Friday, February 6, 2009

Pot Users Lose High After Obama Administration Continues Medical Pot Raids

Pot users were enthusiastic when Obama signaled during the Democratic primaries that he disfavored criminalization of medical marijuana and that he would not use federal drug laws to go after users and suppliers of pot for medicinal purposes. But now that the Drug Enforcement Agency has raided several medical pot centers in California, pro-pot activists are smoking. Several protestors gathered in Los Angeles earlier this week and urged Obama to follow through with his campaign promises.

White House spokesperson Nick Shapiro signaled a potentially new direction in federal drug enforcement policy, once Obama finishes appointing new personnel to the DEA:

The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent
state laws, and as he continues to appoint senior leadership to fill out the
ranks of the federal government, he expects them to review their policies with
that in mind. . . .
Critics, however, argue that Holder, whom the Senate has already confirmed, could stop the raids. But I think that medical pot advocates should also read the fine print. Shapiro stated that Obama would appoint people whom he "expects" to "review" existing policy. Furthermore, even if he does not want to "circumvent state laws" on the subject, federal law prohibits the possession and distribution of marijuana, and the Supreme Court has ruled that the government could apply those restrictions against medical pot usage as well (and liberals dominated the majority decision). Furthermore, during the Democratic primaries, Obama told the Mail Tribune that:

As for medical marijuana . . . I think the basic concept of using medical
marijuana for the same purposes and with the same controls as other drugs
prescribed by doctors, I think that's entirely appropriate. I'm not going to be
using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this
But marijuana does not have the "same controls as other drugs" because the FDA has not approved it, and the U.S. government has argued that medical marijuana is often used for recreational purpose (what a shocker) and not for treating actual medical conditions. I suspect that Obama will, at most, quietly deemphasize the enforcement of drug policy against medical pot distributors and users. He probably will not seek changes to federal drug legislation or issue an executive order on the subject, however, which would leave persons in possession of pot vulnerable to federal criminal charges.

Related Readings on Dissenting Justice:

Doctor, Pass the Bong! States Continue to Consider Medical Pot Laws Despite Federal Ban

Michigan, Massachusetts and Marijuana


Ben Masel said...

Cannabis is arguable exempt from FDA contols, as it's grandfathered in, like aspirin. The Pure Food and Drug Act exempted preparations listed in the 1931 Pharmacopeia of the United States.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Hmmmm.....since federal law and the laws of most states criminal marijuana possession, I imagine there's a looming exception to the "grandfather" clause. Perhaps I'll run this by my colleague who's an FDA scholar.

Don Piano said...

And people die from asprin.
Funny to see PCP on a schedule 2 listing, considering it safer than cannabis, a schedule 1 drug.
It is true, that more people die from FOOD than cannabis. It really is time to make a CHANGE, and let the states regulate what they deem appropriate for the welfare of their individual states and what their constituients vote for and believe in.
No medical value? How long is this lie going to be held as truth in our federal govenment? It is time for everyone to stand up for what they believe in and let their government officials know where they stand on this issue. A government designed by the people, for the people, should let the people of the United States take a majority vote on this issue, to see where it really stands.
Allow the research. Science will make it's proof (as if it has not already), and that is what officials fear. Where will their payoffs come from? And where the hell will they get their pot?

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