Will marijuana legalization be Obama’s legacy?

posted at 10:41 am on January 21, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Do we see a pattern emerging? First, a long-time social taboo becomes much more mainstream. The President spends years opposing its normalization, then as states start acting on their own, he tries to jump out ahead of it by slowly embracing the shift in public opinion. That worked for Barack Obama on same-sex marriage, and it’s beginning to look like the same strategy is in play for marijuana legalization:

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President Barack Obama says smoking pot isn’t “more dangerous” than drinking alcohol.

“As has been well-documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life,” Obama said in a lengthy profile in the current issue of the New Yorker magazine. “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”

Pressed by author David Remnick on the comparison, Obama said he thinks marijuana is less dangerous “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.”  But he added, “it’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.”

Obama also told Remnick that he is troubled that “middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do. And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.”

That tends to be true, and also fits nicely within his narrative for 2014: inequality. There are other good reasons to support legalization, among them the increasingly ridiculous resources spent fighting an intoxicant not too different from the legal variety, the corrosive effect that has on civil rights, and the money spent on fighting this arm of the War on Drugs.

Nick Gillespie believes that Obama has one last chance to establish his legacy as the Commander in Choom Chief through marijuana legalization:

But there’s one thing left Obama could do to finally become the change he wanted to be: declare a swift and honorable peace in the decades-long war on pot. The drug war in toto has been a long-running and ineffective disaster that disrespects individual autonomy, corrupts law enforcement, and undermines the rule of law. By ending the war on pot, he would be remembered as a true visionary. …

If Obama announced that he was de-prioritizing the federal government’s war on pot—not even on all drugs, but just marijuana—he would almost certainly be joined by a growing number of libertarian Republicans who think drug policy is a state-level issue. Indeed, if Obama framed the issue explicitly in federalist terms, he could likely count on the support of characters such as Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan.

As important, he wouldn’t need congressional buy-in to get this party started. It’s fully within the president’s power—power that he has happily exceeded when it comes to waging wars overseas and delaying aspects of Obamacare—to start the process to reclassify pot from a Schedule I drug to something more credible (a Schedule I drug is deemed to have a high potential for abuse, no known or accepted use as medicine, and no reliable safe dose). That alone would kickstart a long overdue national conversation about the costs and benefits of prohibition.

If Obama really thinks pot is no more dangerous than alcohol and that the war on pot systematically screws over minorities, why should he have any hesitation in liberalizing the federal policies over which he has control? And using the bully pulpit to push for broader legislative change at the federal and state level? What is he waiting for, a third term?

The quick answer to Nick’s central question is that it appears now that Obama doesn’t have any hesitation. He’s just going to roll it out slowly, if he can avoid getting caught by surprise by his own Vice President, as he tried to do with his “evolving” on same-sex marriage. That way he can appear to be leading while he’s following public opinion, and minimize the political risk of getting out in front too far and too fast. It’s a smart strategy, even if it seems a bit telegraphed by now.

On the other hand, resistance to the rollout of legalized marijuana still exists, and it exists across the political spectrum. In response to Obama’s casual observation that pot isn’t any more dangerous than alcohol, former Congressman Patrick Kennedy — a fellow progressive — rises to rebut. Kennedy asserted on last night’s Hardball that marijuana today is not the same choom as in the 1970s:

“I think the president needs to speak to his NIH director in charge of drug abuse,” Kennedy said on MSNBC’s “Hardball” on Monday night. “[She] would tell the president that, in fact, today’s modern, genetically modified marijuana, so it’s much higher THC levels, far surpass the marijuana that the president acknowledges smoking when he was a young person.”

Kennedy said government research shows that marijuana is harmful.

“He is wrong when he says that it isn’t very harmful, because the new marijuana is not the old marijuana,” Kennedy said. “We need to have presidential decisions made based upon public health and the sound science that the federal government’s invested in.”

The former congressman said if the president believes alcohol is more dangerous, he should be concerned about legalizing and commercializing marijuana, because, Kennedy argues, America doesn’t want another Big Tobacco or Big Alcohol.

“I mean, if the president feels alcohol is worse than tobacco, what’s he prepared to do? And I’ll tell you, the president won’t be able to do a thing,” Kennedy said. “Why? Because alcohol is too powerful an industry to change. And right now, we have a chance to stop another for-profit industry from targeting our public health.”

USA Today also reported last night that the jury’s out on the relative safety between the two:

The president is obviously “not familiar with the science and frankly doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” said Stuart Gitlow. He directs the Annenberg Physician Training Program in Addictive Disease at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

“There’s no benefit to marijuana,” said Gitlow. “It’s simply that people want the freedom to be stoned. That’s all it is. And there’s a great deal of risk.”

The two drugs have very different side effects, different long-term effects and different contributions to illness and death in the general population. “I would never try to compare and contrast them on something as absurd as ‘dangerousness,’ ” he said.

Many physicians disagree. “That’s a good start from the president but it’s still misinformed,” said Donald Abrams, chief of oncology at San Francisco General Hospital.

“In my 37 years as a physician, the number of patients I’ve admitted to the hospital with complications from marijuana use is zero. The number I’ve admitted due to alcohol use is profound,” he said.

Here’s a question: why not wait to see what happens in Colorado? Give it a few years, and see what impact legalized marijuana has on use, health, safety, and public resources. That would mean Obama won’t get a chance to make federal marijuana legalization his legacy, but ObamaCare will be that no matter what happens with pot anyway.


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Fitting.

NotCoach on January 21, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Divisiveness and lying, that will be his legacy.

fogw on January 21, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Here’s a question: why not wait to see what happens in Colorado?

Why did you ask the question if you were going to answer it any way?

With just three years left in office and a possible Republican landslide in the fall’s midterm elections, Obama must be in something close to panic mode. His health care plan seems like it’s imploding, his foreign policy and civil liberties record is awful, and the economy is still barely stumbling forward into an uncertain future.

I am really enjoying that excerpt from the Daily Beast.

And they ain’t very happy in the comments over there.

cozmo on January 21, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Just another political issue. Time for polls to tell him what to say and do next.

rodguy911 on January 21, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Only Boehner, Cantor and Ryan can solidify Obama’s legacy by passing comprehensive amnesty.

Wigglesworth on January 21, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Thinking it will not be a positive legacy…

albill on January 21, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Since the president doesn’t think pot is dangerous, then I expect his budget request to cut out all funding for pot research and law enforcement.

Eat that DOJ, NHS, HHS, DEA, etc…..

BobMbx on January 21, 2014 at 10:52 AM

So he’ll destroy the American healthcare system, followed by destroying the minds of the American people. Sounds like a fitting legacy for a terrible president.

Stoic Patriot on January 21, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Obama also told Remnick that he is troubled that “middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do.

They get locked up for shooting guns at people more than middle-class kids do, also.

Buddahpundit on January 21, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Far out man . This guy could be the bestest prezident evah ,I mean wow .

celtic warrior on January 21, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Pot and gay marriage? That’s a pretty pathetic legacy.

Doughboy on January 21, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Gillespie overlooks the small but important detail that The One is an elitist-statist, not a federalist.

He wants to “get out in front” of this issue by imposing a top-down policy which hews to both his vision of total power residing in the national government (and ultimately himself), as well as adhering to the dogmas of the left (drugs are hip, fun, and good for you, so everybody must get stone right now).

As with everything else, his “legacy” is ultimate power residing in the federal government and leftist dogmas. Nothing else will be permitted in The One’s Post-Modern Utopia.

Ask him how he feels about the State of Illinois pre-empting Chicago’s anti-gun laws, sometime. You’ll find that his commitment to “state-level solutions” is nonexistent in a case like that.

Now, if NYC’s gun laws were allowed to pre-empt, say, Ohio’s, that would be a different story entirely.

clear ether

eon

eon on January 21, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Doughboy on January 21, 2014 at 10:54 AM

But they are important to him, especially after he leaves office and will have more flexibility.

cozmo on January 21, 2014 at 10:58 AM

Obama’s legacy will be that he made Jimmy Carter look good.

redwhiteblue on January 21, 2014 at 10:58 AM

In my 37 years as a physician, the number of patients I’ve admitted to the hospital with complications from marijuana use is zero. The number I’ve admitted due to alcohol use is profound,” he said.

So when the article says there is disagreement within the medical field, it is that doctors believe marijuana is *significantly* less harmful than alcohol….

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 10:59 AM

They get locked up for shooting guns at people more than middle-class kids do, also.

Buddahpundit on January 21, 2014 at 10:54 AM

*coughs* Affluenza *cough*

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Pot and gay marriage? That’s a pretty pathetic legacy.

Doughboy on January 21, 2014 at 10:54 AM

I have a list of other things to add, making his legacy grim indeed.

Lets start with the economy and most recently taking the 404Care site away from a Canadian company and handing it to the company that helped his campaign and hires mostly foreign guest workers…

He’s going down in history as a SKUNK of the nth magnitude.

dogsoldier on January 21, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Marijuana is a gateway drug that leads people to become addicted to hideously potent narcotics, such as food stamps, welfare checks, extended unemployment benefits and unwavering Democrat party support.

FlameWarrior on January 21, 2014 at 11:04 AM

*coughs* Affluenza *cough*

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Oh, I see.
So what exactly are the top 3 things keeping poor people poor in America?
Is other people being rich in there somewhere?

gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Dog Eater’s not here!

Bishop on January 21, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Obama also told Remnick that he is troubled that “middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do.

That is actually bullshit. Her in Indy, everyone with similar criminal records gets the same penalty for marijuana posession. From my discussions with criminal law attorneys in other states the situation is the same.

tommyboy on January 21, 2014 at 11:06 AM

How ironic.

Discussing Obama’s legacy as it relates to marijuana on Squirrel Appreciation Day.

As always, it’s a distraction folks.

fogw on January 21, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Dude…all this politics is harsh’n my mellow.

Deafdog on January 21, 2014 at 11:08 AM

CRAZY stupid brain damaged poser of a president. Legacy….. comparison visual…. Monkey flinging wet dung in all directions no matter where he goes.

So sick and tired of this President (no matter what color he is), pulpit preaching then always adding… “I’ve got a pen and whether you like it or not IM going to make this happen”. Fine, dude….. cannot wait for all you stoner’s to start tokin up….. it will make it much easier to take our country back. I’m buying stock in Doritos.

ActinUpinTexas on January 21, 2014 at 11:09 AM

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:00 AM

So the federal government’s proper role is tightly controlling the choices of it’s citizens as it regards their choice of healthcare plan, whether they can smoke, what kind of cars they can drive and what vasts amounts of the wages from their labor needs to be spent on but banning marijuana is beyond the pale?

I’m not opposed to decriminalizing marijuana but liberals beclown themselves on this issue as they rant against the government that in every other context is benevolent and sacred.

gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:09 AM

It might be his 2nd or 3rd or 4th legacy, but his main Legacy is – The Food Stamp President

Karmi on January 21, 2014 at 11:11 AM

*coughs* Affluenza *cough*

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Do be polite and try not posting between tokes.

NotCoach on January 21, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Karmi on January 21, 2014 at 11:11 AM

I wouldn’t mind his legacy being that killed socialism here. And affirmative action.

cozmo on January 21, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Pot and gay marriage? That’s a pretty pathetic legacy.

Doughboy on January 21, 2014 at 10:54 AM

In the public mind, he’ll be remembered for:

“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon”

“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan”

“The police acted stupidly”

Pretty pathetic legacy there too.

Paul-Cincy on January 21, 2014 at 11:14 AM

I’m not opposed to decriminalizing marijuana but liberals beclown themselves on this issue as they rant against the government that in every other context is benevolent and sacred.

gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:09 AM

And why I have just about zero sympathy. Too many are just a bunch of commies that want to get stoned.

NotCoach on January 21, 2014 at 11:14 AM

I look for the president to mature on this issue.

Akzed on January 21, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Marijuana is a gateway drug that leads people to become addicted to hideously potent narcotics, such as food stamps, welfare checks, extended unemployment benefits and unwavering Democrat party support.

FlameWarrior on January 21, 2014 at 11:04 AM

Excellent observation. I would add that youthful pot smoking has also been linked to becoming the worst president this country has ever seen.

SacredFire on January 21, 2014 at 11:18 AM

*coughs* Affluenza *cough*

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Do be polite and try not posting between tokes.

NotCoach on January 21, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Maybe that’s why libfreeordie claimed Mohammed Ali was dead and scurried away from the Sherman thread yesterday.

gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Patrick Kennedy?!

Ask him about bootleggers!

Akzed on January 21, 2014 at 11:19 AM

So the federal government’s proper role is tightly controlling the choices of it’s citizens as it regards their choice of healthcare plan, whether they can smoke, what kind of cars they can drive and what vasts amounts of the wages from their labor needs to be spent on but banning marijuana is beyond the pale?

A misdemeanor marijuana conviction bars anyone from receiving student loans, can cost thousands of dollars in forced treatment, probation and court costs, and comes with dozens of hours of community service. A failure to meet any of those guidelines will result in the revocation of your probation and jail time, and then more fines and more hours of forced treatment upon your release.

And that is *just* for a misdemeanor marijuana arrest and if you have a good lawyer who will keep you out of jail. We are not even talking a felony conviction which disqualifies you for food stamps and public housing under federal law and basically makes it impossible for you to get any kind of job.

So remind me. How does smoking cigarettes, buying an environmentally safe vehicle or paying taxes relate to those kinds of penalties? And yes, I know tax evasion is a federal offense. But in order to trigger the penalties for marijuana misdemeanor in most jurisdictions, *any* amount of the drug is sufficient. In most states, having a pipe or bong where marijuana was previously smoked in your possession is enough to trigger a misdemeanor charge.

I see some very real distinctions between the penalties of cigarette smoking and light bulb choice and the penalties for marijuana posession. I can’t quite get how conservatives don’t see those distinctions.

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Maybe that’s why libfreeordie claimed Mohammed Ali was dead and scurried away from the Sherman thread yesterday.

gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:18 AM

*snort* Sorry I missed that one.

NotCoach on January 21, 2014 at 11:20 AM

*coughs* Affluenza *cough*

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Thanks for that.

It’s an excellent explanation for why Obama never got arrested for smoking dope or snorting coke.

gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:21 AM

It’s an excellent explanation for why Obama never got arrested for smoking dope or snorting coke.

gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:21 AM

Indeed! Obama was a middle class kid, who then went onto elite Universities, places where *everyone* knows drug use is rampant, but society has decided it doesn’t care. Obama’s biography is a powerful example of the uneven and unfair administration of the “war on drugs.”

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:24 AM

“There’s no benefit to marijuana,” said Gitlow. “It’s simply that people want the freedom to be stoned. That’s all it is. And there’s a great deal of risk.”

Tell that to someone dying of cancer or a child with epilepsy that is being ravaged by seizures you asshat.

thphilli on January 21, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Under obamacare the only drug available will be pot, big pharma will be priced out by regulation.

tim c on January 21, 2014 at 11:24 AM

A misdemeanor marijuana conviction bars anyone from receiving student loans, can cost thousands of dollars in forced treatment, probation and court costs, and comes with dozens of hours of community service

This type of sentence is typical only for a person with multiple prior convictions. A first time arrest is usually dismissed if one agrees to attend a one day marijuana education class. It’s called a diversion program. Even for someone with priors it’s generally six months probations, 20 hours community work servie and drug classes. Total fines and costs about three to four hundred dollars.

tommyboy on January 21, 2014 at 11:29 AM

Tell that to someone dying of cancer or a child with epilepsy that is being ravaged by seizures you asshat.

thphilli on January 21, 2014 at 11:24 AM

There are other medications for those patients, and the “medical” marijuana industry is a joke. It goes way beyond “helping” such people, tool.

JannyMae on January 21, 2014 at 11:30 AM

I see some very real distinctions between the penalties of cigarette smoking and light bulb choice and the penalties for marijuana posession. I can’t quite get how conservatives don’t see those distinctions.

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Yeah, I guess you really don’t get it.
You want a federal government that sticks it’s fingers into every aspect of life as capable of making better decisions than the citizens over which it rules but this great injustice you claim from criminalizing pot is part and parcel with the system you want.
The federal government destroys opportunity throughout the land by taking from some and redistributing it from others or placing large burdens on people who want to operate in the market place.
But the same federal government destroys someones opportunity because of the war on drugs and you run around with your dress over your head.

A powerful centralized government cannot help but being oppressive but you think we can find the right angels among men to administer it and rule over us. The things like the drug war you hate are intrinsic in large government.

gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Hey, how about an “Affordable Marijuana Act” — that just might work.

2klbofun on January 21, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Indeed! Obama was a middle class kid, who then went onto elite Universities, places where *everyone* knows drug use is rampant, but society has decided it doesn’t care. Obama’s biography is a powerful example of the uneven and unfair administration of the “war on drugs.”

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:24 AM

All federal government administration is uneven and unfair – not just in the drug war.

But you’ll push for it in every other aspect of life.

gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Maybe that’s why libfreeordie claimed Mohammed Ali was dead and scurried away from the Sherman thread yesterday.

gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:18 AM

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Reminds me of this:

What part of “the federal government pays 100% of the costs and the state pays 10% of the cost in ten years” do you not understand?

libfreeordie on August 28, 2013 at 3:13 PM

Bishop on January 21, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Our legal system is unfair!
The war on drugs is unfair!

Yes – I want more federal government because they know best! This time they’ll be fair!

/liberal logic

gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:35 AM

As a good liberal I’m sure libfreeordie will want the FDA and other federal agencies to oversee the pot market in CO and WA. They’ll need to thoroughly test all the different strains of pot and determine which ones are “safe” or appropriate – at the very least each strain must come with proper labeling so that consumers will be properly informed. That should take a decade.

And then the stores that produce and sell pot should be subject to stringent federal laws to ensure their operating safely. This won’t add too much to the cost right? Or will illegally produced and sold pot still be cheaper and widely available?

gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:38 AM

I see some very real distinctions between the penalties of cigarette smoking and light bulb choice and the penalties for marijuana posession. I can’t quite get how conservatives don’t see those distinctions.

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:20 AM

So you want the FDA and other federal agencies to step in and highly regulate the pot market right?

gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:39 AM

This type of sentence is typical only for a person with multiple prior convictions.

Maybe in middle class suburban communities. But in urban and poor rural areas, where fines and fees make up a decent chunk of a municipalities revenue stream prosecutors and judges often push for the harshest penalties possible. Also, diversion programs are much more likely if you have a good lawyer or if you are a juvenile. The law is *not* applied equally to all who come before it. This simple fact seems to escape conservatives.

Even for someone with priors it’s generally six months probations, 20 hours community work servie and drug classes. Total fines and costs about three to four hundred dollars.

tommyboy on January 21, 2014 at 11:29 AM

These penalties can apply to first times, and often fines are as high as 1,000. But lets take your premise as valid. 6 months of probation means regular meetings with an officer that may screw with a person’s work schedule. If they don’t have a car, and don’t live in an area with great public transportation. This makes getting to treatment and getting to community service enormously difficult. It is much more likely that working class folks will violate the terms of their probation because keeping a job and adhering to the terms of probation are not doable. Probation officers can be very nice, but it is 100% arbitrary. Anyone who has had a dealing with a probation officer knows that they are very much invested in “catching” a person in violation and have no compunction about sending them back to prison.

And last, even if we agreed that those penalties “aren’t so bad.” How on *earth* can you claim that they are anywhere near what folks have to go through in relation to cigarette smoking or buying light bulbs.

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:39 AM

As a good liberal I’m sure libfreeordie will want the FDA and other federal agencies to oversee the pot market in CO and WA.

Not at all. The FDA is profoundly corrupt and is basically owned by large pharm and ag corporations. Next!

They’ll need to thoroughly test all the different strains of pot and determine which ones are “safe” or appropriate – at the very least each strain must come with proper labeling so that consumers will be properly informed. That should take a decade.

The CO and WA pot markets seem to be doing just fine on their own. I mean, I can’t defend things that aren’t my arguments. But if you want to attack strawmen, be my guest.

And then the stores that produce and sell pot should be subject to stringent federal laws to ensure their operating safely. This won’t add too much to the cost right? Or will illegally produced and sold pot still be cheaper and widely available?

Again, not my argument. Enjoy the strawmen.
gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:38 AM

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:41 AM

These penalties can apply to first times, and often fines are as high as 1,000. But lets take your premise as valid. 6 months of probation means regular meetings with an officer that may screw with a person’s work schedule. If they don’t have a car, and don’t live in an area with great public transportation. This makes getting to treatment and getting to community service enormously difficult. It is much more likely that working class folks will violate the terms of their probation because keeping a job and adhering to the terms of probation are not doable. Probation officers can be very nice, but it is 100% arbitrary. Anyone who has had a dealing with a probation officer knows that they are very much invested in “catching” a person in violation and have no compunction about sending them back to prison.

And last, even if we agreed that those penalties “aren’t so bad.” How on *earth* can you claim that they are anywhere near what folks have to go through in relation to cigarette smoking or buying light bulbs.

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Right on! Remind me again who wants the government running most of the economy including our healthcare system again?

gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:42 AM

tommyboy on January 21, 2014 at 11:06 AM

If there’s any disparity of treatment of poor (read minorities) kids vs. middle class kids, it’s more likely so in the blue and purple states. But, even in Texas, a lot of more of the poor kids get caught because a lot more of them are breaking the law in the first place, and not just drug laws.

TXUS on January 21, 2014 at 11:42 AM

gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Min/Max THC content? Truth in Labelling?

BobMbx on January 21, 2014 at 11:43 AM

All federal government administration is uneven and unfair – not just in the drug war.

I believe you call that “free speech.” Or isn’t a federal government controlled by campaign donations precisely why conservatives supported Citizens United?

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Again, not my argument. Enjoy the strawmen.
libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:41 AM

Ha ha ha ha.

The FDA is hopelessly corrupt and in the hands of government cronies.

But you argue day in and day out for more federal government.

But it’s just a straw man. The FDA is corrupt but there’s no way the IRS oppressed Obama’s political opponents. Government can’t be trusted to run a war on drugs but it can be trusted with universal healthcare and “social justice” and “income inequality”. But I’m bringing up straw men. Good one.

gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Hey, how about an “Affordable Marijuana Act” — that just might work.

2klbofun on January 21, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Well, it’s unjust that the poor won’t have the same access to the now-legal MJ as the “economically advantaged” will, so the only logical next step is for the government to subsidize the poor who can’t afford to purchase it legally.

TXUS on January 21, 2014 at 11:46 AM

But, even in Texas, a lot of more of the poor kids get caught because a lot more of them are breaking the law in the first place, and not just drug laws.

TXUS on January 21, 2014 at 11:42 AM

I went to high school in Dallas Tx at a very prestigious private academy. The drug use was *everywhere.* You are just lying about what middle class and elite kids do in Texas. They are hell raisers and everyone knows it.

Oh also? Nearly all surveys on drug use show that rates of use are about equal across racial and class lines and in no way reflect the huge disparities in who is prosecuted for drug crime. Try again!

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:46 AM

gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Why is the corruption of the FDA relevant to whether the federal government should criminalize marijuana and subsidize state government’s criminalization of marijuana through targeted subsidies to fund drug interdiction on the local level?

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Also, diversion programs are much more likely if you have a good lawyer or if you are a juvenile

For a first time offense a diversion program will be offered to anyone represented by a public offender. Further, in urban areas the sentences are lighter and deals much better than suburban areas which are also pretty soft. With regard to penalties for mere posession busts you don’t know what you are talking about. BUT, I am with you on the fact it should be legal if alcohol is legal. Alcholol is more dangerous in every single way and in my 30 years experience of defending criminals alcohol is easily the drug most associated with criminal behavior. It’s not even close.

tommyboy on January 21, 2014 at 11:47 AM

I believe you call that “free speech.” Or isn’t a federal government controlled by campaign donations precisely why conservatives supported Citizens United?

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:44 AM

It is free speech. Liberals like you like corporate speech when it’s the NYT or MSNBC. Or unions. Liberals are very selective in who gets to affect the political process with money.

A company makes a film about Hillary and the left freaks out. The NYT makes up a story about McCain having an affair with a lobbyist and liberals yawn.

And you cannot create laws that will stop the flow of cash/favors to politicians and of favors to donors. Whatever system you construct to keep undue influence out of the political system will fail. As long as government has the power to pick winners and losers people will find a way of turning that power to their ends.

gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:50 AM

For a first time offense a diversion program will be offered to anyone represented by a public offender.

In all states and localities? Really? I’d like to see the data on that. Especially since prosecutor discretion plays such a huge role in this.

BUT, I am with you on the fact it should be legal if alcohol is legal. Alcholol is more dangerous in every single way and in my 30 years experience of defending criminals alcohol is easily the drug most associated with criminal behavior. It’s not even close.

tommyboy on January 21, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Fair enough.

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:50 AM

I went to high school in Dallas Tx at a very prestigious private academy. The drug use was *everywhere.*

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Name it.

I knew the dopers and the ropers at every high school in Dallas.

cozmo on January 21, 2014 at 11:50 AM

Why is the corruption of the FDA relevant to whether the federal government should criminalize marijuana and subsidize state government’s criminalization of marijuana through targeted subsidies to fund drug interdiction on the local level?

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Because we’ve found the one thing in government that makes you sound like a stark raving mad libertarian who wants to drown government in the bath tub.

But in any other thread about the power and use of government you’ll be a stalwart defender of the power of the state.

gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:51 AM

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Well, if I were you, I’d sue that “very prestigious private academy” you attended for educational malpractice, to wit, failing to teach you to read and comprehend.

TXUS on January 21, 2014 at 11:52 AM

And you cannot create laws that will stop the flow of cash/favors to politicians and of favors to donors. Whatever system you construct to keep undue influence out of the political system will fail. As long as government has the power to pick winners and losers people will find a way of turning that power to their ends.

gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:50 AM

Which is why it is hilarious that you believe conservative Republicans who receive campaign cash from the same interests who have funded campaigns since the 1896 election, are somehow going to shrink the size of government when they arrive in office. And we have seen it already. Tea party republicans agree to a reduction in the military budget that leaves their donors in the military contracting industry unscathed and targets veterans who don’t have the coins to pay off Paul Ryan. Its the conservatism you voted for, congrats! (And none of this is relevant to whether the federal government should criminalize marijuana or subsidize states that criminalize marijuana).

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Because we’ve found the one thing in government that makes you sound like a stark raving mad libertarian who wants to drown government in the bath tub.

You haven’t asked me about the military budget yet. :) Or the INS budget.

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Really? I’d like to see the data on that.

 
libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:50 AM

 
Nicely done, professor.

rogerb on January 21, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Name it.

I knew the dopers and the ropers at every high school in Dallas.

cozmo on January 21, 2014 at 11:50 AM

I went to Greenhill and lived very near Plano high during the black tar heroin years. I had friends at St. Marks and Hockaday and Fortworth Country Day. Marijuana use was rampant, arrests were not. Please do not pretend otherwise.

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Well, if I were you, I’d sue that “very prestigious private academy” you attended for educational malpractice, to wit, failing to teach you to read and comprehend.

TXUS on January 21, 2014 at 11:52 AM

I’m calling more BS on the part of little libbie.

cozmo on January 21, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Which is why it is hilarious that you believe conservative Republicans who receive campaign cash from the same interests who have funded campaigns since the 1896 election, are somehow going to shrink the size of government when they arrive in office. And we have seen it already. Tea party republicans agree to a reduction in the military budget that leaves their donors in the military contracting industry unscathed and targets veterans who don’t have the coins to pay off Paul Ryan. Its the conservatism you voted for, congrats! (And none of this is relevant to whether the federal government should criminalize marijuana or subsidize states that criminalize marijuana).

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:52 AM

I don’t put the kind of faith in politicians you think I do.
I don’t see the GOP as a party that will reduce the size of government.

Some in the GOP are sincere in this regard but many aren’t.

gwelf on January 21, 2014 at 11:56 AM

In all states and localities? Really? I’d like to see the data on that. Especially since prosecutor discretion plays such a huge role in this.

No one can or has spoken for EVERY single state and jurisdiction but generally and in the majority of situations a public defender will get you a diversion agreement on a first time misdemeanor pot bust. This assesment is based on 30 years personal experience and communication with defense attorneys across the country. I’ve yet to see you put forth any “data” to contradict this and I’m pretty sure I’ve got more experience in this regard than you do.

tommyboy on January 21, 2014 at 11:56 AM

Nicely done, professor.
 
rogerb on January 21, 2014 at 11:53 AM

 
Sorry. For anyone who doesn’t know why that was so funny:
 
http://hotair.com/archives/2013/12/18/duck-dynastys-phil-robertson-suspended-by-ae-for-comments-on-homosexuality/comment-page-8/#comment-7575981

rogerb on January 21, 2014 at 11:56 AM

I’m calling more BS on the part of little libbie.

cozmo on January 21, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Yeah, saw that. And this loser says I’m the one who’s lying. Classic liberal projectionism.

TXUS on January 21, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Please do not pretend otherwise.

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 11:54 AM

You are the one pretending. Though you might be Lance H. Your lawyer dad could get some really good stuff.

Rampant? only in your pathetic dreams. Not even the rich kids knew what the good stuff was. Sell them Oklahoma stink weed and call it Hawaiian gold.

cozmo on January 21, 2014 at 12:00 PM

So rampant means discerning consumers? Girl, bye.

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Nope libiot, but it gives you an idiot excuse to bail…again.

Does the constant lying and being so stupid ever bother you?

cozmo on January 21, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Did you go to Hillcrest or something? Why so pressed?

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Half day Law Magnet, half day Woodrow, lived in North Dallas district (where the suppliers brought it in fresh from Mexico). Mixed with all of DISD and knew who supplied to half of the Park cities. I knew it, I lived it. You are full of crap…again. Your mistake was St. Marks. And to a lesser extent Hockaday. Knew plenty of the good and bad from both.

cozmo on January 21, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Will marijuana legalization be Obama’s legacy?

Well, it would be so freaking un-ironic that maybe it would be the logical end that is the new beginning of life resembling reality again.

Tsar of Earth on January 21, 2014 at 12:37 PM

it’s much higher THC levels

This is not a winning argument. So alcohol has higher proof, deal with it.

There’s no benefit to marijuana,” said Gitlow.

Is that like the Left saying torture never works?

John the Libertarian on January 21, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Funny that the former choomer, Kennedy, and obama’s drug czar oppose obama on his latest peeve/er squirrel.

Schadenfreude on January 21, 2014 at 1:02 PM

One of the properties of MJ is that if you smoke too much of it it puts you to sleep. For that reason it is self limiting how much people smoke regardless of the potency. The more potent it is, the less smoke people need to ingest to achieve the desired affect, thus it is less harmful to their lungs.

The first time I tried it was nearly 25 years ago, and the potency and quality was about the same as it is today in my opinion. Maybe in the 60′s people were smoking leaves from Mexico instead of buds, but that hasn’t been true for a long, long time. Marijuana has not changed, in fact the most potent MJ was sold in drug stores in the 1920′s and 30′s. As far as I know it has not been genetically modified in a lab, it has been bred by growers the way farmers have been doing it for thousands of years.

Rush Limbaugh just said that MJ smoke has more carcinogens than cigarettes. They’ve been saying that since I was in high school in the 80′s, yet studies show there is no linkage between MJ and lung cancer like there is with tobacco. Scientists have found that tobacco smoke deadens the cells that line your stomach that help clear particulate matter out of your lungs to keep them clean. MJ does not do that. Scientists speculated that this may be why MJ smoke, even if it does contain more carcinogens, doesn’t cause lung cancer. Perhaps if tobacco didn’t deaden these cells then tobacco smoke would be safer, too. I advise MJ smokers to stay away from tobacco and nicotine products.

FloatingRock on January 21, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Ah, so new pot isn’t same as old pot (no evidence provided) and its just people that want to get stone, there is no medical value (contrary to numerous cases of obvious benefit).

Right.

I have no idea how this THC argument has any legs at all. So you smoke less. Duh. And pot smoking is self limiting. If you smoke too much, you just go to bed. I mean, really. This debate is so irrational on the side of prohibition that its shameful.

deadrody on January 21, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Hard liquor is a lot more potent than beer, but if you drink too much of either type then it ruins the fun, so, motivated by their own self-interests, people voluntarily restrict their intake appropriately. The more potent the liquor, the less of it people drink. It works the same way with MJ, except that unlike alcohol, and especially hard liquor, MJ isn’t toxic and it can’t kill you, unless you smoke so much and fall asleep while doing something dangerous.

The people screaming from the rooftops that the MJ today is not the MJ of yesterday, that it’s more potent, are either intentionally or unintentionally spreading deceitful anti-MJ propaganda, just like they’ve been doing since the 40′s with the Refer Madness movie.

People who condemn MJ because its smoke contains carcinogens yet fail to point out that there is no evidence that it causes cancer are also spreading deceitful anti-MJ propaganda. These are just the latest techniques to sew fear and hatred about MJ. Even if objective scientific research does someday find that MJ smoke has a small link to cancer, many people are using vaporizers these days, which eliminates the smoke altogether. Many people just cook it into brownies, cookies or candy and there is no smoke then, either. It’s just a plant, it’s only when you burn it, or just about anything else, that carcinogens are produced.

FloatingRock on January 21, 2014 at 1:20 PM

Rush Limbaugh just said that MJ smoke has more carcinogens than cigarettes. They’ve been saying that since I was in high school in the 80′s, yet studies show there is no linkage between MJ and lung cancer like there is with tobacco. Scientists have found that tobacco smoke deadens the cells that line your stomach that help clear particulate matter out of your lungs to keep them clean. MJ does not do that. Scientists speculated that this may be why MJ smoke, even if it does contain more carcinogens, doesn’t cause lung cancer. Perhaps if tobacco didn’t deaden these cells then tobacco smoke would be safer, too. I advise MJ smokers to stay away from tobacco and nicotine products.

FloatingRock on January 21, 2014 at 1:09 PM

The other reason is, you don’t smoke as much. Remember that we’re talking about casual, moderate use, not hardcore stoners (who already smoke and to whom legalization is irrelevant). The reason I say that is not only common sense, but because if you compare to alcohol, chronic alcoholism is extremely unhealthy and will absolutely kill you, as will cigarettes.

So, moderate, casual use. That’s someone that smokes a few times a week, a little at a time. That is a significantly different amount of smoke and, therefore, carcinogens, than someone that smokes a pack of cigarettes a day. It doesn’t matter that a cubic foot of marijuana smoke has more carcinogens than a cubic foot of cigarette smoke because the average cigarette smoker is inhaling 50 cubic foot per day or per week whereas the average pot smoker is inhaling half a cubic foot per day or per week.

Again, it is amazing the lengths to which the pro-prohibition side will go to, to exaggerate the alleged “danger” of pot. Especially when it was only made illegal because blacks and mexicans (and dirty scary jazz musicians) smoked it.

deadrody on January 21, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Ah, so new pot isn’t same as old pot (no evidence provided) and its just people that want to get stone, there is no medical value (contrary to numerous cases of obvious benefit).

Right.

I have no idea how this THC argument has any legs at all. So you smoke less. Duh. And pot smoking is self limiting. If you smoke too much, you just go to bed. I mean, really. This debate is so irrational on the side of prohibition that its shameful.

deadrody on January 21, 2014 at 1:15 PM

As conservatives this isn’t what we should be arguing about. We should be arguing about the federal government’s role in drugs. We should be arguing that the federal government needs to get out of the drug enforcement business altogether and hand it over entirely to the states. By arguing about the efficacy of marijuana use we are making it implicit we want a federal solution to the problem. I don’t want the federal government making marijuana legal just as I don’t want the federal government making it illegal.

NotCoach on January 21, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Your mistake was St. Marks. And to a lesser extent Hockaday. Knew plenty of the good and bad from both.

cozmo on January 21, 2014 at 12:32 PM

What is your point exactly? Are you saying I didn’t go to Greenhill school? Or that there were lots of arrests of St. Marks and Hockaday students? There weren’t. I don’t know a single kid in my class who was ever arrested for marijuana possession and I can name at least ten of the 90 or so kids in my class who everyone knew were “stoners.”

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Scientists have found that tobacco smoke deadens the cells that line your stomach lungs

Fixed

FloatingRock on January 21, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Frito-Lay will be the first to erect a statue of President Munchies.

profitsbeard on January 21, 2014 at 1:27 PM

I don’t want the federal government making marijuana legal just as I don’t want the federal government making it illegal.

NotCoach on January 21, 2014 at 1:23 PM

I partly agree, I think the federal government should just decriminalize it and leave it up to the states. But as a Washington state native and somebody who enjoys MJ, I am going to do what I can to combat lies people spread about it attempting to save their police-state and put people like me in prison to the benefit of their cronies who profit from the war on MJ.

I wonder if this Kennedy in the clip above has an identifiable vested interest in preserving the war on MJ. Is he invested in the alcohol industry or private/public prisons or chemical/drug companies or any of the industries that originally lobbied the government to make MJ illegal in the first place?

FloatingRock on January 21, 2014 at 1:35 PM

What is your point exactly?

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 1:26 PM

That you are such a full of crap liar your breath is bad.

Rampant my a$$.

10% of your class at Greenhill were stoners? Dude, SOC didn’t even have that high of a percentage.

Rather than retreat, you make your lies even bigger. Tell them whoppers you idiot.

Hell, I wasn’t a stoner but the ignorant idiots lumped me in with them. What you are is an ignorant narcissistic liar. Just like your messiah.

Except you go where you will be called on your lies. Make that ignorant narcissistic lying masochist.

cozmo on January 21, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Is the Kennedy in the clip related to the Kennedy dynasty? Because they were bootleggers back in the day and after prohibition the alcohol barons, or whatever one might call them, wanted MJ illegal to ace out their competition. The cotton industry also wanted hemp outlawed because hemp fibers are stronger and better than cotton. Now the militarized police-state industry has a vested interest in preserving the war on MJ.

But in Kennedy’s case, perhaps it is the alcohol connection that is motivating him.

Unfortunately, after nearly a 100 years of anti-MJ propaganda spreading fear and hatred, he may be motivated by nothing but that.

FloatingRock on January 21, 2014 at 1:49 PM

10% of your class at Greenhill were stoners Dude, SOC didn’t even have that high of a percentage.

9 kids out of 90 isn’t all that far fetched. And try again. I didn’t say they were “burnouts” I said they were stoners. Its Greenhill. They all went to college and are either succesful or living off their trusts. But they still smoked a good amount of pot in highschool. Christ, two of them were the B squad on the debate team. Also what years were you in highschool in Dallas? You’re just mad because you know I’m right that wealthy kids in Dallas were never arrested for drug use.

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 1:50 PM

libfreeordie on January 21, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Make up your mind idiot.

They were either stoners or kids who have tried it. I used YOUR words.

Which is it? You are trying to have it both ways to support your lies.

cozmo on January 21, 2014 at 1:56 PM

The first pot-headed, powder-nosed president.

Historical.

BobMbx on January 21, 2014 at 3:09 PM

Fitting.

NotCoach on January 21, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Nailed it.

Murphy9 on January 21, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Libertarian-Progressive messiah.

kcewa on January 21, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Here’s a question: why not wait to see what happens in Colorado? Give it a few years, and see what impact legalized marijuana has on use, health, safety, and public resources.

Because we can’t wait? Because we can’t continue feeding the criminal justice system’s voracious appetite for inmates to abuse and harden?

Just get the Feds out of it period and let the States sort it out.

AH_C on January 21, 2014 at 7:56 PM

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