President Obama: No To Decriminalization, Yes To More War On Some Drugs

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director July 25, 2011

    Ironic kudos to Political Rhetoric graduate student ‘Steve’ from the University of Maryland for asking President Obama last Friday a spot on and searing rhetorical question from the Millennial generation about our country’s need to end the nation’s longest war…the failed war on some drugs.

    Steve gets it. The audience gets it. According to all polling, in excess of 90% of U.S. citizens broadly believe the ‘war on drugs’ is a failure (75% support medical access to cannabis. 73% support decriminalizing adult possession for cannabis; and 46% support cannabis legalization outright).

    When will the two major political parties and presidents—like Obama—get it?

    According to polling last week, President Obama is quickly falling out of favor with the Millennial generation that helped sweep him to power in 2008. Lest President Obama forget who brought him to the dance, he might want to look at the clear discontent—across all party lines—with the way the federal government has been conducting drug warring, notably its full-throat perpetuation of antiquated and tax-draining Cannabis Prohibition policies.

    Instead, he should deliver a clear message for supporting a system of legally controlling cannabis, rather than deny economic reality, waste taxpayers’ money and constantly face embarrassing questions about a failed public policy that has long festered in the public’s mind.

    President Obama should endorse a ‘drug peace’ where cannabis is legally controlled like alcohol products; patients can access a safe and non-toxic naturally occurring medicine; and farmers, entrepreneurs and consumers in America can benefit from industrial hemp production.

    President Obama, NORML and tens of millions of cannabis consumers and lovers of liberty ask you not to re-commit us to war against ‘weed’, but, instead, to re-think the leaf.

    By David Edwards of Raw Story

    President Barack Obama said Friday that the U.S. would not be ending its war on drugs under his watch.

    “Much is being asked of our generation,” a doctoral student named Steve told the president at a town hall event in Maryland. “So, when are our economic perspectives going to be addressed? For example, when is the war on drugs in society going to be abandoned and be replaced by a more sophisticated and cost effective program of rehabilitation such as the one in Portugal?”

    “I have stated repeatedly — and it’s actually reflected in our most recent statement by our office of drug policy — that we need to have an approach that emphasizes prevention, treatment, a public health model for reducing drug use in our country,” Obama said. “We’ve got to put more resources into that. We can’t simply focus on interdiction because, frankly, no matter how good of a job we’re doing when it comes to an interdiction approach, if there is high demand in this country for drugs, we are going to continue to see not only drug use but also the violence associated with the drug trade.”

    After several minutes of explaining U.S. efforts to help Mexico fight transnational drug dealers, the president got to the point.

    “Just to make sure that I’m actually answering your question, am I willing to pursue a decriminalization strategy as an approach? No.”

    “But I am willing to make sure that we’re putting more resources on the treatment and prevention side,” Obama added.

    Watch the video from MSNBC, broadcast July 22, 2011 here.

    168 responses to “President Obama: No To Decriminalization, Yes To More War On Some Drugs”

    1. ChrisfromTN says:

      That sucks.

    2. Ryan says:

      Thing is; the president and his officials feed off of embarrassing questions and spending taxpaters’ money. Therefore, they will have no problem denying economic reality. They enjoy our disappointment.

    3. RevGMS says:

      This Obama guy is no progressive, he doesn’t care about us regular folk.

    4. joad says:

      I didn’t drink the Obama Kool-Aid so I haven’t been surprised. On election day I literally held my nose as I voted for him. But for him to so chavelierly (sp?) shrug off pot law reform is just a kick to the crotch.

    5. Lynn says:

      Our president just doesn’t get it. The demand is based more on for medical usage as more people are discovering it works better than most prescriptions out on the market today without toxicification effects as does the pharmaceutical drugs have. Why not just ban ALL pharmaceuticals also; they are more toxic than cannabis ever will be? Should our country end the prohibition on Cannabis and regulate plus tax it as it does with alcohol for adults, cannot you see that would practically put a halt to what keeps getting ‘smuggled’ in from across the borders? I honestly cannot understand the presidential viewpoint or where it is coming from to so blatantly say ‘no’ to legalizing this when polls across the entire country, several studies, documented proof that in which disputes everything our government has forced us to believe about it for so many years have shown and the majority of Americans approve of decriminalization & legalization of this. The flip-side of his weak argument thinking it would ‘increase demand’ can also be argued just as articulately as that it would ‘decrease demand’ since the main ‘attraction’ is no longer there, (that attraction is just the temptation saying, ‘I’m illegal and dare you to use’ that is present for everyone instead of just minors, the minors would be far easier to control, since there are less of them than are in the entire population of America! This way every adult can join forces to help control usage of it by minors), so the analogy he spoke in the video is not a good enough argument anymore and very weak at best and may only work for only those who do not do the necessary research to get the right answers and understanding about Cannabis.

    6. ben says:

      did you expect any other answer? vote ron paul 2012

    7. Chris says:

      doesnt surprise me one bit, didnt he say he was opposed to ending the war on drugs before you all elected him? if you really want this stupidity to end, back Ron Paul. he is the only candidate who has said they will end the war on drugs and has introduced legislation to repeal it. Stop listening to whatever candidates tell you, they do that so they can get your votes, if you want to know the truth about them look at their voting record!!

    8. Anonymous says:

      What about freedom and personal choices? when r we going to b responsible for our selves im so tired of the government telling me whats right for me if i have a question i will come to u i would not like to b forced into paying thousands for rehabilitaion that i was not seeking i would like to deal w my life when and how i choose when and how im ready i wish there was a rehabiliitation center for polititionsto they need to see and understand why they do what it is that they do

    9. Tennessee Activist says:

      I’m extremely curious why such a popular thing like MJ can be taken from the majority of Americans who want it for medicine and to replace their Beer and other vices. Limp wrist Americans, that’s what the whole world is calling us. Idiots, that’s the favorite word of Europeans to describe Americans. And folks these are friendlies to us but who could blame them. Venezuela, sounds like a nice country to live in for pot smokers. Let’s go there and leave this embarrassing government to itself.

    10. Buggsy13420666 says:

      No DECRIMINALIZATION, no vote for OBAMA in 2012. Yes Mr. President you supported the local drug dealers when you were younger and got away with it. Now the shoe is on the other foot foe re-election and want to use MARIJUANA PROHIBITION as a crutch to show the 21ST CENTURY INQUISITORS that you are not soft on drugs as the rest of Congress who are on the PROHIBITIONISTS side. Lets not forget the other two presidents who toked. Sounds like the same old song and dance mentality. Federal law this, Federal law that, what happened to the will of the people when they voted for changes on marijuana policy in their states for the better? As the tide is turning for the NEW GREEN INDUSTRY that is the real change for America, we get slapped in the face with MARIJUANA PROHIBITION and a POLICE STATE on enforcement of marijuana laws. No matter how you flip the coin, no heads, no tails but the coin always lands on the edge perfectly balanced for FEDERALISM, THE DEA and the FDA. As for now lets see what gets going here in Indiana later on in the week to help change the marijuana legislation in our state for the better. Will there be FEDERALISM BLACKMAIL?