Founder’s Blog: The Gift from Obama

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel June 10, 2014

    The Gift from Obama

    Many marijuana smokers were thrilled when Barack Obama became president since he’d previously "outed" himself in his 1995 memoir Dreams From My Father. In his memoir, Obama acknowledges that he and his friends in the "Choom Gang" were regular marijuana smokers during his high school years in Hawaii, a practice he apparently continued while attending Occidental College in LA for two years followed by two years at Columbia University in New York.

    This was further confirmed by David Maraniss’ in his 2012 biography titled Barack Obama: The Story, which provided more details and suggested that Obama had been a serious pothead during his youth, favoring local Hawaii strains such as Maui Wowie, Kauai Electric, Puna Bud, and Kona Gold; none of which apparently limited his ability to excel academically, as he was subsequently President of the Harvard Law Review in 1991.

    Many of those same smokers became disillusioned when President Obama did nothing to advance legalization during his first term, and on the occasion when the topic was raised by a White House petition or otherwise, he refused to treat marijuana legalization as a serious policy topic, instead making jokes about what all those petition signers must have been smoking – deflecting a question on a hot-button social issue, but it also felt insulting to those of us who smoke.

    Perhaps because I have lived in Washington, DC for 48 years and have seen too many administrations come and go, I did not expect Obama to do anything significant to advance marijuana legalization during his first term. Controversial policy changes generally come, if at all, during a president’s second term, when he faces no future elections, and is sometimes willing to risk some of his personal popularity to embrace a policy on principle.

    That appears to be precisely what has occurred with Obama.

    (Read the full story on Marijuana.com)

    44 responses to “Founder’s Blog: The Gift from Obama”

    1. Julian says:

      Quite right, Keith. It’s usually not until the lame duck session of the last year that Presidents pass their hidden contraversial orders, such as when Clinton declared a bunch of National Parks during his last few months in office.
      But if Obama gets another deadlocked Congress in November he may reveal his true greens early next year.
      The President has the authority to order the Attorney General, Eric Holder, to deschedule cannabis. It was written in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Playing coy is a large political tactic of Obama. He did graduate from Harvard Law.
      One political analysis of President Obama’s drug policy is that he is trying to give Congress a chance to make right and vote on the issue first; Obama gives victory credit, or bragging rights, as a bargaining chips for passing legislation… at first. Until he allows the cannabis debate to crescendo before November’s mid-term elections, allow Julian Castro and Hillary Clinton to decide how they stand on the issue, then use executive order to win Democratic favor. But… nothing lasts forever in the cold November Rain. Better donate to NORML in the meantime.

    2. TheOracle says:

      Thanks, Barry! (aka President Obama)
      Thanks, Keith!
      Thanks, NORML!

      It would be great to get the feds out of the way so that the cannabis community can do legal banking. I guess that’s going to happen once Washington state comes online this July.

      Please, Barry. Pretty please with sugar on top. Legal cannabis banking, and IRS tax deductions allowed.

    3. dk says:

      I have a feeling that ‘O’ isn’t done in regards to changes in marijuana law. I expect that the Schedule One status will change before he leaves office and many, many people will be released from prison as well. By then, because of the fact that the sky hasn’t fallen in Colorado and Washington State as was so grimly predicted, most people will have changed their attitudes about marijuana, so he isn’t likely to face much resistance. I think our friends at NORML deserve our gratitude for their persistence and determination. Thanks guys ! This would have never happened without you !

    4. vickia52 says:

      I read all the time. other sitrs and all the what ever i could call it. its sad, insane, hippocritcal, mind boggling, and just plain stupid! the beatings, incarcerations, lost productity, medical uses and products to come, jobs, taxes,and no i didn,t neccessarily want to be first on this blog. i love my country, but! somethings gotta give! it’s obvious to all of us that the govering bodies in office think more of their pocketbooks than us. we are all getting educated about the many positive uses all the while anti mmj people (aliens) post such bull some of it is so sad that their fear of being broke is all that it is. use common sense. don’t drink , vape, be kind to fellow citizens. come on obama, i’m w/60/f/toker,my country right or wrong, and there’s been plenty wrong! i voted 2x for you hopping there’d be a change, but alas not yet!

    5. vickia52 says:

      sorry no spell checker, please forgive me, found some errors. sites! huffingington post, toke of the town, cannibus news, our state sites, just get in a great big rush. and great info out there on recipies, chefs, products, just go see!

    6. Dave Evans says:

      Whatever, I think some folks are living in the past. Americans are already aware marijuana should be legal, we passed that point a couple years back now. Even many that like marijuana being illegal acknowledge it shouldn’t be so.

      We long ago demonstrated Cannabis and marijuana are legitimate markets and products to our fellow Americans. The problem is so few of us understand how the DEA is setup is illegal and this needs to be addressed.

    7. vickia 52 says:

      We who have abstained, so as to not face the wrath of the “aliens”! The numbers are wrong!There are a lot who would consume if it were legal. I love my country, but right or wrong, and there’s a lot wrong. Our politicians and the wealthy, have kept this country from being all that it could be! For instance keeping our nose out of other’s bussiness. As it is Mr Obama I voted for you 2x, hoping that things would get better. w/f/60/vaper. You could change it all. There is a lot of info out there. Toke of the town, Huffington Post, Cannibus news. Recipies, growing tips, absured, humerous, and stuff that will make you all think about what’s REALY going on that should be issues for all of us to be aware of. VOTE, VAPE, BEWARE, BE AWARE

    8. Dave Evans says:

      Fact is, Obama himself has already taken part in this legitimate market place long before he became President. As have 10,000’s of police, 1,000’s of judges and millions of law abiding citizens. Pot is completely legit, but our laws are still full of it.

    9. grandma3d says:

      Hello Everyone
      The time to fight HARDER is NOW! In the states where it is not legal yet, their legislators are salivating over all the money they will make in taxes and fees. Not to mention the jobs it will create.They don’t really care about medical Marijuana, and how much it helps so many sick people. As usual, It is all about the MONEY!

      “First they ignore you,then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

      Hey Keith,
      Thank you Keith for all you have done for us cannabis user’s. You are a fantastic, and progressive leader! By the way, I like that picture of you. You are looking really Hot!

    10. jimmy says:

      If he did something substantial about prohibition and the problems, not solutions, that prohibition causes, that could account for how he was granted the Nobel Peace Prize–too early in his term before–as a token acknowledgment of the change to come.

      It wasn’t given based on something he had done but on a faith or hope that he will do the right things when the time comes.