Huffington Post Reporter Asks Eric Holder Why Obama Was Less Than Truthful to Rolling Stone About Marijuana Laws

It turns out Attorney General Eric Holder attended the White House Correspondents' dinner after all. Stranger still, while there Holder answered a question from the Huffington Post about President Obama's less-than-truthful comment on his supposed inability to stop the Department of Justice from cracking down on medical marijuana suppliers.

Maybe the Huffington Post deserved that Pulitzer! (Well, except for the fact that Holder was their guest for the evening which is problematic). But here's the passage from HuffPo on the Rolling Stone interview which Mike Riggs delightfully skewered for its general softball quality, last week. One of the few real questions that the magazine managed to ask, however, was hey, what's the deal with this continued drug war thing? Well:

Speaking with Rolling Stone, the president tried to explain his original comments, claiming that the recent pressure on dispensaries and providers was in line with his intent.

"What I specifically said was that we were not going to prioritize prosecutions of persons who are using medical marijuana," Obama said. "I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana -- and the reason is, because it's against federal law."

The president continued: "I can't nullify congressional law. I can't ask the Justice Department to say, 'Ignore completely a federal law that's on the books.' What I can say is, 'Use your prosecutorial discretion and properly prioritize your resources to go after things that are really doing folks damage.' As a consequence, there haven't been prosecutions of users of marijuana for medical purposes."

Jacob Sullum had some words for the president last week as well, namely "Obama is full of shit. During his campaign, it is true, he often referred to medical marijuana users. But he also promised to leave suppliers alone."

But here's Huffpost managing to actually ask about the president's evasions on the issue:

[A] HuffPost reporter noted to Holder that Obama's reference to "congressional law" was misleading because the executive branch could simply remove marijuana from its "schedule one" designation, thereby recognizing its medical use.

"That's right," Holder said.

After Kimmel's speech, a Holder deputy told HuffPost that there was no coordinated war on medical marijuana, but that some individual clinics were breaking both state and federal laws.

Just Say Now's blog at FireDogLake adds:

It is very important that Attorney General Holder himself admits that Obama’s “can’t nullify Congressional law” statement is completely misleading, because the relevant section of the Controlled Substance Actspecifically gives him, the Attorney General, the power to implement a process to reschedule cannabis administratively.

Even Obama’s Attorney General admits there is nothing forcing the administration to wage a war on medical marijuana and nothing stopping the administration from making medical marijuana legal under federal law. This is an active choice the administration is making.

It certainly is. But Holder, it seems, was out that evening just "to have fun." It was nice of him to pause and admit that his boss is indeed full of shit. Hopefully both of them enjoyed Jimmy Kimmel's stand-up.

Mike Riggs on the Obama administration's same old, same old plans for fighting the let's-not-call-it-war-on-drugs.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    ....same old, same old plans for fighting the let's-not-call-it-war-on-drugs.

    Wars are police actions and police actions are wars.

  • juris imprudent||

    Needs MOAR kinetic!

  • Hyperion||

    What I can say is, 'Use your prosecutorial discretion and properly prioritize your resources to go after things that are really doing folks damage.'

    Huh? WTF does that mean? That doesn't make any sense at all in this context. People operating shops that are perfectly legal in the state they are operating in , are doing folks real damage? Selling an herb? The guy just talks pure non-sense all of the time and people believe it is of substance?

  • ||

    To the fawning, brainless partisans, their objects of worship can say anything and all they hear is "who wants cake"?

    They all do. They all want cake.

  • ||

    But...but...FREE HEALTHCARE! MEDICAL CARE IS A RIGHT! I suppose more options in the TX of chronic pain and other debilitating ailments isn't on the menu of our cheeky, beleaguered, tragically hip Pestilence.

    What's even more astounding is for once, they are bass ackwardly telling the truth. If this administration is going to rule this way on one, one, aspect of medical care that is under their direct control, just imagine how well they will do with another term when conceivably (and IMO most likely) ObamneyCare is full metal implemented.

  • ||

    To be honest, doc, it's kinda scary to think about it. The megalomania and casual attempts at controlling so very much are already fucking scary, but what happens when there's no more worrying about being re-elected and this is their last chance to do it?

  • Killazontherun||

    I'll be paying in illegal cash at your black market biopunk lab, doc.

  • ||

    Not in this country. Being brutally honest, I'm terrified of the DEA, with the IRS a close second. There are other alphabet soup agencies that get some berth, both state and fed, but those two are pretty much numero uno.

  • Killazontherun||

    It's a damn shame a man who has paid his dues has to watch his back to make a living but that is the world we live in.

  • Tman||

    I would enjoy the schadenfreude currently on display by the left over President Not My Fault and his lies a little more if it hadn't been so utterly predictable.

    It's less fun this way.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    Schadenfreude would also come easier if people were more disappointed and less alarmingly partisan and full of excuses.

  • Jerry||

    "I blame cognitive dissonance."

  • Tman||

    Which, sadly enough, was also completely predictable.

    I got caught in a Youtube tunnel today after looking for a link of Friedman talking about Keynes earlier during the Paul vs. Krugnuts threads, and found this great video I hadn't seen before- Thomas Sowell Dismantles Egalitarianism (Frances Fox Piven Edition).

    The most depressing part of this video is that Piven still peddles her inane bullshit to this day, despite the fact that over 40 years ago her entire philosophy was completely destroyed by folks like Friedman and Sowell.

    They just NEVER. FUCKING. LEARN.

  • John||

    Piven is an idiot. So I can't blame her for doing what she does. But I will blame the idiots in academia who hire her and listen to her.

    And damn did Sowell have a styling afro back in the day.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    It should be pointed out that Piven's bs has worked very well for her.

    She's had a comfortable life as a parasite attacking the system that supported her.

  • Killazontherun||

    She looks like she is about to hand out six packs on Halloween.

  • John||

    Why are communists always so physically repulsive?

  • Killazontherun||

    The ugliness on the inside corrupts their DNA and supporting ribonucleic structures overtime I would hazard to guess.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    E.g., Nancy Pelosi.

  • fried wylie||

    Why are communists always so physically repulsive?

    Why are ugly people such control freaks? Oh, duh, the lack of sex.

  • Killazontherun||

    She basically said, 'Damn it! I demand power for myself and those of my class because there exist poor people.'

    It was almost . . . honest.

  • John||

    She said people are born into a lower place and it is her job to control them. What a pig.

  • Tman||

    Even more repugnant is her desire to "speak for black people" to A BLACK PERSONS FACE and tell him he's wrong about what he thinks.

    The impulse to accept that you might not know what it best for others is apparently one that is non-functioning in jerks like these.

  • John||

    Sowell isn't a real black person in Piven's eyes. He thinks for himself. And we can't have that. Piven is just a dishonest version of the old colonial white supremacists. At least the old colonials were honest about their contempt for who they thought were the lower races.

  • Len Bias||

    "Even more repugnant is her desire to "speak for black people" to A BLACK PERSONS FACE and tell him he's wrong about what he thinks."

    When Sowell said that in polls, Black people don't want things like affirmative action, quotas, etc..., she started to reply the LEADERSHIP of the Black Community wants otherwise, because obviously Black people need to be spoken for. A Black leader must always know better than the vast majority of actual Black people, apparently.

  • Tman||

    Len (who destroyed my childhood hopes of restoring the Celtics dynasty) Bias,

    Here's a bonus video from my trip through the tunnel.

    Sowell destroys yet another ridiculous white person telling what's best for black people.

    Skip to 3:35 for the good stuff-

    Thomas Sowell ~ Enough Said

  • Len Bias||

    Nice to see him point out the meaninglessness of the word "diversity."

    I can't help but think those two women WANT there to be a predestined group at the bottom and want to make sure that group stays there. Otherwise, people in that group might ignore bureaucrats and pull themselves out of poverty. Can't have that.

  • ||

    There are a number of videos of sowell taking piven apart. In a couple of them piven is visibly angry and humiliated to the point of being speechless. Whenever I feel despair about the state of things, it is refreshing to watch them again.

    We need more Thomas Sowells.
    You are right Tman, they never fucking learn.

  • Spoonman.||

    I am reading The Road to Serfdom at the moment, and what's amazing is that Hayek dismantled most of the corporatist and socialist arguments we hear today back in 1941. But the statists just ignored him because the truth was inconvenient.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Bastiat's anti-socialist arguments were made in 1850. There is nothing new under the sun, etc.

  • TELLMOFF||

    Obama campaigned on change. He lied to get votes. "Less-than-truthful" sugar coates his lying.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "He lied to get votes"

    Nooooooo. I can't believe it. Well, he certainly want do that this time. Mitt either.

  • ||

    I'm willing to give him a 2nd chance. But that's it!

  • AlmightyJB||

    won't

  • db||

    wont

  • ||

    First one was more correct, if slightly grammatically butchered.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Hello, we're the World Police. We have come to save you from your drug use. First we will shoot your dog, then we will appropriate your assets, then we will imprison you. Your welcome.

  • ||

    ...have a nice day. :-)

  • Mr. FIFY||

    ...and nothing else happened.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Holder was just ducking you, Lucy. He probably had a new suit and didn't want you to "accidentally spill" your Beltwayinsidertini on him.

  • ||

    Beltwayinsidertini

    I wonder what the recipe is for that.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Beltwayinsidertini

    Makes one oversized, very dirty serving.

    4 oz gin
    2 tbsp dry vermouth
    6 tbsp olive juice
    1 US $100 bill

    1. Place an ice cube and a small amount of water in an oversized cocktail glass. Place in freezer for 2 - 3 minutes.

    2. Fill a mixer with all ingredients including garnish. Cover and pay union-approved designated shaker to shake hard 3 - 4 times.

    3. Remove oversized cocktail glass from freezer, and empty. Replace freezer after every use. Strain contents of the mixer into the cocktail glass, garnish with newly-printed $100 bill at taxpayer expense.

  • ||

    4. Set cocktail on fire, throw away contents and glass.

    5. Begin again.

  • fried wylie||

    3.5. shake it again yourself, properly this time.

  • fried wylie||

    *2.5, dammit

  • ||

    Beltwayinsidertini? Are you implying Lucy is a girl drink drunk? I thought it was already clearly established that Lucy's drink of choice is Cisco.

  • Hugh Akston||

    How many KITH videos are you going to grace us with today?

  • ||

    AS MANY AS I FEEL LIKE.

  • Ted S.||

    I didn't know Gene Thimmonth hath a lithp.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Also, I'm a little disappointed that Cisco comes in every flavor but Purple.

  • ||

    Dude, just mix together the red and the blue and viola, purple. Where would you be without me to explain these things to you?

  • Hugh Akston||

    I'd probably end up like my dad.

  • ||

    This was you, wasn't it, Hugh.

  • ||

    Nice one epi.

  • Ted S.||

  • fried wylie||

    strangely, the beverage violates both additive and subtractive color mixing.

  • Sevo||

    "'Use your prosecutorial discretion and properly prioritize your resources to go after things that are really doing folks damage.' As a consequence, there haven't been prosecutions of users of marijuana for medical purposes."

    Nope, just those who provide the meds.
    I'm sure some politico could come up with a sleazier response, but I'm not gonna hold my breath looking for it.

  • LarryA||

    'Use your prosecutorial discretion and properly prioritize your resources to go after things that are really doing folks damage.'

    Great idea. He can shoot his own dog, but how can he place himself under arrest?

  • John||

    Don't worry. Come November it will be cool to complain about medical marijuana raids again.

  • Len Bias||

    Along with illegal wars, out of control spending, crony capitalism, deportation of immigrants, civil liberties abuses, Guantanamo and all the other evils that apparently went on hiatus starting January 2009.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Isn't it obvious? He pretended to be a reformer to get the Big Chair and the extra-spiffy teleprompter, but the long and short of it is that the War on Drugs is one of the biggest pork-barrel schemes of all time. No way in hell any big-government douchebag would ever make a move at stopping that gravy train.

    -jcr

  • Sevo||

    "No way in hell any big-government douchebag would ever make a move at stopping that gravy train."

    Calc's:
    Are the brain-deads who elected me going to vote against me since I lied? Not likely; I'm for 'hope and change!', and they suck it up!
    Are those profiting by the WOD going to vote against me if I call a halt? You bet!
    Obvious answer; screw 'em. I can lie through my teeth and get elected!

  • Killazontherun||

  • John||

    Just how many MacBooks can one kid pee on? Makes me wonder just how much the school is overpaying for the things. $36,000 is a lot of money.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I'll bet he was given a participation medal, and then sent to a grief counselor.

  • ||

    I don't know if schools are overpaying for their computers, but I spoke to my son's PE coach the other day. He mentioned that the elementary school provides him with a brand-new laptop each year (he has to return the previous years' computer). Apparently it comes from some grant money that they're trying to find ways to spend.

  • fried wylie||

    meanwhile my company laptop is a celeron, born circa 2001.

  • DA||

    Ugh. I'd be begging my bosses for a new(er) laptop. I'd even pay out of pocket for it, let the IT guys restrict admin privileges or whatever, but an 11 year old laptop would drive me crazy.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Here's how it is with Team Blue and their views on drug laws:

    Though they would love to fully support states which have passed their own drug laws, doing so would conflict with their "states rights = teh raaaaaacism" template; letting states set their own drug policy might encourage said states to set MORE of their own policies, and that gets in the way of the goal of centralized one-size rule from D.C.... and they can't be havin' with that.

    Oh, and they're liars and thieves who love power. But then again, water is wet.

  • John||

    It is worse than that. They love the drug laws. It doesn't affect them. You think all the little bastards working in the media, or academia or in Congress are ever going to get arrested for the drugs they use? Fuck no. But having the drug laws gives them more power to control the lesser classes and gives more power to the state, which is what they want.

    You want to end the drug war, start mandatory testing in every newsroom and Congressional office in America.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    If I ever get asked to piss in a bottle, I will say "only if you use it for a taste test".

  • John||

    They test the military. They ought to test the members and staff in Congress. And prosecute the hell out of anyone who comes up hot.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Oh, I agree.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I should have said "some of Team Blue", John. The ones who haven't turned into Drug Worriers, I mean.

  • SIV||

    All TEAM BLUE are drug warriors. Remember the Cali mj legalization proposition? The only newspapers and elected officials to support it were TEAM RED.

  • fried wylie||

    *And fire the asses of anyone who comes up hot.

    Since USE isn't actually ILLEGAL. Then they can get arrested the next time they try and get their fix without being a member of the protected ruling class.

  • Spartacus||

    "Dr. Spartacus, will you provide a urine sample?"

    "Sure, just open wide and say 'Aaaahhh' ."

    Tenure rocks.

  • The Derider||

    I've been consistently disappointed by Obama on this issue. I think he's too worried about taking a political hit here--and I don't think it would be a losing issue in the long run. But he's planning running in just one more election in his lifetime. He doesn't have an incentive to lose votes on a long term strategy.

  • Sevo||

    So he's a sleaze bag every bit as principled as W?
    And worse, given Obamacare.

  • Sevo||

    Oh, and I'm sure you'll vote for him again, right?

  • Nyarlathotep||

    Is there a political equivalent to battered wife syndrome? Barry lied his ass off for the past 3+ years and yet somehow *this* election he really, really means it?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    But... but... it's raaaaaacist to say that blacks only vote for Democrats! OR Barry!

    /libsnark

  • John||

    He is so worried about votes. That is why he will be changing so much in a second term if there is one. You really believe that bullshit?

    And he was willing to give away the worst defeat in a 150 years for health care. He openly states that he is willing to lose votes for what he believes in. Yet, he hasn't done shit about the drug war.

    Face it dude, Obama is a lying sack of shit.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    And, likely, Obama's eventual replacement (if there isn't some "emergency" of such magnitude that Barry finds a way to suspend elections "until the crisis is over") will be another lying sack of shit.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Of course, there's that pesky thought of "would enough troops go along with rounding up their fellow citizens?" argument, but never put anything past a Team. They can find a way to get what they really want... a United States under an iron fist.

  • ||

    I;ve read and heard that meme, "what would our troops do" discussed no less than three times in the last week.

  • John||

    At least the Republicans admit their love of the drug war.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    The sensible ones don't love it, John. But there aren't enough sensible Team members to fill a Denny's booth.

  • John||

    I guess there is something less repulsive about having them say "we hate drugs" and be honest about it than what the Dems do.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I mean the tiny handful of either Team who don't buy into the War on Naughtiness Via Certain Chemicals.

  • Len Bias||

    "(if there isn't some "emergency" of such magnitude that Barry finds a way to suspend elections "until the crisis is over"

    Glad I'm not the only one who's had this thought.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I'm surprised 9/11 didn't trigger it.

  • Len Bias||

    Idk, I think Bush was pretty glad to go when his time came up. Not so sure Obama will be so willing to concede after 4/8 years.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Yeah, shithead that he was, Bush didn't have "dictator for life" as part of his internal programming.

    Barry, OTOH... yeah, I could see that.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Good time to whip out a reference to the Evil Overlord Checklist:

    http://www.eviloverlord.com/lists/overlord.html

  • Len Bias||

    As much as Barry seems to hate his job, he'll still have trouble imagining anyone else with it.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Well, there's always the missus... she seems to crave dominion as much as he does.

  • ||

    Who is the only Celtic under six feet?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Wow... asking that question on The Google made it freeze up.

  • ||

    It's an old Len Bias joke.

  • wareagle||

    As much as Barry seems to hate his job,...

    it's never been about the job, per se, it's about the title, the trappings, the fawning, and the other window dressing. Like him or not, Clinton was a bona fide wonk; he loved the details of policy. Reagan was more broad strokes but actually wanted to do something beyond being king. And W grabbed onto terror and the right forgave him everything else.

    Barry's biggest disappointment is he will no longer be able to campaign, his record will be in full view of anyone who wishes to review it, and he won't be able to fly separately from Marie to vacation. Ideally, he should become inconsequential, like Carter, but he'll keep getting a pass from the thrill-up-my-leg crowd.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    D'oh. Ya got me, Epi. Then again, I don't follow basketball, as it has almost zero football/hockey-level violence.

  • PantsFan||

    Those LA Kings are something.

  • Killazontherun||

    Some free advice for Democrats. Not trying to trip you up. You need to hear this, stop hating the private sector every chance you get.

    Here in the comments to this article on Seals slamming the president, where a loyal subject defends his leader is a knee jerk anti-private sector reaction tagged on the end. I ask you was it necessary?

    The credit-taking by leadership is nothing new. Bush actively campaigned in '04 saying that electing Republicans was necessary to ensure safety. They repeatedly said the Democrats were going to appease the enemy and were not going to see that the war on terror was carried out as effectively. Under the GOP watch we entered two protracted wars under false pretenses, we brought the economy to the brink of failure and we failed to systematically eliminate the real leaders of terror. Under Obama, all of that has changed. For the better. The military has gotten more resources and been much more effective. Yes, it is true that the fine military front line fighters carry out the work and deserve 90% of the credit, but the leadership certainly counts. It is important to note it was the military that succeeded, NOT the private contractors favored by Bush, Cheney and the GOP.

    - Tominstl, St Louis, Mo,

    You believe in the two party war, so why are the SEALS so deserving of respect but you have only contempt for the mercenaries who died fighting it?

  • Killazontherun||

  • Coeus||

    Anyone want to guess what the cops at policeone think about that cop in NJ who stopped the random beatdown by two other cops and is getting run out of town for it? Common, I'll give you two guesses, only one of which you'll need.

  • Gerholdt||

    What has he ever told the truth about, other than "I want to be re-elected"? OK, "Bin Laden is dead", the one thing he's done right. And even that was just finishing up the hunt that W set in motion.

  • OC in DC||

    Not sure why this is so bad?

    It helps keep the right people in jail. Jails are now privately run and private industry makes money off of them. Prison labor helps lower labor costs in the private market and enables employers to force workers to take less and not be so damn greedy.

    Were it not for the cost to the tax payer and that it could be done cheaper, this is a solid fucking winner for business and conservatives.

    As for the mercs, they, like all private contractors, actually cost far more than their government counter parts. It's not cost effective at all. now, I'm all for contractors even though they deliver less service at more cost because we are taking out money out of the government and back to those of us from whom it was stolen. But let's not pretend that private contractors is anything more than "pay twice as much for half the job" nine times out of ten

  • OC in DC||

    Not sure why this is so bad?

    It helps keep the right people in jail. Jails are now privately run and private industry makes money off of them. Prison labor helps lower labor costs in the private market and enables employers to force workers to take less and not be so damn greedy.

    Were it not for the cost to the tax payer and that it could be done cheaper, this is a solid fucking winner for business and conservatives.

    As for the mercs, they, like all private contractors, actually cost far more than their government counter parts. It's not cost effective at all. now, I'm all for contractors even though they deliver less service at more cost because we are taking out money out of the government and back to those of us from whom it was stolen. But let's not pretend that private contractors is anything more than "pay twice as much for half the job" nine times out of ten

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Excellent troll. I'll give it an 8. It would have been 9 if there had been someone around to bite on the bait.

  • Killazontherun||

    Yep. It was pretty much a wasted effort. Kind of sad to see. I can only imagine how much time the person spent avoiding any semblance of fact or logic to make this up out of whole cloth.

    BTW, mercs get paid more upfront, but the cost of maintaining a soldier, particularly a special forces soldier, are far greater than the difference between the pay of a merc versus that of a soldier. As for the less service claim, just wow. Awesome trolling. Mark Shields level trolling when he explained why the federalization of airport security would produce a more professional and efficient security service at the airports.

    As I've stated before, I don't believe in prisons, private or public being justifiable. I don't see why I should be punished for your criminal behavior. That is between you and your victims.

  • Ralph Wylie||

    I just can't get that picture of Obama smoking a joint with his fedora on and his devious grin and not think, "Is this asshole really that same stoner that's our president?"
    His new campaign slogan is "Forward." It should be "Barackackwards"

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement