Five Months After Legalization Vote, We Still Await a Decision From The Obama Administration

It has now been over 5 months since the historic election night that saw recreational marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado. In that time there has been very little in the way of a hint as to what the federal government is going to do about the votes in CO and WA, if anything. Beyond some vague attempts at reassurance from the president – we all know what those are worth – there has been relative silence from the White House.

For many, this is a good thing. A federal government that does nothing and says nothing is better than one that sends agents to kick in doors and confiscate plants. But many feel that an administration that can comment on dozens of other issues should announce what their policy is going to be on the issue of marijuana legalization, something that is clearly illegal under federal law.

Political writer Chris Weigant recently penned an op-ed piece for The Huffington Post that takes the White House to task for their silence.

obama“I cannot name another contentious issue that President Obama has stonewalled in such a fashion during the same time period,” writes Weigant. “We’ve had policy announcements, speeches, or other White House activity on such hot-button issues as: gay marriage, gun control, contraception, Social Security, Medicare, taxes, the federal budget, drones, Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, immigration reform, women’s rights, climate change, and probably a number of others that don’t immediately spring to mind. The public knows where Obama stands on these issues, or at the very least knows the general direction of his policy. But not on marijuana. On that particular issue, we are left to guess.”

So why the silence?

That has been the overriding question when it comes to the way the Obama Administration has handled the cannabis issue: “why?” Why has a supposedly progressive president gone out of his way to crack down on medical marijuana dispensaries at a rate higher than that of his conservative predecessor?

Does President Obama really think that marijuana prohibition is working in its intended goals? Or are his campaign contributors and future sugar daddies making money from marijuana prohibition, like the pharmaceutical companies? Or does Obama’s advisers believe that he has gained political capital from his tough stance on cannabis?

What is so difficult about coming out and saying publicly that states will be allowed to set their own course when it comes to marijuana? It doesn’t involve legislation or even an executive order; Obama can simply direct his Justice Department to use their limited resources on more important things.

Just set the policy for us all to see and let’s move on.

– Joe Klare

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