Obama Administration Shatters Campaign Promise, Escalates Crackdown on Medical Marijuana - Forbes
Despite promises to the contrary on the campaign trail, the Obama administration has announced an escalation in its war on legal medical marijuana dispensaries in California and elsewhere.
Federal prosecutors have sent letters to landlords and owners of dispensaries across California warning them to halt sales of marijuana within 45 days or face property seizures and other legal backlash, though some raids have already commenced.
Driving Marijuana Back into the Black Market
“This is much worse than reneging on a campaign pledge or being bad politics at a time when 80 percent of the public supports medical marijuana,” Neill Franklin, the executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, said in a statement. “This crackdown is going to endanger public safety. The fact is, people in California and the other states with medical marijuana laws are going to use their doctor-recommended marijuana whether the Department of Justice likes it or not.”
The question, Franklin points out, is whether patients will purchase their marijuana legally and safely at a dispensary or whether they will turn to an inevitably dangerous and violent black market. Will we regulate and tax marijuana sales or spend billions fighting a never-ending war on drugs?
“ The president should be focusing on creating more jobs,” Franklin noted, “not threatening to close down businesses that are bringing commerce to their communities.”
In a press conference today, the four US Attorneys in California announced they would begin prosecuting operations across California in earnest, going much further than the Bush administration in cracking down on legal medical marijuana.
“How can the Obama administration say that it’s fine for sick people to use this proven medicine, and yet tell them they can’t have any legal place to get it?” asked Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “Medical marijuana isn’t going away. Over 70 percent of Americans support making medical marijuana legal, and 16 states allow it.”
Kampia also noted that the policy would cause needless suffering in many patients who would no longer have access to medical marijuana. No doubt many medical marijuana patients do use the drug for recreational purposes, but that doesn’t change the fact that many very real patients will suffer due to this administration’s efforts to strangle medical marijuana in its cradle.
Yes But What About the Children?
The war on drugs has been a failure. Full stop.
The Obama administration’s refusal to live up to its promises and its inexplicable decision to push medical marijuana back into the violent black market is yet another blotch on the administration’s already abysmal record on prohibition. Instead of either allowing states to handle marijuana law on their own or taking a hands-off approach as promised, Obama is ramping up an expensive and futile war, this time on people who often rely on marijuana for their health.
Furthermore, there is simply no justification for this move, which creates unnecessary violence and wastes taxpayer dollars on something that has been overwhelmingly supported at the polls. In a democratic effort to create legal and safe access to marijuana in nine states in this country, voters have spoken. The federal government and the Obama administration have refused to listen.
This is simply government overreach without even the faint whisper of a purpose, yet another in a long list of disappointments from this president
, whose record on drugs, immigration, and now the assassination of American citizens is even worse than his predecessor.
No matter how badly I want to support Barack Obama, no matter how much worse I think his presidential opponents are, I can’t help but think he’s sticking a hot poker in our eyes and laughing at those of us who could be his most ardent supporters.
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