    The tide has turned on the issue — beyond medical marijuana, there’s growing support for full legalization — Frank said, and there’s no reason the president should be lagging behind.

    “Obama now lags Pat Robertson in a sensible approach to marijuana,” said Frank, referring to the conservative evangelical leader’s recent criticism of the drug war.


    Obama’s pot promise a pipe dream?
    By: Byron Tau
    April 21, 2012

    President Barack Obama has turned out to be a real buzzkill.

    Back when he was running in 2008, Obama said he supported the “basic concept of using medical marijuana for the same purposes and with the same controls as other drugs” and that he was “not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws.” He didn’t go farther. But he also didn’t do anything to dissuade speculation among medical marijuana proponents who took this as a sign that the man headed to the Oval Office was on their side.

    Four years later, the raids on drug dispensaries have kept up — despite a Justice Department memo formalizing low-enforcement priority instructions from Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced in a March 2009 press conference that the raids would stop on distributors who were in compliance with state and local law. Obama never said anything about supporting legalization or decriminalization, but his medical marijuana statements were enough to get him heralded by some in the larger pro-pot community as the best hope for chipping away at the decades-long drug war.

    But the hopes that Obama would be a kinder, gentler, more tolerant drug warrior have gone up in smoke.

    “I’m very disappointed,” Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), a longtime supporter of marijuana legalization and medical marijuana, told POLITICO. “They look more like the Bush administration than the Clinton administration.”

    The dejected medical marijuana supporters are hardly alone. For many in 2008, candidate Obama was like a political Rorschach test: They projected strong progressive positions about everything from legalizing gay marriage to ending all military involvement onto a candidate who never said he agreed with them — but also never explicitly said he didn’t.

    Now they’re looking at four years into the Obama administration and wondering where they went wrong.

    Read the rest at Politico

    47 Responses to “Politico Reports On Obama’s Medical Cannabis Conundrum”

    1. jayman says:

      Thanks for the reminder, Adam, and the reality check. Looking at that link again, I realize that I’m going to have to vote for Obama again, as much as I hate to vote for someone who lied to me to get my donations and vote last time around. It seems like another president couldn’t possibly be worse than Obama on this issue, but Romney is so backwards and, most likely so rooted in his religious views, that the DEA under him could actually be worse. We shouldn’t forget that this guy believes in magic underwear, gods on other planets, and the evils of caffeine consumption. Holy shit!

    2. Adam says:

      If marijuana legalization is the prime focus for you, then you all need to vote in legislators who are going to support this position.

      Also, you all need to register Republican and vote for Ron Paul in your GOP primaries, because he is the only guy running for President who agrees with legalization.

      Here is NORML very own article on where the remaining candidates stand:


    3. Bryan says:

      I also don’t agree Obama is responsible for #$
      the way Powers Being Justice are told to begin
      shutdown of the medical cannabis system as the
      President [Obama] told us he will try to begin
      less harsh tactics on Federal Law affecting !!
      medical cannabis on the West Coast . He’s not:
      Being Dishonest About His Role as Leader . . .
      and Republic[en] sway on DOJ sees the prohibit
      dollar scheme as more money or free will . . .
      and actual Republic problem with the US Policy
      doesn’t seem to care about state’s rights and:
      Rights of Clients of Medical Cannabis . So who
      is giving Justice orders to circumvent State’s
      Law if not the President . The former G W Bush
      administration was a complete failure of older
      policy in the way Tea PArty sees it . . and on
      promise The Obama Administration had alot to :
      Deal With As Regarding Former Bad Policy With:
      Regard to Republic[en] Appeal to American Rite
      to Free Will and Celebration .,. what did the:
      US Policy on Health want with cannabis if the:
      US Populace want to enjoy it and Republic Thot
      doesn’t want to allow it for reason of money .
      My thought , and Tea Party will agree , BObama
      is doing his best to take back Draconian Laws.
      Did the US Policy on cannabis health agree .|.
      It’s a thought to consider who’s complaining ,
      and who’s responsible . Thanks and Hooray . :)

    4. jayman says:

      “some guy” is clearly wrong about Obama’s statements on medical cannabis. He said in 2008 that it should be seen like any other medicine if prescribed “appropriately” by a doctor. He even said there may have to be some changes in federal laws. And he famously said that he wouldn’t “use justice department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue,” which is exactly what his justice department is doing now.

    5. Owen says:

      Bradson said:

      Our nation is rapidly waking up to the absurdity of outlawing a non-toxic herb and those who use it.

      rapidly????????????????????? 75 years is NOT rapid, my friend!!!!!!

    6. psu says:

      all use is medicinal

      Having PTSD does not make you “damaged goods”. Does having cancer make someone damaged? What about depression, or bipolar disorder, or any number of other diseases? Telling someone who has PTSD that they are a monster and therefore need to get help makes about as much sense as telling a woman who has breast cancer that she’s damaged goods and therefore needs chemotherapy. It’s not going to encourage anyone to actually seek help. What it will surely do for vets, though, is reinforce the idea that they are somehow broken, that they’ll be judged and punished for having PTSD, and make them think that they are right to not tell anyone and to not get help. None of our troops who are afflicted with PTSD are monsters, they are not damaged, and 99% of them are not violent, homicidal maniacs about to snap at any moment.

      Read more at YouServed: http://www.vamortgagecenter.com/blog/2012/04/20/dr-phil-vets-with-ptsd-are-damaged-goods-monsters/#ixzz1t2z88n6P

    7. PUFFER says:

      Don’t get punked, they know exactly what’s going on and so do we! If they don’t , why are they so without a sense of morals and without a soul?

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