Obama again ignores public feedback on cannabis laws.

Once again Barack Obama has asked for public policy feedback .

Once again this feedback tells him that the American public wants him to consider legalizing cannabis and hemp to gain their health-care and economic benefits and to create tax revenue.

Once again, president Obama dismissed all these hundreds of thousands of opinions with a three sentence reply. His press secretary later implied that the feedback must have been rigged.

At least this time, Barack Obama admitted to how popular the idea of legalizing cannabis figured in his on-line Town Hall.  During his transition to office, as reported by Norml,

Obama’s response was ignore, as best he could, the fact that so many people wanted change in US marijuana laws. He stated then he was against legalizing marijuana.

This time, in the town hall meeting, he did address the great interest, but again with negatively.

  • WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Legalizing marijuana is not the kind of change President Barack Obama can believe in — at least not as a remedy for the ailing U.S. economy.
  • On Thursday, Obama tackled the issue head-on, only half-jokingly, at an online townhall meeting where he noted that the idea was a favourite among the 3.6 million people who voted on more than 100,000 questions submitted on the White House website.
  • “I have to say that there was one question that was voted on that ranked fairly high, and that was whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy and job creation,” he said to laughter at the White House event.
  • “And I don’t know what this says about the online audience,” Obama said, tongue-in-cheek. “This was a fairly popular question. We want to make sure that it was answered.”
  • The answer is, no, I don’t think that is a good strategy to grow our economy,” he said before moving back to a more sober discussion of unemployment and health care reform.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs reemphasized the negativity: “The president opposes the legalization of marijuana. He doesn’t think that’s the right plan for America.”

Gibbs went on to invalidate the question, suggesting that “marijuana advocates” had somehow gotten out invalid votes and encouraged multiple voting.

Gee, Robert Gibbs, based on what evidence do you make that assertion? Why do you ask people to participate with suggestions, and then if you don’t like the responses, ignore them and even accuse the earnest people making the suggestions of dishonesty? Don’t you owe them an apology?

Actually it is President Obama who should be apologizing to his Town Hall participants. Yet again, they have pointed out how federal drug policy, espcially for cannabis, is stupid, cruel and wrong. They have shown how money could be saved, lives salvaged, and tax revenue created by simple changes in cannabis policy.

And when confronted by the overwhelming interest in reforming marijuana laws, the President remarked, “And I don’t know what this says about the online audience.” Well, President Obama, maybe it says they have a treasure of great ideas about economic revitalization with hemp and cannabis as food, fuel, fiber and health care alternatives. Maybe it says they have great ideas you should to which you should be listening.

Charles C. Lynch medical cannabis sentencing delayed. Judge Wu to study the issue.

Perversely persecuted medical cannabis figure Charles Lynch escaped the federal slammer today, at least temporarily. After his federal prosecution and conviction for distributing cannabis, he is facing a ‘mountain of time,’ potentially decades in the federal pen. There he would join the other 53% of federal prisoners behind bars for drug “crimes.”

Today U.S. District Court Judge George H. Wu postponed sentencing. Like all judges for sentencing federal drug crimes, his hands are essentially tied. In the case of mandatory minimum sentences, the judge becomes just an operational pawn for applying the draconian minimum sentences dreamed up by self-righteous legislators.

Charles Lynch has become a poster boy for the cruelty and idiocy of the federal persecution of cannabis, especially when protected by voter-mandated state medical laws. His story was well told by John Stossel and  Al Roker. The case has taken on a special poignancy with the arrival of the Obama administration and federal policy regarding state endorsed medical cannabis operations.

Still, it is encouraging Judge Wu has been tracking the recent changes on medical cannabis policy issuing from the Attorney General Eric Holder. Less encouraging is his statement “he did not believe that any change in policy would affect the conviction of Charles Lynch, 47.” The LA Times NOW account adds that Judge Wu “said he wanted to consider any new information about the policy before imposing sentence.”

Well gee, the new, current policy from Attorney General Eric Holder dictates that dispensary operators conforming to state laws, as Lynch was, will not be targeted by the Feds. Therefore, Lynch’s case would not have ever transpired under current law. No jack-booted squads dressed in uniforms of brutality  — face-masks shields, and automatic rifles — would have smashed down his door and thrown him to the ground. He would not have been transported from his home and put into a cage. Seems like that might be relevant.

In the federal trial of Charles C. Lynch, Judge Wu enforced the edict that nothing could be said about medical marijuana. The state laws under which Mr. Lynch operated faithfully could not be mentioned, nor the dispensaries Grand Opening with the mayor, nor the great help the medication helped some of the  residents of Morro Bay.

How could a federal judge not feel shame in participating in, indeed enforcing, such as sham? Hopefully, Judge Wu heard the outraged complaints of a jury who, denied the basic facts, felt no choice but to convict. Now they feel outrage and shame, and they should rightfully feel scorn for a judge who forced their participation in this miscarriage of justice.

Judge Wu, after your additional study of the changes taking place in the justice department and in California, and the day of sentencing comes, do the right thing. Any sentence beyond time served would be an obvious and hideous violation of right and wrong, a perversion of American ideals. To say nothing of violation of 8th and several other amendments, of the Bill of Rights. Do your duty for American justice, Judge Wu and free Charles C. Lynch.

Speak up for the judiciary about idiotic mandatory minimum sentences. Insist on real justice rather than conforming to rote sentencing schedules.

Speak out as an American for the great injustice done Mr. Lynch and millions of other Americans ensnared by arbitrary and cruel drug laws, especially those on cannabis, with its great medical usefulness. Insist that cannabis be rescheduled down from Schedule 1.

Speak up for freedom and say that there is no way you would sentence a community resource and public servant like Charles C. Lynch to a day in federal prison.

No, Joe Biden, we don’t “know we needed tough laws.”

Vice-President Joe Biden loomed large, too large, at the recent swearing in of Obama Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowske. Joe Biden’s long and shameful drug war mongering career was built on shattered lives of drug war victims, many still languishing in prison because of the harsh policies he pushed. Biden has gleefully ignored the US Constitution, even the Magna Carta, as a cheerleader for asset forfeiture, bodily fluids testing, mandatory minimums and other Orwellian coercions. Biden chose the ceremony to brag up his record when he should have been pleading forgiveness.

  • Speaking of the heady years he has been surfing the drug war, Biden stated, “We know we needed tough laws” and he added, “and we have tough laws. But that wasn’t enough.” Although he then outlines a larger approach emphasizing prevention, he never backtracks on the wisdom of “tough laws.” These are the laws that have made the USA the “incarceration nation,” by far the world’s great prison gulag. The idea that this might be a huge evil apparently never enters his head.

Joe, the USA needed none of these prohibitionist laws, especially the draconian excesses beginning, ironically, in 1984. These arbitrary and cruel laws have fueled a prison boom, filled and then overflowed these prisons. They have smashed countless lives and families. Just for cannabis, 20 millon arrests. All for nothing, the USA still has the highest rate of drug use. There is no relationship between national drug policy practices and drug use by its citizenry.

  • As far as American drug policy, Joe Biden has been the problem not the solution. Joe, get out of the way.

Stem cells, science and Schedule I for cannabis.

Three cheers for President Obama for freeing stem cell research from nearly a decade of stagnation. Federal research in the USA was crippled in 2001 when, driven by politic and superstition, George Bush stopped federal funding and restricted access to new cell lines. Now Barack Obama has promised embryonic stem cell findings will not be “distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda.” Millions of Americans with paralysis and other disabilities, or with family members suffering a variety of afflictions, from diabetes to cancer, can go to sleep tonight with a little more hope.

In addition to the decision on stem cells, the president made more sweeping statements. He promised to free scientific research from the tyranny of politics and to bring back “scientific integrity to government decision-making.” Every branch of government and most public institutions suffered during the Bush administration. Karl Rove and his graduates of “colleges” such as Liberty University, were allowed to run roughshod over science at NASA, NOAA and nearly everywhere.

If science is to truly govern policy and decision making in the Obama administration, the next step should be to reschedule cannabis on the Controlled Substance Act. Perhaps no other ruling than classifying (and keeping) cannabis as Schedule I classification more clearly exemplifies putting politics and bureaucracy before science. This tragic error (actually fraud), made 39 years ago, is responsible for much of the wasteful and punitive mess made of the American justice system, now bursting at the seams with non-violent prisoners.

Scientifically, cannabis’ Schedule I status is clearly in error. To “qualify” for this most restrictive and punishing status, drugs so classified must have “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.” Obviously, cannabis does have currently accepted medical use in the USA, despite the best efforts of federal bureaucracies to prevent research into its medical value. Additionally, cannabis meets neither of the other two criteria required to classify a drug as Schedule I.

By insisting on a science based classification for cannabis, Barack Obama could strike down the cause one of the great evils of the past few decades, the tragic consequences of twenty million arrests for cannabis. Because of its schedule I status, most state laws were modeled after this most punitive model. Thousands of prisoners languish in jail, millions have had their rights as American citizens crushed because cannabis was misclassified. Now citizens of 13 states have voted to by-pass some of this cruel idiocy with medical exemptions to their laws.

The DEA has resisted numerous attempts and lawsuits by drug policy groups to correct this error. It ignored the findings of its own law judge in 1988 to move cannabis to Schedule II. Strangely, the drug-war bureaucracy did reclassify synthetic THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, down to Schedule III in 1999. Dronabinol, sold as Marinol by Solvay Pharmaceuticals is pure THC. Bizarrely, the DEA uses the availability of Marinol to justify the repression of cannabis. After extensively claiming that there are no medical uses for cannabis, the DEA website claims that “Medical marijuana already exists. Its called Marinol.”

Cannabis could be rescheduled in a number of ways, but the easiest would be for President Obama to instruct the Attorney General to direct the DEA to make the change. To which schedule should cannabis be moved? As the pure THC in Marinol is now Schedule III, this would be a good start. The World Health Organization has recommended that cannabis be down classified to Schedule IV.

Arguably, with its self-serving history of lies and obstruction, the DEA should have no control over the cannabis plant, and it should  be removed from the Controlled Substances Act. Science, truth and justice would be far better served by simply ending the legal prohibition of cannabis. So Barack Obama, follow through with your assertion that science, not ideology, should govern policy. Remove the arbitrary, anti-scientific Schedule I demonization of cannabis.