Ending the War on Pot Would Help Complete Martin Luther King's Call for Civil Rights

Today is a national holiday that commemorates the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the larger civil rights movement of which he was such an important part.

America and the world has changed a great deal since King was shot in 1968, most of it for the better. Certainly, the country is a far more hospitable place for African Americans than it was in King's day.

I hope that President Obama's recent comments on marijuana legalization augur the beginning of the end of the drug war, which causes for more disruption in the black community than the sort of overt racism King fought against.

As Jacob Sullum noted eariler today, the president candidly told The New Yorker than pot is no more dangerous than booze and that the war on pot is prosecuted in such a way that minorities, especially African Americans, are arrested and prosecuted for drug crimes at far higher rates than whites. "I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol," said Obama of weed, and he cheered on legalization in states such as Colorado and Washington: "It’s important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”

About 750,000 people a year get arrested for pot, with more than eight in 10 being charged only with simple possession. Almost half of prisoners in federal prisoners are in for drug offenses and for most of its existence, the Obama administration has prosecuted medical marijuana dispensaries in California with far more energy than even George W. Bush did. It's within the president's power - power that he is happy exceed when it comes to waging wars overseas and in other circumstances - to start the reclassification of pot from a Schedule 1 drug, but he refuses to (a schedule 1 drug is deemed to have a high potential for abuse, no known or accepted use as medicine).

If Obama is in any way serious about ending the war on pot, he's got a lot to work with. Yet in his New Yorker interview, he immediately pivots lauding the state-based experiments in legalization to speculating about what terrors it will wreak: 

If marijuana is fully legalized and at some point folks say, Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka, are we open to that? If somebody says, We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of meth, it isn’t going to kill you or rot your teeth, are we O.K. with that?”

Look, if Obama really thinks pot is no more dangerous than alcohol and that the war on pot systematically screws over blacks, why should there be any hesitation in liberalizing the federal policies over which he has control? And using the bully pulpit to push for broader legislative change at the federal and state level? What is he waiting for: a third term? One of the very most frustrating things about Obama is that he is still acting as if he just moved into the White House and is sorting through all the mess left behind by the previous tenant. He's in his sixth year as president!

Time to start moving, Mr. President! Especially on an issue on which 58 percent of Americans agree.

It would be a great way to add to the civil rights legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and others.

Here are some of Reason's writings about King and other movement leaders (more links at bottom of post).

Justice for All: The new Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial honors King’s universal commitment to justice.

 | October 14, 2011

...it’s fitting that the memorial’s sole quotation directly referencing race contextualizes the subject within King's broader project. "If we are to have peace on earth,” the memorial reads, “our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalty must transcend our race, our tribe, our class and our nation, and this means we must develop a world perspective."  

In the minds of too many Americans, King is primarily a “black” leader and the civil rights movement he has come to embody is principally the endowment of black Americans. But that view inappropriately qualifies the man and the movement. King wasn't narrowly interested in race; he was broadly committed to justice....

Read the whole piece here.

A Fitting Tribute to Medgar Evers: America honors the civil rights hero.

 | November 14, 2011

Each civil rights leader had his own role to play in the struggle for integration. Thurgood Marshall was the lawyer. Martin Luther King, Jr., the inspiring orator. And Medgar Evers was the martyr.

Evers was the field secretary of the Mississippi NAACP. After President Kennedy had given a nationally televised civil rights speech on June 11, 1963, Evers’s wife had let their three children stay up past midnight to wait up for their father, who was returning from a strategy meeting. At about 12:20, they heard the sound of his car, which they recognized. Then they heard the car door open, and then the sound of a rifle shot.

The children kept crying “Daddy, get up, please get up,” as their father bled to death.

Medgar Evers was back in the news over the weekend with the U.S. Navy’s christening, at San Diego, of the USNS Medgar Evers, a 689-foot, $500 million new dry cargo/ammunition ship. There were remarks by the secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, a former governor of Mississippi. And by Medgar Evers’s widow, Myrlie, who said, ““I will not have to go to bed ever again wondering whether anyone will remember who Medgar Evers is.”...

Read the whole story here.

Dream Interpretation: The March On Washington's enduring legacy

 | August 25, 2003

...[MLK's "I have a dream"] speech also lent momentum to two of the most consequential pieces of civil rights legislation in American history, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Civil Rights Act outlawed state-sanctioned and enforced racial discrimination in the form of Jim Crow laws. For example, it allowed blacks to come down out of that theatre balcony in Bristol Virginia. The Voting Rights Act insured that Southern blacks who were being systematically denied the franchise by corrupt voter registration officials would have access to the ballot box.

Sure, these laws are not perfect. For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act has been interpreted as authorizing the creation of affirmative action programs. This despite the fact that Senator Hubert Humphrey (D-MN) declared specifically that Title VII "would prohibit preferential treatment for any particular group," and famously promised that if this turned out to be wrong that he would eat the pages on which the statute was printed. I wonder if the Senator would have liked the pages sautéed or with a nice béchamel? And yes, the Voting Rights Act has led to "racial gerrymandering." Still, we are a far better, and fairer country because of those laws.

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the only remaining speaker from the 1963 march, told the Washington Post, "I wish Dr. King could see the progress that we have made, see the distance that we have come."...

Read the whole thing here.

Like Henry David Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience," King's "Letter From Birmingham Jail" remains a touchstone in American political rhetoric and is always worth reading on a day like this (or any other, for that matter). A snippet:

Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.

I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire.

Whole text. Read about its composition and more here.

Reason contributor Thaddeus Russell's contrarian take on MLK here.

Damon Root on Moorfield Storey, the libertarian lawyer and "Grover Cleveland Democrat" who helped start the NAACP.

Reason on civil rights.

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  • Rich||

    "If marijuana is fully legalized and at some point folks say, Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka, are we open to that? If somebody says, We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of meth, it isn’t going to kill you or rot your teeth, are we O.K. with that?”

    Are we OK with baby steps in the WoD?

  • R C Dean||

    Why wouldn't we be OK with recreational drugs that aren't harmful?

  • waffles||

    You're being unreasonable. Surely there is harm in deriving pleasure from chemical sources? Isn't that what this is about? Pleasure is bad.

  • ||

    So when will alcohol be outlawed?

  • waffles||

    1920. And the CDC recommends you limit your drinking to avoid the deleterious alcohol high. Consuming enough alcohol to be buzzed or drunk is immoral.

  • ||

    I get it. I was just trying to be sarcastic from your sarcastic come back.

  • ||

  • gaoxiaen||

    I only drink (double) shots of tequila for the taste.

  • CE||

    I don't always drink to get drunk. But when I do, I don't drink Dos Equis.

  • CE||

    I actually like Dos Equis, it just takes too long.

  • SQRLSY One||

    If marijuana is fully legalized and at some point folks say, Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka, are we open to that? If somebody says, We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of meth, it isn’t going to kill you or rot your teeth, are we O.K. with that?”

    Well yeah, if "pot" is legalized and the Local Galactic Cluster does not implode, then heck yeah, the above is exactly what we should do! Obama the duh-head! Obama, please resign, we have plenty of THINKING people willing to do your job!

  • Cannabidial||

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    http://www.cannabidial.com

  • DWC||

    To talk about civil rights in a society where they can jail you and destroy your life for putting proscribed substances into your own body is an absurdity. It amazes me to see that there are still a handful of people in here who accept the notion of "controlled substances".

  • Carnival||

    It's more than a handful, I'm afraid. While the majority of people are okay with cannabis legalization, if you tell almost anyone that you're in favor of legalizing, say, heroin, they will write you off as criminally insane.

  • MJGreen||

    the president candidly told The New Yorker than pot is no more dangerous than booze and that the war on pot is prosecuted in such a way that minorities, especially African Americans, are arrested and prosecuted for drug crimes at far higher rates than whites. "I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol," said Obama of weed, and he cheered on legalization in states such as Colorado and Washington: "It’s important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”

    God! It must be so frustrating to be the Most Powerful Man in the World, and yet be utterly powerless here. Damn you, War on Drugs! Why can't the President do a single thing about your atrocities!?

  • R C Dean||

    And, of course, he has the authority to de-schedule marijuana any time he wants.

    But he doesn't.

    What scum he is. It would be one thing if he were a fully-convinced Drug Warrior. But he's not. He says there's no reason to keep it illegal, that enforcement causes a lot of harm, but he nonetheless will not put pen to paper to get the feds out of the game.

  • JW||

    The bottom line is that there's no upside for a president with the moral backbone that he has.

    He already has his legacy with undoing the 8 years of BOOOOOOSH! deregulation, restarting our economy and making affordable health care available everyone, not just the rich.

    Oh, and standing up to those awful Teathuglicans. Which is all that really matters.

  • wareagle||

    just stop, Nick. Obama's words are meaningless and always have been. Quite often, they run counter to his actions. I could give a shit what he says about anything. Let's see what he directs the minions to do.

  • RBS||

    Reason should run an experiment. No more reporting on anything Obama says unless it's in association with some action on his part putting those words into practice.

  • ||

    Then they'd never report anything at all.

  • DarrenM||

    Quite often, they run counter to his actions.

    Anyone who's been around for any time should know that you discount (if not ignore) what a politician says. They'll say whatever lets them stay in office. Politicians should be judged by their actions.

    (1) Yes, there are exceptions.
    (2) In general, national-level pols are more deceiptful than local pols.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Let's see what he directs the minions to do.

    He does not "direct" them. They act in contravention to his wishes, but he is helpless to stop them.

  • Aloysious||

    He can't know how they will act until he sees how they act.

    /team blue

  • wareagle||

    and he often finds out what they have done by hearing about it on the news after the fact.

  • ||

    When prong gives talk about equality, equality before the law is not what they mean.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Smoking marijuana is not a civil right.

  • ||

    You have the right to remain silent.

  • ||

    Wait, what? Does your mom know you escaped from her rape dungeon?

  • Zeb||

    Right. It's a natural right.

  • R C Dean||

    How do you define "civil right"? If you have a purely positivist definition (its a civil right if and only if the State says it is), then fine. But it would be nice to know.

    I think a civil right means far more than what has been granted by the Total State, myself.

  • anon||

    I'd go further and say it's pretty self-evident that anything I choose to do that doesn't directly harm another person is my right.

    At least, that's what I'll tell them when they lock me up for breaking laws that I don't recognize.

  • CE||

    People always forget about the Ninth Amendment.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    See Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702 at 710-719 (1997)

  • anon||

    Smoking cock is not a civil right.

  • Loki||

    Fucking your mom isn't a civil right either, but that doesn't stop you from making her moan like a wildebeast, does it?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Smoking marijuana is not a civil right.

    Derp.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    . . . it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.

    Key quote right there. If prohibition resulted in the arrests of more whites it'd be okay.

  • R C Dean||

    If prohibition resulted in the arrest of more whites, it would be repealed.

  • anon||

    Key quote right there. If prohibition resulted in the arrests of more whites it'd be okay.

    I hold the completely opposite view; an injustice is not corrected by applying it more equally.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    One of the very most frustrating things about Obama is that he is still acting as if he just moved into the White House and is sorting through all the mess left behind by the previous tenant.

    That's been the only plan he's ever had. He ran (and won) on not being Bush or affiliated with him in any way. Then he did it again.And everything bad that happens is still somehow Bush's fault.

  • Killaz||

    The problem is our unwillingness to listen. Until we bind Bush and sacrifice him on a ceremonial pyre, the gods will not ease up on us. That is hardly Obama's fault.

  • ||

    Oh shit, I just realized that Bush is one of animist TEAM BLUE's evil totems! They need to destroy him! Of course, then Obama no longer has any excuses.

  • Killaz||

    The ceremonial pyre will be a smelter where we throw in our guns, and then lower Bush into it, and only then when both are ridden from these shores will our sins be cleansed.

  • CE||

    Do we have to burn our Bibles, too?

  • Killaz||

    By the way, I never noticed this about him before, but I'm pretty sure Harbaugh is possessed by Satan.

    http://sinfl.files.wordpress.c.....-49ers.jpg

    This one is pretty mild compared to the odd transfiguration lurking under his skin on display yesterday.

  • ||

    It's well known that Jim is a doppleganger. He's not actually a twin; he's copied the form of John Harbaugh but he's been in that skin for a long time and is losing cohesion. I'm no expert on the details behind it--I'm no nerdy wizard--but NutraSweet can probably shed some light on it.

  • Killaz||

    He's probably got the day off and is off to the beauty salon to get his toe hair clipped.

  • ||

    He has to reskin and eat a lot of animal protein before he comes back in front of the cameras. Being a doppleganger isn't easy, you know.

  • Killaz||

    He's safe for a good sixth months before he has to reemerge. Are Kaepernic's tattoos a ward against possession, or do they bind them to Harbaugh?

  • ||

    Well, they certainly aren't a ward against getting intercepted. BA DUM DUM

    Kaepernick's tattoos are of unknown origin. I have NutraSweet studying them as we speak. Once we determine what Kaepernick is, we can move in for the kill. I'll probably call Sam and Dean Winchester in as backup on this one.

  • Killaz||

    Be careful, the butthurt from fans on ESPN forums has created a temporarily invincible shield. You may have to wait until baseball season distracts them.

  • ||

    Dude, I will be feasting on butthurt for the next two weeks. It nourishes me.

  • Killaz||

    Especially the one's whining about the officials. Seriously, dudes?

  • ||

    Whining about the officials and calls is the last refuge of the absolute loser. "If a minuscule part of the game had been decided slightly differently the outcome would have been that my team won. Somehow. Also, I am a sniveling douchebag loser."

  • waffles||

    Win or lose, I can agree that you are sniveling bag of douche, but the point remains that there were questionable calls in that game.

    I am still going to root for Seattle, unless you become insufferable.

  • ||

    I thought I was already insufferable. What am I doing wrong?!?

  • Killaz||

    You don't reach insufferable until the other person realizes they have no chance to bang you.

  • R C Dean||

    Whining about the officials and calls is the last refuge of the absolute loser.

    Pretty much. I do make an exception for wrong calls that unquestionably changed the outcome of the game. This generally requires that they put points up, or take points away, on the last play of the game.

    There's usually a few of these every year. I know the Packers got tagged with one of these this year and one last year.

  • Killaz||

    Oh, Carolina definitely blew it in the second half of last weeks game. I was bitterly disappointed, as the offense is usually mediocre, two solid drives in an entire game, with a few field goals thrown in, but the key has always been the defense keeping the other team's scoring in check.

    It would not have made a difference though the officiating was just fucking awful from either team's standpoint. Them making me sympathize with Harbaugh bad.

  • RBS||

    Actually, I think whining about what a player says after the game is even worse. "whhhaaaaa!!!! Richard Sherman is soooo disrespectful...."

  • Killaz||

    I saw a lot of that too. The guy just came off the biggest play of his career, he was having a Rick Flair moment. What is the point of going into sports if you can't have Rick Flair moments?

  • CE||

    I'm pretty sure it's Pete Carroll who made the deal with Satan.

  • anon||

    That's been the only plan he's ever had. He ran (and won) on not being Bush or affiliated with him in any way. Then he did it again.And everything bad that happens is still somehow Bush's fault.

    Duh, it's management 101.

    Step 1: Blame previous manager.
    Step 2: Blame a minion.
    Step 3: Repeat steps 1-2. Repeat as necessary.

    Under no circumstances is fuckwad even capable of admitting either incompetence or negligence on his part without distributing/redirecting the blame onto someone else or a collective. I doubt the man has ever said "That's my fault. Sorry." without some kind of qualifying bullshit.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Of course, then Obama no longer has any excuses.

    Good luck with that. The man has more excuses than Carter has pills.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Who could have guessed that electing someone with no actual achievements in his life would be a mistake?

  • anon||

    I have a new theory in the WoD. I think the government doesn't want to legalize any drugs because government thinks the drugs make constituents (read:slaves) less productive, thereby reducing revenue from taxes.

    It's really the only conclusion I can come up with. Why the fuck do people care if you snort coke off a hooker's ass?

  • ||

    Because for some people, controlling other people (logic and reason have nothing to do with it) is their drug. And they're fucking addicted to it.

  • anon||

    If only there were a war on that fucking drug.

  • ||

    That's the drug of the elite, so of course there's no war on it.

  • R C Dean||

    I don't buy it, anon. We spend billions every year incentivizing low productivity, so obviously the government isn't concerned about that.

  • anon||

    I don't buy it, anon. We spend billions every year incentivizing low productivity, so obviously the government isn't concerned about that.

    Those are vote buying schemes though. They need money to buy those votes.

  • Loki||

    Why the fuck do people care if you snort coke off a hooker's ass?

    Because snorting coke off a hooker's ass might make someone happy, and happiness is bad. These fuckers are modern day puritans, plain and simple.

  • anon||

    Because snorting coke off a hooker's ass might make someone happy

    I know just thinking about it kinda makes me happy.

  • SIV||

    Amphetamines and similar stimulants make people more productive, hence the fake illness of "adult ADHD*".

    (* not that child ADHD is any more "real")

  • CE||

    I have a new theory in the WoD. I think the government doesn't want to legalize any drugs because government thinks the drugs make constituents (read:slaves) less productive, thereby reducing revenue from taxes.

    Sort of. It's no coincidence that War on Drugs started in the 1970's, after our rulers noticed youth in the 1960's getting stoned and turning into hippies.

    But now that Colorado is raking in the tax bucks on weed, politicians has a confuse.

  • Jackand Ace||

    So tell us how the President gets MJ declassified as a Schedule 1, hmmm? Its a Schedule 1 because of the Controlled Substance Act of 1970...congressional legislation. If it is to be declassified as such, Congress will have to do it. Of course you are right, that the President can choose to selectively enforce law, but I thought that is something you rail against.

  • Loki||

    You're still mispelling your handle. Here, let me help you out: it's J-A-C-K-A-S-S

  • Jackand Ace||

    Ho ho! Good one!

  • Rotbard||

    Could have funnier!.
    Cold have been J-A-C-K-B-O-O-T!
    Har har har!

  • kbolino||

    21 USC § 811(a)

    the Attorney General may by rule—
    (1) add to such a schedule or transfer between such schedules any drug or other substance if he—
    (A) finds that such drug or other substance has a potential for abuse, and
    (B) makes with respect to such drug or other substance the findings prescribed by subsection (b) ofs ection 812 of this title for the schedule in which such drug is to be placed; or
    (2) remove any drug or other substance from the schedules if he finds that the drug or other substance does not meet the requirements for inclusion in any schedule.

    (emphasis mine)

  • Jackand Ace||

    That's right. And Congress can do it just as quick. And the legislation could be proposed by Rand Paul or any other Tea Party or Libertarian in Congress today. And yet they don't. Why?

  • ||

    How does that in any fucking way excuse Obama, who campaigned on a gentler drug war? Stop avoiding the question, lickspittle.

  • Jackand Ace||

    It doesn't. Read my post below...he could do more.

    Now lets see you answer the question...how come Libertarians in Congress do even less?

  • ||

    I'm sorry, did you see me saying that "libertarians" in Congress were our saviors or something? I expect Jack and shit out of politicians, and Jack left town. So once again I ask you: how does that in any way excuse Obama? I know moving the goalposts is your thing, but fuck you. Answer the fucking question, Obama fellator.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Try speaking like a civilized human being first.

  • ||

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    I love it.

  • Rotbard||

    Give Epi a break. He has Tourette's.

  • ||

    SHIT! FUCK! COCKSMOKER! SHIIIITTTTT!!!

  • Brian||

    Is it moving the goal posts when you're proven wrong, and change the subject to avoid it?

    Or is that just changing the subject to avoid reality?

    I can see it going both ways.

  • Jackand Ace||

    No changing of the subject, Brian...right on topic. Its fair to criticize the President (the other guy for most here), but you may want to consider holding your guy to the same standard.

    You may want to ask Rand Paul to start the ball rolling on declassifying MJ...he can do it. But he won't. And no on here will criticize him for it. Its just so easy to keep harping on the other guy.

  • M. Samuels||

    "Its just so easy to keep harping on the other guy."

    You must admit, it's a lot easier, intellectually.

  • CE||

    So we should criticize Rand Paul for not sponsoring a bill that will get killed in committee, like happened to most of his father's fine work?

    And we're supposed to lay off on Obama, who could change the scheduling with a stern phone call to the AG?

    Got it.

  • kbolino||

    That's right.

    And you were wrong.

    And Congress can do it just as quick.

    The President could write an execute order today which would at most a couple of days to carry out.

    After weeks to months of debate, the Congress might pass a bill, which would then have to be implemented by the President in the same manner as if he had changed it first himself.

    And yet they don't. Why?

    Why does the President need to have his hand forced to do what he is already capable of doing?

  • Jackand Ace||

    I'll answer for you, since you won't. Because both you and Nick know that there is no chance in hell that Congress will legalize marijuana. You may get some Democrat support (God forbid!), but you will get no Republican support including from Rand Paul.

    So take the easy way out...criticize the guy who just advocated to a minor degree your position. Completely ignore the group who disdains your position, even a Libertarian like Rand Paul.

  • kbolino||

    Rand Paul is not a libertarian, for fuck's sake. He doesn't represent me, I didn't get him elected, and I don't get a vote in his re-election.

    That he agrees with me 10% of the time instead of the usual 0-2% of most politicians does not make him mine.

    criticize the guy who just advocated to a minor degree your position.

    He has not done a damn thing differently in 6 years than his predecessors, so what he "advocates" for he clearly doesn't actually care about.

    And Rand Paul has proposed "minor degree" legislation, none of which has passed, to reduce sentences.

    That's more than the President has done, since he has pardon power over the entire country but has never chosen to exercise it for any principled reason.

  • Jackand Ace||

    It was Holder who first pressed for lighter sentencing for non-violent drug offenses, and last I looked, Holder is part of the Obama administration.

  • kbolino||

    Your rejoinder now is that the man who holds the office specifically named in 21 USC § 811 as possessing the power to reschedule drugs has not done so either?

    Wonderful, we have two useless liars.

  • SIV||

    Do you think Harry Reid would let it come to a vote?

  • Jackand Ace||

    That would be interesting. But knowing Reid he may not.

  • R C Dean||

    If it is to be declassified as such, Congress will have to do it.

    The DEA has the authority to reschedule drugs. The DEA reports to the President. Ergo, the President, through his agency, can declassify pot any time he wants. No Congress needed.

  • Jackand Ace||

    The DEA can be petitioned to re-schedule it, and the last time it took 22 years for review...not much of a solution. If Nick is serious about it, it would need to be done through Congress, unless he supports the President circumventing federal law...something he has ways to do.

  • R C Dean||

    The petition is mere formality. If there aren't any pending, there could be one by lunchtime.

    The review only takes any time because the administration wants it to take time.

    And this is not a circumvention of federal law. That's the way the law is written.

    You just keep trying to get your Prez off the hook on this, Jack. He has the authority right now, today, to legally end the War on Pot. He just won't exercise it. And not because he has some principled aversion to exercising executive power out of deference to Congress, either.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Not at all, RC. The President could in fact to more. But here is what you and Nick miss...he has done something. In fact, he has done something more than any of us could expect from any Republican President. Its a start.

    Let me ask you a question, and I would ask Nick the same. Why does Rand Paul not start the process to de-classify marijuana? Why does he not start the congressional ball moving on this? He can. And he won't.

    He himself said that he does not want kids sent to prison for it, but he thinks it makes people stupid. But if he is such a libertarian, why does he not start the process, or say anything close to what the President said?

    More importantly, why don't you and Nick ever complain about his, and every other libertarian in Congress, lack of action in this matter?

  • kbolino||

    More importantly, why don't you and Nick ever complain about his, and every other libertarian in Congress, lack of action in this matter?

    Claim: Every libertarian in Congress has taken "action in this matter".

    Proof: There are no libertarians in Congress, so the statement is vacuously true.

  • Jackand Ace||

  • kbolino||

    Is that supposed to prove something? The headline itself is a question.

  • 904cc||

    " But here is what you and Nick miss...he has done something"

    Big fucking deal, and I'd challenge your something as being show with no substance.

    "In fact, he has done something more than any of us could expect from any Republican President."

    Who cares? We're not Republicans asshole.

    "Why does Rand Paul not start the process to de-classify marijuana? "

    Who cares stop with this stupid "look over there" crap, we are discussing OBAMA.

    Are you intellectually incapable of discussing his work (apart from the so useful "it's a start" you give him credit for) that your only method of doing so is to insist he's better than people we haven't even brought up?

    Fuck off troll.

  • Jackand Ace||

    You and Nick ALWAYS discuss Obama. In fact, during the last election you spoke about Obama much more than your own candidate, Johnson.

    Here's a tip...try holding your own group to the same tough standard you always hold Obama too. Try holding Rand Paul's feet to the fire just once for something you believe in. After all, he is supposedly your advocate in Congress.

    But then, its just so much easier to complain about someone else rather than the guy Nick called the future of the Republican Party.

  • kbolino||

    Obama is the President. Rand Paul is 1/100 Senators and 1/585 Congressmen.

    I don't live in Kentucky, and so Rand Paul has no reason to give a shit about what I think, and I have no control over whether or not he is re-elected.

    But I do live in the United States, which is governed by one and only one President, and that President is Barack Obama.

    He has unilateral power to act, and has chosen not to. I judge his actions, not his words.

  • M. Samuels||

    "He [Obama] has unilateral power to act."

    Unilateral? Maybe you should re-examine the meaning of that word.

    Other two branches of government, meet "kbolino."
    He doesn't believe in you.

  • 904cc||

    " In fact, during the last election you spoke about Obama much more than your own candidate, Johnson."

    Who cares? I'm not a Libertarian asshole.

    Here's a tip for you, stop thinking that you're making a point by falling into the same stupid fucking team rhetoric that your tiny pathetic mind can't esacpe.

    I'm not what you think I am. Bald assertions get you nowhere.

    YOUR GUY IS IN CHARGE.

    That he is discussed more is not unususal, as he is the President and he is actually doing things.

    As to Rand Paul, feel free to search the threads and posts, you'll find your understanding of him and this board in relation to him is deeply flawed and ruined by your partisan stupidity.

    Why is it so difficult for you to discuss your guy?

    Are you that ashamed of him? Good, you should be.

  • Jackand Ace||

    I just posted a link above from Nick that Rand was the future of the Republican Party...is that the criticism of him you are alluding to?

    I did discuss the President. I give him credit for at least making an attempt at changing our attitudes...in fact, he used the bully pulpit, something Nick himself said he should do (and he did).

    And he could do more.

    Did I hit a nerve on daring to criticize the advocate for Libertarians in Congress, the future of the Republican Party? Not allowed here?

  • 904cc||

    "Did I hit a nerve on daring to criticize the advocate for Libertarians in Congress, the future of the Republican Party? "

    Why would you think that since I said I'm not a libertarian and the only other response said he's not from Kentucky.

    I see no defense of Paul, so, what the fuck is wrong with your reading comprehension.

    You're beginning to sound like Mary.

  • SIV||

    the guy Nick called the future of the Republican Party.

    Which one? Christie? Rubio? Jindal?

  • Loki||

    I'd challenge your something as being show with no substance.

    That's pretty much all he ever does, but his supporters are such cheap dates that empty platitudes are all it takes to keep them in line.

  • 904cc||

    You know, one of the most important lessons I ever learned about respect was that it can be earned even when you fuck up, if you're honest and willing to learn and correct your mistake.

    These fucking people can't understand that.

    What kind of gross mental distortions must you go through to think "well, well, WHAT ABOUT RAND PAUL!!!!!111one111!!!" is a counter to "Obama is crap on drug reform"?

  • Jackand Ace||

    Because drug reform is a national issue. In fact, the draconian measures that all here are so angered about come from Congress.

    Its fair to ask the President to do more. But he has done something. I would suggest you all hold equal criticism for Congress, and those who supposedly advocate for you there.

    Quite honestly, you have one person at the federal level advocating for at least some of your position. One person...Obama.

    You should complain just as loudly about your reps in Congress, particularly the guy Nick holds up as the future.

  • 904cc||

    " I would suggest you all hold equal criticism for Congress,"

    I do. I despise them. When an article comes out on them, I savage them.

    That has nothing to do with the clear, legal power Obama has, which is what this article is about, and his failure to use it.

    WHy are you incapable of discussing Obama without trying to shift focus and blame?

  • Jackand Ace||

    There is no need for me to be one additional voice here complaining about the President. Its a fact of life here. But your complaints would hold much more validity if you asked for similar production from those who supposedly are your future. And when you don't, your complaints about the other guy seem somewhat shallow.

  • kbolino||

    There is no "other guy". There is only one President and it's not an election year, you fuckwit.

  • ||

    Jackalope here is too stupid to extract itself from the TEAM mindset, folks. Here is the perfect example of a mongoloid partisan. Enjoy its nonsensical ravings, and just realize that the reason they make no sense is because it literally cannot understand that you don't belong to a TEAM.

    Man, partisans are fucking stupid.

  • Rotbard||

    "But your complaints would hold much more validity if you asked for similar production from those who supposedly are your future."

    Pretty sure you can't do that and still be a nihilist.

  • kbolino||

    I would suggest you all hold equal criticism for Congress, and those who supposedly advocate for you there.

    The Congress is elected by geographic district, not political positions.

    I have the joy of being "advocated for" by Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, both Democrats.

    I can assure that I hate both of them with a fiery passion equal if not greater in intensity to that which I direct at Barack Obama.

    But they are not liars like he is, at least not in this matter. Neither of my Senators favors drug legalization, and so I can hardly fault them for following through on their positions.

    I can and do fault them for holding erroneous positions in the first place, and I vote against them every chance I get. But they're not liars like Obama; my scorn can only match the measure of their misdeeds.

  • R C Dean||

    But here is what you and Nick miss...he has done something.

    What has he done? Press releases and interviews don't count.

    DOJ is going after medpot as hard as ever. DOJ's statement on legal pot is exactly the same as their statement on medpot. You do the math.

  • Jackand Ace||

    According to Nick it is supposed to count. Even in the above article Nick asks the President to use the bully pulpit, and he just did.

  • kbolino||

    Barack Obama was elected to be the chief executive of the United States government. He can do all the speechifying and pontificating he wants, at the end of the day his executive actions are what matters.

  • MJGreen||

    Great bully pulpit action. An interview with the New Yorker. That's going to be read by loads of people!

    Why not take a few minutes of his frequent TV appearances to talk about it?

    Or, you know, start pardoning people for doing the same thing he did as a young man.

  • CE||

    Because Rand Paul is our stealth libertarian Kochtopus presidential candidate. He has to keep the socons on board until he's elected. Then it's full-on anarchy baby. Let a truckload of pink slips get airdropped on DC on Inauguaration afternoon.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The DEA has the authority to reschedule drugs. The DEA reports to the President. Ergo, the President, through his agency, can declassify pot any time he wants. No Congress needed.

    His delicate eggshell ego cannot survive being told by a lot of career bureaucrats to go pound sand up his ass, which is exactly what would happen if he "instructed" the DEA to reschedule it.

    The U S attorneys already told him that on medical marijuana. No heads rolled.

  • Loki||

    If marijuana is fully legalized and at some point folks say, Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka, are we open to that?

    Why the fuck not? Actually there probably is, especially given how sloppily he phrased that. He didn't specify how much vodka. I'm sure there's some dose of cocaine that would be far less harmful than, say, chugging a liter of vodka. There's probably a dose that would also be no more harmful than a shot of vodka, so why not allow the sale and possession of at least small amounts of coke?

    If somebody says, We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of meth, it isn’t going to kill you or rot your teeth, are we O.K. with that?”

    There already is. Doctors prescribe methamphetamines in controlled doses for a variety of medical purposes. Is he really that stupid? Rhetorical question, I already know the answer.

  • anon||

    There already is. Doctors prescribe methamphetamines in controlled doses for a variety of medical purposes. Is he really that stupid? Rhetorical question, I already know the answer.

    The fucked up part is that it's mostly the impurities that harm your body to start with... impurities entirely created by the Government.

  • ||

    You mean like putting hepatotoxic acetaminophen in prescription opiate pills so that if someone takes too many at once they'll die from liver failure?

  • waffles||

    Sometimes you gotta shoot out a few livers to get people to know drugs are bad, k?

  • Loki||

    "Better dead than red high!"

  • Loki||

    It's also, if I understand correctly, largely the impurities in the black market meth cooked up by some hillbilly in their backyard that tend to rot teeth and kill people too. Impurities that are a direct consequence of the black market created by prohibition. Pure pharmaceutical grade meth doesn't rot people's teeth out.

  • anon||

    . Impurities that are a direct consequence of the black market created by prohibition.

    That's pretty much what I was getting at. Not just meth either though: Cocaine, LSD, X, heroin... Pretty much you name it, the negative side effects of the drugs are caused by the black market for the products, not by the actual drugs themselves. Then there's all the theft caused because people get convicted as felons for drug possession/distribution... It's just a chain of getting fucked, for the drug user.

  • 904cc||

    "that tend to rot teeth and kill people too"

    There's doesn't seem to be a consensus on the teeth thing, it seems to be largely a myth, and if it does exist, it is caused by the dry mouth/grinding tetth/poor hygiene of meth users, not anything inherent to the drug.

    But as I say, it's not clear why it happens, and the info I read is a coule years old now.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    "Certainly, the country is a far more hospitable place for African Americans than it was in King's day."

    I would argue that this is far from certain. Then they suffered from open racism. Today they suffer from the racist assumptions of the white liberals who claim to want to help them. At least in King's day they had a good idea who their enemies were.

  • Black Liberty Unchained||

    I prefer overt racism to a bunch of psuedo intellectuals talking about black people like they are infants that will die without daddy gubmints hand outs. And white liberals get more than enough help from their pet blacks who regurgitate the same stupid ideas everytime a tv camera is pointed in their direction.

  • R C Dean||

    Factor in the whole social picture for blacks, and I bet a case could be made that blacks at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder do not find this a far more hospitable place than it was 50 years ago.

    For those blacks, inner-city schools are likely worse, incarceration rates are likely higher, economic opportunities are likely more restricted. How is that "more hospitable"?

  • Black Liberty Unchained||

    So for progs the way to eliminate all these social ills is to sprinkle more fed dollars over the inner city. The things that could benefit blacks school choice, removing barriers to starting a business, and getting rid of drug laws are in opposition to the positions of most progs yet Team Blue will get 90 percent support or more during a national election.

  • pan fried wylie||

    If somebody says, We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of meth, it isn’t going to kill you or rot your teeth, are we O.K. with that?

    I dunno, ask the Air Force?

  • 904cc||

    Or MLB.

  • PH2050||

    Modafinil FTW

  • bassjoe||

    Legalize everything; regulate reasonably. Pardon everybody who has ever been convicted of a drug crime. Use a small portion of the billions saved every year to fund community outreach and other services to help addicts.

  • CE||

    Or better yet, just legalize everything. Pardon everybody as you say. Let people keep more of their own money.

  • XM||

    Even if the "war on pot" ends, the police will still have to bust unregulated drug dealers and home growers, people who smoke dope in private spaces that ban pot, minors and pregnant women who use pot, etc. If drug arrests were truly racist, then drug arrest discrepancy between still blacks and whites will still exist after legalization, even as the overall arrests do down.

    Isn't this the attitude of the gun foes? They'll say gun violence disproportionately affect minorities, so more gun control will reduce violence. But states with the RTC laws are among the safest to live in. Black people still get shot to death in Chicago.

  • Vampire||

    This isn't just about the war on drugs. And no, Dr. Kings dream is far from complete, even with ending the war on drugs. Government institutionalized slavery, segregation, and racism. Yet in many a school it was taught that the only heroes was politicians in government whom ended segregation and wrote an amendment banning slavery.

    Yet they forget to teach that the very government was responsible for implementing and enforcing these atrocities to begin with. The sluggishness of the state in repealing the so called laws (which were antithetical to natural rights and should have never been) is despicable, and only shows how 1) abusive governments are, and 2) how ineffective governments are at protecting and defending an individual's natural right to freedom and liberty.

    The Tuskegee experiment went from the 30's to the 70's and affected many individuals and their families. Yet who was held accountable in government? Who faced consequences? "Crap we're busted...we'll stop now". Individuals have fought so hard to be free. Some get caught in the cloud and forget than anyone whom is forced to work for the benefit, or desires of another is not free but a slave. Free from a master is freedom. Rights "given" or restricted as individuals please or vote is slavery. Dr. Kings dream would be complete when individuals are truly free. It's not just about pot.

  • bassjoe||

    The levels to which the US government has effed Africans in this country is simply amazing. Slavery, segregation/Jim Crow, Tuskegee, etc. (and those are just the ones that were done with malice in mind). We the people get the blame, as well, for in a democracy our government is a reflection of us (no matter how poor).

    I'm seriously shocked there hasn't been MORE civil disobedience because of that history.

  • bassjoe||

    The Schedule I list is a total joke and completely politically-motivated.

    I'm sure nearly every doctor will tell you -- if s/he is being honest -- that marijuana does have medical benefits; the fact that Marinol is Schedule III makes zero sense.

    Heroin is used across the world as a prescribed pain reliever during/after surgery (it's pretty much a stronger version of morphine... which is Schedule II).

    Even the psychotropics -- LSD, peyote, psilocibin, MDMA, mescaline, etc. -- have undisputed psychiatric medicinal uses (and, let's be honest, we all got to trip at least once in our lifetimes).

  • gaoxiaen||

    Only once? You're such a stick-in-the-mud.

  • SQRLSY One||

    OK, tried it TWICE and that was WAY plenty for me, once burnt, 50,000 times shy... "Do yer thang" is fine by me, but ahms a tellin' ya, there's dangers down that them thar way, BEWARE, please, ya wanna "talk to God", symmetry (fundamental attribute of the Universe) is a gonna DEMAND that if you’s a-gonna demand yer face-time w/God, then yer a-gonna (possimably) hafta pull equal face-time with the Evil One… Head-trippin’, LSD-etc. wise. Do it, ya might meet one… OR the other! I have met the other, and, thank God, have walked away with victory! Victory is, I am pulling a salary and not in the loony bin. Paying taxes for the sustenance of the mooches… Better victory than that, ah am sad to say, is scarce to come by… OK, bottom line: “good trip”? Yes, possible, and possibly VERY helpful and informative! “Bad trip”? Yes, possible, and possibly VERY helpful and informative!

  • SQRLSY One||

    And possibly able to put “piss and vinegar” in your pouch, able to put near-infinite OPPOSITION to the Evil One who attacked me in my “bad trip”… Note that I say OPPOSITION and not HATE, they are way different things… This universe is a WAY complicated and counter-intuitive place, at times. May I go WAY out there and suggest to y’all? Ya wanna go LSD-etc.-trippin’ and risk the outcomes of meeting God and/or the Evil One? Can you PLEASE consider the ultimate head-tripping idea that LOVE is the ultimate force here, there , and everywhere? The Evil One is powerless in the face of it… LOVE the Evil One, if you meet this slimy thing… If you are not big enough to contemplate this mind-bending thing, I BEG of you, do NOT mess with LSD and similar mind-bending substances! Laws, buzz off, FUCK the moralistic busy-bodies… This is a WAY more important thing, I am just saying, laws and coercion, go away… But… One loving humanoid to another, mess with this stuff if you must, but PLEASE pray to God, that He / She and NOT the opposition, reign over your foolish minds if you feel you must mess with it… OK, maybe I am too judgmental. If you are at the “ends of your ropes” and know not what else to try, God Bless you. Just… BEWARE!

  • thorax232||

    Tieing MLK to the drug war. A far stretch.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Not that far, and it's "tying".

  • Omarr the Carpet Salesman||

  • Dr No||

    "If marijuana is fully legalized and at some point folks say, Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka, are we open to that? If somebody says, We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of meth, it isn’t going to kill you or rot your teeth, are we O.K. with that?”

    For Obesity
    One 5 mg tablet should be taken one-half hour before each meal. Treatment should not exceed a few weeks in duration. Methamphetamine is not recommended for use as an anorectic agent in children under 12 years of age.
    Attention Deficit Disorder With Hyperactivity
    For treatment of children 6 years or older with a behavioral syndrome characterized by moderate to severe distractibility, short attention span, hyperactivity, emotional lability and impulsivity … The usual effective dose is 20 to 25 mg daily.

    As requested, Barry. Now have you got a finely calibrated level of Prohibition that isn't going to kill people or rot their freedoms?

  • judeoconnor@mac.com||

    What has pot smoking got to do with civil rights? I don't like working with pot heads, they are dangerous to work the high iron where I work. Memory is effected while smoking the stuff and they often forget where they are and do not tie off or drop something that will seriously hurt or kill someone.

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