Obama Team Says No to Pot
Obama transition team says "no" to legalizing pot
By Jordan Smith,
11:15AM, Tue. Dec. 16, 2008
In case there was any confusion, President-elect Barack Obama "is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana" -- at least, so says a post on the Obama transition-team website. The answer will undoubtedly come as a letdown for those that joined the online "conversation" with Obama and his team via the "Open for Questions" feature the transition team folks posted on their site last week. Among the most popular questions posed to Obama was whether the president would consider legalizing pot so that "the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and...a billion dollar industry...?"
The answer is, apparently, no.
That Obama doesn't support pot legalization shouldn't come as a great shock, but what is disappointing is the abrupt way the question was answered -- in a manner that would seem to cut off any possibility of a dialog on the issue. But whether that will be the case for all drug-policy reform questions remains to be seen.
Indeed, Students for Sensible Drug Policy have already collected more than 36,000 signatures on a Facebook petition calling on Obama to appoint to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy a leader -- commonly known as the nation's drug czar -- who will "treat drug abuse as a health issue rather than a criminal issue and will move away from a War on Drugs paradigm." The petition, which has been on the site for just over two weeks, calls for the appointment of a czar who, "at a minimum," supports ending federal "prosecution" of medi-pot patients in states where it is legal (a position that Obama has said he supports) and who supports eliminating a law that denies federal financial aid to students with drug convictions. "We all know that the War on Drugs is failing because handcuffs don't cure addictions -- doctors do," reads the petition. "You have the opportunity to bring us the change we need. Will you?"