Pelosi Speaks Out Amid Pot Policy Chaos

By Tony O'Neill 05/04/12

The Obama administration's marijuana policy continues to confuse.

Pelosi was less cosy with Obama on MMJ
this week.
Photo via

Confusion reigns in the wild and wacky world of drug policy this week. With the Obama administration seemingly doing its best to alienate its base in the run-up to the November election, by busting down the doors of state-sanctioned marijuana growers, US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is finally speaking up. She released a statement on Wednesday criticizing the government's interference with medical marijuana laws in California and other states. Crucially, she pointed to the stark contrast between the administration's current actions and it’s previous written policy that “did not pursue individuals whose actions complied with state laws.”

This followed the spectacle of the Center for American Progress indulging in some jaw-dropping revisionism by giving Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske a virtual foot rub for his “transformative” approach to drug policy on Tuesday. The Drug Czar’s revolutionary “third way” seems to be more of the same, dressed up with some token nods toward progressives. As Mike Riggs succinctly puts it over at the Reason blog: "What’s the quickest way for the Obama administration to convince progressives that the war on drugs is over, even though it’s not? Step 1: Say that the drug war is over. Step 2: Convince the largest and most powerful progressive think tank in America to agree with you, invite you to their headquarters, praise you for having “transformed” drug policy in the United States, and pitch you softball questions. Step 3: Repeat step 1." The current confusion in the White House is enough to make you wonder exactly what's happening to all that confiscated Californian weed: a midnight hunt for Cheetos, anyone?

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Tony O'Neill, a regular contributor to The Fix, is the author of several novels, including Digging the VeinDown and Out on Murder Mile and Sick City. He also co-authored the New York Times bestseller Hero of the Underground (with Jason Peter) and the Los Angeles Times bestseller Neon Angel (with Cherie Currie). He lives in New York with his wife and daughter. You can follow Tony on Twitter.