As many of you have heard by now, Jimmy Kimmel called Obama out on marijuana at the 2012 White House Correspondents’ Dinner last night. Kimmel asked, “What is with the marijuana crackdown? Seriously, what is the concern? We will deplete the nation's Funyun supply? Pot smokers vote too. Sometimes a week after the election, but they vote."
Kimmel's comments were funny, and of course it's always good to see celebs bringing attention to the movement, but what happened off stage is tremendous news for the medical marijuana movement.
Last Thursday, I reported on Obama's response to a question during a Rolling Stone interview on why his administration is cracking down on medical marijuana. Here is what he said:
"I can't nullify congressional law. I can't ask the Justice Department to say, 'Ignore completely a federal law that's on the books.' What I can say is, 'Use your prosecutorial discretion and properly prioritize your resources to go after things that are really doing folks damage.' As a consequence, there haven't been prosecutions of users of marijuana for medical purposes."
The Huffington Post reported a comment by Attorney General Holder that everyone who supports medical marijuana needs to hear:
"Attorney General Eric Holder was a guest of The Huffington Post at the correspondents' dinner. Before it began, a HuffPost reporter noted to Holder that Obama's reference to "congressional law" was misleading because the executive branch could simply remove marijuana from its "schedule one" designation, thereby recognizing its medical use. "That's right," Holder said. After Kimmel's speech, a Holder deputy told HuffPost that there was no coordinated war on medical marijuana, but that some individual clinics were breaking both state and federal laws."
Did I read that correctly? Did our Attorney General admit that Obama could stop the war raging over medical marijuana at any moment, and that Obama's comments to the contrary in Rolling Stone were misleading? Folks, the time is now to demand that President Obama immediately direct Attorney General Eric Holder to reclassify cannabis, or that Attorney General Holder do it himself as the Controlled Substance Act allows. All of the excuses about the FDA, Congress, and the Institute of Medicine are smokescreens. Obama or Holder could end the war on medical marijuana at any moment. We're talking about an action that over 70 percent of Americans support. What are you two waiting for? Just push the button already. AG Holder: roll yourself a fatty, walk into the Oval Office, light that sucker, pass it to Obama and ask him,"Are you in?"
Here is an excerpt from Section 811 of The Controlled Substance Act where the Attorney General's authority to reclassify or remove drugs under the CSA is defined:
Section 811. Authority and Criteria for Classification of Substances
(a) Rules and regulations of Attorney General; hearing
The Attorney General shall apply the provisions of this subchapter to the controlled substances listed in the schedules established by section 812 of this title and to any other drug or other substance added to such schedules under this subchapter. Except as provided in subsections (d) and (e) of this section, the Attorney General may by rule--
(1) add to such a schedule or transfer between such schedules any drug or other substance if he--
(A) finds that such drug or other substance has a potential for abuse, and
(B) makes with respect to such drug or other substance the findings prescribed by
subsection (b) of section 812 of this title for the schedule in which such drug is to be placed; or
(2) remove any drug or other substance from the schedules if he finds that the drug or other substance does not meet the requirements for inclusion in any schedule.