Did Obama Really Say He'd Respect State Medical Marijuana Laws? Yes

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By Scott Morgan

Fred Gardner at Counterpunch thinks I'm "way wrong" about medical marijuana politics under the Obama Administration:

Drug-policy-reform advocates are complaining bitterly that they have been double-crossed by Barack Obama. "What's Behind the Obama Administration's About Face Regarding Medical Marijuana?" asked Paul Armentano of NORML in the Huffington Post May 5.

"Obama's Sudden, Senseless Assault on Medical Marijuana," was the headline on a piece by Scott Morgan, associate editor of Stopthedrugwar.org. According to Morgan, "Recent months have brought about what can only be described as the rapid collapse of the Obama Administration's support for medical marijuana."

This is way wrong. There is nothing "sudden" or unprecedented about the DEA raids and other oppressive measures emanating from the Department of Justice. And neither Obama nor the DOJ ever expressed unambiguous support for medical marijuana. It was the reform honchos themselves who misread and misrepresented Administration policy.

So apparently, I misread statements like "I will not be using justice department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue," to mean that the President was saying he would not be using justice department resources to circumvent...well you get the point.

If Obama and Holder never intended for anyone to think they would respect state medical marijuana laws, then they said a series of really stupid things to the media. Yes, I'm as aware as anyone else of the vague language in the Holder Memo and the fact that many raids occurred prior to the recent escalation, but for reasons I would have thought obvious, those facts should hardly be held to immunize the President from the accusation that he broke a campaign promise.

This administration went to great lengths to convince the American public that interference with state medical marijuana laws would no longer be a priority at the Dept. of Justice. That is the standard by which they must will be judged.

Artilcle From StoptheDrugWar.org --- Creative Commons Licensing

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