Obama vs. Marijuana: What is the deal?

Michael Scherer writes about President Obama's medical-marijuana policy and the increasing federal intervention on medical marijuana on TIME.com. For the online piece and a related magazine feature, Scherer spoke with "nearly a dozen people" in the medical marijuana industry, three U.S. Attorneys, White House officials and local officials who oppose the federal crackdown.


Despite Obama’s promises during the 2008 campaign, federal prosecutors have lost faith in the ability of state and local officials to control a booming commercial industry for a drug that is still illegal to grow, possess or sell under federal law. As a result, a once broad exemption from prosecution for medical marijuana providers in state where it’s legal has been narrowed to a tiny one.

Furthermore, the fact that state laws clash with federal law in 16 states and the District of Columbia makes it all but impossible for state and federal law enforcement to work together cooperatively to develop a functional system for what Obama still claims to support: access to medicinal marijuana for the legitimately ill in states that approve of the practice. So the nation is left with an uneasy status quo: The federal government is not trying to eliminate medical marijuana altogether, but it has decided that it cannot stand for the commercialization or large scale production of marijuana for the stated purpose of helping the sick, even when that production is technically within the bounds of state law.

The result of that complex and conflicting array of laws? Cases such as the IRS action on Harborside Health Center, recently blogged here on Boing Boing.

Read the rest here, and do also check out his related magazine piece titled, "Hot Pot. How Barack Obama’s medical-marijuana plans went up in smoke."

Photo: JUSTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY IMAGES via TIME. A bowl of medicinal marijuana is displayed in a booth at The International Cannabis and Hemp Expo April 18, 2010 at the Cow Palace in Daly City, Calif.


  1. Obama broke a campaign promise, do we have to have such an elaborate exposition of that fact? Politicians lie, it’s as simple as that. Everybody knows it should be legalized, that’s why you can find supporters at every level of society, yet none of that matters. The DEA has gone rogue, and Obama is powerless to stop them.

    1. There is as much evidence to support the claim that Obama is powerless to stop the DEA as there is to support the claim that he was born in Kenya.

      Obama could unilaterally reschedule marijuana.  He could voice support for legalization.  He’s done neither because he doesn’t support legalization.

    2. Are you kidding me? The DEA went rogue? It was Obama who ordered Holder to put out that letter threaning Californians that if they passed Prop 14, serious crackdowns would occur. That much had nothing to do with the DEA proper, although it is a sub-agency of the Department of Justice. You know, the same one responsible for “Fast and Furious”.

      Obama could end the drug war over night if he wanted to, no congressional approval necessary. All he must do is sign an executive order either barring funds for law enforcement being used on marijuana patients, OR he can order the FDA to simply reschedule the Drug from Class I.

      He has done neither of these things, despite the fact that he obviously has no qualms about using EOs to flout constitutional law. Your apologies for him ring hollow. He lied to you and to us all.

    3.  The DEA has gone rogue? No. By legislation, the president has the power to unilaterally change marijuana from a schedule 1 drug (no useful medical purpose) to a lower classification that would have lower enforcement priority.

      This isn’t rogue DEA. This is Obama.

  2. DEA and border agencies are hooked on money and cast a wide net. Hopefully the Prez will scrap the current policy which is clearly hodgepodge and just decriminalize. 

    Then the seeming conflict around commercialization will belong to the only agency that it should belong to, the IRS.

  3. As per usual, Obama wants it all ways with everyone.  He’s a moral coward who never met a contentious issue that he hasn’t run from.  He’s more worried about keeping the olds-dying-in-the-nursing home segment hobbling to the polls on their walkers afraid that the world is going to go up in a cloud of green smoke.  It’s really pathetic and sad, because they’ll never vote for him anyway.  

    1. ” olds-dying-in-the-nursing home segment hobbling to the polls on their walkers ” 

      Gee, there goes your argument, whatever it was.

      1. Unless you’re smoking dope for glaucoma, the argument is fairly self-evident.  

      1. What does this have to do with marijuana?  Seriously?  How is this even contributing to the discussion?  Americans wanted healthcare reform, they just didn’t want to end up paying more for it, which created the dissension that lobbyists and the Republican opposition found easy to exploit.  If anything, the only people opposed to marijuana reform are a handful of creaky Southern senators and hardline drug warriors.  Everyone else is ‘I don’t give a shit’.  You know why?  Because even the dumbest of the dumb has a hard time saying, with a straight face, that cigarettes and alcohol should be legal, and pot shouldn’t.  They just can’t do it anymore.  With that kind of tacit support, you would think Obama would get a clue instead of dragging his feet.

        1. So 46% of America are Southern Senators and drug Warriors?  That seems like an example of poorly allocated resources to me.

          I think people constantly underestimate how difficult drug reform is.  The old are strongly against it and the old are coincidentally the richest, most influential and the most active voters of the nation.  And they tend to retire in Florida, which is supposed to be some kind of important ‘swingy state’ or something.  But I guess they don’t matter that much since you can ridicule them online.

          1. I also think you’re being a bit too ‘liberal’ with your numbers.  Seniors are primarily concerned with two issues, entitlements and taxes.  I sincerely doubt that marijuana reform would rank highly on their agenda, and medical marijuana has passed in many states with healthy margins.  As a single issue, it’s not really of much concern for the average voter.  Again, it’s the way you approach this issue, and continuously repeating the reefer madness line from the 50’s, which is the Obama administration’s line, and which draws more on racial animosity than rigorous research, is not the way to go about it.  Again, Obama would be wise to at least shut his mouth, instead of ridiculing the serious efforts of marijuana reform activists to engage in a much needed debate about the status of marijuana.  Is it really that hard to admit that marijuana might have some acceptable medical use, or that the policy of the past, which has focused on interdiction and incarceration, has not led to a decrease in the supply, quality, or a rise in prices?  If the aims of the drug war are wrong, what is the point of sustaining the rhetoric of a bunch of Southern bigots?  They have more serious issues to deal with, like whether the Earth was created in 7 days, and when even the stodgiest crazies on the extreme right like Pat Robertson admit that there may be some merit to medical marijuana, it’s really hard to take Obama’s position seriously because it looks like he’s saying something that the olds aren’t even listening for.  Also, they tend to retire in Arizona as well, but I would be hard pressed to find anyone outside their gated communities that takes their votes or ideas seriously, and the administration is actively engaged in combating positions that are near and dear to their hearts.  Any smart politico will realize that voters will go to the poll for the issue that concerns them the most, not a panoply of issues.  Most voters, no matter how savvy, just don’t have the attention span necessary to work through a series of issues, so the reason they’re going to choose Mitt or Obama at the polls isn’t likely to be because of their respective stance on marijuana reform.  By isolating the issue, you’re making it look like half the country is solidly against marijuana reform, but since we don’t have federal referendums, and instead elect representatives, that issue will be lumped into other issues, and the only thing sustaining the status quo is a belief that somehow, holding the line at pot matters.  For a man like Obama, who pretends to want to engage everyone on the issues, to pay lip service to the drug warrior culture is nothing short of pathetic.

  4. Here’s one odd notion.  Seattle had a police chief, he was a relatively good chief considering the historical average, but he demonstrated a phobia about marijuana.  He was certain that it was getting more potent and bringing down society.  Various folks tried to convince him otherwise, but he just waved around Bush era reports that were funded by the tobacco industry.  Then, for whatever reason, he left to become Obama’s drug czar, where he is to this day.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gil_Kerlikowske

  5. As for prosecution…give me a break.  This is a President who elected not to enforce the laws against either the banker or torturers, despite the seriousness and egregiousness of the crimes and who selectively circumvents federal laws to spy on Americans because of ‘terrorism’ (yeah, right), while at the same time doing everything in his power to expand the power of the Presidency at the expense of civil liberties (and keep it secret under the state secrets doctrine).  What has Obama actually done other than promote the interests of Wall Street and Hollywood?  What has he done for civil liberties (or civil rights)?  If anything, I’m ashamed that I voted for him, but given the choice, Old Man Hard Right McCain or Obama, what choice did I have?  Is he telling me and everyone else ‘he has no choice’?  That the DEA and federal prosecutors can do whatever they please, to whomever they please?  He can’t order them to stand down?  The only person ‘high’ here is Obama, who is so far removed from the masses that you have to wonder what, exactly, he’s been smoking since he supposedly laid off the cigarettes.

    1. I’m not in favor of Obama’s actions in this area, but the answer to your question:

      “Is he telling me and everyone else ‘he has no choice’?  That the DEA and federal prosecutors can do whatever they please, to whomever they please?  He can’t order them to stand down?” is No, he cannot tell government employees to ignore the law, ignore their training, ignore the entire purpose they were hired for.  It’s fairly simple and straightforward.

        1. Would you mind outlining how he might go about that?  I’m obviously of the opposite opinion, but I would welcome your thoughts on the methods or powers Obama could use to fix this.

          1. He could simply pledge not to raid medical marijuana pharmacies or grow operations in the states that have licensed medical marijuana.  Once the word is passed down to the DEA and US Attorneys, it’s unlikely that any political appointee would dare contravene him, and it would slip to the lowest enforcement priority.  He could also move marijuana out of Schedule 1, and he could just shut his mouth (and by extension, the mouths of his subordinates) and quit acting like he didn’t inhale.  If he wanted to open it, he could stop ridiculing legalization efforts and point out the obvious, which is that marijuana is not the demon weed that the anti-drug folks paint it to be, and focusing on suppressing marijuana cultivation has done nothing to alter the price, availability, or potency of marijuana.  I’m really baffled as to why we’re even discussing this.  I don’t like or smoke marijuana, but even I can see that the policy is completely insane, and that Obama clearly just doesn’t have either the courage or compassion to follow through on his earlier pledge, even when they comport with the rational sensibilities that he supposedly was going to use to guide his administration’s policies.  

      1. He told them to ignore the crimes of the banks who committed mortgage fraud.  He told them to not even investigate the criminal torture program of the previous administration.  He told the Air Force to ignore the War Powers Act so they could bomb Libya.

        Positively, he told his Justice Dept. to ignore DOMA (once the polls started shifting, of course).

        So what’s fairly simple and straightforward is that the President has been telling government employees to ignore the law.  This is an objective fact.

        1. Do you have any evidence that Obama is “telling government employees to ignore the law”?  The worst I’ve heard is that the mortgage investigation in understaffed.  

          The torture thing… yeah.  There are no real excuses, other than that of political necessity.  However that doesn’t absolve him what-so-ever of failing justice, failing America, and damaging our integrity and honor.

          The Libyan strikes were most certainly illegal, and no matter how much (a lot) they’ve been ignored for the past couple of decades, Obama should have copped to it an came to Congress.  Congress were the usual batch of cowardly, sniveling children they have been of late, and didn’t do anything significant to call him on it.  I would be more concerned about the situation if it hadn’t been a complete moral no-brainer.  We had a UN resolution, an Arab league resolution, Arab economic and tactical support, Arab *military* support (though mostly symbolic), and the support of most of the world.  Most importantly, we had a mad-dog dictator who publicly said that he would go street-by-street to “crush the cockroaches”; which doesn’t sound so promising as a recipe for flowers, peace and genocide-avoidance.  If our assistance in the rebellion isn’t an ethical use of military force, I don’t know what would be.  

          So scorecard: Libya, A for Awesome.  Drug War, M for mixed and PS for politically spineless.  Torture, G for Great Start and NF for No Follow-though. I still have hope, but it’s tempered with disappointment.

          1. If you or I committed massive mortgage fraud – and nobody disputes that the major banks have engaged in massive mortgage fraud – we’d be in jail.  What the Obama administration has done for the major banks is ask for tiny amount of money to send to people who need much more.

            You asked for evidence that Obama is ignoring the law, and then admit that he’s done just that in regards to the torture program and Libya.

            So, yes, by your own admission, Obama ignores laws, contrary to your repeated assertions.

            Regarding both, you’ve made it clear that politics is what matters most of all.  More than justice, more than human decency, more than a willingness to refrain from destroying the lives of innocent people; politics is so important that those of us here complaining that Obama has destroyed the lives of innocent people whose dispensaries he’s raiding – despite his promises to the contrary – just don’t understand them.

            And while I appreciate the desire to protect civilians from a mad dictator’s threats, the innocent people he might have killed would have been no more dead than the innocent people Obama is killing now.  Obama’s victims suffer no less than Qaddafi’s.

            But perhaps those who have had to gather the decapitated corpses of their children – cut to pieces by U.S. helicopters (or burned alive by drones) – will take some comfort in the knowledge that their lives were destroyed by a Democrat instead of a Republican.

            But, then again, they probably don’t understand politics, either.

          2. aikimoe; I clearly asked for evidence of Obama telling the government committee investigating mortgage fraud to ignore the law.  

            And no, I didn’t really argue any of those things you claim I argued, but don’t let that disturb your little fantasy of a world.  I’m sure your sense of proportion, equivalency, accuracy or truth are functional there.

    1.  Assuming this isn’t sarcasm, you’re setting yourself up for some disappointment.

      1. It’s not sarcasm, it’s my estimate based upon the current state-level momentum.   This stuff will have to be sorted out in the courts, and that requires cases.

  6. Obama is walking a fine line here, too many people are ready to jump on his every mis-step this close to an election. Hopefully he pulls his finger out, and getting a strong margin in the vote will help that happen.

    If you want Your issue dealt with by the President in his second term, make some noise, register voters, get people to sign up and vote on the day, and make sure the Dems know what your important issues are. It’s the people who show up and vote who get their voices heard, money doesn’t drown out everything (although having money helps a bit much these days). 

    1. BS “fine line.” He could decriminalize pot and two weeks later nobody would give a crap save Rev. Lovejoy’s wife.

    2. That’s a great strategy.  Vote for me once and I’ll destroy the lives of innocent people, but I promise to stop if you vote for me a second time!  Brilliant.

    3. Yes, look at how much good it’s gotten the millions of people who upvoted marijuana questions to the top question on the whitehouse.gov virtual town hall…

      Obama: ‘lol, bunch of potheads on this internety stuff.’

    4. In the first time presidents act like arseholes to keep a second term likely for themselves, in the second term they just keep on doing the same thing on behalf of their party’s next candidate.

    5. no offence but you’re talking about an american political system that doesn’t exist. 

  7. Worse, the lie behind all this is that only large scale commercial operations that flout the law and sell without too many scruples about ID and prescription. 

    The truth in fact, is that the DoJ is extorting landlords across major cities, such as San Francisco and closing down well established patient cooperatives by having the landlords evict them under threat of “forfeiture”. Most recent example is the Vapor Room cooperative, where I am a member. In 2 weeks it will be evicted. It has been operating a safe, legal, above-board dispensary, where various strains are available with different effects and potencies. The VR is about as legitimate a dispensary can get, it has better carding policies than Walgreens  (comparing with say cigarette and alcohol sales). The fact that VR is closing, means simply that the federal government is shutting down Proposition 215. But I guess if no fetuses or guns are involved, it’s not “states rights”. 

    Obama gets a lot of unjustified criticism on things he doesn’t control, like the price of gas, for example. But he has sole and complete control of the DoJ, let’s not pretend otherwise. This one is all his policy, it is very deliberate, it is very systematic and it is very harmful to both patients and the local economy. 

    If only the DoJ went after torturers and war criminals and bank giga-fraud like it does against people selling a plant to sick people, legally under state laws.

    He doesn’t give a damn about CA votes for the presidency. Well Nancy Pelosi and other house candidates are gonna start catching the downhill shit-storm from that attitude. Pelosi is already getting noisy. This has to be tackled at the local level too:

    – Call your mayor and ask him to expedite re-permitting dispensaries so they can re-open in new locations with harder-to-extort landlords 
    – Call your House representative and tell them that Obama will hurt them down-ballot on this and you’ll be waiting for them to speak up.

    A pox on both their houses. After Citizens United there is no democracy, it was sold.

      1. DOJ enforces whatever law it pleases.  There are many laws on the books that the DOJ chooses not to enforce, or they pursue softer strategies.  On the most basic level, cops choose whether or not to give you tickets for speeding. On a higher level, do you somehow believe that the DOJ is immune to the moral ambiguity that comes with choosing what laws it will enforce, and what penalties it will pursue, or that politics don’t play a decisive factor in high level cases (like…Gitmo!)?  Not to mention Obama is doubling down on hysteria from the 50’s, without a shred of scientific proof that marijuana causes all the harm that it supposedly causes, and without mentioning that the current enforcement strategy is not even remotely effective (weed is cheaper, more potent, and more readily available than it’s ever been).

        1.  Not to mention Obama is doubling down on hysteria from the 50’s, … 

          Obama knows, smoking weed leads to interracial sex. 

        2. DoJ does have a lot of discretion in picking priorities, but they are required to follow federal law whenever a case is in front of them.  As far as I’m aware, the DEA picks many of their own cases, and then drops them off in the DoJ’s lap.  The DEA’s entire job is to do so, and even by prioritizing other drugs and states without medical laws, there are going to be targets too tempting for even them; like a giant MJ cultivation school, replete with botany garden and growing instruments.  In my experience, the DEA is much more independent than the DoJ, as they almost always have bipartisan cover in Congress.

          I think the biggest mistake BoingBoing, commenters, and MJ activists make is one of scale; thousands and thousands of dispensaries, delivery services and medical facilities are going about their daily business with few problems from local or federal government.  These raids are entirely unjust, but they are barely even *desultory* attempts at stopping the medical movement as a whole.  While driving past a dispensary the other day, I noticed a police car parked right in the parking lot in front.  “Oh shiznit,” I thought, “things are about to go down”.Actually, as I later learned by asking a clerk from the dispensary, the owners *ask* the local police to stop by as much as possible, since they view it as a good deterrent against non-medical users.  The same clerk said they had zero concern about a raid from the local or federal authorities; the dispensary owner had been told outright by a federal investigator that if he paid his taxes (on ‘herbal treatments’ or something like) and didn’t cause a fuss, as an honest businessman he was a boon to the community. Anecdotal, but I don’t think people understand the scale of these raids.

          1. What does that even mean:  ‘they are required to follow federal law’?  Does this apply to torture, by way of example?   Or holding the torturers accountable?  (Wait, you say, that’s different.)  Every administration has taken a rather creative route in interpreting federal law (or rather, flouting federal law), and if the administration chooses not to prosecute certain kinds of cases, even if it falls under their jurisdiction, then by extension the work of the DEA or the associated agencies will shift to focusing on the cases that the DOJ is willing to prosecute.  Why would the DEA waste resources if they can’t get a conviction?  This is why, for example, the FBI is actively pursuing terrorism cases–even providing the means and the motivation to fairly clueless wanna-be terrorists–at the expense of other less sexy but just as important cases that could have a significant impact on crime.  Maybe you’ve never run any kind of business, but it’s very difficult to invest if there’s a high degree of risk and uncertainty that your business will evaporate.  Really, Obama is being stupid, and if he doesn’t know it, he should. He is pouring money down a black hole that has had no impact on the production, potency, or price of marijuana, and has actually contributed to the de-stabilization of neighboring countries that produce all these drugs that Americans crave.  At the very least, introduce a bit of rationality that doesn’t reek of the reefer madness hysteria.  

      2. The congress makes all kinds of laws the President has ignored.  Why not this one?

        And, yes, if he wanted to, he could unilaterally reschedule Marijuana.

        Defending Obama on this is as honest and reality-based as attacking him for rising gas prices.

      1. I know, I’m looking for a totalitarian communistic leader.  At least then maybe I can get a job while being poor and beat down.

  8. Obama didn’t keep his MM campaign promise, and why should he have — what are the potheads going to do, vote Republican?

    Given that the president not only didn’t keep his promise, but has let things go the other direction entirely, I don’t see any reason to believe he will behave any differently on this issue in a second term.

    1. I’m voting for Roseanne, if that makes a difference to your argument. Not everybody votes the party card, or needs to be on the winning team in national politics.

    1.  There is no political party that matters in the USA that isn’t on the right wing. 
      Moderate in this case only means less ultra. 

    1.  Also not issues to throw a presidency on: Holding torturers and their enablers to account.  Holding Wall Street and banksters to account. Reining in the USA PATRIOT Act and the abuses of the security state which it engenders. Habeas Corpus. Indefinite detention. Drone wars. Single payer universal health care. The Bush tax cuts. Prescription drug price negotiation.  Steadfast support for Social Security. Steadfast support for equality in marriage. Unjust prosecution of whistleblowers and protection of criminals on whom the whistle has been blown. (Shall I go on?)

      1.  Sure, you’re right. Now, the 14-trillion-dollar question: Are you going to vote for Romney and expect his actions on any of these issues to better reflect your position?

        1. Neither will be any better than the other on any of the above issues, if we want to be completely honest about it.

        2. This is exactly the question the Democrats want you to ask.  It’s why they get to destroy innocent lives while relying on the support of good people.

          The thing they don’t want good people to know is that they don’t have to vote for either party.

        3. The ‘lesser of two’ evils logic has gotten us hell for decades.

          Romney and Obama are very, very, very similar politically. Each is minutely better on a few relatively insignificant issue, and quite different in their externals.

          A vote for either is a vote thrown away.

        4. Am I going to vote for Romney? Are lions and tigers vegetarian? You are aware that there are candidates other than Rombama and Obomney, right? I’ll vote for a candidate that actually stands for the kinds of things I believe in…which means that I won’t be voting for the Republicrat or the Demopublican.

  9. That’s an incredibly flawed belief. The only way that might have worked would have been in his first campaign. I mean, wasn’t that what it was all about? Everyone, young and old, black and white, gay and straight, blue collar, and rich, coming together because Obama was a “transformational” unifying figure?

    He can’t run on that anymore, and even if he did, do you actually think he’d have the credibility? Look at healthcare. His supporters wanted single payer; he gave a  massive corporate bailout to the HMOs, which the penalty of non-participation includes fines and even jail time. 

    He was brought in to stabilize the economy for Middle America. Instead, he rammed through an even more accessive corporate welfare bill that made TARP look small. 

    At a time of staggering student loan debt and degree inflation, he promises to inflate even further and make the degree I’m going for even more worthless. 

    On the civil liberties front, how have we benefited in any way? I think that answer is fairly self-explanatory.

    …So I’ll ask you, if these were the things we got when he actually had to get elected, what makes you think he’ll focus on this agenda in his second term, when he has no accountability to the voters (left or right) whatsoever?

    He is just as much of a corporate tool as Bush ever was. Maybe not quite as bad as Romney, but that isn’t saying much.

    1. “He was brought in to stabilize the economy for Middle America. Instead, he rammed through an even more accessive corporate welfare bill that made TARP look small. ”

      Are you referring to the stimulus? I can’t quite parse all the pseudo-populist-libertarian talking points. We needed a much bigger stimulus IMO, like a bloody massive rail project or internet cable restructuring.

      “Look at healthcare. His supporters wanted single payer; he gave a massive corporate bailout to the HMOs, which the penalty of non-participation includes fines and even jail time. ”
      And you know, fixed the majority of the worst practices of healthcare companies, reformed healthcare for the first time in decades, and did it through a million filibuster threats and a crazy political scheme. People should get healthcare. And a $350 fine if they don’t? Truly, we must live in Communist Russia. Single-payer was possible if another 5-10 Republican Senators decided they didn’t want to be elected ever again.

      “…he promises to inflate even further…”Obama != Bernake. Plus, about half current economists want *more* inflation at the moment, to spur demand.

      “So I’ll ask you, if these were the things we got when he actually had to get elected, what makes you think he’ll focus on this agenda in his second term, when he has no accountability to the voters (left or right) whatsoever?”We got out of Iraq, we’re getting out of AfPak (not soon enough, I agree), ramping down defense spending slightly, people with medical conditions aren’t required to die anymore, and the student loan rework (though delayed) will be a serious improvement.

      But I doubt I’ll convince you.

      1. “ramping down defense spending slightly”

        Obama is ramping down the rate of growth of military spending: military spending is still increasing under his administration.

  10. Citizens United was bad yes, but let’s not pretend it was just this one decision that totally fucked up the future of our democracy. Corporate personhood has been upheld for years by the Supreme Court and it was only a matter of time before it reached its logical conclusion. Sadly, I fear we haven’t even seen the worst of it.

  11. He’s not a moderate. Why do you think the GOP has been so batshit crazy the last few years? It’s because Obama, in his heart, is truly a corporatist right-wing asshole and always has been. 

    Duverger’s law states that when you have two parties inhabiting the same political space, the party that wins must stay closer to the center. This is not a centrist country, much less a center-left. We are a center-right country.

    Democrats have moved right in recent years, so where else were the GOP gonna go but up shit creek? We have ourselves to blame for this mess and this colossally fucked up first-past-the-post system that basically guarantees Obamney will be the next president.

    1. Romney’s started backtracking on some of his right-wing primary promises, he may be to the left of Obama by the time we get to the election. It’s not entirely out of the question that the two parties could change roles in the space of a decade.

      1.  If Romney does backpedal so hard that by election time he goes from Santorum-lite to left of Obama, why would you have any faith in any of his campaign promises?

        1.  You still have faith in campaign promises? Oh dear, I have some bad news about the Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause…

        1. You do realize that Republicans used to be progressive and Democrats used to be the party of Southern white oppression?

          1. Yes, and ‘Liberal’ meant to mean promoting personal end economic freedom and small government, conservative meant supporting a large central government.

          2. I do know that, although I think you are vastly over-simplifying the history; the Democratic party also included a large base in the north-east, from which came a lot of the party’s leadership and expertise.  

            But seems a straw-man to me.  The parties will change roles and Romney will get liberal?  That seems to be ignoring too obvious, critically important factors; Romney cannot pivot too far to the center and win, and the Republican party is getting extremer by the day and will likely continue until they suffer a massive electoral defeat when they do not have a moderate heading their ticket.

            And while Romney’s has to move closer to the center for the election (and his personal politics are probably  more moderate), he will be incredibly constrained with this far-right Congress, which will only get worse if he is elected.  Have you looked at the advisor’s he’s chosen?  A lot of them are ex-Bush administration, and those are the *more* moderate of the bunch.

            TL;DR I find your comment completely out of touch with reality.

        2. She is not serious, she’s a troll. Read her comment history (click on the avatar). She has a link to a domain name, so presumably she’s trolling for hits (and readers, likely).

          1. Antonius?  Enough of my rebuttal comments to her have been deleted to give me the impression that she has official sanction.

            Which I guess doesn’t mean she isn’t trolling, just that it seems in poor taste to troll, and then delete attempts at genuine argument.

          2. Enough of my rebuttal comments to her have been deleted to give me the impression that she has official sanction.

            You have no comments in the Pending, Spam or Deleted bins, so I have no idea what you’re on about.

          3. Well that leaves me in a bind, as the comments I recall aren’t there for me to track down.

            Does your garbage include all the deleted ones, or just yours?

          4. Any comment that is deleted sits in the deleted bin for 30 days. You have no comments that aren’t visible, at least assuming that Disqus isn’t glitching. You can try changing the comment sort order at the top of the thread. Sometimes that will unglitch comments that are invisible to an individual user. It is a known glitch.

      2.  All down to the people to decide. It’s the primaries by the time they are done the election is over, all that’s left is a mass media charade.

  12. If big pharm can’t sell it, it will never be legal, like oxycotin, or methedone, viagra or the overpriced meds they deal to cancer patients.

    1.  This.

      It’s illegal and stays illegal because it IS effective and everyone can grow it. (It’s called weed for a reason.) Criminalizing half the population is good business!

  13. Is there a single person with a single drop of Obama-Koolaid left in their digestive system? 

    “He’ll do it in his second term” apologists popping up in here, you worry me much more than he does…Americans are left to choose between between this flaccid dullard doormat of  a president or some creepshow asylum escapee from the Republicamp… all the while while the world laughs at us as we dance in the desert with our pants around our ankles.

  14. I am going to put this bluntly, because the vast majority of BoingBoing readers either do not understand politics at all, or refuse to reconcile their idealistic shibboleths of “this is how it should be!” outrage with how the World Actually Works.

    This. Is. A. Second. Term. Issue.  Obama is a politician, and politicians cannot/do-not do things that seriously damage their reelection chances.  Obama cannot change the law: marijuana is illegal.  It would even be difficult and politically injurious to try and change the scheduling to 2 or 3.  So continue your outrage, justified as it may be, but don’t confuse the POTUS with a dictator; the latter does not care about public opinion; the former depends on it.

    1.  politicians cannot/do-not do things that seriously damage their reelection chances. 

      Here’s the thing…

      If this issue would damage Obama’s chances at election, then why didn’t it damage him in 2008 when he ran on it and…you know…got elected?

      Sorry, but you make zero sense.

      1.  ..why didn’t it damage him in 2008..

        Because he was running against (a) an inarticulate Mr. Magoo and (b) a recession for which exactly 0% of the blame could be assigned to him.  A department store mannequin holding a king-sized bong could have beat McCain in 2008.

    2. Public opinion is in support of medical marijuana.  He doesn’t have to reschedule it, he can just keep his promise to not raid dispensaries.

      And it’s rather easy to confuse the POTUS with a dictator when he flaunts the War Powers Act and signs into law the removal of due process for terror suspects.  When he opens and maintains secret prisons.  When he prosecutes whistle blowers at unprecedented rates (after promising to protect them), while protecting, instead, the previous administration from investigations into their torture program.  When he runs a secret drone program that regularly results in the horrifically violent deaths of innocent men, women, and children in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.

      But, hey, we don’t understand politics.  If only these people… 


      …could comfort themselves with your level of political understanding.

    3. Wow, just wow.  I’m one of those crazy right wingers and I can tell you without a doubt that any president (including Obama, right now) could legalize marijuana.  The key is how it is done and what is in it for everyone else.   Republicans might not like the idea of legalizing any drugs…but they like the idea of making money more.  Legalize it, tax the ever living shit out of it, funnel that money to useful programs, and show the tax payers and everyone else that the legalization of this drug has over all saved them money.

      Look now everyone is happy.  Cause while Republicans might not like the idea of people using drugs, (not speaking for myself here, more so for my parents generation) they certainly like the idea of paying less in taxes even more.

    4. awesome, thanks for clearing that up! it would’ve been a total shame if i’d read michael’s article and came to the conclusion that obama fucked up. again. thank you also for telling millions of medical patients like me that our health and rights are second term issues, and i’m sure everyone whose jobs and livelihoods are being threatened by the feds are grateful for your empathy as well.

      it’s funny that you’d defend a man who ran on an idealistic slogan of hope and change, then tut tut us boingboing readers for daring to hold the president accountable and for being idealistic.

    5. the President is merely an actor, a puppet for Govcorp/Wall St…he affects markets and public opinion by opening his mouth but all the real systems exist hidden behind him and are working feverishly to maintain their hold over the fellaheen’s consciousness i.e. profiting from people consuming meaningless garbage

  15. Marijuana users are obviously a far more serious threat to American society than torturers and banksters. 

  16. Apparently things have to get even worse in America before they get better. Therefore, I will be voting for Romney in November. And just to make you angrier, I will be doing this via absentee ballot from my ex-pat residence in England.

    1.  No, it’s okay.  Not angry at you. 
      You are only doing what they want you to. 
      Voting for Hitler made Germany a better place in just 16 years. 

      Just sad. 

  17. You have to feel sorry for the system.
    I mean, after suppressing the findings from boards of medical advisors, generating income and jobs jailing easy fodder for the prison-industrial complex; justifying past mistakes again and again, backed up with a hacked-in cultural response written in the halcyon days of propaganda that can be easily exploited for votes.
    To go back on it’s word now…

  18. Well, I tend to think of it along the lines of Nixon opening diplomacy with China : if a Democrat had done it he/she would be called a communist, but if a Republican does it then it’s “realpolitik”; Obama or any Democrat has to stay strict on drugs because otherwise they invite “hippy” comparisons, but a Republican will never get that.

  19. the Mexican cartels are lobbyists in WDC just like the police & prison unions, big Pharma, alcohol and tobacco companies, oil companies, paper companies, textile companies, construction material companies, etc etc etc —  all of whom work very hard to keep cannabis illegal…

    no President will ever reschedule cannabis because if she did too many severed heads would be found along the US Mexican border – and many of them would be US citizens

  20. I have an idea to show the political force and scare the democratic politicians. How about people come to the polls and “VOTE” outside of the polls for OBAMA but do not actually cast the vote inside the building, so we have a real count of people who would have voted for Obama but cast a legit (as in I proved I was at the polls on election day) protest vote showing the votes lost. If those votes were enough or almost enough to swing an election. They would be a powerful political weapon.

  21. Drug Cartels who have a vested interest to keep Artifical Scarcity of Marijuana are just another part of the Klepto-Oligarchy and pay off the Government just like any other member (RIAA, Oil, Telcos, etc) to use the Government to maintain Artificial Scarcity.

  22. Oh, and I’m pretty sure there is a big overlap and/or an overlap of interests of Drug Cartel members and the DEA. Both win if we keep the War on Citizens. Both loose if we end it.

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