Why is the Obama Administration Suddenly Fixated on Stomping out Medical Pot?

At the same time public support for marijuana legalization reached record highs, Obama shifted from one time medicinal cannabis sympathizer to White House weed-whacker.

NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano writes a critical assessment of the current administration’s preoccupation with interfering in state marijuana reform efforts on AlterNet:

Broken promises are nothing new in Washington, DC. Yet even by the Beltway’s jaded standards, President Obama’s role reversal from one time medicinal cannabis sympathizer to White House weed-whacker is remarkable.

Indeed, the man who once pledged on the campaign trail that he was “not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue,” has – since taking the Presidential oaths of office – done virtually everything in his administration’s power to do precisely that. Yet he’s taken these steps at the very time that a record number of Americans, including 57 percent of democrats and a whopping 69 percent of self-described liberals, endorse doing just the opposite. Nonetheless, in recent months, the Obama administration – via a virtual alphabet soup of federal agencies – has launched an unprecedented series of attacks against medical cannabis patients, providers, and in some cases even their advocates.

Read the full article here.

75 thoughts

  1. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that the republican candidates are far worse on this issue. How does a former smoker who knows the truth get converted to the Obama we see today? That’s the question, how do they get leverage on him to make him cave on this issue?

  2. Maybe, just maybe that is why the Obama administration is now having to turn to super pac money. When are these morons in Washington going to learn … when you persist on criminalizing 25 million voters, the last thing they are going to do is send you money so you can continue to do so; let alone vote for them.

  3. Yeah hell Newt will give ya the death penatly if you have 2 ounces on you if he has it his way. Newt probably still smokes it too but according to him it’s more immoral today than when he smoked it. Horse crap it’s less immoral because half the US smokes it. Get over it legalize it and lets be done with one of the biggest frauds in american history. Obama should be all for legalizing it because the whole reason they wanted it illegal in the first place was to stop black men from raping white women. Those days are over and lets just burn all copies of “Reefer Madness”. What a joke that movie is and is a huge part of why so many of the bible toteing goody two shoes are against it. Propaganda is what got Pot illegal in the first place.

  4. Because he can. Who can stop him? He needed our vote in 2008 and got it. We mean nothing to him now. The next five years are going to be rough no matter who gets elected.

  5. Law enforcement is still arresting people with small amount of Marijuana just by profiling. The Federal agents shutdown 26 medical marijuana dispensaries across Montana and 2 in the medical marijuana sanctuary city of West Hollywood, California and now Coronado in last few months in their latest attack on patients and legitimate businesses in the eyes of the states. The DEA isn’t even supposed to be conducting these raids, wasting scarce funds, in the first place. Several members of congress have already asked President Obama to halt these raids and to reschedule Marijuana as a legitimate controlled medical substance, as he pledged to do in his first presidential campaign. In 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder issued a memo ordering an end to federal raids of medical marijuana dispensaries. Yet, despite his memo, federal agents have continued these operations sporadically for years, without regard for patients’, states’ or business’ rights NORML Attorneys file multiple constitutional challenges to federal medical marijuana crackdown now over the drug policy. Because of that millions to billions of dollars of our tax money is still being wasted, is that what we want?

    The DEA has stock houses full of Marijuana worth billion and billions of dollars for the government from marijuana secures. Instead of burning it sell it to marijuana research programs. Then reopen the list for medical marijuana patients “Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program” that George W. Bush halted. Did you know there are only 4 people left on that program do you think it is time to re-regulate the program then open the list back up to the public to get over 40,000 on the list? It will also help to stimulate the University of Mississippi for the growing, buying and researching marijuana, that they have done since 1968. The release and sale of confiscated Marijuana to reputable medical testing facilities will help pay off part of the trillions of the national debt the Government has accumulated.

  6. doesnt he have bigger problems to worry about? like crack? or war? Or this shizty economy? I’ve always agreed to the statement that there is a big difference between the word “nigger,” and a black person, and I’d much rather have this government run by a black person.

  7. simple answer obama is no more different then 99% politicians if you really want change all around and marijuana legalized or decriminalized vote ron paul atleast he sticks to his arguments and isnt a hypocrit like the rest

  8. Ok, people need to understand this:

    God, seriously people, take a politics class…Congress can override anything the President does or wants to do.

    Don’t concentrate on voting for a new president, concentrate on voting for Senators and Representatives.

  9. I dont understand anything about the federal government anymore. If you have enough cash or political influence things can be “fixed”.

    And in all that the Veterans Administration will not “punish” veterans in the 16 states that allows medical cannabis. And, I’ve read that the American Medical Association has changed its philosophy about Cannabis.

    The administration (obama) has reasons that are unknown to the public.

    The DEA will not debate and Obama will not state.

  10. He’s just flexing his mental muscle and it’s been so long since he bothered to do that, he’s behind the time, not only that but it might take national attention away from the deficit and everything else he’s done nothing about or done poorly!

  11. Worst president in history. What a liar. I detest this man and can only hope and pray the morons don’t reelect him, our economy cannot handle another 4 years of his liberal spending.

  12. @ Chris. I’m so tired of hearing the excuse “well if you think X is bad, imagine if the other party’s guy got into office”. Republicans and Democrats are the same in essence, and the issues they vary on are very narrow. Wake up from the left v. right paradigm. Vote third party or Ron Paul.

  13. I’m not sure but if a pro-cannabis person is elected to the presidency dont they still have to go through a (prohibitionist) leaning Congress, or can he do something major with a stroke of the pen?

  14. OK, wow.. this is what America is.. why? because we let it get this way…. Now first of all ..please when we leave comments, please use your brain, even if your were trying to sound the least bit politically correct with the difference between a “black person” and “n-word”.. your comment is the type that will hurt this whole movement.. worse than you ever could imagine, you don’t want to get this site, or anyone involved in any pro marijuana movement also involved in a race dividing war.. that is just stupid. Stop being mad at a black man in office, big deal, as another person pointed out, our President can only do so much, have you noticed how far Obama care has gone?? The house of Republicans have shot down a bunch of his wants.. Until we as a country can get out of this dumb party system(which will be never)..we are set for failure…bad and good don’t work..Autobots and the Decepticons..don’t work..God and Satan..Jedi and the Sith.. Do i have to keep going ..you get my point..opposites don’t work together, so what makes anyone with just a little common sense think that a majority two party system will work with a evolving country.. what happened to being just AMERICANS..fighting for the better of AMERICA..Fighting to be “The Best Country in the World”.. Its like we are back to The Union vs The Confederacy (so again don’t make things a race issue).. so in short.. our leaders have become the common citizens enemy.. and all we do is buy into it when we decide to label ourselves one or the other..deep down knowing neither have our backs.. neither would openly take you into their homes if your were in need..so stop trying to be something you are not.. YOU WANT AMERICAN TO BE HONEST ABOUT MARIJUANA..YOU HAVE TO FIRST START WITH BEING HONEST WITH YOURSELF.. As Marijuana supporters we have to Unite in a positive way.. work smart and work together, again STAND UP AND BE HEARD..one of our voices isn’t heard..but our voice will be heard as ONE.. yeah i hate that Obama is nothing more than a flipflop..but am i surprised?? NO..he is a POLITICIAN first and a DEMOCRAT second .. and sadly an AMERICAN CITIZEN third.. They all lie.. so much we accept it.. its a common joke.. we don’t stop them.. the only time our country has a fit..is if someone is unfaithful.. to his wife.. but the whole time they are unfaithful to US..Our Country.. and we accept that.. WELL I DON’T.. I’m tired of this double standard.. your views count and matter just because your a politician??.. a job by choice and by family,..but as a citizen, a tax payer and a PROUD LOYAL AMERICAN your view is trash…unless it agrees with what they say.. if you don’t believe me.. look at the polls… this isn’t the unexplained.. its not religion..its not aliens..its not ghosts.. IT’S REAL LIFE..OPEN YOUR EYES.. now either a bunch of people on here are just as big of flipflopers as our leaders.. or we are real..and want to be heard, last time i asked for emails.. no one did..well one guy did, but he just wanted a vote on his youtube video..i did, haven’t heard anything else.. DAMN IT lets organize.. lets be heard.. Occupy was HEARD.. lets protest of some sort.. Live AID is HEARD.. lets get a big concert going… LETS STAND UP.. im not saying be violent,..please don’t(its not in our marijuana using nature), but lets show AMERICA we care about our cause, we aren’t just a bunch of LAZY STONERS.. there are many ways we can be heard without breaking the law.. and if you believe..and you support.. why wouldn’t you want to.. again here’s my email .. if you would like to help organize ways to be heard.. email me, lets talk, lets get our voices heard.. LETS GET MARIJUANA LEGALIZED!

  15. Yeah i like Ron Paul’s view as well, but being honest with yourself.. When is the last time a third party candidate won the election? As a matter of fact when was the last time one even made it a close race? By now i would hope most people in America would realize the Electoral College would not let that happen .. They control who becomes President.. Not your Vote, saying “Your Vote Counts” is just a way to make people feel like they are involved.. its a cover again we allow..or in a whole..are just too stupid to realize. FACTS..1800..
    1824 Andrew Jackson won popular vote.. John Quincy Adams became President.. ..1836..1872..1876.. 1888..Cleveland won popular..but not president….and uhhh..oh yeah 2000.. Gore won the popular vote..yet Bush became President.. and on third parties
    the highest percentage of vote gotten by a third party was in 1912.. Roosevelt got 27.5%..in modern day..1992 Perot 18.9%..1996 Perot 8.4%…2000 Nader 2.7% and 2004 Nader 1.0%… so we can all wish and beg..and push for a huge Ron Paul turnout, but people vote just because one is republican or democrat.. and than bitch about whats not being done.. but reality.. it seems IMPOSSIBLE..

  16. It would be strategic for Obama to wait shortly before the election to have Holder quietly issue a letter or have one of his underlings issue a letter or memo or policy change in order to give his opposition no time to use it against him and to give us some so-called red meat to stop us from voting for someone else, such as Gary Johnson or Ron Paul, let’s say, that is if Ron Paul were to receive the Republican nomination.

  17. sorry i rant.. the above listed dates are times when the electoral college came into play..with a couple of highlights..sorry

  18. I would suggest all readers of this forum educate themselves on the following: Eternal law “vs” Natural law “vs” Human law “vs” Bill of rights “vs” Human rights.

    Gain a firm understanding of these simple sounding but relatively complex issues and youll give any POSITIVIST (guys that are in charge since 1970)law maker a run for their money.
    Free the Weed

  19. Let me honest to everyone, yes Obama is for it, let us be honest and not be surrounded by political theater. Obama is not facing this issue because it is not the right time the republicans run the house and there is no way to pass it through, if he were to say he used THC etc, the conservatives would be attacking him more than they do now and patronizing him as a stereotypical black man who smokes marijuana.

    And to those who say differently obviously do not know how politics work. If more of you support this, then i would say to vote Independent or Democrat, because atleast they listen to science like this and not ignore it.

  20. there is something in that big book of stuff only the president knows that made him rethink rescheduling weed, that or he’s just waiting till his 2nd term, when angry bible belt white folks who hate the guy, mainly because of the color of his skin talk shit about him untill they look at me and realize my racial background is the same as his i just “pass” better than he does, and say it’s because he hasn’t done anything, can’t do anything about the fact that he’s in for a 2nd time, then and only then can he decriminalize without fear of not being re-elected, he still needs some of those votes and as long as these republican retards are running against him he get in for a 2nd term. the guy has done alot to turn this country around, apparently not speedily and as publicly as it was fucked by bush, but if u look at the numbers he’s decressed the national debt by 2 trillion bucks, killed binladin, and gadafi, and improved healthcare more than any president in decades all while he quit smoking.

  21. Patkins said, “Ok, people need to understand this: THE PRESIDENT CANNOT DO WHATEVER HE WANTS HE’LL DO WHATEVER CONGRESS TELLS HIM

    You have no idea how it really works do you? The President sets the tone. He can come on TV and tell the American people that the Feds have been wrong about Marijuana for many years. He can tell the people through his various WH media sources that he would like to see marijuana law reform. This would be an easy sell… with over half the country in favor of marijuana law reform, Congress would have to act. Otherwise they would look like real rats at that point, despite their corporate agendas to the contrary.

    Or the President can come on TV and tell the American people that marijuana is dangerous and needs to be criminalized. Congress, as corporate whores anyway, go along with marijuana prohibition despite the cries of the people.

    So there you have it. So what where you saying about the President not running things?

  22. It was if the second that he realized he had the med.mar. vote he suddenly wins then switches. Maybe it was all a lie to get our vote. He got mine, but you can bet it wont happen again. I dont think he stands a chance of reelection, or maybe it was mrs obama who changed all that. She seems to have the upper hand alot of the time. Well he lost my vote and I bet if everyone who trusted the mans word would vote him out. I think he’ll loose by a landslide.

  23. Isn’t obvious? They dont want any competition on their little patent # 6630507 for cannabinoids. That little nugget of the market is set aside for G.W.Pharmaceuticals to introduce Sativex. Thats their little tincture of whole cannabis plant that IS CURRENTLY SEEKING APPROVAL from the F.D.A. for 2013.
    The government is drooling at the royalties that will come off of the extraction process in factory.Do the research its all factual and easily found on the internet. Google Sativex 2013, and cannabinoids patent. See for yourselves.

  24. The Obama administration knows damn well that cannabis is safe. I honestly believe it’s for some conservative votes.

  25. As far as I can tell, Ron Paul, if elected president, would favor the use of reefer. However, we still have to get our elected officials in DC, and our respective state reps, to vote yes to leagalize reefer. To make that happen, write & phone those folks.

  26. It is vital for Obama to keep any form of cannabis illegal. It’s called profit motive. Obama is not the one making all that money.

    There are huge business’ that would loose money or be put out of business if it became legal. Big Pharma is having trouble making their billions without allowing other forms of cannabis out of the bag.

    The Keystone XL does not need to be built. Industrial hemp can easily produce has much fuel as necessary. Without the potential nightmare the Keystone pipeline could bring.

    The people with the money want our oil option to be their petroleum products. even while hemp can provide this and more, the profit isn’t there for them yet.

    Read about Henry Ford’s hemp car and be amazed.

  27. I watched Attorney General Holder talk about scarce federal resources when asked about medical marijuana by a congressman from Colorado on CSPAN. We always seem to find the money for this kind of cruelty somewhere, though, despite any economic crisis. We can always stick the debt to our kids like the Reagan and the neo-cons taught us.

    I’m very disappointed in Obama, but the Republican candidate will almost certainly be a real monster on this issue. I’m not sure if I’ll vote at all this year, but I probably will if only as a patriotic act to keep the conservatives out of power.

  28. we should go after the insuance compnies, we could make a fiber board out of hemp that would be fire and termite resitant. Which would help their profit margine by not paying out as much money.

  29. In about an hour from this posting Obama is going to announce his resignation. On the Catholic contraception issue “about 57%” percent supported his original policy and now he’s going to cave in because about 57 Bishops know how the system works. Any Questions ???????

  30. Keeping America afraid is how we have lost our Liberties and the only thing we should be afraid of is losing those Liberties. Step away from Reality TV for a moment and take a look at our reality….then PLEASE do something…feal the fear, and do it anyway. That is being a good American.

  31. You all fail to realize that the shops are being shut down either b/c there are to many or that the shop has violated state law in some way (By selling it illegally to non patients, the shop is by a school or church etc.)and this is only for the practice to stay alive. If you have to many shops prices will drop so low no money can be generated. Obama does not want to come out as the pot head prez before elections, he would be attack with no end. Many people have make this point in this post (see Chad and J-Bob)and they are right, its not the right time, sorry. For all of you that attacked him on anything he does where were you when bush was in office? You call Obama the worst prez? For real, this guy has done nothing but fix the real worst prez eight terms and has done so with heavy opposition. There is only one reason why you don’t like him its b/c his is black (if you want to get technical he is only half black, but racist cant see that)and you need to think before you attack someone on a issue you don’t even understand.

  32. I have a 1/2 black step-son, so who is the racist you ignorant ass! I didn’t vote for that socialist Nazi pig the first time because he was only a US Senator for barely 3 years, now he’s the fucking prez? Before that, he was a fucking bum who taught people how to cheat and rape the system thru food stamps, Social Security, Welfare, etc. He worked with motherfuckers like Bill Ayres and Rev. Jeremiah Wright! Where the fuck were you idiots then? Finally, you ass wipes that voted for him the first time are finally realizing he’s no different than any other president we’ve ever had and in many respects, he’s been the worst! If you want to completely FUCK our Country for future generations go ahead and vote for that idiot fuck again and you deserve the pain that comes with it.
    Wake the fuck up, get off your fucking couches and educate yourselves on what that fuck has really done to our Country. Idiot potheads should be banned from voting unless they really know the issues they are voting on. Instead, we get morons like the fool above that will vote Blue just because he doesn’t want to see a conservative in the white house? That’s our voting pool folks, people like that moron and you wonder why we end up with SHIT leadership like Obama! Leave voting up to those of us that actually follow the issues and not bullshit. Ignorance is bliss.

  33. First off, if you voted for Obama because he’s black – you’re just as racist as those that DIDNT because he’s black.

    Secondly, anyone that thinks this president is being stopped by congress needs to look at what he’s been doing lately. He’s breaking laws and nobody’s stopping him. Why? Because he’s the president.

    Unemployment alone shot up after he took office (not BEFORE – so that’s no “mess he’s cleaning up” and it’s STAYED up there until (surprise surprise) now … now that the re-election campaign is under-weigh.

    He just talked about how things been to be addressed and fixed in this country. Big surprise, they’ve been broken since he took office and he’s not done a thing to fix them yet. But he’ll say he will now that it’s time to re-elect! And if he gets it, he wont fix them – again. Just like he didn’t the FIRST time he said he would.

    He used to be MM friendly and now he’s been bought out by campaign contributions.

    Open your eyes, this is not a racial issue – so stop tryin to play the racist card … it’s old and outdated and it’s high time (no pun intended) that those that do try to play it grow a pair and move on to facts and away from scapegoats. You were never a slave, I was never a slave owner – so get past it and move on. If you wanna be an American – be an American … not a black American, not a white American, not a brown or yellow or purple or green American – just be a freakin’ American for once and try to help move forward together.

  34. NORML needs to start a national television commercial campaign to promote the end of the prohibition or mariajuana, and the legalization of growth, sales, and use for all adults.

    We need to say we are no longer going to accept the governments or politicians position to keep marijuana illegal.
    These laws have been used to rob, and incarcerate otherwise law abiding citizens for 70years, and especially to abuse those who are not white.

    Tell the truth Legalize Marijuana Now!
    There is a good line for your first commercial…

  35. Behind every succesful wimp is a domineering bitch. Obama has to face 3 females every night at dinner. No male role model in his life- EVER. Do the math.

  36. @ owen and matt, stop making our cause look bad by posting your B.S.
    Every time you argue for this cause, you need to think “Is this the message I want everyone to hear”.

  37. About a month ago I read on this site that the MJ reform movement claims to have over 50% support for legalizing MJ and yet still has less political clout than the National Association of Mosquito Breeders. It was a joke.
    A couple of weeks ago, I read a story about giant snakes taking over Florida and how Obama wanted to ban importation of said giant snakes but had to back down due to pressure from The National Association of Reptile Handlers (giant snakes). And it wasn’t a joke.
    Now I read that even though vast majority of people (a lot more than 50%) want contraceptives and even though 98 % of Catholic women under 70 use birth control, A FEW DOZEN old white men (bishops) forced the president to compromise, again.
    I still think we may be missing something here.
    So let’s recap. 16 ft snakes under the house – OK. Letting an old white man tell your wife and daughter how to run her life. OK. Picking a leaf off a plant and smoking it. Send in the SWAT team.

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