Obama's war on weed

In a strange about-face, the president tries to hack medical marijuana off at the knees.

If one were a cynic, one 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.

There will be pushback

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

Scheidegger downplays the state victories handed to medical marijuana. He says 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 ten 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 ... they 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's civil 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 or not the company will win its lawsuit or not — it's that they're fighting back, and they're 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 likely end up burning 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.'"

Half-hearted crackdowns don't work

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 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 will only 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" Tyber 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 the 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 the 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.

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162 comments
Xrbcl2one
Xrbcl2one

Is this marijuana business gonna start another civil war?

Marijuana Abuse
Marijuana Abuse

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education sport utility vehicle was at the center of a controversy earlier this year after it was pulled over and New Orleans police discovered marijuana and drug paraphernalia inside on March 8, reports WDSU. ... A memo obtained by the WDSU I-Team shows Sheriff Daniel Edwards sustained the internal affairs

ZamoraJulianne50344026
ZamoraJulianne50344026

Obama's war on weed...@readers:disqus my best friend's half-sister makes $79 an hour on the laptop. She has been out of work for 9 months but last month her check was $8472 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Go to this web site CashHuge. com

fretboard
fretboard

I can't wait to not vote for Obama. Once was enough.

Alohajoe007
Alohajoe007

Please idiots STOP all reference to drug testing. That test itself is supposed to be illegal and yes I agree that if ANYONE ought to be tested is Congress etc...

As far as to what is happening here is my thought and I think the proof is in front of all of us. First and foremost it is an illusion to think any governor or president or any politician HAS ANY SAY OR CONTROL OVER OUR SO CALLED POLICE. They are the largest (their unions are anyway) donors (bribers) to BOTH PARTIES AND HAVE BEEN FOR DECADES. NOTE: Last time the law came up for vote the police bought ALL 123 newspapers advertising. They do as they please and will break laws, kill people, steal with complete and utter abandon for they are all above the "law".This all goes back to USA's favorite pass time racism starting around 1935. All of the law enforcement agencies like the DEA, ATF etc. were all set up merely to give jobs during the Depression regardless of the rights of innocent people. The real drug lords are the police. The real terrorists are the police. The real Treasoneers are the police. The budget of our country is out of control NOT due to our wars in other countries but for the phony wars we have right here. In short the USA has failed on all fronts especially to it's own people who are now considered enemies of the state unless they are wealthy. The USA's ONLY working function is to punish severely. Think people. Think hard. Do you REALLY THINK your financial credit score should be affected by one traffic ticket thereby increasing your home mortgage? Be pusihed for years by law enforcement, insurance companies, and FICO? Every criminal sentence handed out is now a virtual life sentence. No the police in our country present a clear and present danger to all Americans and have eliminated freedom from our country and no one will speak out.

Bilosopher
Bilosopher

I agree with Obama - but only if we begin a 100% - NO EXCEPTION - monthly drug testing program for all federal employees.A major drug problem is with all these 'drug test exempt' government employees. When ALL the federal government employees come up 100% drug free, then we can begin imposing drug policies on those whose earned labor property is confiscated every payday to support these corrupt federal government employees.

Atmorebrimus
Atmorebrimus

Sounds to me that the States have lost the right to rule themselves, that we, the American People have lost our Sovereignty, our Republic, Freedom of Choice, Freedom of Speech due to this socialist dominaring terrany backed by a Communist president. The choice and the freedom to do with our bodies should be our choice as long as we harm no one including ourself. This shows that the large conglomerate corperations have paid because of their wants and desires for profit overrule the public. IT'S TIME TO WAKE UP AND TAKE CHARGE!

Justin
Justin

America is becoming a land of Psychopathy. Keep up the civil disobedience it is now the only way to make change occur in America. Voting is a joke.

unfuckenreal
unfuckenreal

alcohol & cigarettes are the two most major drug problems in the world. shut down businesses, export jobs, lock people up, and fuel the black market. what a bag of assholes we have running this country

LargoLagg
LargoLagg

Obama allows this because he wants to exert federal power, as do all liberal democrats. Now, the only way for the growers to win the argument is for their states to sue, charging the Feds with usurping powers reserved by the states.

I can't recall which enumerated power gives the feds the authority to regulate crops within a state... or which one allows for the regulation of any drug or intoxicating substance.

It will be interesting to see what alliances begin to form to fight the Obama scourge.

JackLean
JackLean

Hard to imagine that conservatives are actually rallying to the defence of marijuana growers and users for ANY reason other than it is another chance to oppose our black President. Were these same right wingers clamoring for the legalization of cheeba when Bush was in office?

skylights
skylights

I'm caught between my support for legal weed and my belief that states shouldn't flout federal laws. I hope that these crackdowns are followed by a relaxation of federal drug laws.

Greatest Ever
Greatest Ever

Cigarettes and alcohol are both drugs,legal and cause much more health problems and deaths than Marijuana ever could,has or will. FACT!!!

Nwilson53
Nwilson53

Only one reason, competition... The cia,dea,atf,big pharma,and the alcohol and tobacco industrys don't like competition

elm
elm

When did President Obama ever say he was pro weed? Never. Also if you had done a little more research, you would have found out the shops that are threatened to be closed are near schools, which I think is reasonable and I am a super stoner. You should vote for Ron Paul in the Republican Primary though.

polartownjunkie
polartownjunkie

hes losing my vote, the president should be the absolute leading voice in democracy, not acting like a snake, im starting to think ron paul is a friend of mine

Arnie
Arnie

Obama = hypocritical, puppet mouthpiece for the powers that be !!! POS !It is a silly game at this point. Give something, then take it away. How is that for dysfunction.This is how the gov. works in ALL sectors. DYSFUNCTIONAL ! Time for a new model.THIS ONE SUCKS !!! God help us all. Everyone knows the difference between alcohol and marijuana. I will not get into the details, but that is my point...EVERYONE NOW KNOWS THAT THE CRIMINALIZATION OF POT IS A JOKE. THANKS OBAMA ADMIN. FOR KEEPING OUR FREEDOMS ALIVE AND WELL IN THIS LAND OF THE NOT SO FREE.

Liam
Liam

The question I've always asked is WHY MARIJUANA ? The only answer that I've beenable to come up with is that the rabid anti-weed mentality is a form of institutionalizedrevenge that was originally aimed at the 60's generation in retaliation for all the hellthat generation raised. It's patently insane to group weed together with heroin and speed.To let the DEA frame the issue in order to justify it's budget is equally alice inwonderland. None of this has anything to do with the properties of the outlawedsubstance itself. If I had a dollar for every ' study ' that's been done since about1966 I'd be quite well off. NONE has found ANYTHING even close to horrible aboutthe actual thing itself. But then this is not about the truth ( I remember one so-calledgovt. ' study ' from the late 60s that claimed smoking weed would cause men togrow breasts ! I mean really ).

Obama, who I supported, apparently gets really bad advice. He could havepicked up somewhere around 20 million votes by leaving this issue alone.He has chosen to crack down instead. I could never bring myself to voterepublican but I can't, after this latest outrage, bring myself to keep supportinghim either. I only have one vote it's true, but he just lost it.

Linda Odess
Linda Odess

Again, I say and constantly reiterate...legalize marijuana. Get rid of the "prohibition" mentality...it didn't work with alcohol (probably more dangerous). The federal government has spent billions for years fighting the drug cartels. Put them out of the illegal business.. The federal government should make it legal,charge the appropriate taxes and get this country out of debt!

Noneya
Noneya

I'm all for legalizing pot, but let's be honest, most "medically" prescribed pot does not end up in the "chronically" pain suffering peoples hands. While not a smoker myself, what's the difference between having a puff or a few beers after work?

Jesus Lizard
Jesus Lizard

Medical marijuana has proven to be beneficial by phsicians for many conditions. When people use it to relieve pain, they're not a "losser DRUG user." Who knows, it might even help you with your grammar and spelling!

Lfor legalizepot
Lfor legalizepot

If the feds don't fight legal pot, they won't be able to fill up all those prisons they already have and are planning to build. Those prisons are largely managed by private companies. For example, the Geo Group, which is either partly owned by, or has a major stockholder in, guess who? Dick Cheney. Hmmm, I wonder if there's a connection.

steelsil
steelsil

Must be part of Obama's anti immigrant policy - keep the war on drugs going until the cartels have killed everyone in Mexico. If you could buy marijuana at 7-11s, the cartels would be gone tomorrow.

steelsil
steelsil

But you're almost illiterate, so you must be a Republican.

R
R

I'm a professional and over 40 and have smoked marihuana for years and never has it affected my work or home life. In fact I dont even drink alcohol just dont care for it, all this nonsense that pot leads to stronger drugs is BS.. why dont they say alcohol leads to pot? because just about every household Ive been too has alcohol and it is glamorized on tv 247. I say, LEGALIZE IT once and for all and stop the hypocrisy!

MOMPdotORG
MOMPdotORG

However, the law in question falsely describes the plant in question. You can't have rule of law based on a lie.

MOMPdotORG
MOMPdotORG

Remember to include the prison and drug testing industries. Plus all the hemp alternatives . . .

MOMPdotORG
MOMPdotORG

The quotes are, "I inhaled frequently" and that "That was the point". see: youtube.com/watch?v=cpBzQI_7ez...

So it's far from never. Also, what's so reasonable about closing regulated pot shops? How far are the convenience and liquor stores, pharmacies and supermarkets? Is marijuana available in those "nearby" schoolyards?

As for research, an end to alcohol prohibition came about thanks to concerned mothers who organized in protest.

Steeeeeve_Perry
Steeeeeve_Perry

Yep he lost my vote, I'll abstain from voting or vote 3rd party before I vote for him again.

josex
josex

The feds are reacting to existing federal laws and the facts marijuana state sanctioned commercialization has skyrocketed. The Ogden memo appears to be their way of trying to soften a little on the issue, but that memo clearly states the feds believe strongly that marijuana sales greatly fund Mexican cartels.

You should focus on helping change policy and the feelings of fellow Americans as concerns enforcement. Thinking a different President would solve this problem is foolish, and then you will have to deal with many other issues on top of this one.

Of course, if you do want to vote for someone else, go ahead. That person and your neighbors should have an idea of why you have strong views against our drug laws as written.

If most states pass pro-pot laws, it should follow that Congress will follow along (regardless of who is pres).

Moderate213
Moderate213

The roots of marijuana illegalization are from well before the '60s; by most accounts, it was largely a tool to take punitive action against Mexicans in the US.

MOMPdotORG
MOMPdotORG

That's not honest at all. All cannabis use is medical, while alcohol damages the liver, brain and other organs.

The Storz and Bickel Volcano vaporizer removes the smoking issue. All that's left is exposing the federal felony false claims, suppression of exculpatory evidence at trial and complicity in trafficking tons of cocaine, heroin and marijuana while arresting users for the very same product.

If you are all for legalizing, you might sue the murderers that pretend pot is lawfully illegal.

Or, have another drink . . .

Billy Ray Sumbich
Billy Ray Sumbich

A licensed physician who EXPERIMENTS with his patients with treatment for any medical ailment that is UNTESTED, and NOT APPROVED by the FDA should have their license revoked. Marijuana has NEVER passed FDA clinical trials, and remains an illegal substance.

Skullmakermme
Skullmakermme

Dead on balls accurate, Jesus Lizard... I have never used marijuana, but I have had too many close friends dying of cancer as they under went chemo and couldn't eat or even get out of bed, but one lung full of pot in the morning turned their eating and energy around 180 degrees. I hope I never need it, but I'd like to know it's there if I do and that the jackass in charge isn't trying to KILL the ill in this country.

Skullmakermme
Skullmakermme

And yet, it's Messiah Obama that it stopping the legalization.... Hmmmm, bet George Bush held a gun to Messiah Obama's head to make him do it... Or maybe Messiah Obama isn't Mr Wonderful like you all continue to preach to the rest of us that see both parties for what they really are, useless...

Billy Ray Sumbich
Billy Ray Sumbich

Don't take this personal, but to think a drug cartel will just pack up and end their life of crime because Marijuana is available in a 7/11 is foolish. Cartels are going nowhere, they will simply diversify into other crimes, perhaps those more dangerous to US citizens than drug trafficking.

Your ideer sound nice though, maybe if you repeat it enough times, somebody other than you will actually believe it.

Skullmakermme
Skullmakermme

Hilarious response... Your assumption that mhepting "must be a Republican" hits at the heart of "Obama can do nothing wrong, it's all the Republicans fault." Being that the one pulling the plug on medical pot facilities is your Messiah himself. You know, Mr. Change? Both parties are useless, but I find you Obama lovers especially ignorant. Now go back to following like the rest of the sheep.

Billy Ray Sumbich
Billy Ray Sumbich

Just curious, but if you have smoked Marijuana for 40 years, how could you possibly know it has not affected your work or home life?

Perhaps without it, you would have achieved greater success than you have now. Perhaps without it, you would have become a doctor and cured cancer. Maybe you would have married a super model. Who knows?

The FACT is, that since you have smoked the stuff for 40 years, you have no idea what the effect Marijuana has had on your life has you never indulged. Your own confession defies logic.

josex
josex

When you abstain, keep in mind that you are allowing the other candidates to gain and potentially become president. We have a government problem at many levels. Your best bet is to convince other voting citizens to support reform or civil protest, but allowing a worse candidate doesn't help too much.

josex
josex

According to the Ogden memo, the US strongly believes that commercial pot is an important source of revenue for Mexican cartels ("marijuana distribution in the United States remains the single largest source of revenue for the Mexican cartels").

When the US marijuana business grew as much as it did recently, how can it be a surprise that the US will have increased raids (and still to only a level a little above the Bush era when the legal market was much smaller)?

A good case can be made to legalize pot under some circumstances or potentially many circumstances (with restrictions for innocent bystanders), but Congress would have to change its laws. It has little to do with Obama.

Gotohell
Gotohell

Exactly how prohibition works, repeat the lies enough times to scare the people into believing they are true.

Steeeeeve_Perry
Steeeeeve_Perry

He said hes over 40 and used for years... not used for 40 years. Learn to read.

Gotohell
Gotohell

How do you know he's not a doctor married to a supermodel? You do know that the effect wears off after an hour or so right, your not stoned for life.

Melissa Huffman
Melissa Huffman

Does it really matter what "could have" been? You're under the assumption that his life has turned out unsatisfactory, or not satisfactory enough. For all you and I know he's the happiest man on the face of this planet. Perhaps, he's perfectly overjoyed by the wife he has now and ; and perhaps, his work brings him satisfaction and provides enough for his family. His body is definitely more thankful than those of the so many alcoholics.

Want what you have.

Steeeeeve_Perry
Steeeeeve_Perry

Right, but I live in a state that votes for the dem 100% of the time. So its more just a matter of principle for me. I'd think differently if we had a popular vote instead of the asinine electoral college system, or if I lived in a swing state.

Billy Ray Sumbich
Billy Ray Sumbich

Pay attention and try to follow along...My point is that by USING for 40 years it is IMPOSSIBLE to say that without a doubt, that there are no Ill effects from using. There is no baseline to compare.

Moderate213
Moderate213

Ok, but by that logic, you can't say if anything anyone's ever done has had a positive or negative impact. Was is a good idea to go to college? I don't know, because I can't see a universe where I didn't go to college. Was marrying that supermodel a good idea? Can't tell, because no one knows what would have happened if I didn't. So, in that case, what's your point?

Billy Ray Sumbich
Billy Ray Sumbich

It makes no difference if its 40 years or 40 hours or 40 seconds. Unless there is a parallel universe somewhere with a clone who never used, it is IMPOSSIBLE to tell ANY GOOD OR BAD EFFECT. There is NO BASELINE. Saying otherwise is not entitle you to make up your own facts.

Moderate213
Moderate213

The poster has smoked for an unspecified number of years. There's no reason to believe that s/he didn't establish a baseline prior to smoking for comparison.

Billy Ray Sumbich
Billy Ray Sumbich

When you say that (quote) "have smoked marihuana for years and """never""" has it affected my work or home life", IT MATTERS.

 
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