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Naomi writes: "Obama is thinking about more than a warning: he might actually sue the states, and any others that follow Colorado's and Washington States' leads."

Portrait, author and activist Naomi Wolf. (photo: Sydsvenskan)
Portrait, author and activist Naomi Wolf. (photo: Sydsvenskan)

Will Obama's 'War on Weed' Ignore Voters?

By Naomi Wolf, Guardian UK

12 January 13


The White House seems stuck in its failed 'war on drugs' policy, even as voters in states approve marijuana legalisation

wo states took the plunge: Colorado and Washington State recently voted to decriminalize possession, if you are over 21, of small amounts of marijuana (although you still can't smoke it in public there). But the White House is warning that these state moves are in violation of federal law – the Controlled Substances Act – which the government gives notice it intends to continue to enforce.

Indeed, Obama is thinking about more than a warning: he might actually sue the states, and any others that follow Colorado's and Washington States' leads. Pot legalization proponents, however, point to the fact that the states' change in the law has been hailed by local law enforcement, because being able to leave small-scale pot users alone means freed-up resources for police to go after violent crime.

David Sirota reported, in Salon this past week, on a petition he submitted to the White House, in which 46,000 people asked Obama to support proposed legislation that would not legalize marijuana on a federal level but simply change federal law so that states could choose to legalize personal use if they wished to do so. Sirota points out that polls demonstrate that "between 51% and 68% of Americans believe states – and not the feds – should have marijuana enforcement authority."

The White House ignored the petition – in spite of Obama's promise to take action on petitions that garner such levels of support. And the New York Times reports that the administration is considering taking legal action against any states that claim the authority to legalize marijuana. One approach being contemplated is for the federal government to sue the states "on the grounds that any effort to regulate marijuana is pre-empted by federal law".

Initially, I found it hard to care much about the grassroots movement to legalize pot – the right to get high with impunity seemed like a very trivial concern given the other issues facing the nation. But when one sees how the "war on drugs" generates far bigger consequences than mere buzz suppression – from racist incarceration outcomes, to prison lobbies writing our laws, to the mass disenfranchisement of the felons convicted of marijuana possession, whose conviction prevents them from being allowed to vote – then the move toward decriminalization by these two states seems urgently needed, and a model for others. And the White House's response appears especially benighted.

The larger critique also make the case that US drug laws go to heart of the issue of who controls our justice system. Besides the trend toward privatization of local police forces, which I've written about, many of our prisons too are being privatized, and for these businesses, punitive marijuana laws are at the center of this growth strategy.

Indeed, marijuana legalization groups argue that some prison lobbies are so powerful and intrusive that they directly affect state law – to make sure that prisons have 90% occupancy. (This is hard to achieve solely by prosecuting violent crime, major hard-drug trading, and white-collar crime.) Forbes notes that any easing of the laws that ensnare small-scale users also threatens the profitable spin-off of the "war on drugs" – the businesses that want to grow privatized incarceration.

Not only does US drug policy boost US incarceration, but many claim it also devastates our neighbors to the south. Some in Latin America are breathing a sigh of relief at the prospect of US decriminalization: leaders from Mexico to Colombia bemoan what they call the distortion of their nations' violence levels and economies in the orbit of militarized US drug trade interdiction, blaming American policies for escalating local cartel warfare, resulting in the deaths of soldiers, police, traffickers and, in Mexico, scores of journalists, too.

A congressman in Mexico, Fernando Belaunzarán, introduced a marijuana bill modeled on the ones that recently passed in the US:

"Everyone is asking, 'What sense does it make to keep up such an intense confrontation, which has cost Mexico so much, by trying to keep this substance from going to a country where it's already regulated and permitted?'"

Federal actions are not addressing this grassroots revulsion at a failed policy; they are, rather, riding roughshod over state voters' decisions at the ballot box. So, to all the other bigger issues the "war on drugs" raises, add that it is the latest infringement by an overweening federal government against the expressed will of the people.

Though medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996, distributor Aaron Sandusky was recently sentenced in federal court to ten years in prison. Sandusky joins four defendants in the US who have been targeted by federal prosecutors for medical marijuana dispensation – in states in which that is legal. He told the courtroom that colleagues of his similarly ensnared are being "victimized by the federal government who has not recognized the voters of this state".

California's four federal prosecutors are not stopping with arrests of distributors: since 2011, they have also threatened landlords with seizure of their property, which has forced hundreds of dispensaries to close their doors. The feds have added this latest chapter to an under-reported but important trend of states' legislators finding themselves in a fight with federal laws.

States' efforts, for example, to fight the TSA's invasive screenings have created a cluster of such battles: Texas's bill to opt out of TSA screening is one example. The TSA, however, has fought back before against such efforts. In 2010, New Jersey and Idaho sought to ban invasive body image scanners and individual airports at that time could opt out of screening. But the TSA closed that legal option for states in 2011 – effectively federalizing a state resource.

State nullification bills regarding the National Defense Authorization Act are another example of this fight: Michigan's house passed a bill, 107 to nothing, against the NDAA. A similar bill has been introduced in Nevada. Northampton, Massachusetts, also voted to "opt out" of the NDAA is another. Texas has introduced a similar bill, and such efforts are taking place across the country. (I have written extensively about the grave civil liberties concerns over the NDAA, most recently here.)

The cry of "states' rights" is not often associated with progressive causes, but with the "war on drugs" comprehensively declared a $1tn failure by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, the call has reason and justice on its side. Will the feds carry their fight against the voices expressing popular will from California to Colorado, Washington State and beyond? Or will the White House temper its approach with respect for local democracy? your social media marketing partner


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+11 # Michael_K 2013-01-12 09:27
Obama revealed his true nature all during his first term. Despite this, a large quantity of mentally-challe nged voters returned him to office without securing guarantees, so that he no longer gives a rat's ass about what they think or want (not that he ever did anyway).

So, the only progress that will be made on ending Prohibition II and all of its collateral corruption, will be when Barack Obama is but a sour memory, and his successor can get down to business with voters.
+95 # December27 2013-01-12 10:02
I'm deeply disappointed, also, in the Obama administration' s intransigence on this issue, but I have to ask you: Do you honestly think that a Romney administration- -or any Republicans, for that matter--would now be "ending Prohibition II and all of its collateral corruption"? Not a chance, IMO.
+42 # Virginia 2013-01-12 14:09
It's a Wag the Dog issue - look behind the curtain to see what is really going on. There is always something eminent transpiring behind the scenes when public issues like this take the spotlight...tak ing your eyes off the ball... like a shell game, a fight breaks out and your wallets are missing.

We were inundated with Monica Lewinski media as Clinton and Congress repealed Glass-Steagall. ..
+1 # Firefox11 2013-01-14 16:45
What do you think is transpiring at this point?
+2 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-01-14 23:07
massive redistribution of wealth and rape of the planet's environment which sustains life----on levels that would be difficult to comprehend without repeated nightly abd daily coverage.
+7 # Michael_K 2013-01-13 13:14
Quoting December27:
I'm deeply disappointed, also, in the Obama administration's intransigence on this issue, but I have to ask you: Do you honestly think that a Romney administration--or any Republicans, for that matter--would now be "ending Prohibition II and all of its collateral corruption"? Not a chance, IMO.

I'm glad you can relieve your disappointment by rehashing that "Romney would have been worse" meme...

But it's wrong and doubly so, because there is ever increasing doubt that Romney or anyone short of Dick Cheney could possibly have been worse, and because Romney wasn't the alternative, in any case. Jill Stein, or Anderson, or some other person would have been vastly preferable to either of the "two party system" candidates. And the Democratic Party's refusal to offer up alternatives to Obama is the ultimate self-indictment and proof positive of this party's lost values. The DLC has taken over and rotted away the Democratic Party just as the Tea Party has thoroughly eliminated any last remnant of sanity and decency from the Republican Party.
+2 # guyachs 2013-01-13 15:30
I agree that Stein would have been better but if you think Obama is as bad as Romney would have been, you live in an alternate universe. Didn't you listen to anything Romney said?
+6 # Michael_K 2013-01-13 16:56
Did you listen to anything Obama said? One wanted the teabagger votes, the other wanted your vote... both were being lied to.
+1 # MHAS 2013-01-15 11:57
@guyachs: Are you paying attention to Obama's actual policies? He never said "Drill, Baby, Drill" but he's doing it.
Every day there's a new report of Obama doing exactly what many Dem voters feared either McCain or Romney would have done. So, yes, we heard what Romney said, but words aren't actions. Obama's great oratory amounts to nothing as regards policies, and his policies are in large measure neo-liberal and neo-con.
+1 # Firefox11 2013-01-14 16:45
True; however, at least they would most likely not be pretending that they would, as Obama did in his first term. He is looking more and more like the Manchurian Candidate.
-8 # Vern Radul 2013-01-12 18:25
Well, since he doesn't need voters anymore he's free to let his real true inner progressive flower and shine now. Or shuck and jive. Or something. All his dronebots promised.

Or maybe just keep shinin' people.

The last thing he might have said to his campaign manager Jim Messina the night of Nov. 6, 2012 was lean over and whisper "Heh! They bought it, Jim. Again!! Lol!!!"

He's the best there is. No republican could ever slide the BS past people that he can so effortlessly and have them fall all over themselves like fools and eat it up.
-4 # Michael_K 2013-01-13 13:16
As he was caught on open mic saying to Medvedev, "first, I have to get re-elected, then I can do as I please"... "I shall inform Vladimir", replied Vladimir's puppet.
+10 # Cassandra2012 2013-01-13 16:04
inaccurate quote.... what he said was , 'then we can talk about this'....NOT
'then I can do as I please'. You're so determined to slander Obama that apparently, factual information doesn't make it into your comments much ... ,.
-2 # Michael_K 2013-01-13 16:54
You're so determined to whitewash Obama (pun not intended, but deemed too good to change) that you refuse the only possible interpretation of the exchange. BTW, Cassandra had the gift of foresight.. You, not so much, apparently.
+1 # bmiluski 2013-01-14 11:18
Ah yes republican interpretation. That's always been your mantra rather than facts.
-1 # Michael_K 2013-01-14 14:14
I voted for Jill Stein. See how your knee-jerk preconceptions make a fool of you?
+2 # bmiluski 2013-01-14 11:17 never heard of Ronald Regan????
+21 # Vern Radul 2013-01-12 18:43
"It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."
-- Mark Twain
+3 # Nick Reynolds 2013-01-13 12:56
Obama's not in charge, so don't expect help there. The States are our best hope in this. The question is not is this a state's rights issue. The question is are there any limits to the power of the federal gov't?
+1 # Firefox11 2013-01-14 16:49
Excellent question. Since the passage after 9/11 of all the "keep America safe" legislation, perhaps not. And this is the real problem here in the US of A.
-2 # bmiluski 2013-01-14 11:15
But just think what the alternative was had not President Obama been re-elected..... ...UNTHINKABLE
0 # Firefox11 2013-01-14 16:43
I agree with your basic analysis. My question; what and how does one secure a guarantee from a President?
-167 # Reyn 2013-01-12 10:05
I sincerely hope he will ignore the voters on this issue. This is a terrible error that our grandchildren will pay for because of my generations selfishness.
+63 # tbcrawford 2013-01-12 11:58
But I'm sure you approve of getting drunk, which is much worse in all ways!
+2 # Firefox11 2013-01-14 16:55
It is not a matter of approving or disapproving. It is a matter of allowing adults to make their own choices, in a free country, within the limits of law and order, as defined by those who live here. That is the basis of the country: a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
+92 # Okieangels 2013-01-12 12:02
In Portugal and the Netherlands they have decriminalized drug use, and their rates of addiction have gone down. I'm not sure of statistics, but it may be the "drug war" that's largely responsible for keeping privately run prisons in business - prisons which are still paid for with your tax dollars.
+1 # robniel 2013-01-12 17:47
Quoting Reyn:
This is a terrible error that our grandchildren will pay for because of my generations selfishness.

Reyn projects actions on the basis of one reporter's opinions?
+12 # Nick Reynolds 2013-01-13 12:49
Quoting Reyn:
I sincerely hope he will ignore the voters on this issue. This is a terrible error that our grandchildren will pay for because of my generations selfishness.

I sincerely hope our grandchildren don't go to jail for possession. I hope the US becomes a little less barbaric. Future generations may pay for "sins" we is now committing. There are plenty: war and aggression, torture, ignoring the Constitution, putting money interests above the people. A hard rain may be going to fall, but it won't be because people used cannabis.
+1 # Firefox11 2013-01-14 16:55
+2 # Firefox11 2013-01-14 16:52
Say what??? You hope the President will ignore the voters. What ever happened to a government of the people? Legalizing marijuana is similar to legalizing alcohol; tax it, regulate the sale, and move on. All the talk about protecting children is beside the point. It is illegal for children to buy alcohol or cigarettes, yet adults can freely choose to purchase and imbibe or not; that is part of living in a free country. It is not the business of the federal governmnent to legislate morality.
+71 # Bruce-Man-Do 2013-01-12 10:37
I am pleased that cannabis law reform is FINALLY on the radar of so-called progressives! And I'm glad that Ms. Wolf sees some of the details of the myriad ways "our" marijuana policy has hurt peaceful people and the true national interest.

Still, I can't help but wonder what a different state of affairs we'd be living in if liberals-progre ssives-Democrat s had not been so gutless in fighting for the freedom to control our own bodies and against the power of self-serving police bureaucracies to terrorize the people they supposedly serve.
0 # SundownLF 2013-01-17 11:49
Remember that the 'self-serving police bureaucracies are flush with Homeland Security money and need SOMETHING at which to direct their fancy new toys.

Do you not recall their overkill when it came to shutting down Occupy camps last summer?

They no longer care about the 'protect and serve' motto, and the public is the worse for it. It's now all about boosting their arrest records to obtain more Homeland Security money and 'toys'! And, of course, to fil up those private prisons that are often in bed with police, judges, etc.

Such a sad state of being - and the drug war is holding us all hostage, especially with Holder and, apparently, Obama, more than happy to keepp the drug war going at full speed!

what a shame.
+54 # Scott479 2013-01-12 10:37
Obama is employed by industry not the people who elected him-how many times must he prove it before Americans understand they elected a corporate lapdog. He really is the best republican president since Clinton.
+17 # jazzman633 2013-01-12 12:21
Of all the comments, this one is closest to the truth, IHMO. Not that I needed any more proof that politicians are liars and hypocrites when it comes to pot (I would love to have been with Barry Obama's Choom Gang as they toked up in Hawaii, back in the day).
+3 # Hey There 2013-01-12 20:54
Hear!Hear! Yes!
+2 # Firefox11 2013-01-14 16:56
At least Clinton balanced the budget.
+50 # bdeja 2013-01-12 10:38
He will do as he most always does and be a very corporate President. Supporting oil, the Pentagon, the Trusts that own most everything such as the privatized prison system that profits so very much from our horrific war on drugs.
+117 # jmac9 2013-01-12 10:55
Prohibition is the enemy.

Prohibition causes black markets.

Prohibition causes street gangs and international crime syndicates massive further criminal activity.

Prohibition wastes your tax money on corrupt DEA, police...Kent memorandum found DEA involved in drug smuggling in Bolivia, "Fast and Furious" found the DEA supplying - not tracking - weapons to Mexican drug cartels. CIA has repeatedly been found to be involved in drug trafficking, Reagan used it to fund the illegal "Iran-Contra" scam

Prohibition is the excuse to establish police state terrorism and destruction of your civil knock home invasion, asset forfeiture, wiretapping, mail-internet surveillance, denial of habeas corpus

Prohibition strips you of your adult responsibility and replaces it with police state immaturity.

Prohibition is the fraud, the enemy, cause of all suffering.

Prohibition is never the answer.
-15 # Vern Radul 2013-01-12 18:27

Obama is the enemy.

Obama causes black markets.

Obama causes street gangs and international crime syndicates massive further criminal activity.

Obama wastes your tax money on corrupt DEA, police...Kent memorandum found DEA involved in drug smuggling in Bolivia, "Fast and Furious" found the DEA supplying - not tracking - weapons to Mexican drug cartels. CIA has repeatedly been found to be involved in drug trafficking, Reagan used it to fund the illegal "Iran-Contra" scam

Obama is the excuse to establish police state terrorism and destruction of your civil knock home invasion, asset forfeiture, wiretapping, mail-internet surveillance, denial of habeas corpus

Obama strips you of your adult responsibility and replaces it with police state immaturity.

Obama is the fraud, the enemy, cause of all suffering.

Obama is never the answer.
+1 # bmiluski 2013-01-14 11:21
Please, please, please.....get a job and out of your mother's basement.
+1 # Firefox11 2013-01-14 17:20
Prohibition spans many Presidents, many administrations , many political parties. Singling out one President misses the point. Or, actually, what is your point?
+2 # Firefox11 2013-01-14 17:15
Amen. This is the truth that the American people have yet to discover. Ken Burns excellent documentary PROHIBITION supports all you have said here. Organized crime got its start in this country during Prohibition.
+58 # Wyntergreen 2013-01-12 11:11
No one ever died from smoking pot. It is absolutely absurd to continue this prohibition. Besides all the issues that Ms. Wolf mentioned in her article, keeping marijuana and other drugs illegal fuels an entire industry run by some of the most horrible gangsters in the world. I understand the argument by the administration, however I disagree with it, on constitutional grounds according to Article VI, clause 2, the "Supremacy clause". Obviously the law needs to be changed on the federal level. So, people, if you want the laws changed, call and write your national representatives and do some lobbying of your own. It can't hurt! My prediction: marijuana comes off the federal drug laws in 2022. Long, long overdue.
-16 # cordleycoit 2013-01-12 11:26
One has to remember Obama is a coward. He fears things and concepts yet he was a heavy toker, like his predecessors Clinton and Bush. He is cut from the same cloth, sleaze.He is afraid of the men with the envelopes not loving him. He is pretending to be a person that he never could be. Pity him but spank him.
+30 # RMDC 2013-01-12 11:39
Coward -- yes. but it is more than that. he's a willing and aggressive tool of the military-indust rial-banking complex. This includes the prison-industri al complex and the whole regime of drug laws that were and are still designed to send black men to jail (Read Alexander's the New Jim Crow).

Obama is a great campaigner and he knows how to talk to democrats and progressives. but his actions are pure neo-con and neo-liberal. It was the same with Bill Clinton.
+2 # Hey There 2013-01-12 21:03
I also recommend the "New Jim Crow'. Nobody grows up in a vacuum.
+5 # BobboMax 2013-01-13 00:49
I reccommend The New Jim Crow too. I suspect one reason more people don't fight for marijuana decriminalizati on is that whites are prosecuted much less often, usually only if they're blatant or piss someone off.. Out of sight, out of mind.
0 # bmiluski 2013-01-14 11:22
I love how you people keep demonstrating your lack of care for FACTS and PROOF. Just keep posting this sort of stupidity and you will keep losing elections.
+49 # RMDC 2013-01-12 11:37
If there were ever a state's rights or 10th amendment issue, marijuana or hemp is one. the plants grow naturally and industrial hemp would be a great crop for many farmers to raise. The Washington regime should just stay out of it
-86 # mmz 2013-01-12 11:39
I'm surprised and disappointed that as fine a thinker as N. Wolf takes time and energy to write about marijuana. Surely there are multiple other problems that threaten our democracy, economy and environment with all of these three major concerns having global impacts. These are critical issues, compared to which marijuana is sheer trivia.

N. Wolf, I question your sense of priorities.
+49 # MHAS 2013-01-12 13:03
The topic is not merely pot. It's the mass incarceration of black males. It's Obama serving the multi-billion dollar prison-industri al complex by undermining sensible state changes in drug policy---oh and yes, while he ignores the real criminals on Wall St. Privatization of prisons. For-profit prisons (whose inmates often work for corporations at 3rd world wage scales in what should be good paying union jobs) are a serious threat to our democracy and system of justice. So is the creation of economic dependencies on high incarceration rates. Please read the article.
+33 # isitdanny 2013-01-12 13:39
#MHAS beat me to it- PLEASE read the article, it is not simply about people enjoying themselves, that is the only issue the mainstream media expresses. There is a long list of things tied to this prohibition- from hemp as a renewable to medical uses to the prison lobby. Did you know the US holds the patent on marijuana use for pain? Please research this issue...
+9 # Hey There 2013-01-12 21:14
The problem with the war on pot is that it diverts resources and money to the war on pot when the money could be better spent on other things than prisons and law enforcement and the growth of crime which flourishes because Pot is illegal in the same manner in which Prohibition gave birth to a growing crime wave. So N. Wolf is pointing out the negative consequences of taking action when no action should be taken. In short the war on Pot is causing problems that wouldn't be there if Pot was legalized.
+5 # restore2america 2013-01-13 12:56
Quoting mmz:
I'm surprised and disappointed that as fine a thinker as N. Wolf takes time and energy to write about marijuana. Surely there are multiple other problems that threaten our democracy, economy and environment with all of these three major concerns having global impacts. These are critical issues, compared to which marijuana is sheer trivia.

N. Wolf, I question your sense of priorities.

As Naomi points out in her article, the control mechanisms and power drivers behind drug prohibition are creating violence and destruction in our society. These are the same drivers that are manipulating our economy to benefit the super rich, taking away the social safety net, and stripping our civil rights generally. Turning our nation into a prison colony run for commercial benefit - with for-proffit companies running prizons and local police departments - may yet be the greatest threat to our freedom. As our government has amply proven, where there is money to be made at public expense, our rights are trampled and the illegal behavior of corporations is forgiven and ignored every time.
+2 # guyachs 2013-01-13 15:34
The mass incarceration of young people and blacks, is a worthwhile cause. Obama has to be getting something for this stand. We know the prison lobby and probably the religious lobby support it but they didn't support Obama. If we can find out his reasons and they won't be what he says. no politician ever tells you the truth about why they do what they do, then we may be able to work on him.
+2 # Firefox11 2013-01-14 17:25
The whole point of the article is that the federal government is over riding state's rights, not just with marijuana, but also with TSA screening and NDAA, which the states have taken issue with.
The other problems that you refer to: democracy, economy, and the environment are all impacted directly by this phoney "War on Drugs".
+39 # tbcrawford 2013-01-12 12:07
And no one has even addressed the medical benefits of marijuana, which are huge and include pain relief from glaucoma and cancer treatments. With so many wounded vets returning, if more research were allowed, who knows what relief these kids could obtain. The criminal and corruption effects are succinctly introduced here. Thanks Naomi for your insight.
+7 # CarolynScarr 2013-01-12 23:51
With the Boomers hitting their older years and some percentage getting Alzheimer's it is time to support the research, most recently reported nearly ten years ago, into the use of marijuana for actually curing Alzheimer's. Strains of pot have been developed in other countries which show a lot of promise. I want this treatment available -- YESTERDAY.
+31 # DaveM 2013-01-12 12:40
It is ignoring voters, not to mention the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. There is no Constitutional authority for the prohibition of marijuana.

If voters in an individual state have expressed their desire at the polls, it is the duty of the federal government not only to respect, but to protect it.
+21 # DaveM 2013-01-12 12:41
“There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.” --Ayn Rand.
+27 # Kathymoi 2013-01-12 12:42
I hate to say it so bluntly, but it appears that Obama consistently ignores voters and promotes the agenda of big money. Private prisons and private police forces are big money and profit from more prisoners and longer jail sentences. The profits of these (really horrible) private corporations appears to be more motivating to the president than the good of the country. Not going after possession of small amounts of marijuana appears to be a good thing for our country, for the reasons mentioned in this article.
+2 # Firefox11 2013-01-14 17:29
Yes, he is a great disappointment to those of us who voted for him, twice.
+24 # MHAS 2013-01-12 12:49
Let's Wall Street get away with destroying the economy-- instead brings them into the White House as advisers ensuring nothing is done to prevent their coming atrocities. Meanwhile... has no problem keeping the prison-industri al complex wheels greased with innocuous pot smokers.
The guy is not a sellout. This is who he is...a neo-liberal neo-con with brown skin. His leftist mother wondered if he'd ever develop a social conscience. She must be rolling in her grave.
+9 # lorenbliss 2013-01-12 13:38
Ms. Wolf asks if the President respects "local democracy," but I think we all know Barack the Betrayer respects only his masters: the lords of Wall Street and the barons of Big Business. And since his masters make more money enslaving marijuana users in for-profit prisons than by ending Prohibition II, the Betrayer's position is obvious -- never mind the irony of a (pretend) African-America n Democrat actively supporting the newest corporate variants of the old antebellum plantation system.

But there's one issue Ms. Wolf overlooks -- the claim by marijuana users it alters forever one's spiritual views, invariably reducing patriarchal religion to absurdity.

If this metaphysical construct is true, the capitalist servitude in Obama's stance is doubly confirmed. Capitalism depends on theocracy to maintain the fear and oppression essential to maximum profit -- hence Obama's support for forcible Christianizatio n as evidenced by his dramatic expansion of faith-based initiatives and the methodical conditioning of the military to fundamentalist zealotry.

Thus Obama's war against marijuana users emerges as both a fanatical crusade against what Christianity defines as heresy and -- in the medical context -- endorsement of the "pain is punishment by god" doctrine underlying prohibitive U.S. restrictions on painkillers readily available everywhere else in the civilized world, including across the border in Canada.
+27 # reiverpacific 2013-01-12 14:01
So the status quo remains; it's all hunky-dory to smoke tobacco and drink alcohol -and I'm a drinker but this is directed at what is legal and what is lethal-, which is the same as what is corporate and what is not.
If Monsanto or some other corporate behemoth could attain a "legal" (or lobbied, bought and paid for in the halls of power) monopoly on weed, you can just about bet yer toosh that it would be legalized in a heartbeat!
I remember in the South, when a dry county held a vote to go wet, it was always the preachers and bootleggers who shouted and voted it down, often the same entities.
And they often had tobacco drying in their barns too.
Obviously little has been learned or changed since the Volstead act and it's consequences.
+16 # lorenbliss 2013-01-12 15:47
I too spent (entirely too much) time in the South, an involuntary and mostly unpleasant consequence of textbook-calibe r familial dysfunction. One of my more vivid memories is of the slogan the prohibitionists -- just as you say, a coalition of preachers and bootleggers -- employed in a mid-'50s campaign to keep Knoxville and Knox County dry: "Vote for the Children: Vote Dry." This was a huge joke amongst the high school set, where even the moronic majority understood keeping the locale dry meant we children would continue our unlimited access to bootleg booze. This was especially attractive to my gender, since the only way you could get a proper Southern belle interested in sex was to get her drunk enough to overcome her theocratic conditioning. But the proper Southern belles secretly loved it too, as the bootleg booze was the perfect excuse: "well, Momma, he got me so drunk I jess didn know what I's doin." The slogan also aptly described all the out-of-wedlock pregnancies spawned by drunken backseat nights, not to mention all the shotgun weddings. "Vote for the Children: Vote Dry." Yup, reckon that damn sure got it said. Indeed.
-9 # Terry5135 2013-01-12 15:42
I have high regard for Naomi, but I cannot understand how she fails to see The Central reason behind Obama's actions. By now she should know well who Obama and virtually all of DC work for, what the significance of all that is and what the root cause is. She still does not have that intuition into how our systems work, fundamentally.
-6 # robniel 2013-01-12 17:44
Her reporting on the situation is not consistent with other reporters who are much closer to the matter or with the Administration' s recently-stated policy. Terry5135's "reasons" do not hold water either, intuition aside.
0 # Firefox11 2013-01-14 17:31
Please do tell: what exactly is the policy as stated?
+1 # Hey There 2013-01-12 21:51
Well I think she does but hope springs eternal so to speak. Logic will win out over silliness with dire consequences
+18 # jsheats 2013-01-12 16:37
The "prison-industr ial complex" seems with little doubt to be the driver here; it feeds off the fears of people who are swayed by "reefer madness" distortions, but it is the phenomenal money being made off of incarceration which is the real monster to be feared. I am not fond of conspiracy theories, but I think the collusion of this industry and politicians who are getting paid off by it are at the core of this evil.

I suspect that this has yet to really rise to noticeable levels on Obama's to do list, and if it did, he would judge the political fallout to be too deadly. But he could back off on the egregious prosecutions. That this isn't happening is pure corruption.
0 # Walter J Smith 2013-01-12 17:02
I do not understand why so many RSN readers are all foaming at the mouth about how terrible the GOP is when they have even more reason and a better opportunity to foam at the mouth right now about how repugnant Obama & the D Party big wigs are!

But, like the GOP's followers, Obama's followers never see any of their bosses' repugnance.

Talk about bipartisan repugnance!
+9 # MHAS 2013-01-12 17:41
Have you been reading the posts? Almost uniformly critical of Obama.
0 # Firefox11 2013-01-14 17:33
Not true. We do see his failures. We are just too full of hope. That could change.
+4 # Vern Radul 2013-01-12 18:54
Once I was young and impulsive
I wore every conceivable pin
Even went to the socialist meetings
Learned all the old union hymns
But I've grown older and wiser
And that's why I'm turning you in
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal...

-- Phil Ochs, 1966, Love Me, I'm a Liberal :
+13 # restore2america 2013-01-12 21:50
We know and absolutely can prove the above to be true for alcohol.

We know and absolutely can prove the above to be true for pot and other drugs.

When will people realize that the above is true for raw milk bans, home distilling bans, gay marriage bans, abortion bans, firearms ownership bans, concealed carry bans...?

I continue to demand all of my rights, not just those that don't offend the people in power. If I want to toke at home, leave me alone about it. If I want to marry someone of the same sex, it's not your business to stop me. If I want to shoot at the range with my friends, stopping me won't prevent any crimes.

We need to generalize our thinking and focus on stopping actual wrongdoing directed at other people rather than perverting our country into a machine that profits from what each of us does with our own lives, with and to ourselves.

We need to learn the difference between freedom and license rather than allowing our government and corporate greed to take license with our freedoms.
+1 # Firefox11 2013-01-14 17:36
We need to learn the difference between freedom and license rather than allowing our government and corporate greed to take license with our freedoms

Brilliant. Can we have this engraved somewhere we can all refer to it as needed.
0 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-01-14 22:29
OOh that's nice.

I got a little chill.
0 # Betty Bimbalina 2013-01-13 12:57
Bring back the Choom Gang!
+3 # tgemberl 2013-01-13 20:02
I want marijuana legalized myself, but I can't help but think it's ironic that on this issue, pro-legalizatio n people are making states' rights arguments, while on immigration, they argued for federal supremacy. It seems pretty opportunistic. Is the federal government supreme only when they're doing what we like? It looks like that.
0 # Betty Bimbalina 2013-01-14 12:44
Yeah, it is opportunistic, but it's probably the only way any progress can be made on reversing the longstanding crime of our pot laws. No one in Washington, at least not at the top, seems to have the cojones to deal with this issue logically. As with the suffrage movement and gay rights, change only seems possible state by state. Once there's a majority we might then expect the federal government to come out from hiding.
+2 # Firefox11 2013-01-14 17:38
Okay. It would be nice if the federal government allowed marijuana/hemp as it once did; however, it seems that prohibition has a long memory, even though it did not work, and was repealed. The real question is whether or not we can trust the federal government to make good law. Immigration is slightly different because it involves a national, not state, boundary.
0 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-01-14 22:28
It's not about pot.
It's about freedom.
+1 # Norton 2013-01-15 10:00
".....on the grounds that any effort to regulate marijuana is pre-empted by federal law"?? OK, let the states simply repeal their laws that criminalize any part of marijuana... growing, transporting, selling, possessing, using, etc.
+1 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-01-15 20:46
They're doing that, and the feds are coming in and seizing assets, shutting down dispensaries, and imprisoning people like Aaron Sandusky while big fish pharma chicanery goes unpunished.
+1 # piper 2013-01-16 00:56
This is about votes and money. And now that Co's. are people and armed with super-pack dollars, Our elected officials not only have the backing of big business' like Dupont but also have the backing of the cartel as well. By the way: the first probation was repealed state by state. . .
+1 # Mrcead 2013-01-16 04:41
Marijuana should be legalized.

However, once it does, be prepared for it to replace high fructose corn syrup as the main ingredient added to everything.

- Figuratively speaking of course.

Marijuana is the only crop more abundant than corn in the US.

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