The White House Opposes Congressional Attempts to Hinder DC Marijuana Reform

In a Statement of Administration Policy, released today, President Obama’s administration took a firm stance against recent efforts by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) to restrict the District of Columbia from using any of its funds towards reducing the penalties for, or legalizing, marijuana for recreational use.

The memo states that “the Administration strongly opposes the language in the bill preventing the District from using its own local funds to carry out locally- passed marijuana policies, which again undermines the principles of States rights and of District home rule. Furthermore, the language poses legal challenges to the Metropolitan Police Department’s enforcement of all marijuana laws currently in force in the District.”

“It is encouraging to see the White House stand up for DC’s right to pursue the reformation of their marijuana laws,” stated NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri, “Prohibition is a failed policy and we are pleased to see President Barack Obama beginning to act in accordance with the view of an overwhelming majority of Americans that states and localities should be free to pursue new approaches to marijuana, free from federal incursion.”

You can read the full text of the memo here.

You can click here to quickly and easily contact your elected officials and encourage them to oppose this amendment.

32 thoughts

  1. Finally, Obama at least does something to support marijuana reform. Though his support is mostly support of states and DC making their own decisions. I hope he actually sticks to his guns

  2. Obama is not a friend of the marijuana legalization movement. He is a coward who refuses to take action to eliminate federal laws prohibiting marijuana. Instead, in order not to totally alienate the progressives, he throws out a small bone from time to time. If Ron Paul had became president, marijuana would be legal federally by now.

    [Editor’s note: “Obama is not a friend of the marijuana legalization movement. He is a coward who refuses to take action to eliminate federal laws prohibiting marijuana.”

    Analytically speaking, this supposed statement of fact is not at all correct. What other president in US history has issued more memos allowing greater state autonomy to actually legalize cannabis? Is Obama’s presidency over?

    “If Ron Paul had became president, marijuana would be legal federally by now.”

    Dreamers can dream about what never was and never is going to be. Ron Paul never polled more than about 5% from Republicans, so he was never going to be president of the US, he was never going to get the chance to legalize cannabis.

    This president is allowing cannabis legalization to move forward, and you pine for a political loser.

    The ol’ saying in politics that ‘not everyone can be satisfied’ is indeed a truism.

    NORML is non-partisan, and one can dislike Obama and Co. for any number of political reasons, but one would have to be an ingrate or political doofus not to recognize the socio-cultural-business sea change under way in favor of mass cannabis law reform that this executive branch is shepherding (had either McCain or Romney prevailed against Obama, there very, very likely would be no medical or adult access at all to cannabis in the country as both men totally opposed any cannabis law reforms whatsoever).]

  3. Wow. Obama defends marijuana and now Democrats are supporting State’s rights? Looks like Republicans missed the marijuana wagon and got picked off the road ti November… even after their own voters warned them not too.
    Great job Mr. President! Cant help but wonder though if President Obama isnt thinking about walking the dog with the Secret Service one night for some Maui Wowy… “Yeah, uh… Michelle… I’ll be right back, baby, I’ve got to go walk the dog.”
    And we wouldn’t blame you if you did Barack.

  4. The paranoia regarding all things cannabis is beginning to fade from officialdom. This new attitude is gaining momentum…nearing the tipping point where even realistic rescheduling can occur.

  5. Thank you President Obama for doing the right thing!!! 🙂

    God Damn you would be dictators like Republican Andy Harris. Why in the hell does he think his idiotic way of thinking overrides the will of the people? And then there’s Kevin Sabet and his ilk that want to force cannabis consumers into his rehab clinics… Screw you Sabet! 99% of cannabis users only problem is people like you and Harris.

    Forgive my language but the dirtbags in office that continue to cling to the reefer madness mindset need to be thrown into the streets on their butts!

  6. [Editor’s note: “Obama is not a friend of the marijuana legalization movement. He is a coward who refuses to take action to eliminate federal laws prohibiting marijuana.”

    Analytically speaking, this supposed statement of fact is not at all correct. What other president in US history has issued more memos allowing greater state autonomy to actually legalize cannabis? Is Obama’s presidency over?

    “If Ron Paul had became president, marijuana would be legal federally by now.”

    Dreamers can dream about what never was and never is going to be. Ron Paul never polled more than about 5% from Republicans, so he was never going to be president of the US, he was never going to get the chance to legalize cannabis.

    This president is allowing cannabis legalization to move forward, and you pine for a political loser.

    The ol’ saying in politics that ‘not everyone can be satisfied’ is indeed a truism.

    NORML is non-partisan, and one can dislike Obama and Co. for any number of political reasons, but one would have to be an ingrate or political doofus not to recognize the socio-cultural-business sea change under way in favor of mass cannabis law reform that this executive branch is shepherding (had either McCain or Romney prevailed against Obama, there very, very likely would be no medical or adult access at all to cannabis in the country as both men totally opposed any cannabis law reforms whatsoever).]
    – See more at: http://blog.norml.org/2014/07/14/the-white-house-opposes-congressional-attempts-to-hinder-dc-marijuana-reform/#sthash.4KpcFhlz.dpuf

    Though I agree in part, memos are not laws and will not protect us in the future. We need laws.

    [Editor’s note: Who passes federal laws? The Congress or the president? Want laws? Does your elected member of Congress and both senators support cannabis legalization? Citizens who want cannabis legalized should actively be lobbying their elected reps to pass reform legislation and not look for executive fiat to provide one’s freedom and liberty.]

  7. Wow!!! great response Norml!!! It’s so hard to understand why anyone would vote for Republicans ever again. They are so against the movement of marijuana reform!!! They are obviously against us being totally free. There are some really stupid brainwashed idiots out there that vote Republican.If people would throw the sourgrape Republicans out of office this next election, we would really see our country make some more major gains, lets do away with drug testing for the common man and sue the bastards that forced drug testing on us in the first place. and you’ll see our country’s economy explode,nobody wants to take a drug test!!! screw you assholes…Put a mainstream Republican for president in there next time and they’ll be calling out the National guard in Colorado and Washington state to overturn states rights when it comes to marijuana legalization.

  8. The Left wants to restrict guns severely. The Right wants to restrict drugs severely. I guess neither side ever read the US Constitution and is in favor of liberty for ALL and allowing for the pursuit of happiness by the individual.

    Obama could have used his executive powers to move the legalization agenda along but he hasn’t. Cowlardly? Stupid? Leftist or centrist oppressor? Who knows, maybe all of the above…LOL!

  9. Editor,

    The problem is that the marijuana movement has been plagued by prohibitionists for so long that when someone throws them a scrap or bone they treat it like a special treat. The truth is that other than not interferring with states trying to legalize or decriminilize marijuana, he has taken zero direct action on his own. Prohibition is a nightmare that trashes the constituition, breaks up families, ruins lives, inflicts pain on the suffering, and kills. Any politician that cared about the citizens of this nation and their freedoms would stand up and actively demand marijuana to be taken off the controlled substance list. They would be visiting compassionate care centers, trying to educate the public, and would be proposing huge changes. Ron Paul was willing to do this if he had became president, but an alliance of Republican and Democrat prohibitionists tried to portray him as a kooky old man. They were terrified of his message of liberty.

    When it comes to marijuana legalization, I don’t care who the action comes from – Republican, Democrat, Progressive, Green, or Communist. But I also condemn any politician who does not actively and boldly object to cannabis prohibition. Obama is like other politicians who probably realize, to some degree, marijuana prohibition is a mistake. But due to their greater desire to stay popular, stay in favor with their party, and not tarnish their reputation they quitely do little to oppose the evil of the drug war.

    Your right. If any Republican other than Ron Paul had won no state would have been allowed to legalize. However, that was one reason why I didn’t vote – almost all politicians are cowards who put their career first before doing the right thing.

    When Obama has the courage to admit openly that marijuana should be legalized, instead of beating around the bush, and starts taking action himself by pardoning nonviolent pot smokers, I’ll change my mind.

    I will admit, however, a bone is better than nothing. But a slave living on scraps is still a slave.

    [Editor’s note: If one wants to attempt to be a political purist regarding reforming cannabis law reforms, then the slog will be even more arduous than it has been for five decades. Would it be preferable to have executive orders as compared to memos? Of course. However, executive orders very possibly set up political liabilities for national Democrats who’re saddled by Republicans that ‘they’re pro-drug, anti-family’…and Obama is very likely more concerned that Democrats remain in power where possible than any possible legacy regarding cannabis.

    If barely at all appreciative of the AMAZING degree for which Obama/Holder have taken the federal foot off the criminal justice system, who are the overly jaded left with to effect substantive law reform? House of Representatives? Senate? US Sup Ct.?

    535 members of Congress and 9 members of SCOTUS…and a tiny fraction of them support legalization of cannabis.

    If the country goes hard right in 2016 (President Mike Pence? President Rob Portman?), many who’ve lamented Obama on this pro-reform webpage (“he is a coward”) regarding his ‘legalization-by-memo’ policies will be fantasizing about this period of time after an all too foolish and brutal federal government wrongly tries to jam the ganja genie back in the prohibition bottle.]

  10. Will Rep. Harris and other politicians heed Barry’s advice?

    Let’s say DC does legalize adult recreational their way, then is that the clarion call for Congress to act in its official capacity and enact a law that keeps the feds from interfering in cannabis states? Is it the impetus to removing cannabis from Schedule I?

    Since this guy is a Republican I’m going to figure he’s not going to listen to Obama. If he’s the only guy backing this kind of restrictive legislation, let’s hope, then DC has nothing to worry about, but if he gets other politicians to pile on, then they can hold up its implementation like Bob Barr arranged for before.

    [Editor’s note: If (more like when at the 60% or higher) DC voters approve the zero fine/home cultivation initiative it will not likely lead to Congress finally rescheduling, and there are some Democrats in Congress who claim they’re uneasy with the initiative, meaning that Congress will likely give the initiative post voter approval a good going over, with some Republicans undoubtedly opposing it out of the gate.]

  11. I want to thank the NORML editors for educating a few posters on this subject, specifically Obama’s actions in relation to Congress’s. As the editor correctly pointed out, it is Congress who makes laws in this country, and the Pres who rejects or signs them into law.

    One might suppose, after reading the above article, that there would be a litany of comments on the GOP’s attempt at obstruction. But instead, we’re subjected to the same tired attacks on the Pres: he’s not doing enough, if he really cared, etc etc etc. It’s nauseating.

    We’re constantly hearing, from many of these same types of posters, that we should support those politicos who advance our cause, and “throw out” those who don’t. Yet, I cannot help but get the feeling that this is often just rhetoric, that these same posters would gladly vote for a prohibitionist if he’s in the “right” party (tho of course not admit it on these boards). The attacks by said posters on a President who is allowing legalization to take place only confirms my suspicion.

    Now and then I warn people, be careful what you wish for. To those who so readily attack Obama for “not doing enough,” and chomp at the bit for his exit, I say be careful what you wish for: we may just get a Republican in the White House who will wage a full-scale war on legalization. In that instance, I assure you, there won’t be any waffling on the matter, or baby steps. It’ll be back to square one.

  12. Guys, perhaps Norml knows of what they speak regarding growing Marijuana. They say people are less interested in pass marijuana legalization laws if the laws include grow your own.

    Now Norml, I really do want you to understand: Gardening, even of marijuana, is a fantastic way to get people interested in the more positive aspects of life. For people that have emotional issues, it shows them long term plans can work when you invest in developing the required knowledge and skills.

    You guys, who have all the experience dealing politicians and the public, need work on changing marijuana growing from looking like a public threat; to looking like a way to help folks that are otherwise a burden on society better themselves.

    Home growing might not be polling so good, but what happens when you include reasonable regulations regarding home growing? Safe lighting and electrical systems, only a personal number of plants? No access by neighborhood children?

  13. There is nothing libertarian about about these proposals, just normal American Values. You know, those things our main parties forgot about?

  14. @Evening bud,
    This is exactly why we need to allocate revenue from taxed and regulated marijuana on education. How about Cannabis-funded public Universities? Hell, just telling the history of cannabis prohibition is enough to educate people on how the government works.
    Here’s conundrum ive never understood NORML; was it ever legal, much less constitutional for Congress to give legislative authority to write U.S. drug policy to the DEA, an executive agency, in the first place?
    While Obama could create an executive order to deschedule all drugs, it is the job of Congress to write our policies… (although we know lobbyists and hat-switching CEOs do THAT). I think President Obama is rather crafty in the way he sets up a trap for Congress with “memos” to the DOJ and what do Republican lawmakers do? Walk RIGHT in, every time.
    Now Democrats have a platform on state’s rights. If all that Republicans have left to defend what the House is voting on for D.C. is “abortion and marijuana” in the same sentence, I dare say they not only lost their chances in the Senate, they better hold in to their seats.
    @NORML: What happened to the DEA cuts in the Senate?

  15. @ Julian,

    I like that idea–using money from MJ taxes on education. Cannabis-funded University? Where do I enroll?

  16. Thanks Erik,
    Great job responding to questions and comments.
    @Cup, Ron Paul had me with “abolish the DEA.” He stood up in front of an applauding crowd chanting “No more Drug War” and “Go away DEA,” in Austin… and then… yelled, “…And let’s abolish the Department of Education!” to which the crowd responded, “Yea(record scratch)WTF?”
    And what, pray tell, do thousands of school children do when they cant afford a private education? Just wander around in the streets spreading diseases? Sounds like a health crisis to me.
    Point is, you gotta look at the whole tomato, and vote where it counts most. America does not exist in the archaic extremes our purchased politicians potray us to be.
    The DEA could operate more like Customs, but without the C.S.Act., asset forfeitures, executive privelige and the human rights abuse.
    We’ll never improve our national security by resorting to political extremes or the socioeconomic violence and instability of prohibition. When we provide justice to one person, we provide justice to all, no matter how rich or poor we are, what color of our flesh or religious denomination.
    Taxing and regulating marijuana is about balancing and healing our society with nutritious, spiritual food… Otherwise known as cannabis. In the words of Robert Nesta Marley,
    “What is the point if being physically strong if we are not strong spiritually?”

  17. Ill have to agree that i could care less what side of the political street reform comes from. While more and more pepole support reform ( even pepole who have never smoked in thier life.) There are still plenty of areas in the country where it is strongly opposed. Wakeing up tomorrow in alabama to see your nieghbor puffing a doob (In Alabama, marijuana for “personal use only” is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum sentence of 1 year and a maximum fine of $6,000.) might send some might be too much for some. Marijuana has been a social taboo for far too long encrusted with lies and urban legengs of gateway use and who knows what. We face more than changeing laws, we have to erradicate almost a century of lies! But we cant be mad at our elected officals , not only did we put them in office we kept them there! the editor is right , if you want reform start asking your elected officals if they belive the lies they sell!

  18. Jim, you are right about the elected officials. But our government has a unique quality. It has three branched which are supposed to double check each other’s work in different ways that were engineered toward finding solutions to laws that aren’t quite legal under the Constitution.

    So while the Legislature can pass bullshit laws, our courts the Judicial Branch are supposed to test and check the laws for illegal sections and also make sure the police are not using illegal enforcement methods even for laws that are legitimate.

    If the Judicial Branch took their jobs seriously, this War on Marijuana would have ending years ago. As long as the courts keep rubber stamping these bullshit laws, the government is effectively the enemy. They play dirty and we don’t ever get a real test of these stupid laws. Judges block, “The whole truth and nothing but the truth” from ever entering their court rooms. So yeah, fuck them. They deserve being looked down on for letting this endless abuse continue in America.

  19. I don’t understand. If Obama is trying to help by taking a hands off approach, and he alone is responsible for the scheduling of drugs, then why cant he just reschedule marijuana to a lesser number? Seem that in it’s self would spur more of a discussion in congress than anything ells. It is the president,(who ever he is)to place what go’s where on the schedule. So I thought.

  20. prohibition feeds crime … stripping away rights will only hold the people for so long… “history is written or unwritten by the victors” time to stand up and say with your fists in air “I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkUl-zn27ps

  21. @ Mike: I hope Norml will have a conference meeting or telephone conversation with President Barry Obama and reschedule the Herb before the year is through…”

    concerning your “stage four lung cancer Mike; I found out how the Cannabinoid receptors prevent and treat cancer; the Cannabinoid receptors are in the IMMUNE SYSTEM so The MMJ “actives the Immune System”! make the Marijuana Tea drink daily!!

  22. “The elements in the Marijuana Herb are essential nutrients required for optimal health; Cannabinoid Receptors are similar to Calcium receptors and Vitamin D receptors; this is why MJ is beneficial for the health.
    Marijuana leaves have “Chlorophyll and Flavonoids; MJ could be called “a Nutrient”.
    Nutrients can be controlled by the FDA alone!

  23. To Mike: Hemp Seeds are the ONLY KNOWN SOURCE of an Essential Protein called Edestin which our systems make from other proteins; or one can get from “Hemp Seeds”
    Why would Nature create Edestin Hemp seeds ?
    To beneficially supplement our health !!

    @ Mike you can buy Hemp Seed Milk and Oil. (I would surmise the Milk has more Edestin).
    from Hemp World:

    Hemp protein contains all of the 20 known amino acids — including 9 essential amino acids (EAAs). These amino acids are labeled “essential” because the human body can’t produce them on its own. A diet that is deficient of EAAs may lead to degenerative conditions such as…

    Hemp is second only to soy in protein content, but when hemp protein is compared to soy protein it should be noted that hemp does not contain trypsin inhibitors that soy does.

    Protein are compounds made of chains of amino acids that form the structure for various body functions including enzymes, antibodies, hemoglobin, hormones, and structural components of tissue for growth and maintenance. Hemp seed is composed of two primary types of protein: Edestin (65%) and Albumin (35%).

    Edestin protein

    Edestin protein is found only in hemp seed. Edestin aids digestion and is relatively phosphorus free. Edestin protein is considered the backbone of the cell’s DNA.

    Edestin protein is similar to the human body’s own globular proteins found in blood plasma. Edestin protein produces antibodies which are vital to maintain a healthy immune system.

    Since edestin protein closely resembles the globulin in blood plasma, its compatible with the human digestive system. This may be the reason why there are no reported food allergies to hemp foods.

    Hemp protein contains a favorable amount of glutamic acid. Glutamic acid is a neurotransmitter that helps people deal with psychological and work related stress.

    Albumin protein

    Albumin protein is another high quality globulin protein and is similar to that found in egg whites. Albumin is highly digestible and is a major source of free radical scavengers. Albumin is the current industry standard for protein evaluation.

    Digestion transforms hemp protein into amino acids which are the basic building blocks required for the growth and maintenance of body tissue.

    Hemp protein contains all of the 20 known amino acids — including 9 essential amino acids (EAAs). These amino acids are labeled “essential” because the human body can’t produce them on its own. A diet that is deficient of EAAs may lead to degenerative conditions such as…

    Hemp is second only to soy in protein content, but when hemp protein is compared to soy protein it should be noted that hemp does not contain trypsin inhibitors that soy does. Trypsin is an enzyme that is essential to nutrition. Since hemp protein is free of the tryosin inhibitor that are found in soy protein, hemp is the de facto king of plant protein!

    In addition, hemp protein is also free of oligosaccharides that are found in soy protein. Keep in mind that since soy is a legume, a bean, its oligosaccharide content can lead to unpleasant stomach upset and gas.

    Whey protein is a popular alternative to soy protein, but it too has disadvantages when compared to hemp protein. Massive consumption of whey protein, by bodybuilders for example, leads to a health condition called intestinal toxemia. The end result is a decrease in muscle gains as it severely damages the ability for the body to maintain an anabolic state. Many bodybuilders who use whey protein experience undesirable weight gain, but its in the form of a toxic sludge in their gut. This blockage reduces the ability for protein to be absorbed by the body.

    One way to restore the intestinal track is to eat a high fiber, plant protein diet to achieve an optimal body pH level. This will restore the body from an acidic to an alkaline state which is anabolic in nature.

    Most soy protein is processed with solvent extraction. The solvents commonly used are hexane, which is similar in structure to gasoline! Aside from the use of solvents, soy is not cold pressed for its oil as hemp is. The high heat used to process soy destroys the enzyme functions of the protein. In other words, the protein is essentially “dead.” It has lost its electrical charge.

    Electrically charged means that the amino acids carry a negative charge. This negative charge is what allows the amino acid to cross the intestinal barrier. So what does this mean? It’s what allows your body to uptake nutrients into your bloodstream as the amino acids are the building blocks that are necessary for your body to function. To maintain health, build cell tissue — including muscle — and to fight off diseases, etc.

    Disclaimer

    Global Hemp, Inc makes no implied or express warranty regarding use of this guide; it should not be relied on in providing, or in lieu of seeking professional, nursing or medical advice, assistance or care.

    About the Author

    Eric Pollitt is the founder of Global Hemp Inc and has been actively involved in research and educating the masses since 1996.

  24. Hemp world writes:

    Edestin protein is found only in hemp seed.

    my comment: “does anyone find that unusual?
    the only known source of an essential protein name Edestin is from HEMP SEEDS ?

    The word Edstin is from Latin for “edible” !
    Man has known for Centuries Hemp is edible!

    Why does the gov have a war about food crops?

  25. correction source: Global Hemp Inc: Edestin protein is found only in hemp seed…

    ps Whole Foods sells Hemp Seed Oil + Milks;
    amazing we can import Hemp but not grow hemp!
    Hip Hop Hemp…buy online @ Manitoba Harvest!

  26. Hey Norml thanks for printing all of my posts
    this proves to me you are truly legit !
    my comment:
    So what is the reason gov. goes after Hemp ?
    Because the Gov. thinks Hemp looks like MJ and people will plant MJ amongst Hemp leaves; so folks do not know Hemp is a food
    an oil; a fiber a milk; a protein; cloth etc.

    Folks do not know this Good News because Gov. has prevented “research on Hemp & MMJ”!

    folks do not know Hemp Seeds are “edible!*
    Hemp Seed Butter is “awesome”; hard to find;
    I would like to try Marijuana Seed Butter !
    I already use Almond; Peanut and Sunflower seed butters; Sesame seed butter is excellent
    You can get false MJ test with Sesame seeds !
    Marinol is in a “sesame seed oil Capsule !!

    Hemp Seeds are 40% Oil by weight. ps*imagine all the children who could be fed with Hemp Seed Butter as a daily staple ?(mixed with honey) much cheaper than Peanut meal and Oil!

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