Time To Get To Work!

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director November 7, 2008

    Tell President Elect Obama to
    Focus on Federal Marijuana Policy

    We’ve had our celebrations; now the real work begins.

    In Massachusetts, where 65 percent of voters mandated an end to minor marijuana possession arrests, police and pundits are already calling on lawmakers to amend — or even repeal — the new law. Therefore, if you reside in Massachusetts, it is critical that you contact your state elected officials, as well as Democrat Gov. Deval Patrick and Attorney General Martha Coakley, and demand that they fully implement the will of 1,938,366 registered voters of the commonwealth of Massachusetts who voted “yes” on 2.

    As for the rest of us, now is the time to make your voice heard federally. The election of Barack Obama, coupled with Democrat control of both the House and the Senate, presents a unique and critical opportunity for federal marijuana law reform. Voters on Election Day demonstrated overwhelmingly that they favor political reform in this country, and that reform includes new directions in marijuana policy.

    Obama’s transition team has established a website, http://change.gov/page/s/ofthepeople, asking for “our ideas” and “help” to “solve the biggest challenges facing our country.” Unfortunately, neither the ‘war on drugs’ nor ‘marijuana’ appears on the “the agenda.”

    It’s up to us — the cannabis community — to make it part of the agenda.

    Please contact the Office of President Elect Obama and demand that our next President engages in a national dialogue on marijuana policy. Below are three suggested ways Obama can take immediate, practical steps to reform America’s antiquated and punitive pot laws:

    1. President Obama must uphold his campaign promise to cease the federal arrest and prosecution of (state) law-abiding medical cannabis patients and dispensaries by appointing leaders at the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the US Department of Justice, and the US Attorney General’s office who will respect the will of the voters in the thirteen states that have legalized the physician-supervised use of medicinal marijuana.

    2. President Obama should use the power of the bully pulpit to reframe the drug policy debate from one of criminal policy to one of public health. Obama can stimulate this change by appointing directors to the Office of National Drug Control Policy who possess professional backgrounds in public health, addiction, and treatment rather than in law enforcement.

    3. President Obama should follow up on statements he made earlier in his career in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana by adults by calling for the creation of a bi-partisan Presidential Commission to review the budgetary, social, and health costs associated with federal marijuana prohibition, and to make progressive recommendations for future policy changes.

    On Election Day, voters in Massachusetts, Michigan, and throughout the country gave President Elect Obama and the incoming Congress a mandate to end the Bush drug war doctrine. Now let’s get down to business to assure that our message is implemented.


    56 responses to “Time To Get To Work!”

    1. Chris says:

      i agree! but how do we contact him? just through the website?
      and i know Biden’s history on drugs and since he will be V.P. does this still make it difficult for reform or will this not matter much. if someone could please answer these questions it would be most appreciated!

      our congressman from arizona, Harry Mitchel is in favor of marijuana reform. awesome news! and lets bring the marijuana prohibition down. i have been making progress in arizona contacting officials but we need more help. make a donation, get involved!

      once again, congratulations! but much work is still needed.

    2. Mark Entry says:

      I have used your link to President Elect Obama’s contact website. I copied part of your request and added some stats supporting the legalization of marijuana. Thank you everyone at NORML for helping to make the day of legalization become a real possibility. Sincerely yours, Mark Entry

    3. Rick says:

      The cops want the courts to repeal the will of the people? What fresh hell is this? So much for the often heard squeal from our porcine protectors that they only enforce the law, they don’t make it.

    4. Gustav says:

      Just sent in my letter, great article!

    5. Kevin-G says:

      Even with the threat of an amendment or a repeal, its nice to know the power that simply passing this law will have. Pending criminal cases fitting the criteria have been dropped or will most likely be dropped which must be a dream come true for a number of people. Hopefully the change can be implemented long enough to be further conclusive proof that relaxed marijuana laws are not a direct cause an increase in use of it or any other drugs. The demonstration of these attitudes is whats necessary in the fight for change, and the tipping point feels closer than ever.

    6. Nick V. says:

      Done. Addressed my concerns in the following order 1) medical use 2) decriminalization 3) regulation under ATF

    7. Joseph says:

      this is why i hate america…. we pass a law that everyone wants except the few that look to lose from our freedom.. and what do they do fight to take it away before it even comes into affect.. i hope when our economy falls we have to take a serious look at what is going on in this empire..

    8. Dennis says:

      I can’t wait to see the law suits that are filed in relation to this latest round of marijuana decriminalization. The Courts are due to be bogged down again over this relatively mundane and petty issue.

    9. Eric Johnson says:


      With all due respect, you are out of your mind.

      We will be the first people sacrificed, and by we I mean the medical marijuana cmmunity.

      Obama’s on record as doubting the efficacy of marijuana as medicine. Having 2 daughters, the immediate pressure from DOJ, ONDCP Civil servants, and the DEA will be sufficient for Obama to just dump any kind of support for medeical marijuana. The raids will continue and the patient prosecutions will continue.

      Think about it… Joe Drug war is my middle name Biden is the arrogant ass in the VPs office. If Cheney can take over the government from the VPs office then Biden can affect drug policy to the extent that nothing changes from that same office.

      The place to work is in the states. Once a majority of the states and the population support drug law reform, then and only then will change be possible in the federal government.

      The politicians, except in Hawaii, have had to be dragged kicking and screaming all the way. This is often because Federal politicians are former DAs and AGs in their respective states.

      They cannot support reform for fear of SOCIAL repercussions within their circle of friends and associates.”Hey Jack. Whaddaya doin’ trying to cut those [Byrne Grants, or whatever drug war subsidy] ?

      “I gotta have those if I am going to pay my current staff, and I am already understaffed, Charlie.”

      “Tighten forfeiture rules, Jim? Ya gotta be kiddin’! Anticipated forfeiture revenue is a line item in my budget, man. You know that. The DA’s office, too. How are we to prosecute these [insert lewd drug user reference here] if you pull the rug out from under us, man. I thought we were friends?!!? I thought I knew you. We grew up together. We always hated heads! I’m not sure if we should really continue through with our planned trip to Rome with our wives. I mean, you are simultaneously demoting me and lessening my influence on the way our home town runs, man. Why are you doing this to us? We gave several thousand dollars toward your various campaigns. And now you want to betray what I thought we stood for and side with a bunch of dopers? Are you OK? do you feel well? I mean it’s no shame if you needs some psychiatric help, and, Jimmy, man, I’m here for ya. But you can’t be doin’ this stuff on drugs in Washington. I should go now,. as I am starting to get mad.”

      Hard to accept our arguments in the face of that. So it has to come from the bottom. Jim’s friend has to have lunch one day and say, hey man, I got all these recreational drug users I gotta deal with because you guys won’t discuss options. perhaps you should, even though I know we have fought this our way for our entire careers…maybe we don’t have it right.

      We can only do that at the local level. The Federal government will have to be dragged kicking and screaming from its entrenched point of view. The only tractor powerful enough is the collective weight of 26 states AND 51% of the country demanding from below.

      Further to this point, the House of Representatives races are all about local issues. So it can be made about drug law enforcement problems locally. In other words, the representative can only be forced to talk about the issue while in his/her district, and only when asked en masse (meaning more than one questioner on the subject)in a large well known forum.

      The guys have to be confronted with the evidence in a place where they must react to it, no matter the personal consequences.

      They will not do this of their own accord. They cannot be -made- to see the light themselves and then do the right thing, namely end the war on cannabis users and hopefully the entire drug war, denouncing it as a legitimate drug control strategy.

    10. Schaffer says:

      Hi I picked Schaffer as my name from the Schaffer Report, but anyway what should we say, also if anything cultivation along with possesion should be part of the agenda for at least personal use. Because by only possesion alone, that still leaves the user in jeopardy if he wants to be free of the law and black market. Lets get a game plan on this and now. Remember were the ones that made it possible for Obama to get elected. I made calls for Obama! and voted for him!