White House Reaffirms Intent to End Medical Marijuana Raids

Feb 04, 2009 , , ,

After a frustrating period of silence and a flurry of Drug Enforcement Administration medical marijuana raids in the Los Angeles area this week, a spokesman for President Obama has finally reaffirmed his intent to end such attacks on state medical marijuana laws. Here’s the money quote from the story in Thursday’s Washington Times:

“The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws, and as he continues to appoint senior leadership to fill out the ranks of the federal government, he expects them to review their policies with that in mind,” White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said.

While more ringing language might have been nice, the intent is clear enough: Hey DEA, the president says it’s time to stop attacking the sick. Got it?

31 responses to “White House Reaffirms Intent to End Medical Marijuana Raids”

  1. YES!!!! Exactly what I and many others have been waiting to see! I’m so happy that we are finally being heard. Now is not the time to back off. We need to be out their educating the general public now more than ever! Keep up the good work everyone.

  2. But, are we being heard? Or is this the beginning of a bureaucratic pissing match along party lines, with no real concern for those caught in the middle, namely the sick and dying?Everyone who studies the history of drug prohibition knows that a huge bureaucracy has grown up around, and is wholly dependent upon that prohibition for it’s sustenance. That bureaucracy knows it can outlast any political figureheads; all it has to do is what it has always done: use children as bureaucratic and financial human shields. (Wide-eyed and hysterically) “The children! The children! WE MUST SAVE THE CHILDREN!”” they shriek dramatically (or, more likely, they have their cat’s-paws, the astroturf ‘concerned citizens’ groups do it for them) while they coolly lobby Congress for more ever money. That much hasn’t changed.What has changed is the fact that this country is broke. B-R-O-K-E. As in open your wallet and hear the sound of air rushing in to fill a vacuum. The financial system, based largely on receiving loans from foreign countries to maintain US government expenses (because the tax base is actually much smaller than the government needs to run it) has already crashed. The burning will follow shortly afterward. Uncle Sam really doesn’t have any solid money, only the Federal equivalent of IOU’s, like what taxpayers in California will soon be receiving as their tax refunds. The value of those FRN’s (aka dollars) continues to drop while precious metals like gold continue to rise. That spells disaster…but also, opportunity. The last time something like this happened, alcohol Prohibition was eliminated in favor of taxing booze for the revenue. So, whether or not there exists an actual desire on the part of the Obama Administration to return to true federalism (as opposed to the lip service given federalism by supposed federalists like those sitting on the Supreme Court, for example) may be rendered irrelevant. Add to this the fact that the bureaucracy is dependent upon the money that is steadily drying up, and will face, for the first time in its’ existence, real cuts in its’ budgets to reflect the changing priorities (DARE programs and no-knock raids don’t feed hungry kids whose parents are out of work, school lunch programs and unemployment insurance do) . In other words, the economy may do what decades of appealing to reason and sanity have failed to accomplish, and that will be to end drug prohibition as we know it. We just can’t afford it, anymore…

  3. props on a response to what happened so quickly.. That shows CHANGE.. I don’t know any president that would have anyone on their behalf give us some kind of relief after what happened.


  4. Maybe I’m greedy but I was hoping for a little stronger language. All true conservatives, liberals & progressives would be against these raids. The vast majority of Americans are against them.

    “Eighty [80] percent of Americans support the legal use of medicinal marijuana by patients, and 72 percent say that adults who use marijuana recreationally should be fined, but not jailed, according to a nationwide poll conducted last week by Time Magazine and CNN. Only 19 percent of respondents favored jailing recreational pot smokers.” – A Time/CNN poll for example.

    And now with the Phelps bonghit getting a collective American shrug (“And…”) the ball is clearly in Obama’s court and the fans are cheering him on.

  5. I agree with Jay. The general public needs education. Even if we get support in D.C. it’s still going to be a harsh fight, and every uninformed American needs to learn the truth about cannabis. Now’s the time to get more active. Write letters to local newspapers, congressmen and television stations. Petition radio stations to air anti-prohibitionist info spots. Start discussions and debates. Sell doughnuts and have yard sales to raise money for MPP or whatever pro-cannabis organization you favor. Put pamphlets on windshields. Post flyers on local bulletin boards. Anything you can think of. All of us that care need to do a little extra. NOW’S THE TIME.

  6. With legislation pending in mutliple states, including my own, this news could not come at a better time.

    Nemo- wonderful post, and I had given the same thoughts to the topic this morning upon hearing this news. States are increasingly going to need to address budget shortfalls. Just as alcohol was part of the solution during the Great Depression, we cannot afford to not keep all options on the table and use our very limited funds more wisely. We need real, tangible industry and goods, -not banking and corporate bailouts. Money is only a concept that portrays the well being of industry in a nation. Government spending sprees cannot right the ship at this point. Hyper-inflation is a real concern.

    Oregon has a bill suggesting to legalize and tax cannabis right now. It is REAL industry with REAL products and REAL jobs. Stop funding drug cartels and let the money work for our economy. Hemp needs to be part of the global economic solution. “Hemp for Victory” once again will lead the way through dark times. Let’s hope it’s here to stay this time!

  7. If we’re serious about securing our borders, protecting our children from drug-dealing murderers, and pumping some much-needed revenue into the public treasury, we’ll implement a Personal Use and Cultivation Permit, similar to a fishing permit, allowing ordinary Americans to grow a little marijuana in their own back yards. Sold by the States and splitting the revenue 50-50 with the Federal treasury, it the permit cost $100 per year, and if even one-third of the estimated 30Million Americans who use marijuana each year were to obtain such a permit, it would pump a Billion dollars into the public pocketbook AND rip the guts out of the criminal drug gangs’ cash flow. Right now, we put our own children in prison with violent criminals for doing something that both our current Democratic President and the recent Republican Vice Presidential candidate acknowledge having done themselves. Let’s put the drug dealing criminals out of business and let ordinary Americans grow a little marijuana in their own back yards.

  8. I too think it is lip service and premature to write Obama with congrats. I think the medical marijuana issue interferes with the RELEGALIZATION issue, which should be the real goal here and one that would made the medicinal marijuana issue moot. RELEGALIZE IT on a federal level and the DEA raids go away, medical marijuana patients won’t need a prescription and hopefully more people will switch over from tobacco and alcohol (OK, that’s stretch).

  9. God put that plant on earth for a reason and the government assumes higher power than God and makes anybody that has anything to do with it a criminal, thats absurd

  10. President Obama’s Medical Marijuana Quandary

    While I am ecstatic to see Obama finally get off the dime and say something about the atrocious medical pot raids that have happened in California since his inauguration and I agree with Jacob Sullum at Reason, in principle, about Obama’s lack of leadership in this issue, I also do NOT think that Obama can do anything about the raids, legally. Not unless he wants to show as much contempt for the rule of law that George W. Bush showed every day that he was in office.

    I do think there are solutions and that if we do this right we can come out of it with a really big win for medical marijuana and maybe even for national pot law reform. This is quickly evolving into a major opportunity for us. Using this moment to advance Barney Frank’s decrim bills could make for some really fast change. Adroit conflation of the Frank marijuana bills with the massive budget problems in the states and the potential that decriminalization offers the states could move reform ahead faster than anything else possibly could.

    My essay:
    President Obama’s Medical Marijuana Quandary

  11. This is the way history plays out, Obama will be there for you, all you have to do is wait for the Obama Admistration to take control. Isn’t that something to be happy about after so many years of past Presidents attitudes towards Medical Marijuana patients.

  12. excellent news. however until the raids stop and the convicted are released from jail then we have true change and progress. stating your filling in top positions and intend those people to carry out a review of policies does not mean a change is coming.

  13. Marijuana is wrong flat out has no medicinal value and should remain a schedule 1 drug i wish there was something worse, if its legal people will die! marijuana is worse than heroin and meth combined. When Sarah Palin becomes president she rid America of this deadly drug. Quit now save your life.

  14. @susan

    people will die? marjiuana is worse than heroin and meth??? Palin as President????

    You actually believe all that?
    It seems at least a small chunk of the populace is even more brainwashed than I originally thought.


    I’m continually surprised that some people just aren’t willing and able to do the research and discover the truth for themselves. At the same time though, these same poor people thought the government had their best interests in mind all along. Truth hurts.

  15. Certainly the G.W. Bush administration had a destructive effect upon Liberty, rule of law, and Constitutional limitations upon government. G.W. Bush continued to attempt to buttress the unsustainable-and unaffordable-American Empire.
    Governmental growth and power expanded at what may be the greatest rate ever-at least up to January 20, 2009.

    Unfortunately, all that was only a continuation of a steady trend of authoritarian governmental behavior that has continued over many decades.

    Though I still hold a slim hope (a hope that has greatly diminished as he appointed the usual political hacks-such as Holder, Clinton, Daschle, Emanuel) that President Obama will work to restore Liberty, the indications are that his “change” will merely be more of the same: exponential growth of the size of government as well as the levels and scope of authoritarian power exercised by government.

    The recent affirmation that the Omama administration intends to leash and restrain the federal pit bulls that have continued to ignore state laws regarding medicinal cannabis is hopeful, though that “talk” must be followed by the “walk”…

    Justice. Drug War. Incarceration Nation.

    These three interrelated items can serve as a sort of litmus test as to what kind of “change” can be expected from President Obama.

    Criminal “justice” retains the form but lacks the substance of meaningful just results. At least 97% of criminal indictments result in plea bargains, rather than a trial by jury, often obtained through unethical prosecutorial bullying, torture through prolonged incarceration, and threats of draconian prison sentences should one opt for a trial. Plea bargaining can be said to be a means of forceful self-incrimination, and as such, a clear violation of the 5th Amendment. And, it is increasingly coming to light that many more than a few entirely innocent people are railroaded through corrupt judicial proceedings.

    The experiment in legislated morality known as Alcohol Prohibition was recognized as an utter failure that made alcohol-related problems worse, increased violence and organized crime, and after 13 years was repealed. Though the war on drugs is obviously at least an equal misadventure, after some 80 years it continues on…ruining lives in an often even worse fashion than the drugs themselves. Many, though they committed no violent act, have a felony hung around their neck, making it nearly impossible to obtain a decent job. Asset forfeiture has provided a great profit incentive to police and prosecutors to engage in corrupt practices in order to seize private property.

    The “justice” system and the drug war have been the primary reasons that America has become the world leader in imprisonment of its own citizens, measured in numbers and per-capita rates. America imprisons people in numbers even larger than China, though the Chinese population is much greater, and the Chinese government is generally regarded as more oppressive than the United States government. The building, staffing, and supply of prisons is one of the few growth industries remaining. There is a prison privatization trend that is eager for ever-increasing numbers of “customers” (that means prisoners). The private prison industry spends huge sums lobbying for increased criminal penalties, mandatory minimum sentences, in order to fatten their profits.

    These three issues, being interrelated, reinforce and feed off each other thereby allowing constant expansion of the underlying bureaucracies.

    All three of these issues are a severe disgrace to this country, as well as the people in general. Since these matters cannot be presented as compatible with traditional notions of American Liberty, they are supported with the usual “fear factor” tactics that history has well demonstrated as successful means to accepted governmental tyranny.

    All three of these issues should be of primary interest to our new president…

    Barack Obama has admitted to dabbling with controlled substances when he was younger. While there are several notable examples of successful politicians that similarly admitted to such behavior-Newt Gingrich, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, G.W. Bush-I can not think of even one that was actually run through the judicial meat grinder as a result of those admittedly illegal activities.

    Such confessions, more often than not, result in winks, nods and snickers, rather than condemnation, and do not serve as a disqualification…

    Had Barack Obama-or the others-been arrested and/or convicted and/or imprisoned, there is little, and likely no chance he-or they-would have achieved any political office, and a very good chance that the criminal record would have negatively effected the rest of their lives.

    So we have the sorry spectacle that, by twist of fate-or mere luck-one can wind up in either high political office or the unemployment line, imprisoned, maybe even homeless, the only differential being having been caught and apprehended, the underlying behavior(s) being identical.

    Now, a political office seeker that, say, admitted to having committed a murder, a rape, an armed robbery, even though having not been caught, having “gotten away” with it, would most likely not be considered seriously by voters.

    How can this be?

    Well, murder, rape, armed robbery…unquestionably these really are crimes, disturbing the sensibilities of any sane person, while the choosing of a mind-altering substance other than the condoned and socially and legally accepted alcohol merely generates the knowing winks and snickers.

    Yet, we-through governments-continue to childishly and foolishly treat certain particular personal choices as crimes to be punished, but only if unlucky enough to be caught by the authorities…

    By luck, chance or fate, Newt Gingrich, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, G.W. Bush, and Barack Obama weren’t caught and ensnared in the criminal “justice” system.
    None of them attempted to correct injustice; indeed, they all supported increasingly draconian measures…to be applied to others…

    In President Obama’s case, we are of course at the beginning of his presidency, but each day that goes by sees increasing numbers of Americans still being caught up in this Drug War nonsense-we can not afford the financial or human cost any longer…

    President Obama has taken steps to correct the abuse of justice in regard to those-mostly foreigners-labeled as “enemy combatants; what about the American people? Shouldn’t true justice for us be an immediate priority too?

    President Barack Obama now has his chance to work real positive “change”, and reverse the oppressive and corrupt tendencies of these three issues that directly impact justice, all three of which just happen to be disproportionately applied to black Americans.
    Being a black man, Obama was very lucky.

    All three issues amount to…justice, something that is supposed to be an absolute right as Americans. It is long overdue that near-extinguished justice be recognized and addressed by those tasked with operating our government, according to, and within the limitations enumerated in the Constitution.
    After all, these guys freely took an oath to do so.

    To be left alone, to pursue happiness…

    To obtain justice, and not be wrongfully imprisoned…

    …shouldn’t be dependent upon luck …

  16. As a physician practicing both internal medicine and cannabis medicine, I was particularly pleased to hear this announcement. However, before we all begin to applaud too loudly, I would like to see this in some formal written statement. That statement must include two key points:
    1. The States can run their own Medical Cannabis programs without any Federal interference.

    2. Physicians should be able to run their own clinical trials on cannabis and begin answering many of the pro and con issues with the medication.

    I suspect and feel comfortable that allowing physicians and scientists to finally legally study this amazing group of medications will lead to various therapies we only currently dream about.

    If you are interested, check out my blog on “Open Source Cannabis”. I believe it is difficult to argue against. We must find out much more about the potential clinical uses of this “weed”.

    Allan I Frankel, MD

  17. Allan, It’s very encouraging to know that physicians like yourself exist and are out there voicing your thoughts and being active on the issue. You’re part of the front line in this whole thing. You’re the final stamp of approval re-assuring Obama and his administration that we need to move forward with honest and legitimate research.

    It really does feel like now’s the time for things to happen. Your comment gives me positive energy. I get excited when I think of all the good that can and will come from extensive research.

    I also agree that we need a more concrete statement from Obama stating what he knows and doesn’t know and what he’s willing to do to clear the air so to speak and help those physicians like yourself to do the research.

    All my best wishes in your own endeavors. I’ll be sure to check out your site and encourage others to do the same.

  18. Susan, if Marijuana is flat out wrong, why does our government have patents on canabinoids ? Why does our government allow pharmaceutical companies have patents on them? As someone who is intimately linked to extreme pain in my body, and who has served my country , I only ask that you respect the people who want this research to continue, without any more interference from our government. Let science discover what we as patients have known for decades. Marijuana is Medicine. It allows Veterans who are trained to kill and have to live with the vicious beast inside of them to relax and have a sense of serenity about them. Is this not a better arrangement than to consider that the tens of thousands of soldiers comming back from the front lines are more likely to freak out with out a medicine to relax and help them heal their pain?
    Please reply.

  19. Deaths per year resulting from alcohol: 100,000
    · Deaths per year resulting from tobacco: 430,000
    · Deaths per year resulting from aspirin: 180- 1000
    · Deaths per year resulting from legal drugs: 106,000
    · Deaths that have ever occurred in direct result of Cannabis: 0 (that’s right zero)
    let us smoke WEED!!

  20. Does anyone out there actually believe that this will happen? There is waaaaaaaay to much power and money being weilded as political capitol that is controling the entire war. All of the dots connect to the prison systems and judiciary. Law enforcement makes millions on siezures and politicians have the opportunity to build up their districts tax revenue. All while gaining favorable political capitol through job creation. One example of this is Canon City, CO. Last I checked, there were 23 prisons in that one city! I don’t want to get caught not doing my homework. So I won’t quote any exact stats. Somewhere around fourty percent of the persons in prison today are none violent. With some sort of marijuana crime. What would happen if those prisons suffered a 40% drop in prisoners? You all must realise that the war on drugs (especially marijuana) is nothing more than good business. With a very CAPTIVE MARKET. Look at the new National Drug Intellgence Centers 2009 Report. It has a chart showing federal arrests dadting back to 04 or 05. The numbers don’t really ever go down. For that matter, they never really go up either. Thus remaining the same in order to maintian a steady flowing of customers for jam into the system and feed the prisons. I would be will to bet that the number of arrests are suspiciously in close syn with the number of realeases!!!! Why do you think that cops have quotas……eeerrrrr….Expected Performance Levels>>>>snicker

    Jobs are created, tax revenue increased, and politicians use this to retain support from their constituents. In some cases, all a politician has to do is call out “If you don’t elect me, they will close 20% of the prisons here in XXXXXXX, USA ” and mass panic will ensue. Dems do it all the time with Social Security( “The Republicans Want to Cut Social Security!”) and The Republican’s do it with taxes(They want to raise your taxes?) So, until the economic and political values of criminalized marijuana can be replaced with something of more value to politicians, marijuana will continue to be illegal.

  21. How are we as a country going to get up to date in the medical field if the Government continues with its “War on Drugs” targeting the marijuana issues. The disease we are fighting is CANCER. It was found by research that it battles cancers.

    The war is a peaceful one by the people, we are trying to peacfully resolve the war with the People of God versus the United States Government and local state, county, and city governments.

    Why do they continue to ignore the response of the American People?

    It is the duty of every free American to end this violation of Gods law and the law of this nation.

    Specifically, the law that govern the use and aquisition of cannabis sativa, and herb declared by scientist, that bears seed. Now I would refer you to the scriptures reguarding the origins and uses by man; Genesis chapter 1 verses 29 and 30:

    29 And God said, Behold, I have given you everyherb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in the which is the fruit of a tree yeilding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

    30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

    This is God’s LAW and man has violated that law by incarcerating and killing people for using an herb that God made and placed in the Garden of Eden to help mankind get along and live long lives.
    Cannabis sativa was developed by God.

    Who is so blind that they cannot see the results of taking an intricate part of our DNA. There are THC receptors built into our systems, and when you take that natural process out you shorten the life.

    Look at what you learn from scientists.

    Now is the time to make reparation to these people that have been violated by the Law.

    Repentance proceedures, as set forth in the Bible are expected by the People of God, to the U.S. Government for this clear violation.

    The Laws governing cannabis sativa were done so by perjurious information, citing specifically the lies made popular by the movie “Reefer Madness” produced and developed the U.S. Government. The Leguardia report stated the real scientific results and yet the information being sent to mainstream America were complete lies.

    And now we see the results of the U.S. Government trying to keep the one thing that supresses violent tendancies of mankind.

    The results are a scourge upon the earth that we know as CANCER. What will stop it is simple. My words are simple.

    Legalize Marijuana NOW or the scourge will be tenfold, Thus Saith The Lord.

    Now is our time to make the reparations necessary for humanity to enjoy the real freedom that one has in life if their diet is in direct relation to what we learn in the Scriptures from God.

    Those who oppose on this issue oppose also God, I’m merely a messenger.

    Forward to 3 friends and President Obama

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