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November 1, 2011

"Marijuana: An Answer From The White House"

The title of this post is the headline of this interesting new entry at the WSJ Law Blog.  Here are excerpts:

So, the legalize-marijuana crowd finally got a thoughtful answer from the White House — but not one it wanted.

After being ignored or quickly dismissed on multiple occasions, Americans who want to see marijuana legalized found a way to get the White House to take their question seriously. The White House “We the People” project lets anyone submit a petition requesting government action. If the petition gets enough signatures, the White House promises a policy response.

A petition calling for legalization and regulation of marijuana “in a matter similar to alcohol” quickly vaulted into the top position, receiving nearly 75,000 signatures. Four others making similar requests were in the top 10. A total of eight marijuana-related petitions each received more than 5,000 signatures. It turns out that the White House still does not support pot legalization....

Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, offered the official White House response on marijuana, saying the administration does not support legalization. He said that research finds that marijuana is associated with addiction, respiratory disease and cognitive impairment and that pot is ever more potent, possibly affecting still-developing brains of people in their 20s. He went on to say that the White House drug control strategy is “balanced and comprehensive, emphasizing prevention and treatment” and “innovative law enforcement.”

Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML, which advocates for marijuana legalization and which organized at least one of these petitions, said he was not surprised by the response but said it’s “hard not to be disappointed that the White House solicits–consistently–the views of the general public about specific policy changes via the Internet, and with the same consistency completely rejects the public’s ever-growing wont to see Cannabis Prohibition end in our lifetimes.”

Sadly, from my perspective, I expect this is one (and only?) policy and statement coming from the Obama White House that will be immune from criticism by most of the GOP candidates (save Gary Johnson, perhaps) eager to be the next resident of the White House.

November 1, 2011 at 10:31 AM | Permalink

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Comments

"He went on to say that the White House drug control strategy is 'balanced and comprehensive, emphasizing prevention and treatment' and 'innovative law enforcement.'"

This man is living in a fantasy world.

Posted by: C.E. | Nov 1, 2011 10:42:40 AM

"He said that research finds that marijuana is associated with addiction, respiratory disease and cognitive impairment and that pot is ever more potent, possibly affecting still-developing brains of people in their 20s."

There's that word, "association", again. At least he's honest enough not to claim that marijuana "causes" these things. But while we're talking about associations, what are some of the things that alcohol is associated with? What are some of the things that tobacco is associated with? How about refined sugar, red meat, and trans fats? Is Mr. Kerlikowske in favor of a regime of prohibition of these things as well, or does he feel that free people should be able to make informed choices about whether or not to use them?

Here's some things that prohibition is associated with: Corruption. Beheadings. Illegal arms trafficking. Virtual civil war in northern Mexico. Hundreds of thousands of arrests and incarcerations in the U.S. each year. The destruction of families. The loss of confidence in the U.S. justice system. The destruction of the Fourth Amendment.

But apparently those are all worth preventing marijuana's "association" with problems that might or might not happen to the people who choose to expose themselves to marijuana.

Posted by: C.E. | Nov 1, 2011 11:02:28 AM

An obvious point, maybe, but that description of pot seems equally or more applicable to alcohol. (In fact, almost certainly more, because, for example, while the evidence of addiction to marijuana is pretty ambiguous, the evidence of rampant alcohol addiction is inescapable.)

What I want them to explain is why they seem to have reversed course and prioritized raids/enforcement against the State-law-authorized sellers.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 1, 2011 2:45:29 PM

The War on Drugs failed $1 Trillion ago! This money could have been used for outreach programs to clean up the bad end of drug abuse by providing free HIV testing, free rehab, and clean needles. Harmless drugs like marijuana could be legalized to help boost our damaged economy. Cannabis can provide hemp for countless natural recourses and the tax revenue from sales alone would pull every state in our country out of the red! Vote Teapot, PASS IT, and legalize it. Voice you opinion with the movement and read more on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/01/vote-teapot-2011.html

Posted by: Brandt | Nov 2, 2011 2:38:28 PM

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