Coalition Urges Obama to End “War” on Medical Marijuana

Coalition Urges Obama to End “War” on Medical Marijuana

A coalition of drug reform organizations is asking President Obama to end what it calls a “war” on medical marijuana patients and providers. In a letter to the president, the coalition called recent federal action against medical marijuana distributors “misguided and counterproductive.”

Medical marijuana is legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia to treat symptoms of a variety of health problems, including glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, cancer and chronic pain. The federal government still considers marijuana a controlled substance, but Obama promised during the 2008 presidential campaign not to prosecute medical marijuana users who comply with state regulations.

“We simply cannot understand why you have reneged on your administration’s earlier policy of respecting state medical marijuana laws,” the coalition states in its letter to the president. “Instead of celebrating – or even tolerating – this state experimentation, which has benefited patients and taken profits away from drug cartels, you have turned your back as career law enforcement officials have run roughshod over some of the most professional and well-regulated medical marijuana providers.

The letter to Obama is endorsed by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), and the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP).

The coalition believes the recent raid conducted by the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Internal Revenue Service on Oaksterdam University in Oakland, Calif. is part of a national effort to drive medical marijuana distribution back underground. The university is the state’s first marijuana trade school and a popular dispensary. Both are run by Richard Lee, a prominent marijuana activist. Lee said Friday he would close the school and the dispensary because the federal raid had bankrupted him. He said he would focus solely on advocacy work.

Federal agents have conducted more than 170 raids on medical marijuana operations since 2009, according to Americans for Safe Access, and in recent months U.S. attorneys have sent hundreds of letters to landlords of marijuana dispensaries, ordering them to evict their tenants or face seizure of their property.

The coalition is concerned that the Obama administration’s National Drug Control Strategy Report, which is expected to be released soon, will maintain existing federal policies for marijuana, “which further cement the control of the marijuana trade in the hands of drug cartels and illegal operators.”

“With approximately 50,000 people dead in Mexico over the past five years as the result of drug war-related violence, we hope that you will immediately reconsider your drug control strategy and will work with, not against, states and organizations that are attempting to shift control of marijuana cultivation and sales, at least as it applies to medical marijuana, to a controlled and regulated market.”

California’s medical marijuana industry took in about $2 billion and generated $100 million in state sales taxes in 2008.

Authored by: Rhonda Donaldson

There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Richard P Steeb at 7:33 pm

    The FACT that 16 states plus DC have specifically and deliberately ACCEPTED the MEDICAL USE of CANNABIS makes “Schedule I Cannabis” an indisputable damned lie.

    That makes the Department of Justice a bunch of armed goons perpetrating atrocities.

    It is long past time to end this abominable abortion of justice.

  2. Malcolm Kyle at 2:26 am

    An appeal to all Prohibitionists:

    Most of us know that individuals who use illegal drugs are going to get high – no matter what, so why do you not prefer they acquire them in stores that check IDs and pay taxes? Even if we could afford to put anti-narcotic police on every single street corner, we also know that at least half of them would soon become dealers themselves. Gifting the market in narcotics to ruthless criminals, foreign terrorists and corrupt law enforcement officials is seriously compromising our future.

    We simply cannot continue with a policy that has proven itself to be a poison in the veins of practically every free nation on this planet. Even if you cannot bear the thought of people using drugs, there is absolutely nothing you, or any government, can do to stop them. We have spent 40 years and trillions of dollars on this dangerous farce; Prohibition will not suddenly and miraculously start showing different results.

    Do you actually believe you may personally have something to lose If we were to begin basing drug policy on science & logic instead of ignorance, hate and lies? Maybe you’re a police officer, a prison guard or a local/national politician. Possibly you’re scared of losing employment, overtime-pay, the many kick-backs and those regular fat bribes. But what good will any of that do you once our society has followed Mexico over the dystopian abyss of dismembered bodies, vats of acid and marauding thugs carrying gold-plated AK-47s with leopard-skinned gunstocks?

    You may find lies easier to tell, but they do nothing to prevent the existence of truth, they do nothing to help you sleep at night, and they do absolutely nothing to help those who depend on you for their safety and health.

    Kindly allow us to forgo the next level of your sycophantic prohibition-engendered mayhem!

    Prohibition Prevents Regulation : Legalize, Regulate and Tax!

  3. Kirk Muse at 1:47 pm

    It must be asked what would motivate President Barack Obama to make the dramatic about face regarding his administrations marijuana policy? I suggest that the answer is money and lots of it.

    In Ken Burns’ outstanding PBS documentary “Prohibition,” it was revealed that alcohol prohibition corrupted all levels of our government — all the way up to Warren G. Harding in the White House. The alcohol cartels had hundreds of politicians on their payroll.

    Is it unreasonable to suspect that the drug cartels of today are following in the footsteps of the alcohol cartels? It’s obvious that medical marijuana dispensaries were making a major dent in the income of the Mexican drug cartels.

    Would a multi-million dollar bribe placed in his offshore bank account motivate President Obama to change his policy regarding medical marijuana? We will never know. But I certainly suspect so.