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Tom Head

No, Obama Won't Legalize Marijuana

By March 27, 2009

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So I just received my daily email bulletin from CNN's Larry King Live advertising tonight's show, and the headline reads:
Tonight: Should Marijuana Be Legalized?

Will President Obama make history and legalize the use of marijuana? Not if opponents can help it! Montel Williams, Stephen Baldwin and other debate the issue!
Obama has already said, on numerous occasions, that he would not legalize marijuana. That's what he said during the campaign, that's what he's still saying now. Early indications suggested that he would honor his campaign promise to end federal raids on medical marijuana clinics that abide by state laws, but the recent raid on Emmalyn's California Cannabis Clinic calls even that policy into question.

I'm not saying that Obama shouldn't legalize marijuana (he should), or even that anti-prohibition groups shouldn't be demanding that he do just that (that's their job). But expecting Barack Obama to legalize marijuana where Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton did not, and during his first 100 days in office no less, just isn't realistic--and encouraging activists to expect this will only lead to disappointment and burnout. A more realistic expectation is that he'll at least follow his campaign promise to end raids on medical marijuana dispensaries, which is why the recent California raid should be getting more press right now.

That said, I'm heartened--and everybody who believes in the democratic process should also be heartened--by how visible the pro-legalization movement has become. And there are indications, such as Rep. Loretta Sanchez' proposed bill to legalize marijuana in California, that the legalization movement is finally gaining steam. But there aren't likely to be any shortcuts. Until the Obama administration has made a clear and unambiguous commitment to ceding medical marijuana decisions to the states, and until that policy has been enshrined in the federal code so that it won't be reversed with the next Republican president, expecting an abrupt end to all federal marijuana prohibition just isn't realistic.

See also: Why is Marijuana Illegal?


March 27, 2009 at 7:58 pm
(1) Alric Knebel says:

What gets me most about this whole drug war is that it’s an easy way to empower the police. Too much searching, too much exaggerating of charges, and too many people having to cowtow to courts and probation officers, and paying gobs of money for a harmless offense. Just a couple of days ago, I heard about these two fellows riding four wheelers down a country road. They were smoking pot. They passed another vehicle going to opposite direction. They finished the pot, and then noticed that the vehicle had turned around and was closing down on them. They assumed it was a confrontation with a private citizen. It was a policeman in an unmarked car. They weren’t carrying anything, but a search turned up a couple of seeds in their pockets, that fell out of the joint. They arrested them for “conspiring to grow”. That’s the sort of nonsense we have to put up with.

March 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm
(2) Shakin' My Head says:

Yah. Well. Marijuana will, and should, be legalized. The next drug war will be on tobacco. Feds make more money from illegal drugs. Potheads don’t have any more property left. But think of all the tobacco users stuff! LOTS to raid.

March 30, 2009 at 6:15 pm
(3) darlene says:


March 30, 2009 at 6:35 pm
(4) Shakin' My Head says:

Darlene: In case you hadn’t noticed…the economy was waaaaayyyyy gone before Obama got in office. The Bush Reich destroyed it all then.

But, then, ya gotta blame somebody, eh? The rich guys got their bonus’, took off on retreat, and moved back to Texas…left the crumbled remains of our economy for someone else to take care of.

March 30, 2009 at 11:29 pm
(5) Ella says:

This is actually very disturbing. Our nation is in financial crisis and the focus today is on wether or not Obama should legalize pot. I am more concerned with him finding ways to help us,while groceries,gas and cigerettes go to climb, soften the blow. Though I guess with the cost of living being so outragous we should all be high to deal with the stress of it all. That way it would be considered medicinal use and it would be legal. I acutauly can’t stomach the fact that I vote for a president I think cares about the real issues of our nation and am faced with a debate on should weed be legal. I now have my doubts and what sickens me more is that people get paid to sit and debate this subject. This whole thing just makes me sick.

March 30, 2009 at 11:39 pm
(6) Tutu808 says:

Amen to Shake My Head. This would save the country a lot of money AND make the country a lot of money. It’s about time. But I understand that it has to go through steps. The first step is to give the states a say.

April 1, 2009 at 5:08 am
(7) orkuma says:

Marijuana is not a harmless drug.It has been proved that it is very harmful and dangerous.It is one the major causes mental illness and lung diseases in my country nigeria.Also marijuana users are likely to move to more dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroine

April 1, 2009 at 2:38 pm
(8) allah says:

what does freedom mean too you?

April 2, 2009 at 8:59 pm
(9) Truth says:

Orkuma, please back up some of your allegations with facts. A new study was done at The University of Pittsburgh proved that marijuana does not lead to harder drugs. It all depends on the persons mentality and has nothing to do with the drug itself(In that case and drug, even alcohol, can be seen as a gateway drug). Also, anything that burns and can be smoked can lead to lung disease.(even incense can lead to lung cancer) Let’s be realistic, the drug war in American is failing with people being arrested for none violent crimes, which is ruining many of those peoples lives. Also we can make and saves billions of dollars legalizing marijuana through decreasing criminal justice fees and decreasing the prison populations.(That’s not taking into account the taxation) There is no reason to not legalize marijuana. Keep in mind two worse drugs (alcohol and cigarettes) are legal where cigarettes kill over 420,000 Americans a year. I’m sorry, but there is no real reason to keep up with this prohibition. (There is much information to support why marijuana should be legalized, you just have to do the research before believing the propaganda)

April 4, 2009 at 2:12 pm
(10) Greg says:

Democratic Congress and Senate have ruined the economy, along side the opportunistic banks and whom leveraged our investments against ignorant citizenís inability to control their own spending in a home mortgage. Face facts. Bush spent too much on liberal social programs, which has the Republicans screwed for credibility. Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, have already done the same to the Democrats. Obama is as moronic as Bush was with one exception. The far left is so far in the tank for Obama that no one will question his irresponsible decisions.

Yes to legalizing marijuana. Not fair only Montel gets to have it.

April 13, 2009 at 1:54 pm
(11) Legal Marijuana says:

And it’s a good thing that he doesn’t. In my opinion, even if there is so much pressure on this matter, marijuana should only be legalized for medical purposes. And even this would be hard to do, and the legal frame should be very well thought in order to avoid any abuse.

April 13, 2009 at 3:19 pm
(12) Legal Marijuana says:

And itís a good thing that he doesnít.In my opinion, even if there is so much pressure on this matter, marijuana should only be legalized for medical purposes. And even this would be hard to do, and the legal frame should be very well thought in order to avoid any abuse.

April 26, 2009 at 7:24 pm
(13) carl says:

Marijuana should be legalized. Even if all the points made about legalizing marijuana (saving money, putting law enforcment to work on real crimes, saving innocent people from jail, etc.) were false there is still the most important reason in the world to legalize:it is a basic human right to be able to choose what one does with his own body. Plain and simple. It doesn’t matter if it is bad for health (which it is not and actually Mcdonald’s hamburgers are probably worse), or if everyone will become addicted, etc. It doesn’t matter, because it is a basic human right and the government has no right to interfere. There is no argument whatsoever that can go above this simple fact.

May 8, 2009 at 3:05 pm
(14) Mike Riley says:

Lets see now, according to recorded history pot became illegal under FDR and a Democratic controlled congress. All of the harsh laws implemented in the 1950s & putting pot on Scheduled I was under a Demcratic controlled congress. Random drug testing started under Clinton and Democratic controlled congress. Now with Obama and Democratics in charge once again then why is pot still on Schedule I and dispensaries still being raided?! Don’t blame Bush or Republicans especially considering that 8 of 12 states who have medicinal pot were signed into law by Republican Governors.

May 8, 2009 at 3:15 pm
(15) Mike Riley says:

Now for all of you idiots who think the economy is coming back under Obama then I suggest you study the John Maynard Keynes-Karl Marx ideology that he is following and you will find it is a failed ecomomic system that adds more to the federal budgets and deficits (over 11 TRILLION IN THE RED). FDR tried it and couldn’t get the unemployment lower than 13 1/2% in his first 8 years!! Obama, like all Democrats, believes that Federal Law trumps State Law so don’t expect him to help medicinal pot users like myself. Muslims don’t like pot.

May 12, 2009 at 1:17 pm
(16) mckenzie says:

pot is fun

June 17, 2009 at 7:05 am
(17) hashashin says:

@ Mike Riley

1. Keynesian economics is a huge topic, and it’s incredibly naive to say that it is always wrong.
2. FDR ended the great depression. sorry!
3. Obama is not a muslim.
4. Some muslims love pot. For example, one of the earliest sects of muslims were known by their enemies as the “Hashashin” (the hash smokers). The term “assassin” comes from them, they were fearless, and they were potheads.

June 29, 2009 at 9:48 pm
(18) Joe says:

Marijuana won’t ever be legalized because of the people that make money from cotton,paper,and anything else hemp is made out of because why isn’t hemp legal it only contains 1 percent thc in it (the active ingrediant in weed). Marijuana was said dangerous as a cover up for thegoverment in the 1930s and trust me I did my home work (I’m a stoner and damn proud of it) if you don’t beleive me about the cover up then look for yourself it’s called the marijuana conspiricy and cops need to put there nose in some1s else buisness but anyway peace

July 21, 2009 at 10:31 pm
(19) MIKE JONES says:

I just wish the whole world can just sit down together and past the fastest blunt around and not worry about anything…

December 14, 2009 at 5:40 pm
(20) Mike Reich says:

Bongs like humans. medicine is all bad. ask bon jovi. hey jon? come here. which drugs are bad? All of em’. This plant tastes sweet and saucy. try it. thanks jon. new jersey is not keynesian. it’s more nuclear than that.

December 21, 2009 at 8:33 pm
(21) ezeking306 says:

ok im not gonna get into all that about tha economy(tha parts that have been said that is) but weed first of all is used my more then 60% of americans. it puts millions even billions into the hands of drug dealers which could easily be put into the economy. now im not sayin that weed dosent have bad sides but so does everything else. the D.A.R.E people G.R.E.A.T people and even cops are punishing and puttin down the users of drugs even tho they do it themselves. cops are nothin but narcs who do that shit. wen a cop arrests somebody for possesion of weed they dont turn in all of it they keep some for themselves and we all knoe they do. im not sayin u dont have a rite to voice ur opinion and tell why its wrong. but at leats listin to why it could help. it would lower tha tax on inmates in prison so tha economy could save that money and use it to get us out of tha shit were in now

April 2, 2010 at 11:19 am
(22) Tashbear says:

“I think there is nothing wrong with marijuana, I say now days more and more people do it. I mean what does it mean to Native, did he think about that. Just like in some cultures now have this as their own ceremony. Every one in our economy is so close minded these days, but once you see the world in a different perspective and open your mind and see what your missing. I mean Marijuana fields where the first to become farms, and people did/survive on it years after years. And I mean there is o actual evidence that anyone was killed from it either, unlike alcohol”

September 7, 2010 at 11:55 am
(23) average day normal guy says:

You know why they wont legalize pot? it is beacause they (aka Goverment) knows they were wrong in the first palce to make it illegal. Lumber mills and cigaret companies payed off the goverment basically to have their product taxed and legal. Hemp was cheap, easy to grow, and crop. When the goverment came in and was like hey lets tax it. The farmers said no. So the goverment made it illegal and screwed over America. I think its funny that our own goverment says POT is bad for you. Its not. If pot is so bad then why and the hell is Cigarets and Alcohol legal? oh yea because they can tax it and they have control of it. Another reason they wont make cigarets illegal is because it keeps a balance or people in America. If cigarets and alcohol was illegal alot of people would not be dying. Hence more people and the population would grow. If they just made cigarets illegal and pot legal i bet you alot of people would stop dying and the economy would grow greatly. Less people dying from the side effects of cigarets and the pot would be helping fix them.

June 29, 2011 at 11:25 pm
(24) dae says:

Obama should think of all da money dat wud be made from marijuana… when marijuana becomes legal dats where all da teens r goin to spend dere money, at da smoke shop.. so just think how much money will be made of of da weed…..

October 8, 2011 at 10:32 am
(25) Blake says:

americans are way to conservative to legalize marijuana, because if it was legalized drastic changes would happen. i think thats what it would really come down to. when it comes to the last second, when we have no where else to turn theyll do it.

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