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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Confirmed: Obama Is Done With Marijuana Reform

Posted By on Tue, Dec 30, 2014 at 1:16 PM

click image Gonna chill on it. - STOPMAKINGSENSE.ORG
  • Gonna chill on it.
It's not fair to say that President Barack Obama has been anti-marijuana. During his presidency, 11 more states legalized marijuana in some form. Though heavily populated states like Illinois, New York, and New Jersey still lack a legal cannabis industry, 23 states now have laws on the books allowing people with illnesses to get marijuana. This was done without too much interference from the White House.

It's also not fair to say that the president has been pro-pot.

For the past six years, the feds have continued to prosecute people following state law, and Obama didn't keep his campaign promises to leave users of the plant alone.

The best Obama has done for weed is nothing: He let Colorado and Washington do their thing, he let the Justice Department tell states to follow the rules and leave them alone. And, according to a White House aide, the president has planned to do nothing about weed for the next two years of his lame duck presidency  

Senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer reportedly stopped by Huffington Post's "Drinking and Talking" show, hosted by Anchor Steam-quaffing Sam Stein and Jen Bendery (Pfeiffer did not touch his beer throughout the segment).  At the end of the show, after they had discussed immigration, ISIL, Ebola, and Mitt Romney, the topic of marijuana came up.

"Do you think he's going to do anything on this?" Bendery asked Pfeiffer of the one-time Choom Gang member's plans.

Pfeiffer noted that the president was behind sentencing reform and was a fan of the hands-off policy on legalization in Colorado and Washington — but that was it.

"We don't have anything additional planned,"  he said.

This is hugely disappointing to cannabis advocates, who have been hoping that Obama could at least use his executive power to either reschedule marijuana from the Schedule I classification, or commute the sentences of some people serving major prison time for weed, like the lifetime term Missouri man Jeff Mizanskey is currently dealing with. 

When he's not out doing nothing about pot, Obama is talking. He has said things such as prosecuting weed isn't a priority for the Justice Department, and sick people should probably be allowed some weed if that's what they want. He's also acknowledged that the magic plant is "no more dangerous" than alcohol. 

But, as Marijuana Majority Tom Angell noted in his recap of the above on, this might not be the end. It's unlikely that any big plans would be revealed during a beery exchange with a couple journalists. Then again, based on the last few years, it's unlikely that anything else big is on its way.
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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.

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