Obama does not favor changing pot laws … 'at this point'

Olivier Knox
Yahoo News

What are you smoking?

President Barack Obama doesn’t think cracking down on individual pot smokers is a good use of federal dollars, but he also doesn’t think it’s time to loosen the country’s marijuana laws … at least ”at this point.”

That’s the message from White House spokesman Josh Earnest, who told reporters at the daily press briefing that Obama’s views have been “clear and consistent for some time now.”

“The priority in terms of the dedication of law-enforcement resources should be targeted towards drug kingpins, drug traffickers and others who perpetrate violence in the conduct of the drug trade,” and not individual users, Earnest said. But “the president does not, at this point, advocate a change in the law.”

Currently, the federal government lists marijuana — or, as this helpful Drug Enforcement Agency handout suggests, “Aunt Mary, BC Bud, Blunts, Boom, Chronic, Dope, Gangster, Ganja, Grass, Hash, Herb, Hydro, Indo, Joint, Kif, Mary Jane, Mota, Pot, Reefer, Sinsemila, Skunk, Smoke, Weed, and Yerba” — as a “Schedule 1” drug, alongside heroin, LSD, ecstasy, methaqualone and peyote.

Those are “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence,” the DEA says.

The DEA also says marijuana has “no currently accepted medical use in the United States.” That puts "The Man" at odds with quite a few states and Washington, D.C. — the “laboratories of democracy.”

“There are 20 states that have med marijuana laws, there are 16 states that have decriminalized possession and then two states — Colorado and Washington — have legalized it,” Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), said.

“The president has clearly evolved regarding a couple of different subject matters over the course of his presidency,” St. Pierre told Yahoo News by telephone. That was an obvious reference to Obama's embrace of gay marriage.

“We suspect that this former marijuana aficionado will, too, evolve on this subject matter as the American public has. That’s what politicians do,” he added.

States that have taken steps to permit marijuana use and possession are “clearly putting upward political pressure on the federal government to end cannabis prohibition,” St. Pierre said.

View Comments (2663)