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Progress Stalled
February 19, 2012 12:07 AM   Subscribe

In the summer of 2007 on the campaign trail Barack Obama took a clear stance on the controversial subject of medical marijuana. “I would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users. It’s not a good use of our resources.” As President in 2009 he took action to follow through on this promise by instructing federal prosecutors to “not focus federal resources in [their] States on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.” The memo cited the “efficient and rational use” of the U.S. Department of Justice’s “limited investigative and prosecutorial resources,” as a motivating factor in the decision." In the winter of 2012 Rolling Stone magazine takes a look back on this subject and the record is surprising. "With more than 100 raids on pot dispensaries during his first three years, Obama is now on pace to exceed Bush's record for medical-marijuana busts. "There's no question that Obama's the worst president on medical marijuana," says Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. "He's gone from first to worst."

Medical marijuana activists are continuing to fight for what they believe to be a safe and useful medicine. "A group of medical-marijuana activists held a news conference Thursday to announce the creation of the Patient Voter Project, a campaign to mobilize medical-marijuana supporters to raise the profile of the issue during an election year." Some national polls have shown a majority of Americans support medical use of marijuana under the care of a doctor.

For now, patients all over the country remain caught in the middle of an ongoing debate.

"My wife is disabled. She is 58 years old, as am I. At one time, she was a wonderful teacher, sales associate for a large telecom and later a vibrant pharmacy technician and caregiver for her disabled father and mother-in-law. She has fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. She has seizures. They don't know why, but they are documented in a hospital study as not caused by epilepsy.

She can no longer drive nor would I want her to. She wears a morphine patch to get through the day, along with various other drugs. Many days are spent in bed, not because she wants it that way. Sometimes, the pain cannot be fought through, and the best way is not to resist, but other days it is the nausea that forces her to lie down.

The way Maryland law is now written she would have to go on the street to buy marijuana to help with the nausea and pain, and if caught, she could spend time in jail. Imagine if she had a seizure. And then basically defend herself with a doctors note! Does this sound like a reasonable course of action for anyone? Especially for someone married in a stable relationship for 20 years, owns a house, disabled and is 58 years old."

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy notes, "The FDA process for approving medicine remains the only scientific and legally recognized procedure for bringing safe and effective medications to the American public. To date, the FDA has not found smoked marijuana to be either safe or effective medicine for any condition." and that "The American Medical Association has called for more research on the subject."

The AMA Council on Science and Public Health has also suggested that removing marijuana from the Schedule I classification may benefit such research efforts.
posted by furiousxgeorge (128 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
"the record is surprising"

This statement is only true if one expects elected officials to craft and enforce policy in accordance with their public statements and personal opinions.
posted by mwhybark at 12:09 AM on February 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


previously
posted by jabberjaw at 12:16 AM on February 19, 2012


To date, the FDA has not found smoked marijuana to be either safe or effective medicine for any condition."

An amusing lie, but especially amusing when you consider that they refuse to do the research. Every study done points in the same direction. The problem is political, not scientific; it is a failure of humanity and not of medicine.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:20 AM on February 19, 2012 [45 favorites]


Is there some issue where too many government agencies derive funding from drug busts and they are now addicted to them? Or was Obama's promise pure lip service? Or both?
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:46 AM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is a failure of leadership on Obama's part. Either he doesn't have the integrity to do what he said he would do, or the people working under him in government are ignoring the policy priorities he sets. Neither of which scenarios speak well of Obama.
posted by jayder at 12:51 AM on February 19, 2012 [11 favorites]


Is there some issue where too many government agencies derive funding from drug busts and they are now addicted to them?

This is a big one. The other thing is that cops are not thrilled at the prospect of being able to conjure probable cause with the magic incantation "I smelled marijuana."
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:56 AM on February 19, 2012 [15 favorites]


Er, of NOT being able to conjure, that is.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:57 AM on February 19, 2012


Is there some issue where too many government agencies derive funding from drug busts and they are now addicted to them? Or was Obama's promise pure lip service? Or both?

The prison industry in the United States deserves a large portion of the blame. Companies like CCA need inmates, otherwise they don't get to staff and build new prisons. Imagine what the industry's bottom line would look like if you couldn't get thrown into a federal correctional facility for smoking a harmless plant. Guess how they ensure they won't have problems building new prisons.

We won't get these laws fixed until we can fix why we have them.
posted by Mikey-San at 12:57 AM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or he doesn't particularly care about marijuana and sees it as a distraction with little upside and huge potential risk. Putting it on the FDA as much as possible is a smart move; no one particular likes the FDA and they take for-fucking-ever to approve even uncontroversial drugs for diabetes and cancer (i.e. terminal conditions with a huge potential audiences). If they seriously started evaluating marijuana today it might not be done until the Rubio administration.

The risk is obvious, Obama has to know that he would be especially vulnerable to a soft-on-crime attack for a certain percentage (ahem) of the population. And yet it most likely won't even be an issue for him in November. On the flip side, what are all these disappointed '08 Obama supporters going to do; vote for Santorum? (No Paul won't be an option). The states and courts will keep plugging along on the marijuana issue, when the din rises enough the administration will "reluctantly" start getting out of the way and no one will ever claim that Obama legalized your kid's drugs.

Pretty classic Obama.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:13 AM on February 19, 2012 [10 favorites]


So, if Obama's re-elected, then we should definitely see him keep his promise. Right? ...right?
posted by victory_laser at 1:16 AM on February 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


The risk

Eight in 10 Americans support legalizing marijuana for medical use.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:22 AM on February 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


It's such an idiotic turn of events. I hope he's proud of himself.
posted by rhizome at 1:28 AM on February 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


damn, one of the things he was actually doing right....
posted by mpylayev at 1:34 AM on February 19, 2012


furiousxgeorge: "Eight in 10 Americans support legalizing marijuana for medical use."

I wonder what the percentage would be if they polled likely voters.
posted by the_artificer at 1:36 AM on February 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


The risk

Also, the issue here is not necessarily perusing legalization, it's the question of why he is backing down from the policy he already ran on once which was not remotely controversial since, ya know, medical pot polls better than Mom and Apple Pie.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:36 AM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


likely voters

"Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose the use of federal law enforcement agencies to close patient cooperatives in California and other states where medical marijuana is legal under state law?"

67% of likely voters take pro-MM position in a 2001 national Zogby poll. I believe the trend is up since then.

The eight in 10 link shows 69% support even among seniors, 72% among Republicans. It is an overwhelmingly popular position however you slice it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:44 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's really bizarre. Why err on the side of suffering in order to appease 20-30% of the population, many of whom won't vote for you anyway? At least most of the time you can figure out why Obama is selling out.

Maybe it's something like, okay 80% support medical marijuana, but 70% of those people will vote on other issues, while the 20% is much more likely to be swayed by the position, so you end up with more votes by opposing it.
posted by Paris Hilton at 1:49 AM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Polls like that make me laugh. Just ask voters, better yet just ask swing state voters. That's the way to show support is where it needs to be (I have no idea if this information has been published recently but the major parties certainly have it). ABC and the Washington Post should know the information as presented is less interesting than it could be.

I take your point though and I hope medical marijuana is the law of the land as soon as possible. It's just going to be a while. As the GOP has moved farther to the right Obama can capture the middle with a centrist tack. The winning strategy is to be "better than the alternative" for most voters and that may partially explain the change in policy.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:50 AM on February 19, 2012


I can't imagine the swing state voter that was okay with Obama's medical marijuana policy in 2008 but would not have been okay with that policy in 2012.

Regardless, big majorities in states like Florida (57%), Pennsylvania (81%), and Ohio (73%) support medical marijuana. What swing states are the worries coming from and why was this not an issue in '08?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:59 AM on February 19, 2012


2bucksplus: "Pretty classic Obama"

Indeed. I guess the next step will be the use of assassination drones on growers and waterboarding for retailers for Mr. Obama is undoubtedly worse than W on both of those matters as well.

FOUR MORE YEARS!
posted by three blind mice at 2:09 AM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why err on the side of suffering in order to appease 20-30% of the population

Because we have a "representative" government, obviously.
posted by troll at 2:16 AM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


damn, one of the things he was actually doing right....

Do you mean one of the things he was actually talking about doing right? Because he's done nothing but bad here.
posted by codswallop at 2:25 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


My guess is he got a good look at the industries built around the War on Drugs and said, "Ya know what? With my administration basically being judged on one metric (read: Unemployment), maybe it's a bad idea to mess with that while the economy's in the crapper."

He may or may not change his mind in his second term, but I believe the world economy will have to be rebounding pretty well before he has enough political capital to pull the rug out from under half his own administration and 80% of the rest of the country's law enforcement / corrections infrastructure.

He's a politician. He made a promise, and the promise turned out to have a higher cost than he was immediately prepared to pay. Personally, I'd rather have a guy who seems to want to keep the promise than one who would not have made it in the first place, but it was him or McCain and whoo boy the other choice sucked.
posted by Mooski at 2:45 AM on February 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


With more than 100 raids on pot dispensaries during his first three years, Obama is now on pace to exceed Bush's record for medical-marijuana busts.

The Rollingstone is being pretty vague here. Does it ever say exactly how many busts the Bush administration did?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:52 AM on February 19, 2012


This is why we can't elect stoners.
posted by chavenet at 3:01 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Obama administration's record on medical marijuana busts is awful, but still, as compared with one recent blatantly egregious act, is but a pimple on a pumpkin: the pumpkin, of course, being his New Year's Eve signing of the NDAA.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:03 AM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the hell with this guy, let's bring the other party in. Newt the Salamander or Santorum the Sanctimonious or even Mitt the liberal Conservative would be better , the same worse.

See, there's the problem. :-\

Thanks for the FPP, well done.

posted by HuronBob at 3:06 AM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm not going to say Obama is the good guy here, but as crazy as it might sound - some dispensaries flauntingly break the guidelines. Which in turn means they are blatantly, and most definitely, breaking federal laws. Even so, why so many raids? Because previously there was only a fraction of dispensaries operating. At least this is what was told to me by a medically licensed grower, and the math really isn't that hard to figure.
Also, I have no doubt there is some kind of bottom line percentage for a bust qouta that exists only to show the laws are being upheld if someone did some questioning as to the veracity of keeping a hard line. Since, you know, it's not legal and would be a really easy gotcha for tanking a re-election.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:07 AM on February 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


My guess is he got a good look at the industries built around the War on Drugs and said, "Ya know what? With my administration basically being judged on one metric (read: Unemployment), maybe it's a bad idea to mess with that while the economy's in the crapper."

And why create a new industry of gainfully employed people when he can pour more power and funding on our nascent police state?
posted by codswallop at 3:13 AM on February 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


Nascent?
posted by scose at 3:22 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


As long as we can bitch about it openly, it's not yet in full bloom. Give it time and drones will be killing irksome bloggers.
posted by codswallop at 3:24 AM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


And why create a new industry of gainfully employed people when he can pour more power and funding on our nascent police state?

I'm sure the question is rhetorical, but you understand the old industries wouldn't simply roll over and die because the new guy wants to legalize, right? Making any move in a direction opposing the current policy requires political capital he's obviously decided to spend elsewhere. I don't like it, but as a practical matter, I understand it.
posted by Mooski at 3:46 AM on February 19, 2012


To date, the FDA has not found smoked marijuana to be either safe or effective medicine for any condition.

Note the phrasing: "smoked marijuana," as opposed to "vaped marijuana." Including the word "smoked" automatically renders marijuana unsafe as medicine, because however you slice it or dice it, carbonized plant matter is a known carcinogen.

The FDA willfully ignores vaporizers, the device of choice among leagues of medical and recreational users. (It also ignores edibles too). Include vaporizers in the mix, and the "safe" portion of "either safe or effective" falls by the wayside. So, the FDA pretends as if it's 1965, and vaporizers have yet to come into existence. Checkmate.
posted by Gordion Knott at 4:04 AM on February 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


Awful situation, and Obama keeping the private prison industry well-fed and profitable is something so-called liberal voters need to know about before ticking the ballot box. Nobody can say they didn't know.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:10 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The problem with marijuana as a medicine is that it's a plant, not a pill. If you could patent marijuana then it would already be legal.
posted by cotterpin at 4:11 AM on February 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


I agree it should be legal. But I think there might be a good reason why it is not really ready for medicinal use. There should be consistent dosages. Who knows how much you get from any strain, taken by whatever means.

I am pro legalization of all drugs, not just street drugs. But I also think that smoking some awesome shit you get at the clinic might make you feel better, but doesn't really rise to what we consider medicine.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:24 AM on February 19, 2012


The FDA has approved far more side-effect laden medicines for the treatment of nausea alone.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:27 AM on February 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


The problem with marijuana as a medicine is that it's a plant, not a pill. If you could patent marijuana then it would already be legal.

I'm curious as to where you think medicines come from.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:28 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Rollingstone is being pretty vague here. Does it ever say exactly how many busts the Bush administration did?

You can figure out the upper bound from the sentence you quoted and the length of Bush II's reign.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:29 AM on February 19, 2012


Not really, it merely says more than 100 busts over three years. That's a meaningless number, especially when Bush served eight years, and 3 doesn't go into 8 evenly and you can't have half a bust

What's the percentage of busts on the total number of dispensaries in comparison to the Bush administration? Because as someone up thread noted, there's more dispensaries under Obama than Bush.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:53 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just because medicines are organic compounds doesn't mean they aren't synthesized by chemists. There's an obvious double standard when it comes to FDA approval. Patentable medicines backed by pharmaceutical companies can yield profits, and where there are profits, there is investment in getting the medicine to market.

If THC could only be synthesized in a lab, it'd already be available in pill form.
posted by cotterpin at 4:55 AM on February 19, 2012


The man said a lot of things. People running for office do that. In 2007 there was:
I will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine congressional instructions as enacted into law.

How's that turning square corners when it comes to the NDAA?

Why should anyone be shocked words != actions WRT a politician?

One could chase after another candidate who's made claims about how the drug laws are wrong and what they'd do to change 'em. But who here thinks the drug laws are gonna change when there are profits to be made by making prisons private and young blacks to oppress in keeping with the racism in the nation?
posted by rough ashlar at 5:02 AM on February 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Not really, it merely says more than 100 busts over three years. That's a meaningless number, especially when Bush served eight years, and 3 doesn't go into 8 evenly and you can't have half a bust

Just because 100/3 is not an integer doesn't mean you can't round down to an integer and then multiply by eight, which seems like the reasonable assumption to make about what the writer is doing, given Obama's odds for reelection.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:05 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


THC can be synthesized in the lab. Not cost-effectively, but it can be done.
posted by ook at 5:05 AM on February 19, 2012


And it is available in pill form (marinol).
posted by ook at 5:06 AM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


the world economy will have to be rebounding pretty well before he has enough political capital to pull the rug out

"The World Economy" was built out on $10 a barrel oil.

Greedy oil companies, speculators, an inflating dollar due to money printing, or even living on a finite planet with a limited amount of oil - that under priced and one time boon of energy is gone.

Unless some magic happens and an energy source as cheap as $10 a barrel oil is found - the economy ain't gonna recover to what it was.

Now if weed was legal there would be not only an uptick in cheeze doodle sales but the dispossessed would just be sitting on the couch not caring too much about the collapsed economy.

So bring on the legalisation so that the muchy market can pull up the economy and the concerns about the economy can just be toked away.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:13 AM on February 19, 2012


Many medicines come from plants, take digitalis or even morphine. Drug companies don't care, they would figure out how to sell it.

We are very very close to legalization, it will happen within 10 years.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:23 AM on February 19, 2012


Just because 100/3 is not an integer doesn't mean you can't round down to an integer and then multiply by eight, which seems like the reasonable assumption to make about what the writer is doing, given Obama's odds for reelection.

To follow up on this, here are a pair of quotes which suggest Bush lead approximately 200 busts:

This caused patients and those who provide them with safe access to their medicine to be hopeful that the 200-plus medical marijuana dispensary raids under President Bush would be resigned to being a terrible memory, a dark chapter in America’s past never to be repeated.

Here is another cite:

Since the Justice Department announced its guidelines in October 2009, the report said, federal agents have raided 87 growers and dispensaries in states that allow medical marijuana, compared with just over 200 raids in the eight years of President George W. Bush's administration.

Either Rolling Stone is getting their numbers from MMJ proponents, or DEA raid statistics are just recorded history which can be researched like any other fact.

In any case, here are the calculations:

200 / 8 = 25 raids per year under Bush II

100 / 3 = 33 raids per year under Obama

Maybe Obama can blame some of his numbers on cases brought over from the Bush administration, but in order to simply break even, 25% of Obama's prosecutions would have had to come from the previous team. That stretch might complicate the claim that he is worse than Bush, but being as bad as the previous guy is still not a great legacy to leave. Without that stretch, the Rolling Stone claim seems to have some numerically-backed merit.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:38 AM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Know do that as percentages of operating dispensaries. Dollars to donuts Obama's numbers come out quite a bit shinier than what you figured.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:45 AM on February 19, 2012


I'm amenable to 'normalizing' these figures by scaling by number of dispensaries, but let's see some numbers, first. As it stands, a promise made was not only broken, but broken in a pretty egregious way. Let's see the numbers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:50 AM on February 19, 2012


I want to be optimistic, but...

We are very very close to legalization, it will happen within 10 years.

...said Carl Sagan in the 70's.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:54 AM on February 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


You mean the promise that said they can operate as long as they follow certain guidelines? I would gladly back you up on that, as soon as you give me the confirmation that the busts are done willy-nilly which is what is being implied here. That sure could be a possibility, but then again maybe they had actual reason for carrying out the busts.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:56 AM on February 19, 2012


THC can be synthesized in the lab. Not cost-effectively, but it can be done. And it is available in pill form (marinol).

THC is only one of the cannabinoids in cannabis. Many people have found Marinol ineffective, while marijuana works.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:59 AM on February 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: "Awful situation, and Obama keeping the private prison industry well-fed and profitable is something so-called liberal voters need to know about before ticking the ballot box. Nobody can say they didn't know"

As a so-called liberal voter, I find this to be another instance of disappointing governing, but you're making quite the leap in implying Obama is executing a policy in order to help the prison industry.

I'm a pragmatic voter. I understand that for the forseeable future we've got a two-party middle-of-the road system of the lesser of two evils. But contrary to sentiments like Mayor Curley's popular comment in the "previously" link, I believe one of the evils is much lesser. I mean, think about the supreme court, fule!
posted by Red Loop at 6:00 AM on February 19, 2012


Just because 100/3 is not an integer doesn't mean you can't round down to an integer and then multiply by eight, which seems like the reasonable assumption to make about what the writer is doing, given Obama's odds for reelection.

Sure, but it's interesting that said writer doesn't break down the math, instead choosing to paint Obama as worst than Bush on t his matter.

Otherwise, what P.o.B. said.

I'm amenable to 'normalizing' these figures by scaling by number of dispensaries, but let's see some numbers, first.

Serious question, is it even possible? Who keeps track and were the able to keep up with the explosive increase. For example, here's a story about a Washington doctor who has no problem prescribing marijuana but also notes the shady ethics behind the explosion in opening dispensaries.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:06 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


cotterpin: If THC could only be synthesized in a lab, it'd already be available in pill form.

As mentioned above, this exists in products like Marinol, and as a person who's had several friends and two family members attempt to use it to relieve them from the effects of chemo, I can tell you it does not work. They all ended up either eating baked goods or using vaporizers.

But you don't need to listen to me. Here's the video of a man with muscular dystrophy that removed my father's support for Mitt Romney after learning that the man is a piece of shit with zero compassion.
posted by gman at 6:07 AM on February 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


I would gladly back you up on that, as soon as you give me the confirmation that the busts are done willy-nilly which is what is being implied here.

I don't know what willy-nilly means, but prosecutions are countable events and a comparison can be made on that basis, all other things being equal (which seems like a reasonable approach or start, given lack of other data).
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:08 AM on February 19, 2012


And then all the other kids moved onto calculus. Seriously, you do realize there's at least a couple of more dispensaries since Obama moved into office? Even if all other things were equal, then you don't need to break out the calculator to figure out that Obama's bust numbers are lower than Bush's.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:15 AM on February 19, 2012


As long as the pharmaceutical companies and alcohol industry oppose any change in the ridiculous marihuana laws, there will be no change. Like the oil industry, there is too much power and $$$ involved for any rational, common sense policy. Additionally, the law enforcement community needs to use the criminalization of marijuana as a way to harass people of color, and minimize law enforcement's exposure to more dangerous, gun-toting heroin/cocaine/crack dealers. They'd much rather bust granny growing pot plants, than a wack-job making meth or someone trafficking heroin who may be packing a 9mm, or worse.
I'm with the libertarian candidates on the drug issue, but they don't have a snowball's chance in hell.
posted by GreyFoxVT at 6:19 AM on February 19, 2012


Serious question, is it even possible? Who keeps track and were the able to keep up with the explosive increase.

You are asserting an "explosive increase" without data, when, in fact, dispensaries are closing, ones which haven't been raided. I'd like to see some numbers, because so far, the data we have does not seem to bolster your claim.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:19 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


This could have something to do with the recent bust of 14 dispensaries in the Seattle area...

"the city's Department of Finance and Administrative services estimates that there are 105 medical marijuana dispensaries operating in Seattle—however, 37 of them have failed to obtain business licenses. "We only have 68 dispensaries currently licensed in our system,"

or

"One of the shops hit in the raids, the Seattle Cannabis Co-op, sold 5 pounds of marijuana to a confidential informant for $11,000 in a monitored transaction, agents said"

posted by the_artificer at 6:20 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


You are asserting an "explosive increase" without data, when, in fact, dispensaries are closing, ones which haven't been raided. I'd like to see some numbers, because so far, the data we have does not seem to bolster your claim.

"Explosive Growth" of Medical Marijuana Delivery Services Explored by Investigative Journalists:
The exact number of delivery services operating in California is unclear, since the state does not keep a registry of medical marijuana distributors or outlets;

In April, 758 services advertised direct delivery of marijuana to patients on Weedmaps.com;

Those numbers have nearly tripled in the past 18 months and grown by 39 percent since February, as more counties and cities began regulating storefront dispensaries or banning them outright, according to Weedmaps owner Justin Hartfield;
Los Angeles cuts back on medical marijuana dispensaries:
From 2007 to 2009, the number of medical marijuana dispensaries grew from 183 to over 800.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:47 AM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


the data we have does not seem to bolster your claim.

What data? All you've done is posed a bunch of facile arguments and then stood back and assumed a willful obtuseness to what has been said in return. I mean, you are essentially stating that no new dispensaries have opened since Obama took office. Here's a RAND study, looking just at LA, that cites a rapid growth from '05 to 10.

Or what BB just said.

I'm finding it hard to continue on with this, so good luck with those 'Obama is an evil scourge' theories.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:54 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


To circle around back to the larger point, I think the problem with the Obama administration is not that it's worst than Bush or is going back on a supposed promise. Rather it's that it set forth a guideline, not a law. A grey area was opened, people naturally took advantage of that and now the administration is saying "Hey, what a minute."

Make it legal or don't. Saying, "well, we're not going make it priority" doesn't do anything, except create confusion.

Note for the future: If the government says X, but doesn't back it up with a legal change, then don't trust them. That's the painful lesson from this whole mess.

Pot should be legal. Baring that, medical marijuana should be a no brainer. Baring that, the government and pro-marijuana groups should be pushing for FDA studies of the issue.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:04 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is there any real evidence pharmaceutical company, or alcohol companies, or any companies at all oppose legalization?

.said Carl Sagan in the 70's.

We actually came close in the 70s. Carter proposed decriminalization of of up to one ounce of marijuana, it got a bit derailed when his "health czar" Peter Bourne was caught writing prescriptions under a false name and admitted to using cocaine with Hunter S Thomson.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:09 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


From the current issue of Washintonian Magazine. Accusations of the tremendous hypocrisy by law makers and lobbiests who control our national drug policy.
posted by humanfont at 7:21 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bizarre. ... At least most of the time you can figure out why Obama is selling out.

We can be certain of only one thing. That his pursuance of a policy can not be explained by his agreement with that policy.
posted by Trurl at 7:44 AM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


What data?

Wow. Unbelievable. When you and BB essentially claimed that the Bush comparison was wrong, I showed you some cited numbers and a simple fractional expression by which one can compare the two administrations. When you two countered by saying that there is missing data, I said that correction seemed reasonable and so I asked you to provide the numbers—and you couldn't. When you still claimed that there was an explosion of dispensaries without evidence, I cited examples of long-time dispensaries that closed due to current policy. Maybe if you spend less time accusing others of making facile arguments, you'll free up some time to defend your own.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:09 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you look at what Obama said, and remember, he a lawyer. He said that the DEA shouldn't be raiding users. Raiding a dispensary wouldn't qualify under that statement, and if you're going to complain about his follow-through, you'd have to show he was actually targeting individual users.

As others have pointed out, it's also not the raw number that matters but the percentage. If city A has 100 murders/year and city B has 200, it tells you nothing about the relative safety unless you know the population of both.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:18 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anyone have any advice or links to the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in the United States or suggestions on how to find the information? I'm really curious now.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:28 AM on February 19, 2012


Not buying it...in the area where I live, not a single dispensary opened during the entire Bush presidency. Now there are so many, that some of them are closing, strictly from lack of business.

Fact of the matter is, marijuana users have never had it better: More people growing better quality product, more access, lower prices, etc.
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 8:34 AM on February 19, 2012


So what you're saying is that under our Socialist and Kenyan President, drugs have become more plentiful, eh?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:52 AM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


"So, what you're saying..."

No, you said that...I'm talking about marijuana, not "drugs".
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 9:01 AM on February 19, 2012


Here's a better take on the potential unknown risk I refer to above:
As fear of federal prosecution lessened [after the Ogden Memo], more states began adopting or considering medical marijuana laws; where the practice was already legal (as it was in California), there was a boom in the marijuana trade. Operating in a grey market between the federal prohibition and untested state rules, dispensaries of all kinds operated without much supervision. Cities and towns, some with an eye toward economic opportunity and others to codify community standards, began filling in the blanks left by the broad state law with rules and ordinances governing the operation of dispensaries and growers—where they could be located, how many would be allowed, what kind of security and verification procedures they must use.

Though law enforcement officials could not point to any commensurate increase in crime, all that activity made the federal government uneasy: It realized that tacitly allowing states to regulate medical marijuana had far-reaching consequences that it wasn’t entirely comfortable with. Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the Los Angeles U.S. Attorney, acknowledged that his office took notice of the explosion of storefront dispensaries across California in the last two years, sometimes in violation of local zoning bans. With local and state officials writing letters to their U.S. Attorneys, asking for their thoughts on various schemes to license marijuana growers and distributers, the federal government decided to take a tougher line. This June, the Department of Justice responded with another memo recognizing this growing trend and clarifying its position, and reclaiming the prerogative to make arrests for any marijuana offenses: “Persons who are in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, regardless of state law.” Enforcement efforts against dispensaries in California followed soon after.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:26 AM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is there any real evidence pharmaceutical company, or alcohol companies, or any companies at all oppose legalization?

Other than private prisons, I'd assume.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:27 AM on February 19, 2012


I mean, think about the supreme court, fule!

The one reason I'm still an Obama "supporter". If Scalia or Ginsberg drops dead, Rick Santorum can't be the one to appoint Ken Cucinelli to replace them.

That's the one and only reason to vote Obama, and there's still no guarantee he won't sell us out this time, he already made two decent choices for the court, which is batting waaaaay above his average. He's due for a regression cave-in to the beltway forces of "reasonableness". His third pick might be a loathesome "compromise" candidate like Paul Clement.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:45 AM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


No, you said that...I'm talking about marijuana, not "drugs".

My apologies.

So what you're saying is that under our Socialist and brown President, you've seen a dramatic increase of state sanctioned shops that dispense a drug that has a high potential for abuse, yet has no currently accepted medial use (i.e. Schedule I)? Thank you for clarifying, dear citizen.

Apologies for the over the top commenting, but that's just one way I see this being spun in the media. Not that it excuses Obama's poor leadership on this issue, but I can see how he'd be looking to avoid any sort of drams on the issue.

Does that make it right? No, but that's not unusual in politics.

It's a pity, in a way, that Anonymous choose to emulate the character in V for Vendetta. It would be interesting to see what would happen if there was group that chose to copy the the strategy for using Rosa Parks to ignite the Montgomery Bus Boycott. There's nothing quite like putting a face and a name to injustice.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:48 AM on February 19, 2012


"So what you're saying is..."

Again, you are the one saying that...
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 10:07 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Again, medical marijuana has a high approval rate across the country, even among Republicans. If the media were going to spin this as "more access to teh demon weed!" then they missed their chance 15 years ago.
posted by vorfeed at 10:15 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a so-called liberal voter, I find this to be another instance of disappointing governing, but you're making quite the leap in implying Obama is executing a policy in order to help the prison industry.

If the stories were reversed I'm comfortable asserting that the amount of defense of Obama in this thread would not be extended to Bush.

We get what we deserve if we're going to back up "liberal" candidates who are basically Bush2, which is what Obama is.
posted by rr at 10:29 AM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Medical marijuana may poll high, but it is nowhere near the top priority, for most of those polled.
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 10:31 AM on February 19, 2012


If the stories were reversed I'm comfortable asserting that the amount of defense of Obama in this thread would not be extended to Bush.

Well obviously - Bush was eeeeevil, while Obama means well.
posted by codswallop at 10:39 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


So what if it's not the "top priority"? That still doesn't suggest that not arresting dispensary owners is some sort of problem in an election year. As far as I can tell, the only people who've even mentioned medical marijuana are the people for whom it's top priority, and Obama has lost support there.
posted by vorfeed at 11:02 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]



Fact of the matter is, marijuana users have never had it better: More people growing better quality product, more access, lower prices, etc.


That sounds great. I live in in a medical marijuana state. There aren't any dispensaries here. There are "compassion clubs", but the quality of cannabis is dismal, visual examination makes it clearit is grown outdoors with no attention. They charge street prices.I'm a designated grower for three patientss: one with Crohn's, one with esophageal cancer, and one with Lyme's. These people really need cannabis; the Lyme's Disease and cancer patients have actually been able to return to work because of the benefits. I've seen my Lyme's disease patient actually change from a ball of tics and twitches to somebody you wouldn't know had issues after smoking. They can't get medicinal quality cannabis anywhere else; it just isn't available.

Don't assume all mmj patients live where the bud is cheap, plentiful and top quality. And don't assume the situation in California and Colorado mirrors the rest of the nation.
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 11:28 AM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's like William Gibson said: "The future is here, it just isn't evenly distributed yet."
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 11:36 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


In other news: Young, Undercover Cops Flirted With Students to Trick Them Into Selling Pot
posted by homunculus at 11:43 AM on February 19, 2012


And don't assume the situation in large cities in California and Colorado mirrors the rest of the nation.
posted by hippybear at 11:47 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


We actually came close in the 70s. Carter proposed decriminalization of of up to one ounce of marijuana, it got a bit derailed when his "health czar" Peter Bourne was caught writing prescriptions under a false name and admitted to using cocaine with Hunter S Thomson.

Is this a sign that the more well-meaning, honest, and clement an American president is, the more likely he will be undone by his own lack of guile, incompetence, and forces of the universe conspiring against him?
posted by Apocryphon at 12:08 PM on February 19, 2012


Given this, his reversal on FISA way back in 2008, and everything in between, I have to wonder if we're just dealing with unaccountable and out-of-control intelligence services. The DEA, CIA and FBI have engaged in so many illegal and provable crimes lately without prosecution or reprimand.

As pointed out upthread, the argument that it's not politically practical to stand for medical marijuana is getting weaker and weaker. Polls show overwhelming support that is still growing.

So, we're either dealing with a President who is beholden to corporate interests such as the private prison industry, or a DEA that is ignoring orders from its chain of command and defiantly going after people because it knows it has the real power.

Either one is disgusting and concerning. But the very real possibility of out-of-control intelligence services putting on a small-scale coup is more terrifying really.
posted by formless at 12:15 PM on February 19, 2012


Eight in 10 Americans support legalizing marijuana for medical use.

Four in 10 Americans vote in non-presidential election years.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:20 PM on February 19, 2012


Bush 2. Except for small things of no consequence like Supreme Court Appointee and getting out of Iraq. Oh and actually killing Bin Laden. Minor details.
posted by humanfont at 12:23 PM on February 19, 2012


It's amazing how much crap the President gets away with via the OLC and Executive Orders, yet this state of affairs is allowed to continue.

You know what I bet it is? The Feds will never legalize until they know it won't affect their or their party's re-election chances, that it won't give ammunition to the opposition. It doesn't matter how many people support the idea, from a political standpoint they're buying a pig in a poke.
posted by rhizome at 12:39 PM on February 19, 2012


Bush 2. ... Oh and actually killing Bin Laden.

Man, the story gets better and better. In the comic book version, does Obama kill him face to face with a smaller gun or does it by hand carrying a Vulcan machine gun tore loose from the crashed helicopter?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:34 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


No one city mirrors another city. The question was whether there has been growth in this particular industry, or actually it was at least a declaration of ignorance on whether there has been growth. So, yes, it has been objectively shown there are more dispensaries than before, and we can move on from that.

Also, I have a buddy who lives in a small town out in Colorado and has been dealing with a few medical issues. He was just telling me a neighboring county just shut down all their dispensaries, but let's get back to the not so rosey local legislation in a minute.

The other question about whether Obama is worse than Bush, is another tangent that doesn't address what we're talking about anyway. Playing with some numbers and claiming you solved for X, while ignoring Y and Z, proves nothing. Moving that aside because nobody gives a shit about X in the first place, all that is left over is a "this guy is worse than the last guy" statement crowbarred into the conversation. Which seems to be a really convenient and acceptable kill switch for many people.

The real question here is whether Obama is doing what he says, and I don't see anyone with the answer here. One way to answer this question is to find out if Obama is behind these raids and closings. I've never seen that explicitly stated but he sure as hell isn't stepping in and stopping them. But why is that? One thing that has to be realized is that there is no oversight on this. That is, not beyond the counties or cities that give the okay on, but beyond that they don't have state licensed local weed inspectors to stop by and make sure things are running as they should. So don't think for a moment that local cities or counties or even states will have a problem shutting down dispensaries that are active, or even shoot down possible opening without federal help at all. This leads us back to that grey area and a couple of guidelines being the end all. So it's either raid 'em and shut 'em down, or let the situation get out of hand without actual laws in place. Again, don't think for a moment that some dispensaries do take advantage the situation and bend the rules. Just like any other business, not everyone involved has a mystical glowing radiance around their head.

Like Brandon Blatcher said up above, there really isn't going to be a resolution to this until it is decriminalized and legalized. You can gnash your teeth all day about Obama shutting down the dispensaries, and aside from the fact that he has nothing to do with a large part of the shutdowns, but those and many others that are not shut down wouldn't exist in the first place if it weren't for him relaxing the legalities that bound it up before he got into office.

The thing is, Obama doesn't have to do anything. It was a shit show to begin with and he made it less so, no matter what kind of ignorant numbers you want to triumphantly drum up. He's not going to pull a doobie out of his back pocket anytime soon, but we all sure do wish he definitely would be doing more. I don't think I'm far off in saying history shows that the long game usually plays out favorably and it's looking better all the time. Unfortunately this probably isn't going to happen from the top down, but from the bottom up in baby steps.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:39 PM on February 19, 2012


Man, the story gets better and better. In the comic book version, does Obama kill him face to face with a smaller gun or does it by hand carrying a Vulcan machine gun tore loose from the crashed helicopter?

If Obama is not responsible for killing Bin Laden, he's also not responsible for killing innocents in drone strikes.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:42 PM on February 19, 2012


If Obama is not responsible for killing Bin Laden, he's also not responsible for killing innocents in drone strikes.

'Round these parts you'd get plenty of posters who'd say anyone who has a R as the "party" tag would be responsible for the drone killings.

Because of the D - nary a peep.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:59 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Playing with some numbers and claiming you solved for X, while ignoring Y and Z, proves nothing.

At least we provide concrete and verifiable numbers, which you have yet to do.

The boss is going to do whatever he does. The best we can do as voters is look at the numbers dispassionately, to determine what course of action to take. If you think being measurably, quantitatively worse on this issue than Bush, all-around the most corrupt and damaging leader this country has seen, is okay, then that's fine. But now you can't say you didn't know.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:59 PM on February 19, 2012


Four in 10 Americans vote in non-presidential election years.

Take a look at the likely voters poll from 2001 above.

Anyone have any advice or links to the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in the United States or suggestions on how to find the information? I'm really curious now.

Estimates range from 500-1000 in California, but hundreds have recently closed so who knows.

If you look at what Obama said, and remember, he a lawyer. He said that the DEA shouldn't be raiding users.

Willamette Week, asked Obama, "Would you stop the DEA's raids on Oregon medical marijuana growers; His reply: "I would, because I think our federal agents have better things to do, like catching criminals and preventing terrorism.

I think focusing on the number of busts or number of dispensaries is slightly missing the point on that Bush claim. I think it is clear the number exploded when Obama implemented a policy that would not target those following the state laws. I think you also have to be clear that, as BP pointed out, now that that isn't quite the case anymore hundreds of dispensaries are closing right back up as a result.

Only 25 of an estimated 38 dispensaries in the city of Sacramento remain open. In the surrounding county, the numbers for pot shop owners are even more grim. Only eight of an estimated 99 shops have not closed, according to The Sacramento Bee.

The Rolling Stone article points out the case of Matthew Cohen who was growing directly under the supervision of a Sheriff, with each plant individually tagged. Now, I'm not a lawyer so I can't tell you what degree of willy or nillyosicity was going on in regards to the state laws there but it does seem clear that if you aren't safe even with the police literally over your shoulder than there is no way for anyone to remain confident they are in compliance. Regardless, it is no secret that following state law is no longer protection, "We will enforce the Controlled Substances Act vigorously against individuals and organizations that participate in unlawful manufacturing and distribution activity involving marijuana," she wrote, "even if such activities are permitted under state law."

So, exact numbers busted or existing aside, the legal situation is pretty much the same. You work with medical pot, the feds may bust in some day. I think it's fair to say that the current policy on that is a draw with Bush.

Now, to make the case Obama is worse the article talks about some other issues. One of the most damning is targeting of state employees.

Two months later, federal prosecutors in Washington state went even further, threatening state employees responsible for implementing new regulations for pot dispensaries. U.S. attorneys sent a letter to Gov. Christine Gregoire, warning that state employees "would not be immune from liability under the Controlled Substances Act." Shocked by the threat – "It subjected Washington state employees to felony criminal prosecution!" – Gregoire vetoed the new rules. A similar federal threat in Rhode Island forced Chafee to follow suit, putting an indefinite hold on the planned opening of three state-licensed "compassion centers" to distribute marijuana to seriously ill patients.

So, without a single bust to count, entire states are going to be without dispensaries.

Also under Obama a new policy was created to deny medical marijuana patients the right to own a gun.

In Colorado as a result of threats of prosecution against banks dispensaries have been locked out of the banking system. The IRS has also gone after medical marijuana businesses by denying them the use of tax deductions.

So, the argument that he is worse than Bush could be right or wrong. I think under Obama a lot more people realize medical pot is fine and a lot more states have gotten up the nerve to pass the laws. On the other hand, we are kind of undoing Obama's contribution that that progress when we roll back to the old policies and come up with new ways to mess with patients and dispensaries and growers and states. This is why I think it is fair to say, at least, that progress is stalled.

I don't really see how this could be an electoral strategy. I'd love to see someone really try and break down the poll numbers and make sense of that argument. It doesn't make sense as pure policy either, just bouncing back and forth like this, it doesn't make sense. Enforce the ban or don't, stop making people jump through the moving, flaming hoops.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:03 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Can we talk about medical pot policy and not drones and bin Laden and Iraq please?)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:05 PM on February 19, 2012


At least we provide concrete and verifiable numbers, which you have yet to do.

I can, with time permitting, travel to your place and do some assisted reading on any of the links already provided. Which means I just point at the words as you read aloud, but it seems like that might solve the problem here. Just so you know, I used to get paid pretty decent to do the same with kids, so... *rubs fingers together* you know, I'll require a bit of pocket change for expenses.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:15 PM on February 19, 2012


So, without a single bust to count, entire states are going to be without dispensaries.

I can tell you without a doubt that Western Washington is doing just fine concerning dispensaries. Feds shut some down? Yeah, the illegal ones.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:28 PM on February 19, 2012


Yeah, my mistake. The new rules vetoed were about establishing a state regulatory regime so the shops which are neither explicitly allowed or banned would be on clear footing under state law.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:47 PM on February 19, 2012


No biggie. You're at least trying to have an honest conversation about this.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:54 PM on February 19, 2012


I think it is perfectly reasonable to criticize Obama for lacking a coherent national drug policy. He isn't Bush 2 here because Bush's policy was clear medicalarijuanna had no place because the Federal law takes priority. Local jurisdictions had to get on board or face problems. Obama with his initial memo after taking office, campaign statements and recent prosecutions is much more infuriating.
posted by humanfont at 3:04 PM on February 19, 2012



I can tell you without a doubt that Western Washington is doing just fine concerning dispensaries. Feds shut some down? Yeah, the illegal ones.
Huh? Is that sarcastic? All marijuana dispensaries are illegal under federal law.
Federal agents and police raided state-sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries across western Washington on Tuesday, targeting storefronts deemed to be engaged in illegal drug trafficking and money laundering.
All medical marijuana dispensaries that accept money must be engaged drug distribution and 'money laundering'. If they are large scale, then they must, by definition be engaged in 'large scale' drug distribution.
No biggie. You're at least trying to have an honest conversation about this.
Something the DEA and their press releases are certainly not trying to do.
posted by delmoi at 3:08 PM on February 19, 2012


Can Obama stop the DOJ and DEA from bringing cases. If the laws are on the books what stops some career prosecutor or agent from bringing a case or starting an investigation?
posted by humanfont at 3:15 PM on February 19, 2012


You're right delmoi, they all should be shut down.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:38 PM on February 19, 2012


Long story short, I don't think medical marijuana is or going to be an issue for the 2012 elections. So Obama can say "Never mind, I have bigger fish to fray" and move on. The sad thing, he may be right.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:43 PM on February 19, 2012


Why would Obama stop the raids? What are people going to do if he doesn't? Vote Republican?
posted by dazed_one at 3:46 PM on February 19, 2012


So, we're either dealing with a President who is beholden to corporate interests such as the private prison industry, or a DEA that is ignoring orders from its chain of command and defiantly going after people because it knows it has the real power.

Or, as shown by the current crop of Presidential candidates, the Presidency is a bogus appointment of no real importance. I mean, if it were important, wouldn't the quality of candidate reflect that?
posted by davidpriest.ca at 3:52 PM on February 19, 2012


"Is there any real evidence pharmaceutical company, or alcohol companies, or any companies at all oppose legalization?"

Yes. As with SOPA, companies will generally deny that they are individually supporting anti-consumer legislation to prop up their industries, but will continue to back them through trade groups.
posted by Manjusri at 6:27 PM on February 19, 2012


I look forward to the time when we can have actual, controlled, double-blind, standards-based testing on the actual effectiveness of any pot-based medicine. (Vaporized, if you like.)

Facts matter. Either it can be a medicine or it can't - lets just settle it with actual standards-base testing and either treat is as a medicine (doctor's prescription required) or an illegal drug (sorry, not available in this country) and be done with it.

Too many people win when science and testing can settle an issue but doesn't seem to. (c.f. global warming / global climate change, vaccinations, contraception-based sex-ed teaching as a means of decreasing unwanted pregnancies, etc. etc.)
posted by andreaazure at 8:30 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's more than twenty years of actual, controlled, double-blind, standards-based testing on the efficacy of marijuana as medicine. Try typing "cannabis" into pubmed.
posted by vorfeed at 9:06 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why would Obama stop the raids? What are people going to do if he doesn't? Vote Republican?
Pat Robertson wants to legalize weed. There are lots of republicans who feel the same way (including Ron Paul). There are probably lots of centrists/independents who don't really care that much about the dem/republican thing but maybe they have a family member who needs medical marijuana or just think it's a good idea.

It's a mistake to think that, oh, this is only something liberals care about.

The other thing, though, is that there aren't very many 'true' independents out there. Most 'swing' voters are just people who don't care very much, or hate both parties, or whatever but usually vote for one party or the other. Getting those people to the polls is an important part of the campaign.
You're right delmoi, they all should be shut down.
Is that what you really think? Marijuana dispensaries are illegal under federal law, they won't be legal until federal law is overturned. So, basically you have to either have illegal dispensaries, or else medical marijuana patents are going to have to buy it from 'real' drug dealers just like everyone else. But not everyone knows real drug dealers, especially people in the age range where they're more likely to need medical MJ.

So here's the thing, either you have 'illegal under federal law but not state law' dispensaries, or else people go without medicine that helps them.

Yes, there were 'flagrant' dispensaries out there. But so what? Any Stoner who was getting weed from a 'blatant' dispensary can just switch to getting it from their Stoner friends. These raids won't "help" anyone who's "addicted" to marijuana, which is supposedly the purpose of our drug policy, right? All they are going to do is prevent law-abiding people from getting the treatment they need (or feel they need)

If you think Marijuana is a harmful drug for people who don't need it, how does shutting down the dispensaries help people who are being "harmed" by it?

If you don't think Marijuana is a harmful drug, then what is the purpose of our drug policy, and why exactly should we continue with it?
posted by delmoi at 9:16 AM on February 20, 2012


Why would Obama stop the raids?

Really only speaking for myself here, but I thought he would because he indicated that he would. There is also the option that he would stop them because he thinks it is a beneficial thing to do for the country we're living in. Perhaps I am woefully naive, but I still like to believe there are at least some politicians that could act based on what's right, rather than on what will get them votes.
posted by nTeleKy at 9:32 AM on February 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


My mom is dying of terminal cancer. She's been prescribed oxycontin, which works well for controlling her pain (for now, tolerance is a big issue for opiates), but she says nothing helps her get to sleep as well as edibles. Fortunately she lives in San Francisco, which still has quite a lot of dispensaries open. If she lived elsewhere, I guess she'd just have to go without restful sleep. It sickens me that so many people think that's alright, that it's better that many people suffer greatly just so some other people can't get high recreationally, or have to do so with legal (and more harmful) alternatives.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 10:48 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is that what you really think?

You think? You engaged me with you're obviously well versed knowledge on the subject and on my position. The part where you mention people "'addicted' to marijuana" is especially telling of the depth of your knowledge.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:10 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


rough ashlar: Unless some magic happens and an energy source as cheap as $10 a barrel oil is found - the economy ain't gonna recover to what it was.

Now if weed was legal there would be not only an uptick in cheeze doodle sales but the dispossessed would just be sitting on the couch not caring too much about the collapsed economy.

So bring on the legalisation so that the muchy market can pull up the economy and the concerns about the economy can just be toked away.


You're trivializing the economic impact that full legalization would have. ("munchy market"?? come on...) Consider the money churned up by the alcohol industry -- manufacturers, bars, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. Now consider if all those establishments were shut down and/or prohibited from selling alcohol.

However, I do think there's a danger of medicating the populace to the point of apathy.... further apathy, I suppose... I know it's a stereotype that stoners are unmotivated, but it's definitely true of myself friend. Hell, we have a hard enough time getting people to even vote as it is. And it's probably fair to say marijuana use is more common in liberal than conservatives. I just wonder if liberals are shooting themselves in the foot, longer term.
posted by LordSludge at 11:45 AM on February 20, 2012


You think? You engaged me with you're obviously well versed knowledge on the subject and on my position. The part where you mention people "'addicted' to marijuana" is especially telling of the depth of your knowledge.
So, what you're saying is that you're not actually interested in having an "honest discussion", or any type of discussion at all for that matter.

The question, of course, is what is the point of shutting down marijuana dispensaries? There must be some goal, and then the question is whether or not that goal is worth the suffering that law-abiding sick people will endure if they can't get medication that works for them.

But we don't even know what the goal is supposed to be here, so it's obviously not possible to make a judgment about the relative good of the policy.
posted by delmoi at 12:49 PM on February 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


So, what you're saying is that you're not actually interested in having an "honest discussion", or any type of discussion at all for that matter.

I find that a bit ironic. You came at me with a couple of gotchas about contextual language. Then you loaded a couple of paragraphs full of vacillating opinions without ever addressing a single point of mine. Now your blaming me for not wanting an honest conversation. As fallacious as he was, at least BP had a point.

Maybe next time you'll have better luck finding a better dancing monkey partner.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:56 PM on February 20, 2012


You came at me with a couple of gotchas about contextual language
Yeah I have no idea what this means.
Then you loaded a couple of paragraphs full of vacillating opinions without ever addressing a single point of mine
I was only responding to your comments about 1) Only the "illegal" dispensaries being shut down and 2) your comment about wanting "all" of them shut down. If all you post is snarky bullshit, no one will ever know what point you're actually trying to express. Which is why I said you weren't interested in having an honest conversation.
Now your blaming me for not wanting an honest conversation.
Right, because obviously you don't. All you're doing is posting comments about how you don't want to discuss any of the issues. As far as I can tell, your last three comments had zero content.
posted by delmoi at 3:26 PM on February 20, 2012


[Hey, can you guys pursue the between-you stuff via email, and return to general discussion here?]
posted by taz at 10:27 PM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good News Everybody!

As part of the payroll tax extension, the Democrats caved to Republican demands to allow states to begin drug-testing unemployment benefit applicants.

Yay! Freedom!
posted by formless at 11:12 PM on February 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


the Democrats caved to Republican demands

What Obama and Co. do should be made into a mad libs drinking game:

The Democrats caved to Republican demands to ____________________.

Like:

The Democrats caved to Republican demands to make polka dot underwear illegal.

The Democrats caved to Republican demands to set up an unemployed game farm, with a no-bag limit.

The Democrats caved to Republican demands to administer toxic waste to children as a shortcut for making Toxic Avenger super-soldiers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:46 PM on February 20, 2012


Experts Tell the Truth about Pot: Marijuana use can be problematic but only rarely leads to addiction
posted by homunculus at 1:42 PM on February 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's the key part from homunculus's link:
A number of investigators have addressed this issue and found that only a relatively small percentage of those who try marijuana will become addicted. For example, in a large-scale survey published in 1994 epidemiologist James Anthony, then at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and his colleagues asked more than 8,000 people between the ages of 15 and 64 about their use of marijuana and other drugs. The researchers found that of those who had tried marijuana at least once, about 9 percent eventually fit a diagnosis of cannabis dependence. The corresponding figure for alcohol was 15 percent; for cocaine, 17 percent; for heroin, 23 percent; and for nicotine, 32 percent. So although marijuana may be addictive for some, 91 percent of those who try it do not get hooked. Further, marijuana is less addictive than many other legal and illegal drugs.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:13 AM on February 23, 2012


For comparison, a study done in 1997 found that at least 50% of caffeine users polled self-endorsed two of the five DSM-IV criteria for dependence, and 24% of "those who had tried to stop caffeine permanently" met the criteria for withdrawal.
posted by vorfeed at 11:22 AM on February 23, 2012


Pat Robertson Supports Marijuana Reform, Endorses Ballot Initiatives in Colorado and Washington.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:00 AM on March 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


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