Reverse Christmas present from Obama and Senate

President Obama and the US Senate have given the American people a reverse Christmas present with the confirmation of Michele Leonhart as DEA administrator.  For such an dishonest person to gain such an exalted role atop a fundamentally flawed organization says terrible things about American governance. The federal government should be defunding and dismantling this anti-American agency, not appointing apparatchiks to head it in the exactly wrong direction.

The pick by Barack Obama of Leonhart was a total refutation of the president’s campaign slogan, “Change you can believe in.” Instead, Obama picked George W. Bush’s choice for DEA administrator. Doing so, Obama stabbed in the back millions of reformers who had hoped for changes to America’s cruel and counter-productive drug war. When renominated by Obama, Leonhart’s offenses were many, including refusal to allow research on medical marijuana and in general playing a completely obfuscatory role in accommodating the changes made by voters in 15 states with medical cannabis laws.

Thanks, Obama, for nothing. You will never get my vote again.

Reformers proposed some real questions for her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings. Instead, senators supposedly “examining” her credentials threw her only pathetic softball questions. Not once was confronted for her obstructive, pedantic mismanagement of the agency, nor the tragic 40 years of draconian  Schedule I for marijuana so coveted by DEA thugs. Instead, the likes of Jeff Sessions began his “questioning” with the adoration, “I love the DEA.”  He followed by setting up for her opportunity to demonize cannabis.  Not one senator challenged this tripe.

Thanks Senate Judiciary Committee, for nothing. E, tu Al Franken?

Finally, the full Senate unanimously supported and passed her nomination today. This horrendously compromised administrator will now be in position to decide on yet another petition to reschedule cannabis, eight years in the works and  one of the defining issues to the time, critical to both criminal justice and health policy.  Guess what her response will be? The 40 years false scheduling and demonization of cannabis will continue well into the 21st century.

Look for dangerous and devious attacks on the rights of medical cannabis users over the next decade by this pathetic excuse for an American, now in a position of immense power, ready and able to forward the DEA’s “harm enhancement” strategy.

Thanks US Senate, for nothing. I love my country but detest my government.

Interesting news reactions to new federal medical marijuana policy.

The Obama administration’s new guidelines discouraging federal prosecution of marijuana in states where it is medically legal was widely reported this week by the major networks. This writer, while using the treadmill of course, was able to catch the NBC, CBS and ABC coverage between 5:30 and 6pm Monday evening.

The news of the new federal policy is one of the biggest events in the last several decades of drug policy reform and important actual news to tens of millions of Americans. But this switch in medical marijuana policy was not the first story at either network. CBS lead off its newscast with, again, coverage of the Balloon Boy hoax, which, by this time, was over 72 hours old.

The second CBS story finally got to the new policy sent by the Obama justice department to prosecutors across the country and to the head of the DEA, essentially telling them not to waste resources on prosecuting medical cannabis where it is state legal.

All three of the traditional networks played the story cautiously. Prohibitionists were interviewed for their reactions and allowed to recite their tired talking points. The LA City Attorney Cooley was given face time to call alarm about the high number of dispensaries in LA. He did not mention that the crime rate is down.

Surprisingly, by far the most intelligent reporting on cannabis issues is this week coming from Fox Business News. As flagged by Norml’s Radical Russ, the Fox stories have been matter-of-fact, adult and intelligent. Tuesday’s interview with Denver hedge fund manager and cannabis seed developer Ben Holmes was as positive and intelligent as the Colorado cannabis entrepreneur himself. It was followed Wednesday with a prohibitionist LA official.

The next day, ONDCP Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske showed himself to be a dullard. The Fox Business news team seemed exasperated in trying to pull any intelligent responses to the changes underway on the ground in California and other states with medical exemptions. On hearing the L word, legalization, the drug czar lapsed into his lame, “legalization is not in our vocabulary” rant.

A surprising discussion was found, oddly, on the CNN show of drug war reactionary, Lou Dobbs.  His panel addressing the new medical marijuana guidelines included Clinton Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, Cato Institute scholar Tim Lynch and from LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, ex-cop and criminal justice professor Peter Moskos. Moskos did an excellent job explaining the LEAP position.

McCaffrey fumed, then blatantly lied when he said providers and consumers of medical cannabis had never been targeted by the Feds. Over a decade ago, McCaffrey himself (along with, regrettably, Rahm Emanuel) threated physicians in California with even mentioning medical uses of cannabis to patients, after California voters demanded change in 1996’s Proposition 215. This was too much for Cato Institute scholar Tim Lynch who pointed out that McCaffrey’s anti free speech actions had ended in a circuit court ruling against him. It was good to see such assertive and competent anti-prohibitionists pitted against the sputtering drug war lies of years gone by.

Obama pioneers new medical marijuana policy!

Barack Obama in WashingtonAn Associated Press writer is publishing that a new federal policy on medical marijuana is being distributed Monday to federal prosecutors around the country. AP Newsbreak: New Medical Marijuana Policy Issued.

The policy change is apparently in line with statements made by the president as he ran for office and first outlined by Attorney General Eric Holder last February. In a reversal of the policies of all presidents to come before him, no  those needing and producing cannabis for medical need will need not fear federal prosecution. Incredibly, in the recent past, Americans whose only “crime” was growing plants suffered severe federal prosecution and lost decades of their lives to overcrowded prisons and forfeited their property to the government. Hopefully, this modern Inquisition is over.

Now it is time to remove cannabis from the false Schedule I classification that erroneously clings to the no-brainer notion that cannabis lacks medical value. Let science into this decision, not just DEA dogma.

Perhaps President Obama deserves the Nobel Peace Prize after all. Millions of Americans in medical need of cannabis will certainly feel new peace in their lives from this long-overdue humanitarian policy.

Nobel Peace Prize winner still presides over war on his own citizens.

Barack Obama Free On the same day President Barack Obama received word of his Nobel Peace Prize, over 2,000 Americans were arrested for the “crime” of possessing plant residue. Obama reports he was humbled by word of the prize. The operative emotion for those arrested for cannabis “crimes” was closer to humiliation, with degradation, fury, fear and disgust thrown in.

The disgust was for their American government, supposedly dedicated to freedom and personal liberty, but instead warped by a malignant war on drugs. The drug war became a war by tax-payer funded interests against the personal liberty and freedom of American citizens who broke those arbitrary laws, especially those free thinkers who willfully ignored ignorant and draconian penalties against the medical plant, cannabis.

The fear was in being torn from family life and thrown into a cage with miscreants, knowing that they face absurdly harsh laws against cannabis. Depending on the whim of prosecutors eager to build reputations, prosecutions and incarcerations, they might be facing the possibility of years of your life ripped away, their families hammered by severe, even mandatory, sentencing.

In the 10 months of the Obama presidency, well over half a million Americans have had their lives and families needlessly devastated by cruel enforcement of these ignorant and misguided laws and penalties. The war on drugs has transformed the American prison system into a gargantuan gulag, incarcerating well over 2 million Americans, jailing far more of its people than any other nation on earth, including China with five times the population. As Senator Jim Webb, who probably should have received the prize instead, points out,

  • “With so many of our citizens in prison compared with the rest of the world, there are only two possibilities: Either we are home to the most evil people on earth or we are doing something different–and vastly counterproductive. Obviously, the answer is the latter.”

Each of these imprisoned American citizens is every day getting worse in every way. Most will eventually be released back into society. The current system is harm-enhancement at its worst and endangers every American.

President Obama, you could easily have been one of those casualties, as you too broke the law with cannabis, but you escaped the hell that befalls two thousand of your fellow Americans each day. The absent damage from the arrest that you avoided allowed the USA to gain a remarkable man as our president. And even to win a Nobel Peace Prize! You now have the power and obligation to spare these daily 2,000 good Americans violating bad laws from life-damaging and family-wounding government persecution. You avoided the harm a marijuana arrest would have inflicted upon you. Act to prevent this needless, arbitrary arrest horror from closing the presidential or Nobel aspirations of thousand of (mostly) young Americans each day.

Yes, President Obama, let the Nobel Peace Prize inspire you to actually deserve it. Well, end the government’s war upon its own citizens. You could start very easily by directing the rescheduling of cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule V. Perhaps next year you might win the Nobel Prize for Medicine by helping free this remarkably medically useful plant medication from Schedule I persecution.

The czar these right wingers should be worried about is the drug czar.

Apparently a few well placed words from Karl Rove has provoked right wingers into new tactic for those attacking the White House and its non-white occupant. As Jason Linkins reports in Anti-Czar Bill Gets 100 Cosponsors In House, the House of Representatives, apparently spurred by George W. Bush’s chief adviser hinting darkly that the numerous czars, appointed by Barack Obama, represent “a giant expansion of presidential power.” Although this group was not troubled by Bush and Cheney’s power grabs, they seek to investigate the czar’s influence and power. Linkins points out that Rove himself was domestic policy czar after 2004, and that some of these current czars were Bush appointees.

There is one czar, however, whom all freedom-loving Americans should fear and despise in part because he is required to lie to us. The job description of the drug czar mandates that he or she deceive the American public, and lie most specifically on the subject of medical cannabis. The demand for dishonesty comes from the very legislation creating that office in 1988, tragically, much of it written by vice-president Joe Biden. The mandatory deception is well documented at Pete Guither’s Drug WarRant. Americans paying the salary of the drug czar should rightly and righteously expect he be fired from his propaganda job and that the ONDPC office should be closed in disgrace.

Few Americans realize the true c of the drug czar office. How many people realize, for example, that in the 1990s the ONDCP made direct payments to television production studios for including drug war propaganda into the programming? After airing, programs such as 90210 and many others were graded for adherence to drug czar-approved content in programs. Taxpayer funds were paid out to Hollywood studios depending upon content adherence to the ONDCP party line. No other government media program has intruded so insidiously into the psyche of the American people.

The drug czar TV programming served to quash interest in marijuana by those with medical needs that might be helped by medical cannabis. It also helped provide cover for the greatest incarceration binge in American history (world history) and allowed for the passage of ever more draconian drug war legislation.

Unfortunately, Barack Obama’s drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, seems to be following his written instructions,  and lying to us about medical cannabis. So, right wingers, here you actually have an issue of freedom and honesty in government.  Help end the lying reign of the drug czar.

The drug war policy Barack Obama should have urged on the NAACP

President Obama spoke to the NAACP’s 100th convention, the first time the group has had a black president as speaker. The president’s speech was at times inspirational, but his talk ignored the elephant in the room at the NAACP, the drug war that has so devastated the black community. In fact, the president’s presence at the convention was due only to the fact that he himself, as a self confessed teenage cannabis user, was not ensnared by the same cruel laws and racially corrosive justice system that he now leaves unchallenged.

The NAACP did have debate on legalizing cannabis, as reported by Radical Russ Belville in Norml’s Daily Audio Stash. This debate, however, did not seem to recognize the drug war policies so devastating to the black community over the last 40 years. Ethan Nadelmann pointed out that of the yearly 800,000+ cannabis arrests in the USA, nearly 40% ensnare black and brown Americans. Often their first arrest, says Nadelmann, often for one joint. They are damaged not by the use of a mild drug, but damaged they are by arrest and prosecution.

Radical Russ summed up the issue:

A 2008 New York Times article, On Arrests, Demographics, and Marijuana, showed that in New York City arrested nearly 400,000 people for pot possession in the years 1998-2007. This is nearly 100 young lives daily scarred and compromised by a needless arrest. Citing the study, the NYT article pointed out:

The NAACP should be out on the streets in force, tearing down the un-American drug war. Current drug war policies and laws, along with their enforcement, are like an enormous, bloated tick, feeding upon the lives of American citizens, most of them brown and black. Shame on NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, normally a sensible man, for supporting such injustice.

The drug war policy Barack Obama should have urged on the NAACP was delivered by Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance.

Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske: “We’re not at war with people in this country.”

Barack Obama’s new Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske just spoke in a way never heard in any of his zealous predecessors. In an interview, WSJ reporter Gary Field elicited some eye-popping comments from the new head of the White House Office of National Drug Control in his provocatively titled, White House Czar Calls for End to ‘War on Drugs’ . These include:

  • “Regardless of how you try to explain to people it’s a ‘war on drugs’ or a ‘war on a product,’ people see a war as a war on them.
  • We’re not at war with people in this country.

These are the sweetest, most sensible words issuing from American anti-drug apparatus in decades! What a great patriotic sentiment, recognizing that hard line drug enforcement is war against our own people.

Sadly they are among the few sensible statements ever issued from the Office of National Drug Policy Control, ONDCP, and its head, the drug czar.

Such sensible, harm-reduction oriented comments are hugely welcome after the last 8 years of scorched earth drug war zealotry of John Walters. In fact, every drug czar had clung to, even relished, the hard line drug war metaphor.

But actually, Gil, you saying we are not at war with people in the country does not make it so.

  • Simply flip your TV remote and find a broadcasta of “COPS” running. Quickly you will find a drug war on the people in this country. Highly trained cops routinely search cars and find marijuana, each new arrest adding to over 800,00 each year for cannabis alone. I bet these 800,000 people feel a war is being made upon them by their country.
  • Better yet, turn on SPIKE TV.  There you will quickly find the DEA making war on the people of this country, in the gize of ridding “bad guys.” Squads of 4 or 5 vehicles, including a loaded van disgorge over 20 screaming, cursing thugs shod in 40 jack boots. They descend on a couple of guys with a little cannabis. Great job team! Oh, of course air cover is being provided by $1,000/hr. helicopter. What a pathetic waste of money and lives!

Gil Kerlikowske, you could take 2 actions to jump start your new way of business:

  1. Help get in a great DEA head. Norm Stamper would be the best.
  2. Make all effort to reschedule cannabis from draconian Schedule I to more reasonable Schedule V. Much of the mandatory evil associated with cannabis prosecution would quickly cease.

Barack Obama’s 1st 100 Days: Drug Policy grade = D

As Barack Obama’s 1st 100 Days in office looms, many are assigning grades. In several aspects of his presidency he get high grades. But this blog is about drug policy. Obama’s drug policy grade = D. Not exactly the change we had hoped for.

Just a couple of bright spots elevate Obama’s grade:

  • The other main hopeful sign is the appointment of a drug czar with a very different and refreshing mindset from any we have had before. Of course, that is a pretty low bar. Gil Kerlikowske, expected to be confirmed as drug czar next month is more friendly to some harm reduction approaches to drug use.

Despite great hope, many of Obama’s appointments and policies are big drug policy reform disappointments. Hope for change dimmed with each of these appointments:

  1. Joe Biden. The vice president is one of the very worst drug war mongers in congress, with a history of supporting authoritarian drug war policies since the Reagan administration. Biden virtually invented the Drug Czar office. He has enthusiastically supported the bare-knuckle enforcement of draconian laws that has done much to quintuple the American prison population into the largest gulag on the planet. See No, Joe Biden, we don’t “know we needed tough laws.”
  2. Rahm Emanuel. Chief of Staff. Pugnacious anti-cannabis zealot. Helped engineer the short-lived policy in the Clinton administration to penalize California doctors who recommended cannabis after Prop 215 legalized its medical use in California in 1996. Luckily the courts would have none of the federal censoring of free speech of physicians. See Rahm Emanuel: Free Speech Hall of Shame.
  3. Eric Holder. A prosecutor with an icy heart, he encouraged the mandatory imprisonment of black youths for minor drug crimes when he served in Washington DC as US Attorney for Bill Clinton. Some of his comments about not persecuting medical cannabis dispensaries in California were encouraging. Other actions, though, show a darkly authoritarian streak.
  4. A telling non-appointment, DEA head. 100 days in office and no new DEA director. 100 days into his presidency, Barack Obama has left control and direction of the DEA in the hands of the lying Bush apparatchiks. They should have been frog-marched from the building by US marshals in the first hours of the new administration. The White House dog is firmly in place for weeks now, but these same thugs are still paid to commit drug war on their fellow Americans.

In addition to these appointments, other actions bring down Obama’s drug policy score:

  • In response to solicited ideas from citizens on how to improve government and the country, Barack Obama twice downplayed the obvious public support for changing marijuana laws. Looking for economic ideas, he dissed the popularity of the questions and said their is no place for cannabis reform in his economy. In reality, cannabis and drug policy could save the American economy tens of billions of dollars a year and provide for whole new areas of innovation that would grow the economy, such as basic materials, food, fuel and medications from hemp.
  • Although Obama promised during the campaign that federal laws would not be enforced against state legal medical marijuana operations, he has equivocated on the issue. The latest bad news was the apparent direction given to federal prosecutors in the case of Charles C. Lynch, the California medical dispensary operator who will be sentenced June 11. The trial judge had asked the justice department for direction in sentencing; by the demeanor of federal prosecutors in court last week a hard-line approach is apparently being taken by the attorney general.
  • Inclusion of the Byrne grants into the stimulus package. These so-called Justice Assistance Grants ramrod through more of the same get-tough drug war policies that have created our prison gulag. Instead of creating positive social capital, as in education or health, they create negative social capital, more Americans behind bars, more felons and ex-felons, more SWAT teams eager to war on their communities. One of George W. Bush’s best policies was to discourage this wasteful spending.
  • Michigan v. Jackson. Just last week, the Obama Solicitor General urged the supreme court to decide in a way that the AP report on the move describes it as “another stark example of the White House seeking to limit rather than expand rights.” The Obama administration policy on this case is nearly exactly what could have been expected from his predecessor Bush administration and attorney general Alberto Gonzales. As it turns out, the behest for initiating the Obama directive came from Bush-appointee neocon supreme court justice Sam Alito. Nauseating!

Although Barack Obama gets only a D grade in drug policy reform, most former drug war presidents fare worse.

  • George W. Bush also gets a D in drug policy. He did hideous things, like appoint mad-dog John Walters as head of the NODCP, the Drug Czar, given free reign and hundred of millions of taxpayer dollars to wage his personal war on cannabis. All to very little effect, thankfully. But George W. Bush pretty much ignored the drug issue. He had other wars to fight. In one of his few acts of controlling wasteful spending, he discouraged the Byrne grants which Obama has embraced.
  • The Bill Clinton administration also get a D, a D – actually, as the growth of the Justice Department, drug war arrests,  prosecutions and incarcerations rose at their highest rate.
  • The George W. H. Bush administration also gets a D-, probably should be an F. Focused on the war on drugs with specials from the White House where he fondled a bag of crack cocaine supposedly purchased near his residence. Expanded drug war by Invading Panama and arresting its leader.
  • Ronald Reagan gets an F. After espousing that big government is part of the problem with America, Reagan pushed through authoritarian, intrusive drug war policies that still have supposedly “freedom loving” Americans lining up to urinate into bottles, just to get or keep a job.

Barack Obama, raise 1st 100 days drug policy grade! Appoint a new DEA director now. Let his name be Norm Stamper.

Yet another black male falls to cannabis laws, this one’s name is Obama.

Like the millions of American black males whose lives have been devastated by anti-cannabis laws in the USA, another victim fell yesterday, this time in Africa. His name is Obama, George Obama, half-brother to American president Barack Obama. Allegedly, he was found in possession of a small amount of cannabis, known in Kenya as bhang.

Will Obama’s brother George be helped by his cannabis arrest?  If imprisoned in Kenya’s horrifying lockups, doubtless he will be tortured. Torture is common in Kenyan prisons. Indeed, several hundred prisoners die each year, many under torture. Does Africa benefit from Obama’s arrest, and possible imprisonment and torture?

In the USA, an American, often a young black male, is arrested for cannabis possession roughly every 38 seconds. Each arrest tears at that person’s life, family and community. The DEA stubbornly maintains a ludicrously harsh Schedule I classification for cannabis. Because of this draconian classification, severe punishments are inflicted by the state upon the American citizen so charged with possession of this age-old plant. Such arrests are at an all-time high. Does America benefit from these arrests?

True, Schedule I status for cannabis helps fuel one of the USA’s fastest growing industries, imprisonment. Prison guards and their bloated unions benefits, enough to finance campaigns against drug law reform. But just as the young American and their families are injured by overly harsh laws and overly zealous enforcement, so America too is wounded. The total number of Kenyans in prison is small. By contrast, the USA is the planet’s major jailer, with over 2 million prisoners.

Hopefully, George Obama’s last name will keep him from joining fellow Kenyans in the torture cells of Nairobi prisons.

Now if only his half-brother would strike cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule V classification over at the DEA. By doing so, he could save millions more Americans, black, brown and of all colors, from the worst of the soul-searing, family-killing  consequences of arrest. He could slow the rapid and shameful rise of the American prison population. Somehow, such a rational step now seems unlikely from Barack Obama, considering the pro-drug war mongers with whom he has surrounded himself at Vice-President, Attorney General, Chief-of-Staff and now Drug Czar.

Barack Obama, give us some change we can believe in! Reschedule Cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule V.

Obama, Cigarettes and Cannabis

President-Elect Barack Obama has promised not to smoke cigarettes in the White House. Does not smoking in the house mean smoking in the entryways of the White House? Out in the Rose Garden?

Cigarettes are not just the most lethal drug confronting America, they are also the most addictive. The power of cigarette’s grip on human behavior its remarkably demonstrated by our next president. Barack Obama is literally the alpha male of human competence and self control. Master campaigner, victorious debater, now triumphantly poised to assume the most important job on the planet!

Yet still, of all people, the President-elect is not able to summon the will to not smoke tobacco cigarettes. As much as he would like to quit, as much as Michelle and the girls want him to quit, he will presumably duck out of the White House, furtively avoiding his family and to the chagrin of his Secret Service detail, light up a cigarette. Statistically, the smoke will cost him 11 1/2 minutes of his life, and each pack of 20 cigarettes will cost him 3 1/2 hours from his life.

Like most people who become addicted to cigarettes, Obama began as a teenager. Recent evidence shows that just a few cigarettes smoked by an adolescent can set up a lifelong addiction. Tobacco cigarettes were not the only drug smoked (and inhaled), “That was the point” by young Barack Obama:

  • One drug, cannabis with cannabinoids, he used and inhaled. Later, Obama stopped using cannabis when he chose to do so.
  • The other drug, tobacco cigarettes with nicotine, he also used and inhaled. Later, Obama could not totally stop using when he chose to do so.

Receptor discrimination?

When the young Obama smoked a tobacco cigarette, the main drug he inhaled was nicotine. Nicotine activates trans membrane receptors in cells, specifically the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR ). In less 10 seconds after taking a puff of tobacco smoke, nicotine molecules crossed his blood-brain barrier and fit like tiny keys into a locks normally activated by the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Nictoine causes the receptors to activate, change shape and initiate a chemical cascade. Young Barack would have felt modest elevation of energy and mood from AChR receptor activation.

When the young Obama smoked a cannabis “joint,” the main drug he inhaled was THC, short for Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol. THC activates trans membrane receptors in cells, specifically the cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. In less than 10 seconds after taking a puff of cannabis smoke, THC molecules crossed his blood-brain barrier and fit like tiny keys into a locks normally activated by the neurotransmitter, anandamide. THC causes the CB1 (and CB2) receptors to activate, change shape and initiate a chemical cascade. Young Barack would have felt mild euphoria from CB1 receptor activation.

Nicotine is a powerful insecticide. THC is a powerful neuroprotective antioxidant, anti inflammatory and analgesic. Tobacco smoking is highly carcinogenic. No smoke inhalation is a good thing (nor is it necessary with the advent of vaporizers, but cannabis smoking is apparently not carcinogenic. Indeed, THC exhibits several capabilities for preventing, even shrinking tumors.

Tobacco use kills over 1,200 Americans each day. Cannabis use kills 0 Americans each day.

Legal Sanctions

The contrast in legal sanctions for young Barack’s smoking activities are the most startling. If Barack had been caught underage with cigarettes, the punishment, if any, would have been minor. Certainly nothing that would jeopardize his career and future presidential run.

Had Barack been caught and arrested for possesstion of cannabis, though, his future would have immediately dimmed. If given a felony conviction and jailed, as would be possible because of cannabis’  misguided, draconian Schedule 1 listing, Barack would likely now be unemployed. Luckily, because Barack avoided arrest, the “justice” system missed its opportunity to crush the life and career of our next president.

Tragically, Obama’s choice for Attorney General, Eric Holder, holds neocon, authoritarian views on exactly this issue. When part of the Clinton Administration, serving as US Attorney for Washington D.C., he pushed for mandatory jail time for young people caught with cannabis in that city.

Hopefully, as Barack Obama puffs on his occasional cigarette outside the White House, he will think of the vast 2,000,000+ prisoner gulag stretched out across America before him. Far too many of these prisoners languish in jail because they were snared by the dishonest, cruel and self-serving laws against a plant. More Americans are arrested for cannabis possession than all violent crimes combined.

As you take your smoke, please think, Mr. President, of all these American lives being crushed and crippled by such torments as mandatory minimums.  Eric Holder gleefully fed young cannabis prisoners to this incarceration industry and as AG may force many more American lives and families down into the grinder.  All for contact with a substance with true medical value, as opposed to the tobacco cigarettes from which Mr. President, huddled outside the White House, draws another nicotine puff.