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Take That, Hippies
October 7, 2011 3:29 AM   Subscribe

November 2007 -- Barack Obama: "[I]f the science and the doctors suggest that the best palliative care and the way to relieve pain and suffering is medical marijuana then that's something I'm open to ... But I want to do it under strict guidelines. I want it prescribed in the same way that other painkillers or palliative drugs are prescribed."

February 2009 -- Attorney General Eric Holder: "What the president said during the campaign ... will be consistent with what we will be doing here in law enforcement. ... What (Obama) said during the campaign ... is now American policy.” White House spokesman Nick Shapiro added that the Obama administration’s stance was that “federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws."


October 2011 -- In a letter to pot dispenaries across California, U.S. attorneys order pot dispensaries to close within 45 days or face prison time.
posted by waraw (250 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
So much for the whole Dope and Change campaign promises.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:32 AM on October 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Qui bono? What kind of chokehold does the DEA have on Obama's neck? How are they corrupting him? (For it is corruption, for a politician to break his promises, and to act so much against the good and the interests of the people he serves.)
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:41 AM on October 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


I hope that the 2012 presidential contest is between Obama and Mitt Romney. I wouldn't vote for either of them, but it would be hilarious. Both of them take whatever position their staff believes to be most salable at the moment, even if it's in direct, obvious conflict with their stated position of a week ago.

By the end of the campaign, their positions would be absolutely indistinguishable, because between the two of them they would have taken every possible mainstream stance on every issue. But partisans would still be bitterly insisting that one was superior to the other purely by nature of the political brand attached. It would be the ultimate "Coke v. Pepsi" political race.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:46 AM on October 7, 2011 [53 favorites]


Election's coming. This will help him get votes he might not get otherwise. This won't cost him any votes at all (because anyone voting based on a pro-medical marijuana stance definitely won't be voting for the other guy, whoever it will be).
posted by BurnChao at 3:47 AM on October 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well I for one will welcome the Tea Party protests over this encroachment of Federal power on the states and on personal liberty.
posted by three blind mice at 3:47 AM on October 7, 2011 [81 favorites]


Honestly, what's the point? Pot's so ubiqitous lots of people will get it if they want it; the govt is saying goodbye to a whole, great revenue stream from taxing it - at a time they desperately need a revenue stream; and there's plenty of evidence for it, and plenty of evidence that legal alcohol is just as bad or worse in a multitude of different ways. Let the cancer patients, those with anxiety and those struggling to eat from medical treatment have their doobies, man. Let dudes abide.
posted by smoke at 3:49 AM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's hard, because I do believe that marijuana should be available, medically, and for that matter otherwise.

But, at the same time? This is not something that should be regulated by the states. If states get to regulate drug issues, that leads scary places. Do we let Alabama or Texas go totally free-market and allow the marketing of pharmaceuticals which haven't been sufficiently tested? The Constitution says that the federal government is allowed to regulate these things. That's not a bad thing.

The bad thing is that the federal government hasn't caught up here with the program. But it hasn't caught up with a lot of progressive ideas yet. The President is charged with executing the laws. Not the laws that he wants to enforce; the laws that exist.

It's just as hypocritical for those of us who ordinarily support the federal power of regulation to have a problem with this as it is for the Tea Party not to defend individual drug use and sale. It's a bad ban, but I don't want a Republican president to have the option not to enforce the environmental laws, either. If I want this change, I want it to come properly. I'm not convinced that California's actions were the right way to do it, and if they weren't, then supporting them is not the proper action for the executive branch, even if Obama supports medical marijuana on principle.
posted by gracedissolved at 3:56 AM on October 7, 2011 [14 favorites]


three blind mice : Well I for one will welcome the Tea Party protests over this encroachment of Federal power on the states and on personal liberty.

Not sure if you meant that sarcastically or not, but the Tea Partiers in my area do object to the way the DEA violates states' rights. And they smoke weed, make no mistake... Just like the Democrats, and Republicans, and Libertarians, and Communists...


I found this news somewhat bizarre, though. I can't see it buying anything good for Obama, since his base massively supports decriminalization or even outright legalization. So what did he get for this little chunk of his soul?
posted by pla at 3:57 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Honestly, what's the point?

Organised crime. That's the point. It's the same problem in the Netherlands. The semi-legal status of pot means that no one is really allowed to grow it on the scale necessary to support the demand, but the demand creates a supply and that supply is controlled by organized crime.

This is what the LA Times article hints at:

Earlier this year, the prosecutors circulated an internal memo that indicated they would focus enforcement efforts on dispensaries and growers that dealt with more than 200 kilograms or a 1,000 plants a year.
posted by three blind mice at 3:59 AM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


You titled this post "Take That, Hippies", which sounds like a reference to 'hippie punching', an act that supposedly done by the Obama to far left liberals. This post sounds like poorly sourced Obama outrage filter.

Take a look at the third link and its second paragraph:
The stepped-up enforcement appears to be a major escalation in the Obama administration’s bid to rein in the explosive spread of medical marijuana outlets that was accelerated by the announcement that federal prosecutors would not target people using medical marijuana in states that allow it.
It sounds like there's been an huge growth spurt in medical marijuana shops and that's presenting some sort of problem, but the link isn't clear on what.

Back in June there was another post this turned, with the same sort of "LOOK AT WHAT THE FEDS ARE DOING NOW AND WHY IS OBAMA LETTING US DOWN AGAIN". Turns out the post was a bit misleading. This seems to be disturbing pattern on politics related Metafilter posts. If it's important enough make a post about, then please take the time to put in some decent links rather than wasting time with your personal soapbox. There's enough of that in the media already, no need to make another contribution.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:05 AM on October 7, 2011 [30 favorites]


"LOOK AT WHAT THE FEDS ARE DOING NOW AND WHY IS OBAMA LETTING US DOWN AGAIN".

Point very well made Brandon Blatcher.

I can't see it buying anything good for Obama,

If any of that drug-gang violence in Mexico starts happening in the United States, Mr. Obama would be electoral toast. And if it can be linked to his administration's pro-hippie policies - which it seems there could be a pretty good case made - toast would be the best he could hope for.
posted by three blind mice at 4:16 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


an act that supposedly done by the Obama
I AM THE OBAMA

WHO DARES PASS

posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 4:17 AM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


So how many letters were sent out ? 10,100, 10,000? How many dispensaries have sprung up since the memo in California? I need some numbers.
posted by Rubbstone at 4:18 AM on October 7, 2011


Organised crime. That's the point. It's the same problem in the Netherlands. The semi-legal status of pot means that no one is really allowed to grow it on the scale necessary to support the demand, but the demand creates a supply and that supply is controlled by organized crime.

It's an interesting counterpoint to a Dutch newspaper item from this morning, where the Dutch marijuana policy was compared to that of other countries, including the USA. (google translated version). It showed a page-wide photograph of an Oakland dispensary.
The gist of that article was that we should look to other countries and further decriminalize production and sales, of course.

The latest development in the Netherlands however, is to have all produce tested for THC content and only allowing marijuana containing less than 15% THC. Above that, it is considered 'hard-drugs' and deemed just as illegal as XTC, cocaine and such.

Ath the moment, people in Spain seem best off, they can just join a pot-club where they grow and dispense the product. All (relatively) legal, and at least there are no criminals involved.
posted by Zigurana at 4:31 AM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pot's so ubiqitous lots of people will get it if they want it

I'm a lame dad in his 30s. I wouldn't even know where to begin to get pot.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:35 AM on October 7, 2011 [36 favorites]


Public health advocates. Anti-war citizens. Constitutional experts. Potheads. All betrayed by Obama.

Just who is the constituency he's trying to attract for 2012? (I think I know, but I'll leave it as an exercise for students.)
posted by DU at 4:36 AM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


A quick Google search indicates that this only happening in California, despite medical maryjane being legal in 16 US states. Anyone have any idea why that is?

It's important to note the Justice Department memo (PDF) changed no laws and merely recommends against prosecuting patients or discrepancies that are operating according to the state's laws on the topic.

There's supposed to be press conference by California's four US Federal attorneys. Hopefully their reasons for doing this will be made clearer. I can't find a link to any information about when, where or what time it is occurring. Anyone have the info?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:38 AM on October 7, 2011


It sounds like there's been an huge growth spurt in medical marijuana shops and that's presenting some sort of problem, but the link isn't clear on what.

Reefer madness, of course.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:40 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


This will help him get votes he might not get otherwise. This won't cost him any votes at all (because anyone voting based on a pro-medical marijuana stance definitely won't be voting for the other guy, whoever it will be).

This has been the standard centrist Democrat political calculation for years now, and it's losing. Remember: most Americans support legalizing medical marijuana in some form, independent voters included. So who exactly is Obama targeting for votes here? Fundamentalist prohibitionists? Please. It's stupid, frightened centrist politics that makes no sense.

Instead of clearly, firmly making the case and actually advancing the issue in a way that will earn him respect and votes among the folks who are, you know, actually likely to support him, Obama shows himself to be a hypocritical coward (again) who listens to consistently losing centrist Dem advisers who (again) run screaming away from a very mildly courageous stand and a clearly winning issue in favor of a kneejerk conservative position that gives the game away in the first inning.

Again.

Here's what really happens instead of your scenario, BurnChao: folks who'd ordinarily be the excited core of the party get disillusioned instead of fired up, stay home, donate less and don't bother to get their friends, family and co-workers to vote for their candidate. That strategy also cedes important arguments to conservatives, helping them solidify the power of their framing of the issue and making change harder in the future. And all for nothing. This is gonna win Obama votes? More votes than he'd win for working towards something the majority of Americans consistently agree with?

Really?
posted by mediareport at 4:45 AM on October 7, 2011 [42 favorites]


You've got to be shitting me.
posted by flippant at 4:49 AM on October 7, 2011


This will help him get votes he might not get otherwise. This won't cost him any votes at all (because anyone voting based on a pro-medical marijuana stance definitely won't be voting for the other guy, whoever it will be).

This will help him lose votes he might get otherwise. It won't gain him any votes at all (because anyone voting based on an anti-medical marijuana stance definitely will be voting for the other guy, whoever it will be).
posted by DU at 4:57 AM on October 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Obama is Bush-lite.
The whole "change" thing was a ploy to get elected. It has all been mostly the same.
posted by Flood at 5:00 AM on October 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


The latest development in the Netherlands however, is to have all produce tested for THC content and only allowing marijuana containing less than 15% THC. Above that, it is considered 'hard-drugs' and deemed just as illegal as XTC, cocaine and such.

Promoted by the Christian Democrats, who don't seem to realize that the only way to make this practical and possible is to regulate production as well - which means legalizing production.
posted by DreamerFi at 5:02 AM on October 7, 2011


It's fascinating that they're not going after Colorado. If anything smells like a political calculation, it is that. Cali is going Dem, Colorado, as best I can recall, is one of those swinger

I buy pot in Philly. I have chronic pain, was on opiates, and those drugs turned me into a drooling and (strangely) rage machine, unable to maintain personal relationships or a job.

Post opiate withdrawal, I said that I was never doing any drugs again. Because going off of opiates, once you've got that monkey on your back, is some serious un-fun. But I was still in pain, kept me up nights, was functioning much better than on opiates but once you've been up for 48 hours, you aren't operating too well.

My friends recommended weed. My quality of life is so much better now. I have a job, I have friends, I'm reasonably responsible.

But of course I buy it off the black market. When my previous contact dried up, I went looking for it in one of the open-air drug markets in Philly. My dealer is a nice guy -- only smokes weed himself -- but because he's got a felony rap, is disabled, and has little education. he's pretty much unemployable. So he also slings crack, the percocets he's prescribed but doesn't take because he has the same fear of opiates that I do.

In short, some day, I have faith, this country will be sane about weed. People won't care about the associations weed has with early jazz musicians and hippies. As the population gets older and medical tech allows us to survive with chronic illness and disease, I think the attitudes will change.

About Obama, I dunno. Sometimes I think he's given up, or at least he has decided to focus his attention on the few things he might accomplish given crazy people control one branch of Congress.
posted by angrycat at 5:23 AM on October 7, 2011 [13 favorites]


In other drug news, ecstasy cures cancer.
posted by empath at 5:26 AM on October 7, 2011


So Obama is actually in charge of the DEA? Because all those other things he promised weren't actually in his power, but this one is, right?
posted by smackfu at 5:29 AM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is one of those times when I wish we could sit our leader(s) down and ask questions and get honest, non-weasel answers in return. Because I would really love to know the reasoning behind this and how, exactly, Obama forsees the future of drug enforcement.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:33 AM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


FWIW, my letter to my congressional representative.
I would like to know what your office is going to do to legalize marijuana. This harmless plant is the focus of absurd levels of law enforcement attention. U.S. attorneys recently announced they are asking california pot dispensaries to close down. Aside from this being a massive flip-flop by the Obama administration, this solves nothing. It will not make people's lives better. It will not save money, it will not reduce prison populations. All it will do is enrich organized crime. Nothing will change until there is federal law legalizing the possession and use of marijuana by any adult. What is your plan to achieve this?

Sincerely
(my name and professional affiliation)
signed, stamped, mailed
posted by scelerat at 5:33 AM on October 7, 2011 [10 favorites]


How disappointing. I've never had such drastic up and down with a president before.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:36 AM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Honestly, what's the point? Pot's so ubiqitous lots of people will get it if they want it

The point is, it's still illegal. You can still go to prison for possession. In fact a huge percentage of inmates are there due to drug charges. It can't just be quasi-legal, only being enforced when it's convenient.
posted by bloody_bonnie at 5:44 AM on October 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


In 2008, Obama was a challenger to an unpopular incumbent. The middle was disappointed and disenchanted with Bush (to the extent it was ever really enchanted in the first place), and the left was energized and turned out in huge numbers. Obama campaigned to the progressive base, and knew he had enough of the middle to take the election as long as Democratic turnout was high. Bush, on the other hand, had to push hard to capture the disaffected middle while still trying to keep his base numbers up, and it just turned out to be too much in the face of a flagging economy. Obama won.

In 2012, the Republican nominee will be a challenger to an unpopular incumbent. The middle is disappointed and disenchanted with Obama, and the right is energized and and will turn out in huge numbers. The nominee will campaign to the conservative base, knowing that he or she has enough of the middle to take the election as long as Republican turnout is high. Obama, on the other hand, has to push hard to capture the disaffected middle while still trying to keep his base numbers up, and it will just turn out to be too much in the face of a flagging economy. Obama loses.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:51 AM on October 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


It can't just be quasi-legal, only being enforced when it's convenient.

Of course it can. There are hundreds of state and Federal laws that are unenforced, or selectively enforced.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:55 AM on October 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


In 2008, Obama was a challenger to an unpopular incumbent.

No, that's not the case.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:56 AM on October 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


No, that's not the case.

You know what, you're exactly right. I must have blacked out sometime during the 2004 election. Anyway, scratch that whole though.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:01 AM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wait, so are the dispensaries breaking federal law? If so, how did they open in the first place?
posted by swift at 6:02 AM on October 7, 2011


Because state law explicitly permits them. It's a relatively low-intensity Constitutional crisis.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:10 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


But partisans would still be bitterly insisting that one was superior to the other purely by nature of the political brand attached. It would be the ultimate "Coke v. Pepsi" political race.

Must be nice to live in a world where elections do not have consequences.

That said, you are part of the problem.

Still, must be nice.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:11 AM on October 7, 2011


There is a whole generation that fought and lost the drug war that can never admin they were wrong. You are going to have to wait for them to die before you see any progress.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 6:11 AM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


admit, not admin
posted by CautionToTheWind at 6:14 AM on October 7, 2011


Sorry, but at least one generation of those guys has already died. Waiting for them to go extinct is not going to do it, so long as the WoD is such a revenue-center for law enforcement. They keep renewing their story with stuff like DARE programs. You can't wait them out; you've got to change the game.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:16 AM on October 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Then you need a champion.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 6:18 AM on October 7, 2011


I'm a lame dad in his 30s in California. I wouldn't even know where to begin to get pot. Pot is easier to get than ever before, and it is wonderful.
posted by Big_B at 6:20 AM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Must be nice to live in a world where elections do not have consequences

Must be nice to live in a world where the the wide-reaching drug war doesn't cost billions of dollars and thousands of lives every year.

Am I mistaken? Are you not implying that this is an unimportant issue? That it is entirely disconnected from an array of social and political problems? That poverty, prisons, corruption, and public health are so insignificant as not to inform a vote or a political opinion?

What should people be considering important politically?
posted by scelerat at 6:21 AM on October 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm a lame dad in his 30s. I wouldn't even know where to begin to get pot.

Did you ask your kids?
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:25 AM on October 7, 2011 [11 favorites]


If you are a typical american voter, who's only political input is a cross on a slip in a voting booth on election day, what are your options?

It's almost like the democratic party needs a tally of "X million voters stayed home today, because they want you to field a better candidate".

This show shuffle to the right is depressing to watch.
posted by Static Vagabond at 6:30 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The way you put it in the FPP makes it sound like the US attorneys are shutting down all the pot dispensaries in California, but within the body of the article, it's clarified that only pot dispensaries that sold over a specified limit were targeted in the mailings.

I don't think it's great policy to go back on the admin's commitment to letting states have more say over these policies, but is that what's happening? Or are the states requesting the federal government support them in enforcing these policies?

It seems to me that a common thread in a lot of these controversies is that the admin doesn't want to see industrial-scale production of marijuana take hold. I don't really want to see that either, even as a long time full legalization advocate. It would be better, if we decriminalize marijuana, to adopt the model found in New Amsterdam, rather than let marijuana growing become the new tobacco industry.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:31 AM on October 7, 2011


um. amsterdam, not new amsterdam, of course.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:32 AM on October 7, 2011


That Obama abandoned his campaign promises to the left almost immediately shouldn't really be newsworthy anymore.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:33 AM on October 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Qui bono? What kind of chokehold does the DEA have on Obama's neck? How are they corrupting him? (For it is corruption, for a politician to break his promises, and to act so much against the good and the interests of the people he serves.)

Are you seriously this delusional? He's the President of the United States. He can shut down the DEA with a stroke of a pen. He wants to shut these dispensaries down, not the DEA.

Read his quote again, and consider how many thousands of people in their 20's fake hard-to-verify conditions ("I'm depressed...") to get scripts. If what is happening with medical marijuana happened with oxycodone or percocet, doctors would be going to prison.

The whole medical marijuana movement was a wink-and-nod way to back legalization in through claims that it helps with glaucoma and cancer. If everyone on medical marijuana has glaucoma and cancer, then the state should be evacuated and quarantined as it is uninhabitable.

You want to legalize marijuana, then legalize it directly. Get a law passed that says marijunana can be sold like cigarettes, or whatever. Don't play games with an already fucked up medical system just to make it easier for you to get fucked up.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:35 AM on October 7, 2011 [14 favorites]


There is growing problem in San Francisco with there being too many dispensaries in some places. We don't need more little ones, which this recent development is sure to promote.
posted by chemoboy at 6:36 AM on October 7, 2011


As I said on the reddit thread - it looks like the CIA is trying to protect its turf.

CautionToTheWind: "There is a whole generation that fought and lost the drug war that can never admin they were wrong. You are going to have to wait for them to die before you see any progress."

These are the same guys who lost Vietnam, right? The same ones who are still fighting Vietnam via proxy in Afghanistan because they can't admit America lost?
posted by symbioid at 6:40 AM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Qui bono? What kind of chokehold does the DEA have on Obama's neck? How are they corrupting him? (For it is corruption, for a politician to break his promises, and to act so much against the good and the interests of the people he serves.)

cui bono.
posted by grobstein at 6:44 AM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


It seems to me that a common thread in a lot of these controversies is that the admin doesn't want to see industrial-scale production of marijuana take hold. I don't really want to see that either, even as a long time full legalization advocate. It would be better, if we decriminalize marijuana, to adopt the model found in New Amsterdam, rather than let marijuana growing become the new tobacco industry.

That's fine but what the fuck is the policy here? I met a guy who was growing in Cali and selling to medical dispensaries. He had a small one-man grow, but he was still too fearful to report income taxes on the money he made or have someone else keep the business running while he went traveling

I just moved in a new place, and my roommate was telling me how his last roommate was a big pot dealer and the cops found out and came to the apartment. The guy apparently had pounds in the closet, but the cops (of course) didn't have a warrant and this guy's door was locked. Unfortunately the other two roommates got rolled into consenting to searches and both were found with a few grams in possession

The other dude is now gone because he'd bought his stash in a handful of dimebags - intent to sell, felony. Current roommate got a possession charge, his third, and they were about to give him jail or probation until a very lucky day in court

Red and blue the country is in favor of changing these stupid laws, but all Obama can do is laugh as people's lives are ruined

Yeah, "people will get it if they want it", to the tune of 100 arrests per hour
posted by crayz at 6:47 AM on October 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


Oh, BB, we're passed hippie punching. On to the chemo patient punching.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:47 AM on October 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


That Obama abandoned his campaign promises to the left almost immediately shouldn't really be newsworthy anymore.

Except for the endless cacophony of "you'll vote for Kodos with a smile on your face!!" sycophants in every one of these threads
posted by crayz at 6:51 AM on October 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


I disagree with this move, although I've always thought (1) medical marijuana sets back actual legalization by taking the pressure off; and (2) that the system is a huge source of recreational marijuana for non-ill users. But I still don't agree.

A friend just went through the process in California to get a certificate and it was sooooo rigged.

I think what's best for all is that the product be legalized and sold in special shops, like liquor. This half-state serves no one and is fake, because I'm not for widespread use of pot as "medicine,"I'm for actual legalization on a recreational basis. When the conservatives screamed that this was a half-step towards legalization and a smokescreen, I had to agree.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:51 AM on October 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Must be nice to live in a world where the the wide-reaching drug war doesn't cost billions of dollars and thousands of lives every year.

Must be nice never to have to consider the consequences of anything. Drugs are illegal. You buy and sell drugs, you go to prison. You buy and sell guns illegally, you go to prison too. If I trafficked in knockoff Nike's I would go to prison.

The problem is that some many stupid fucking idiots want to do drugs even when it means a serious risk of prison time.

So let me ask you a question. Let's say the war on drugs ends tomorrow. All the people imprisoned on non-violent drug charges are released, and drugs are legalized.

Sober up for five seconds and tell me what the world would look like in 6 months, and then in three years. It isn't that difficult to imagine, so there should be no need to resort to LSD to get the creative juices flowing.

I'll tell you want happens in the long run: all of the drugs that are now illegal are manufactured and distributed by Pfizer, Altria, etc. and sold in stores owned by Walmart or the like. Corporations will reap all the profits throughout the supply chain and Wall Street will have a field day with all the record profits. But don't kid yourself that that would mean jobs here. Cocaine would still be cheaper to manufacture in South America and pot cheaper to grow in Mexico, it would just be giant US corporations overseeing the manufacturing instead of Pablo Escobar or the cartel. The money will flow up from the users and the poor right in to the hands of the rich.

The second thing that happens is that the unemployment rate jumps to 30%, not because people on drugs are unemployable, but because of a simple statistical reality. Putting someone in prison accomplishes three important social functions: 1. it guarantees the inmate food and shelter, 2. it guarantees that any family or children they leave behind get state and federal welfare assistance (and therefore food and shelter), and 3. the inmate is not counted among the unemployed.

The unemployment rate that is currently sky-high at 9% already excludes everyone in prison, everyone on disability, and everyone on welfare not looking for job. All those people have no other place to be accounted for. There aren't enough jobs for the people who aren't high or in prison now, do you think that situation will improve when the drug war ends prisons empty out?

The reason we have the war on drugs and medical marijuana and medical disability and these other bizarre social structures is because we need places to put all the people who otherwise would have nothing to do and would not be able to feed and shelter themselves.

If you want to end the war on drugs, you'd better have a good plan for dealing with the flood of unemployed and poor who have no place to go no jobs, and nothing to do.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:53 AM on October 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


Gaaaaaaaah. Just fucking LEGALIZE IT ALREADY.

I have a close friend who's battling metastatic melanoma right now. It's spread to her digestive organs as well, so eating is nearly impossible. The only thing that is getting her through this, right now, is pot. We can dose her with THC elixir that I have a friend get me from a local medical marijuana co-op, and it eases her pain enough to get some food into her body, and it helps her sleep. The opiates her docs have prescribed make the pain worse, since opiates also tend to cause constipation, and they turn her into a drool-zombie. Which is soooooo fun for her husband and daughter to watch.

I fucking hate that I could go to prison for helping my dying friend. And I fucking hate that my government is content to let people like her suffer.
posted by palomar at 6:53 AM on October 7, 2011 [13 favorites]


Pastabagel, you're generally a smart guy, but that last comment is so full of incorrect information and general stupidity that I don't even know where to start.

Maybe you should take a second, re-read what you wrote and try again.
posted by empath at 6:56 AM on October 7, 2011 [18 favorites]


> If you want to end the war on drugs, you'd better have a good plan for dealing with the flood of unemployed and poor who have no place to go no jobs, and nothing to do.

Give them money, just like Richard Nixon advocated, just like they do in England and France.
posted by bukvich at 6:56 AM on October 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Obama was my first Presidential vote. I never really believed that he'd be able to deliver on all of his promises, but I guess buried deep within my cynicism was a little hope that I was wrong.


Obama has admitted to having smoked this illegal drug multiple times. Bush gave a thinly-veiled admission. Clinton 'didn't inhale'. Palin absolutely tried it. Edwards, Kerry, Gore, Clarence Thomas. Yuck. I'm so sick of this. When even our politicians are doing it or have done it, it needs to be legalized. I personally couldn't care less about marijuana, but I can still see that there's something very wrong going on. crayz's link enraged me (even though I watched it when it came out, it made me even angrier now). Obama is putting down all of the Americans who actually WANT TO KNOW. Obama, you've smoked before. Why are you treating an honest question with such contempt? Give your constituents respect--we elected you.


I also fully agree with Pastabagel. I have so many friends from California with cards, and that situation has always left me with a dirty taste in my mouth. Marijuana needs to stop occupying this strange grey area. I don't think that it will ever become Big Tobacco part 2 because marijuana isn't addictive in the same way that cigarettes are.
posted by 200burritos at 6:58 AM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Let's say the war on drugs ends tomorrow.

Obviously such an abrupt change in policy with introduce chaos. In fact, I've heard economists speak about how simply legalizing marijuana overnight would completely destroy the economy in Mexico.

The reason we have the war on drugs and medical marijuana and medical disability and these other bizarre social structures is because we need places to put all the people who otherwise would have nothing to do and would not be able to feed and shelter themselves.

This is the most ridiculous thing I've read all morning.
posted by chemoboy at 7:01 AM on October 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


I know it's not much consolation, but there was even much less progress made on these issues under every previous administration, Republican and Democrat, including Carter and Clinton.

Are you seriously this delusional? He's the President of the United States. He can shut down the DEA with a stroke of a pen. He wants to shut these dispensaries down, not the DEA

PastaBagel: You know this isn't actually true, right? If any president today tried to just sign the DEA out of existence, they'd be attacked from so many different sides they wouldn't stand a chance.

A massive organization like the DEO has enormous institutional power (including, quite possibly, troves of the kinds of damaging files on Washington insiders that J. Edgar Hoover famously kept). Once established (and especially after this many years of uninterrupted and even continuously expanding political and economic power), large institutions--governmental or otherwise--always take on a life of their own and become their own, semi-autonomous power base.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:01 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oops. Not DEO. DEA.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:02 AM on October 7, 2011


Must be nice to live in a world where elections do not have consequences.

People keep telling me that the elections have consequences, and I keep going out to vote, and everything keeps staying fucked up. Where is this America where the elections have consequences?
posted by Hoenikker at 7:03 AM on October 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


And yes Pastabagel I completely agree that legal and illegal drugs and the prison industrial system serve as a form of social control/stabilizer in the US. Where we differ is that I find it morally abhorrant to advocate doubling-down on that system in the face of dozens of other countries with far healthier laws and societies, which we could use as models for how to fix our own
posted by crayz at 7:03 AM on October 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


The reason we have the war on drugs and medical marijuana and medical disability and these other bizarre social structures is because we need places to put all the people who otherwise would have nothing to do and would not be able to feed and shelter themselves.

Oh, so it's like a social programme? Well, let's all give ourselves a hearty pat on the back then.
posted by ob at 7:04 AM on October 7, 2011


Obviously such an abrupt change in policy with introduce chaos. In fact, I've heard economists speak about how simply legalizing marijuana overnight would completely destroy the economy in Mexico.

You mean the economy of murder, violence, and ubiquitous corruption? I sure hope so.
posted by Hoenikker at 7:04 AM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


The second thing that happens is that the unemployment rate jumps to 30%, not because people on drugs are unemployable, but because of a simple statistical reality. Putting someone in prison accomplishes three important social functions: 1. it guarantees the inmate food and shelter, 2. it guarantees that any family or children they leave behind get state and federal welfare assistance (and therefore food and shelter), and 3. the inmate is not counted among the unemployed.

You realize of course that even if true your argument is insane as a justification to lock people up?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:07 AM on October 7, 2011 [14 favorites]


> Oh, so it's like a social programme?

Right! It's like in The Christmas Carol when Ebeneezer Scrooge was proclaiming the virtues of work houses.
posted by bukvich at 7:10 AM on October 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


He's the President of the United States. He can shut down the DEA with a stroke of a pen.

what
posted by Gator at 7:11 AM on October 7, 2011


Pastabagel: But what if ... and this is a crazy scenario, so bear with me ... these people were in jail for owning a plant? Should they remain locked up until they are guaranteed jobs?
posted by user92371 at 7:14 AM on October 7, 2011


No, that's not the case.

You know what, you're exactly right. I must have blacked out sometime during the 2004 election. Anyway, scratch that whole though.


'S'OK, monju_bosatsu. Lots of us are blacking out those years in our memories (loooong drag....).
posted by IAmBroom at 7:18 AM on October 7, 2011


Uh, I was agreeing with part of Pastabagel's earlier comment. Not this one.
posted by 200burritos at 7:19 AM on October 7, 2011


You want to legalize marijuana, then legalize it directly. Get a law passed that says marijunana can be sold like cigarettes, or whatever. Don't play games with an already fucked up medical system just to make it easier for you to get fucked up.

You know what the wink-and-nod version of marijuana legalization looks like under the rubric of medical treatment? It's boring. Absolutely banal, unremarkable. You get a card, you go into a shop. Nobody's strung out. Nobody gets arrested. Kids can't get it. Adults can.

Why is it boring? Because it's harmless. Of course there should be a straight up laws legalizing it. The medical angle was a step in that direction.

I live in San Francisco. There are dispensaries all over. I lived a block away from one up until a month ago. Again, totally unremarkable. Clean establishment with a door and a receptionist. Normal, clean, non-junkie-looking people coming and going. I walk past it almost every day and don't even think about it. The liquor stores are trashier.

If all legalization was at this point was that any adult could get a card (which is effectively the case now) but without having to feign an issue -- "doc, I want to smoke pot," "ok, here you go. want to schedule your next regular checkup while you're at it?" -- I would support that whole heartedly.

The current drug policy *especially* when it comes to marijuana is so retardedly bizzarro; funny but not funny. There are better ways of handling drug policy, and the get-a-doctor's note one is actually not bad. "medical use only" pretense or no, it simply places people with risky health behavior in contact with a physician.
posted by scelerat at 7:20 AM on October 7, 2011 [16 favorites]


Well, there goes the free newsweeklies in my town, because I think 60% of their advertising comes from pot ads. It's really funny how they now have a second pot-only minipaper within the paper.

Anyway...*sigh* You know what, guys? Hippies don't win, hippies don't ever win. Even if theoretically a majority of people want marijuana to be legal, the conservatives run the country, especially the crazy ones, AND THAT'S GOING TO CONTINUE TO HAPPEN for well, as long as I can tell. The conservatives are the majority, and they're the ones that win no matter what.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:21 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think Pastabagel just solved the unemployment problem. Let's start locking people up for traffic violations if they are unemployed. That way we employee more guards and prison workers and those people locked up will no longer be counted as unemployed. Win/Win.
posted by Bonzai at 7:23 AM on October 7, 2011 [8 favorites]



Where is this America where the elections have consequences?

Vote Nader. Gore is the same as Bush, anyway.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:24 AM on October 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


other countries with far healthier laws and societies, which we could use as models for how to fix our own
posted by crayz at 10:03 AM on October 7


Name one of those countries that has even half of our 300 million person population.

Pastabagel, you're generally a smart guy, but that last comment is so full of incorrect information and general stupidity that I don't even know where to start.

Go ahead and start anywhere, I'm pretty confident about what I wrote. If you are over 20 and haven't realized that the "war on drugs" is really just a social control program, then you are living in a bad episode of Miami Vice. If you haven't been exposed to the legions of perfectly healthy, able-bodied 20-somethings who've scored a psychiatric evaluation of depression and now don't work, get disability, and then sell or abuse their Xanax, then you've been living under a rock. We have an enormously efficient, insanely productive economy that has no idea what to do with most of the adults who live within it. So we have to "put them" (classify and contextualize them) somewhere.

And I didn't even mention what all of the people involved on the interdiction side would have to do if the WoD ended, either. The DEA employs roughly 10,000 people, but the budget of over $2 billion is often spent on equipment, contractors, etc. all off whom would fall on hard times if the agency were substantially downsized. Now add in all the federal funds to local law enforcement that would (should) go away, etc.

All federal spending, on anything, is a jobs program. Defense, medical research, drug interdiction, homeland security, etc. The legislators who lobby for more defense spending are not warmongers, they represent defense contractors and they employees who live in their state. Legislators who lobby the loudest for increased medical research are the ones from states with the most university hospitals, drug companies or federal labs that employe a substantial number of the states residents.

I'm not talking about what is right or moral or ethical, I'm talking about people's jobs. You want to end this program or that program, go ahead. But deal with the consequences.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:26 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the very best thing that I can say about Obama is that he is probably not in control of anything.
posted by Avenger at 7:28 AM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


The current drug policy *especially* when it comes to marijuana is so retardedly bizzarro; funny but not funny. There are better ways of handling drug policy, and the get-a-doctor's note one is actually not bad. "medical use only" pretense or no, it simply places people with risky health behavior in contact with a physician.
posted by scelerat at 10:20 AM on October 7


I get what you are saying, but do you really think the doctor is spending a hour with each patient that comes in wanting medical pot, counselling them on the risks, infomring them of their treatment options, etc. No. In almost all cases, it's maybe a 15 minute ballet of patient saying the magic words that match the symptoms the doctor has to hear to come up with a diagnosis the treatment of which is pot. The ideal you are describing is light yearas away from reality.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:32 AM on October 7, 2011


If you legalized marijuana that money could still be spent on stopping cocaine and heroin. If you legalized marijuana it wouldn't be grown by big drug companies in Mexico it would be grown by Americans in their backyards or by farmers. It's as easy to grow as tomatoes.
posted by Bonzai at 7:33 AM on October 7, 2011


And yes Pastabagel I completely agree that legal and illegal drugs and the prison industrial system serve as a form of social control/stabilizer in the US. Where we differ is that I find it morally abhorrant to advocate doubling-down on that system in the face of dozens of other countries with far healthier laws and societies, which we could use as models for how to fix our own
posted by crayz at 10:03 AM on October 7


I agree. I'm not opining on the morality of anything, just on the reality of it.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:34 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, there might be more to this story than meets the eye, now that I think about it.

The administration might be getting pressure from other branches of the government on this issues--specifically, from the Supreme Court.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Stevens recently offered this kind of weird public statement about how he thinks the Supreme Court has to uphold the Affordable Health Care Act because of its prior ruling upholding Federal prohibitions on state medical marijuana laws.

The last time the Supreme Court took on this issue, it ruled that the Federal government's prohibitions on state medical marijuana laws were constitutional even in cases when there was no evidence of direct interstate trade of the marijuana under an extremely generous (some might even say bullshit) interpretation of the interstate commerce clause.

So that might be some kind of back channel political signal that the court can be pressured into supporting the Affordable Health Care Act, but only if the executive branch falls more into line with its previous ruling on medical marijuana (which Holders' new policy direction basically just sidestepped).

There might be more to the politics of this situation than meets the eye, but that doesn't necessarily mean its a craven bid to capture "tough on drugs" votes. That seems like the least likely explanation, actually, as he never felt the need to appeal to that crowd when he was a candidate, so those folks must not feature to prominently in the president's political calculations.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:34 AM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


The whole "change" thing was a ploy to get elected. It has all been mostly the same.

I'm having trouble figuring out why he wanted to be president in the first place, since the answer doesn't seem to be "to lead" or "to make a difference". I am left with "to be able to command huge speaking fees in the future".
posted by padraigin at 7:35 AM on October 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


It's a bad ban, but I don't want a Republican president to have the option not to enforce the environmental laws, either.

I have bad news for you.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 7:35 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Vote Nader. Gore is the same as Bush, anyway

On this issue, yes, the parties are the same. This is really a bad topic to be grinding the Nader ax on.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:35 AM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm not talking about what is right or moral or ethical, I'm talking about people's jobs. You want to end this program or that program, go ahead. But deal with the consequences.

Ah that's right, the real hardship of prohibition was when it ended and all those FBI agents were suddenly out of work...
posted by Hoenikker at 7:36 AM on October 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


And I didn't even mention what all of the people involved on the interdiction side would have to do if the WoD ended, either. The DEA employs roughly 10,000 people, but the budget of over $2 billion is often spent on equipment, contractors, etc. all off whom would fall on hard times if the agency were substantially downsized. Now add in all the federal funds to local law enforcement that would (should) go away, etc.

Reassign them to real crimes.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:37 AM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


The conservatives are the majority, and they're the ones that win no matter what.

They're not the majority, and they only win because there is no underhanded depth to which they will not go, as for example with their recent plot to capture all the state legislatures so they could control the redistricting processes in every state and consolidate their hold on political power even further.

They're just obsessed with holding and accumulating power to a degree that most of the rest of us can't achieve because we are relatively sane and relatively prosocial.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:39 AM on October 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


Vote Nader. Gore is the same as Bush, anyway

You know, there are a large number of important policies where the Democratic Party and Republican Party share, broadly speaking, basically the same positions. Both parties are more or less on the same page when it comes to foreign policy, monetary policy, drug policy, agricultural policy and (now) environmental regulations.

They seem to differ on taxes, gay rights and abortion for the most part. Those are important differences but it's starting to look more and more like Democrats are basically just Republicans who happen to support very mild taxes on the wealthy and gay rights. That's awesome and all, but it's not very inspiring.
posted by Avenger at 7:41 AM on October 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sacramento here and we have a ton of dispensaries.

I really can't help but wonder if things would have gone differently if the majority of them didn't present themselves to the public with idiotic swirly psychedelic graphics and ads with ham-handed "420 mazzzzn!" references and other such stoner lameness.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 7:41 AM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Obama, fake left goes right.
posted by pianomover at 7:42 AM on October 7, 2011


If you haven't been exposed to the legions of perfectly healthy, able-bodied 20-somethings who've scored a psychiatric evaluation of depression and now don't work, get disability, and then sell or abuse their Xanax, then you've been living under a rock. We have an enormously efficient, insanely productive economy that has no idea what to do with most of the adults who live within it. So we have to "put them" (classify and contextualize them) somewhere.

I know or knew people who have used, abused, bought and sold every drug you can imagine. A lot of them have well paying jobs and families now, and exactly no one would have been better off if they had gone to jail.

And you're being awfully judgemental about people with clinically diagnosed depression.
posted by empath at 7:43 AM on October 7, 2011 [11 favorites]


Wait, wait, wait. Do any of you guys actually think that these medical marijuana shops are all actually selling marijuana legally? My ass.

I'm cool with decriminalization of marijuana, and I'm okay with legalizing it outright. But you have a bunch of idiots thinking they can pull one over on the system by putting a big green cross on a storefront, well, they get what they deserve. They know they have it coming. Most of these shops are kind of a big "fuck you" to drug laws and drug enforcement.

I'm sure there are some stand-up shops that actually only sell marijuana legally. I have my doubts, of course. Ultimately, I think that medical marijuana is a racket that is engineered to circumvent not just federal law, but also state law prohibitions on marijuana use.

But, if you're okay with the outright illegal sale of marijuana (i.e. non-medical marijuana), then these actions by the DEA are rather dickish.
posted by jabberjaw at 7:44 AM on October 7, 2011


Those are important differences but it's starting to look more and more like Democrats are basically just Republicans who happen to support very mild taxes on the wealthy and gay rights. That's awesome and all, but it's not very inspiring.

I don't disagree.

But that idea is in a different zipcode entirely from "elections don't have consequences".
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:44 AM on October 7, 2011


Seriously though, anybody got any insight into why Justice Stevens just now--when it's clear that the Supreme Court will decide the fate of the Health Care reform right in the middle of the election cycle--decided to put a spotlight on the court's previous decision on medical marijuana and to connect that with the affordable health care act like I mentioned upthread? It seems like a completely random and unnecessary way to engage the issue, unless there's more going on behind the scenes than meets the eye.

Oh wait, no--wrong kind of thread. What was I thinking....

[Pithy one liner goes here.]
posted by saulgoodman at 7:45 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, the IRS has that a 1982 federal law prevents a marijuana dispensary from qualifying for the standard deductions that any other normal business could use. Which may mean that eventually there will be no dispensaries to bust.

As for Ralph Nader, I may cast a write-in vote for him in 2012 - just for having been so fucking right in 2000.
posted by Trurl at 7:49 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, another thing to consider, there's a major political fight taking place right now over Holder's involvement in the so-called "Fast and Furious" ATF scandal. You can bet Republicans and less sympathetic Dems in congress are using that issue to make hay and making all kinds of threats against Holder in return for concessions in other areas right now.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:51 AM on October 7, 2011


Okay, but it will still just get much worse.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:51 AM on October 7, 2011


This is remarkable not necessarily for what it is (as some commenters have noted, this specific attack on dispensaries is limited) but for what it represents. Despite promises during his campaign and early in his presidency to stop raids on dispensaries, and despite rhetoric about stopping the drug war, the Obama administration's DEA has not backed off on dispensary raids at all - see here or here for a couple of other incidents.

I said this before in another thread, but we spend billions of dollars each year antagonizing, prosecuting, and imprisoning huge numbers of people - mostly minorities and poor people - for a victimless crime. The continued demonization of marijuana in the face of widespread, mostly responsible use has rightfully undermined confidence in government and law enforcement. And marijuana sales support the black market that makes our cities more dangerous and has turned parts of Mexico into a gangland.

I donated money more than once to Obama's campaign, and I called my family in a swing state to urge them to vote for him. I did it because I sincerely believed him when he said that he would end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that he would be better on civil liberties, and that he would take a more sensible approach to the drug war. Looking honestly at his record I feel a sense of outright betrayal.
posted by AgentRocket at 7:52 AM on October 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


This is not new to the Obama administration. In 2007, a friend of my mother-in-law's got one of these letters. She was 89 and someone acting as her agent had leased her property to a legally operating dispensary in Los Angeles County. She was really frightened by the threat to incarcerate her and seize her assets so she evicted the business.

Hundreds of these threats have gone out. I'm not sure if any property owner has stood their ground and what the result would be if they did.

As far as I know, no patients have been prosecuted in this process, which is kind of what Obama "promised". Can we please Legalize It already and stop thuggery against little old ladies? ugh.
posted by simbiotic at 7:53 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


So let me get this straight -- MetaFilter is pro-local farmer, anti-corporate farming, anti-big business except when it comes to pot and then it's just GO GO GO!

Because that's all this seems to be to me. It's easier to frame as broken campaign promises and "OMG Obama is going to shut down the pot dispensaries" and "Take That, Hippies" because, hey that gets 96 comments in 4 hours and gets everyone riled up. But if you RTFA, that's not the case at all. And that's from an LA Times article framing that's pretty much trying to do the whole same "Gotcha!" dance* as the post.

By doing this, Obama wins political capital both within government and, though maybe with his base@, certainly within a large part of the population who have and would again vote for him. Further, he gets to regulate big business in a way that Republicans won't lose their shit over. Maybe not win/win/win, but certainly win/win.

@ Though a lot of people would consider small business owners who own small pot dispensaries "Obama's base" and those people should be freakin' thrilled at this news. And so should, probably, most pot smokers in California. The sooner it becomes profitable for large companies to go into the medical marijuana game, the sooner everyone who wants to buy legally will only be able to afford to pay for ditch weed at one of fifteen local McPot franchises. There's a way to do this right, but eventually the medical marijuana game will be a loser for us all.

Trust me - Obama's positions can piss me off too sometimes. Any American gay person who says otherwise is delusional or self-loathing or ignorant or some sad combination of all three (though those folks are usually members of GOProud or those weird gay men who love Anne Coulter), but pick your battles, folks. I can see why NORML raises the flag over this; it's the same reason GLAAD or PETA or ADL pick battles that some of us might seem as a little too extreme or silly -- their responsible for those borders and they have to do particularly strong fighting at borders they helped establish (which is also why the medical marijuana is the 'civil unions' of the drug war -- passed so people would shut up but doesn't really solve the problem), so they have to push back every time somebody encroaches on them. But I'm not sure why, on this particular issues for these particular sets of letters, MetaFilter is doing the same.

* Vote Leslie Knope
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:53 AM on October 7, 2011


I did it because I sincerely believed him when he said that he would end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that he would be better on civil liberties, and that he would take a more sensible approach to the drug war. Looking honestly at his record I feel a sense of outright betrayal.

Think your memory is betraying you. He promised to increase US committment to Afghanistan, where the terrorist network that attacked the US was headquartered.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:55 AM on October 7, 2011


I really can't help but wonder if things would have gone differently if the majority of them didn't present themselves to the public with idiotic swirly psychedelic graphics and ads with ham-handed "420 mazzzzn!" references and other such stoner lameness.

Businesses gotta market.

Sometimes I wonder if sampling would still be royalty-free if Biz Markie hadn't just ripped off the entire song. But I figure the rent-seekers would have scurried out of the woodwork sooner or later.
posted by Trurl at 7:57 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


But I want to do it under strict guidelines. I want it prescribed in the same way that other painkillers or palliative drugs are prescribed."

Huh. Didn't see that. I do agree. Why the hell is this done in separate shops? If this is for medical purposes, why is it not in the pharmacies?
posted by Ironmouth at 7:57 AM on October 7, 2011


So let me get this straight -- MetaFilter is pro-local farmer, anti-corporate farming, anti-big business except when it comes to pot and then it's just GO GO GO!

I'm not anti big farming or big business. In general mass production lowers prices. The only thing that would raise the prices is taxes and regulation, which I would much rather deal with than risk of arrest.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:00 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Name one of those countries that has even half of our 300 million person population.

The continent of Europe? Less politically cohesive and euro troubles yadayada, but I mean, I'm not sure why the raw population size makes having a decent society unworkable
posted by crayz at 8:00 AM on October 7, 2011


Vote Nader. Gore is the same as Bush, anyway

On this issue, yes, the parties are the same. This is really a bad topic to be grinding the Nader ax on.


Except no. Obama thinks it would be a good idea to have marijuana as medicine, prescribed like other medications (like othe pallative care medicines and painkillers), if the science is there to support it. The GOP is not for that. This is actually in the quote in the post.

Let's be honest, these are fronts for recreational weed sales. There really isn't a prescription process, and it isn't treated like every other medication. This is grey-area legalization-light.

Separate from this policy is the policy to allow US Attorneys leeway to forego prosecution of the dispensaries when resources are being wasted. This policy has been modified several times. As Brandon Blatcher and others pointed out upthread. Sky-is-falling aside, the policy has never prevented prosecutions, ever.

My point is simple. Obama's policy does differ from the GOP.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:11 AM on October 7, 2011


I'm a lame dad in his 30s. I wouldn't even know where to begin to get pot.

Call Montel Williams. He'll hook you up.
posted by Trurl at 8:16 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]



Except no. Obama thinks it would be a good idea to have marijuana as medicine, prescribed like other medications (like othe pallative care medicines and painkillers), if the science is there to support it. The GOP is not for that. This is actually in the quote in the post.


The science is there to support it. Laws are there to regulate and facilitate it. He continues to give both science and law the finger.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:22 AM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


....consider how many thousands of people in their 20's fake hard-to-verify conditions ("I'm depressed...") to get scripts. If what is happening with medical marijuana happened with oxycodone or percocet, doctors would be going to prison.

LOL. Yes, no one has a hard-to-verify condition (or is downright faking it) to get percocet or oxy....
posted by Big_B at 8:27 AM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


The science is there to support it. Laws are there to regulate and facilitate it. He continues to give both science and law the finger.

Law? Marijuana is an illegal drug. Schedule I. He can't make it legal with the waive of a hand. Its illegal to give to anyone in every state of the Union. All of them. Including California. Federal law trumps state in an interstate commerce matter. If you don't like that principle, then you deny the ability of the Federal government to fight racist restauranteurs and inkeepers who won't serve blacks.

Also, where's the science that says marijuana fights depression or anxiety? It always made me more anxious.

I mean there aren't enough cancer and glaucoma patients in all of California to cover the people with Med Mal certificates.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:35 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


LOL. Yes, no one has a hard-to-verify condition (or is downright faking it) to get percocet or oxy...

That doesn't make it right to do that.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:37 AM on October 7, 2011


LOL. Yes, no one has a hard-to-verify condition (or is downright faking it) to get percocet or oxy....

But if there were percocet-only or oxycodene-only dispensaries, they would be more than a little suspect.
posted by jabberjaw at 8:37 AM on October 7, 2011


The states say differently, Ironmouth. Like I said before, this is a constitutional crisis.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:39 AM on October 7, 2011


Federal law trumps state in an interstate commerce matter

Some especially pro-gun Utahns are trying to exempt weapons made entirely in-state from federal regulation on that basis.
posted by Trurl at 8:43 AM on October 7, 2011


In almost all cases, it's maybe a 15 minute ballet of patient saying the magic words that match the symptoms the doctor has to hear to come up with a diagnosis the treatment of which is pot. The ideal you are describing is light yearas away from reality.

That's 15 minutes more than zero. What's wrong with "let's take your blood pressure, how are you feeling lately? ok, here's your card."?

It's not light years away. It works this way right now in California.
posted by scelerat at 8:45 AM on October 7, 2011


BurnChao: This won't cost him any votes at all

I won't say that this one thing is definitive in my voting preference, but it seriously dampers my enthusiasm. I know that this current action isn't something Obama did and I won't place the responsibility on him, but he really hasn't done anything to clarify the situation at all. That was something he indicated an intent to do and it wasn't done. I will write-in if that's what I have to do in order to choose a candidate I would actually want.

gracedissolved: The Constitution says that the federal government is allowed to regulate these things.

You want to point me to that amendment? The last time I checked, it's mostly done under their oh-so-generous interpretation of the commerce clause.

Pastabagel: You want to legalize marijuana, then legalize it directly.

You're joking, right? Did you miss the part where that's not really possible because it's federally illegal? Where even if a state did "legalize it directly", the federal government could still come in and arrest people, seize their business assets, or hell, break into their house in the middle of the night with a team of heavily armed men and dogs? What difference does it make? That's what peeves me. That's why I have beef with the Obama administration. I was seriously disgusted with the behavior of the DEA and FBI out in California during the Bush administration. It was nice to have at least a slight reprieve from that for a few years. OH WELL. Things like this get me considering Ron Paul. He is the only person that I think might even have the will and motivation to actually address some of these things on the federal level.

Ironmouth: Let's be honest, these are fronts for recreational weed sales. [...] Also, where's the science that says marijuana fights depression or anxiety?

Yes, I'm sure that absolutely none of those people have any sort of disorder or malady that's being treated with medical marijuana. You know, I'm not even going to argue this, because I'm sure you see things your own way. I know, things aren't perfect, they aren't all nice and lined up, but neither is the rest of medicine, or pharmaceutical drugs. I just want to say, though, that there have been times when I have been dangerously close to hurting myself when I've been in some bad states mentally and sometimes I don't know if I'd still be here without the assistance I've gotten from cannabis. Sorry I didn't have time to do a clinical study.
posted by nTeleKy at 8:52 AM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm not talking about what is right or moral or ethical, I'm talking about people's jobs. You want to end this program or that program, go ahead. But deal with the consequences.

Much of our inmate population is working for CCA or Wackenhut and receiving slave wages for their labor. If we dismantle the prison labor industry, perhaps we can create enough private sector jobs to absorb a large portion of the non-violent inmate population into society.
posted by malocchio at 8:55 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


About the oxy clinics, these exist and they're a real problem. But that's because oxy is a hundred times worse than pot -- it can destroy lives and families.

There is no such social "problem" with marijuana clinics, just a legal and political problem.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:56 AM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


This "oh-so-generous" interpretation of the commerce clause is the same one that has existed since World War II, which has resulted in the establishment of things like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Since when are those things bad? Since when do liberals fundamentally disagree with the idea of federal regulation and government action? Is this something we're only allowed to support for the environment and labor rights, and not for anything else?

It works or it doesn't. Either the federal government is allowed, under the commerce clause, to regulate things which have an indirect but provable connection to interstate commerce, or we have to go all the way back and throw out basically the entire New Deal and then some.
posted by gracedissolved at 8:57 AM on October 7, 2011


>Vote Nader. Gore is the same as Bush, anyway.

>As for Ralph Nader, I may cast a write-in vote for him in 2012 - just for having been so fucking right in 2000.

Well, let's do the math on what a Nader vote meant in 2000, when the election came down to a dead heat between Gore and Bush. Here's a postmortem quote from the New York Times:

In Florida, where Mr. Gore trailed Mr. Bush by only a few hundred votes, a shift of just a fraction of the nearly 97,000 votes Mr. Nader polled could have given the state, and the White House, to Mr. Gore, the most likely major-party alternative for Mr. Nader's supporters.

I realize that the butterfly ballot issue, and the later Supreme Court ruling, gummied up the works, but facts are facts. Nader siphoned votes from Gore. If Nader hadn't run in 2000, Gore would have taken the election. It's that simple.

I'm reluctant to support Obama in 2012 for reasons too multitudinous to mention--and medical marijuana is only the most recent addition to this list. But there are inherent risks and dangers in backing third-party candidates, and we need to take these into account before coming to a decision. It's time to take off the blinders, and examine these risks in an objective light.
posted by Gordion Knott at 9:01 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


About the oxy clinics, these exist and they're a real problem.

Would it be better if they were shooting up heroin?
posted by empath at 9:02 AM on October 7, 2011


Also, where's the science that says marijuana fights depression or anxiety? It always made me more anxious.

You should try a nice kushy indica strain instead.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:05 AM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


On this issue, yes, the parties are the same. This is really a bad topic to be grinding the Nader ax on.

Except no. Obama thinks it would be a good idea to have marijuana as medicine, prescribed like other medications (like othe pallative care medicines and painkillers), if the science is there to support it. The GOP is not for that. This is actually in the quote in the post.


Obama thinks lots of things, but in practice the clinics exist in the same state of legal limbo and must wonder if the hammer is going to drop tomorrow if Obama thinks they are helping too many people for example.

Let's be honest, these are fronts for recreational weed sales. There really isn't a prescription process

Ok, please detail the efforts Obama has taken to create a federal prescription service for medical pot so as to distinguish him from Republicans on that.

Also, where's the science that says marijuana fights depression or anxiety? It always made me more anxious.

I dunno Ironmouth, will the government approve research? Has Obama changed the policy to make it easier to do the research?

The bottom line is there is deep political cowardice from both parties on this, the most likely way to achieve permanent change is to get enough state's rights focused judges in place to overturn decisions along the lines of Raich.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:07 AM on October 7, 2011


If Nader hadn't run in 2000 stolen votes that belonged by right to the Democratic Party, Gore would have taken the election.

And then we would have all lived happily ever after.
posted by Trurl at 9:10 AM on October 7, 2011


More Democrats voted for Bush than Nader. You lost, it wasn't the hippies, get over it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:10 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


gracedissolved: Is this something we're only allowed to support for the environment and labor rights, and not for anything else? [...] It works or it doesn't.

The dichotomy you've set up is yours, not mine. We could, for instance, pass constitutional amendments to arrange for these things.
posted by nTeleKy at 9:11 AM on October 7, 2011


Holy shit, that title is offensive on so many levels, I can't even believe it.
posted by Sphinx at 9:11 AM on October 7, 2011


Would it be better if they were shooting up heroin?

It might be better if they went to rehab and had ready access to cannabis to smooth their recovery.

As a bonus, my friend with MS could use it to help him eat and sleep.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:11 AM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, where's the science that says marijuana fights depression or anxiety? It always made me more anxious.

That's like saying, "Where's the science that says Effexor is an anti-depressant? I began an Effexor regime five weeks ago, and I'm still depressed."

Or,

"Where's the science that says Xanax helps with fear of flying? I took three Xanax before flying into Burbank, and I white-knuckled it the whole way."

You do realize that the effects and efficacy of every drug--literally every drug invented by humans since the invention of fire--varies based on the metabolism and genetics of its user, don't you?

There is science. And science says, "marijuana fights depression and anxiety." For people in the not-you category of users.
posted by Gordion Knott at 9:19 AM on October 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


You do realize that the effects and efficacy of every drug--literally every drug invented by humans since the invention of fire--varies based on the metabolism and genetics of its user, don't you?

So, you're saying that prescription medication is bogus in general?

Also, I have empirical evidence that cocaine and meth both fight depression. Notsomuch good for anxiety, though. That's what heroine is for.
posted by jabberjaw at 9:25 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why is it boring? Because it's harmless. Of course there should be a straight up laws legalizing it. The medical angle was a step in that direction.

Exactly. It put it in the public eye in a way that wasn't propaganda, people could see with their own eyes that users didn't freak or drop out of society, or whatever. And more than that it helped to normalize it from people who have panicky reactions like:

Marijuana is an illegal drug. Schedule I.

Marijuana is Schedule I for no good reason whatsoever, other than to keep people afraid of it. "It's illegal because it's dangerous, you can tell it's dangerous because it's Schedule I, because it's Schedule 1, it should be kept out of people's hands so let's keep it illegal!"

It's circular logic, and I realize I've built a pretty nice strawman here out of it, but this kind argument is prevalent all over the place, and you can see it seep into conversations whenever this sort of thing comes up.

At this point, we need to demand that the government, the ones who want to keep it illegal, provide clear and unambiguous reasoning behind it being categorized as Schedule I. There are tests from all over the rest of the world that indicate that it has positive benefits, and I'm tired of having this fight.

I'm getting older, and I'm seeing more and more of my friends and family starting to experience life with cancer, and I will be damned if I want to live in a world where they can't have safe, legal access to something that might make them more comfortable.
posted by quin at 9:28 AM on October 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


So, you're saying that prescription medication is bogus in general?

No, but there's a reason every prescription drug has a list of side effects twenty times longer than its list of benefits - lists that often include the very symptoms the drug is prescribed for. Biochem is hard.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:30 AM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, you're saying that prescription medication is bogus in general?

Please. He's saying that not all prescription medications work on every person the same way.
posted by quin at 9:31 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The fierce urgency of soon... maybe.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 9:40 AM on October 7, 2011


Meanwhile, Topeka, Kansas debates legalizing domestic violence because it costs too much to prosecute.

We will literally legalize wife-beating before we legalize weed. This is who we are.
posted by Avenger at 9:57 AM on October 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


This "oh-so-generous" interpretation of the commerce clause is the same one that has existed since World War II, which has resulted in the establishment of things like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Since when are those things bad?

No, I still don't think I agree with the use of the commerce clause, specifically, as the rationale for giving congress such broad regulatory authority on medical marijuana in this case.

In the medical marijuana case, the court specifically held that the interstate commerce clause applies to the sale of medical marijuana even if there is no connection to interstate commerce or even commerce involved. I agree that's where the law stands now, obviously, but I don't agree its consistent with the spirit of the law in this specific case, and is it really all that surprising people find it odd to see the interstate commerce clause used as the sole justification for a law that expressly doesn't require any interstate commerce to be involved?

In the case of the EPA, it's easy to see the argument: Air crosses state boundaries, water crosses state boundaries (you poison your air, you poison my air); OSHA, likewise, because worker conditions in one state can effect labor market conditions in neighboring states (and lower safety standards in any one state can create a race-to-the-bottom effect for others). But medical marijuana sold on a purely intrastate basis? Given that there's no solid scientific evidence of any concrete harm from even the most excessive forms of recreational marijuana use (studies into lung cancer rates among chronic users have found they actually have lower rates than non-smokers)--it's hard to see where the interstate impact is. And just because the courts have set precedents interpreting the reach of the clause to be this broad in the past, I don't see how its consistent with the intent in the case of the federal medical marijuana prohibition.

Health care is a different matter, in ways that parallel OSHA: local insurance markets are influenced by the markets in other states, because labor can move freely between states.

FWIW, it's from the discussion of these issues by retired Justice Stevens that I'm picking up on the point that the previous ruling on congress' authority to regulate medical marijuana at the state level relied on a particularly broad interpretation of the commerce clause.

Personally, I think it's just our sovereign right as a nation to regulate whatever we want, as long as it doesn't specifically violate the letter/spirit of specifically enumerated constitutional limits. Very few areas of commerce operate any any kind of natural rights expectation in my view, because most are state chartered enterprises, and as such, they only really even exist within the context of state authority and the legal system more broadly in the first place. Formally incorporated entities--especially limited liability, chartered entities--are legal fictions that don't actually exist except as creatures of the law. So to my mind, there's never been any limit on how much they can be regulated implied under the US constitution, but obviously mine is not the prevailing view today.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:00 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The theory (well, more of a blind fantasy, really) I work with is that Obama is doing whatever he thinks he has to do to accomplish two things: leave the Health Care Act mostly intact and b) get re-elected. After he gets re-elected, he suddenly starts springing all the political traps he's set up over the previous four years, and News Corp closes its doors in shame and Sarah Palin ends up selling jewelry on the nine to midnight shift of QVC and I flap my arms and fly to the moon.
posted by Mooski at 10:02 AM on October 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


Please. He's saying that not all prescription medications work on every person the same way.

Agreed. But saying that medication often does not do what it says on the box, this does not support the argument that marijuana is properly prescribed for depression and/or anxiety.

I get medical marijuana prescriptions for glaucoma and MS, and as part of cancer treatments, and for a few more things. But I think that marijuana for depression and anxiety is actually more symptomatic than curative. Which, I suppose, shouldn't discount its value as a prescription medication to treat depression or anxiety. The fact that pot dispensaries don't usually have pharmacists might lend to how bogus many prescriptions can be.

The people I know that have medical marijuana prescriptions due to anxiety all smoked weed both before and after the prescription. They also do not purchase their pot from legal pot dispensaries. The purpose of getting the prescription was more likely to prevent charges if they were ever caught possessing.

Understanding the economics of pot distribution is important, here. (1) Can pot dispensaries obtain pot legally, i.e., from legal sources? (2) If so, is the quality of legal pot from dispensaries anywhere near the quality of stuff you can get from your other sources? (3) Is the price of legal pot better than the price of pot from other sources? (4) Why the hell would anybody spend more money on shit pot?

Here's a bit on pot dispensaries from How Stuff Works.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:04 AM on October 7, 2011


Meanwhile, Topeka, Kansas debates legalizing domestic violence because it costs too much to prosecute.

We will literally legalize wife-beating before we legalize weed. This is who we are.
That is goddamn disgusting.
posted by kuatto at 10:08 AM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


...and I flap my arms and fly to the moon.

Well, there's no air in space, so that won't work. I recommend a spaceship.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:08 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth: Why the hell is this done in separate shops? If this is for medical purposes, why is it not in the pharmacies?

Probably because of situations like the one described in this post. Existing pharmacies don't want to risk being shut down for one drug they are selling, nor do they want loss of legitimacy from selling drugs in a grey area of legality.
posted by JiBB at 10:08 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I fear that "the chunk of soul" pla alludes to here is *something* from big pharma. Marijuana as a viable treatment for chronic pain and illness does not grow the bottom line. It's not under patent so you can't charge obscene amounts to consumers and insurance companies to dispense it, anyone can grow it, and chronic pain sufferers or injured folks who are treated with marijuana can quit when they no longer need it, without life-risking side effects. Not so with narcotic painkillers like Oxycodone, which leave a tragic trail of hardcore addiction and dependency in their wake.

Look in the near future to see Oxy-dispensing "pain clinics" a la Florida crop up all over California to take the place of the marijuana dispensaries. There is nothing good in this, unless you're looking at pharmaceutical industry balance sheets.
posted by jenh at 10:11 AM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Agreed. But saying that medication often does not do what it says on the box, this does not support the argument that marijuana is properly prescribed for depression and/or anxiety.

Only if you're going to argue that no medication is properly prescribed for anything. Hell, just drawing on my personal experience Remicade, a drug used to treat (among other things) rheumatoid arthritis, can cause severe joint pain. Prednisone, another treatment for such, can cause permanent (and painful) joint damage over long periods of time. Surprise! Medicine is, once again, hard.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:11 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry about the title. It was a poorly thought out joke that isn't that funny, if at all.
posted by waraw at 10:24 AM on October 7, 2011


nTeleKy, we *could* pass amendments to do those things. Theoretically. If you'd like to wait around for that to happen, it'll take 2/3 of *both* the House and the Senate, or 2/3 of the state legislatures.

Do you really think that the EPA has that much support? How much do you think *does* have that kind of support? The Equal Rights Amendment just forbids discrimination on the basis of sex... and still didn't pass and hasn't yet.

This is not the way to get progress.
posted by gracedissolved at 10:24 AM on October 7, 2011


Upthread someone mentioned Colorado, where we have the highest number of cannabis shops in the nation (per capita). Everybody knows "medical marijuana" is a joke. 92% of the "patients" are male.
And it is probably true that Obama doesn't want to mess with the pot palaces here (I can walk to five of them in three minutes from my house) because we may be a swing state.

But last week in Colorado a problem arose. The last bank to cater to the dispenseries said "Nope," obviously in fear of the Feds. So now it's a cash only business. Dangerous.

I don't think any of the pot advocates really thought this through very well.
posted by kozad at 10:35 AM on October 7, 2011


saulgoodman : Personally, I think it's just our sovereign right as a nation to regulate whatever we want, as long as it doesn't specifically violate the letter/spirit of specifically enumerated constitutional limits.

I can live with that.

IX) The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

X) The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Well there you have it - Specifically enumerated constitutional limits telling the DEA to cut this shit out.
posted by pla at 10:39 AM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


From a political standpoint, this makes sense. It is disappointing from a voters perspective particularly if this an issue they care about (as I do). It makes political sense. No candidate running for president can appear soft on drugs, remember Carter was made out that way concerning cannabis. I think its disappointing if people wouldn't vote for him on this singular issue. Think of it this way, what will Obama do after a second term? He wont be running for office, and hopefully can push through a more liberal philosophical agenda. Think of the bigger picture.

Secondly, I am connected and involved in the medical marijuana group here in Michigan. We don't provide medication, but offer up education and a network of individuals seeking caregivers and advice. I can tell you right now, the majority of people interested do have legitimate health issues. Furthermore, who really cares if people are "rigging" the system? This happens with any system, and stoner's are going to get stoned anyway. May as well have some legal protection.

Finally, trying to make marijuana like a pharmacy is ridiculous. Patients need options and not every strain is the same, and its a plant that people titrate doses as needed. It can be baked, infused, smoked and vaporized. Its extremely versatile and different strains and growers again offer different medications. I am lucky enough to have an excellent caregiver who asks for my input. I request strains, he gets seeds from Europe, and grows phenomenonal medication. As a regular user, tolerance does grow, but having a strain that can put me down at night with a couple tokes is amazing. No more sleep medications, no more benzodiazapams, no more waking up feeling like a zombie. Cannabis is safe, effective, and diverse.

The economic implications of legalization are great, but I don't believe it match the current windfall for the lawyers, municipal governments or the privatization of prisons across the united states. Its a shame we have a war on our own people, particularly when the public generally agrees with changing the status quo.
posted by handbanana at 10:43 AM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Another Obama Ropa-a-Dope move.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:48 AM on October 7, 2011


It's too bad nobody told him he was supposed to use that strategy on his opponent and not his corner.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:49 AM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well there you have it - Specifically enumerated constitutional limits telling the DEA to cut this shit out.

Except that the people have the right to exercise their powers through their representatives in congress. When we elect someone to pass a law we want, that's us exercising our rights as the people, is it not?
posted by saulgoodman at 10:50 AM on October 7, 2011


Another Obama Ropa-a-Dope move.

Hi. Politics is not boxing. Your opponents don't get tired when you keep letting them beat you.
posted by indubitable at 10:52 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


There only seems to be a conflict if you assume that the Republic is no longer identical with the people, as it was originally envisioned to be. The Republic was established under the direct authority of "We the People"; the term Republic actually means the People.

It may not be working that way now, but the original idea was the people would be the sole owners of the state through our representatives, and that the state would be the expression of the will of the people.

That's what a Republic is supposed to be, by definition (although to be fair, we didn't used to consider certain kinds of people actual people, but we're supposed to know better know).

So when the constitution says:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

It means we can expand/limit the powers of the state as we the people see fit through our control of the democratic processes of lawmaking. That doesn't necessarily work anymore in practice, but I'm pretty sure that's the reading closest to the original intent (not that I'm arguing the original intent necessarily has to be binding for all of time, although in this case my own feeling is that it ought to be).
posted by saulgoodman at 10:58 AM on October 7, 2011


That's bullshit. The founders were acutely aware of the difference between the people and the federal government - especially since in their vision of Congress, there was an entire house that didn't even answer to voters.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:08 AM on October 7, 2011


Just wanted to add in addition to the nonsense comments that its just 20 something white guys faking it. It most certainly is not the case. Besides that, I fit that category, I look fine, but I have arthritis and it fucking sucks! Hell, i didnt start smoking untill i was 19. So instead of playing arm chair doctor, look into the benefits, and safety of cannabis. It can ease multiple symptoms for a wide demographic. It isn't a solve all, but it can be beneficial to many.
posted by handbanana at 11:12 AM on October 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well, you're free to believe that, but if the people have unenumerated powers under the constitution, and the state itself under most generally accepted political conceptions of Republicanism is supposed to be the supreme mechanism whereby the people exercise their political power, how else do you suggest the People put their unenumerated powers into use? Powers that you can't actually put to use don't amount to a whole lot in practice, as far as I can tell.

You say it's bullshit, but I don't see any way to avoid the conclusion that the state is expressly supposed to be the mechanism whereby the people exercise their political power. If you accept that proposition, the necessity of broadly interpreting the law making authority of the state--where the people and their state are not expressly prohibited from exercising certain powers, unlike say, abrogating the right to life without due process, which is specifically restricted in every case.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:28 AM on October 7, 2011


Erm, "the necessity of broadly interpreting the law making authority of the state... seems pretty obvious."
posted by saulgoodman at 11:29 AM on October 7, 2011


Let's be honest, these are fronts for recreational weed sales.

I will concede this point, Ironmouth, if you concede the popular MeFi stereotype that cops are people who get their jollies from abusing the helpless. We can negotiate over the truth and meet each other halfway, Obama-style.
posted by indubitable at 11:29 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've always had reservations about the store fronts. They draw a negative light to the cause. They advertise in a unprofessional manner.

Secondly, the stores are making bank. They overcharge, and in general don't have the best products (in Michigan at least, prior to our AG making medical marijuana his per project). Id like to see more of a coop approach with membership, a magnitude of medicine and a sense of professionalism.
posted by handbanana at 11:36 AM on October 7, 2011


Remember: most Americans support legalizing medical marijuana in some form, independent voters included. So who exactly is Obama targeting for votes here? Fundamentalist prohibitionists? Please. It's stupid, frightened centrist politics that makes no sense.

I really, really think that the con law professor in Obama makes him do a lot of things without regard to political considerations, and I think that enforcing laws he doesn't like is one of those things.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 11:47 AM on October 7, 2011


Bummer: Barack Obama turns out to be just another drug warrior.
posted by homunculus at 11:55 AM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Remember that some of us stoners are Harold, not Kumar
posted by angrycat at 11:56 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


U.S. Drug Policy Would Be Imposed Globally By New House Bill
posted by homunculus at 11:56 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Further down the LA times page, a link titled:

U.S. decrees marijuana has no accepted medical use

Medicine by decree. Very sophisticated, very modern, very scientific.

Also, I think the post title is quite apt. Has any politician in the last 30 years ever lost votes by appearing to stick it to those crazy, stoned hippies? I didn't believe Obama when he said he'd ease up on medical mj, and I've been waiting for this shoe to drop for months.
posted by telstar at 12:02 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


So let me get this straight -- MetaFilter is pro-local farmer, anti-corporate farming, anti-big business except when it comes to pot and then it's just GO GO GO!

Our produce isn't sourced from Mexican gangs. If it were, I'd be rooting for mega-farm all the way.
posted by ilikemefi at 12:36 PM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why do politicians break their promises?

I want to do it under strict guidelines. I want it prescribed in the same way that other painkillers or palliative drugs are prescribed

Just like alcohol.

There is growing problem in San Francisco with there being too many dispensaries in some places. We don't need more little ones, which this recent development is sure to promote.

What is the problem and why don't we need more "little ones"? I really don't get it.

because I'm not for widespread use of pot as "medicine,"

Again, I must ask, why on Earth not? I haven't heard one good argument against it. Not one.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:53 PM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


From: U.S. decrees marijuana has no accepted medical use
Nonetheless, the DEA concluded that marijuana has no accepted medical use, Leonhart wrote in her letter, because its chemistry is not known and adequate studies have not been done on its usefulness or safety. "At this time," she said, "the known risks of marijuana use have not been shown to be outweighed by specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials that scientifically evaluate safety and efficacy."
So, to sum up, despite no less than three official requests in the last forty years, that the scheduling be changed, no tests or clinical trials have, apparently been done by the government.

And they won't let people test it because it's Schedule 1, and they won't consider changing it from Schedule 1 because there haven't been any recognized tests done.

They clearly have no interest in ever looking at this from anything other than a Drug War perspective, and will continue using circular logic to defend themselves.
posted by quin at 1:05 PM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Like I said in this thread, there's pretty much no way to get marijuana legalized or rescheduled as a legal medicine without the states.
Rescheduling is and always has been the medical marijuana endgame, but the support it'll take to get that done in Congress or the courts requires that we prove the status quo wrong on the state and local level. This is the only remaining way we can prove marijuana's efficacy as a medicine, since the Feds refuse to acknowledge the obvious conclusion of decades of research and also refuse to allow new FDA-approved studies.

Given the refusal of the Federal government to listen to science or the people, I don't buy the idea that supporting medical marijuana style checks-and-balances on the Fed's ability to regulate anything for any reason equals "deny[ing] the ability of the Federal government to fight racist restauranteurs and inkeepers who won't serve blacks". If the Federal government wants the ability to regulate a few very important things which don't have an obvious connection to interstate commerce, then they must not abuse that power elsewhere or it will be ignored, fought, worked around, and, yes, denied.

Medical cannabis has been legal in California for fourteen years -- the idea that the Feds "have to" "enforce the law" is a sick joke. Why don't they "have to" yank homeopathic "medicine" off the shelves? Why don't they "have to" go after medical scams the way they've gone after dispensaries? For that matter, why don't they "have to" check the accounts of the Fortune 500 as closely as they've looked at those of dispensary owners? This excuse is always used by those who want to applaud specific acts of selective enforcement, but I don't buy it. If I have to live in a world where the government "has to" enforce the law then I want to live in that world, not one where the law is nothing more than an excuse to pick and choose which minority to beat on.

The political motivation here is obvious, blatant, and should be opposed by anyone with an interest in fair government.
posted by vorfeed at 1:22 PM on October 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


Federal law trumps state in an interstate commerce matter

Some especially pro-gun Utahns are trying to exempt weapons made entirely in-state from federal regulation on that basis.


There's no way that will fly. There's another case I can't remember here that was even less interstate commerce. Utahans can't say with certainty that the guns won't go out of state.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:53 PM on October 7, 2011


Like I said in this thread, there's pretty much no way to get marijuana legalized or rescheduled as a legal medicine without the states.
Rescheduling is and always has been the medical marijuana endgame, but the support it'll take to get that done in Congress or the courts requires that we prove the status quo wrong on the state and local level. This is the only remaining way we can prove marijuana's efficacy as a medicine, since the Feds refuse to acknowledge the obvious conclusion of decades of research and also refuse to allow new FDA-approved studies.



You know, there are MJ-based drugs that are on schedule II and III. They also lack the problems with the inhalation of smoke. from your link:

"The synthetic marijuana-based drugs nabilone and dronabinol (both used to treat nausea and vomiting) are already approved in the U.S. and have been placed in Schedules II and III, respectively. Schedule II includes drugs with high abuse potential like Oxycontin, while Schedule III includes milder painkillers like codeine combined with Tylenol."

So I don't understand why these aren't good enough to solve the medical needs of patients. From your other link, it appears that the synthetic canniboids cover the issue.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:01 PM on October 7, 2011


THC isn't the only chemical in marijuana and some patients have issues keeping down pills. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:04 PM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


There's no way that will fly. There's another case I can't remember here that was even less interstate commerce. Utahans can't say with certainty that the guns won't go out of state.

Whether or not the goods cross state lines has no bearing on the use of the Commerce Clause. If there is even a tenuous argument that the economy across a state line will be affected, the Commerce Clause is wielded.
posted by telstar at 2:06 PM on October 7, 2011


I'm pretty sure the court would uphold a tax on breathing on the basis of wind going across state lines eventually.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:18 PM on October 7, 2011


THC isn't the only chemical in marijuana and some patients have issues keeping down pills. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

Those contain more than THC. There are also vaporized versions of those drugs, according to the Time article cited upthread.

I'm pretty sure the court would uphold a tax on breathing on the basis of wind going across state lines eventually.

It allows laws covering air pollution by that very mechanism, yes.

Whether or not the goods cross state lines has no bearing on the use of the Commerce Clause. If there is even a tenuous argument that the economy across a state line will be affected, the Commerce Clause is wielded.

Yep, can't remember that damn case though---something about agricultural products. I blame my Con Law prof for my failure. Couldn't have been weed.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:23 PM on October 7, 2011


Those synthetic medications are no way near as efficient as the actual plant. They seem to be lacking something. Again cannabis is very diverse and that's part of the interesting aspect of cannabis. Some strains are better than others plus there are over. 60 different cannabinols that are present in the plant, that are not present in marinol.
posted by handbanana at 2:30 PM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


The synthetic marijuana-based drugs nabilone and dronabinol...

If I recall the studies, neither of these outperformed regular marijuana, and in some cases yielded unexpected side effects. On the other hand, both are patented, and therefore able to make money for pharmaceutical companies unlike regular old pot which is a weed that grows virtually anywhere, solves the same problems, and could be made to cost nothing.

You can guess which is preferable to the medical industry and the politicians who receive money from them.
posted by quin at 2:36 PM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know, there are MJ-based drugs that are on schedule II and III. They also lack the problems with the inhalation of smoke. from your link:
[...] So I don't understand why these aren't good enough to solve the medical needs of patients. From your other link, it appears that the synthetic canniboids cover the issue.


I wrote about this extensively here, here, and here. In short: synthetics contain only a fraction of the chemicals in whole marijuana; in particular, nabilone and dronabinol do not contain cannabidiol, which is arguably the most medically active compound in marijuana. These drugs are also more expensive than marijuana and are actually a hell of a lot worse when it comes to making patients too stoned -- Marinol is particularly notorious for being difficult to titrate. And these drugs are not even approved for most ailments marijuana is taken for, including chronic pain. There's a spray called Sativex which does contain cannabidiol and is thus much better, but it's not legal in the US and it's still just one ratio of compounds, nothing like what you can find in a good dispensary. Experience suggests that different ailments (and patients) respond better to different ratios, so pretty much any single compound is going to be inferior to marijuana itself. Lastly, you don't have to smoke or even vaporize medical marijuana.

Now it's your turn: if marijuana has no medical benefit, how can synthetic THC "cover the issue", much less be Schedule II/Schedule III?
posted by vorfeed at 2:40 PM on October 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


Whether or not the goods cross state lines has no bearing on the use of the Commerce Clause. If there is even a tenuous argument that the economy across a state line will be affected, the Commerce Clause is wielded.

Yep, can't remember that damn case though---something about agricultural products. I blame my Con Law prof for my failure. Couldn't have been weed.


Wickard v. Fillburn?

Even more to the point, Gonzales v. Raich – "a decision by the United States Supreme Court ruling that under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, the United States Congress may criminalize the production and use of home-grown cannabis even where states approve its use for medicinal purposes."
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 3:29 PM on October 7, 2011


We will literally legalize wife-beating before we legalize weed

Well, California decriminalized pot possession last year. So technically that not true (also different people, and neither is federal)

(That Kansas thing is still terrible, but only the feds can lock up Californians for possession)
posted by wildcrdj at 4:48 PM on October 7, 2011


There's another case I can't remember here that was even less interstate commerce. Utahans can't say with certainty that the guns won't go out of state.

Yeah, its relevant too: the Supremes ruled that even marijuana grown in the home for personal medical use was subject to federal drug laws due to the overall interstate market in pot.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:51 PM on October 7, 2011


You titled this post "Take That, Hippies", which sounds like a reference to 'hippie punching', an act that supposedly done by the Obama to far left liberals.

Hah. "Supposedly." Good one.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:16 PM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Agreed. But saying that medication often does not do what it says on the box, this does not support the argument that marijuana is properly prescribed for depression and/or anxiety.

I take gabapentin by prescription for insomnia and anxiety related to ADHD, prescribed by my psychiatrist for those symptoms. This is considered off-label use but is perfectly legal. Some people with ADHD find that it helps with focus, which is also off-label. Plenty of drugs are prescribed for off-label uses. Speaking for myself, I used marijuana for chemo but it wasn't legal to prescribe it. It worked well for me, especially for nausea and to increase appetite. It also works for my anxiety and occasional depression - no rx there, either. I can't say for sure if there is direct scientific research which proves that it helps for those conditions, but anecdotally I know a lot of people who use it specifically for that. It's just that their use of marijuana for those conditions is frowned upon by many people, when my off-label use of gabapentin or other people's use of xanax would not likely draw the same reaction.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:51 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


What is the problem and why don't we need more "little ones"? I really don't get it.

In my neighborhood there is a single 1x1 block that has three of them. Before the third opened up there were signs plastered on all the lightposts explaining how the two already in place where becoming a nuisance, if not a danger. Once I was approached by two tiny, super polite ladies. Only one spoke to me, the other just gave me a polite smile the whole time. I assumed she was there because her spanish accent was from the old country. She pleaded with me to sign something or speak to someone about preventing the opening. Apparently dealers in other drugs are using these dispensaries as meeting places to deal other stuff. I am fairly hardened to pleas from people on the street, but this rang sincere enough that I can still picture this woman's face. Whatever the truth was, this woman was being threatened by the side effects of this dispensary.

I don't think we need a few big dispensaries any more than we need a lot of big ones. I am in full agreement that there are too many people getting medicinal marijuana. And I think the allowing but not seriously regulating that has been going on, especially at such a crucial juncture in this process, is jeopardizing this country to accept medicinal marijuana, if not complete legalization and regulation.

I've posted on the blue in the past about how much medicinal marijuana helped me. I am all in favor of legalization or decriminalization or whatever we can get. But I do not want to sacrifice what we have gained. California passed legislation about this over ten years ago! How is this any wonder that in that time some flaws have come to light? A lot of changes are needed but there are much bigger things for legislators to worry about. It sure would be nice if this became a federal issue so the feds could worry about it and leave us Californians to worry about our broke-ass state.

I am going to vote for Obama because he's the incumbent and he has a lot of unfilled promises to me. Did you all really think he was going to do anything controversial in his first term? Especially with the economy in the toilet and the tea party acting all mad hatter!? Oh yeah, and the wars. Sure, he could still renege on his promises. But I prefer to hope that someone I believed in will follow up on his word. And I put more faith in that than someone else who is offering me new promises which they might break. I'm going to see this one through.
posted by chemoboy at 6:58 PM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think we need a few big dispensaries any more than we need a lot of big ones. I am in full agreement that there are too many people getting medicinal marijuana. And I think the allowing but not seriously regulating that has been going on, especially at such a crucial juncture in this process, is jeopardizing this country to accept medicinal marijuana, if not complete legalization and regulation.

I think California's system is kind of a circus, myself, and I used to agree with you about limiting medical MJ access only to the "truly" sick... but IMHO the "it's too unregulated" argument is a false flag. Marijuana needs to be legal, and the government (especially the Feds) have already proved that they are willing to use regulations as an excuse to prevent legality, de-facto or otherwise. I'll take a free-for-all which may create a backlash rather than regulation which amounts to a backlash any day of the week. Those who would close dispensaries because "dealers in other drugs are using these dispensaries" (or because "too many people are getting pot", "it's too high-profile", "it's being abused" etc) will always have those excuses, true or not -- the real "problem" is always marijuana and access to marijuana. Playing into this rhetoric by supporting attempts to close or over-regulate dispensaries (as opposed to working with dispensaries to solve specific problems where they exist) is self-defeating.

I ask you again, in your own words: is it really so important to keep citizens from an effective medication so that it won't be abused?
posted by vorfeed at 7:28 PM on October 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, there's no air in space, so that won't work.

There is too air in space! There's even an air-in-space museum in Washington.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:14 PM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


More Democrats voted for Bush than Nader. You lost, it wasn't the hippies, get over it.

Wrong. It's simple math. The party registrations don't matter.

By the final official count, Bush won by 537 votes. If the Nader voters had all picked Bush or Gore instead, 49.72% would have had to have picked Bush, or Gore would have gained enough votes to win. If half of the Nader voters had stayed home in disgust (or voted for Pat Buchanan—the result is identical), Bush would have needed 49.45% of the remainder in order to win.

That many Nader voters choosing Bush over Gore is, quite frankly, implausible.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:40 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Trampling states rights, killing a booming economic engine during a recession, and denying the exhaustive scientific evidence in the name of a never-ending war on some drugs is an electoral lead balloon for Democrats.

But even more amazing is that nearly 11 years later, we still have supposed liberals insisting that progressives owe Democrats our votes. Democrats have created a meme that progressives cost Gore/Lieberman the election to excuse and justify the Democratic Party's steadily shift to the Right.

In 2000, the Democrats put up a centrist/conservative status-quo ticket (Bush-supporter Joe Lieberman, really?) that was destined to fail. Democrats and progressive Independents in significant numbers voted for a more progressive candidate.

Since then, have Democrats tried to win back those election-deciding progressives that they alienated? Some have talked a good game, but when they've had power they've delivered nothing.

The result today is a president that talks from the Left and governs from the Right. Progressives won't be fooled again. For better or worse, Obama will likely lose, and maybe someday soon a party will figure out how to unite young voters, the blue-collar working class, senior citizens, and progressive voters by appealing to the overwhelming majority of the American public that wants restored liberty and personal freedom, a social safety net for people not irresponsible banks, a cleaner environment, access to affordable healthcare for all, and government that responds to the will of the people not just multinational pharmaceutical, petroleum, finance, arms, and entertainment companies.

For now, Elizabeth Warren is the prevents me from losing all hope in the Democratic Party.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 2:20 AM on October 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


But I prefer to hope that someone I believed in will follow up on his word. And I put more faith in that than someone else who is offering me new promises which they might break. I'm going to see this one through.

I really wish I could share your confidence in the guy. Unfortunately, his record is not one of just not getting around to the good stuff, but of actively expending effort to continue awful Bush policies, including the pandering to and servicing of Corporate America. It's no good saying the terrible economy is a reason he hasn't done better; after 2-1/2 years, the economy is one of the things he's done badly, and he now owns it.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:24 AM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gracedissolved wrote: I do believe that marijuana should be available, medically, and for that matter otherwise. But, at the same time? This is not something that should be regulated by the states.

The US Constitution doesn't mention drugs, and so one would expect drug regulation to be a matter for the States. It's only a very lawyerish reading of the Federal Givernment's ability to regulate commerce between States that allows them to prohibit commerce within a State - and even private production, possession or consumption that does not involve commerce.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:05 AM on October 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Steve Jobs and drug policy
posted by homunculus at 11:59 AM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't understand why it's left to speculation what exactly the President's opinion is about this, or whether or not these are his decisions (to make), or why it seems completely without direction or logic, like something a computer governor fed the text of the law would do.
posted by nervousfritz at 1:03 PM on October 8, 2011


Wrong. It's simple math. The party registrations don't matter.

By the final official count, Bush won by 537 votes. If the Nader voters had all picked Bush or Gore instead, 49.72% would have had to have picked Bush, or Gore would have gained enough votes to win. If half of the Nader voters had stayed home in disgust (or voted for Pat Buchanan—the result is identical), Bush would have needed 49.45% of the remainder in order to win.

That many Nader voters choosing Bush over Gore is, quite frankly, implausible.


God I love Democrats. It's not OUR fault we lost, party registration doesn't matter! It's those other guys who aren't part of our party! They're the one's responsible for electing our party! By the way, even though parties don't matter we are going to continue our policy of joining with the Republicans to perpetuate two party rule at all costs!

It is true that there were numerically enough Nader votes to swing it, it is also true that there were enough Democrats (more than there were Nader voters) swinging to Bush to change it. It is also true that Gore could have ran a better campaign and put up a better legal fight. It's also true that part of running a good campaign would be getting people who support Nader on his side, votes are earned. With Nader in or out, the only blame goes to Gore.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:03 PM on October 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am going to vote for Obama because he's the incumbent and he has a lot of unfilled promises to me.

There is a large gap between an unfilled promise and a broken one.

On the campaign trail in 2008, Obama said explicitly that he would not use Department of Justice resources to circumvent state law on this issue. He also said, explicitly, that the DEA should be directed at catching violent criminals and terrorists, not prosecuting a drug war.

In other words, it is a broken promise, and it doesn't matter if he gets voted in again, because he already went 180 degrees on what he said he would do in 2008.

On this issue, Obama is a liar, without equivocation, and anyone who uses and benefits from MMJ and still votes for him in 2012 should not be surprised when they have their medicine taken away and get thrown in prison with rapists and murderers, for simply smoking a joint.

This is what happens when we vote Democrat, in hopes that things just might change. Things didn't change, and they won't, until the Democrat establishment gets it in their thick, dishonest heads that we don't owe them our vote, even if Republicans are psychotic.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:49 PM on October 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


On this issue, Obama is a liar, without equivocation, and anyone who uses and benefits from MMJ and still votes for him in 2012 should not be surprised when they have their medicine taken away and get thrown in prison with rapists and murderers, for simply smoking a joint.

Bingo.

By the way, if you unsubscribe from Obama's mailing list there's a "why are you unsubscribing" text box which might be put to good use. There's a form which will send him an email at MPP, too. He has a long history of ignoring clear signals from his supporters on this issue, but a few thousand more can't hurt.
posted by vorfeed at 2:39 PM on October 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


God I love Democrats. It's not OUR fault we lost, party registration doesn't matter! It's those other guys who aren't part of our party! They're the one's responsible for electing our party! By the way, even though parties don't matter we are going to continue our policy of joining with the Republicans to perpetuate two party rule at all costs!

That's not really what I'm saying. My point is that people who voted for Ralph Nader with the illusion that they were doing anything other than throwing their vote away have absolutely no grounds for complaint (but complain they did!) because they effectively didn't vote.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:47 PM on October 8, 2011


one more dead town's last parade: "That's not really what I'm saying. My point is that people who voted for Ralph Nader with the illusion that they were doing anything other than throwing their vote away have absolutely no grounds for complaint (but complain they did!) because they effectively didn't vote."

As someone who voted for Gore I say this is bullshit. Voting for a 3rd party candidate is not throwing away your vote. This kind of thinking is why we can't get a candidate who isn't bought and paid for by the oligarchy.
posted by Bonzai at 11:21 AM on October 9, 2011 [5 favorites]



That's not really what I'm saying. My point is that people who voted for Ralph Nader with the illusion that they were doing anything other than throwing their vote away have absolutely no grounds for complaint (but complain they did!) because they effectively didn't vote.


Why? Because they didn't win? Neither did Gore.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:43 PM on October 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


All those people who voted for Gore were throwing their votes away. They should have known better. If they'd only been sensible and voted for Nader, we'd have been spared the Bush presidency!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:07 AM on October 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Drug prohibitionists like former White House drug czar staffer Kevin A. Sabet seem to be in a panic over Ken Burns' PBS documentary broadcast 'Prohibition' because of its clear and convincing parallel to today's equally disastrous war on drugs. The earlier experiment lasted less than 14 years, but today’s failed prohibition was declared by President Nixon 40 years ago and has cost our country more than $1 trillion in cash and much more in immeasurable social harm.

As a student of history and a retired deputy chief of police with the Los Angeles Police Department, I can attest that the damage that came from the prohibition of alcohol pales in comparison to the harm wrought by drug prohibition. In the last 40 years drug money has fueled the growth of violent street gangs in Los Angeles, from two (Bloods and Crips) with a membership of less than 50 people before the drug war to 20,000 gangs with a membership of about 1 million across the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Justice. These gangs serve as the distributors, collection agents and enforcers for the Mexican cartels that the Justice Department says occupy more than 1,000 U.S. cities.

...

U.S. law enforcement officials report that as much as 70% of cartel profits come from marijuana alone. There's no question that ending today's prohibition on drugs -- starting with marijuana -- would do more to hurt the cartels than any level of law enforcement skill or dedication ever can."

- Stephen Downing, a retired deputy chief of the Los Angeles Police Department and board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, responds to The Times' Oct. 5 Op-Ed article [from Drug Czar and Prohibition Nostalgist Kevin Sabet], "Prohibition's real lessons for drug policy."


I like the people who want to keep marijuana illegal because they're worried "big business" will take it over. Do they prefer the big business that runs it now?
posted by mrgrimm at 9:11 AM on October 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Also, I'm still waiting for one reason why marijuana should not be legal in any form and any amount to anyone over the age of 18. Honest, I'm willing to consider arguments, but I've never heard one good one.

If you have any inclination to support the Obama Administration in this latest policy decision, you must first justify the laws that they are so desperately spending our hard-earned money to enforce. Or at least I say you have to.

Ken Burn's Prohibition is spot on and deals with the exact same issue. There is very little difference between the prohibition of alcohol and the prohibition of marijuana (except for the racial and social component that has allowed marijuana prohibition to last for 40+ years).

If you support Obama's decision here, there's no way to avoid apologizing for Prohibition. It wasn't so bad, really.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:59 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow. That article is disgusting. "It is important to remember that [Prohibition] was not the complete failure that most think it was, and so we should be wary of misapplying its lessons"? "Illegal drugs cannot claim such pervasive use by a large part of the planet's population over such a long period of time"? The first is laughable ("Prohibition wasn't all bad, therefore we can't say it was bad at all!") and the second is misleading at best. Cannabis has been used in the East and Middle East for millennia, and is still very widely used in Oceania, Africa, and elsewhere, with cannabis smokers making up as much as 15% of the population in some areas. Around 5% of the world adult population smokes marijuana -- can we please stop pretending as if this is some new and dangerous thing?
posted by vorfeed at 3:59 PM on October 11, 2011


As someone who voted for Gore I say this is bullshit. Voting for a 3rd party candidate is not throwing away your vote. This kind of thinking is why we can't get a candidate who isn't bought and paid for by the oligarchy.

Voting for a third-party candidate who cannot win (realistically, this means they aren't named Bernie Sanders or Joe Lieberman) is most definitely throwing your vote away.

To claim otherwise is not to understand how first-past-the-post voting works.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:57 PM on October 11, 2011



Voting for a third-party candidate who cannot win (realistically, this means they aren't named Bernie Sanders or Joe Lieberman) is most definitely throwing your vote away.


By this logic, voting for a Democrat in a red state is also throwing your vote away. In fact, so's doing anything other than voting for the likely winner every single time, no matter what their policy, party, or platform.

That line of argument is flat-out ridiculous, though, and to claim otherwise is not to understand how democracy works.
posted by vorfeed at 5:12 PM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


That line of argument is flat-out ridiculous, though, and to claim otherwise is not to understand how democracy works.

Not at all.

There is a massive, massive difference between not voting for the one viable candidate (Kerry in Texas or McCain in Vermont) and wasting your vote on an unelectable third-party candidate and sitting by while the worse of the two viable candidates (from your perspective) wins. Both are indicators that the voting system needs reform; the latter ignores the realities of first-past-the-post to boot.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:28 PM on October 11, 2011


As far as I'm concerned, the "realities" of a broken system ought to be ignored.
posted by vorfeed at 7:31 PM on October 11, 2011


It depends on if you vote to express your opinion or to achieve specific strategic objectives. It gets extremely asinine when people refuse to acknowledge a different perspective on voting can even exist.

That said, I feel the most important objective for saving this country is to end the two party stranglehold on power so I'm happy either way.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:06 PM on October 11, 2011


wasting your vote on an unelectable third-party candidate

Why even bother with a sham of an "unelectable" qualifier? Just say what you mean: don't ever vote for a third party.

Who decides whether a third-party candidate is electable ... What about Ross Perot?

And when is that decision made? Jesse Ventura was polling in the low double-digits only 3 months before the 1998 election. There's absolutely no reason why a campaign like that couldn't happen in a presidential election.

Does Ralph Nader or Ron Paul have that sort of campaign ability or resources? Doubtful. But I think you've got a chicken-and-the-egg problem going on. These third-party candidates can't be viable unless they get the full support of people who agree with them. If everyone waits for a candidate to become "electable," nothing ever changes. /derail
posted by mrgrimm at 9:41 PM on October 11, 2011


back on topic ...

"I know I don't get to make the rules here, but it would be wonderful and very appropriate if we could just stop all of this, stop putting anyone at all in handcuffs for having marijuana, until someone like President Obama can at least summon the integrity to tell us in intelligent terms why things have to be this way. A leader speaks to the people and helps us understand the challenges we face. Obama's approach to marijuana policy and the debate surrounding it is not leadership, it's cowardice, and it's senseless from every standpoint, moral, practical and political."

- Scott Morgan

"States, rather than being "laboratories of democracy" are being told instead that they cannot experiment with different medical marijuana laws at all -- if such laws (passed by voter initiative, for instance) are vague and have no real guidelines, that is one thing; but if states attempt to create specific rules, anyone involved in this effort will be threatened with 20 years in federal prison, or worse. That is, to put it mildly, insane."

- Chris Weigant

Robert Raich, a medical marijuana lawyer who took two landmark medical marijuana cases to the U.S. Supreme Court, says the new federal crackdown against landlords who rent to marijuana dispensaries is an intimidation tactic that probably won’t work.

Sending threatening letters to landlords is not a new tactic by the federal government. In 2007 the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Department of Justice sent similar letters to landlords, but never filed a criminal or civil case against them.

“The appropriate thing to do is to put those letters in the trash, where they belong,” Raich said. “A lot of people realize that [the feds] don’t have the resources nor the will to prosecute every single one, but [landlords] are concerned and no one wants to be in the crosshairs.”

Raich speculates that the U.S. Attorney will try to make an example of a few in an attempt to create fear, but the “genie is already out of the bottle.”

“It’s an efficient way to make people scared,” he said.

So why does he think the feds are doing this now?

There are certain bureaucrats, Raich said, who have always been against medical marijuana and had to adjust to the Obama Administration’s initial liberal approach.

“I think it’s because Obama has proven politically inept and weak,” he said. He added that bureaucrats in the Justice Department have figured Obama out now and are able to push their anti-marijuana agenda.


"Medical Marijuana Expert: 'The Feds Are Bluffing'"
posted by mrgrimm at 9:51 PM on October 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Just say what you mean: don't ever vote for a third party.

In the United States, with limited exceptions, yes, because 99% of the time you're throwing away your vote.

I'd love for the U.S. (and other countries where vote-splitting is a perennial problem) to adopt a saner voting system, but you can't pretend we've already done so and that refusing to vote for either President Obama or his Republican opponent has any real meaning other than your vote not counting.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:59 PM on October 11, 2011


I can't pretend that a medical marijuana crackdown under Obama's watch has any real meaning other than my vote not counting, either.
posted by vorfeed at 10:19 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, look, there are a lot of threads you guys can post in to do the hippie punching Nader thing and demand people vote for Democrats...and certain people do it in every single thread ever when someone dares to challenge the Democratic mandate of heaven to receive my vote, but don't do it here. Please. There is no defending this, Obama went back on his promises and is playing games with people's lives and health.

It makes me very, very angry to know that there is no way in hell he will ever turn himself in for his jail time for snorting coke. To know he will never call the cops on his own kids if they ever get caught with drugs, but to know he will not lift a finger to save any of my friends or family.

I find it personally offensive, and excuse me if I get emotional on this one.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:50 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


refusing to vote for either President Obama or his Republican opponent has any real meaning other than your vote not counting.

That's easily proven false. Even if your candidate doesn't win, in many states, a certain percentage of votes guarantees that party's ballot access for the next X years, etc.

I'm not going to look up every state, but take a glance at the wikipedia state ballot access laws entry:

"Arizona: To gain ballot access, a new political party must gather signatures on a county by county basis, achieving over 20,000 good signatures from registered voters. Once this has been achieved the party must run a candidate for Governor or President who garners at least 5% of the vote to maintain ballot access for an additional two years, maintain at least 1% of registered voters registered with their party, or gather approximately the same number of signatures again every two years."

...


"Oklahoma: ... An independent presidential candidate, or the presidential candidate of an unqualified party, may get on the ballot with a petition of 3% of the last presidential vote."


We may not win anything significant, during my lifetime, but we're still on the ballot, fighting hard, and raising awareness. I'm doing my part to keep us on the ballot for the next generation of voters. That's why I vote for president. If it were really "throwing my vote away," I would vote for no one.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:36 AM on October 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


It makes me very, very angry to know that there is no way in hell he will ever turn himself in for his jail time for snorting coke.

As far as I am aware, you can't be charged for a crime like that years later. He'd have to be charged with simple possession at the time he had it in his possession. The statute of limitations would make such a confession meaningless, and most jurisdictions would not charge you with a crime even if you walked in the next day after using and confessed.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:35 PM on October 12, 2011


That's easily proven false. Even if your candidate doesn't win, in many states, a certain percentage of votes guarantees that party's ballot access for the next X years, etc.

Please name me a third party where ballot access has helped them unseat the two dominant parties.

Not proven at all.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:12 PM on October 12, 2011


Yeah, look, there are a lot of threads you guys can post in to do the hippie punching Nader thing and demand people vote for Democrats...and certain people do it in every single thread ever when someone dares to challenge the Democratic mandate of heaven to receive my vote, but don't do it here. Please. There is no defending this, Obama went back on his promises and is playing games with people's lives and health.

I didn't mean for this to become a derail about first-past-the-post, but it is a fact of life you can't ignore. I'm unhappy that President Obama has decided that he can blow up U.S. citizens whenever he deems it convenient, despite a stack of laws prohibiting the government from doing so, and I will find someone else to vote for in the primary, but I'm not foolish enough to think that voting for a third party in a swing state makes any sense.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:19 PM on October 12, 2011


As far as I am aware, you can't be charged for a crime like that years later. He'd have to be charged with simple possession at the time he had it in his possession. The statute of limitations would make such a confession meaningless, and most jurisdictions would not charge you with a crime even if you walked in the next day after using and confessed.

Oh, I know. I speak only symbolically. The point is he clearly does not see the punishment and permanent stigma of arrest as something that would be beneficial for society...in his case. He got away with it, so he's Presidential material. Bizzaro Obama who is the same in every way but that an unlucky traffic stop or something got him is another statistic in Drug War who would face a tough time getting a job anywhere. Bizzaro Obama, you know, lives. We arrest him every day.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:28 PM on October 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


The point is he clearly does not see the punishment and permanent stigma of arrest as something that would be beneficial for society...in his case. He got away with it, so he's Presidential material. Bizzaro Obama who is the same in every way but that an unlucky traffic stop or something got him is another statistic in Drug War who would face a tough time getting a job anywhere.

I am a strong opponent of the Drug War, but I am aware of the limitations of politics at that level. I used to think every president should die on the cross of their philosophies or don't bother running, but realistically that's never going to happen at the top office of the executive branch. At that level you have to pick your battles wisely. Sure, I wish and hope he does more, but there are many millions of people who don't see their own days of experimentation as a problem yet still do not wish for legalization or even much of a change in our system. It's a contradiction that he shares with a lot of us that we don't think it's a big deal in our own lives yet would not sacrifice everything to be a martyr for the cause. Our criminal justice system is a real problem, but Obama hasn't done anything different in that regard than I have or a large segment of society for that matter. All of us live with contradictions in our own lives, and what he ingested as a young man in college is not a rallying cry for philosophical and personal purity nor to die on a cross for it. I wouldn't ask nor expect that of anyone.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:19 AM on October 13, 2011


But I'm not actually asking him to get on the cross, I want him to stop driving in the nails for other people.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:09 AM on October 13, 2011


I didn't mean for this to become a derail about first-past-the-post, but it is a fact of life you can't ignore.

I agree it's an annoying derail, so this is the last I'll say. Feel free to respond, of course.

First-past-the-post voting is not set in stone. San Francisco already has IRV, as does Australia. The cynical me says that Americans are too stupid to understand it, but then again, Australia. (I kid.)

When ranked-choice voting comes, we want to be on the ballot.

Please name me a third party where ballot access has helped them unseat the two dominant parties.

Not proven at all.


My objection was to this contention:
you can't pretend we've already done so and that refusing to vote for either President Obama or his Republican opponent has any real meaning other than your vote not counting.
Emphasis mine. To me, ballot access is "real meaning." If you disagree, we will have to agree to disagree. Honestly, yes, if there was ZERO benefit to voting for a third-party candidate, I'd probably just skip the whole hassle.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:29 AM on October 13, 2011


Our criminal justice system is a real problem, but Obama hasn't done anything different in that regard than I have or a large segment of society for that matter.

Yes he has. Right there you admit there is a problem with our criminal justice system. Mr. Obama does not.

Also, he's clearly lying, or more euphemistically at the least, dissembling about medicinal marijuana:

President Barack Obama sidestepped a question about medical marijuana legalization at a town hall event in Cannon Falls, Minnesota Monday.

“If you can’t legalize marijuana, why can’t you just legalize medical marijuana?” a woman asked the president.

“A lot of states are making decisions about medical marijuana,” Obama explained. “As a controlled substance, the issue is then that is it being prescribed by a doctor as opposed to… you know, well, I’ll leave it at that.


- Raw Story, August 15, 2011

Emphasis mine.

So if the problem is that unlicensed professionals are recommending medicinal marijuana ... is then Obama admitting that there is indeed a medical use for marijuana, more specifically, that there is indeed "a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions"??

If so, it would be craven of him not to reschedule marijuana as a Schedule II or the much more logical Schedule III substance. Obama, via Eric Holder, could do it all by himself, with a single stroke of his pen.

From the Controlled Substances Act, Section 811. Authority and Criteria for Classification of Substances:

Except as provided in subsections (d) and (e) of this section, the Attorney General may by rule--

(1) add to such a schedule or transfer between such schedules any drug or other substance if he--

(A) finds that such drug or other substance has a potential for abuse, and

(B) makes with respect to such drug or other substance the findings prescribed by

[[Page 381]]

subsection (b) of section 812 of this title for the schedule in which such drug is to be placed; or

(2) remove any drug or other substance from the schedules if he finds that the drug or other substance does not meet the requirements for inclusion in any schedule.


It's worth noting that the DEA just recently denied the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis' 2002 (!) petition to reschedule marijuana and the Americans for Safe Access can now sue the federal government because they've finally taken action. Give money if you can.

Most interesting to me:

The denial also comes the same week as the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) is holding its 21st annual symposium in St. Charles, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. The symposium is sponsored in part by an array of pharmaceutical companies, the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and ElSohly Laboratories, Inc., the federal government's only licensed source of research-grade cannabis (marijuana) used in therapeutic studies. Currently, several pharmaceutical companies are asking the government to reschedule organically produced THC, the primary compound found in the marijuana plant, so they can sell a generic version of Marinol®, which is now made synthetically.

"The government cannot have it both ways, marijuana is either a medicine or it's not." continued Sherer. "If the government is going to sponsor a conference on medical marijuana, it should show the same deference to the millions of patients across America who simply want access to it."


The sellout of marijuana to Big Pharma is already happening, before it's even rescheduled.

Shame on you, Mr. Obama. I had low expectations for you, but you have consistently disappointed even me.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:54 AM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


l. I used to think every president should die on the cross of their philosophies or don't bother running, but realistically that's never going to happen at the top office of the executive branch. At that level you have to pick your battles wisely. Sure, I wish and hope he does more, but there are many millions of people who don't see their own days of experimentation as a problem yet still do not wish for legalization or even much of a change in our system.

I might agree if Obama's Justice Department were simply supporting the status quo... but medical marijuana has been legal in California for fourteen years, since the first George W Bush administration. I see little evidence that the situation has changed this year, much less become an emergency which requires Federal intervention. Besides, medical marijuana consistently polls very highly (roughly 75% of Americans are in favor), even among conservatives (61% of Republicans polled were in support, including 54% of "conservative Republicans"), so I don't buy the idea that Obama is "picking his battles" here.

If Obama doesn't want "a change in our system" he should leave medical marijuana alone, just as he promised he would.
posted by vorfeed at 2:14 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


If Obama doesn't want "a change in our system" he should leave medical marijuana alone, just as he promised he would.

I'd like him to do so. I also cannot recall one president who has kept all his promises. It's not something I expect him to take up as a cause at this moment in time. He's never been too adamant about it and seemed to take up the position as something of a convenience. And I say this as someone who is a cancer survivor and who used medical marijuana under the advice of my oncologist, albeit illegally. I strongly favor it but do not expect the executive branch to make it a pet cause and recognize there is a lot of pressure to enforce existing federal law. Given the current political climate and economy I honestly do not expect the issue to get any traction right now. It's too bad, but it's the political reality that Obama's not going to make it an issue this time going into the election season, if ever.

All I'm saying is I can't be broken-hearted over a politician being a politician.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:17 PM on October 13, 2011


It's too bad, but it's the political reality that Obama's not going to make it an issue this time going into the election season, if ever.

Obama did make it an issue. Medical marijuana wasn't much more than a small blip on the news radar this year... until multiple branches of his appointees launched a coordinated attack on dispensaries in violation of his stated policy, that is.

Now it's an issue, and I intend to vote, donate, and speak accordingly. Funny how that works.
posted by vorfeed at 5:00 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Relevant seeming tidbit from Team of Rivals, a quote from the Montgomery Daily Mail regarding the upcoming election of 1860: Now what difference is it to the people whether Lincoln or Douglas should be elected? The same ends are sought by each, and we do not see any reason to choose between them.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:14 PM on October 13, 2011


I found this pretty adamant.

As a general matter, pursuit of these priorities should not focus federal resources in your States on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana. For example, prosecution of individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law, or those caregivers in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state law who provide such individuals with marijuana, is unlikely to be an efficient use of limited federal resources. On the other hand, prosecution of commercial enterprises that unlawfully market and sell marijuana for profit continues to be an enforcement priority of the Department. To be sure, claims of compliance with state or local law may mask operations inconsistent with the terms, conditions, or purposes of those laws, and federal law enforcement should not be deterred by such assertions when otherwise pursuing the Department’s core enforcement priorities.

If the dispensaries are selling outside state law, okay go after them. I don't like it, but go ahead. That does not appear to be what is happening. They are going after places for being in compliance but having a lot of volume.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:41 PM on October 13, 2011


Bottom line, regardless of Obama's stance on medical marijuana, the Supreme Court is far more important to me. Given what's going on with OWS and the economy I'm not sure how to make this a big issue right now. I don't disagree with your position, but it's not going to get me to vote for someone else.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:04 PM on October 13, 2011


I'm sure that is how a lot of people come down, but for myself the Supreme Court is why I might consider Romney. Bring on more Clarence Thomas style judges if it means a less expansive understanding of the interstate commerce clause.

Respondent's local cultivation and consumption of marijuana is not "Commerce ... among the several States."

Certainly no evidence from the founding suggests that "commerce" included the mere possession of a good or some personal activity that did not involve trade or exchange for value. In the early days of the Republic, it would have been unthinkable that Congress could prohibit the local cultivation, possession, and consumption of marijuana.


But hey, most people aren't as adamant on drug war issues as I am.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:50 PM on October 13, 2011


Bring on more Clarence Thomas style judges if it means a less expansive understanding of the interstate commerce clause.

You have got to be kidding.

His interpretation of the 4th Amendment doesn't help your cause at all. I seriously doubt that having a whole bench of justices like him would make medical marijuana any more widely or safely available, nor would it slow down the Drug War in the least.

Anyway, there are so many other problems with Thomas as a Supreme Court judge that I can't imagine why anyone would support him on such narrow grounds.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:09 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


His interpretation of the 4th Amendment doesn't help your cause at all. I seriously doubt that having a whole bench of justices like him would make medical marijuana any more widely or safely available, nor would it slow down the Drug War in the least.

How so? The medical issue would have been left to the states by now had the rest of the court gone with him in Raich. I'm not sure how to interpret that as not helping my cause.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:12 PM on October 13, 2011


The bottom line is the conservative justices, even if they don't support legalization personally, tend to make some seriously good points on drug issues.

The Atlantic: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia isn't a supporter of legalizing drugs. But he does believe that passing federal laws against them has done harm to the U.S. government. "It was a great mistake to put routine drug offenses into the federal courts," he told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. The Wall Street Journal went on to report Scalia's belief that the laws forced Congress to enlarge the federal court system, and diminished "the elite quality of the federal judiciary."
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:15 PM on October 13, 2011


As far as the 4th, look up Board of Education v. Earls, Samson v. California and Georgia v. Randolph, among others. I don't really have a lot of time to look up case law, but Thomas is not known for siding on the right of privacy as far as drug cases.

If you think the country would be better off if we had more Scalias and Thomases just because it might make the Drug War less of a federal issue, I don't know what to say. Even if you were correct on that, we'd be fucked in so many other ways it's not even funny. Besides, Scalia doesn't seem to have an issue in the least with the states going after drug users.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:28 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why am I looking up those cases instead of the case about medical pot where he dissented from a decision upholding the federal power to regulate it on the grounds that it was a state issue?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:48 PM on October 13, 2011


Why am I looking up those cases instead of the case about medical pot where he dissented from a decision upholding the federal power to regulate it on the grounds that it was a state issue?

Those cases involved the 4th Amendment and drugs. If that issue the one reason you'd choose Romney above all others, and you assume we'd end up with someone like Thomas, and you want that because of his interpretation of medical marijuana as a states' rights issue, more power to you, but that's ridiculous to me. I can name 100 reasons why I don't like Thomas despite my agreement on a very narrow one. I also don't agree with Federalism as such.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:30 PM on October 13, 2011


But why should I care about the 4th amendment in the context of medical marijuana? If it is legal why would anyone be unreasonably searching for it?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:39 PM on October 13, 2011


But why should I care about the 4th amendment in the context of medical marijuana? If it is legal why would anyone be unreasonably searching for it?

If you care about the Drug War and its application rather than strictly medical marijuana (assuming it would be legal), maybe you'd care. The Drug War has been the excuse used to infringe upon rights including those in the 4th Amendment.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:50 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


George H. W. Bush appointed David Souter.

The sooner it becomes profitable for large companies to go into the medical marijuana game, the sooner everyone who wants to buy legally will only be able to afford to pay for ditch weed at one of fifteen local McPot franchises.

You do realize anyone can cheaply grow it? It's like $1 an ounce to grow outside.

You do realize that these dispensaries have lowered the price to about 33% of what it was 5 years ago. The greater supply, the cheaper it gets.

There's a way to do this right, but eventually the medical marijuana game will be a loser for us all.

You do realize that some people need this medicine to functionally live?

Who are all you idiots?
posted by mrgrimm at 10:11 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have so many friends from California with cards, and that situation has always left me with a dirty taste in my mouth.

Idiots.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:13 PM on October 13, 2011


Dispensary ads next targets in federal war on pot
posted by vorfeed at 10:10 AM on October 20, 2011


If you care about the Drug War and its application rather than strictly medical marijuana (assuming it would be legal), maybe you'd care. The Drug War has been the excuse used to infringe upon rights including those in the 4th Amendment.

I think legal medical pot would be a huge step towards ending the drug war, as the panic about it would subside once people realize the world doesn't fall apart when people can use pot without fear of arrest.

You can't make sane law on the issue until people start thinking sanely. If the drug war is the excuse, take away the excuse.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:43 AM on October 21, 2011


Looks like counties in California have started caving in:

County Executive: Shut Down All Pot Dispensaries

My neighbor and his pitbulls must be happy, this should bring the street price back up.
posted by Big_B at 9:54 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I dunno I feel like the pitbulls might rather just chill!
posted by grobstein at 11:14 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


"It seems unlikely that spending scarce federal dollars during a recession on a medical marijuana crackdown is going to win any awards for 'efficient' use of government resources from either the right or the left. In fact, I seem to recall that there's a Senate committee desperately seeking quick budget cuts around now: in view of these facts, do you think they should slash schools, meals for seniors, health care spending, cancer research, unemployment benefits, firefighter or police salaries--or the war on medical marijuana?"

Obama's Misguided Crackdown on Medical Marijuana, TIME Magazine

emphasis mine.

I'm beginning to think that this idiocy from the administration is some sort of lame 12th-dimensional chess move to get marijuana decriminalized sooner. (it might work.)
posted by mrgrimm at 4:38 PM on October 24, 2011


Obama has become arguably the worst president in U.S. history regarding medical marijuana.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:36 PM on October 25, 2011


That graph is so transparently dishonest.
posted by empath at 4:44 PM on October 25, 2011


In what way? Given the recent crackdowns I think it's difficult to say that Bush or Clinton were worse on this issue, and medical marijuana as a mainstream issue isn't much older than that (which shows quite clearly in the graph).
posted by vorfeed at 4:57 PM on October 25, 2011


The rather conservative SF Weekly's cover story today:

Nope: No We Can't--Obama's War on Weed

On Oct. 5, the IRS ruled that one of the largest California dispensaries, Harborside Health Center, which operates in Oakland and San Jose, owed $2.5 million in taxes because federal law precluded standard deductions for businesses engaging in illegal activity.

In other words, Obama was not only blowing off state laws. He was declaring that legal businesses were now nothing more than criminal rackets. And he was carving away every tool they needed to function.

Harborside's owner said he'd go out of business if the IRS didn't reverse course. Dispensaries nationwide saw it as a crippling decision.

Then came another blow two days later: the bombshell dropped by California's four U.S. Attorneys. They were now going after people who leased stores and land to the pot industry. Violators were given 45 days to close doors, uproot plants, and kick out renters. The penalty for not acting: seizure of property and arrest.

Laura Duffy, the U.S. attorney from California's Southern District, went so far as to threaten media with prosecution for taking pot advertising. (Disclosure: This newspaper accepts such ads.)

There was no doubt about it: Obama was intent on killing an entire industry — in the middle of an economic depression. Left unexplained was why he was giving the finger to voters in 16 states just a year before he would face them in his own election.


California Medical Association Wants Marijuana Legalized

Feds Target Financial Institutions Associated with Medical Marijuana Clinics

(Tom) Ammiano Calls Medical Marijuana Crackdown ‘Pure Thuggery,’ Asks Senators and Citizens To Speak Out

Given the recent crackdowns I think it's difficult to say that Bush or Clinton were worse on this issue, and medical marijuana as a mainstream issue isn't much older than that (which shows quite clearly in the graph).

Yes, please clarify. If you read that SF Weekly overview linked above, I think it's extremely hard not to classify Obama as the worst president ever on medical marijuana.

I'm also waiting for the NRA to step up and defend patients. Hello? (PDF)
posted by mrgrimm at 10:29 AM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Mendocino pot raid causes stir among California's medical marijuana advocates
posted by homunculus at 10:20 AM on October 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


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