Drugs

Obama Is Against Pot Raids, the Public Is Against Pot Raids, And Yet ... the Drug Cops' Raids Continue

What gives? Let's see Obama be the one who personally rains on the DEA's eight-year parade that has crushed the lives of thousands.

Okay, try and stay with me if you can.

While campaigning for the US presidency, Barack Obama pledged not to “use Justice Department resources to try and circumvent state (medical marijuana) laws.”

Nearly three-quarters of the American public agrees with this position. According to a new national poll of 1,053 likely voters by Zogby International and commissioned by the NORML Foundation, seventy-two percent of voters say that President Obama should “stop federal raids against medical marijuana providers in the 13 states where medical marijuana has become legal.”

But since President Obama took office two weeks ago, the US Drug Enforcement Administration has undertaken at least seven separate raids of state-authorized medical marijuana providers in California and Colorado. Most recently, on Wednesday DEA officials — acting without the cooperation of state or local law enforcement agencies — served federal search warrants on at least four Los Angeles based medical marijuana collectives. Agents seized medicine, cash, financial records, and computers, but did not make any arrests.

Still with me? Good, because things are about to get even more confusing.

Today, in a front page article in The Washington Times White House spokesperson Nick Shapirosaid, “The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws, and as he continues to appoint senior leadership to fill out the ranks of the federal government, he expects them to review their policies with that in mind.”

Huh?

Okay, maybe I missed something but last time I checked Barack Obama is, in fact, the 44th President of the United States — which means he has the authority to tell both the US Department of Justice and DEA Acting Administrator Michele Leonhart: “No more raids. Period!” (NORML podcaster Russ Belville has already drafted Obama the requisite memo here.)

Or, if Obama doesn’t want to be the one who personally rains on the DEA’s eight-year parade, then he can demand his newly sworn in U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to tell Ms. Leonhart and the DEA: “When President Obama says ‘no more raids,’ he means no more raids! Any more ’smash and grabs’ in California — or any other state that’s legalized the medical use of cannabis — and you’re all out of your jobs. Got it?”

Of course, given the likelihood that President Obama won’t be making such demands of his new Attorney General any time soon, why don’t you?

Clickhereand tell US Attorney General Eric Holder to uphold the will of the President and the public. It’s time for the DEA to stop circumventing state medical marijuana laws. It’s time for the raids to come to an end.

Paul Armentano is the senior policy analyst for the NORML Foundation in Washington, DC.
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