President Obama: No To Decriminalization, Yes To More War On Some Drugs
July 25th, 2011 By: Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director
Ironic kudos to Political Rhetoric graduate student ‘Steve’ from the University of Maryland for asking President Obama last Friday a spot on and searing rhetorical question from the Millennial generation about our country’s need to end the nation’s longest war…the failed war on some drugs.
Steve gets it. The audience gets it. According to all polling, in excess of 90% of U.S. citizens broadly believe the ‘war on drugs’ is a failure (75% support medical access to cannabis. 73% support decriminalizing adult possession for cannabis; and 46% support cannabis legalization outright).
When will the two major political parties and presidents—like Obama—get it?
According to polling last week, President Obama is quickly falling out of favor with the Millennial generation that helped sweep him to power in 2008. Lest President Obama forget who brought him to the dance, he might want to look at the clear discontent—across all party lines—with the way the federal government has been conducting drug warring, notably its full-throat perpetuation of antiquated and tax-draining Cannabis Prohibition policies.
Instead, he should deliver a clear message for supporting a system of legally controlling cannabis, rather than deny economic reality, waste taxpayers’ money and constantly face embarrassing questions about a failed public policy that has long festered in the public’s mind.
President Obama should endorse a ‘drug peace’ where cannabis is legally controlled like alcohol products; patients can access a safe and non-toxic naturally occurring medicine; and farmers, entrepreneurs and consumers in America can benefit from industrial hemp production.
President Obama, NORML and tens of millions of cannabis consumers and lovers of liberty ask you not to re-commit us to war against ‘weed’, but, instead, to re-think the leaf.
By David Edwards of Raw Story
President Barack Obama said Friday that the U.S. would not be ending its war on drugs under his watch.
“Much is being asked of our generation,” a doctoral student named Steve told the president at a town hall event in Maryland. “So, when are our economic perspectives going to be addressed? For example, when is the war on drugs in society going to be abandoned and be replaced by a more sophisticated and cost effective program of rehabilitation such as the one in Portugal?”
“I have stated repeatedly — and it’s actually reflected in our most recent statement by our office of drug policy — that we need to have an approach that emphasizes prevention, treatment, a public health model for reducing drug use in our country,” Obama said. “We’ve got to put more resources into that. We can’t simply focus on interdiction because, frankly, no matter how good of a job we’re doing when it comes to an interdiction approach, if there is high demand in this country for drugs, we are going to continue to see not only drug use but also the violence associated with the drug trade.”
After several minutes of explaining U.S. efforts to help Mexico fight transnational drug dealers, the president got to the point.
“Just to make sure that I’m actually answering your question, am I willing to pursue a decriminalization strategy as an approach? No.”
“But I am willing to make sure that we’re putting more resources on the treatment and prevention side,” Obama added.
Watch the video from MSNBC, broadcast July 22, 2011