In a profile published online over the weekend in New Yorker magazine, President Barack Obama continued his softening towards marijuana legalization. In the interview, the president alluded to his own youthful marijuana consumption and clarified that, while he doesn’t believe it to be a healthy pastime and has discouraged his daughters from its use, it is a less dangerous substance than alcohol. President Obama also stated that current moves towards legalization are important experiments that can help end discriminatory arrest practices.
“As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.” President Obama stated when asked about the growing public support for ending marijuana prohibition.
When asked to clarify if he thought it was “less dangerous,” Obama replied that he thought it was less dangerous “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.” He continued that “it’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.”
“Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do and African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.” he stated, “we should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing.”
“It’s important for it [marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington] to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”
You can read the full article on the New Yorker’s website here.
Perhaps President Obama will continue to evolve and find himself on the right side of history when it comes to marijuana legalization. It would take just one simple Executive Order to deschedule marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and help institute some real lasting change in our nation’s failed war on cannabis. At a minimum, these statements show just how far we have come from the “Just Say No” era of American politics.
The president is not wise or thoughtful on marijuana. He is showing clear bias against marijuana will at the same time brewing beer in the whitehouse. That’s just silly, not wise. He said, “I don’t think marijuana any worse than VODKA”. Really??? Cause that is funny as VODKA does kill people thanks to it chemistry which unlike strong marijuana is extremely toxic! Several joints cannot intoxicate a person while several beers or shots will. You might feel odd, but your nerves and you nervous system is still in working order. Unwise comparisons filled with huge amounts of bias. ‘I tell my daughters pot is a waste of time’ suggesting marijuana is for losers. Yeah, no bias there!
If he signed an Executive Order, he would be trying to take down an out-of-control monster, he’ll end up a sitting duck for the rest of his term.
Legalization has to happen state by state. No one person is going to martyr themselves. I would say his latest comments and the clearance for cannabis banking by order of the DOJ, were milestones for any president.
Compared to Reagan, who said that “marihuana” is probably the most dangerous drug on earth and also kills brain cells, Obama’s was a bold statement, forward-looking in regards to the states deciding for themselves eventually, trumping federal law (that is hypocritical, problematic, and unjust).
In reality, cannabis is a neuroprotective which can help protect the brain after stroke, aneurysm, seizure, over-drinking alcohol drugs, and can help prevent Alzheimers and can be taken as a palliative neuroprotective.* Cannabis has been shown to promote neurogenesis, or the growth of new brain cells, thought impossible only 15 years ago. Dr. Melamede at the University of Colorado, CO Springs, found that regular smokers of cannabis have lower rates of lung cancer, and cancers in general, than people who smoke nothing at all.*
The President could however, commission a group to study cannabis before signing the order, for the sake of procedure.
Alas, Nixon’s Shafer Commission, where eight of the fifteen members were selected by him, reported that cannabis shouldn’t be illegal, shouldn’t carry criminal penalties, and had shown anti-tumor properties with only the scant few studies that were not fudged by the NIDA’s intellectual dishonesty. Yet Nixon went ahead with the CSA drug war and put cannabis in the worst category. The CSA’s drug-related agencies (over 20 of them), created by Nixon’s Drug War, universally accepted as a failure and at best an ineffective and harmful policy that looted the coffers in order to eliminate competition for special interests and control people.
The scheduling system is a sham. It’s not about scientific data that has thorougly demonstrated all potential harms or lethality of drugs or medicines, while considering the possible benefit(s) to the willing patient, in spite the risk. Nor is the scheduling scheme concerned with the overall welfare of people, considering all the drugs that are legal at present yet are highly toxic and kill people in droves every year, like prescription drugs that are taken according to the doctor’s orders, but end up fatal. (Sanjay Gupta, almost the Surgeon General, wrote:
“I even wrote about this in a TIME magazine article, back in 2009, titled “Why I would Vote No on Pot.”
Well, I am here to apologize.
I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.
Instead, I lumped them with the high-visibility malingerers, just looking to get high. I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have “no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.”
They didn’t have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works. Take the case of Charlotte Figi, who I met in Colorado…
…We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.
I hope this article and upcoming documentary will help set the record straight.
On August 14, 1970, the Assistant Secretary of Health, Dr. Roger O. Egeberg wrote a letter recommending the plant, marijuana, be classified as a schedule 1 substance, and it has remained that way for nearly 45 years. My research started with a careful reading of that decades old letter. What I found was unsettling. Egeberg had carefully chosen his words:
“Since there is still a considerable void in our knowledge of the plant and effects of the active drug contained in it, our recommendation is that marijuana be retained within schedule 1 at least until the completion of certain studies now underway to resolve the issue.
Not because of sound science, but because of its absence, marijuana was classified as a schedule 1 substance.
Most frightening to me is that someone dies in the United States every 19 minutes from a prescription drug overdose, mostly accidental. Every 19 minutes. It is a horrifying statistic. As much as I searched, I could not find a documented case of death from marijuana overdose.
“that marijuana be retained within schedule 1 at least until the completion of certain studies now underway to resolve the issue.”
Forty five years of lies.
The scheduling system is not a guide to good health.
It is a ranking order of how severe the punishments are.
It means that even though the drug war is unjust and undermines Constitutional and Human rights, schedule I related crimes means you’ll be stripped of your civil and human rights, and treated like violent person or police-chase driver.
The ideals of personal property, privacy, and freedom from arbitrary persectution, just disappear. Schedule I means no holds barred.
Then after the actual punishment, they stigmatize people, denying them financial aid or scholarships when convicted sex offenders have no such limitations at University, resulting from past misdeeds. Worst, cannabis use is not a crime at all. What is that common definition of insanity again? Deemed ineffective, and often a failure, some people are gluttons because 45 years is a long time to be insane.
Using cannabis isn’t “a crime,” it is defying a wholly unjust and arbitrary federal law. Non-violent protest during the civil rights movement meant not fighting back against attackers while simply participating in activities afforded to other citizens, what was called “breaking the law.”
“An unjust law is no law at all,” was a quote by Martin Luther, in Letters from a Birmingham Jail, by MLK.
“only a few of those who break the law get punished at present!”
Roughly one-third, or 33% of all arrests are for cannabis related charges, and of those, certain racial groups predominate. Think of all the different crimes out there, including violent crime, theft, sexual assault, fractional reserve banking, and so on. One-third for cannabis use? That is hugely significant in a country that imprisons more per capita than any other. That’s a broken system.
So the prisons are filled with murderers, armed robbers, and flower gardeners and medical patients (?). Cannabis was likely the first plant ever cultivated by humans, the male and female (dioecious) forms of the plant, their sexual reproductive process, leading to seeds (abundant in omega fatty acids, hemp oil) that become full grown plants. The agrarian revolution didn’t start with corn, wheat, rice, potatoes, but cannabis hemp, which co-evolved with humans. Exocannabinoids in the cannabis plant resemble and mimic the function of endogenous, or endocannabinoids made in the body, like anandamide. The body’s immunity doesn’t see cannabis as a threat, it is so non-toxic, there’s no rush to excrete it.
In contrast, the other drugs tested for during employment-related, govt. coerced pee tests, are so toxic the body excretes them ASAP as with alcohol-drug, so coke, crack, meth, heroin users can pass the coerced employment screening in a day or two. Cannabis which looks just like certain endocannabinoids, non-threatening, and at home, but which can lead to a postive test result even after two weeks of non-use.
Forced drug testing is only a test for cannabis, since job applicants who take the hard drugs only appear drug-free because they planned it that way. A farce.
The gateway “theory” or propaganda, that cannabis will lead to heroin use, was thought up by none other than Harry Anslinger and amazingly is still parrotted by people who don’t realize that cigarettes and alcohol are the gateway drugs, like legal rites of passage, but are “legal” yet deadly, and unscheduled.
Cannabis is a gateway.
It’s a gateway to health.
*Marijuana Gateway to Health: How Cannabis Protects Us from Cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease by Clint Werner
However, if he did bear the burden of an Executive Order (which could mean worse than low ratings considering the Dark Ages mentality of the drug war), he earn that Peace Prize, a few times further, by ending drug cartels, black markets, turf/territorial killings, unregulated drugs sold on the street, easier for kids to obtain than regulated beer. The end of paper (toilet paper!) from trees? Clothes of high durability and quality from Made in the USA manufacturers? Plastics that don’t require petroleum as a starting material? “Canvas” used to be made of hemp till inferior substitutes like cotton and linen became common. What if master painters had used cotton or linen instead of hemp canvas? If drafts of the Declaration of Independece are still intact for our posterity, it’s only because they were printed on hemp paper, not tree paper.
I agree the President needs to step up and Sign the Order to Reschdule Marijuana to harmless, this way state governors can be free to let the people vote on legalization.
Our Next Target should be president obama, have him get this schedule changed so we can move forward at a quicker pace. Its obvious change is Inevitable, but in the meantime, people are still without medical pot, and people are still being arrested for its use and carriage.
The president needs to act NOW, not a month from now! WAKE UP OBAMA< Sign the Paper, let us get to work!
R I think we have failed ourselves as a country when i can drive 20 minutes and and score primo herion but as a 44 yr old responsbl. i cant get a bag of pot…well i can…and i m facing a dui for a minor car accident for ganja in my system..i
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