Obama's Marijuana Moments: Top 5 Stances, Statements And Subterfuges
Would you pass the dutchie on the left hand side to this guy?
The Left Coast is rejoicing today after President Obama announced that same-sex couples should be able to marry. And it wasn't lost on us that he made the statement on the eve of a fundraising trip to George Clooney's house tonight in the hills above Studio City.
Maybe the timing was intended to help your forget that other issue you care deeply about -- the freedom to get medicinal. Obama has a history on the subject that's rockier than storm surf at Zuma Beach.
We take you through Obama's Top 5 moments in marijuana.
5. Obama backs medical marijuana prosecution: Last month Obama made a huge flippy floppy when he said that he had to stand by as his U.S. Department of Justice prosecuted and raided weed businesses in medical-legal states like California. He said:
It's against federal law. I can't nullify congressional law. I can't ask the Justice Department to say, 'Ignore completely a federal law that's on the books.'
Turns out he can: By single-handed, executive order the president can downgrade marijuana from a wholly illegal, Schedule I drug to one with medical legitimacy (Schedule II or III).
4. You got blown off (and not the good way, either): When, late last year, the White House said it would address top, vote-getting topics created via online petition, decriminalizing marijuana was at the top of the popularity ranking.
But Obama had Richard Gil Kerlikowske, the White House Drug Czar, respond with a lame rant about how pot "is not a benign drug:"
... We ardently support ongoing research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine. To date, however, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition.
Obama was blowing smoke again.
3. Actions speak louder than words. Obama's federal law enforcers have cracked down on state-legal medical marijuana businesses in California, including a raid last month on Oakland's Oaksterdam University, home to proprietor Richard Lee, who was the main backer of California's nearly successful initiative to fully legalize weed.
Late last year, federal crackdowns on dispensaries, including on Noho Caregivers right here in L.A., shocked many Obama supporters led to believe that feds would back off.
2. Obama said feds wouldn't aim at pot in medical-legal states. When he was running for president, Obama said he would not "use Justice Department resources to try and circumvent state laws about medical marijuana." The prez actually seemed to deliver in 2009, when the Department of Justice released its "Ogden memo" asking feds not to prioritize raids and prosecution of marijuana crime that's related to legit uses in medical marijuana states.
You believed it? Sucker.
1. Hell yeah he smoked that shit: Your hopes were so high, so to speak, when you realized that the guy running for president in 2008 actually said this in contrast to President Bill Clinton's past contention that he experimented with weed but "didn't inhale:"
When I was a kid, I inhaled. That was the point.
Isn't it though? Presidents are so cute when they're young. Too bad they have to grow up to become politicians.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.