Why hasn’t Obama called off the federal war on marijuana?

One of the more mystifying aspects of Barack Obama’s presidency is the man’s resistance to changing public attitudes — and changes in state and local laws — regarding marijuana.

Polls show that most Americans favor legalization of pot, and studies show that such a step would save tens of billions of dollars annually expended to enforce laws against the stuff.

Then, too, there’s the matter of how such enforcement strains the criminal justice system, complicates efforts to curb the abuse of more dangerous drugs and creates significant hassles for people arrested on marijuana charges.

Simply stated, pot prohibition has been a colossal failure.

But the president remains OBSTINATE on the issue:

President Barack Obama has turned out to be a real buzzkill.

Back when he was running in 2008, Obama said he supported the “basic concept of using medical marijuana for the same purposes and with the same controls as other drugs” and that he was “not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws.” He didn’t go farther. But he also didn’t do anything to dissuade speculation among medical marijuana proponents who took this as a sign that the man headed to the Oval Office was on their side.

Four years later, the raids on drug dispensaries have kept up — despite a Justice Department memo formalizing low-enforcement priority instructions from Attorney General Erick Holder, who announced in a March 2009 press conference that the raids would stop on distributors who were in compliance with state and local law. Obama never said anything about supporting legalization or decriminalization, but his medical marijuana statements were enough to get him heralded by some in the larger pro-pot community as the best hope for chipping away at the decades-long drug war.

But the hopes that Obama would be a kinder, gentler, more tolerant drug warrior have gone up in smoke.


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