Often before more youthful crowds when the question of marijuana legalization arises, President Barack Obama displays an annoying habit: He chuckles.
At an online town hall event sponsored by YouTube the president acknowledged the most submitted question was about marijuana legalization. He chuckled before he dismissed the issue. Once more at a similar forum sponsored by Reddit.com, of the top 100 questions asked, all of them were about marijuana legalization.
The president chose this opportunity to mock the issue rather than address it and to draw chortles from a cretinous crowd.
Oh, those silly stoners he must think, who say that marijuana legalization would help the poor economy, alleviate our overpopulated prisons and aid municipalities and states in fiscal distress. How silly.
It isn’t a joke.
Harvard University professor Jeffrey Miron published a study in 2005 titled “The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition.” In the study he details that if marijuana was legalized, taxed and regulated as many other taboo substances are, it could potentially save and accrue revenues of $14 billion per annum.
The report was endorsed by hundreds of economists, notably Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, all of who saw the potential to use that $14 billion on useful economic policies rather than the enforcement of bad policies.
Professor Michelle Alexander of Ohio State University authored “The New Jim Crow” in 2010: A treatise on how the war on drugs has been a war waged “almost exclusively in poor communities of color.”
It invokes the irony that the first black president, who admitted (unlike former President Bill Clinton) that he did inhale, would oversee the most severe crackdown on marijuana. Obama has not only been ironfisted in his crackdown on recreational marijuana use, but also medical marijuana use by the chronically ill.
Gov. Christine Gregoire of Washington and Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island petitioned the federal government in November 2011 to reclassify marijuana as a drug with accepted medical uses as reported by The New York Times.
“The divergence in state and federal law creates a situation where there is no regulated and safe system to supply legitimate patients who may need medical cannabis,” read the petition submitted to Michele Leonhart, administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
In June 2011, the DEA rejected a previous petition to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II controlled substance, and the federal government has continued to prosecute users of medical marijuana. Prosecutions that Obama promised he would not carry out if elected president of the United States.
This election cycle more than five states have marijuana legalization on their ballots for 2012, two of which, Ohio and Colorado, are swing states.
In Colorado, amendment 64 would make it legal for adults to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. Two amendments will appear on Ohio’s ballots, one of which would allow for medical marijuana use and the other to establish a commission to regulate its distribution.
The Wall Street Journal, which published an article titled “Democrats Look to Cultivate Pot Vote in 2012,” accurately described the strategy of the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party for their often shunned constituency: younger voters who use marijuana.
Obama hopes those silly stoners will help him win another presidential term, while he subtly threatens them with a 10-year prison term for what shouldn’t be a crime.
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