Obama Owns Up to War on Weed
Despite claims of "softening" drug policy, the President admits responsibility for the MMJ crackdown to Rolling Stone.
So much for Obama's drug policy softening. Just a week after the White House said their drug policy will eschew punishment for addicts in favor of treatment and prevention, the President has admitted to Rolling Stone that he was responsible for the federal Justice Department's crackdown on California's state-legal medical marijuana industry. His rationale is that he never made a promise to ignore federal law, and even if he did, he can't, because Congress—not the White House—makes the laws. "I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana—and the reason is, because it's against federal law," says Obama. "The only tension that's come up and this gets hyped up a lot is a murky area where you have large-scale, commercial operations that may supply medical marijuana users, but in some cases may also be supplying recreational users."
However, while Obama says that there haven't been prosecutions for medicinal marijuana use, this seems to be contradicted by the case of Scott Feil, a former MMJ dispensary operator who is currently incarcerated in a privately run federal prison in Taft. Several marijuana advocacy groups have also criticized the President's explanation for not being elaborate enough. "President Obama failed to come clean on reasons for the breadth and intensity of the attacks, which significantly escalated since he took office," write Kris Hermes, a spokesman for Americans For Safe Access. "US Attorneys have made little reference to targeting medical marijuana businesses because they're allegedly selling to non-patients. The prevailing excuse has been simply that dispensaries are federally illegal or that they are too close to schools and other so-called "sensitive uses" (according to federal standards, not to local or state standards)."