Some Hopeful Cracks in the Wall of Federal Prohibition

The last few weeks have brought a number of policy announcements from the Obama administration — incremental changes, admittedly, but positive steps nonetheless — that appear to set the stage for a more realistic federal marijuana policy looking forward. Once again we are reminded of the important role of the current administration in the gradual ending of “reefer madness” as the guiding principle of our federal marijuana policy.

To read the balance of this column, please go to

14 thoughts

  1. Now all that’s needed is for the DOJ to do its sworn duty under Title 21 (subchapter 1) and move to re-schedule. In fact, Colorado should sue the DOJ for not doing what that law requires.

  2. Anybody need some change? A link to the list of executive orders Obama has made to help legalize marijuana and reduce prison populations us listed on the DPA website. With the amount of spending saved by this President on nonviolent offenders and marijuana consumers, I believe Obama is well on his way to balancing the budget. Pay attention Boehner and Ted Cruz; You might learn something.

  3. Regarding United States v. Pickard, et. al., No. 2:11-CR-0449-KJM, if Judge Mueller’s decision declares cannabis in Schedule I as unconstitutional then that should be the green light The Federal Reserve Bank uses to grant Fourth Corner a master account. This should occur in the interim time before any appeal is taken up by the next higher instance. If Barry can get his budget passed with the word federal in it then D.C. can spend it’s own money to move forward with legalization, and the hearing to do so will not be illegal. Once it’s passed and with that language, D.C. hold the hearing without threat of its politicians and city workers being faced with prosecution. Fourth Corner can expand, perhaps into other states, and other states could copy Colorado’s then successful Fourth Corner way of legalizing cannabis banking. Other states ought to see this as a major way to get quick jobs and revenues by legalizing cannabis, and more states ought to jump on the cannabis legalization money train. Choo! Choo! Choom!

    See more about the case at:

    See more about Fourth Corner at:

    See more about D.C. Council cancelling its hearing to tax and regulate cannabis at:

  4. The truth of the matter, as most of us who are being honest with ourselves, know, is that we still have a tough slog ahead. The idea that Obama can just wave away all the MJ prohibition, is, as this article points, not as easy as it seems. It’s one thing to push an idea or legislation, and quite another to be successful.

    Obama has moved slowly on many of the various fronts of the “war on drugs,” painfully slow in the views of many of us. But, again, as this article shows us, at least he is moving in the RIGHT DIRECTION, and has, with his actions, helped set up the stage for even greater future victories.

    My hat goes off to him. We now have four states where you can buy pot legally! Would we be saying this had McCain or Romney been prexy? I doubt it. We’d probably instead be reading articles about the latest recreational clinic closures in Denver and Seattle.

  5. Before we bestow to much praise on Obama, I would recommend that everyone go to ENCOD’s webpage and read their breakdown of Obama’s proposed budjet.

  6. “neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the standards for safe and effective medicine for any condition to date.”

    The CSA does not specify under what standard “medicinal” should be measured. I think that this is important. While the DEA dances around the FDA, and then in turn denies researchers access to cannabis no where in the CSA does it specify that the FDA must approve a drug in order for it to not meet criteria for Schedule I, only that it has “recognized medicinal uses”.

    The very fact that doctors recommend cannabis in a majority of states should meet this criteria, and this regardless of FDA approval.

  7. If the retracted “backshed” statements by the newly appointed surgeon general and attorney general are not enough evidence that our leaders are being harassed and entrapped by the dark side of our government… Fueled by the C.S.Act and generations of Manufactured Fear, then our own fear is all that stands in the way of Freedom. But then as Yoda says, “Fear feeds hate… Which leads to the Dark Side of the Force.” So be very brave, new leaders… Be very brave…

  8. Raven says:
    February 9, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Before we bestow to much praise on Obama, I would recommend that everyone go to ENCOD’s webpage and read their breakdown of Obama’s proposed budjet.

    What is this ENCOD of which you speak? Got a link?

  9. @Shawn

    Right on the money with this point:
    [Nowhere] in the CSA does it specify that the FDA must approve a drug in order for it to not meet criteria for Schedule I.

    It may have been mentioned already multiple times, but if the FDA EVER did put cannabis to some sort of test, such as if Big Pharma wanted to market a synthetically made cannabis compound tincture such is currently made with Charlotte’s Web or something, the empirical results would indicate at the least that cannabis does NOT belong in Schedule I.

    The plant must NOT be in any kind of prohibitive schedule. Pharmaceutical compounds can be put in a schedule, synthetic concentrates can go in a schedule.

    Volkow isn’t sticking her neck out, I read. So has she done any research on cannabis at all, like anything positive or pro-cannabis such as figuring out why and how cannabis helps kidz with seizures? Volkow = apparatchik.

  10. Witnessing the fall of the cannabis prohibition wall has me smiling like a teenager with a love interest. It would be nice to see a state AG sue the DOJ for not doing the job. Can the american people sue their legislatures for not doing theirs? Corruption, graft, and disinformation is their norm to communicate to their voting public just how stupid they are for believing what is being repeated by people in authority.

  11. It’s crazy, take a look at this.
    We petition President Obama to grant the Petition for Commutation of Sentence filed with the U.S. Attorney General on behalf of Matt Davies who is serving a 5-year sentence in a federal prison. Matt was a California medical marijuana dispensary owner that was convicted of possession, cultivation and sales of medical marijuana that is illegal under federal law but legal under California law. They need 100K signatures in March. Please help!

  12. Obama has done zero to protect any of these supposed “changes” he’s been touted for. The next administration could undo it all, and the next year will prove once and for all his level of courage. He deserves zero credit for any of these changes; he’d have laughed everything off for 8 years if We, the People, didn’t make so much noise about Prohibition.

    [Editor’s note: Analytically speaking, you could not be more incorrect. If there were a president McCain or Romney, they’d be no state autonomy on cannabis policies. Should Obama/Holder have committed more of the profound changes they’ve allowed to happen on their watch to executive orders, or better, got behind reform legislation? Absolutely. Could he insist that people who work for his administration be supportive–not oppositional, like the current heads of the DEA or NIDA are? Absolutely. Does Obama still have time to effect major reforms? Absolutely.

    Are the cannabis law reforms Obama has initiated politically ephemeral? Absolutely.

    How can reformers help assure that these reforms don’t pass with the end of Obama’s presidency? Identify and support presidential candidates who support cannabis law reform. In 2016, regardless of who runs for president, 4-5 states will have legalization ballot questions, including the nation’s most populous state, California. If CA voters choose to chuck cannabis prohibition–joining states like AK, CO, OR, etc…–even a anti-cannabis president from either major political party will likely face the impossible task of trying to put the pro-cannabis law reform genie back in the bottle.]

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