Obama to Colorado: “Drop Dead”
The following is an op/ed I wrote for a marijuana related publication in Sept when the federal government released a memo saying they would essentially respect state laws. They declined to publish it. In my opinion, it is now rather prescient.
The Department of Justice recently released a memo outlining how they plan to reconcile the conflict over federal (and supreme) law with the decisions by voters to legalize recreational marijuana here in CO and in WA. I call it memo legislation, and like a 13 year old girl on Facebook I so wish there was a dislike button for it.
For one I didn’t know it was still 1998. I bet someone printed a copy of that memo 100 times on a dot printer, tossed the sides like bread crusts and gave it to each individual by hand. I would be surprised if Eric Holder doesn’t have a rolodex. I bet they have it saved on a floppy disk too. What wasn’t made public was President Obama’s memo directing the federal government to use the office technology of the Clinton administration; he saw the way Bubba is liked these days and can’t see why it’s for any other reason. Or at least someone wrote that down and he read it, but I digress.
Let me be unambiguously clear and honest: this administration does not want to legalize marijuana, or for that matter take any actual concrete and accountable measures to reduce the assault on rights marijuana users face by the government. I think we can say that the buck stops with him. His reasoning is irrelevant, but perhaps you might want to hear it when you need to kill time in a federal clink. Let me continue this line of forthrightness and say that its basis for protecting you against federal prosecution is nonexistent. It would be like using a garbage bag for a bullet proof vest. They might have bad aim, but it wasn’t the trash bag that stopped those bullets from hitting you. As an English major would say: it’s a red herring.
At this point in time in the Obama administration if they had an intent to actually do something concrete, I don’t know like attempting to repeal the law, even suggesting it is bad or introducing their own constitutional amendment, they would have done it. To me what is most striking is Obama’s callousness. He can, as the President of the United States take some perfectly reasonable steps unilaterally if he wanted to. Rescheduling marijuana from a DEA schedule 1 substance (“no medicinal value”) would at least nationally ease any concerns of the medical marijuana community. Point blank this causes people who already in ill health to suffer more. I find it difficult to believe a future president would schedule marijuana back, but it is entirely possible a different administration sends an email, not a memo, that says they will enforce every law the U.S. has. Which is exactly what I want them to do.
It’s a cold and calculated indifference. He can make a difference. He chooses not to.