Although medical marijuana dispensaries are subject to possible misuse (an inevitable consequence of outlawing something tens of millions of Americans use), there is much evidence that marijuana not only provides relief to cancer patients but also “has the ability of switching off DNA that cause some cancers to spread.” It thus seems inhumane and wholly unnecessary to deny cancer sufferers from a substance that has been proven to help them. Obama, at one point, seemed to agree.
Back when he was running in 2008, Obama said he supported the “basic concept of using medical marijuana for the same purposes and with the same controls as other drugs” and that he was “not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws.”
This stance was dramatically, and inexplicably, reversed.
For a while, the feds tended to look the other way—until last year, when the Obama administration began stepping up enforcement of a law that supersedes the writs of the 17 states that have legalized marijuana. The Controlled Substances Act, which classifies pot as a “schedule one” drug on par with cocaine, makes it illegal to sell or possess it.
Now, the federal crackdown appears to be expanding. On Tuesday, officials raided several pot shops in Los Angeles and sent letters to dozens more warning them to close or face criminal charges. Last week, the DEA raided one of Oregon’s largest medical marijuana operations. In Washington, U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan sent a threatening letter last month (PDF) to 23 pot dispensaries identified as being within 1,000 feet of a school, prompting many of them to close. And in Colorado, 57 dispensaries have quit so far this year after the U.S. attorney there announced it would prosecute shops that were deemed too close to schools.
Given that many conservatives, including Paul Ryan, are content to defer to state laws on this issue, there seems to be no political advantage to shutting down dispensaries. Obama’s reversal on medical marijuana policy ignores scientific evidence, denies cancer patients a helpful treatment, circumvents state laws, eliminates small businesses, and ignores the reality of widespread recreational marijuana use (something Obama and his “Choom Gang” are well aware of). As conservative Obama supporter Andrew Sullivan wrote:
If Obama wins, and refuses to rein in the FDA, we will have to go to war with him and his party on this. No government has the right to restrict any citizen’s use of a plant for her own health. I cannot see how this right over our own bodies - when no one else is affected - isn’t an inalienable one.