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Marijuana Prosecution Not a High Priority, Says Obama 449

Posted by timothy
from the law-is-an-ass dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "VOA reports that President Obama says it does not make sense for federal authorities to seek prosecution of recreational marijuana users in states where such use is legal. 'As it is, you know, the federal government has a lot to do when it comes to criminal prosecutions,' said Obama during a television interview with ABC's Barbara Walters. 'It does not make sense from a prioritization point of view for us to focus on recreational drug users in a state that has already said that, under state law, that's legal.' When asked if he supported legalizing marijuana, the president said he was not endorsing that. 'I wouldn't go that far, but what I think is that, at this point, Washington and Colorado, you've seen the voters speak on this issue.'"
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Marijuana Prosecution Not a High Priority, Says Obama

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  • by MagusSlurpy (592575) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @12:18PM (#42301825) Homepage

    The government has never focused on recreational users. It's focused on the dealers. Recreational users are just targets of opportunity.

    • by MagusSlurpy (592575) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @12:19PM (#42301831) Homepage

      Of course, if the recreational users all started having half a million dollars in property to confiscate, we'd probably see a shift.

      • by hawguy (1600213) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @12:26PM (#42301891)

        Of course, if the recreational users all started having half a million dollars in property to confiscate, we'd probably see a shift.

        Of course, if the recreational users all started having half a million dollars in property to confiscate, we'd probably see a shift.

        Many recreational users already have that much (or more) property.

        Do you think all pot smokers are out of work 20 year olds who live in their parents' basement?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Mitreya (579078)

          Of course, if the recreational users all started having half a million dollars in property to confiscate, we'd probably see a shift.

          Many recreational users already have that much (or more) property.

          Do you think all pot smokers are out of work 20 year olds who live in their parents' basement?

          Not at all, but I doubt that $0.5M+ pot smokers see the bulk of the anti-drug enforcement. There is a high risk to accidentally stumble upon someone with connections.

          Plus other upstanding citizens may see that drug war (especially war on pot) is senseless when they notice their neighbors being arrested. As of now, I assume many pretend that only "bad" people are arrested for drug-possession crimes.

          • by rikkards (98006) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @09:37PM (#42305087) Journal

            Banning anything is senseless, it never stops people, this has been seen with the war on drugs, terrorism, etc. Pretty much if a person is of legal age and chooses to do something as long as it doesn't impact someone else, why stop them? Granted you are going to have people become addicted and potentially get worse but that happens already.

            The money spent on busting recreational users could be used better in rehab, counseling/mental health fields (a lot of the hard users have underlying mental illness).

          • by Genda (560240) <mariet.got@net> on Sunday December 16, 2012 @04:10AM (#42306203) Journal

            Strangely enough the states that are "hardest on crime" are the hard core Christian/Republican states. The results of the war on crime have been devastating to people of color. Of the quarter million people in state prisons for nonviolent drug related crime, a full 70% are Black or Latino. Worse, once you've been charged with a felony, you loose your right to serve on a jury, your right to vote, to receive welfare, in most cases stay in homeless shelters, receive food stamps, and in a number of states if a felon is lucky enough to find work, the State can and does garnish up to 100% of their wage to make them pay for the cost of their incarceration. In short, these people are marginalized to the point that the only options they have left are crime and return to prison. Moreover, because these people are not included in statistics on poverty, the truth on a number of states grossly under-reports poverty among minorities.

            There was a huge backlash against the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s and in the 70s, the Republicans wooed the Democratic South to the Republican party by creating a means to use the "War on Drugs" as a means to impose massive class control on poorer people of color in the south. One example is that in the 80s the sentences for crack cocaine (a popular drug in poor communities) was differentially prosecuted. Five grams of crack cocaine garnered the same sentence as half a kilogram of powder cocaine and put hundreds of thousands of people of color in prisons over the last 30 years. The process of using the "War on Drugs" as a social tools is well understood and has been the source of tremendous protest and criticism by numerous groups for social justice. The sad fact is that on many fronts, Americans of color are no better off than they were when Martin Luther King struggled for equality, all that's happened is that we've gotten better at burying the bodies and hiding the facts. By the way, this is equally a problem with both parties, Clinton trying to woo the South back from the Republicans did just as much damage, perhaps more, than Reagan did 10 years earlier, and even President Obama have been surprisingly lack luster in his actions to fix the many problems.

            The criminalization of marijuana has always been ludicrous, and based more on the interests of corporations than any value to society. These plants (sativa and indicus) have rich histories as medicinal plants with tremendous capacities to help and heal human suffering, as well as provide recreational pleasure. If we learned nothing from the Great Prohibition, it is that prohibitions profit criminal enterprises and create gross disregard for the law. It is past time to declare the "War on Drugs" a grotesque failure. It is long past time to push back the social injustices associated with this war and the real victims who have been left destitute.

        • by Hadlock (143607) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @02:19PM (#42302763) Homepage Journal

          My observations have shown that the upper middle class, "work hard, play hard" group smoke a whole lot of weed. In particular, those in Buisness Administration and Sales. Racecars, sailboats, girlfriends, houses and the lifestyle that comes with that can easily top half a million dollars. If you ignore debt the average American family probably owns close to a quarter million dollars in assets (including their house).

    • by iggymanz (596061) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @12:29PM (#42301917)

      what planet do you live on? drug possession only (not dealing) is 80% of those imprisoned for drug-related crimes.

      • by tnk1 (899206) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @12:51PM (#42302099)

        He didn't say that, he just said that Federal efforts were pointed at dealers. Busts for possession in "less-than-dealer" quantities are not usually the result of Federal investigations, they're busts based on opportunities like traffic stops, probable cause searches, or other things on the state and local level.

        In other words, stopping state criminalization of pot is going to cut down significantly on people being busted for possession, because you generally get busted for that by the local cops.

        So what Obama is basically saying is: "we're not going to spend money to take over from the local cops now that they can't bust people for legal possession." What it does not mean is that anything is significantly going to change about what the Federal government does. They've never targeted possession, and they still will not. If they bust someone who happens to be in possession, they'll get run into Federal court, but it's usually like getting fined for not wearing a seat belt after they pulled you over for speeding.

        • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya.gmail@com> on Saturday December 15, 2012 @01:08PM (#42302243)

          What it does not mean is that anything is significantly going to change about what the Federal government does. They've never targeted possession, and they still will not.

          Yes, how kind of them.
          They did, however, raid quite a few legal and law-abiding dispensaries in CA when they felt like it (despite any promises to keep it low priority)

          This sounds like the DMCA move -- we will allow you possession of the [thing] but we will harshly prosecute anyone who manufactures or distributes that [thing] making it difficult to impossible for you to actually get it.

          • by tnk1 (899206) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @01:44PM (#42302555)

            Well, dispensaries *are* dealers, right?

            Anyway, there's nothing about kindness being involved here. Despite all of the money involved in drug enforcement, there is not enough Federal money for the DEA to be busting kids smoking up behind the school building. In fact, there isn't enough money for the local cops to do it either, they just happen to find most of that stuff while going about their other business. Which is also why your usual upper/middle class pot smoker isn't going to get busted, they don't usually do anything illegal except that and speeding.

            Remember, the Federal government doesn't have to go by what the states say. The states simply make their own laws for themselves which are based on the powers reserved to them in the Constitution. However, if the Federal government makes a law, it's still the law in California unless it covers a power reserved to the states. Yes, California cops will not be able to enforce it, because they derive their authority from state law, but the FBI or DEA derives their authority from the Federal government, and they can still make arrests.

            What the government is doing is drawing a line in the sand. They say they are busting dealers, so they busted dealers. Yes, their response was a bit uneven initially, but I think that's just the sort of thing you have to expect when you have a hardcore anti-drug Federal government start to conflict with a legal state regime. I hope no one went into even the legal pot business with their eyes closed about the outstanding Federal law issues.

            Happily, I think most states will eventually see that pot smoking is no worse for you than cigarette smoking and stop making it into a reason to arrest, imprison, and occasionally shoot people. Once that happens, the Federal government will eventually give up on it. It will just take time.

            • by rocket rancher (447670) <themovingfinger@gmail.com> on Saturday December 15, 2012 @03:20PM (#42303097)
              ...indeed. Excellent post. I would supplement it by adding that the only reason that marijuana dealers are of any interest to the Feds at all is the reference to marijuana in Schedule One of the Controlled Substances Act, passed by Congress in 1970. The CSA is the sole source of the authority for the Feds to override local laws when it comes to marijuana use. Removing marijuana from Schedule One of the CSA would remove the conflict between federal and state authorities over the decriminalization of marijuana.
              • by sandytaru (1158959) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @04:08PM (#42303381) Journal
                I believe that very issue is under review right now, in fact. Schedule I drugs are considered to have no medical value. Schedule II drugs have medical value, but are so prone to abuse that the FDA believes they should be regulated. Schedule I is regulated at the national level. Schedule II is regulated at the state level. Twenty years of medical research has been presented to the FDA board showing that marijuana has legit medical uses and should, by all rights, be considered a Schedule II drug.

                I think that's another reason Obama is not being very specific on this issue - if the FDA makes it schedule II in the next few months, the Feds will basically have no reason to poke their nose into state business any more. Hence, making it a lower priority now, in case it needs to become a zero priority later.
          • by iggymanz (596061)

            strange, for many drugs you put a seed in the soil and up comes a plant. don't need a manufacturer or distributor

    • by BasilBrush (643681) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @12:59PM (#42302161)

      It means that cannabis users in Washington and Colorado will feel more at ease as they go about their legal pastime.

      And that's a good thing.

    • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @01:11PM (#42302269) Homepage Journal

      I haven't scrolled very far down - but so far, it seems that people are missing the single most important part of this news.

      Being arrested for possession is bad. Being jailed is worse. Serving time in the pen is yet worse. But, that's all rather petty, when compared to the people who die during any stage of these processes.

      The "war on drugs" never was a "war on drugs". It has always been a war on American citizens. Your kid, your neighbor, your nutty classmate, your cousin, or the local grocer, it doesn't matter WHO they are. They disapprove of the government's mandate, and they disobey the government. As a result, hundreds, if not thousands, die every year.

      No city, no county, no state, and not even the feds, should have the authority to more or less stop people randomly, then arrest them for possession of a more or less natural substance.

      It's insane, is what it is.

      And, I don't even use the stuff. I don't even use the prescription drugs that I'm given. I don't like drugs, don't want drugs, won't be purchasing any no matter how legal they get. But, my idiot son shouldn't be at risk of spending a decade in prison for doing a dooby.

  • by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @12:20PM (#42301835)

    Is like trying to nail Jello to a wall.

    • by sandytaru (1158959) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @12:24PM (#42301871) Journal
      He can't definitely say "I'm not wasting federal resources and money on that shit" because it's still officially illegal at the federal level, and the President is constitutionally bound to follow the laws established by Congress. Congress itself has to make marijuana legal. The executive branch can, however, determine how to prioritize its use of resources, and Obama basically just said he's more worried about actual threats to the country than someone getting high on the couch.

      In other words, if you want pot legal nationwide, you need to write to your Congresscritters about it.
      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @12:33PM (#42301953) Journal

        Obama can say whatever he wants.
        Until he promulgates policies restraining the DEA and DOJ it's going to be a problem.
        Not to mention the illegality of marijuana screwing up business's relationships with the IRS.

      • by demonlapin (527802) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @12:53PM (#42302115) Homepage Journal
        Of course he can: he's the fucking President, and he can order the Attorney General to stop all prosecution of people who are working entirely within one state and following its laws to the letter while still prosecuting people who are attempting to use the legal status of drugs in one state to allow them to sell in others. If the AG refuses he can be fired summarily. So can every US Attorney, they're all political appointees who serve at the will of the President.

        This is just a copout, utter bullshit. The man could use the existing powers of prosecutorial discretion to do just what I suggested, and he could be quite clear about it: "Barbara, I think the important thing here is not whether marijuana is legalized or not. It's about respecting the priorities of individual states - about federalism. That's an issue that many people in my party have been accused of ignoring in the past. And I know that some people are going to accuse us of all being a bunch of dope-smoking hippies that are only fair-weather federalists, but I want to tell you that I mean this both ways - the federal government is going to respect the people who have chosen to make the consumption of cannabis legal, but it's going to respect the people who continue to believe that a ban is the best policy, too. We're not closing down the DEA. "
        • That has been the case this whole time.

          What has been going on in California is that they have insane and unclear laws with regard to medicinal marijuana. That's why the busts are happening there but not Washington, Colorado or other states that have made it legal to grow for medicinal purposes.

          I stopped feeling bad for these guys when I found out they're using warehouses to grow hundreds of pounds of this stuff. The spirit of the law was that you could grow for yourself and as a non profit dispensary, but n

          • by karnal (22275)

            How would a non-profit dispensary NOT be a business? Even on a small scale - the business can make 0 profit, but the owners can just pocket the money that would have gone back into the business as profit (granted, paying taxes the whole way.) Or - give proceeds to other charities, or grow the business - still no profit.

      • by Mitreya (579078)

        He can't definitely say "I'm not wasting federal resources and money on that shit" because it's still officially illegal at the federal level, and the President is constitutionally bound to follow the laws established by Congress.

        Sure he can. He's not saying it because he had found it beneficial to occasionally ramp up raids in CA before and may do so again (for whatever reason).

        If he can use signing statements [thedailybeast.com] to promise to ignore the law, then he can say anything. (from the article linked):

        The signing statement essentially declares Obamaâ(TM)s intention to ignore requirements in the law, including restrictions on data transfers to Russia, new authorities to detain suspected members of al Qaeda, and sanctions against the central bank of Iran.

        • Forget using signing statements, he has issued "waivers" to states for No Child Left Behind law requirements, something which has no legal basis whatsoever. Whether or not you like the No Child Left Behind law (I don't), there is something seriously wrong when the President says, "If you do X, we will not enforce the law that says you must do Y," when there is not provision in any law for such an exception.
      • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @12:58PM (#42302155)
        There are plenty of laws that aren't enforced, and there isn't a constitutional obligation to press charges. A couple of the Republicans running on the policy that there are obscenity laws that weren't being enfroced, and that they would enforce them. The Obama administration could just not bother with those laws like they don't bother with tons of other laws.

        People often have a gross misunderstanding of what the executive branch actually does, but this is actually something that Obama could solve.
        • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya.gmail@com> on Saturday December 15, 2012 @01:42PM (#42302535)

          There are plenty of laws that aren't enforced, and there isn't a constitutional obligation to press charges. A couple of the Republicans running on the policy that there are obscenity laws that weren't being enfroced, and that they would enforce them.

          There should be a constitutional requirement to press charges on the laws, so that bad laws are regularly purged from the books. There was an anti-sodomy law in Texas until as recently as 2003!

          Not having to press charges means that DAs get to selectively enforce laws against people they do not like and that is terrible

          • Bad governance (Score:4, Insightful)

            by fyngyrz (762201) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @05:23PM (#42303785) Homepage Journal

            There was an anti-sodomy law in Texas until as recently as 2003!

            And there are still multiple states with statutes that say atheists cannot serve in various political offices.

            That's just the tip of the iceberg. A great deal of state and federal law (and court decisions) are really, really wrongheaded. Some of it is straight up unauthorized. There are ex post facto laws. The constitution has been relegated to the "who cares" zone. And very little of it will ever get straightened out. That's not what congress or scotus or the executive wants to do, and we have almost zero control over any of them. And the public not only doesn't care, they don't even faintly grasp the problem.

      • by Uberbah (647458) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @01:02PM (#42302193)

        He can't definitely say "I'm not wasting federal resources and money on that shit"

        But he can say "after scientific review by the FDA, I am moving marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act" without any action from Congress. Existing law already allows Obama to stop persecuting marijuana users, growers and dealers.

        and the President is constitutionally bound to follow the laws established by Congress.

        Then where are the prosecutions for Bush's wars and torture (something REQUIRED by the U.N. Convention Against Torture, signed by that hippie Ronald Reagan) and fraud committed by the banks? Glennzilla: [guardian.co.uk]

        HSBC, too big to jail, is the new poster child for US two-tiered justice system

        Over the last year, federal investigators found that one of the world's largest banks, HSBC, spent years committing serious crimes, involving money laundering for terrorists; "facilitat[ing] money laundering by Mexican drug cartels"; and "mov[ing] tainted money for Saudi banks tied to terrorist groups". Those investigations uncovered substantial evidence "that senior bank officials were complicit in the illegal activity." As but one example, "an HSBC executive at one point argued that the bank should continue working with the Saudi Al Rajhi bank, which has supported Al Qaeda."

        On Tuesday, not only did the US Justice Department announce that HSBC would not be criminally prosecuted, but outright claimed that the reason is that they are too important, too instrumental to subject them to such disruptions.

        By coincidence, on the very same day that the DOJ announced that HSBC would not be indicted for its multiple money-laundering felonies, the New York Times published a story featuring the harrowing story of an African-American single mother of three who was sentenced to life imprisonment at the age of 27 for a minor drug offense

        Obama constantly makes a mockery of the rule of law. If he's going to ignore it, he could at least do it for non-violent non-criminals as opposed to banks that have stolen millions of homes and government officials that tortured over 100 people to death.

    • by sribe (304414) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @12:36PM (#42301981)

      Oh, bullshit. His answer was perfectly clear. And the policy is sensible--declaring the war on pot senseless would just fire up the rabid "family-values" far-right lunatic fringe even more, when he's got more important political battles to fight than that.

  • flip flop flip? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaHat (247651) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @12:22PM (#42301855) Homepage

    So after first de-prioritizing medical marijuana raids in places like California (where they are legal)... only to reprioritize them again... he now flips again about deferring to state based decisions? ...or this is one of his much touted 'evolutions'

    One day I would love to know what he actually believes in... other than political expediency.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Uberbah (647458)

      It's Obama trying to have it both ways....his modus operandi on everything but expanding Bush's Unitary Executive power grabs. There he's balls to the wall on telling the press or Congress [time.com] to fuck off if they suggest the power of the presidency should be limited.

      Of course, talking out of both sides of your mouth is Obama mocked Hillary for during the '08 primaries, where she tried to have it both ways on giving drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants. Sort of like how he mocked McCain [youtube.com] for wanting to t

      • by maugle (1369813)

        If Republicans were slightly less corrupt and incompetent, they could have mopped the floor with Obama this year.

        Yep, I think it's a real shame, even though I voted for Obama. Hopefully one day the Republican party will come back to its senses and pick an actual Republican as its presidential candidate, instead of the batch of crazed neocons we've been getting from them for over two decades.

    • by Chewbacon (797801)
      The people in the US have ADD when it comes to the issues and our focus is on whatever is a problem in the media. When high gas prices were a discussion years ago and Katrina hit New Orleans, we forgot about the cost of gas and put Bush under fire for FEMA's lengthy response (which was partly because they had to double back out of the Mississippi River and go through Lake Pontchartrain). The fiscal cliff is a top discussion at the moment and now, with the tragedy in Connecticut, gun control will be a focu
    • by fyngyrz (762201) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @01:01PM (#42302181) Homepage Journal

      I heard what you heard, and I don't get the same takeaway.

      He said they wouldn't go after users. Now look at California: Are they going after users there? No. They're going after dealers, growers, MM dispensaries. Now look at what he said. Did he say that they wouldn't go after dealers, growers, dispensaries? No.

      So does it appear that he's changed position? No.

      Should he change position? Of course. Would it be the right thing to do? Of course. Would it be the politically expedient thing to do, with over 90% of the country still holding on to "pot is teh badz, dur" laws and Washington awash in lobbyists throwing money at everyone in sight to keep drugs illegal? No.

      I don't think this is going to be the big step forward people hope. There's a lot of money at stake here. Over a trillion dollars so far. That money has representation in Washington. So does the alcohol industry. Potheads really don't have any. And then there's the easy pickings of anti-drug rhetoric directed to gullible parents at election time. As with just about everything else in Washington, if you want to predict what they'll do, follow the money, and the power. I think you'll find that it doesn't lead to an end to the drug war, or even that part of it that surrounds marijuana.

      • by BasilBrush (643681) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @01:17PM (#42302315)

        with over 90% of the country still holding on to "pot is teh badz, dur" laws

        Not any more. 56% of people are now in favour of legalising pot. That's why things are starting to change. It just won't happen overnight.

        http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/lifestyle/general_lifestyle/may_2012/56_favor_legalizing_regulating_marijuana [rasmussenreports.com]

        • by fyngyrz (762201)

          You misread me. I said over 90% of the states are still holding on to these laws. I didn't say a word about the popular opinion. Because we're organized as a republic, not a democracy. The laws are in place, and they are over 90% anti-pot and etc., just as I said. Getting that changed requires working against a money stream that so far has moved over a trillion dollars into various people's pockets, including the legislators and their campaigns.

          Follow the money. It's the only path that leads anywhere in Was

      • by gtbritishskull (1435843) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @03:20PM (#42303099)

        California's laws are bullshit to begin with. Legalized for "medical use" my ass. I have been there and seen the "doctors" who will give you a prescription IN THE DISPENSARY. If they want to legalize it, then they should. But, if they actually want to follow the laws on the books, then a lot of those dispensaries are breaking the spirit of the law if not the letter. If Obama starts going after people in Washington and Colorado, then I might say that he has overstepped (since the have actually legalized it). Maybe you want to pretend that California legalized it because legalization is your goal, but the California laws are bullshit and I can't fault Obama for fulfilling his DUTY to enforce the laws. I think what he has done has actually helped the legalization cause because it has shown how California's laws are fucked up (so that other states won't try the same half-assed laws).

        Btw, I am in favor of legalizing pot. I am not in favor of halfway legalizing it and then doing half-assed enforcement. We should enforce the laws that we have. If we don't think they should be enforced, then we should change them. I want pot to be legal in fact, not just in practice.

    • Re:flip flop flip? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ShakaUVM (157947) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @01:04PM (#42302207) Homepage Journal

      Yep, his DAs are prosecuting everyone they can find here in California.

      A friend of mine is a landlord who rents out his land to farmers. One of them was growing weed on his farm without his knowledge.

      So the feds are trying to seize (asset forfeiture) his farm, and all his other assets, too. (Why his other assets? Just because they can try.)

      The worst thing about it (other than the fact the feds are trying to bankrupt someone not involved in the drug trade at all) is that our idiotic Sheriff Mims (who led the "fight", and is trying to bill my friend $100,000 for the police raid that started this) got called before a senate committee, and praised by Senator Feinstein for her efforts.

  • by gapagos (1264716) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @12:24PM (#42301873)

    The U.S. government has better legal things to worry about than a few potheads getting high legally. Perhaps like, for instance, mentally-unstable individuals able to obtain semi-automatic assault riffle, also legally, and killing 28 individuals at a public school. Just sayin'.

    • The latest news story is the weapons were not bought by the killer. They belonged to his mother.

      • Connecticut tragedy (Score:3, Interesting)

        by fyngyrz (762201)

        Without going into my position on this, let me simply put this thought on the floor:

        Here's mom. A schoolteacher. She's buying what look like (but of course aren't, because they work approximately like a revolver that doesn't need reloads, not a machine gun) military weapons. How likely is that? Possible, I'll grant you, but it's really unusual.

        My gut tells me it is more than slightly possible that mom was buying those weapons for her son, and that we may see, as we learn more, that son couldn't buy them him

        • by Mashiki (184564)

          Here's mom. A schoolteacher.

          Really? I mean come on. Stop fishing for news at the tit of the MSM, she wasn't even a teacher, and no one at the schoolboard knows who she was. [weaselzippers.us]

          My gut tells me it is more than slightly possible that mom was buying those weapons for her son,

          That's possible, but I know no shortage of women from when I was down in the US that were avid shooters. Either in competition, sport, or even recreational. They were devout enough that they handload their own rounds to save money, which should say something.

        • School teachers don't hunt, collect guns, or target shoot?

    • by sjames (1099) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @01:01PM (#42302187) Homepage

      Perhaps you should know that the shootings were accomplished using 2 perfectly ordinary pistols. The only rifle mentioned (not an assault rifle) was found in the killer's car unused.

      Quick quiz for you: What characteristics make a weapon a rifle? What makes it an assault rifkle? What makes it semi-automatic? If you had to go look that up, why were you spouting off about them before you knew what you were talking about?

  • Dear Mr. President (Score:5, Insightful)

    by istartedi (132515) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @12:25PM (#42301883) Journal

    Dear Mr. President,

    Apparently you did your share of pot and other drugs in your youth. Somehow, you avoided getting a criminal record. Please explain to us why giving millions of Black men like yourself a criminal record might not be such a good thing. Please tell us if you think you'd be where you are today if you had gotten busted.

    Sincerely,

    A lot of us who are tired of wars on nouns.

    • by rolfwind (528248) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @12:40PM (#42302009)

      Not just Obama, but Bush2 and Clinton as well.

      When we have the last three Presidents widely known for smoking/taking marijuana and way harsher drugs, doesn't that undermine the entire propaganda about drugs being a dead end once someone takes them? Or hypocritical for all of them to persecute others?

      • by fyngyrz (762201)

        Wrong question; so you get the wrong answer. It's about money. It's always been about money.

      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @01:07PM (#42302229) Journal

        When we have the last three Presidents widely known for smoking/taking marijuana and way harsher drugs, doesn't that undermine the entire propaganda about drugs being a dead end once someone takes them?

        More likely that it just highlights the vast gulf between Joe Average and children of the privileged class.

        Same actions, wildly different outcomes.

    • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @12:45PM (#42302047)
      You are asking the president to justify Congress' inaction, and I doubt he thinks it is justified. As he said, he is bound to enforce the laws they write. He could phrase his opposition more clearly than "de-emphasizing" enforcement, but that would cause a distraction from other more immediate issues.
    • ...on same-sex marriage. If our press was as adversarial as it is in England, we might see questions like:

      "Mister President, where do you think you would be in life if you had been convicted for felony drug possession when you were a young man?"

      and

      "Mister President, if your parents had been married when you were conceived, they could have been arrested in half the United States for violating interracial marriage laws. As a former professor of Constitutional Law you know this full well - so how can you, in

  • by larry bagina (561269) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @12:29PM (#42301915) Journal
    to call it "interstate commerce" if a person smokes a plant that naturally grows in his backyard, never actually engaging in commerce or crossing interstate lines.
  • keep on hoping (Score:5, Informative)

    by Meniconi,Nando (666243) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @12:45PM (#42302041)
    Heard this declaration before, only to be followed by the highest amount of FBI raids on legal dispensaries since 1996.
  • by Uberbah (647458) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @01:08PM (#42302241)

    ...are far more significant than whatever pretty words are coming out of his mouth on any given morning. He also promised to back off state-based medical marijuana, only to prosecute more than 10 dimes the number of medical pot facilities in four years than Bush did in 8.

    Obama is a hypocritical pot smoking, "a little blow" using jackass who has no problem ending the careers of future Obama's by throwing their asses in prison for the same offenses that he committed with gusto when he was a young man.

    And before someone uses the "but he's gotta enforce the laaaaw" excuse, where are the prosecutions of Bush officials that ordered torture and bankers that stole people's homes? Finally, the Controlled Substances Act allows Obama to reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III without having to go through Congress, changing it from contraband to regulated drug overnight.

  • Oblig post (Score:5, Interesting)

    by houghi (78078) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @01:41PM (#42302529)

    Breaking The Taboo - Film [youtube.com]
    Narrated by Oscar winning actor Morgan Freeman, "Breaking the Taboo" is produced by Sam Branson's indie Sundog Pictures and Brazilian co-production partner Spray Filmes and was directed by Cosmo Feilding Mellen and Fernando Grostein Andrade. Featuring interviews with several current or former presidents from around the world, such as Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, the film follows The Global Commission on Drug Policy on a mission to break the political taboo over the United States led War on Drugs and expose what it calls the biggest failure of global policy in the last 40 years

  • by codepunk (167897) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @02:24PM (#42302797)

    I value my brain enough not to feel the need to alter it with chemicals natural or synthetic. I do however fully support your desire to alter your own in any way you see fit. At the end of the day it simply makes me more competitive not only at work but in life as well. "Smoke it if you got it"

  • by EnsilZah (575600) <EnsilZah.Gmail@com> on Saturday December 15, 2012 @02:28PM (#42302821)

    From Wikipedia:

    Historically, selective enforcement is recognized as a sign of tyranny, and an abuse of power, because it violates rule of law, allowing men to apply justice only when they choose. Aside from this being inherently unjust, it almost inevitably must lead to favoritism and extortion, with those empowered to choose being able to help their friends, take bribes, and threaten those from they desire favors.

  • by BrendaEM (871664) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @05:20PM (#42303769) Homepage

    Do you think the jails, court costs, and police work are free?
    We cannot afford to jail and arrest such a great amount of the population.

    How much of you tax money do you want invested in a losing, pointless, discriminatory war?

  • by jonwil (467024) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @06:30PM (#42304225)

    The unanswered question is whether the federal government will use its resources (DEA etc) to target those producing and selling Marijuana when its being legally produced according to Washington and Colorado law.

    Given that the DEA has carried out raids against those dispensing marijuana for medical use in states where such use is legal and given the hardline stance taken by the DEA against marijuana in general, I wouldn't be surprised if they did carry out raids in Washington and Colorado.

    • by painandgreed (692585) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @11:22PM (#42305513)

      The unanswered question is whether the federal government will use its resources (DEA etc) to target those producing and selling Marijuana when its being legally produced according to Washington and Colorado law.

      Given that the DEA has carried out raids against those dispensing marijuana for medical use in states where such use is legal and given the hardline stance taken by the DEA against marijuana in general, I wouldn't be surprised if they did carry out raids in Washington and Colorado.

      Washington has been selling medical marijuana for some time now and selling out of public fronts that advertise in the local newspapers. A friend of mine works in one of those dispensaries, and what he has been saying is that the Federal government has a cut off of 100 plants. Growers for WA have been careful to stay under that limit and seem to be left alone. Likewise, although I'm aware of the details, he is and has said that those that have been busted were basically doing something stupid, either selling to people without a card or pushing the boundries of the law. Not to say that he and his coworkers weren't nervous when that was all going on, but AFAIK, most of the places in WA and the police are trying their hardest to stay within clear law. From the police side of things, they have asked for clear instructions and so far that has been to do nothing other than give verbal warnings to anybody smoking pot in public even through it is still against the law to do so. They don't want to be bothered with bullshit anymore than those smoking the pot.

  • by erp_consultant (2614861) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @06:44PM (#42304313)

    This is the closest I've ever heard a sitting president come to endorsing pot. He's basically saying that it's a State issue and unless you're pushing huge amounts the Feds are going to leave you alone. You know what...he's right. How many people out there are now saddled with criminal records for possessing small amounts of weed for personal use? It's ridiculous. I've always felt that alcohol is much, much more harmful than pot.

    I don't think people should be driving a car or operating heavy machinery or sitting across the desk from you at an office meeting if they are stoned...basically the same rules as alcohol...but if someone wants to light up on their own time, in their own home I say have at it. If the government wants to do something useful here they should narrow the war on drugs to things like cocaine and heroin and meth and stop wasting our time and money on recreational drug use.

  • by jsepeta (412566) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @11:00PM (#42305427) Homepage
    the public won't ask for prosecution until enough people die for marijuana legalization to be rescinded until it's seen as a crisis.

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