From FireDogLake by John Walker
While attending the White House Correspondents’ dinner Attorney General Eric Holder admitted to the Huffington Post that President Obama misled Rolling Stone about federal marijuana law. From the Huffington Post:
Attorney General Eric Holder was a guest of The Huffington Post at the correspondents’ dinner. Before it began, a HuffPost reporter noted to Holder that Obama’s reference to “congressional law” was misleading because the executive branch could simply remove marijuana from its “schedule one” designation, thereby recognizing its medical use.
“That’s right,” Holder said.
After Kimmel’s speech, a Holder deputy told HuffPost that there was no coordinated war on medical marijuana, but that some individual clinics were breaking both state and federal laws.
In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Obama provided a factually wrong answer that radically distorted the nature of federal law in an attempt to deflect criticism for the federal crackdown on medical marijuana. Obama claimed he “can’t nullify Congressional law” when it comes to medical marijuana, even though the Controlled Substance Act actually gives the Executive branch the authority to “reschedule” (reclassify) marijuana without Congressional action. By simply moving marijuana to a lower schedule the Obama administration could make medical marijuana legal under federal law. Obama would not need to nullify this Congressional law, because Congress already gave him the authority to change marijuana’s legal status.
It is very important that Attorney General Holder himself admits that Obama’s “can’t nullify Congressional law” statement is completely misleading, because the relevant section of the Controlled Substance Act specifically gives him, the Attorney General, the power to implement a process to reschedule cannabis administratively.
Even Obama’s Attorney General admits there is nothing forcing the administration to wage a war on medical marijuana and nothing stopping the administration from making medical marijuana legal under federal law. This is an active choice the administration is making. Source
Another take, by TJ Green at The Weed Blog
Last Thursday, I reported on Obama’s response to a question during a Rolling Stone interview on why his administration is cracking down on medical marijuana. Here is what he said:
“I can’t nullify congressional law. I can’t ask the Justice Department to say, ‘Ignore completely a federal law that’s on the books.’ What I can say is, ‘Use your prosecutorial discretion and properly prioritize your resources to go after things that are really doing folks damage.’ As a consequence, there haven’t been prosecutions of users of marijuana for medical purposes.”
The Huffington Post reported a comment by Attorney General Holder that everyone who supports medical marijuana needs to hear:
“Attorney General Eric Holder was a guest of The Huffington Post at the correspondents’ dinner. Before it began, a HuffPost reporter noted to Holder that Obama’s reference to “congressional law” was misleading because the executive branch could simply remove marijuana from its “schedule one” designation, thereby recognizing its medical use. ”That’s right,” Holder said. After Kimmel’s speech, a Holder deputy told HuffPost that there was no coordinated war on medical marijuana, but that some individual clinics were breaking both state and federal laws.”
Did I read that correctly? Did our Attorney General admit that Obama could stop the war raging over medical marijuana at any moment, and that Obama’s comments to the contrary in Rolling Stone were misleading? Folks, the time is now to demand that President Obama immediately direct Attorney General Eric Holder to reclassify cannabis, or that Attorney General Holder do it himself as the Controlled Substance Act allows. All of the excuses about the FDA, Congress, and the Institute of Medicine are smokescreens. Obama or Holder could end the war on medical marijuana at any moment. We’re talking about an action that over 70 percent of Americans support. What are you two waiting for? Just push the button already. AG Holder: roll yourself a fatty, walk into the Oval Office, light that sucker, pass it to Obama and ask him,”Are you in?”
Here is an excerpt from Section 811 of The Controlled Substance Act where the Attorney General’s authority to reclassify or remove drugs under the CSA is defined:
Section 811. Authority and Criteria for Classification of Substances
(a) Rules and regulations of Attorney General; hearing
The Attorney General shall apply the provisions of this subchapter to the controlled substances listed in the schedules established by section 812 of this title and to any other drug or other substance added to such schedules under this subchapter. Except as provided in subsections (d) and (e) of this section, the Attorney General may by rule–
(1) add to such a schedule or transfer between such schedules any drug or other substance if he–
(A) finds that such drug or other substance has a potential for abuse, and
(B) makes with respect to such drug or other substance the findings prescribed by
subsection (b) of section 812 of this title for the schedule in which such drug is to be placed; or
(2) remove any drug or other substance from the schedules if he finds that the drug or other substance does not meet the requirements for inclusion in any schedule.
“Marijuana is something that real people care about.” — Jimmy Kimmel
Late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel performed at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and took a moment to confront President Obama on his marijuana crackdown.
I do have one real question for you, Mr. President. What’s with the marijuana crackdown? I mean, seriously, what’s the concern, we will deplete the nation’s Funyun supply?
You know, pot smokers vote, too. Sometimes a week after the election, but they vote.
Let’s take a quick poll. I would like everyone in this room to raise your hand if you’ve never smoked pot.
Raise your hands if you’ve never smoked pot.
[Very few hands go up.] Heh heh. There you go. Look at Brit Hume – he’s high right now. He’s on his fourth almond macaroon.
Mr. President, I hope you don’t think I’m out of line here, but marijuana is something that real people care about. The fact that you believe Speaker Boehner when he tells you he still has control of his party leads me to believe that you must be smoking some crazy great weed yourself.
Woody Harrelson just woke up.
Thank you, Jimmy Kimmel, for exemplifying how a cannabis consumer can be polite yet direct in calling on the president to explain a policy that is no longer supported by a majority of Americans. Half of this country supports outright legalization of marijuana and three-quarters think marijuana punishments, if any, should be no more than ticketable offenses, not crimes. Source
Here is the entire Jimmy Kimmel bit:
- Local Democrats Ask Obama to Leave S.F. Marijuana Clubs Alone (blogs.sfweekly.com)
- Jimmy Kimmel Addresses Marijuana Legalization At White House Correspondents … – Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com)
- In “Fast and Furious” grilling, AG Holder talks about federal marijuana prosecution policy (sentencing.typepad.com)
- Obama Not Going “To Turn The Other Way” On Medical Marijuana Dispensaries (blogs.alternet.org)
- Obama Tries to Rewrite His History of Promising Forbearance for Medical Marijuana Suppliers (reason.com)