Obama Has the Chance To Be Another FDR -- He Can End the Era of Marijuana Prohibition
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President Ronald Reagan renewed the War on Drugs and declared his "Zero Tolerance" policy, despite his daughter Patti Davis' claim that the Gipper smoked weed with a major donor. Following Reagan, President George Herbert Walker Bush recorded a low of 260,390 marijuana-possession arrests, but the numbers climbed again under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both of whom are reported to have smoked it themselves (though Clinton claims not to have inhaled).
On a percentage basis, at least as many American high school students smoke pot than students in Holland, where it is legal. In the midst of the drug war, U.S. students report virtually unlimited access to a wide range of allegedly controlled substances, including pot. Because so many Americans use it, and it is so readily available, the war on marijuana can only be seen as a virtually universal assault on the basic liberties of our citizenry.
In a 2005 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services survey, more than 97 million Americans admitted to having tried marijuana at least once. President-elect Obama makes it clear in his book Dreams From My Father that he has smoked -- and inhaled -- marijuana (he is apparently addicted to a far more dangerous drug, tobacco). His administration should tax marijuana rather than trying to repress it. Like alcohol and tobacco, a minimum age for legal access should be set at 21.
As a whole, the violent, repressive War on Drugs has been 40 years of legal, cultural and economic catastrophe. Like FDR, Obama must end our modern-day Prohibition, and with it the health-killing crusade against this ancient, powerful medicinal herb.