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article imageOp-Ed: Federal actions against marijuana show Obama's lack of leadership

By Ben Morris     May 24, 2014 in Politics
When Colorado and Washington State legalized recreational marijuana, Barack Obama claimed his administration would allow them to govern their own marijuana laws. Yet the Obama administration has sent mixed signals on whether marijuana laws will change.
In a decision that will affect the production and cultivation of legal recreational and medical marijuana, the U.S Bureau of Reclamation has banned legal marijuana producers from using water from federally owned land. While Colorado only allows for indoor cultivation, Washington will be hard hit by the ban, as the federal agency owns two thirds of the water used for irrigation in Washington. The ruling has attacked legitimate businesses that provide a service for individuals who are supposed to have liberty to recreationally consume a plant, or use it for medicinal needs.
Such a decision is not surprising considering the man who oversees federal agencies is too cowardly to actually take a stand on marijuana.
Back in January, legalization activists cheered on the streets, while the progressive media put another crown on the head of their king when President Obama declared in a New Yorker interview, “I don’t think (marijuana) is more dangerous than alcohol." Of course what he said was true. No one has ever died from direct usage of marijuana, while alcohol kills thousands of people per year. Instead of taking his stances on the safety of marijuana compared to alcohol, into congress to push for a change in laws, Obama did not push for new marijuana laws, simply suggesting legalization was up to congress, and when it was suggested he could reschedule marijuana, Obama lied about his ability to change the scheduling of cannabis to allow for more medical research.
The U.S Controlled Substance Act clearly states, "The Attorney General shall, before initiating proceedings under subsection (a) of this section to control a drug or other substance or to remove a drug or other substance entirely from the schedules, and after gathering the necessary data, request from the Secretary a scientific and medical evaluation, and his recommendations, as to whether such drug or other substance should be so controlled or removed as a controlled substance." Obama can tell Holder to reschedule marijuana, but refuses to instruct Holder to do so.
In 2011, it was announced the Department of Justice would not defend the Defense of Marriage Act, claiming the law was unconstitutional. The decision to not take cases that defend DOMA was the right choice, but when it comes to medical marijuana prosecution, Obama claims unlike DOMA, he can not instruct his DOJ to avoid prosecuting federal marijuana laws that clash with state law.
By claiming he has the lack of power to instruct his DOJ to reschedule marijuana, or avoid prosecuting medical marijuana cases, Obama shows a complete lack of honesty and integrity when it comes to his power. He can do the very things that would take Washington on the right path towards a change in federal marijuana laws, but argues his hands are tied do to the law. However; Obama used presidential overreach to make changes to the Affordable Care Act, doing so without congressional approval.
Obama has no hesitation in using executive power when it comes to issues not tied to marijuana and the failed drug war. He feeds the legalization activist a bone by saying something progressive about the drugs and the laws that criminalize the usage of the plant, but he does not act. Obama has simply avoided changing anything regarding marijuana laws. He still prosecutes medical marijuana providers in states that allow it. He has done so at a rate higher than his predecessor. He has claimed the war on drugs has failed, yet he continues to run a war that has long been lost.
Barack Obama belonged in a group known as the Choom Gang as a youth. He smoked copious amounts of cannabis, and instead of showing strength, conviction, and honesty by eliminating the draconian drug laws, he has given his supporters nice quotes suggesting he has a different attitude towards marijuana, without walking the walk.
The decision by the Bureau of Reclamation to cut off the water supply to states that use the water to cultivate legal marijuana in the states, shows once again Barack Obama is an enemy to the pro pot activist who voted for a man they thought was on their side.
The Obama administration has been a failure on many levels, and the failure to actually lead a change in marijuana is a stain on his presidency that will not wash away. Instead of simply saying something to appease pot activists, Obama should back up his words, and take the steps he can take to change existing marijuana laws.
Obama should either take appropriate action, or shut his mouth. Sending mix signals is not doing anyone a favor.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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