Free Markets, Free People

Medical Marijuana Policy Kudos

As one of our commenters likes to remind another, “small steps”:

The Obama administration will not seek to arrest medical marijuana users and suppliers as long as they conform to state laws, under new policy guidelines to be sent to federal prosecutors Monday.

Two Justice Department officials described the new policy to The Associated Press, saying prosecutors will be told it is not a good use of their time to arrest people who use or provide medical marijuana in strict compliance with state laws.

The new policy is a significant departure from the Bush administration, which insisted it would continue to enforce federal anti-pot laws regardless of state codes.

This is good news and – although the fed seems to reserve the right to change its mind – a return to a modicum of federalism. Kudos where and where they’re due.  And another step toward the decriminalization of pot.



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28 Responses to Medical Marijuana Policy Kudos

  • While I agree it is a good step, I can’t shake the thought that this is a smoke screen for something far worse.

    Hopefully I’m just excessively cynical.

  • Afghanistan policy: Nope
    Weed policy: Yep

    Ah, priorities

  • I’ve certainly not been shy of pointing out that Obama has mostly been “all show, no go”. However, this is indeed a good step, and I’m pleased to see it.

    Now we will find if this kind of policy is as unpopular as various Republican drones believe and the Clinton administration believed. I do not think it will be unpopular, and I think Republicans could have long ago demonstrated their commitment to freedom-oriented thinking by backing something like this. But since establishment Republicans don’t really *have* any affinity for freedom-oriented thinking…

  • This is a Scooby Snack.

    Remember when Wilma, Fred, or Daphne wanted Shaggy and Scooby to do something they didn’t want to do because they were frightened, they would throw them a Scooby Snack???

    This is what that is.
    Obama has a box of Scooby Snacks at his ready to throw to his supporters whenever he is about to do something they do not want.
    There will be news forthcoming about troop increases overseas or the dropping of the public option.

    Kudos where kudos are due. Absolutely.

    Scooby Snacks.

    Mark it.

    …and I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you meddling kids…


  • yes pretty much, got to give them their propers, It is a step in the right direction, The abysmal policy of the Bush administration was one of the things that turned me against him.

    But it is not much, and I doubt that he will go any farther.

  • “a return to a modicum of federalism”

    I assure you that aspect of this is purely a coincidence.

  • I wholly disagree. The legalization of drugs may look nice on paper, but it is an unmitigated disaster when it comes to families battling the usage of drugs right in front of them, as they watch a loved one disintegrate because of this poison. I should know – I watched my brother become a full-blown junkie, and he started on pot. Now he is just a loser who can’t find work, who has no direction in life, and is aimless and shiftless and is an ignoramus. Oh, and, by the way, he supports Obama. Need I say more?

    I know, Bruce, that you are a Libertarian. I am not – I am just an unabashed conservative who knows wrong when he sees it. And allowing people to use drugs, and while the government stands by, is a horror show in the making. If you don’t agree, sue me.

    In the meantime, getting back to the one issue that seems to unite us on here (except for the mentally disturbed Mr. Erb), the Senate Finance Committee released their crappola of a bill today…and here is the link for all of you daring enough to try to wade through it:

    Happy reading (and happy barfing)!

    • You may be a smart guy, but you are hopelessly stupid and wrong on this, there is a huge body of good research disproving all the claims of the prohibitionists. I will not even try to spare3 your feelings on this. there is no excuse in this day and age for having such idiotic backward views.

      Since we have had this backward ass prohibition policy for eighty years and it has been a contemptible and unmitigated disaster then the onus is upon people like you to explain why we should stick with a failed policy and not try something new.

      • I suspect that you are saying that there is evidence against the idea that marijuana is a “gateway drug.” There are studies that indicate that it is not, and there are studies that indicate that it is. At best, it can be said that the question is unsettled.

        More and more new research has concluded that marijuana is more physically harmful than cigarettes and leads to all sorts of psychological problems later in life. There is no doubt on this.

        We know that the use of so called “medical marijuana” is not needed as current drugs supply the relief that marijuana does. There is no doubt to this. None. This means that “medical marijuana” is simply an ill advised policy concealed in “compassion” but devoid of reality.

        Finally, what is missing from all the “yay! Obama is not going to prosecute these people!” is that fact that in effect, he is telling prosecutors to not enforce a law passed by Congress and signed into law. That doesn’t make my heart jump for joy at all. He has once again set his thoughts and beliefs about that of the law.

        That cannot ever be a good thing.

        Lastly, it is clear that you passion on being able to smoke and get high when you want has led you to believe that saying that someone is “hopelessly stupid” will win the debate and discussion for you.

        It won’t.

        It only makes you look childish.

        • No, your assumption that I use drugs makes you look childish (I don’t)as well as your totally ignoring my main point which is that your idiotic war on drugs is an unmitigated disaster which has produced zero of the results it was intended.

          And don’t believe for a second that you have any real insight into this if you have not even looked at the successful drug treatment programs in other nations or the huge body of evidence compiled over the years about the ineffectiveness of prohibition.

          I have every reason and right to be angry when people continue to advocate for a many decades long failed policy that has caused so much human misery. Maybe you ought to think twice about the misery you have helped to perpetuate.

          If you need more education on the subject here is a few books:

          Smoke and Mirrors: The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure by Dan Baum

          Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed: A Judicial Indictment Of War On Drugs by James Gray

          Drug War Crimes: The Consequences of Prohibition by Jeffrey A. Miron

          Drug War Heresies: Learning from Other Vices, Times, and Places by Robert J. MacCoun and Peter Reuter

          Ain’t Nobody’s Business if You Do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in a Free Society by Peter McWilliams

          Undoing Drugs: Beyond Legalization by Daniel K. Benjamin, Roger LeRoy Miller

          Drugs in America: The Case for Victory : A Citizen’s Call to Action by Vincent Bugliosi

          Waiting to Inhale: The Politics of Medical Marijuana”, by Alan W. Bock

    • Regretably there are folks who fall to the lure of the drugs.

      I have a son, arrested for posession, with a problem, that we’re fighting. But I still am for legalization. His ‘crime’ won’t go away as a result. I understand the addiction issue, and even the gateway drug issue, first hand.

      Point here is, for the better part of 150 or so years as a country, we didn’t HAVE a policy that made this stuff illegal. Coca-Cola contained cocaine, you could get opiates at your pharmacy. NOT EVERYONE WAS A DRUGGIE.
      The fear that half the country is going to go over to laying around in the gutter or lurking in opium dens is, to put it mildly, over exaggeration.

      On the flip side, we’re down to the point now where you can’t buy cold
      medicine in certain quantities.
      We AIN’T winning this war.

      Nuff said, we built an entire country, coast to coast and there was nothing illegal about many of the drugs you’ll get arrested for today, there were readily available to anyone who wanted them.

      • People weren’t plugged into the federal coffers if their lives fell apart though.

        If marijuana is harmful or is a gateway drug, then it isn’t just your problem. The Feds make it my problem too.

        I’m for people gaining legal access to drugs if they sign away any and all ‘entitlements’ from foodstamps to medical care with the exception to catestrophic medical care that is not a result of their drug use.

        When I’ve put it that way in discussions, I get a few irate responses. Its telling how those that want to use medical marijuana have every intention of using my pocketbook as a safety net agaisnt the consequences of their lifestyle choice. Seperates out the fairweather libertarians.

        • The flaw in your logic is that the cost of our drug enforcement mechanisms and putting people in prison far exceed the modest costs of the extra welfare and handing out free drugs.

          It is a nose spite your face argument.

  • will be told it is not a good use of their time to arrest people who use or provide medical marijuana in strict compliance with state laws.

    Read more carefully and your knee won’t jerk so hard.

  • I think this is good news, now they can concentrate on major drug problems.

  • While the Libertarians will cheer this policy change, this is more than obvious pander to the ‘libertines’ rampant in this here Obama nation.

    And, obviously, ‘federalism’ was the last impetus for the Obama administration.


  • I think that concern about the effects of marijuana kind of misses the point. I personally favor the legalization of marijuana. In addition to reducing the illegal activity surrounding the cultivation and distribution of marijuana, our prison population will be reduced.

    That being said, I beleive it is a reasonable position to oppose the legalization of any drug. Drugs do harm. Growing up, a couple of my closests friends started smoking pot on a daily basis and there is no doubt that it changed them and their personalities significantly. The desire to mood alter is part of the human condition and everyone does it in one way or another (eating, enjoying a glass of wine, running, smoking pot, binge drinking, prescription drug abuse, etc.). Prohibition will never stop that desire and making drugs and alcohol illegal has never stopped people from using them.

    Therre may be a certain percentage of the population who doesn’t use marijuana primarily because it is illegal and, if legalized, they will begin to use. However, my experience is that the people who want to do drugs or smoke pot do and the ones who don’t, don’t. I don’t think there will be any significat change in the use of marijuana were it to be legalized. Here in California, the only people I know who have medical meijuana prescriptions are people who already smoked it illegally.

    • {“There may be a certain percentage of the population who doesn’t use marijuana primarily because it is illegal and, if legalized, they will begin to use. However, my experience is that the people who want to do drugs or smoke pot do and the ones who don’t, don’t.”}

      It may have a benign effect. How many people who desire a mood altering drug might, if legalized, choose Pot over booze. Considering how harmful booze is, and the ancillary effects of drunken belligerence, it might be a net positive.

  • okay, though Shark would probably fall out of his tree house, I don’t smoke marijuana, in fact i have to think every time how it’s spelled. Quite frankly if it were legalized I might smoke it again, as I did in college and for a couple of years after, though very sparingly.

    You know it is a huge waste of money to try and get rid of it, and will never be successful. All the billions and probably now in the trillion dollars spent to eliminate it over the past 40 years have now made it the largest cash crop in agriculture. And even the most clever efforts such as “Only dopes use dope” and “This is your brain on drugs” didn’t work.

    Besides if it’s good enough for Libertarians it’s good enough for me.