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Delirious Nomad

Obama resists using his power to ease marijuana laws

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http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/Obama-resists-using-his-power-to-ease-marijuana-5219705.php

 

When it comes to the regulation of marijuana,President Obama has had a hard time squaring his words with his actions - most notably, his campaign promise to defer to statemedical marijuana laws, followed by a flurry of federal raids on state-licensed dispensaries and the closures of hundreds in California.

Now Obama has discussed the subject in a national television interview, and it's hard to reconcile his words with the law.

It happened Jan. 31, when CNN's Jake Tapper brought up the president's headline-making observation during a recent New Yorker magazine interview that marijuana was no more dangerous than alcohol. Could that mean, Tapper asked Obama, that he would consider removing marijuana from Schedule One of the Controlled Substances Act, reserved for dangerous drugs that have no accepted medical use?

"What is or isn't a Schedule One narcotic is a job for Congress," Obama replied.

When Tapper said he thought the Drug Enforcement Administration made the decision, Obama responded, "It's not something by ourselves that we start changing. No, there are laws undergirding that determination."

Tapper then asked if Obama would support such a change, and the president changed the subject, saying marijuana, like alcohol, was subject to abuse, and that its users face long sentences that sometimes have racial disparities.

White House spin

The White House has tried to spin his comments, suggesting that Obama was really saying it was a job best suited for Congress, which placed marijuana in Schedule One in 1970, alongside heroin and LSD, and has repeatedly rejected bills to ease restrictions. But the straightforward meaning of his words was that he and his administration have no authority to reschedule the drug "by ourselves."

That's not the law.

"You can add to the schedules by regulation," said Marsha Cohen, a UC Hastings lawprofessor and co-author of "Pharmacy Law for California Pharmacists," a book in its seventh printing. "The DEA could do it. ... Most changes are made by the DEA."

That's evident from the battles the Obama administration has fought in the DEA and the courts to maintain the current prohibitions on marijuana. It's also clear from the text of the Controlled Substances Act, the 1970 law that bans or restricts the distribution of various drugs in the United States and overrides more permissive state laws.

The law says the attorney general, by enacting regulations, can "remove any drug or other substance from the schedules" if the attorney general decides it belongs in a less-restricted category. Every attorney general has delegated that authority to the DEA.

The law also says the secretary of Health and Human Services gets to determine, after conducting an evaluation, whether a drug that is being considered for rescheduling has medical uses, and can even decide unilaterally that "a drug or other substance not be controlled." The secretary has assigned those evaluations to the Food and Drug Administration.

DEA's authority

The attorney general, other Cabinet secretaries and administrators at federal agencies such as the DEA and FDA are all appointed by the president.

Even DEA agent and spokesman Joseph Moses, who insisted that his agency's primary roles in such proceedings were law enforcement and security, acknowledged that the executive branch, and not just Congress, has the power to reschedule a drug.

"If the president wanted rescheduling, I don't think he'd have a hard time persuading the DEA to do so," said San Francisco attorney Joseph Elford, who was involved in the most recent effort to get the DEA to remove marijuana from Schedule One. "He could do it if he wanted to, and he's choosing not to."

Moving marijuana to Schedule Two would allow doctors to legally prescribe it. Other Schedule Two drugs include morphine, Ritalin, methamphetamine and cocaine.

 

Findings rejected

The DEA has battled rescheduling efforts for years, beginning in 1972, when the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws asked the agency's predecessor, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, to move marijuana to Schedule Two.

The agency refused to consider it, relented after a court order, and finally ordered public hearings before the DEA's chief administrative law judge, Francis Young - who concluded in 1988 that cannabis was "one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man" and should not remain under strict prohibition.

President Ronald Reagan's DEA administrator, John Lawn, rejected Young's findings and adopted regulations tightening the criteria for rescheduling. A federal appeals court upheld his decision in 1994.

Similar events unfolded after organizations led by Americans for Safe Access sought to reschedule marijuana in 2002. The DEA sat on the request for most of the George W. Bushadministration, then rejected it in 2011 under Obama.

Federal courts again upheld the decision, saying the DEA had reasonably concluded - despite scientific reports suggesting that marijuana had medical benefits - that no large-scale, long-term studies had been conducted to confirm those findings. Another petition is pending before the DEA from the governors of Washington, Rhode Island, Vermont and Colorado.

"The Obama administration fought strenuously against reclassification" in the DEA proceedings and the court case, said Kris Hermes, spokesman for Americans for Safe Access in Oakland. He said Obama was "trying to pass the buck to Congress" on marijuana - in contrast with the president's State of the Union speech, in which he promised executive action to bypass congressional logjams.

Easing supply barriers

Rescheduling pot as a Schedule Two drug, or the less-restricted Schedule Three - the classification of the cannabis pill Marinol - would make it available by prescription in pharmacies. Government barriers to supplies for research would also be eased.

"It would not make it legal to smoke pot," said UC Hastings' Cohen, who contends marijuana patients are better off with vaporizers than reefers and wants the federal government to clear the way.

"There is obviously an accepted medical use in practice," she said.

Bob Egelko is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: begelko@sfchronicle.com

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Looking at this fro mthe other side of the pond, it seems that POTUS has no balls, DEA is stubborn because of money and the whole issue is a farce. Hopefully some light shines through those thick skulls. Cool article!

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Welcome to the Tipping Point.

 

Probably a good thing, as much as the other party hates the guy we would never get the republicans on board if he gives us a nod.

 

Better we have this out during the elections in 2016.

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On top of that, you just can't have the 1st black president do that. It will turn his presidency into a punch line , think of all the racist bullshit that would come up. We can hope Hillary might help the cause, but the way to make this work is through the attorney general and bank lobbyists.... We just need to show them the dollar signs, a friend of mine just told me they are pulling $ 300,000 a day in taxes in Colorado....

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I agree with Smokey on this topic, as far as the political risk envolved for his party and his legacy.

 

The problem with All politicians is that they care more about politics than the people. They have to or they would never be elected. Not one of them would I ever want to smoke a joint with.

 

The only people that hate weed are those that are just too afraid to give it a try, rednecksm and the church. Many of them are pill heads and alcoholics. It is my belief that there are very few people that are not getting loaded on something.

 

I have given this a lot of thought in my 53 years, and it seems like the number one problem is money. The government taxes the hell out of booze and cigarettes, something that is generally manufactured and easy to control. If people grew weed it would cut into revenue. People would be enjoying a vice without paying the governments their cut, a travesty.It makes me sick, like when it cost $15 to visit a national park.

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I think, for the first time, legalization will become a serious topic in at least one of the presidential debates this next round. I am personally going to vote no for the taxation and regulation of cannabis, because I believe in real legalization, of all drugs. DEA needs to go the way of Blockbuster Video and Circuit City and become an afterthought, history. Then use the savings from enforcement, legal proceedings, and incarceration to pay for treatment facilities and free college for all. Problem solved. Peace.

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Sorry guys I disagree, Im black and I dont use or let people use my skin color as a crutch on why I cant get things done.

 

He has fooked us real good. He thinks more of his legacy than the people who are sitting in prison.

 

i pray to God that ruthless hillary does not get in there. I think people are tired of the same ol same old..

 

I guess obama gets another free pass again ,wow it never ends.

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On top of that, you just can't have the 1st black president do that. It will turn his presidency into a punch line , think of all the racist bullshit

 

That gets old,look how far he has come as a black man, hell most of the votes he got was because he was black and not his ability to do the job .

 

The word Racist is being watered down, when you use it like they do today.

 

Ive traveled the world and racist is all over not just down south and not just agaist us black folks.

 

Ive not lived down south for awhile but some of the nicest no bullshit people on earth.

 

But if you disagree with obama your a racist,wow

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It's got nothing to do with you or your experiences being black, disagree or not. if Obama legalized , the republicans would go nuts, plain and simple . They do it now , the are against everything he does for no better reason, than they don't like him. It sucks but it's true. I understand what your saying about not letting your skin color define you or have it be a reason you aren't successful, but when you are in the spotlight like

 

He is , everything you do is scrutinized

 

Also you need to work on your reading skills , no one said if you were against him your a racist.

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Smokey he begged for the job and now he blames others for why he cant get it done. I voted for the guy both times.

 

My reading skills? You need to educate yourself alittle and get your head out of the sand my friend ;)

 

Blaming Bush and the republicans is getting old. If I use that on my job I would not have it long,lol

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You have to be kidding.he can't get anything done because the republicans block everything he does... He doesn't claim that .... It's fact. So wait , you are bashing him, you must be a racist right?? And believe me I have educated myself plenty. Look new guy, I don't want to fight with you, I'm not into that and this forum is not either. Welcome to opengrow, post some pics let's talk herb. The you being a racist comment is obviously a joke , no offense

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He is , everything you do is scrutinized

 

 

 

Bush,which I cant stand was bashed at every turn but never was the word racist used . Obama is black and I can think of a lot better more qualified black poeple who deserve the job he wasted

 

I dont want argue either my friend ;) You post some pics 1st and I will be glad to follow :)

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Sorry guys I disagree, Im black and I dont use or let people use my skin color as a crutch on why I cant get things done.

 

He has fooked us real good. He thinks more of his legacy than the people who are sitting in prison.

 

i pray to God that ruthless hillary does not get in there. I think people are tired of the same ol same old..

 

I guess obama gets another free pass again ,wow it never ends.

 

He is like every other politician in that regard.

 

But don't get inside his head, you don't know what is in there. When he acts or speaks on a topic it is approved by a counsil of advisors that make sure he don't do or say something stupid. Biden needs a counsil like that and because of his mouth he will never be president. I am sure that Obama thinks differently than we see of his actions, He has to swallow a lot of nasty pills because of the job he has. When he is in the private sector you will see a different man, I bet money on it.

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u must like something he's doing, u voted for him twice. as smokey said, it kinda does boil down to racism. obama wanting to be a memorable honest leader, wanting to be viewed as the black man that proved it can be done, not the black that made black people look bad vs everyone that voted for him because he was black and/or because they thought he was gonna act it. they wanted that aggressive no bullshit taking strong man in office, thinking he was gonna kinda bully his way into making things right. but you might have to look at it from his point of view. everyone already thinks all black people smoke weed, he'll just be confirming it, as is confirming all other thoughts if he acted so. this might not only affect him but future colored candidates. well not colored but "cool colored", or just anyone out of the normal line up since the start. people like herman cain will never stand a chance. obama does what he can cautiously, which is best for his situation. people wanted malcolm, but he presented martin if you catch my drift. me, im personally more malcolm that martin, but u see who gets the recognition.

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Look at the polls,all people smoke cannabis not just black. White's out number the blacks smoking. Who cares we are all brothers and sister and using tthe race card is to keep the black man down ;) White's are in prison and busted too just like black and other skin colors.

 

Lets stand together and dont let racism hold and divide us. Cannabis will bring us together!

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Sorry Dogs I ran out of votes... Ill get you one tomorrow!

 

Edit:

When I find myself having an argument with friends its cause is either politics or women. Most of the times it's women. We try to avoid these subjects as much as we can.

 

Now let's talk some more cannabis girls...

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"When he is in the private sector you will see a different man, I bet money on it."

 

And that does us good how? You dont talk and act like you canget it all done, then fall flat.

 

I also voted fort he guy twice(hello mccain or romeny? even worse) but know when ive been fooled.

 

Bring me Senator Elizabeth Warren,she actually gives a crap

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"White's are in prison and busted too just like black and other skin colors."

 

 

Thats the problem. All colors smoke easily but blacks and other minorities are trown in jail 3-4 times as much as white people.Theres a huge disparity.

 

Looking at the numbers its immposible for any sane person to not say color doesnt haver anything to do with drug incareration

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All im gonna say is, as a Marine (youre always a Marine) I feel this country is blaming everything on the POTUS...The dude has to fight a very good ol boy congress on everything. And everything bush done repubs somehow blame the black guy..If marines talked about bush the way I see online, they wouldve been court martialed. Trust me. You signed the dotted line and there isnt a draft so stfu n do your job. Marines nowadays are pussies. Jeez Obama is taking out terrorists with drones like hell, got Osama, friggin economy is comin back, and states are lining up for med mary jane. Friggin you think the other guys would be allowing this to happen? If a repub gets in office in 2016 washington n colorado, id be lookin over my shoulder n out my windows cuz feferal laws qill be enforced happily by any repub pres...watch

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Bush,which I cant stand was bashed at every turn but never was the word racist used . Obama is black and I can think of a lot better more qualified black poeple who deserve the job he wasted

 

I dont want argue either my friend ;) You post some pics 1st and I will be glad to follow :)

 

I for one have always calledvthe bush familyvracist..The only thing kanye west and i will ever agree upon. Dude this argument is just opinion. Facts are out there but you keep saying obama is blaming. Have you actually been watching the news or just picking out what ya wanna use as fodder? If youre black n vote repub? Im dumbfounded...

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You said it, Indican. I wasn't a marine, but a sailor. Every night, I have dreams of the military life. Sometimes they will be inspecting my person, or property, at work. Other crazy dreams like that. I am pretty sure I will be having them for the rest of my life. Usually a nice bowl of some dank will set things right. I seen how the marines got treated, far worse than how the Navy was. I felt spoiled next to them, but then there is the Air Force, who have the nicest barracks, food, and other perks not seen in other branches. Cheers!

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I was a paid political fundraiser for pres. O on the first go-round. I talked to people all across the country. His hotline was also advertised nationally as a "place" you could call to voice your concerns/desires about current and future issues and policy. So, I talked to so many different people... I was told to let people talk while I transcribed. Once I transcribed for two hours straight with a conspiracy theorist. O's right-hand man (David A) said to let them talk too. I estimated that about 40% of my time was spent talking to people in mental institutions; who possibly didn't even have the capacity to vote. It was often quite entertaining, so know your tax dollars were well spent! Okay, so I'm rambling, not sure if I had a point... oh yeah, so I can honestly say not once was race brought up. It was mostly people bashing Bush and about bringing our soldiers home. No doubt he got the black folk to the polls, but he really rocked the under 30 white vote as well. Why does everyone call him black? Does that completely cancel out the white? ;)

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