It looks like Obama might be addressing the question of federal pot reform – FINALLY – after skirting the issue practically since his inauguration.
In a recent interview with VICE News, Obama answered the question about pot reform in the US with a surprising nod toward rescheduling. He predicted that Congress would soon be forced to let up on America’s ridiculous cannabis prohibition policies, likely due to the overwhelming evidence that medical marijuana is saving lives.
He told reporter, Shane Smith, that:
“. . .as the trend of statewide legalization continues to spread, and as bipartisan politics keep coming together in support of the issue, folks on Capitol Hill will have no choice but to make crucial adjustments to the law.”
The president suggests, however, that changes will first come in the form of criminal justice reform, not a complete prohibitionary repeal. That might not be too far off, though. Obama remarked:
“We may be able to make some progress on the decriminalization side . . .At a certain point, if enough states end up decriminalizing, then Congress may reschedule marijuana.”
The President’s comments in this interview follow just one week after Senators Rand Paul, Cory Booker and Kristen Gillibrand introduced legislation which would reclassify cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance, and legalize it for medical use on a national scale.
Previously, Obama has repeatedly said the federal government would use minimal resources to strike at dispensaries. The Obama Administration has unofficially made it part of their policy to neither indict nor raid medical marijuana dispensaries and growers.
“What you’re seeing now is Colorado, Washington through state referenda, they’re experimenting with legal marijuana,” the president said in response to a question from YouTube host Hank Green. “The position of my administration has been that we still have federal laws that classify marijuana as an illegal substance, but we’re not going to spend a lot of resources trying to turn back decisions that have been made at the state level on this issue. My suspicion is that you’re gonna see other states start looking at this.”
Now we seem to be even closer to what he hinted toward for years.
Legalization of marijuana could also promote state funds – as evidenced by Colorado’s substantially bolstered economy with over $53 million in state tax revenue gained just from pot sales. This doesn’t include the new jobs being created in the state, while others go bankrupt.
“It shouldn’t be young people’s biggest priority,” Obama chided. “Let’s put it in perspective. Young people, I understand this is important to you. But you should be thinking about climate change, the economy, jobs, war and peace. Maybe way at the bottom you should be thinking about marijuana.”
Mr. President – pot reform could transform the nation – giving us more jobs, fewer sick people, a better economy, and with the industrialization of hemp to boot – a cleaner, less pesticide-ridden environment. I think young people are smarter than Obama gives them credit for.
Let’s look forward to marijuana reclassification in the very near future.
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