Thursday, April 26, 2012

Obama doesn't get it > Rolling Stone interview

Obama is interviewed in a recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine.
His comments about medical marijuana are absurd:

Let me ask you about the War on Drugs. You vowed in 2008, when you were running for election, that you would not "use Justice Department resources to try and circumvent state laws about medical marijuana." Yet we just ran a story that shows your administration is launching more raids on medical pot than the Bush administration did. What's up with that?
Here's what's up: What I specifically said was that we were not going to prioritize prosecutions of persons who are using medical marijuana. I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana – and the reason is, because it's against federal law. I can't nullify congressional law. I can't ask the Justice Department to say, "Ignore completely a federal law that's on the books." What I can say is, "Use your prosecutorial discretion and properly prioritize your resources to go after things that are really doing folks damage." As a consequence, there haven't been prosecutions of users of marijuana for medical purposes.

The only tension that's come up – and this gets hyped up a lot – is a murky area where you have large-scale, commercial operations that may supply medical marijuana users, but in some cases may also be supplying recreational users. In that situation, we put the Justice Department in a very difficult place if we're telling them, "This is supposed to be against the law, but we want you to turn the other way." That's not something we're going to do. I do think it's important and useful to have a broader debate about our drug laws. One of the things we've done over the past three years was to make a sensible change when it came to the disparity in sentencing between crack cocaine and powder cocaine. We've had a discussion about how to focus on treatment, taking a public-health approach to drugs and lessening the overwhelming emphasis on criminal laws as a tool to deal with this issue. I think that's an appropriate debate that we should have.

Obama is completely dodging here. He is blaming legislation for having let his Justice Department get out of control. This "large scale commercial operations" is a red herring. How did he think that hundreds of thousands of patients would get their medication. It is outrageous that more people are now dying from prescription drugs than are killed in automobile accidents each year. Yet DEA is doing almost nothing to investigate the large corporations that manufacture and distribute these drugs, other than bust a pharmacist here or there. They have challenged some minor parts of a couple of retail drug companies.

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1 comment:

Black Swan Science said...

I feel it is also important to point out that he didn't dodge as much as bold faced lied.

He can't nullify congressional law but all power to reschedule any drug is granted to the Executive Branch by the Controlled Substances Act. He has chosen to keep Cannabis as a schedule 1 substance and as such kept its medical and or recreational use illegal under federal law.

Most people are unaware of this and the fact that the Rolling Stone reported didn't call him on this only perpetuates the myth that the President is powerless to change drug laws. Ironically his branch is the only one granted the power to change which drugs are legal or illegal with out passing new laws or negating old ones.