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Dickinson writes: "The war over pot may be far from over. Legalization has set Colorado and Washington on a collision course with the Obama administration."

With marijuana proponents chanting behind them, U.S. marshals raid Oaksterdam University in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, April 2, 2012. With voters around the country voting for legalization, President Obama is left to choose between enforcing federal laws or looking the other way. (photo: Noah Berger/AP)
With marijuana proponents chanting behind them, U.S. marshals raid Oaksterdam University in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, April 2, 2012. With voters around the country voting for legalization, President Obama is left to choose between enforcing federal laws or looking the other way. (photo: Noah Berger/AP)


Obama's Pot Problem

By Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone

08 December 12

 

Now that states have started legalizing recreational marijuana, will the president continue the government’s war on weed?

hen voters in Colorado and Washington state legalized recreational marijuana in November, they thought they were declaring a cease-fire in the War on Drugs. Thanks to ballot initiatives that passed by wide margins on Election Day, adults 21 or older in both states can now legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana. The new laws also compel Colorado and Washington to license private businesses to cultivate and sell pot, and to levy taxes on the proceeds. Together, the two states expect to reap some $600 million annually in marijuana revenues for schools, roads and other projects. The only losers, in fact, will be the Mexican drug lords, who currently supply as much as two-thirds of America's pot.

Drug reformers can scarcely believe their landslide victories at the polls. "People expected this day would come, but most didn't expect it to come this soon," says Norm Stamper, a former Seattle police chief who campaigned for legalization. "This is the beginning of the end of prohibition."

But the war over pot may be far from over. Legalization has set Colorado and Washington on a collision course with the Obama administration, which has shown no sign of backing down on its full-scale assault on pot growers and distributors. Although the president pledged to go easy on medical marijuana - now legal in 18 states - he has actually launched more raids on state-sanctioned pot dispensaries than George W. Bush, and has threatened to prosecute state officials who oversee medical marijuana as if they were drug lords. And while the administration has yet to issue a definitive response to the two new laws, the Justice Department was quick to signal that it has no plans to heed the will of voters. "Enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act," the department announced in November, "remains unchanged."

A big reason for the get-tough stance, say White House insiders, is that federal agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration are staffed with hard-liners who have built their careers on going after pot. Michele Leonhart, a holdover from the Bush administration whom Obama has appointed to head the DEA, continues to maintain that pot is as dangerous as heroin - a position unsupported by either science or experience. When pressed on the point at a congressional hearing, Leonhart refused to concede any distinction between the two substances, lamely insisting that "all illegal drugs are bad."

"There are not many friends to legalization in this administration," says Kevin Sabet, director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida who served the White House as a top adviser on marijuana policy. In fact, the politician who coined the term "drug czar" - Joe Biden - continues to guide the administration's hard-line drug policy. "The vice president has a special interest in this issue," Sabet says. "As long as he is vice president, we're very far off from legalization being a reality."

There's no question that the votes in Colorado and Washington represent a historic shift in the War on Drugs. "This is a watershed moment," says Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "People are standing up and saying that the drug war has gone too far." And drug reformers achieved the landmark victory with a creative new marketing blitz - one that sold legalization not to stoners, but to soccer moms.

The man behind Colorado's legalization campaign was Mason Tvert, a Denver activist who was radicalized against the drug war by two experiences as a teenager. First, in high school, a bout of binge drinking landed him in the hospital. Then, as a college freshman, he made what he believed was a healthier choice to smoke pot - only to get subpoenaed by a grand jury and grilled by campus police about his drug use. "It was ridiculous," Tvert recalls, "to be spending these law-enforcement resources worrying about whether a college student might or might not be using pot in his dorm room on the weekend."

In 2005, at age 22, Tvert founded Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER) to prompt a public conversation about the relative dangers of pot and booze. "We're punishing adults for making the rational, safer decision to use marijuana rather than alcohol, if that's what they prefer," says Tvert. "We're driving people to drink." That same year, fueled by support on college campuses, SAFER launched a ballot initiative to make Denver the world's first city to remove all criminal penalties for possession of marijuana by adults. Tvert cheekily branded then-mayor and now Colorado governor John Hickenlooper a "drug dealer" for owning a brew pub. The shoestring campaign, Tvert says, was only intended to raise awareness. "We just happened to win."

This year, Tvert and other drug reformers drew an even more explicit link between the two recreational drugs, naming their ballot initiative the "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012." Instead of simply urging people to vote against prohibition, the measure gave Coloradans a concrete reason to vote for legalization: Taxing pot would provide more money for schools, while freeing up cops from senseless pot busts would enable them to go after real criminals. "The public does not like marijuana," explains Brian Vicente, a Denver attorney who co-wrote the law. "What they like is community safety, tax revenue and better use of law enforcement."

Equally important to winning over mainstream voters was the plan to treat pot like alcohol. While the feds continue to view marijuana as contraband to be ferreted out by drug dogs and SWAT teams, Colorado and Washington will now entrust pot to the same regulators who keep tabs on Jameson and Jägermeister. The new laws charge the Washington State Liquor Control Board and the Colorado Department of Revenue - which already oversees medical marijuana - with issuing licenses for recreational marijuana to be sold in private, stand-alone stores. The Colorado law also gives local communities the right to prohibit commercial pot sales, much like a few "dry" counties across the country still ban liquor sales. "These will be specifically licensed marijuana retail stores," says Tvert. "It's not going to be popping up at Walmart. This is not going to force a marijuana store into a community that does not want it."

The legalization campaign in Colorado was a grassroots, low-budget affair that triumphed in the face of strong opposition from Gov. Hickenlooper and the Denver Chamber of Commerce. The reform effort in Washington, by contrast, received more than half its $6.2 million in funding from billionaire drug reformers Peter Lewis and George Soros - and enjoyed mainstream support. The public face for legalization was Rick Steves, the avuncular PBS travel journalist - and dedicated pothead - who chipped in $450,000 to the cause. In Seattle, the mayor, city attorney and every member of the city council supported the measure. Unlike past efforts to turn back pot prohibition at the ballot box, which saw public support crater at the 11th hour, support for the measures in Colorado and Washington actually increased through Election Day: Both laws passed by at least 10 points. In Colorado, marijuana proved more popular than the president, trumping Obama's winning tally by more than 50,000 votes.

Regardless of how the federal government responds to the initiatives, many of their greatest benefits have already taken hold. In November, more than 200 Washington residents who had been charged with pot possession saw their cases dropped even before the new law went into effect. "There is no point in continuing to seek criminal penalties for conduct that will be legal next month," said Seattle prosecutor Dan Satterberg. Local police are now free to focus their resources on crimes of violence, and cops can no longer use the pretext of smelling dope as a license for unwarranted searches. "That gets us into so many cars and pockets and homes - illegally, inappropriately," says Neill Franklin, a retired narcotics officer who now directs Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. "That ends in Colorado and Washington - it ends."

A hilarious FAQ called "Marijwhatnow?" - issued by the Seattle police department - underscores the official shift in tactics:

Q: What happens if I get pulled over and I'm sober, but an officer or his K-9 buddy smells the ounce of Super Skunk I've got in my trunk? A: Each case stands on its own, but the smell of pot alone will not be reason to search a vehicle.

Despite the immediate benefits of the new laws, the question remains: What will the federal government do in response? Advocates of legalization are hoping the Obama administration will recognize that it's on the wrong side of history. "Everybody's predicting there's going to be a backlash, and that's a good bet," concedes Nadelmann. "But there's some reason to be optimistic that the feds won't jump - at least not right away."

The administration, he points out, has yet to make its intentions clear - and that, by itself, is a sign of progress. In 2010, Attorney General Eric Holder strongly denounced California's bid to regulate and tax marijuana before voters even had a chance to weigh in at the polls. This year, by contrast, the administration said nothing about the legalization bids in Colorado and Washington - even after nine former heads of the DEA issued a public letter decrying the administration's silence as "a tacit acceptance of these dangerous initiatives."

In addition, the provisions that directly flout the federal government's authority to regulate marijuana don't take effect right away - leaving time for state and federal authorities to negotiate a truce. In Colorado, the state isn't required to begin regulating and taxing pot until next July, while officials in Washington have until next December to unveil a regulatory plan. "There's no inherent need for a knee-jerk federal response," says Nadelmann.

Most important, the governors of both Colorado and Washington have vowed to respect the will of the voters - even though they personally opposed the new laws. Gov. Hickenlooper pledged that "we intend to follow through" with regulating and taxing marijuana. But he also sounded a note of caution to potheads. "Federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug," he warned, "so don't break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly."

If Obama were committed to drug reform - or simply to states' rights - he could immediately end DEA raids on those who grow and sell pot according to state law, and immediately order the Justice Department to make enforcement of federal marijuana laws the lowest priority of U.S. attorneys in states that choose to tax and regulate pot. He could also champion a bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat from Colorado, that would give state marijuana regulation precedence over federal law - an approach that even anti-marijuana hard-liners have endorsed. As George W. Bush's former U.S. attorney for Colorado wrote in a post-election op-ed in the Denver Post: "Letting states 'opt out' of the Controlled Substances Act's prohibition against marijuana ought to be seriously considered."

When it comes to pot, the federal government is both impotent and omnipotent. What the feds cannot do is force either Colorado or Washington to impose criminal sanctions on pot possession. "They cannot say to states: You must keep arresting or throwing people in jail for simple use," says Sabet, the former White House adviser. "And they cannot compel the states to impose penalties on use." Individual pot smokers in Colorado and Washington will technically be in violation of federal law, but as a practical matter the DEA only has the resources to pursue high-level traffickers.

Where the federal government has great power to act is in shutting down state taxation and regulation of marijuana. Privately, both drug reformers and drug warriors believe the Obama administration is likely to take Colorado and Washington to court to keep them out of the pot business. "I would put money on it," says Sabet.

Unfortunately for drug reformers, the administration appears to have an open-and-shut case: Federal law trumps state law when the two contradict. What's more, the Supreme Court has spoken on marijuana law: In the 2005 case Gonzales v. Raich contesting medical marijuana in California, the court ruled that the federal government can regulate even tiny quantities of pot - including those grown and sold purely within state borders - because the drug is ultimately connected to interstate commerce. If the courts side with the administration, a judge could issue an immediate injunction blocking Washington and Colorado from regulating or taxing the growing and selling of pot - actions that would be considered trafficking under the Controlled Substances Act. The feds could also threaten to prosecute state employees tasked with implementing the new regulations - a hardball tactic the administration deployed last year to shut down state regulation of medical marijuana in Washington and Rhode Island.

Such draconian measures would do nothing to curb marijuana use - particularly in Colorado, where the new law empowers citizens to grow up to six plants and share up to an ounce of their weed with other adults. "Thanks to homegrow," says Vicente, who coauthored the law, "we will still have legal adult access" - no matter how hard the feds crack down on commercial growers and retailers. But denying states the ability to regulate marijuana would eliminate the tax revenues that reformers promised voters. "If they want to act cynically," says Nadelmann, "the federal gambit would be to block regulation to make this as messy as possible" - in the hopes that the public would sour on pervasive, unregulated weed.

Ironically, if Obama succeeds in gutting the new state laws, he will essentially be serving the interests of foreign drug cartels. A study by the nonpartisan think tank Instituto Mexicano Para la Competitividad found that legalization in Colorado and Washington would deal a devastating blow to the cartels, depriving them of nearly a quarter of their annual drug revenues - unless the federal government decides to launch a "vigorous intervention." If that happens, pot profits would continue to flow to the cartels instead of to hard-hit state budgets. "Something's wrong," says Stamper, the former Seattle police chief, "when the lawbreakers and the law enforcers are on the same side."

In the end, the best defense against federal intervention may be other states standing up against prohibition. While pro-pot sentiment is strongest in the West, recent polls show that legalization is now beginning to enjoy majority support nationwide. "We're beyond the tipping point," says Stamper. Spurred by the victories in Colorado and Washington, legislators are already moving to legalize pot in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine and Iowa. "It's time for the Justice Department to recognize the sovereignty of the states," Gov. Jerry Brown of California declared. "We don't need some federal gendarme to come and tell us what to do."

Obama, the former constitutional-law professor, has relied on the expansive powers of the chief executive when it serves him politically - providing amnesty to a generation of Dream Act immigrants, or refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. A one-time pothead who gave a shout-out to his dealer in his high school yearbook, Obama could single-handedly end the insanity of marijuana being treated like heroin under the Controlled Substances Act with nothing more than an executive order.

What the president needs to act boldly, reform advocates believe, is for the rising tide of public opinion to swamp the outdated bureaucracy of the War on Drugs. "The citizens have become more savvy about the drug war," says Franklin, the former narcotics cop. "They know this is not just a failed policy - they understand it's also a very destructive policy." With an eye on his legacy, Franklin says, Obama should treat pot prohibition like the costly misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan: "This is another war for the president to end."

 

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+14 # moafu@yahoo.com 2012-12-08 08:01
Colo. & Wash. on the pot issue are only the beginning of his problems. It's possible that the "States Rights" vs Fed issues will tie up his admin. for duration of his term. Now ain't that sumpin !
 
 
-4 # KittatinyHawk 2012-12-08 14:05
Bull
 
 
-2 # Glen Etzkorn 2012-12-08 18:21
Not quite if folks wake up they will realize that the great deceiver has lost the game already. Racism is a lost cause and his white corporate side doesn't win. In the Leary vs. US of arses the minority position noted the supreme racists of bogus court decision erred and pointed out that if in the future a state (in the current state affair 2 states) ought legalize the use of marijuana the limitation of racial award to native americans for cultural, artistic and religious use of a great substance would mean that white folks in crowd also had rights to artistic, cultural and religious rights to use in this case marijuana. The feds under Obama need to be forced into doing the right thing of releasing all prisoners of the barbaric pot laws in all of confines and in the other states under the confines of 72 hours non inclusive of weekend and intervening holiday for in effect the Bill of Rights protects all the citizens of the US from what are currently illegally enacted racist laws. Too bad we don't have lawyers with a lick of brains and know what the right thing. It would be great to see the end of the killing of innocent children and others at the hands of fascist military dressed fools claiming that murdering folks at the wrong addresses was a fun fact of life was a collateral was pure spin. the law was always a racist american way of life. Pot is legal. Obama needs impeachment if fails to respect the Bill of rights.
 
 
-2 # Glen Etzkorn 2012-12-08 23:21
But impeachment might be difficult with only two states having congress members who also didn't require impeachment for not respecting the constitution. So that leaves the prison guards responsible for opening the jail doors or they can frog march themselves into a jail cell. Lawyers will have to quit the profession or face lawsuits for not doing their jobs. Police will still be having fun shooting people at the wrong addresses because they have so many legislators, folks in the executive, and the judicial departments who have to be frog marched to prison for blatant civil right violations. Then the army will send in drones sitting comfortably in front of computers to take care of coppers who did not walk into prison cells voluntarily. The citizens here and around the world will cheer loudly and peace will eventually overcome the earth a cleansing cloud of sweet maryjane will at least help with the severe drought in some parts of world.
 
 
+7 # mdhome 2012-12-09 19:24
What a saving for the government by not locking up everyone with a joint! Savings enough to balance the budgets? Maybe not, but I would love to have it in my bank account.
 
 
0 # foghead 2012-12-09 15:38
Quoting moafu@yahoo.com:
Colo. & Wash. on the pot issue are only the beginning of his problems. It's possible that the "States Rights" vs Fed issues will tie up his admin. for duration of his term. Now ain't that sumpin !


Certainly would be interesting... but I feel the real reason lies within this article:

http://lookingglass.blog.co.uk/2012/02/19/the-curious-case-of-patent-number-12825157/
 
 
+18 # Tje_Chiwara 2012-12-08 08:19
With so many other critical items on the table, particularly the rebuilidng of a progressive tax system in the US to support our very existance, and global climate destruction which threatens everybody, this may not be a fight to pick.

I think he should downplay this, put off any confrontations as long as he possibly can, despite the "rightness" and logic of the cause.
 
 
+28 # WBoardman 2012-12-08 08:20
Marijuana cultivation mitigates global warming, does it not?

So which is the more serious problem?
 
 
+57 # get the money 2012-12-08 08:25
my god its only pot
 
 
-8 # Glen Etzkorn 2012-12-08 23:31
and its you chance to be a god.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=312138002180575&set=a.312137975513911.70288.306087126118996&type=1&relevant_count=1
 
 
+73 # Martintfre 2012-12-08 08:28
So -- When do we the people start usinig our own power to end this stupid war on drugs -- ya know - end it the same way Prohibition was ended --

Jury Nullification.

Juries all over America refused to convict people on alcohol possession charges -- soon the government gave up and it was over.
 
 
-1 # kentuckywoman2 2012-12-08 09:24
Yeah, but how would you accomplish that? You can't exactly take out advertisements encouraging potential jurors to "just don't convict"....
 
 
+20 # Martintfre 2012-12-08 10:03
Quoting kentuckywoman2:
Yeah, but how would you accomplish that? You can't exactly take out advertisements encouraging potential jurors to "just don't convict"....


WWW.FIJA.ORG

Why not?
 
 
+33 # DrEvel1 2012-12-08 10:27
Quoting kentuckywoman2:
Yeah, but how would you accomplish that? You can't exactly take out advertisements encouraging potential jurors to "just don't convict"....

In Los Angeles at least, there is a small but dedicated cadre who show up most days outside the new juror entrance to the courthouse (at least every time I've been called for jury duty) - passing out leaflets to the new prospective jurors advising them about the right to jury nullification. It's certainly a principle that I believe in, and I've always encouraged them (though not actually taking part myself - sorry!) So even if you don't advertise, there are ways to spread the word. On one occasion, when we prospective jurors were sitting around waiting to be rejected from juries for possessing excessive intelligence, I did get into a conversation with a woman about the principle (she'd seen the leaflet), and managed to convince her of its rationality and justice, So I have done something here, albeit small. By such small steps we may be able to achieve some social justice goals.
 
 
+4 # KittatinyHawk 2012-12-08 14:11
Just getting info out is something...not radically, just pamphlets, facts and collaborating addresses an phone numbers for people to verify. NORML has lots of help Aids
 
 
+4 # Group_Capt_Lionel_Mandrake 2012-12-09 07:51
Yes, little by little...
 
 
+2 # KittatinyHawk 2012-12-08 14:10
What You and rest can do is get awareness out. You will not convince the Hypocritical Religious Fanatics, The old crowd but you can get facts esp on Medicinal Use, Commerce, Oil But then You have to actually do something...
 
 
+3 # readerz 2012-12-08 22:12
You can slowly convince the religious fanatics of medicinal uses, especially if the medical community accepted herbal and not just patent medicine.

What it comes down to is that our pharmacopea does not include the herbal list that the German pharmacopea does, along with patent medicines. The herbal list (including ginger for nausea, etc.) is useful, because dosages are needed just as for patent medicines. Many herbal remedies need all their components, not just a single extracted ingredient; every plant, including tea, has its own complex of uses.

Therefore, it is important to reform the FDA at the same time as trying to legalize pot. It would also help for some hard to cure ailments such as cancer: because the FDA takes money as a "fee" from the drug manufacturers, it refuses to test any herbal medicines. Our government is too much ruled by private industry, and that is the whole problem with getting any medicine approved.
 
 
-1 # KittatinyHawk 2012-12-08 14:07
When are you and your like going to get off your own butts to do something besides rant?
 
 
+43 # Gloria Williams 2012-12-08 08:33
"Downing says the real problem is that police in America have become as addicted to the war on drugs as the cartels and street gangs. “The cartels don’t want to end prohibition and the street gangs don’t want to end prohibition,” he says. “Why? Because it’s profitable to them. But the problem is, because it’s a black market, that means the only way they can solve their disputes is by violence. And so they are a violent culture. If you support public safety, which the chief of police should support, there is no way that you can support prohibition in this country.”
Former Deputy Chief Stephen Downing headed the drug enforcement division of the Los Angeles Police Department and was commander of the Bureau of Special Investigations, which oversaw all of the narcotics enforcement operations. He is now on the Board of Directors of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)

http://www.zcommunications.org/the-peace-caravan-by-gloria-williams
 
 
+29 # Surflar 2012-12-08 10:34
Our police forces are reliant upon the money from drug busts and isn't it actually their job to provide the prison industrial complex with clients? It's about job security for so many creeps that want to violate our rights repeatedly. They are the real criminals.
 
 
+3 # KittatinyHawk 2012-12-08 14:14
I believe they should continue to bust drglords...I just do not link Pot to Drugs You here do so you are part of problem MJ is always on scene in busts but Junkies could care less about spending money on Pot...they want Chemicals
POT must stp being linked with Chemicals START HERE
 
 
+1 # engelbach 2012-12-08 23:28
The entire War on Drugs is bogus. Drug addiction is not more serious than alcohol or tobacco addiction, but it exists and the illegality of drugs helps to perpetuate crime.

All drugs must be legalized.
 
 
+3 # STEVEBONZAI 2012-12-08 17:09
READ- The Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America's War on Drugs. Douglas Valentine (Author)
He explains that the CIA is the biggest drug pusher in the world. All for 'NATIONAL SECURITY'. The most interesting history book I have ever read. It explains the connection of Mafia, CIA, WW2, CHINA, IRAN, Vietnam, JFK, RFK AND Afghanistan.
 
 
+1 # readerz 2012-12-08 22:16
In the 1960s, some said that pot was being pushed by the CIA in America to try to disperse the gangs. Pot made people less prone to street fights, and less prone to making demands on the government or striking or forming unions.
 
 
0 # bmiluski 2012-12-10 10:47
The corporate prison complex doesn't want to end the war on drugs. Nor do all those politicians who are getting rich on cartel handouts.
 
 
+18 # jon 2012-12-08 08:47
Call the White House, and defend legalization -- 202-456-1111
 
 
+6 # KittatinyHawk 2012-12-08 14:15
Support NORML who does keep Chemicals away from Herb

MJ IS AN HERB
 
 
+28 # kentuckywoman2 2012-12-08 09:21
I would not be so quick to interpret Obama's silence on Washington's and Colorado's marijuana initiatives a positive step in the right direction.

After all, it was an election year for Obama. He's a smart man. I'm sure he well knew that if he came out against those initiatives it wouldn't garner him any votes from conservatives, BUT it would have lost him hundreds of thousands of votes from liberals, progressives and libertarians - which could have cost him the entire election. I think he's just biding his time.

I HOPE he will do what is sensible. I HOPE he is talking to Biden (God forbid Biden decides to run for President in 2016)and I HOPE he is planning to replace Leonhart. I HOPE he is planning to revamp the DEA.

But I'm not holding my breath.
 
 
0 # KittatinyHawk 2012-12-08 14:17
Why would you be afraid of aood man like Biden? Rather have Christie perhaps another BUSH then there is Nittens
Foolish ramblings
 
 
0 # Hey There 2012-12-08 22:09
Bhttp://justsay now.firedoglake .com/2012/03/06 /biden-reaffirm s-administratio ns-total-opposi tion-to-drug-le galization/iden

Bidhttp://www.n ytimes.com/2012 /03/06/world/am ericas/us-remai ns-against-drug -legalization-i n-mexico-biden- says.htmlen is strongly opposed to legaliation.
 
 
+1 # Milarepa 2012-12-08 09:27
Of course he'll fight it. Mitt would have fought it, wouldn't he!
 
 
+19 # Rita Walpole Ague 2012-12-08 09:27
For a most interesting and educational look into the drug cartels and their m.o., read (in paperback): "The Quadra Connection - A West Coast Novel of Adventure and Intrigue" by Robert Whitfield.

Think some of our greed and power addicted 1%ers are profiting from drug cartelling? No duh. Think any number of pols are also profiting? Again, no duh.

Marijuana, like aspirin, is an ancient American Indian treatment. Should certain cautions re. use/over use of pot be in place? Absolutely, such as warnings to those with schizophrenia that pot ups tendency to hallucinate. But, should the drug war on pot be put to an end? You betcha.

Sorry, bought off pols. The people have said o.k. to pot use.
 
 
+4 # Kootenay Coyote 2012-12-08 10:16
No, Hemp is NOT an 'ancient' American Indian medicine, as it did not arrive in N. America until Europeans brought it in Hhe 16th C. There is a N. American Reed formerly called Indian hemp, Apocynum cannabinum, or Dogbane, which is something else altogether.
 
 
+2 # KittatinyHawk 2012-12-08 14:24
Ot was an herb Our Hemp was used for clothing, reeds, and fire. It was shown to render for oil for burning. Also leaves were used and root for poultice, steeped for tea very bitter.
Milder smoke I am not sure who first introduced..I was told Inca and others had done cross for smoking perhaps traded thru Berring or other travelers.
Seeds different but was brought here crossed.
HEMP is Legal yet we still allow Those of stupidity to fight us.
 
 
+15 # frankieben 2012-12-08 09:30
[Leonhart refused to concede any distinction between the two substances, lamely insisting that "all illegal drugs are bad."]

So before alcohol's prohibition it was "good", then during prohibition it was "bad" and after the 21st amendment repealed prohibition it was "good" again.

All the bootleggers sure thought the repeal of prohibition was BAD.

There's some REAL thought going into Leonhart's statement regarding illegal "bad" drugs.
 
 
+15 # elmont 2012-12-08 09:36
Easy solution: remind people MJ is still against federal law, but refuse to fund enforcement. After all, we have a deficit problem, right?
 
 
+18 # reiverpacific 2012-12-08 09:46
The more they repress and sit on this issue, the more it will thrive.
You'd think they'd have learned from the ludicrous Volstead Act focused on the manufacture and sale of alcohol. BTW, Drinking itself was never illegal, and there were exceptions for medicinal and religious uses. In that era, one could smoke weed (reefers) openly and in abundance (these folks were called "Vipers" and many songs were written on the subject, my favorite being "You'se a Viper" by the great jazz violinist Stuff Smith).
It also happened in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and other countries, which increased the crime rate exponentially in all cases.
Hell, Joe Biden is a teetotaler (admittedly with good reason; this is no rush to judgement on the man who I actually quite like). Maybe he should learn to enjoy an occasional joint to help him relax. Anyhoo, I just wish that those who have their own agendas look at the big picture and it's beneficial aspects. After all, big tobacco, big pharma and GMO are much more PROVENLY harmful abut with some of the strongest lobbies inside the Beltway to keep 'em alive and profitable.
My favorite current anomalies are in the South with WET towns in DRY counties and every time a vote is taken for a county to go WET, the anti-voters are the bootleggers and preachers -often the same entities.
And in super-dry Saudi Arabia, there is a huge market for prestigious liquors and wine among the wealthiest Saudis, especially in Jeddah.
 
 
0 # KittatinyHawk 2012-12-08 14:32
I believe we must Campaign the Difference of Chemical Addiction, those allowing sales and importation CIA, Government vs Weed
Put age limit like evil drinking...fine s for underage

Biden is a good man who has seen the ravishes of Drug use Dealing in Delaware. Angry People will not win this battle. MJ use must be shown to be what it is.

Reefer Madness....Brai n washing ...lies to Nation in fear. Headlines of young dying...Pot on them even if not
Chemicals make money, kill quicker..Means to an End

We need Intelligent Protest no ramblings of idiots Yeh like man see what pot has done for me.....Turn off Many good people, industrious use. Medical must continue to shed light...CIA mentality must go away
 
 
+10 # Quickmatch 2012-12-08 09:48
I get the idea of holding on to members of the previous administration when doing so preserves useful and needed skills. Robert Gates is an excellent example. Michele Leonhart is another example, but of the exact opposite value: one whose skills and attitudes are perfectly opposed to the needs of the job. Leonhart's intellectual position is a well fit for an administration whose point of view is that all things must remain static and old attitudes are the best attitudes, no matter how unfit they are for changing times. These people have to be replaced with thinking beings and then pot should be legalized. Whith danger demonstrated to be no worse than the use of home made beer or wine the current situation of filling US prisons with users is insane, at least; more like criminal in itself.
 
 
+14 # Mermaid19 2012-12-08 10:19
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-december-5-2012/old-tokes-home?xrs=share_fb
This John Stewart episode says it all. Marijuana has demonstrated no adverse side effects like some of the drugs that are being given to seniors and even children. This is worth a watch and is a great laugh. For heavens sake people can make their own choices - get the government out of our bodies and start looking at how to end wars, get single pay health system and improve the education for our children. Marijuana needs to be the least of our worries however I agree if we stop the war on drugs some people might lose their jobs.
 
 
+2 # KittatinyHawk 2012-12-08 14:36
As long as CIA, GOP allow Heroin, Meth, Coke and now designer drugs brought in or made here there will alwys be DEA jobs Howeverm DEA doesnot want to shut down These Imports as the like lining pockets.
Churches should be up in Arms...why not? Collection Plates???
 
 
+7 # Mermaid19 2012-12-08 10:23
We import millions of dollars worth the material called Hemp - busting people for growing millions of dollars worth of marijuana. Hmmm looks like there is a desire along with a need for the stuff yet our citizens end up in JAIL for what I am still not clear - for taking a substance that is less harmful then some prescription drugs or growing material our military used during World War 11 to make rope, Not clear on the rational, can someone advise me?????
 
 
+6 # Quickmatch 2012-12-08 13:00
The product used for rope and grown locally during WWII is a different variety from the hemp grown for recreational use. There's still "rope hemp" growing in the Indiana countryside; call it "Indiana Ditchweed"; smoke it, but dont expect to get high. It contains a barely perceptable percent of THC--about a tehth of the level of the poorest grades of commercial pot, and a hundredth that of the most potent stuff.
 
 
+1 # KittatinyHawk 2012-12-08 14:40
Lot of growth of this product foolishness is not to do more upscale for oils, rope, cloth, even poultice for wounds
want oil independence... hmmmmm
 
 
+2 # KittatinyHawk 2012-12-08 14:37
We grow HEMP always have. We just do not use brains and get more farmers to grow...HMMMMM
 
 
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-08 10:39
Barry Obonghit has the government jailing and fining millions for doing exactly what he did -- and fools follow him.
 
 
+6 # KittatinyHawk 2012-12-08 14:38
Grow up GOP sniveler Didn't see your buddies legalizing it did ya?
 
 
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-09 15:44
Quoting KittatinyHawk:
Grow up GOP sniveler Didn't see your buddies legalizing it did ya?


Obama is ordering his FBI , HIS DEA to persecute more people then Bush or Clinton did.


Blaming this on Bush is a lame lie.
 
 
+9 # bobby t. 2012-12-08 10:53
The Mex Drug Cartel is a clear and present danger. Washington and Colorado is not a clear danger except to the people who profit from prisons, bribes, gun sales, etc. What happened in both states (should have also happened in California) is a no brainer and is very rational, but organized crime is very unhappy, and they usually get what they want.
The Mayans also were very rational at one time in their history. They had to deal with no rain for a very long time. So they rationally built water conservation systems, the first cisterns, etc. Didn't work. So they turned to irrational religious sacrifices to make it rain.
When watching the behavior of D.C. one sees both sides of the yin yang. I cheer for one, and cry when I see the other. And so it goes.
 
 
+8 # Martintfre 2012-12-08 14:27
//The Mex Drug Cartel is a clear and present danger. // So was Al Capone and his ilk -- what removed those people from positions of power ?? the ending of prohibition.
 
 
+1 # reiverpacific 2012-12-09 09:09
Quoting Martintfre:
//The Mex Drug Cartel is a clear and present danger. // So was Al Capone and his ilk -- what removed those people from positions of power ?? the ending of prohibition.

Actually, the finally got Capone for tax evasion.
But your point is valid; he wasn't the only booze kingpin and it was apparently pretty awful stuff.
Interestingly enough Capone and Co' were perhaps the main employers for the jazz greats of the era and the speakeasies they ran were the only places where black and white musicians could mix freely and exchange licks in developing the new music's Chicago style fully.
Freedom is a strange quantity when you look at it in this certain way and again I'm reminded of Lear's pronoucement "Hark in thine ear: change places, and Handy-Dandy, which is the justice, which the thief".
Just musin' a bit.
 
 
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-09 15:54
Quoting reiverpacific:
[quote name="Martintfre"] ...
Interestingly enough Capone and Co' were perhaps the main employers for the jazz greats of the era and the speakeasies they ran were the only places where black and white musicians could mix freely and exchange licks in developing the new music's Chicago style fully.
Freedom is a strange quantity when you look at it in this certain way ....


Yes that unregulated free from Jim Crow laws as well as free from liquor laws .. look at what happens when government is not in the way.
 
 
+12 # oakes721 2012-12-08 11:25
It was once required by law for US farmers to grow hemp. The greatest and most versatile fiber known to man ~ and the greatest cash crop ever ~ hemp production alone could pull our economy out of the hole we've dug by allowing profiteers to condemn things of actual value in order to sell shoddy replacements. William Randolph Hurst pushed to make hemp illegal so that he could sell the (inferior) wood fiber from the northern California forests he owned. It gave police an excuse to arrest blacks and Latinos, who were the primary users of recreational 'pot' at that time. Prisons-for-pro fits have quotas to keep and these laws keep the traffic flowing for them.
~ From a non-smoker.
 
 
+4 # KittatinyHawk 2012-12-08 14:42
Should still be instead of paying then to grow nothing!
 
 
+8 # Texas Aggie 2012-12-08 11:28
The two points that come to mind as to hurdles that this initiative will have to jump are first the private prison industry that will surely use its money to lobby for prohibition and second, if the children of illegal immigrants can be given a get out of jail free card, so can pot users.

I would sincerely like to find out what exactly is the problem with the Obama administration. The article conjectures that it is the hardline holdovers from the Bush administration and the VP Biden, but it would be nice to have some confirmation. Maybe someone can ask at one of the WH press conferences.
 
 
+6 # Billsy 2012-12-08 11:47
Obama could undermine the effectiveness of the DEA by cutting its funding, demoting or firing recalcitrant staff. The FDA, SEC and EPA could use the additional resources anyway. The DEA and its support staff in the Justice Dept. are simply picking the most low-hanging fruit in their cowardly attacks on legal pot dispensaries and grow houses, while illegal activities continue unabated up in mendocino and humboldt counties.
 
 
+3 # KittatinyHawk 2012-12-08 14:43
They could stop Chemicals and do not
 
 
0 # engelbach 2012-12-08 23:34
That's nonsense. There's no way the DEA or any other government agency can prevent people from getting access to "illegal" substances.

Your contention that they are just not trying hard enough because they're being paid off is absurd.
 
 
+1 # moafu@yahoo.com 2012-12-08 12:14
Now that he has a little more "flexibility", Pres. Soetero will legalize and tax pot w/in a year.
 
 
+5 # Walter J Smith 2012-12-08 13:04
Uhm, there are a few more losers than this one: "The only losers, in fact, will be the Mexican drug lords, who currently supply as much as two-thirds of America's pot."

The Taxpayers win, when we can prevent the Elected Public Servant in Chief from being such a radical hypocrite, here and, arguably, in his two-faced approach to Wall Street's criminal class.

Every taxpayer is a loser until then, and when (if) that time when we rein in Obama's hypocritical approaches to presiding over the administration and generally representing the USA to the whole world, then, the taxpayers will become the winners.

Meanwhile, we all suffer from Obama's mean-spirited denial and his stupid war on our common Constitutional inheritance, our even older Compact with our governments - The Declaration of Independence, common decency, and other aspects of simple reality.
 
 
+11 # Mink 2012-12-08 13:07
It's important to mention that pot is NOT addictive. It may be habituating, but no one needs to have pot in order to avoid physical discomfort or withdrawal, a condition typical of harder addictive drugs, including alcohol and cigarettes, so potheads do not commit violent crimes to get the next "fix".

Also, pot is no more a gateway drug than beer or wine or cigarettes.

And pot doesn't make users violent or crazy or stupid. It does the opposite. It relaxes us and increases our creativity.

It's important to use it in moderation, like any tool, as excessive use can make us too comfortable, reducing ambition and energy.

I think it should be restricted for people under 18. Kids need to develop fully with a minimum of outside influence.
 
 
+7 # KittatinyHawk 2012-12-08 14:05
It is far better for Illness than any crap chemical
 
 
+4 # Walter J Smith 2012-12-08 13:12
By the way, in light of this detail: "federal agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration are staffed with hard-liners who have built their careers on going after pot. Michele Leonhart, a holdover from the Bush administration whom Obama has appointed to head the DEA, continues to maintain that pot is as dangerous as heroin - a position unsupported by either science or experience."

Why do we citizens not go right over Obama's obviously over-taxed head and declare and create a non-violent national laughing culture aimed at the silly nonsense of both Obama and his ostensibly silly colleagues in both parties in the government?

Maybe dub it something like "Lotsa' Loud, Hard Laughs for the Hollow Potless Head" Campaign (LLHL4HPlH).
 
 
+5 # Walter J Smith 2012-12-08 13:22
There is also the obvious money angle. If the Federal Government is not awash in far more money than it can manage in an adult fashion, then why is it throwing so much money is the most obvious wrong direction?

Why, instead of earning an income at the expense of the criminal culture those criminalizing laws create, why are we citizens not screaming at the tops of our non-violent lungs at the criminally negligent elected officials for their radical failure to transform this into an income producer with one very easy and simple law - not one of those ordinary ten-million-pag es-of- latter-day-lega lese-gibber-jab ber-cockamumboj umbogumbo-Texas -sized&smelling -dog-doo-piles, but a simple law, like, say, Lincoln came up with in the 13th Amendment?

AND, OBAMA AND CONGRESS: GET ON TO MORE SERIOUS CHALLENGES LIKE LEARNING TO TALK AND LISTEN AS IF YOU WERE ACTUALLY ADULTS FOR A CHANGE!
 
 
-5 # KittatinyHawk 2012-12-08 14:03
Obama is finished listening to your types.....me too
 
 
+4 # robniel 2012-12-08 15:50
I have no idea what this poster means. Who is "your types"? And how does someone know what Obama is "finished listening to"?
 
 
+8 # Artemis 2012-12-08 13:49
Everybody who has ever smoked marijuana and appreciated it should sign a petition to legalize.

Would be the longest petition ever.
 
 
+1 # readerz 2012-12-08 22:35
Maybe we need national referendums. If states and local governments can have issues that people can vote on, then our Federal government should have those issues too.

A petition is a good idea to show representatives what people think, but by itself, without the House and Senate, a petition has no force of law.
 
 
-1 # KittatinyHawk 2012-12-08 14:02
Before I read your input...how do any of You Judge OB for the BUSH and Religious HYPOCRITES actions?
I nevr heard OB say anything demeaning of Medical but he has not set Federales off State backs..I agree on this but that was TP?GOP pushing..now perhaps as a newly elected, he will weigh in on Prison Cost, Trials, vs Money to be made on fuel, manufacturing, and indulgences.
I kow facts on drunk driver killing people vs pot...pot gets blamed but most are doing chemicals and booze.
Canada certainly looked...cost/b udget was not worth busting Adult PotHeads...
I feel Alcohol and Chemicals are far worse and no one does damn thing to legal drugs makers or alcohol sales. I see neither of them providing new livers nor paying for violence they reap.
I believe if WE, normal push the FACTS after trial in the two States, perhaps the road will become cleared.
So go ahead bad mouth OB for what I do not know but glad you have your ropes handy you TP.GOP idiots You are reason we never can get things worked out, you are trouble makers not intelligent enough to work towards progress on soooo many issues
REMEMBER there are still Cult Believers in Government or Lobbying...peop le like you keep spurning them on
Personally places like these show the rest of ys what you are still up to...Nothing just flappin you Jaws and making no contributions.. .
 
 
+4 # robniel 2012-12-08 15:53
Not a whole lot clearer.
 
 
+8 # Pancho 2012-12-08 14:44
The big problem here may be Erik Holder.

He's been on a crusade against pot since he was the prosecutor in D.C. 16 years ago.

Maybe he went on a bad trip. It does make some people paranoid? Maybe he's already smoking it and is paranoid about all the crooks he's hired, retained and had appointed at the D.O.J. Maybe if he isn't spending all those resources prosecuting weed, he'll have to come up with another excuse as to why he isn't prosecuting Wall Street banksters and Bush administration perjurers.
 
 
+7 # readerz 2012-12-08 22:40
Really good point.
Why hasn't the administration prosecuted people for war crimes, such as no-bid contracts and the behavior of some of the contractors? If Bradley Manning, why not the whole crew that outed Valerie Plame (which involved much more sensitive information). What about the oil spills, or how about the tobacco industry? And how about the banks, who continue to mess up their paperwork? I can think of lots of stuff they should be going after.
 
 
+3 # Todd Williams 2012-12-08 15:52
How about those damn Rethugs get in line and support states rights to legalize dope? These assholes are always blathering about their damn states rights. Now get behind states who want to legalize weed.
 
 
+5 # ABen 2012-12-08 16:27
The problem is the way pot is classified--sch edule one drug. the logical way to deal with this problem is to get pot reclassified to separate it from drugs such as opium and heroin. Obama and Holder can't just ignore laws on the books, and many career people in DEA and DOJ have built those careers by going after pot smokers. Historical note; for 3-4 years prior to the 18th Amendment being repealed, most law enforcement stopped going after recreational drinking. I suspect the same sort of thing will happen with pot.
 
 
+4 # Chris S. 2012-12-08 17:48
There is the whole issue of the possibility of less alcohol consumption due to people being able to relax 'n medicate w/ pot.
Think of the lives that could be saved - less drunk driving -domestic violence ,etc.
Of course the liquor industry will fight ! a great read onthe issue is SMOKE SIGNALS - Mann.
 
 
+4 # ganymede 2012-12-08 20:08
Part 1)I tend to take a very optimistic attitude about the impending legalization of MJ. Obama had to do what he did to get elected, and there will be a gradual deescalation of the prohibition against MJ. Obama is aiming to be a great president like Lincoln (see the film), and he will probably go down as a great reformer helping to revive a decaying culture and bring us into a better future. Also, the legalization of MJ will be the final nail in the Republican Party. I know that some Conservatives smoke, but most don't and are in general denial of the necessity for positive change. A little MJ will help these rightwingers open up to themsleves and others.

Contrary to the intense propaganda we've had for the past 50-60 years, MJ is an enormously beneficial substance. Medical MJ, when it's really used for medical purposes works better than half the dangerous pharmacueticals on the market. Just ask anyone who's used it for various sorts of chronic pain or people who have avoided glaucoma, and the list goes on. I've been using MJ for the 40 years as a stress reducer and I'm 75 years old and in near perfect health. I even found out by experience that MJ is very effective in reducing high blood pressure.I stopped smoking MJ for about 6 months and my blood pressure suddenly went up. Started smoking 3-4 times a week and blood pressure went back to normal-good diet and exercise/yoga help too!.
 
 
+4 # readerz 2012-12-08 22:45
Yeah, Bill Buckley was a pot smoker, but I'll bet that Romney isn't. I disagree with both of them, but Buckley was far smarter.

My husband has cancer, and he would certainly appreciate it. Today was a bad day for him: he couldn't eat. Now what in the world might have given him the munchies, if he were able to use it?
 
 
+4 # ganymede 2012-12-08 20:08
Part 1)I tend to take a very optimistic attitude about the impending legalization of MJ. Obama had to do what he did to get elected, and there will be a gradual deescalation of the prohibition against MJ. Obama is aiming to be a great president like Lincoln (see the film), and he will probably go down as a great reformer helping to revive a decaying culture and bring us into a better future. Also, the legalization of MJ will be the final nail in the Republican Party. I know that some Conservatives smoke, but most don't and are in general denial of the necessity for positive change. A little MJ will help these rightwingers open up to themsleves and others.

Contrary to the intense propaganda we've had for the past 50-60 years, MJ is an enormously beneficial substance. Medical MJ, when it's really used for medical purposes works better than half the dangerous pharmacueticals on the market. Just ask anyone who's used it for various sorts of chronic pain or people who have avoided glaucoma, and the list goes on. I've been using MJ for the 40 years as a stress reducer and I'm 75 years old and in near perfect health. I even found out by experience that MJ is very effective in reducing high blood pressure.I stopped smoking MJ for about 6 months and my blood pressure suddenly went up. Started smoking 3-4 times a week and blood pressure went back to normal-good diet and exercise/yoga help too!.
 
 
+2 # Group_Capt_Lionel_Mandrake 2012-12-09 07:49
How interesting! Thank you.
 
 
+4 # readerz 2012-12-08 22:01
In this case, more than 18 states must legalize it. However, many hard-liners are in office in statehouses because of gerrymandering that occurred after the 2010 census. If a Constitutional Amendment overturned Prohibition of alcohol, then it might take a Constitutional Amendment to overturn other Prohibitions.

That being said, there are a few problems that need caution:
1. Any smoke adds tar to lungs and liver; it is probably not best taken in a smoke form to avoid permanent lung damage.
2. There are some people with allergies (just as there are with any food or drug), so it is wise not to make others inhale second-hand smoke.
3. There can be changes in judgment; caution is needed, just as caution is needed if taking antihistamines and other over-the-counte r medicines that say "do not drive or operate heavy machinery."
4. Localities still could insist on age limits, moderation or blood intoxication limits, etc. It is much safer usually than alcohol.

If America is going to bother with a prohibition, why not tobacco: not going after users, but the executives in the tobacco industry that know it kills people but they keep on pushing it. Those execs should be in jail for life, many lives, as they are serial killers.

My husband has cancer, and I really wish that he could have pot, but not only are we in a state that prohibits it, but we just don't want to mess with the Feds; not somebody who is sick enduring that kind of stress.
 
 
+2 # The Voice of Reason 2012-12-08 22:45
If it's going to be legalized, it should be free to use, but illegal to sell. That way, people don't profit off the drug / dope habits of others. If alcohol was free, maybe people wouldn't drink so much of that drug. But they make it profitable to night clubs, alcohol dealers, etc. and it's a huge, too-drunk-to-fa il industry.

We'll see.
 
 
+4 # jon 2012-12-09 06:29
Call the White House, and defend legalization -- 202-456-1111
 
 
+3 # Group_Capt_Lionel_Mandrake 2012-12-09 07:48
The little blue mushrooms are organic and medicinal, too. I love them. Include them in the mix, won't you? Oh, well, our "Leaders" can't even let harmless weed alone, much less the little blue hooded things. You know they'd like to summon Agent Orange to come out of hiding and kill it. Ever watched the "Marijuana Wars" on "Reality TV?" I find this country hilarious. I find defending Obama to be very funny. I voted for him, sure. I didn't want Medicare and Soc. Security to be destroyed, but Obama's great speech, "I Have A Drone," should be in every high school textbook (if textbooks weren't first vetted through Texas and sanitized, but that's another story). Obama? What a hero and leader. I live in Hickenlooper Land. What a fine man! Big pockets, too, thanks to the Big Money. There are such big things to do, like save the Redwoods, elephants, whales, lions, tigers, polar bears. You wanna ask ol' Barack and Loopie, couldn't you do just a little leading for once? How do you sleep at night?
 
 
+2 # tm7devils 2012-12-09 21:29
The rationale for keeping the selling and using of pot a criminal offence is neither rational nor moral.
It use is ten times less damaging than alcohol and has many positive effects.
The stand of our government in keeping it an illegal substance puts the intelligence of our congressman - and the courts - in question.
One can only hope that with every election cycle we can replace the naysayers with people who can think - inside AND outside the box.
 

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