Posted on August 22, 2013 by News AdminDon't expect any major changes in marijuana policy from the White House any time soon (okay, if you were expecting major changes in the first place you were in for a disappointment).
At a press briefing yesterday, CNN's Jessica Yellin asked White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest if marijuana rescheduling was on the president's radar these days after what seems to be a rapid public opinion shift on all things marijuana over the last few years. The answer? Our president isn't even considering it -- at least, not now.
"The administration's position on this has been clear and consistent for some time now that while the prosecution of drug traffickers remains an important priority, the president and the administration believe that targeting individual marijuana users, especially those with serious illnesses and their caregivers, is not the best allocation for federal law enforcement resources," Earnest said.
Yellin points out that marijuana is currently scheduled by the feds along with heroin and meth as having no medical use whatsoever, even though it clearly does have some very clear medical uses. Even Yellin's colleague Sanjay Gupta at CNN has reversed his position on the plant, she points out.
On the (somewhat) positive side, Earnest did say that the prosecution of drug traffickers remains the main priority of the Justice Department and that targeting individual marijuana users and medical marijuana users is "not the best allocation of resources". It's the same spiel Obama gave Barbara Walters back in January.
In fact, they've been saying that for years now and we've still got patients, caregivers and small-time growers not connected to organized crime going to jail for years over this plant. As Tom Angell, spokesman for the group Marijuana Majority put it in a prepared statement after the White House press briefing:
"The White House's statement that the president doesn't think it's a good use of resources to go after individual marijuana users is virtually meaningless. It has never been a federal priority to go after users. The real question is if the president wants to allow the voter-approved systems for regulated marijuana sales to be implemented or if he wants to intervene and force those users to keep buying marijuana on the black market from violent drug cartels and gangs. Pew, Gallup and other polls show that a super-majority of voters wants the president to follow through on his 2008 pledge to respect state marijuana laws, and that's exactly what he should do."
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