It wouldn't surprise us to see a sitting president tighten up on marijuana enforcement as he faces an upcoming election against an increasingly right-wing Republican party. However, we are a little surprised that Obama did so using some less-than-honest reasoning.
He recently explained his federal crackdown on medical marijuana in places like California by saying, ” … 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:
At the same White House Correspondents Dinner over the weekend in which the president was skewered by Jimmy Kimmel over his pot policy, Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, acknowledged there's quite a lot the administration could do to back off state-legal medical cannabis.
Holder happened to be sitting at the table of the Huffington Post, where a journalist asked him about Obama's statement suggesting the administration's hands were tied by “congressional law.”
The Post journalist noted that Obama could legally make an executive decision removing marijuana as a Schedule I drug, thus allowing its legal medical use — and preventing even federal law enforcers from going after legit dispensaries.
Congressional approval would not be necessary.