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Attn Gen. Holder: Yes, The Executive Branch Could Remove MMJ from DEA Hands

Some people here have argued that the executive branch can do nothing to decriminalize medical marijuana - that this issue is solely dealt with by Congress.

I have begged to differ in the past - and explained how the process of decriminalization by the executive branch could work here:

How the DEA, the Attn General or Congress Could Reschedule Cannabis

Attn Gen. Holder reiterated this truth at the White House Correspondents Dinner.


Attorney General Eric Holder was a guest of The Huffington Post at the correspondents’ dinner. Before it began, a HuffPost reporter noted to Holder that Obama’s reference to “congressional law” was misleading because the executive branch could simply remove marijuana from its “schedule one” designation, thereby recognizing its medical use.

“That’s right,” Holder said.

After Kimmel’s speech, a Holder deputy told HuffPost that there was no coordinated war on medical marijuana, but that some individual clinics were breaking both state and federal laws.

In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Obama provided a factually wrong answer that radically distorted the nature of federal law in an attempt to deflect criticism for the federal crackdown on medical marijuana. Obama claimed he “can’t nullify Congressional law” when it comes to medical marijuana, even though the Controlled Substance Act actually gives the Executive branch the authority to “reschedule” (reclassify) marijuana without Congressional action. By simply moving marijuana to a lower schedule the Obama administration could make medical marijuana legal under federal law. Obama would not need to nullify this Congressional law, because Congress already gave him the authority to change marijuana’s legal status.

So, just to be clear - Obama chose to do the wrong thing in regard to medical marijuana. Admitting this does not mean I'm not going to vote for him - but it's important to recognize that Obama is playing politics with people with life-threatening illnesses because some Republicans would attack him for doing the right thing, and doing the right thing would upset some powerful people within bureaucracies like the DEA, within the pharmaceutical industry, and within the prison industry.

I'm sorry that Obama chose to do the wrong thing on this issue. He's not the first, of course. Clinton was on the wrong side of history on this issue too. Throughout history many otherwise laudable politicians have been on the wrong side of various issues.

But let it be clearly understood: Obama is on the wrong side of this issue based upon the scientific and medical research and based upon the will of the American people. The only reason for someone to side against science and the wishes of the majority of the American people is special interests.

Eight in 10 Americans support legalizing marijuana for medical use.

16 States have passed medical marijuana laws. 16 more states have medical marijuana laws pending.

It's not good to be the last man standing on the wrong side of an issue, as someone recently noted in relation to other social issues.

David Simon (The Wire) on the War on Drugs, Trayvon Martin and...

An unarmed black teenager was shot to death in Florida recently. You probably read about it or caught the controversy on the tube. A lot of people are saying that the kid deserved it, that he attacked the fellow with the gun, that he was a thug, that he’d been suspended from school, that he wasn’t so innocent as people think. Others are saying the gunman is racist, that he’s a self-appointed vigilante, that he had no business trailing the kid, that he’s kind of a nutcase.

If we can manufacture a good guy, we can exalt him. If we can manufacture a bad guy, we can degrade him. If we can’t decide, we can argue and call each other names. But more than anything complicated, the dialectic is always about deciding who is the bigger asshole, in this case, dead kid or his shooter.

Folks slathering that silly shit on the cake weren’t there when the show was struggling to survive, and now, four years later, they’re busy hacking the thing into pop-culture nuggets — which would be cool if anywhere in there an actual idea got discussed or argued or considered. That’s my view anyway, and I let fly.

This ever-expanding drug war and what it’s doing to our society? Boring. The declining American commitment to public education and equality of opportunity? Why talk about that when we can measure Namond against Dookie in the West Baltimore bracket? The notion that an America that uses quarterly profits as its only metric is no longer a utilitarian experiment, that free market capitalism, disconnected from a social compact, has made our country coarse and unjust? Jesus, man, you’re sucking the air out of the room.

and more....


New Hampshire passes legislation to become the 17th legal mmj state

the deal is not yet done, however.

From MMP:

Today, the Republican-dominated New Hampshire House passed legislation that would make New Hampshire the 17th medical marijuana state.

The vote was a crushing 236-96, which is a veto-proof majority. And we actually needed to get a veto-proof majority, because Gov. John Lynch (D) has promised to veto our bill, just as he did in 2009.

A few weeks ago, the state Senate voted 13-11 to pass our bill, so MPP’s New Hampshire team is working furiously to get up to 16 votes in the Senate, which would be a veto-proof majority in that chamber.

Seems more and more people in the U.S. are moving toward the end of prohibition.

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Changing the World: Radical Enlightenment and Basic Human Rights (Jonathan Israel)


California 90420 and Pot: Inc

A new documentary and a new book about America's failed prohibition discussed in articles on Salon.


It might sound like pothead paranoia to suggest that President Obama told the Justice Department to go after California’s medical marijuana industry because it’s an election year and he’s willing to trade the freedoms of stoners in Venice Beach and Oakland for a (largely theoretical) handful of blue-collar voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania. But this is the Democratic Party we’re talking about, so almost no level of moral cowardice is inconceivable. Obama himself seems way too tightly wound to have been much of a toker (whatever he may say about his Columbia years), and has proven to have little concern for civil liberties of any sort, except as they are deemed to affect electoral votes.

Over the next generation or two, pot will probably become decriminalized, step by step, but for the time being we’ll make do with massive hypocrisy on all sides, as depicted half-accidentally in Shull’s film. Oaksterdam is in trouble, and Ix never got to teach her proposed class on “bluntology” and the importance of avoiding “canoeing” (you figure it out). On the other hand, she’s now a copywriter at NASA, and that joke finishes itself, I think.


What propelled me into the debate was the outrage medical marijuana laws had generated, not just in Colorado but across the country. The often ill-considered over-reaching by marijuana proponents — for many reasonable people who are undecided about pot, garish dispensaries blazing neon pot leaves from their local strip malls feel like being given the finger — was nothing compared to the militaristic hysteria unleashed by the federal government. Cops were busting into homes and blowing away the family pets looking for reefer and in many cases, turning up next to nothing. Perfectly sober businesses (to speak in relative terms) that followed the letter of their state laws were being pulverized under the heels of DEA agents. Although my personal experiences with marijuana are limited (and well in the past), I knew enough about the effects of pot to realize that the governmental reaction was far out of proportion to the actual threat.

That perception became sharply focused the more I learned about marijuana’s potential as a valid therapeutic tool in treating everything from cancer to nausea. The government’s rabid insistence that medical marijuana is as real as the tooth fairy is simply wrong. The National Institute of Cancer sees promise in its ability to attack tumors. It’s been known for decades to battle chemo-induced nausea better than oral drugs that have the obvious drawback of being vomited up before they can take effect. MS patients have used it to ease the spasticity in their muscles. Cannabinoids — marijuana’s unique ingredients that interact with specific receptors in the brain — have anti-inflammatory effects and can relieve pain. Importantly, cannabinoid receptors aren’t found in the parts of the brain that regulate breathing, which could be one of the reasons no one has ever died of an overdose, making marijuana safer than many foods we eat.
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