The new federal crackdown on medical marijuana announced on October 7 by California's four U.S. Attorneys sent chills through the industry. It was a stunning reversal by the Obama administration.

Only two years ago, Deputy U.S. Attorney General David Ogden wrote his infamous "Ogden Memo," announcing that the feds wouldn't bother businesses in compliance with their own state laws. It proved a dose of Miracle-Gro to California, where pot-selling stores had multiplied since voters approved the state's 1996 medical-marijuana law. By late last year, California reportedly had more dispensaries than Starbucks outlets.

Colorado also made it legal in 2000, seeing a similar explosion of new storefronts. The same thing was happening to varying degrees in 16 states, from Arizona to Washington, New Jersey to Delaware.

But the feds' tolerance wasn't quite what it seemed. While legal weed grew to an estimated $10 billion to $100 billion industry — no one's quite sure of the exact figure — activists noticed an alarming undercurrent to the rhetoric: Raids on growers and dispensaries actually increased under President Barack Obama.

As hundreds of thousands of state-approved, doctor-recommended patients happily bought their medicine in well-lighted stores from knowledgeable "budtenders," the ire of cops and prohibitionists rose.

The first sign of Obama's subterfuge came in late 2010, as California prepared to vote on a ballot proposition that would have legalized growing and possessing small amounts of marijuana for anyone over age 21. Under pressure from teetotalers — nine former Drug Enforcement Agency chiefs begged Obama to oppose the measure — Attorney General Eric Holder said it didn't matter what Californians thought. The feds would continue to bust people regardless of the election.

The measure got 46 percent of the vote, but not enough to pass. Yet the medical side of things kept going strong — too strong for Obama.

When the Oakland City Council prepared to authorize large-scale cultivation centers, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of California's Northern District issued the first in what would become a series of letters from her fellow attorneys general. She reminded residents — in no uncertain terms — that marijuana was still criminalized under federal law, considered equal to heroin or meth, irrespective of its medicinal value.

Nor did she care what the California law said. Her "core priority" would be to prosecute "business enterprises that unlawfully market and sell marijuana" under federal law.

Over the next few months, U.S. Attorneys from Maine to Washington wrote their own increasingly menacing letters. In Washington, the feds even threatened to arrest state workers who helped facilitate the industry.

Then the Obama administration released a new letter to "clarify" Ogden's memo. Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole verified the about-face: The only people safe from arrest were the "seriously ill" patients and their caregivers.

Everyone else? Be forewarned.

The letter didn't just target those directly involved in the trade. Cole also threatened supporting industries (read: banks) with money-laundering charges for dealing in the proceeds from marijuana. Obama had launched a full-on attack on the industries essential to any functioning enterprise.

Banks responded by canceling their weed-related accounts. "Perhaps there may be a few financial institutions here or there that are still accepting accounts," says Caroline Joy, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Bankers Association. "Those facilities don't want to reveal who they are."

The president's push grew louder last month. The U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms bureau warned medical-marijuana patients that they couldn't legally use pot and own or buy guns.

Then came a one-two punch.

On October 5, the IRS ruled that one of the largest California dispensaries, Harborside Health Center, owed $2.5 million in taxes because federal law precluded standard deductions for businesses engaging in illegal activity.

In other words, Obama not only was blowing off state laws. He was declaring that legal businesses were now nothing more than criminal rackets. And he was carving away every tool they needed to function.

Harborside's owner said he'd go out of business if the IRS didn't reverse course. Dispensaries nationwide saw it as a crippling decision.

Then came another blow two days later: The bombshell dropped by California's four U.S. Attorneys.

They now were going after people who leased stores and land to the pot industry. Violators were given 45 days to close doors, uproot plants, and kick out renters. The penalty for not acting: seizure of property and arrest.

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy of California's Southern District went so far as to threaten media with prosecution for taking pot advertising. (Disclosure: This newspaper accepts such ads.)

There was no doubt about it: Obama was intent on killing an entire industry — in the middle of a depression, no less. Left unexplained was why, especially since he was giving the finger to voters in 16 states just a year before he would face them in his own election.

Democratic strategists were perplexed. Roger Salazar, a California party consultant, believes the president may be trying to reach out to a broader base. But that doesn't explain the attack on his own base; Democrats support medical marijuana at high percentages. It doesn't even make sense in luring conservatives. With the country in economic tatters, no one has weed high on their radar.

Except one group, says Salazar: "It's a mystery . . . where the pressure is coming from. My sense is it's coming from law enforcement."

Certainly, Obama's threats are real. He may be loath to jail landlords, bankers ,or even dispensary owners. Arresting non-violent, state-sanctioned businesspeople wouldn't be popular. But his quieter war of chopping merchants off at the knees through credit and leasing would ravage the trade.

Still, the president has thrown himself into an uphill fight. There is reason to believe medical marijuana will persist, despite his betrayal.

Earlier this month, in a timely coincidence, the California Medical Association's board voted to encourage the feds to legalize marijuana.

Though spokeswoman Molly Weedn emphasizes that the decision by the doctors' group hinges on a call for more research, a report studied by the CMA board before its decision makes it clear that — at the least — marijuana shows promise as a medicine.

The CMA's Council on Clinical and Scientific Affairs "has also concluded that components of medical cannabis may be effective for the treatment of pain, nausea, anorexia, and other conditions."

The report goes on to say:

"Cannabinoids are presently thought to exhibit their greatest efficacy when implemented for the management of neuropathic pain, which is a form of severe and often chronic pain resulting from nerve injury, disease, or toxicity."

The University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research reported recently to the California Legislature the results of a number of studies. Four studies involved the treatment of neuropathic pain; and all four demonstrated a significant improvement in pain after cannabis administration."

The doctors note that using marijuana may contain risks, such as addiction, but they argue that its prohibition may be more dangerous than the drug itself:

"Under the current prohibition of cannabis, public health is also affected by increased rates of crime surrounding cannabis cultivation, sale and use. The California Legislative Analyst's Office estimates that the incarceration and parole supervision of cannabis offenders costs the state tens of millions of dollars annually."

Nationally, prohibition burns through billions of dollars in lives lost to the violence inherent in the black market, the incarceration of thousands of productive, non-violent Americans, and the lack of access to a beneficial medicine.

Are lots of people using weed without suffering from a medical problem? Absolutely. But just because you've heard that half or more of patients take the drug for "severe and chronic pain" doesn't mean they're all faking it.

In June, the Institute of Medicine estimated that 116 million Americans suffer from significant, chronic pain.

As more research comes in showing that pot can be an effective treatment, and with America's elderly population exploding in the coming decades, interest in its medicinal qualities apparently will only rise.

Ignorance, false propaganda, and rank political posturing tend to be the foundation of the anti-marijuana argument. (Throw in bureaucratic turf protection, as well. The DEA, for example, would need fewer agents if pot was decriminalized nationwide.)

A new Gallup poll shows that a record 50 percent of Americans believe marijuana — and not just the medical kind — should be legalized. The poll follows a continuing trend over the past several years of increasing support for legalization.

Obama has chosen to swim against the tide. But there's reason to believe his fight is about politics, not public safety. If this were about safety, alcohol would be his primary target.

Politics cause both sides to fudge the truth. Yet prohibitionists and the government have been particularly egregious. The government is using taxpayer dollars to prop up its side, with the U.S. Justice Department's 64-page booklet, "Speaking Out About Drug Legalization," being a prime example.

Distributed in print and online, the booklet states that "smoked marijuana is not scientifically approved medicine." Forget that by labeling it a drug on par with heroin, the DEA is curtailing the proper study of marijuana, since it prevents even scientists from possessing it for research. The publicly funded propaganda also flies in the face of the opinions of doctors, who see pot's potential as medicine.

It's a strategy that's trickled to states with functionaries unhappy about executing the voters' will. Last December in Arizona, Will Humble, the state's Department of Health Services director, held a proposed-rules-on-medical-marijuana news conference about the state's new Medical Marijuana Act. He took a moment to remind reporters that more than 1,000 Arizonans died last year from accidental overdoses of prescription drugs.

But when asked how many of them died from marijuana, Humble refused to answer — to chuckles from the audience. He referred the question to his chief medical officer, Laura Nelson, who would only say she'd "have to do the research on that" before she could answer.

Then Nelson began stammering about the danger of marijuana related to "car accidents" — though she had done no research on that, either.

The CMA's new report, interestingly enough, sheds light on statements like Nelson's. It says that prohibitionists often make unsubstantiated claims about car crashes or other purported harms. Studies disagree on its risks to motorists, though there's no question that alcohol increases the chances of a crash, the report says. Moreover, simulated driving tests reveal that pot smokers overestimate their degree of impairment and "compensate effectively."

A cynic might also view U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy's threat to target advertising as a less than subtle threat to control the debate.

True: Federal law prohibits advertising illegal drugs. Google, for example, agreed to pay a $500 million fine this summer for taking online ads promoting rogue Canadian pharmacies.

But pot dispensaries are legal businesses within their states. Under Duffy's threat, the feds will have their say, while the pro-pot message would be erased from public view.

Kent Scheidegger, legal director for the conservative Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, tells New Times that Duffy's threat gave him the willies.

"They're on much thinner ice going after the newspaper," says Scheidegger, who otherwise believes the feds should enforce its own laws against marijuana. "Maybe there is a political strategy."

It's called the "shut them up" strategy.

Federal law is, for now, on the side of the prohibitionists.

Scheidegger downplays the state victories handed to medical marijuana. He says that if the American people want to change the law, they need to encourage Congress to do so.

Yet that ignores a basic political reality: It's extremely difficult for any politician to stand up for marijuana. He or she will be quickly painted as pro-pothead.

Like women's suffrage, the medical-marijuana movement has — in 10 states, anyway — benefited by the direct democracy of citizens initiatives. These elections have taken the pulse of voters in a way that congressional elections cannot.

In six other states and Washington, D.C., medical marijuana was legalized by local lawmakers. Other states are bound to vote in favor of decriminalizing pot in the next few years in spite of federal laws.

Phoenix attorney Ty Taber sees it as a major states' rights issue. "Basically, the citizens of these states . . . want marijuana legalized," he says. If Obama wants to play hardball, he says, "You're going to get pushback."

Taber represents Compassion First, a company that helps set up dispensaries. The firm sued Arizona after Governor Jan Brewer, in blatant defiance of voters' wishes, derailed the dispensary portion of Arizona's new law by instructing the Department of Health to reject applications. She simultaneously sued the federal government, asking a judge to rule on whether the state's new law was legal. (Ironically, the U.S. Justice Department is defending against the lawsuit — and if the feds win, Arizona might just get its first dispensaries.)

Compassion First wants the program implemented as Arizonans intended, and to remove blockades Brewer has thrown in its path. For instance, Arizona requires dispensary owners to have been residents for at least three years.

But the point isn't so much whether the company will win its lawsuit — it's that it's fighting back, and it's not alone.

Across the country, advocates are returning fire of their own in the court system. Which means Obama won't be able to do battle by the relatively cheap means of letters and threats. He'll have to burn through millions of dollars in litigation – money he doesn't have.

Taber thinks the president may have underestimated his foe. "The people behind this marijuana movement — they're committed. They are zealots. And these are smart people — not stoners saying, 'Hey, dude, pass another slice of pizza.'"

The latest crackdown will be bad for the pot business. No question. But Obama could be doing much, much more.

He could go after patients. Over the summer, a federal judge ruled that the DEA could peek at the names on Michigan's patient registry. Because marijuana is illegal under federal law, said Judge Hugh Brenneman Jr., patients can't expect privacy.

The feds could also hit pot-tolerant cities. The law doesn't allow municipal workers to be jailed in such prosecutions, but cities or counties could be heavily fined just for setting up zoning requirements for dispensaries.

There's a huge downside to that, of course. Obama only will appear mean and small for having sickly grandmas arrested. And fining cities just enrages residents picking up the tab — the very people the president will need a year from now.

All of which leaves him fighting at partial speed. That, in turn, leaves the "zealots" Taber mentions betting their money and freedom that even if the feds throw the book at some, it won't be them.

Last week, the feds raided several growing operations in California and Oregon, including one in Mendocino County that appeared to be playing by state rules. But it seems safe to assume that few of the hundreds of other growers in Mendocino County did not uproot their crops in response — just as the hundreds of dispensaries in California did not immediately close their doors after the feds' ominous warning on October 7.

The industry seems to be practicing a form of civil disobedience. And it has tens of thousands of seriously sick people behind it, who will holler loudly if they're forced back to the black market.

Indeed, there are some signs that Obama's crackdown will be what SF Weekly's Chris Roberts calls a "passive aggressive" strategy. Rather than offend Americans with news footage of police raids, Obama has launched a war of attrition.

Landlords, worried the feds will steal their property, will tell dispensaries to move out. Banks won't handle money for pot-themed businesses. Dispensaries will be taxed so heavily they won't be to cover the payroll or pay the electric bill.

Yet it remains to be seen whether federal prosecutors, who undoubtedly have even more serious criminals with which to contend, are willing and able to carry out the threat. When Jack Gillund, Melinda Haag's spokesman, was asked whether her office had the resources to go after every dispensary or grower who doesn't comply with the 45-day deadline, he responded: "No comment."

Lauren Horwood, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner in California's Eastern District, says Wagner's goal isn't to shut down everything. He's focusing on "large, professional, money-making operations — the commercial operations."

Horwood also says it's wrong to call it "Obama's crackdown." She says the California U.S. Attorneys decided to take action on their own because the situation has grown out of control among recreational users. But she acknowledges that they received Obama's blessing.

It's classic political strategy: Send the underlings out to take the heat, while the bosses hide under their skirts.

Either way, the end result casts Obama as even more zealous than George W. Bush. Bush threatened owners of dispensary properties in 2007 but never followed up. Meanwhile, Colorado and other states have seen no similar crackdowns. Only time will tell whether Obama plans to destroy the entire medical-marijuana industry or merely smack California around for a while.

"I'm willing to give the Obama administration the benefit of the doubt," says Blair Butterworth, a Democratic consultant in Seattle, where about 100 dispensaries operate. "In California, they may be sitting on uncontrollable drug sales. They need to slap some wrists."

It's easy to pick on California, a state known for its excesses. But "the last thing Obama needs right now is to go to war nationally with the medical-marijuana community," Butterworth says.

Leniency for marijuana users, medical or otherwise, continues to be a popular Democratic stance, he says. Butterworth is helping the campaign put outright legalization on the Washington state ballot next year. He thinks it's got a good chance.

Of course, a successful election could just tick off the feds even more.

An estimated one million people in California have obtained a doctor's recommendation to grow and use marijuana legally.

More than 150,000 medical-marijuana patients had registered in Colorado, as of July. Tens of thousands of patients are registered in the other weed-friendly states.

If the feds shut down every dispensary in the country, all these people will still be able to legally possess marijuana — no matter where they bought it — under their state laws.

The only difference is they'll be forced to go back to buying their weed from Mexican drug cartels, rather than from Americans who provide jobs and pay taxes.

It's akin to the feds saying that Anheuser-Busch can no longer sell beer; they'd prefer that people only buy from Al Capone.

Hey, wait — didn't something like that happen?

If the feds shut down every dispensary in the land, medical-marijuana patients still can possess pot legally under state laws — they'll just have to go back to buying it from Mexican drug cartels rather than from taxpaying and job-providing Americans.

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109 comments
ExpertShot
ExpertShot

This was obviously a politically motivated hit piece by Ray Stern. When I actually read through the article for a second time, I noticed numerous references which were strictly Mr. (Not Nick TARR) Stern's opinions, opinions proferred to paint President Obama in the most negative light. Here's the facts as stated in the article:1. "Only two years ago, Deputy U.S. Attorney General David Ogden wrote his infamous "Ogden Memo," announcing that the feds wouldn't bother businesses in compliance with their own state laws." There is nothing in the article that states that this is going to change. 2. The increase in medical cannabis outlets in California has grown exponentially. I would expect a slight increase in prosecutions, which is what is reported. I don't think this is unusual. The facts in the articles do not support the opinion - that there is a about-face in the policies of the Obama Administration. By law, the Obama administration is required to enforce the anti-illegal drug laws. If they did nothing, they would be criticized, and rightly so, for not enforcing the laws. It is up to us citizens to elect representatives who will change the law, not the President or his administration. That's how this country works Ray. Why not proffer the opinion that the voting public needs to elect pro-happiness rights representatives and get to the root of the problem

Cal777
Cal777

Sorry Obama. This was the last straw for me. You will not get my vote again. Coward!

Guest
Guest

It is a sad day when you realize the TOP no longer controls anything and is just another figure-head. When the ambition of a few - controls the majority. You have to ask what is being kept hidden? Why the stringent control over personal choice issues? What freedoms would you expect to have if not told by religion , parental or peer? If not controlled would we not be more "FREE" ?

Sophie Tesch
Sophie Tesch

Big Pharma?

Seedy Ward
Seedy Ward

Doubt it. Explanation is too convoluted. Who really benefits from the status quo? Who makes money NOW from prohibition?

1) Law enforcement. Lots of man hours are devoted to prohibition. Also, prohibition has given them a neat end run around the 4th Amendment. The odor of pot, something non-verifiable in court, gives them an excuse to search anyone and anywhere.

2) The prison industry.

3) Ancillary businesses such as drug testing, and manufacturers of police equipment.

Ted
Ted

What a huge disappointment, Barrack Obama has turned out to be. Now this jerk has the gall to ask us to again work toward his re-election. Dream on asshole! You and Holder can try bamboozling the electorate again, but none of my extended family will ever cast a vote for you again. You can fool us once but never a second time you spineless creature!. Blowing off your electoral workers damages not just you, but the entire Democratic party. You and Holder had a massive fired up caucus, then you abandoned us all, getting into bed with the right wing prohibitionists who take great pride in their murderous attacks on people like me who have to rely solely on doctor prescribed narcotics in order to make it through each and every day because you lied to us about not attacking state legal medical marijuana.Why lie to us?. Any one of the worthless morons on the Repugnet ticket will win because you proved yourself to be just another lying political slime ball ready to support the murderous criminals at the DEA or the tar sand pipeline from Canada which destroys the planet for me children and grandchildren. President Obama you are worse than the $Repugnets. We know what murderous slime they are! We believed you were different! But you turned out to be the same political slime putting re-election before the future of our children and my grandchildren. You totally disgust me!.

Seedy Ward
Seedy Ward

I wouldn't be quite so hard on the man. Almost, but not quite. No need to resort to pejoratives. Things will be worse if the Republicans take the White House.

Still, they don't get my money this time around. If I have any to spare, it will be backing one or more of the legalization initiatives. We need legalization.

To me it's not about whether pot can be bought over the counter. It's about what's right and what's wrong. It's wrong that people get thrown in jail over pot. It's right to seek the collapse of the entire drug enforcement system in the US. It's wrong that these thugs with badges and briefs and unlimited government resources get away with acting like they're the good guys.

Lol
Lol

"It's a strategy that's trickled to states with functionaries unhappy about executing the voters' will." Why do such people have jobs? Their job is exclusively to execute the voters' will. Any other action is insubordination.

Dogbiter
Dogbiter

Boy, sure wish i had supported Hillary!

Porfirio McDiaz
Porfirio McDiaz

Next up, it will be an excuse for the federal government to deny Social Security and Medicare to people who paid into the system all of their lives.

JonnyVaperz
JonnyVaperz

Thanks for lying to us. I'm already pissed that I am permanently disabled, mostly home bound, can't get a social worker to physically help. Why would I ask for federal assistance when the only compounds on the planet come from a plant some elitist sociopath decided he or she didn't like in the first place? Now, even though my idiot state representatives expects me to renew my card at the sum of $200 total, half to the state, half to the physician, I have to live in fear and have no safe access to information, medication, or supplies. They sit and lie directly to our faces saying there is no scientific evidence for beneficial uses while compound after compound is patented and the research noted. They ignore the federal patient program. They ignore the scientists, doctors, and patients from outside the USA as if they are inside a cone of ignorance. Enough is enough. I am already broken physically, financially and not able to live independently simply because of one bigoted unconstitutional law. This is why I don't even want to be represented any longer, where is my peer ready to represent me? How do we get to participate when we can't function without a medication we can't leave our houses with let alone cross state lines without fear of incarceration? Will even one politician have a open debate with no timer about this subject? Not to mention industrial hemp? We won't wait any longer and now you are shooting our fellow patriots in the streets with rubber bullets as if they are rioters. Better wake up reps, and get the hell out of our way. Set the President, and represent the government. The Government is We The People, or did you need a reminder?

restitutiontouscitizensfirst
restitutiontouscitizensfirst

January '10 my husband's insulin cost more with his "insurance" than if we just went and purchased it direct from Walgreens. Blatantly charging us for the cost of their administration of his disease, whereas, I suspect Michael Moore was correct in that if we would get rid of the insurance Big Pharma profiteers, we would suddenly be able to afford Universal Healthcare despite the millions of dollars they have put into getting the public to believe otherwise.

AZ Medical Marijuana appeared to be a ploy for profits because what little I saw of it - I could not imagine how any disabled person on a pittance could ever afford to purchase it.

Yes I believe this is part of the corruption that belongs in the Occupy protests.

420tinc
420tinc

MR. OBAMA IS A BAD PERSON! HE IS NOTHING BUT A DAMN LIAR! HE SET US ALL UP!HOW DARE HE BE ON A CAMPAIGN TO RAISE A BILLION DOLLARS WHILE HE SPEARHEADS THIS AMERICAN-GENOCIDE OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENTS. DO NOT RE-ELECT THIS HITLER-TYPE TRAGEDY OF AN AMERICAN PRESIDENT! BOO MR. PRESIDENT, BOO!

Guest23
Guest23

So, he is no different than every other president and the current field of republican potus candidates.

In fact the republican candidates most likely will make the whole situation worse if elected. If only we had the choice of another democrat or an independent or libertarian that actually had a chance of being elected, which we don't.

Http://www.americanselect.org

Shaun Ferguson
Shaun Ferguson

Yep, time to move to another country, the US has failed on so many levels over the last 10+ years.

Leomaximummeow
Leomaximummeow

I am glad I did not vote for Obama. He seemed to be a manufactured candidate with no real substance and so it has proven out.. For the record, I voted Libertarian.

Guest23
Guest23

While this pisses me off enough to not vote for obama, the simple reality is that he is still the lesser evil in comparison to any of the possible gop candidates. Voting libertarian in the next potus election is as good as throwing a vote away as there is not libertarian candidate that has the profile, resources or support to ever get elected. And if obama is not reelected what do we have to look forward to... marijuana staying illegal and the feds most likely going further than they are right now... like going after patients and care givers... don't think it will happen? Guess again as the republicans love making laws telling us what is in our best interest and they will fight to end the legal right to abortion, they will fight to end any entitlement that doesn't benefit the rich and I guarantee the disparity between the rich and poor will get worse and worse. We are screwed with obama but we will be more screwed with a romney, perry or cain that is for damn sure.

ZZardozz
ZZardozz

EXCELLENT article! You should email a copy to Dennis Romero of the LA Weekly. He seems to be the only reporter in the "Weekly" news organization who has a vendetta against cannabis.

signalfire1
signalfire1

I'm gonna need to smoke just to be able to deal with the idiocy and stark vicious evil that has become our country.

Remember 'I pledge allegiance' in school? Remember the promise, of freedom? Well, I'd frankly like to be free of the stupids and the criminals as soon as possible, and by that I mean the DEA, all the Republicans except Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, and the f'cking lie that is Obama.

Can't the state officials stop the federal officials as/before they raid the clinics? It would seem that states rights' rubber hits the road at that intersection.

Jon
Jon

While I agree in principle with the idea of prescribing medicinal marijuana for people who suffer from chronic pain or legitimate illnesses, that is not what is happening in California. Anyone (and I mean ANYONE) can get a prescription for weed in CA. You scraped your knee? Prescription. You are sad your girlfriend left you? Prescription. Papercut? Prescription. It is quite frankly ridiculous and not what the voters approved. This is exactly why the 2nd proposition failed, the majority of voters do not want weed legal for everyone. I hope the crackdown by the Feds gets the state to regulate the industry so that it actually functions the way it was intended, compassionate use for those who really need it.

signalfire1
signalfire1

Please document how you know this to be true. Have you tried to get a marijuana card with a scraped knee?

When you consider the volume and variety of prescription drugs sold to people, and the side effects, hazards and deaths those drugs often cause, a $100 billion a year for medical marijuana is a drop in the hat, and the only harm caused is from the prohibition itself.

It's time to raid Big Pharma and the FDA and leave the harmless herbalists alone.

Clint Kees
Clint Kees

thats why it should be legalized completely... so what if people want to smoke? unless they are doing harm to some one in the act of smoking, and so long as they are legal adults then i see no reason to disagree. people are allowed worse things in there own homes with out police interference.. and yet this simple plant is such a bad thing? hell my dad drank himself to death because of his love of beer. i dont hold it against him. i miss him but it was his choice. we all have many let us make them with out the government trampling us and telling us we dont know whats good for ourselfs.

Albert
Albert

They can create all the agencies they want, but it doesn't make them Constitutionally right or legal. The Supreme court has said NO to Congress only a couple of times. Drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana for any reason is a LIBERTY!!!! And that's why almost a hundred years ago it too a Constitutional Amendment to take it away and another to repeal prohibition. We the people have not given our "elected" officials the right to take marijuana away.... States have the right to pass any legislation as long as it it not PROHIBITED by the Constitution. And doesn't violate a citizens stated or unstated Constitutional Rights....

x1134x
x1134x

Not for long will the majority of voters feel that way. If you look at a graph, that contingency gets smaller and smaller year after year, and it never gets bigge, we're right at 50/50 right NOW. Give it another couple of years for more boomers to die off.

Sakariak
Sakariak

niemo99, that's exactly what I mean. The wealthy elite are the ones calling the shot. Obama is a puppet and as such, there is no man on the planet who could assume the office of President of the United States and force the DEA, FDA or the ATF to stand down on medical marijuana. On paper, they answer to the President, but when the office of President answers to the wealthy elite, the wealthy elite get their way. This isn't about do-gooder prohibitionists forcing their morals on the rest of us; it's about profit and money. The wealthy elite have no morals whatsoever. The only thing they worship is the bottom line. We are being assaulted not by pious do-gooders but by the wealthy elite.

malcolmkyle
malcolmkyle

Due to the nefarious effects of Prohibition we have now become totally subordinate to a corporatized, despotic government with a heavily armed and corrupt, militarized police force whose often deadly intrusions into our homes and lives are condoned by an equally corrupt and spineless Judiciary who are intentionally protecting transnational corporate Institutions over individual Citizens.

Colombia, Peru, Mexico or Afghanistan with their coca leaves, marijuana buds or poppy sap are not igniting temptation in the minds of our weak, innocent citizens. These countries are duly responding to the enormous demand that comes from within our own borders. Invading or destroying these countries, thus creating more hate, violence, instability, injustice and corruption, will not fix our problem. We need to collectively admit that we are sick. -- Prohibition is neither a sane nor a safe approach; left unabated, its puritanical flames will surely engulf every last one of us!

The illegal drug trade is now estimated to be somewhere in the region of $400 billion a year ( equal to the defense budget ). This "former land of the free" arrests 1.5 million of it's citizens a year for drug law violations, half for marijuana alone, The majority of the 2.2 million inmates in the USA are incarcerated because of this insane drug war (Prohibition 2) at a staggering cost to all taxpayers and trauma to their families.

Prisons have been filled to capacity. Violent criminals, murderers, rapists and child molesters are released early to create space for these so called drug offenders. Half of court trial time and also a huge chunk of police officers time is pointlessly wasted. Enormous untaxed profits from illegal drugs fund multi-national criminal empires which bribe law enforcement authorities and spread corruption faster than a raging bush fire. These laws take violent criminals and turn them into multi-billionaires whilst corrupting even entire countries such as Columbia, Panama, Mexico and Afghanistan. The extreme violence on and south of the border is drug gangs fighting for turf in this lucrative business. The drug laws are also funding the Taliban whose illegal opium profits allow it to buy weapons and pay it's fighters more than $300 a month, compared with the $14 paid to an Afghan policemen.

When governments prohibit drugs they effectively and knowingly hand a monopoly on their sale to dangerous criminals and terrorists. Without a legal framework in which to operate, these black-market entities can always be expected to settle their disputes violently, while terrorizing many peaceful and innocent citizens in the process. Were the users of alcohol to blame for the St Valentines massacre in the US in 1929? Of course not! It is just as naive to assume that one can compel all the users of Marijuana or Cocaine to simply quit, as it is to assume that all the users of Alcohol should have stopped drinking after the introduction of alcohol prohibition in 1919. Nobody can be expected to obey bad laws, like ones that infringe on logic as well as the fundamental right to decide on what medicine or poison an individual adult may, or may not, ingest. The corruption, violence and death ultimately arising from such bad public policy should always rest squarely on the shoulders of those ignorant imbeciles who are responsible for implementing and supporting such foolishness.

The definition of insanity is great folly, madness, extreme senselessness, lunacy. Prohibition can be described as being all of the above and may therefor, along with all it's supporters, be deemed insane.

Each day you remain silent, you help to destroy the Constitution, fill the prisons with our children, and empower terrorists and criminals worldwide while wasting hundreds of billions of your own tax dollars. Prohibition bears many strong and startling similarities to Torquemada­’s inquisition­, it’s supporters are servants of tyranny and hate who’s sole purpose is to make the rest of us suffer their putrid legacy of incalculable waste and destruction.

Protect our Children; Legalize, Regulate & Tax!

signalfire1
signalfire1

Agreed, except for the very last line. Why should the government that has lied to us, taken our tax money and used it for killing, and put us in jail for a victimless 'crime' get to tax marijuana now? Just make it legal to grow, use, buy and sell. Y'know, like tomatoes. Period. It ain't nobody's business who is using, for what or how. If they regulate it, they'll have your name in a database somewhere, and you know what happens next... Would you give your name and tax money to the Gestapo? Because Hitler and Stalin would have loved what these people are pulling.

SamWayneSmith
SamWayneSmith

Some of the "facts" in this story just don't quite add up...;-D

Tom Bettany
Tom Bettany

Really Sam, Like what exactly? They didn't just make this shit up. You must be "challenged"....

Sakariak
Sakariak

Where in this story is there a quote directly from Obama saying he is ordering this latest campaign against medical marijuana? A memo from him? Letter? Any facts at all that point to him driving this crackdown? Nope. This article has been written to turn marijuana supporters against Obama, or to indulge those who already disapprove of him. No President can hold back the DEA, FDA or ATF, the groups truly behind marijuana prohibition. And those agencies are run by corporations. This isn't about Obama; it's about greed, money, profit and CORPORATIONS. This isn't being orchestrated by government, but by the corporations who own the government.

niemo99
niemo99

Obama heads the Executive Branch. Attorney General Holder is directly responsible to him. As are the heads of every part of the Executive Branch. Including the myriad Fed LE organizations getting hard-ons dreaming about destroying an entire industry.

With a single phone call, Obama can tell Holder's dogs to heel. He hasn't. He won't. Because Obama himself is beholden to the banksters.

Google the following terms:

Obama Clinton June 6 2008 Chantilly Virginia

Obama, with hat in hand, met in secret with the banksters prior to the election. It was at this meeting that Clinton was told to take the second fiddle position to Obama. Interesting how so few reports of this meeting there are...yet it is indisputable that the meeting took place.

Obama is the handmaiden of the banksters who've caused us all so much misery. Banksters whose drug money laundering game, money which made them accrue so much capital that they became economic powers in their own right, money which kept them afloat during the crisis they engineered, would end overnight if cannabis became legal again. This is the hidden dimension that partly explains why the crackdown is happening. Obama's masters are getting edgy; their meal tickets are being threatened.

Deadhead22k
Deadhead22k

sir, kindly pull your head out. at this point in the election nothing, and i mean nothing is left to chance. all the presidents men control everything. obama is running the show.

niemo99
niemo99

Excuse me, sir, but you are the one with the methane poisoning problem. A little fresh air is in order.

I'd wager you haven't bothered to type in that search string I mentioned. Had you done so, you might have realized exactly to what extant the 'President's men'...aren't.

At the risk of sounding pedantic, I repeat: His 'advisers' were the same people who trashed the economy; Geithner in particular was very conspicuous at that meeting. A meeting you don't get invited to unless you seem to be the sort who will do the bidding of the 1%ers.

Obama was just the latest self-serving supplicant. He's another empty suit; a more polished and articulate Bush, but still a tool of the Uber Rich who attended that meeting. (Oh, and Perry met with them in 2007; they're sniffing around him, too. Google "Perry Istanbul 2007". Just that, nothing more. The Uber Rich always hedge their bets; the fiction of party politics snaps into proper perspective when this overlaying and encompassing dimension is added to the equation. 'Red' or 'Blue', liberal, conservative, all just shiny objects for people to be distracted by while they're being robbed blind. Either you're the Uber Rich...or you're the peasants.)

So, given what I have explained here, tell me again, who do you think wears the collar, and who holds the leash? I'll give you a hint; Geithner and his pals have wear marks on their palms from gripping the handle.

BeachD1
BeachD1

The Obama crews have dealt the deathblow to his chances of re-election in 2012. Time to deselect and never reelect any politician for 12 yrs. The lobbyisits will leave town when they cannot buy the FED Govt.

Dumoudan
Dumoudan

If the 12,000,000 plus illegal immigrants had a political leaning towards the conservative republicans would the pro illegal immigrants group still help with amnesty? I don't think so.

Mumblinmandave
Mumblinmandave

god forbid our gov't to do something that makes sense like legalize and tax weed,a boost our economy so sorely needs

Norman Gooding
Norman Gooding

The only answer is full legalization,it is the only way to get the drug warriors to back off of medical marijuana.If the dispensaries and growers had supported Prop 19,regardless of flaws that could have been fixed,they wouldn't be having these problems unless they were running a criminal enterprise and using medical marijuana as a front. The feds would be too busy chasing down recreational grows to attack all the dispensaries.

Shoulda,coulda and woulda done bit them in the butt.

larry
larry

Let's deal in REAL facts. Almost all Americans qualify for Medicinal Pot on the basis of stress alone. The MOB and the present Pot Clubs agree on the price of hundreds of $/oz for a weed which will grow in the backyard for free, which is clearly profiteering. The booze and big pharm industries agree that Pot must go, as "unfair competition". Pot is no more addictive or toxic than chewing gum. Only Emphysema patients like myself cannot safely have Pot, mine in remission because I've avoided it. The primary contention over Pot emerges as the struggle for abused freedom, versus overbearing oppressionists, a monkey species thing.

Me
Me

Actually Larry, cannabis has been proven to be beneficial for emphysema patients by acting as a bronchial dilator. As long as it is vaporized or eaten, just not smoked. Just sayin.

Oren
Oren

Pot is for losers

signalfire1
signalfire1

I have a right to do something you deem stupid, as long as I harm no one else.

You know, like religion, and cigarettes, and alcohol, and voting for politicians that end up lying to us, and using prescription medications that cost a fortune and do nothing, or worse; like calling people 'losers' without even knowing those people or their circumstances. Marijuana, like many other herbs and plants, has medicinal value; not everything has to be synthesized, encapsulated and condensed by a multinational conglomerate with representatives bribing Congress to be therapeutic.

Feel free to give up aspirin, digitalis, belladonna and dozens of other drugs if you cannot understand this simple fact.

AZ
AZ

Obama is anti-American.

Gary
Gary

This is really good news. Since there must be tens of millions of pot users in the USA, these people will now be anti Obama Voters in 2012. Great job Obama, doing yourself in one special interest group at a time.

Alan
Alan

As a past soldier, it really hurts to see the dim wittiness some of these comments contain. It is truly funny how someone can say these laws are farce, or any related set of words. No matter how you feel sir or ma'am, the facts are the facts. More than 50% of Americans have used marijuana, either for personal use, or to medicate. Most like it for some reason too. Maybe because we don't go enjoy our drink and go run down kids. In due time sir and/or ma'am, marijuana WILL be legit for all, just as your drug of choice is. It must be easy to point a finger at my poison since yours is legal. Now, you can help protect the imaginary America you live in by becoming active or remaining active in your electoral processes. If you don't want kids doing it, so bad. It is happening. As sad as it is, prohibition has not stopped this, nor will do so. It continues to happen. If you want to help that, legalize it. When there is so little people buying it from a black market, it will shrink into mostly nothing but a story of old. No one grows tobacco for personal use when they can purchase it.

I use it to curb my PTSD symptoms. I sometimes find myself wishing to pass away many times a week when I don't have cannabis. That is not to say I wish to harm myself when I don't have it, but what I am saying is it is only medication that so fully aids and curbs not only the pain, it helps get me into the life I lead prior to the military (a time when I never used cannabis). I want to enjoy this beautiful country of ours I helped defend. I know I don't know everything about marijuana. It makes me research. Not all I find is positive, but a majority is! I know if you would really do some research your opinion might change. If we all based life and knowledge on old school propaganda we would still be anti everyone that doesn't share the land between our own borders (you know the fitly likes Russians, Germany, Mexico, England*). I respect your person, all of you, and I will hope one day you can open your eyes and see with an open mind. If we all where as closed minded as you, we might not have alcohol, tylenol, or coffee. I could make up any number of reasons as to why they all should be illegal, and sad part is most wouldn't have to be made up. This is a vast contrast to the close minded way you speak to me (the Americans you live with, work with, and speak negatively about without any knowledge of the real person) or about the one plant GOD put on this earth that really does help. He even put the fruit of knowledge here that got us ALL in this mess. I just hope you lay your foundation on something more than what the mostly filthy people we elect tell you. We all know they tell us the truth ALL the time!

* I meant no animosity or ill reference to any one who lives in or feels for any of these stated countries or may take offense to there use in a funny point. Much love to you all. Much love to the USA though, the best damn broken county in the world.

 
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