Obama on his anti-marijuana campaign: ‘I can’t nullify congressional law’

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In a recent Rolling Stone interview with Jann Wenner, President Barack Obama finally went on the record about his position on medical marijuana and legalization.

“What I specifically said was that we were not going to prioritize prosecutions of persons who are using medical marijuana,” said Obama. “I ever 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. I can’t nullify congressional law.”

In fact, Obama actually said the following in 2008 interview with the Oregon Mail Tribune:

“As for medical marijuana … I’m not familiar with all the details of the initiative that was passed, but I think the basic concept of using medical marijuana for the same purposes and with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors, I think that’s entirely appropriate.

I’m not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue.”

Ah, yes, candidate Obama. Well, politician Obama, like any other artful political dodger, will say anything for votes. Not that this is news, of course, but it certainly serves to re-emphasize the point.

On the subject of marijuana legalization, Obama had this to say, “I do think it’s important and useful to have a broader debate about our drug laws.” That, folks, is Obama the political hedger. As I noted in a recent article on Obama and marijuana in the weeks following federal raids in California, it’s pure electoral bullshit. He’s trying to have his cake and eat it too.

If Obama truly wanted to change drug laws, he could force Congress into an open and honest debate on the issue. Maybe this is what he genuinely wants—just not in an election year.