Founder’s Blog: The Gift from Obama

Many marijuana smokers were thrilled when Barack Obama became president since he’d previously “outed” himself in his 1995 memoir Dreams From My Father. In his memoir, Obama acknowledges that he and his friends in the “Choom Gang” were regular marijuana smokers during his high school years in Hawaii, a practice he apparently continued while attending Occidental College in LA for two years followed by two years at Columbia University in New York.

This was further confirmed by David Maraniss’ in his 2012 biography titled Barack Obama: The Story, which provided more details and suggested that Obama had been a serious pothead during his youth, favoring local Hawaii strains such as Maui Wowie, Kauai Electric, Puna Bud, and Kona Gold; none of which apparently limited his ability to excel academically, as he was subsequently President of the Harvard Law Review in 1991.

Many of those same smokers became disillusioned when President Obama did nothing to advance legalization during his first term, and on the occasion when the topic was raised by a White House petition or otherwise, he refused to treat marijuana legalization as a serious policy topic, instead making jokes about what all those petition signers must have been smoking – deflecting a question on a hot-button social issue, but it also felt insulting to those of us who smoke.

Perhaps because I have lived in Washington, DC for 48 years and have seen too many administrations come and go, I did not expect Obama to do anything significant to advance marijuana legalization during his first term. Controversial policy changes generally come, if at all, during a president’s second term, when he faces no future elections, and is sometimes willing to risk some of his personal popularity to embrace a policy on principle.

That appears to be precisely what has occurred with Obama.

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44 thoughts

  1. Quite right, Keith. It’s usually not until the lame duck session of the last year that Presidents pass their hidden contraversial orders, such as when Clinton declared a bunch of National Parks during his last few months in office.
    But if Obama gets another deadlocked Congress in November he may reveal his true greens early next year.
    The President has the authority to order the Attorney General, Eric Holder, to deschedule cannabis. It was written in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Playing coy is a large political tactic of Obama. He did graduate from Harvard Law.
    One political analysis of President Obama’s drug policy is that he is trying to give Congress a chance to make right and vote on the issue first; Obama gives victory credit, or bragging rights, as a bargaining chips for passing legislation… at first. Until he allows the cannabis debate to crescendo before November’s mid-term elections, allow Julian Castro and Hillary Clinton to decide how they stand on the issue, then use executive order to win Democratic favor. But… nothing lasts forever in the cold November Rain. Better donate to NORML in the meantime.

  2. Thanks, Barry! (aka President Obama)
    Thanks, Keith!
    Thanks, NORML!

    It would be great to get the feds out of the way so that the cannabis community can do legal banking. I guess that’s going to happen once Washington state comes online this July.

    Please, Barry. Pretty please with sugar on top. Legal cannabis banking, and IRS tax deductions allowed.

  3. I have a feeling that ‘O’ isn’t done in regards to changes in marijuana law. I expect that the Schedule One status will change before he leaves office and many, many people will be released from prison as well. By then, because of the fact that the sky hasn’t fallen in Colorado and Washington State as was so grimly predicted, most people will have changed their attitudes about marijuana, so he isn’t likely to face much resistance. I think our friends at NORML deserve our gratitude for their persistence and determination. Thanks guys ! This would have never happened without you !

  4. I read all the time. other sitrs and all the what ever i could call it. its sad, insane, hippocritcal, mind boggling, and just plain stupid! the beatings, incarcerations, lost productity, medical uses and products to come, jobs, taxes,and no i didn,t neccessarily want to be first on this blog. i love my country, but! somethings gotta give! it’s obvious to all of us that the govering bodies in office think more of their pocketbooks than us. we are all getting educated about the many positive uses all the while anti mmj people (aliens) post such bull some of it is so sad that their fear of being broke is all that it is. use common sense. don’t drink , vape, be kind to fellow citizens. come on obama, i’m w/60/f/toker,my country right or wrong, and there’s been plenty wrong! i voted 2x for you hopping there’d be a change, but alas not yet!

  5. sorry no spell checker, please forgive me, found some errors. sites! huffingington post, toke of the town, cannibus news, our state sites, just get in a great big rush. and great info out there on recipies, chefs, products, just go see!

  6. Whatever, I think some folks are living in the past. Americans are already aware marijuana should be legal, we passed that point a couple years back now. Even many that like marijuana being illegal acknowledge it shouldn’t be so.

    We long ago demonstrated Cannabis and marijuana are legitimate markets and products to our fellow Americans. The problem is so few of us understand how the DEA is setup is illegal and this needs to be addressed.

  7. We who have abstained, so as to not face the wrath of the “aliens”! The numbers are wrong!There are a lot who would consume if it were legal. I love my country, but right or wrong, and there’s a lot wrong. Our politicians and the wealthy, have kept this country from being all that it could be! For instance keeping our nose out of other’s bussiness. As it is Mr Obama I voted for you 2x, hoping that things would get better. w/f/60/vaper. You could change it all. There is a lot of info out there. Toke of the town, Huffington Post, Cannibus news. Recipies, growing tips, absured, humerous, and stuff that will make you all think about what’s REALY going on that should be issues for all of us to be aware of. VOTE, VAPE, BEWARE, BE AWARE

  8. Fact is, Obama himself has already taken part in this legitimate market place long before he became President. As have 10,000’s of police, 1,000’s of judges and millions of law abiding citizens. Pot is completely legit, but our laws are still full of it.

  9. Hello Everyone
    The time to fight HARDER is NOW! In the states where it is not legal yet, their legislators are salivating over all the money they will make in taxes and fees. Not to mention the jobs it will create.They don’t really care about medical Marijuana, and how much it helps so many sick people. As usual, It is all about the MONEY!

    “First they ignore you,then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

    Hey Keith,
    Thank you Keith for all you have done for us cannabis user’s. You are a fantastic, and progressive leader! By the way, I like that picture of you. You are looking really Hot!

  10. If he did something substantial about prohibition and the problems, not solutions, that prohibition causes, that could account for how he was granted the Nobel Peace Prize–too early in his term before–as a token acknowledgment of the change to come.

    It wasn’t given based on something he had done but on a faith or hope that he will do the right things when the time comes.

  11. Far too many questionable decisions will be his legacy.
    Hope n Change has turned into yet another terrible politican.
    Don’t believe me? Ask a veteran !

  12. Dear Mr. Stroup,

    I do not think that Mr. Obama has kept any of his campaign promises in a significant way, other than burning all of his political capital on health reform that I do not think was progressive enough. Concerning cannabis legalization, all the president has done is to allow his AG to pass regulations making it kosher for cannabusiness to use financial institutions w/o breaking federal laws. This is a good thing, but the skeptic in me says this about pandering to progressive businesses who can only help the Dems in the midterm and presidential elections.

  13. not enough has happened. it’s great that the DEA is now being barred from enforcing federal laws on medical marijuana. But until marijuana is legalized on a federal level, essentially nothing changes, even for medical card holders. You can still get fired from your job or charged with duid even if you have a card. If you don’t have a card you’re subject to all of the above plus open to any charges of possession that can ruin you professionally and financially. while this is not on the level of rights issues faced by African americans, it is a human rights issue of its own. it’s unfair that the “chemo-typical” among us-those whose systems favor alcohol use, that while the majority have a way to relax through some sort of substance, the restivus are closeted like lgbt was 30 years ago. Not only are we subject to life-altering penalties for doing something completely harmless (no one-time of incident of smoking regular cannabis can be considered harmful for a healthy adult) but there’s also the social stigma of being labeled a druggie (if you’re going to resort to illegal means to get high you must be addicted and you’re probably also using cocaine) (and you’re probably going to try to recruit my children).

    If everybody who smoked pot on a regular basis were to show up in Washington they’d see that it’s not just some unemployed young adults.

  14. @fireweed

    The DEA is not barred from enforcing mmj laws. It still has to pass the Senate and get signed by Obama. Even then, they still could bust mmj operations using private funds?

    IMO, he hasn’t done much. A memo here or there, but no LAWS. That’s where the rubber hits the road. Without laws, we’re still living in limbo.

  15. Obama is a masterful politician. Apparently Attorney General Eric Holder is empowered to move marijuana from its Schedule 1 designation, but this would energize the cultural conservatives for the next election. Ain’t gonna happen. Those people already think there’s a war on everything they hold dear in the culture. (including CHRISTMAS!) Better to save the decrees for something like having the EPA address climate change. Here seizing the moral high ground is politically worth it in the long run. The GOP is in denial about climate change, this is bad for the GOP, bad for our children, bad for the USA, bad for the world. Obama is a masterful politician.

  16. @Fireweed,
    You hit an important topic… Obama’s legacy having more African Americans incarcerated than any previous president. Here in Texas, for the last ten years, the state has taken the DEA’s asset forfeitures a step further to seized property for virtually any civil infraction, including condemning someone’s property (targeting African Americans, latinos and the impoverished). In Bexar County (San Antonio) I know a nurse who has little cash, but property rich… She)s being harrassed and condemned for not mowing the lawn. Cops are deliberately picking on people that cant afford a lawyer or are simply less informed of how to appeal cases to a Federal Court so they can use the 4th and 14 th amendments and declare no probable cause. (Texas Observer; Lone Star Legal Aid). This news needs to be addressed by Julian Castro if he ever plans to run for president. His time as Mayor of San Antonio will come back to haunt him if he doesnt address property forfeitures, especially in the corrupt cabinet job he’s in now at Housing and Urban Development. I should point out his brother, Joaquin Castro, voted yes for amendments to recent cuts to DEA budgets.
    There is hope; Remember Obama’s speech after the Zimmerman verdict? It wasnt until the very end he mentioned he too has “been followed around in supermarkets” (before becoming famous)… And only at the end did he mention he would make changes in the DOJ over mandatory minimums that “disproportionately incarcerate African Americans.”

  17. Thumbs Up for President Obama!!! Truly, he is one of us.

    Thumbs down for Eric Cantor. He is no friend to cannabis consumers and would like to have us all locked up. I am so glad he got voted out! I hope the new Tea Party representative will show more common sense and compassion for our cause; which ultimately is all about personal freedom.

  18. @ We’ll see and Fireweed, et al,

    Yeah, it’s true, he could’ve done more. But can you imagine the alternative, Mitt Romney? Or John McCain? We’d have half as many states with MMJ today and CO and WA would very likely not be allowed to open any MJ rec shops any time soon.

    BTW, my wife and I went to Colorado this past week. Felt like we were in a candy store with all the choices. No, I’m happy with the President’s decisions so far. I realize there are people who will never be satisfied, but that’s life.

  19. More and more as the years have passed I’ve come to see “them” the prohibitionists not just as hypocrites with a double standard, Mr Obama included, but as criminals who should be jailed.

    The library where I’m now sitting was dedicated to intellectual freedom. No one has the right to tell you how to believe, yet marijuana prohibition seems to be just that. Turn your back on ignorance, don’t think badly of yourself. They want you to think, I’m dirty and there is something wrong with me. Say it over, and over, my friends, I’ve done nothing wrong’ and there is nothing wrong with me. Thanks Keith Stroup for your inspiration, I’m going to school tonight.

  20. His greats GIFT may have been that funny word “CHOOM” (whether he was the one who first made it up or not) with its resemblance to “chillum”– even though Barry and the others in Hawaii according to photographic evidence smoked joints).

    The difference between a chillum and a CHOOMETTE accordingly is that the latter, instead of a “traditional” oversized endchamber to stuff too much herb in at a time and burn too hot, has
    (A) a screened 5.5-mm i.d. or 1/4-inch i.d. socket-wrench or hose-nipple crater snugly embedded in the top end of a 4- or 5-inch tunneled woodpiece (Choomhandle) and (B) a flexible extended (10-20-inch) drawtube airtightly attached to the butt (exit) end of the Choomhandle.

    Please see, revise, expand, illustrate the free website article at

    The fact that the President referred to cannabis use as just another vice like $igarette $moking shows that he hasn’t taken time yet to study the “$moking versus Vaping” issue, but the good news in the bad news is the comparison with something presently legal, and the likelihood that he will eventually recognize publicly that the eponymous Choomette is an improvement over both the H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide combustion formats “joint” and “$igarette”.

  21. @Evening Bud

    Come 2016, and we still haven’t got one federal marijuana law on the books, all of Obama’s good intentions go out the window. Without a law protecting us, some hard ass could take the presidency and kick start the DEA machine again. Hillary ain’t no Mary Jane either.

  22. 40 million millenials don’t vote. MJ legalization could be the issue that gets them out to vote for the candidates in favor of it. I don’t understand why Obama and Democrats are not jumping on the issue. If they keep puttering around with it, the Republicans will steal it from them.

  23. @NORML-please follow and report on New York and the Compassionate Care bill, it is possibly going to our Senate for a vote. How about a breaking news feed on your site.

    Thursday June 19 is the last day the NY Senate meets before end of sessions. The Compassionate Care Act has just been discharged through the Senate Finance Committee and has moved to the Rules Committee. We need to put the pressure on for our Senate and Cuomo to get this voted on by next Thursday.

    Call Cuomo:518-474-8390
    Call Skelos:518-455-3171
    Call Klein (he supports the CC act):518-455-3595

    If all you have is the strength to call, than please do so. We have one more week to make New York an MMJ state #MakeNY23

    Is it that difficult to see the hidden agenda that Anslinger had when he merged cannabis and hemp under the name marihuana?

    Why has the National Black Caucus not stepped in to put an end to this law based on race and not science?

    Are we as a state still willing to accept the handing out of opiate based pain medication like candy and then scratch our heads as to why we have a huge heroin problem?

    Let’s give people in pain a better option than opiates, an option that will not cause death.

    [Paul Armentano responds: NORML updates legislative efforts here: Those on NORML’s e-mail list receive timely status updates regarding legislation in their state e-mailed to their inbox. We list-served our latest alert about New York yesterday:

  24. As often as it has been stated, the President, currently Barack Obama, could end the CSA drug war as easily as it was created, by executive order.

    However, after 4 decades of injustice and dereliction of duty, the institutionalized violations of human rights, under the guise of new “good guy” federal agencies that care more about your health and well-being as the highest priority. Even if it’s all based on hyperbole, exaggerations, lies, propaganda, and the growth of a police and prison state.

    It is said that JFK had plans to legalize, but he we was killed. JFK had plans to rein in the military industrial complex and its ongoing plot to use the media to tell us who is the “bad guy,” creating huge budget deficits to fund wars that are, sadly to say, pre-emptive, unprovoked, and founded on lies about yellow cake and WMD.

    The people in control of Nixon (he secretly audio taped the dialogue in the Oval Office), wanted him to carry out their agenda, as evidenced by his legacy:

    1. Invade Vietnam and use as many weapons, exorbitantly expensively at tax-payer cost, to massacre villagers and rice farmers. It was genocide, but that word is reserved for places like Cambodia, the Sudan, and the Gaza Strip.

    2. Privatize health care by creating the HMO’s or Health Management Organizations, so insurance and hospitals work in cahoots to squeeze every last drop of blood out of the US’s healthcare turnip, while universal health care is ubiquitous among industrialized nations. People can fly to India or S. Korea and get better treatment and access to technologies, at a fraction of the cost.

    3. Start the CSA drug war, selecting a handful of drugs that were unfamiliar to the citizenry, and labeling them as “ruin-your-life” killers, when the scheduling system is not based on safety, but severity of punishments.

    4. To remove the gold standard from international commerce, ditching commodity-backed currency (like with gold), and all other countries followed suit during the “crisis” of currency wars. This led to the boom and bust cycles of economic trends, banking panics, inflation and deflation, and the national debt, where we each owe $85,000 each–for wasted money– weapons, nukes that are dissolving under ground.

    It seems, imo, unlikely that B. Obama escaped the clandestine pecking order of who really controls the Fed government.

    My assertion is that if the genocide in Vietnam started with Eisenhower and continued for four presidential terms (Eisenhower, JFK, Johnson, Nixon), someone else is running the show. You can hear Nixon being ordered to complete these tasks on the telephone. Nixon resigned to prevent the exposure of even more wrong-doing.

    Every president since W. Wilson has been controlled by bankers. There is no reason to believe there is a lack of any coercive force behind the “decisions” of presidents. Who could be above the president?

    Maybe it’s the people that Congress has to crawl to, in order to beg for IOU’s to cover the tremendous budget deficits. The f e d e r a l r e s e r v e, grants these IOU’s while the money is created out of nothing but the usury of lending fees and interest rates or consumers. The citizenry makes the budgets, not the people elected to office who only waste the money.

    To think that Obama is not controlled like a marionette like the other preceding presidents,is a hopeful but naive supposition.

    Presidential puppetry and corporate control of the media is the M.O. and there is no reason to believe it ended with Reagan or Bush or Clinton or Bush Jr, or Obama.

    After all, who would want to be killed or ostracized as a martyr or demon when the states could do a far better job than putting the responsibility on some narrow shoulders. Talk about change without action, is cheap, so cheap, no one wants more hyped-up campaign lies that sounded like conviction, but ended up as nothing.

    If he earned the Nobel Peace Prize by ending the world-wide problem of arbitrary prohibition and denial of human rights, that would be nice, because nothing else he has done merits such a distinction of honor. Stockholm is still waiting for him to earn the award. But that has not happened yet and likely will not.

    I’d rather be cheerleading and supportive, like the first time I naively voted for “change” but enough time has passed to understand that the most embarrassing presidents who make grammatical and historical foibles and vomit at diplomatic dinners, are no worse than the well-spoken, bait and switch promises, of people who seem to exude excellence and conviction, that is, until they reach the oval office.

    Even if very little was accomplished in his term, whether for partisan reasons blocking his proposals, either out of greed and anger over proposed changes to the system of health care robbery, or the dissolution of 20+ federal agencies that deal with CSA drug war drugs which were arbitrarily picked by Nixon in a non-scientific scheduling system based more on severity of punishment than actual safety.

    Even when it seemed like Obama was really about changing the broken system during the first campaign, it was unspokenly clear that he could not “fix” the situation on his own, and that a single person should not, and could not, bear the burden of challenging government-committed crimes against the citizenry.

  25. Thanks to all who contribute towards a higher America………pun intended….

    When i was a young man , I remember the sky was the limit and anything could happen for me in life…..then I was informed if I had anything to do with cannabis I could walk away a free man with only a hand full of things I could be in life , I was left a litle empty knowing i hadnt even started life yet and with a single “toke of the smoke” it was all limited

    Then I grew up with a President who dodged the draft, “didnt not have sexual relations with that woman” and “didnt inhale”.
    so life was taking a little bit of a turn , knowing that the world was infact full of people who did way worse then me , but seemed to be doing good in life…..

    Then as an adult now , Ive watched a man come from th bottom of his peers( meaning he wasnt accepted), who also didnt have a pot to piss in as far as money, but yet had enough to live on the edge a litle and found that smoking pot was not a major set back and that he himself could still function enough to put him self through school not only to be in one school , but to move on and try the imposible.

    All while smoking the pot he met the love of his life and put himself into the highest honor’s of his class while going through law school…
    then went on to become our “PRESIDENT”….knowing that he has smoked pot and got an education, and now is in the most prestigious positon in life ….to me has most of the people confused because ….were all drug tested to make anything out of our lives….
    You cant even work for min wages and smoke pot.
    but you can be in control of an entire nation and make up any laws you see fit while having pot as a backgoung point in your life, but for us were all told from an early age ,,
    Pot + you = min wage, and now even that is being smushed to ground…..

    When in fact
    pot + you = more chances in life then ever belived in ….

    Fix this BHO……you know whats right, and allowing nixion’s crap of a law to reuin peoples lives, when you yourself became president, is no way to allow the people who make up this country to be punished ……..

    As always
    thanks for reading

  26. First of all, making a plant illegal is silly and OUTRAGEOUS!

    Second of all, when alcohol, cigarettes and pharmaceutical drugs that are are actual processed in a lab drugs and not plants (even cigarettes have additives), are legal, why can cannabis not be legal! The argument that ‘why make a third dangerous substance available?’ hold no water, because first of all, cannabis is not a drug, it’s a plant or herb. When was the last time someone called cotton or oregano a drug? Second of all, cannabis is not dangerous, it is at least far safer than alcohol and cigarettes are, both of which are lethal in higher doses and cannabis is not lethal. Alcohol is contraindicated with many FDA approved drugs and responsible for rape, murder, domestic violence and other violence, 80,000 deaths a year! Cigarettes are responsible for deaths by heart, lung and liver failure. We want cannabis instead of alcohol and cigarettes.

    People who hate alcohol and tobacco are sick of this government claiming to be a beacon of democracy in the world promoting these highly lethal substances down our throats. We do not want to use alcohol and tobacco, we want cannabis. We do not want to intoxicate ourselves, rather we want to benefit from cannabis’ therapeutic properties for the body and mind.

    Again, cannabis is not a drug, it is vegetation. So, stop being silly and lift the ban. Same goes for the other plants, mushrooms, vines, and cactus you have banned.

  27. I rarely comment on such forums, but I honestly think progressive entities should force Dem. leaders to take heartfelt / unwavering stands on wedge issues, ie, cannabis legalization. The failure of progressive politics throughout the past four decades has been the inability of Dems. to seat progressive politicians. We should learn from Mr. Rove re: wedge issues and get some progressive people in office who are not willing to compromise with neoconservatives, ie, those who have never carried an m16 but are hell bent on perpetuating an aggressive foreign policy while being incredibly socially conservative.

  28. This year the President could take action to do something so subtle, so insidious, that the haters and drug warriors would go mad in a tantrum of frustration.

    The gnashing of teeth, the flailing of arms, the wailing of woes, and the outpouring of grief would be tremendous. It would be a beautiful thing to behold.

    Furthermore, he could call on each of us to take action to end the problematic confusion caused by a single circuitous definition.

    It could happen this way…

    “…kghkghkghkghkgh…, We interrupt our broadcast this evening to present a special message from the President of the United States, Barack Obama.”

    Good evening. My fellow Americans, both times that I was elected to be your President, I took a solemn oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and by God, I intend to do so, to the best of my ability.

    There comes a time in our country’s history, when the mounting evidence of injustice is so great that only the President can make a meaningful change to the regular order of business, to improve our system of governance. Now is the time to envision a new emancipation for the American People.

    Our prisons have the largest population of inmates of any country in the world. They are full of nonviolent federal inmates – people, who when released will have difficulty obtaining meaningful employment. The futures of our hard-working, well-meaning, yet under-employed, and under-paid fellow citizens have been placed in peril. The rules of our system of government have been gamed. All of this is because of the ill-will directed against the proponents of a multipurpose plant.

    While I cannot rewrite the laws duly enacted by the government, I can enforce them in a way which actually shows respect for our Constitution. That is why, earlier today, a day which has special meaning to this Nation, I signed an Executive Order instructing the Attorney General, and the Department of Justice, let me repeat that – the Department of Justice, to interpret the federal definition of “marihuana” in a holistic way, so that the meaning of that definition refers to a specific substance to be controlled. Henceforth, that substance is identified as cannabis smoke.

    More importantly, I ask you, the American People, to submit your ideas for a new definition of marijuana to your representatives in Congress, so that they may reform that definition to codify it in a clear and simple way which empowers each of you to have the independence, and discretion to exercise control of that substance.

    We all want to hear, not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. In the coming days, we want you to take out your pens and fulfill this request.

    Now, as I pull this cord to fire this ceremonial cannon which is located on the Washington D.C. mall, I invite you to relax for a while, look up, and enjoy the fireworks.

    Marching bands get ready. May I have a drum roll please.

    This is what the rebirth of a free nation sounds like.

    (pull) BOOM!

    Happy Fourth of July!

  29. Your delusional if you think Obama will do anything to advance legalization. He is too busy trying to cover his hundred blunders from the last 6ish years.

  30. @Evening Bud,
    Fortunately we dont have to worry about Mitt Romney with his classic quotes like “let the bottom drop out” (mortgage crisis) and “let them self deport..” (immigration). I believe Mitt was asked about hemp and he said, “What is that?.”
    Fact is theres so much money going into politricks these days, I often wonder whether billionaires like the timber-petro baron Koch brothers or the Vegas casino tycoon Sheldon Adleson are just using Republican candidates to hedge their bets against their own campaign. If they win, they get a personal, xenophobic, corporate drone. If they lose, they still get the bank.
    Some of the stuff we hear Republicans saying is outright laughable. Take Rick Perry for example. Now here’s a Governor that brings whole new meaning to the word “dumb @$$.” The state of Texas imprisons 90,000 people per year for nonviolent small posessions of marijuana. Yet even after forgetting his own scripted third economic agenda during live staged debate… (what was that third one again?… C’mon Perry, its not “oops…”) He still thought he could woo the marijuana vote by lying at a debate in Switzerland to say “I have been passing decriminalization laws…” This is coming from the same guy who went to a fundraiser dinner in San Francisco last week and said, “homosexuality is like alcoholism.” Well somebody give that man a beer, because he’s “two snaps” away from withdrawals!
    (The scary thing is the GOP picked Ted Cruz for the 2016 Presidential bid, who is deep in the DEA’s pockets… Now I dont know if thats hubris or surrender).
    As Vicky says, vape, beware and be aware:
    This hypocrisy from people like Perry is nothing new in politics, but for marijuana policy, the truth requires some disinfecting light; The law that Perry refers to that allegedly “decriminalizes” does exist, but it has no teeth. Perry passed a Texas law that says “any criminal fine for $500 or less required a fine and no jail time,” whether its marijuana posession or writing hot checks. Sounds great, doesnt it? Except there’s nothing forcing counties in this law to comply. Guess how many Texas counties decriminalized? ZERO. San Antonio NORML has tried repeatedly to get petitions and awareness to this issue. Meanwhile, laws passed under Perry have only increased asset forfeitures from minorities and anyone unable to pay a crooked lawyer $10,000. I guess Perry says who needs Gerrymandering when oil companies can just use state prosecuters to rob poor people from their land and posessions? Last year, civil property forfeitures added up to more than $80 million dollars for the city of San Antonio alone.
    (Texas Observer; “Lone Star Legal Aid.”)
    So the breakdown is Republicans are busy passing defunct, placebo laws that are aimed at allowing their candidates to say they are pro marijuana when in fact their laws strangle legalization efforts and rob from the poor. Expect that from CBD-only states like Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia as well.
    Democrats have adopted a “stick my toes in the water and look out for alligators” approach. Thats how Wendy Davis started out for decriminalization during her campaign, but she has slowly started to “wade the waters” for minorities and the poor as they pertain to cannabis and property rights. This teppid entry to Democratic marijuana legalization has been happening with President Obama’s leadership.
    Keep in mind that after 45 years we are still in an international drug war. Admitting fault is tricky for U.S. foreign policy because it means our government needs to say, “We were wrong, U.N. drug policy was wrong, but if we can just admit we were all wrong, perhaps the U.S. doesnt have to foot the bill for war clean up?” That was sarcasm; war clean up contracts are the primary motivators for corporations and intelligence contractors like Haliburton and Booze-Hamilton to drag us into wars.
    Losing asset forfeitures is THE major threat to corrupt state governments, insurance companies, and wealthy oil and gas prospectors, (in other words, the Republican Party). But state governments that want to go Democratic can look to legalized cannabis revenue to surpass civil property seizures. And trial lawyers and minorities (in other words, the Democratic Party) have everything to gain from legalization when the Supreme Court, Obama or perhaps even Congress overturns the unconstitutional scheduling system in the C.S.Act, considering all the subsequent law suits that are certain to pour out of legalization. (The Supreme Court has been preparing for this… It would be cheaper just to let prisoners go on contingency they sign gag orders and promise not to sue).
    Colorado and Washington are leading the way… But Obama, in a wise yet dodgy political move, stepped out of their way. The only difference here internationally is until we pass the half way mark with Florida this November, Uruguay is leading the way to marijuana legalization as a nation. So until November, there’s a massive liability to account for… drug war damage control. So Democrats are treading water lightly up until November. Passing the %50 mark for pro-legalization states will be the climax of our American Marijuana Tragedy… And I would cast DEA director Michelle Leonhart as the villanous tragic heroin. If Obama plays his cards right, he has the opportunity to unite America… To be celebrated by our grandchildren as the President who ended the greatest violation of our Civil Rights in all American history.
    The central issue for Texas and the U.S. right now is protections for property, soil and water rights. With the remarkable ability of cannabis to sustain soil and freshwater, heal us, fuel, clothe and house us; to rebuild forests… Or to simply guide us to the pursuit of happiness… Further cannabis prohibition is simply unsustainable.
    It has been an honor and a privilege to join NORML in the fight to regain our Democracy. To watch our battles won, one at a time, gives even a Texan hope to end these drug wars. We may not have Kinky Friedman for Ag. Commissioner, but we still have Wendy Davis running for Governor. Texas NORML plans to get decriminalization through the state legislature early next year. The longer the battle, the sweeter the victory…

  31. ^^

    It may seem relaxed now for states with legalization, but that could change come 2016 with a new administration and with no law on the books. Time to reexamine our expectations, cause let’s just say Hillary ain’t no Mary Jane.

  32. Thank the Gods that Mitt Romney did not become our nation’s president! Him and others like him, (the rich elite that think they are better than the rest of us) should never get to hold power over us!

  33. @YearofAction – Brilliant! That would be one of America’s greatest moments if it happened!

    President Obama can still go down in history as one of our greatest presidents instead of just another one if he would take this issue seriously and do the right thing!

    As for Hilary, I think she is blowing her chances of becoming our nation’s first female president. Thus far she has been playing the middleground; fearing losing the votes of either side. This may work against her ultimately though since neither side will give her major support either (the freedom fighters vs prohibitionists…).

  34. @ We’ll See,

    I understand what you’re saying, and it’s valid. I also know that too many politicians are frightened, timid creatures, especially, regrettably, Democrats. GOPers just say the words “patriotism” or “terror” and too many Dems magically turn into GOPers themselves.

    Obama has spent much of his presidency trying to appease the right–to absolutely no avail. I cannot understand, at this point, why he bothers any more. To the point, I’m hoping he’ll blow off their inevitable critiques and make some meaningful MJ changes in his last two years. Like, as many on these boards have noted time and again, reclassifying pot.

  35. I’m starting to feel like Obama might make a move soon, even before the mid elections this year.

    If a democratic President swoons the public over legalizing marijuana, more Americans will support them.

    Bottom line is it wouldn’t matter because the prosperity, health and sustainability of the country, the world would become so monumental over time that we’d be foolish not to.

  36. “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds”
    Albert Einstein

  37. @ Julian,

    You make many interesting points. Some I hadn’t thought of, most I agree with.

  38. It gripes me to have to be on the defensive about MJ, an herb used for thousands of years as the first choice of medicine, to appease ignorant conservatives and Drug War profiteers.

    But here I go again. If Presidents and Tecchies can use MJ and get rich and famous, how hard does the proof have to hit people over the head to absolve MJ? It seems denial is not limited to global warming deniers.

    “Oh my, but MJ is more powerful today and therefore more dangerous”. Words often heard today that ignore the fact that with more potent strains of MJ, we can use less to get the same effect. That means inhaling less smoke which is after all, what can cause damage.

    One way to be free from corporate manipulation is for 300 million people to become the largest, richest, most powerful corporation. By issuing equal, non-transferable shares of stock in the trillions of dollars in resources that belong to the public, We the People can accrue dividends from the proper economic uses of our commons. We could decide how our commons will be used without damage in online shareholder’s meetings with equal votes.

    We the People need to incorporate before other corporations privatize and steal all our resources from us.

  39. @evening bud, et al
    Watching elections is like prize fightin for the wealthy with dirty cash to clean. If we get a majority marijuana vote in November it will have happened by no less than our grassroots efforts from non for profits like NORML Foundation and lobbies like NORML.
    Mitt quoted “let the bottom drop out” in Vegas, the city with the highest foreclosure rate in the U.S. right after losing the support of the oldest latino Republican group from Cubans in Florida with his “self deport” flop. Florida had the greatest foreclosure rates of any state at that time. Right there, in front of jaw- dropped Democrats and Republicans losing their homes alike, Mitt lost Nevada, Florida and the presidential election. The billion dollar question is what incredible hubris could provoke an affluent man like Romney to commit political suicide? And can this kind of faux campaign happen to a marijuana platform?
    The answer to the first question is money laundering and Sheldon Addleson. The NYTimes reported that the multi-billionaire casino owner donated 1 billion dollars to Romney’s campaign. For that money a GOP campaign will let you write the script. We can expect this again if he sets up Cruz. So what would Sheldon gain by watching Romney or Cruz lose? Thanks to Citizens United, he gets a clean book for his casinos and a variety of clientele with dirty money to clean. Romney or potentially Cruz get paid to fall like a prize fighter in a Vegas boxing match. Banks get to clean their books from dirty mortgages and laundered drug money. Its a win win situation for the banks that, as Jimmy points out, run the show in American politics. If a phony freak like Cruz wins then its a pirate’s plunder to the world bank again like Bush.
    So what does this mean for cannabis platforms during November elections?
    It means we need to google our candidates a little more. Theres so much money in politics we’re ending up with more decoys and fall guys than ever before. Candidates that run an open campaign on a solid issue platform are like endangered species. If you see any, we need to shootm with a tranquilizer, trappm and breedm before they all die out.
    If your candidate says “i dont need to spend money or say what im running for because God made me win the primaries” (for dem. ag. Commissioner Jim hogan) …you might have a Phony Paid Politician.
    If your candidates platform has NOTHING to do with the office he is running for, and Ted Nugent is your campaign finance manager… (For republican Ag Commissioner Sid Miller)You might have a Phony Paid Politician.
    If your Governor says you can decriminalize marijuana… If you can afford a lawyer… Then he might be Rick Perry!
    The presidential continuance of Obama’s get-out-of-the-way strategy for cannabis legalization is clearly Julian Castro. Julian’s twin brother, Dem. Representative Joaquin Castro voted for the recent cuts to DEA budgets. He has taken a stance for decriminalization and disproportionate incarceration of blacks and latinos, but he needs to address the deeper issues surrounding asset forfeitures before his tenure as Mayor of San Antonio comes back to haunt him.
    These days our lives are an open book from google. Just look at Starbucks. Former Presidente Vicente Fox and a former Microsoft executive are about to open a chain of marijuana cafes in a few weeks right in Starbucks own backyard in Seattle. If you google Altria, you will find that the same corporation that owns Starbucks owns Philip Morris and half the U.S. Cigarette supply, capri sun, synthetic Kraftfoods and pretty much all the $#!+ thats bad and addictive for you. This is why Starbucks is running such a heavy P.R. Campaign offering paid tuition from the University of Arizona on line so Starbucks employees can graduate to become… Well… Starbucks employees.
    I know, I’m so cynical. But please people look at who is hiring from a University first before you go and invest in your education. Strive to work for people in a field that makes you Happy and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Any career takes significant investment and a career in cannabis could pay off well if you invest carefully. We need to legalize cannabis and spend the revenue on public education. Starbucks has the right idea, but mixing U.S. Grant money with privately subsidized education on a private learning institution will only drive tuition up, not down. And the kickbacks roll around.
    We need cannabis tax invested into the creation of FREE PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES. Yeah, I can hear the jokes; “You didn’t go to High School; You went to school HIGH!” …and sure, the Department of Agriculture will have to place caps and zones on agricultural commodities and medicines made by cannabis… (We should do that anyway). But seriously folks, think about this for a minute; Without Free Universities funded by legally taxed cannabis revenue, the cost of living will continue to rise disproportionately for the poor and middle class and a sustainable, free American society, where banks and politicians have not purchased our state and federal governments will remain a fleeting illusion to be pursued but never attained.

  40. Thinking through this topic further, I realize that Keith Stroup’s title for his post has significant meaning.

    When it is the duty of the elected to serve the public, as their job, then it is expected, that they do so, and that they do their best, after declaring to do so, during a couple of years or focused campaigning. That being the case, that what voters expect is what has been promised, with the attendant condition that they do their very best in considering the interests of the citizenry, in entirety.

    It would take a significantly remarkable act then, for a public official like the President, to offer or present a “gift,” distinct from what is his job duties entail, whether carried out for the interests of all, or for a select few who have access and influence.

    The “gift” of ending the CSA drug war, would indeed be considered a gift, a blessing, a kindness conferred, when he didn’t “have” to do so. Otherwise, that gift is better stated as a “policy correction” considering the CSA drug war is a classic example of failed public policy that has endured long enough to demonstrate that they do not care if you take drugs, they only care about catching you doing it, so they can rob and cage people.

    Considering the current state of affairs, and that Nixon’s CSA drug war is universally considered ineffective and a failure, yet persists, is proof that ‘they’ don’t want to prevent you from taking drugs, but again, to fill the private prisons when they catch you.

    The drug war doesn’t affect drug use at all, doesn’t change people’s behavior besides gaining a great mistrust and loathing of corporate-style governement. That is what ‘ineffective failure’ usually means.

    Instead, the drug war eliminates an invaluable commodity from open markets, bolsters the unique situation in the US where the system actively seeks to find or make “criminals” in order to fill profit-making prisons. Corporate and government collusion enriches few but shames us all.

    How does the drug war do this so easily when it’s *supposed to be* about the common welfare and personal safety?

    Prohibition motivates the creation of organized crime. It causes organized crime as cause-and-effect.

    If Mr. Obama did anything, besides reminisce about the choomers while also laughing off sincere questions about the disastrous effects of the drug war and the pointed prohibition of cannabis and hemp, regarding how he personally could affect change where it is needed, it would not be a gift. It would be a correction.

    This is a terrible analogy, yet pertains to another victim-less non-crime, among consenting adults, prostitution. As far as the nut-job prohibitionists seem to go in perpetuating reefer madness, myths, lies, and BS excuses to maintain the status quo. They would likely react to a policy correction as anti-prostitution interests would react. By making claims that the policy corrector acted irresponsibly, like a dereliction of duty, choosing “bad” over “good,” along with the usual personal attacks, ad hominem fallacies.

    A “gift” from Obama would be more like if the govt. *gave cannabis away to people who were of age and wanted it, no questions asked* subsidized by the USDA, instead of the tax-supported subsidies we pay now, which enrich private interests, like tobacco and meat industries.

    If it won’t made to be so accessible, beyond accessible, that they distribute it to people so easily, that it becomes like junk mail, almost unwanted or not needed because of a new, ubiquitous abundance of cannabis.

    Anything less that that is not a ‘gift’ but a *correction,* or worse, more stone-walling and dodging the issue.

  41. Besides the WOD being the oligarchy’s excuse to use the constitution for toilet paper, to spy on people, break into their homes and take their belongings, to keep the poor from voting against them and in jail to prevent revolution, to invade other countries and set up their own government, to protect their corporations from competition by MJ products, etc., etc., they do it because they are assholes that want to dominate everyone, prevent human progress and take us back to the Dark Ages and Feudalism.

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