Obama, Who Evidently Has Not Read the Controlled Substances Act, Denies That He Has the Power to Reclassify Marijuana

CNNCNNIn an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper that aired last night, President Obama tried to dodge responsibility for eliminating the contradiction between his recent comments about marijuana and its classification as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act:

Tapper: You said that smoking pot was a bad habit but you didn't think it was any worse for a person than drinking. Now that contradicts the official Obama administration policy, both on the website of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and also the fact that marijuana is considered a Schedule I narcotic, along with heroin and Ecstasy. Now do you think you were maybe talking just a little too casually about it with Remnick in The New Yorker, or are you considering not making marijuana a Schedule I narcotic?

Obama: Well, first of all, what is and isn't a Schedule I narcotic is a job for Congress.

Tapper: I think it's the DEA that decides that.

Obama: It's not something by ourselves that we start changing. No, there are laws undergirding those determinations.

Tapper: Would you support that move?

Instead of answering that question, Obama started talking about a "public health" approach to marijuana (a subject I address in another post). But notice that Obama at first denied that the executive branch has the power to reschedule drugs, saying "what is and isn't a Schedule I narcotic is a job for Congress." As Tapper pointed out, that's not true. While Congress can amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to increase or reduce restrictions on particular drugs, the statute also gives that power to the attorney general, who has delegated it to the Drug Enforcement Administration (a division of the Justice Department). In fact, the DEA has repeatedly rejected petitions to reschedule marijuana, most recently in 2011. I forget: Who was president then?

Apparently Obama forgot too. Obama often speaks as if he is an outside observer of his own administration—condemning excessively long prison sentences while hardly ever using his clemency power to shorten them, sounding the alarm about his own abuses of executive power in the name of fighting terrorism, worrying about the threat to privacy posed by surveillance programs he authorized. Now here he is, trying to distance himself from his own administration's refusal to reclassify marijuana.

When Tapper blocked that evasive maneuver, Obama tried another one. "There are laws undergirding those determinations," he said, implying that the language of the CSA somehow dictates that marijuana remain on Schedule I. These are the statutory criteria for drugs in that category:

(A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.

(B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

(C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

The DEA argues that marijuana satisfies the first criterion because people like to consume it for nonmedical purposes, which according to the DEA qualifies as abuse. It's illegal, after all. According to that definition of abuse, prohibition justifies itself, which hardly seems fair. A more reasonable view defines abuse as harmful, excessive, or problematic use. Regardless of which definition you prefer, it is hard to see in what meaningful sense marijuana has a higher abuse potential than, say, the barbiturates and benzodiazepines on Schedule III. According to the DEA, even dronabinol has a lower abuse potential than marijuana. What is dronabinol? A synthetic version of THC—the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

The DEA says marijuana meets the second criterion—no currently accepted medical use—not because the drug is ineffective at treating symptoms such as nausea, pain, and muscle spasms (in fact, the Obama administration concedes the medical utility of cannabinoids) but because such uses have not gained wide enough acceptance within the medical community. Given the subjectivity of that judgment, it amounts to saying that marijuana has no accepted medical use because the DEA deems medical use of marijuana unaccceptable. The agency likewise does not accept that marijuana can be used safely, although it obviously can, as Obama conceded when he observed that alcohol is more dangerous.

The DEA clearly is bending over backward to keep marijuana on Schedule I, and nothing in the CSA requires it to do that. It could easily apply the CSA's criteria in a way that would make marijuana less restricted, and the decision not to do so is ultimately Obama's. He is the one who appointed the current DEA administrator, a hardline holdover from the Bush administration who is so committed to prohibitionist orthodoxy that she recoils in horror at the thought of a hemp flag flying over the Capitol and could not restrain herself from openly criticizing Obama, notionally her boss, for his scientifically uncontroversial statement about the relative hazards of marijuana and alcohol. He is the one who, despite his avowed commitment to sound science and his own statements to the contrary, allows the DEA to insist marijuana is so dangerous that it must be more tightly restricted than cocaine, morphine, oxycodone, and methamphetamine.

"It's very unfortunate that President Obama appears to want to pass the buck to Congress when it comes to marijuana laws," says Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. "If the president truly believes what he says about marijuana, he has a moral imperative to make the law match up with his views and the views of the majority of the American people without delay. He should initiate the long overdue rescheduling of marijuana today."

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  • playa manhattan||

    CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR!!!!

  • Tman||

    President Not My Fault reporting for duty!

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Too kind.

    President Not My Fault present!

  • kris713||

    what Patrick said I'm shocked that a mom able to get paid $5552 in four weeks on the internet. did you read this site link ..,.,..,.,.,., jobs80
    (Go to site and open "Home" for details)

  • IceTrey||

    He wasn't a professor. Just another lie.

  • John Galt||

    Guffaw!

  • MSimon||

    CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PERFESSER!!!!

    FTFY

  • Doctor Whom||

    I forget: Who was president then?

    The Obamessiah is completely powerless over the branch of government that he heads (although he still deserves the credit for everything good).

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    But what happened to his pen?? And his PHONE!?!?!!111!

  • Juice||

    And my axe!

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    +1 ring of power

  • Bobarian||

    +4 Ring of Deniability

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    You win the inet today.

  • Doctor Whom||

    P.S. I'm a Facebook "friend" of people who used to be some of the biggest shills for Obama. Even they have long since stopped defending him, and some are now openly attacking him.

  • Sevo||

    Shreek and Tony have no such honesty.

  • Adam330||

    I haven't seen Tony show up in an Obamacare thread since October. Although he won't admit there's anything wrong, even he won't actively defend it.

  • Tony||

    I've never defended it as a panacea, but I appreciate that it's an improvement on the status quo and that it was probably the best that could be passed out of the Congress of the time. You should be well aware that I am far more socialist in my approach to healthcare than that law is.

  • OneOut||

    "probably the best that could be passed out of the Congress of the time."

    The Dims had 100% control of all three branches of government plus the sycophants in the 4th estate. Obamacare was rammed down the throats of a protesting public without one Repub vote.

    You could have passed anything you wanted if the same Congressional bribes and arm twisting was applied.

    Quit making ex post facto excuses and own your mistakes Tony.

    In other words , grow up.

  • Tony||

    What's a Dim, oh great adult in the room?

  • Jim in Denver||

    Deflect.
    Distract.
    Deny.

  • John Galt||

    Not even a speck has been witnessed by anyone sane anytime ever.

  • Killaz||

    I was just thinking how it might ruffle a feminist or two if you were to post the headline, Obama's NSA Policies Violate Roe V. Wade.

  • Swiss Servator, Befehl!||

    Ooooh, I like that. Sneaky.

    *tips top hat and adjusts monocle*

  • ||

    You have better friends than I do. Mine are just getting shriller and shriller as the desperation level mounts.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    It must be that I live in Canada but there is almost zero derp on my Facebook. Really almost zero political chit chat at all. Which is both good and bad. Bad that people are happy with our government enough to no care, but good because I don't have to have verified evidence that people I'm friends with are morons.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Familiarity ⇒ contempt

  • ||

    The Obamessiah is completely powerless over the branch of government that he heads (although he still deserves the credit for everything good).

    He simultaneously has no idea what half his government is doing at any given time, even while he issues executive orders to rewrite the laws that they are enforcing.

    It's like having a blind person back-seat driving a city bus.

  • BuSab Agent||

    Are you implying Obama is sitting in the back of the bus? Isn't that something something....

  • ||

    No I think he's sitting at the front of the bus, right behind the drivers seat.

  • Spoonman.||

    I heard Maher the other day say "If only this guy was in some kind of position of power where he could do something about these things."

  • Zeb||

    With or without sarcasm?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    I hope you were just walking by the teevee when someone else had it on. Otherwise my positive opinion of you just took a hit. ;-)

  • some guy||

    Know thy enemy, maybe?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    The only legitimate excuse.

  • Spoonman.||

    Yeah, my father-in-law had it on and we have been spending a lot of time there due to our laundry room getting destroyed by a burst pipe and our two-month-old needing a lot of laundry.

  • Madisonian||

    I know how hard it is being a new parent, but you have to work harder to sway the child's Grandfather back to sanity. Maher is the absolute worst of a bad genre.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Obama often speaks as if he is an outside observer of his own administration

    This is, really, all he ever does. He does whatever he wants but then publicly he acts like his hands are tied and can't fix the awful things he does. He is simply an awful, awful President.

  • BakedPenguin||

    President Quimby: People, this is an issue that we as a country are strong enough to ignore.

    Tapper: I think it's the DEA that decides that.

    President Quimby: Er, uh, well... eh, in light of this new facts, of which I now realize I was largely aware, I must not take action.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Crap. Wrong first quote.

  • Marshall Gill||

    He is simply an awful, awful President human being.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    In fact, the DEA has repeatedly rejected petitions to reschedule marijuana, most recently in 2011. I forget: Who was president then?

    Well ask any Obamatron and they'll tell you that this is all the Republicans' fault. If it wasn't for the racist teathuglicans, Obama would have rescheduled marijuana long ago, but the Republicans will say mean things about him and possibly even win an election, and we can't have that.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    That is what they say but it is untenable. Obama has used his executive authority to act in ways that invited Republican attacks, if he thought this important enough he could do so here. He already has been criticized by several Republicans (including, for what it is worth, Tex Cruz) as being soft on drugs for the announced DOJ policy of not prosecuting users in states like Colorado and Washington that have allowed such use.

  • Zeb||

    I don't buy that at this point. Yes, he would get shit from some republicans (and a good number of democrats). But I don't think rescheduling marijuana to, say, the same schedule as cocaine would be all that controversial.

  • ||

    So what, he's willing to tweak Republicans on other issues. He just doesn't think this one is important enough.

    Revealed preferences.

    If he cared, he would do it. He doesn't care.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "So what, he's willing to tweak Republicans on other issues."

    That was my point. Not only has he done it in other areas, but he is already getting criticism over this issue, so it is hard to buy that he is not acting because he thinks it will invited criticism.

  • ||

    (including, for what it is worth, Tex Cruz)

    Intentional typo?

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    Lowercase boosh, with a mini exclamation point.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    booosh!

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Like a faint whisper on my ear... boooooossshhhhhh

    It's almost soothing when you think about it. Is this what Shreeky hears non-stop in his head?

  • Bobarian||

    Maybe, all this time, he was just a fan of Budweiser's cheaper sister, and was running the commercials over and over in his head?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PEYCIqA1wo

  • Jordan||

    They also use this excuse for why we haven't left Afghanistan. As if the fact he's sending people to die because he's afraid of political confrontation is somehow a defense.

  • AuH20||

    Yeah. That actually makes it worse, especially when you put it like that.

    Seriously, if I ever hear that shit from an Obamatron again, I'm going to say, "So... you support a spineless coward who values political gain more than doing the right thing? ...So, basically the opposite of Kennedy*?"

    *Or what liberals like to think about Kennedy, at least.

  • db||

    Profiles in Ullage

  • Invisible Finger||

    Typical executive-level chicken-shittedness.

    Carter pulled the same shit, verbally wanted to end the war on drugs but took no action to do even the easiest thing that would have backed up his words.

    From Wikipedia:

    "some members of Congress were taking action to reschedule the drug legislatively. In 1981, the late Rep. Stuart McKinney introduced a bill to transfer cannabis to Schedule II.[26] It was co-sponsored by a bipartisan coalition of 84 House members, including prominent Republicans Newt Gingrich (GA), Bill McCollum (FL), John Porter (IL), and Frank Wolf (VA).[27] After the bill died in committee, Rep. Barney Frank began annually introducing nearly identical legislation.[28] All of Frank's bills have suffered the same fate, though, without attracting more than a handful of co-sponsors."

    This is the catch-all excuse the POTUS always uses to avoid any controversy of any kind: "I'd be happy to reschedule as long as a gun is pointed at my head to do it."

  • Free Society||

    An executive power that Obama thinks he doesn't have?

    You're traveling through another dimension -- a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's a signpost up ahead: your next stop: the Presidency!

  • PapayaSF||

    I am starting to wonder if the national news media might actually prefer to have a Republican President. Despite their ideological preferences, it must grate on them that they must rein in their reporter's instincts and handle Obama so gently, despite his repeated screw-ups and errors and lies.

    And it's truly astounding how Obama so often says he can't do anything about something that he can, while acting like a dictator when he legally can't.

  • sarcasmic||

    And it's truly astounding how Obama so often says he can't do anything about something that he can, while acting like a dictator when he legally can't.

    The explanation is quite simple: he's a liar.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    See comment #1, this thread.

  • Aresen||

    Despite their ideological preferences, it must grate on them that they must rein in their reporter's instincts and handle Obama so gently, despite his repeated screw-ups and errors and lies.

    Your error lies in assuming they are actual reporters rather than advocates and partisans.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    They are Party propagandists. Their entire existence is for that one goal.

  • R C Dean||

    The DemOp Media.

  • some guy||

    This is one reason I prefer Repbulican presidents over Democrat ones. The press will actually go after a Republican and do some semblance of their job.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Wait, I thought he could do anything. What happened, did he lose the Ring or something?

  • Aresen||

    Hillary is trying it on right now.

  • Pro Libertate||

    All it would do for her is make her a shriller harpy. Look how it worked for Obama, just making his empty suit emptier. No, the Ring only really works for people already great in power.

  • Aresen||

    The wanted to put it on Biden to make him invisible.

    But his stupid statements kept giving away his location.

  • Bobarian||

    If it weren't for stupid statements, Biden would already be invisible.

  • AuH20||

    Hilary is clearly the Gollum in this scenario. She was around the ring too long and it forever warped her into a mad creature who only craves power.

  • Zeb||

    As she gets older, she certainly has the look.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's weird that some people actually view her as some great candidate for president. No accomplishments beyond being elected, clearly Nixonian in outlook, and, well, does anyone not think she's just after political power and has the virtue of a lobotomized raccoon in heat?

  • Square||

    It's fear that the Republicans will come up with a viable female candidate first.

  • Pro Libertate||

    In other words, what the Democrats are telling us is that some retread First Lady with a shady past is the very best female candidate they have to offer?

  • Square||

    I think they would prefer you didn't put it quite like that. . .

  • Pro Libertate||

    There goes my shot at being head of the DNC's PR team, huh?

  • R C Dean||

    No accomplishments beyond being elected, clearly Nixonian in outlook, and, well, does anyone not think she's just after political power and has the virtue of a lobotomized raccoon in heat?

    Hey, that's been plenty good enough to win the last two elections, at least.

  • some guy||

    The list of things on which he is willing to "go it alone" is short and self-serving.

  • ||

    I'll give you the "self-serving".

  • Juice||

    This is the same thing with immigration. He could end all deportations tomorrow, but you know his hands are tied by the law. Sure.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Well, in all fairness, he probably only just learned about his power to change controlled substances when he watched his interview on TV that night.

  • Doctor Whom||

    While Congress can amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to increase or reduce restrictions on particular drugs, the statute also gives that power to the attorney general, who has delegated it to the Drug Enforcement Administration (a division of the Justice Department).

    I keep pointing this out to people, and even when I link to the statute, they still don't accept it. True believers gotta truly believe; liars gotta lie.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Obama finished with this:

    Obama: It's not something by ourselves that we start changing. No, there are laws undergirding those determinations.

    Tapper: Would you support that move?

    Obama: This is a very complicated case, Tapper. You know, a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-you's. And, uh, lotta strands to keep in my head, man. Lotta strands in old Bama's head. Luckily I'm adhering to a pretty strict, uh, drug regimen to keep my mind limber.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    That rug really tied the room together.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Fuckin eh!

  • some guy||

    Rand: Hell, I can get you a Schedule V by 3 o'clock this afternoon... with clemency for past offenders. These fucking amateurs...

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Rand: You want a Schedule V? I can get you a Schedule V, believe me. There are ways, Dude. You don't wanna know about it, believe me.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Obama is following a time-honored tradition (so much for change) of saying a few words he hopes part of his base may like about a controversial subject while doing nothing official because it might be politically costly, hoping that the former will stick in people's mind more than the second. It is as calculated as it is immoral.

  • some guy||

    And it really seems to work well for him.

  • Square||

    And even the original words were considerably more hedged and qualified than the cherry-picked quotes that got headlined, so that just in case there was a backlash he could say "hold on, folks, I only said 'maybe,' and I also said drugs are bad and should be illegal and we've got to protect the children and . . ."

  • SusanM||

    I think he's having "Willie Horton" flashbacks. He's afraid that he'll give someone clemency and that person will do something horrible right after and then it get dumped on him and the Democrats. And, he doesn't want too invoke the old "soft on crime" chestnut which gets tossed around whenever it comes to this sort of thing.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    It's perfectly clear that in 1919 there was no question in anyone's mind that prohibiting a drug was beyond the powers of the federal government and required a constitutional amendment.

    Was there a constitutional amendment, of which I'm unaware, between 1933 and 1937 giving the feds such powers?

    Question for the lawyers. Why is it that "precedent" is such a determining factor when taking our liberties away, but not when defending them?

  • sarcasmic||

    Commerce Clause, dude. There's nothing it can't justify.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    But precedent had already been set.

    FYTW!

  • Pro Libertate||

    That is not true. Sometimes, one must find solace in the Tax and Spending Clause.

  • ArbutusJoe||

    And don't forget the constitutional grout: the Necessary and Proper clause. Its alias isn't the Elastic clause for nuthin'.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Precedent can and does swing both ways, but the problem is that the lion's share of cases (and statutes) have served to ratchet up government power. From the government's perspective, it's been two steps forward, one step back, except that the saying should be amended to say fifty steps forward, one step back.

  • sarcasmic||

    Can you give an example of them stepping back?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Sure, they not so quietly upheld the 2nd Amendment a couple of times recently, and there were several cases that seemed to limit Commerce Clause powers in the 90s. Sadly, that trend stopped being so trendy.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Anyone know, off the top of their heads, if the The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 has ever been challenged?

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Wiki says yes, successfully.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L.....ted_States

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Interesting, too bad they used the wrong Constitutional argument.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "It's perfectly clear that in 1919 there was no question in anyone's mind that prohibiting a drug was beyond the powers of the federal government and required a constitutional amendment."

    Why do you think that? I think the Narcotics Act of 1924 did just that.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    a. I believe you are referring to the Heroin Act of 1924.

    b. Argument still valid. Change 1937 to 1924. Happy?...idiot.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    The act in question was a 1924 Amendment to the Narcotics Act of 1914.

    And if your argument was that there was a constitutional revolution in 1937 in this area, then it strikes me as not valid given this 1924 law. We are talking the Coolidge Presidency, not the New Deal.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    For all whose opinion I care about...

    Let it be known, I am not responding further to Bo, not because I concede, but that I refuse to be dragged into a drawn out argument based upon minutia, with a known pedant.

  • ||

    Homer: Marge? Since I'm not talking to Lisa, would you please ask her to pass me the syrup?

    Marge: [Wearily] Dear, please pass your father the syrup, Lisa.

    Lisa: Bart, tell Dad I will only pass the syrup if it won't be used on any meat product.

    Bart: [To Homer] You dunkin' your sausages in that syrup homeboy?

    Homer: Marge, tell Bart I just want to drink a nice glass of syrup like
    I do every morning.

    Homer: Bart, thank your mother for pointing that out.

    Marge: Homer, you're not NOT talking to me, and secondly, I heard what you said.

    Homer: Lisa, tell your mother to get off my case!

    Bart: Uhhh, Dad. Lisa's the one you're not talking to.

    Homer: Bart! Go to your room.

    Lisa: Why don't you just eat him, Dad!

    Homer: I don't need any serving suggestions from you, you barbeque
    wrecking, no-nothing know-it-all!

    Lisa: That's IT! I can't live in a house with this prehistoric carnivore. I'm out of here! [Leaves and slams the door.]

    Homer: That's it! Go to your room!

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    There is nothing for you to concede or not concede, it is just a fact you were incorrect here.

  • 110 Lean||

    Let it be known, I am not responding further to Bo

    It's why I block the fucker.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Because without blocking me you would not be able to resist the urge to respond?

  • Zeb||

    Both the Narcotics act and the Marihuana Tax act were sneaky workarounds that at least sort of acknowledged that criminalizing drugs was beyond the power of the federal government since technically, they only imposed taxes. Both still should have been considered unconstitutional since they created de facto prohibition, but it wasn't until later that the Federal government decided that they could just go ahead and criminalize possession without some tax ruse. Not sure if the CSA was first to do that.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think the 1924 Amendments were not exactly workarounds.

  • AuH20||

    So, if the Democrats get killed in 2014, how long before you start seeing certain Dems openly throw Obama under the bus?

    I mean, post-2006, not all Republicans turned on Bush, but a vocal minority did. I assume the same thing will happen with Obama, and won't THAT make it awkward for the historians (at the moment, I think that the first histories of Obama are going to praise his "moderate" foreign policy, excuse his domestic policy as the Republicans fault, and also FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT!).

  • ||

    under the bus

    That's the most racist part of an otherwise racist post.

    Racist.

  • AuH20||

    Not "vocal minority?"

    I mean, c'mon, that phrase almost perfectly describes Obama!

    *mugs for the camera*

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Bus and racism.. that's dog whistle for miscegenation, right?

  • Sevo||

    ..."It's not something by ourselves that we start changing. No, there are laws undergirding those determinations."...

    First, who is this "we"? Does he have something stinky in his pocket?
    And then, "we" have changed all sorts of things that "we" don't have the authority to do already.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Obama: It's not something by ourselves that we start changing. No, there are laws undergirding those determinations.

    Sevo: We?!

    Obama: I! The Royal "we"! You know, the editorial...

  • some guy||

    "We"

    More fodder for conspiracies. He's just egging them on now.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "Dammit, Jim, I'm a Constitutional Scholar, not a lawyer!"

  • Raston Bot||

    Venezuela food shortages: 'No one can explain why a rich country has no food'

    http://www.theguardian.com/glo.....ountry-cia

    Okay, it's a bit dated but still a classic The Guardian headline.

  • AuH20||

    Argentina and Venezuela are both heading down the shitter fast. Argentina will go first- they're currency is already tanking badly, and they aren't sitting on oil.

    Venezuela I give another year or two tops. Their oil production will get increasingly inefficient just as natural gas expands, and once the oil money is gone, goodbye government.

  • Raston Bot||

    I dunno wrt Argentina. Are they expropriating productive land, tightening capital controls, and fixing prices like those dumb shits Chavez/Maduro?

  • Raston Bot||

    After googling, that would be a 'yes.'

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....story.html

    ...kept utility rates frozen (leading to power outages), nationalized the country’s largest oil company (making Argentina a net importer of energy despite its huge reserves of oil and gas) and combated inflation by doctoring official figures and threatening journalists who report the real numbers.

    ...the product of the same mistakes that have produced previous busts: uncontrolled government spending, heavy taxes on exports coupled with strict controls on imports and disincentives to foreign investors.

  • Sevo||

    ..."nationalized the country’s largest oil company (making Argentina a net importer of energy despite its huge reserves of oil and gas)"...

    Prior to the Bolshies, Russia was a huge exporter of grain. Lenin put a halt to that by fixing prices and when Stalin collectivized the land, they went from bare subsistence to plain starvation.
    Amazing what socialism can do, isn't it?

  • Madisonian||

    "combated inflation by doctoring official figures and threatening journalists who report the real numbers."

    Our press does not even have to be threatened to do the same.

  • KDN||

    They're not as bad at expropriation, but they love capital controls. Venezuela's forex reserves are in worse shape and they have a hard dollar peg unlike Argentina, but they also have oil exports that can goose that number in a hurry. Venezuela consistently reaches new levels of stupid though, while Argentina's idiocy is pretty consistent.

  • Jordan||

    'No one can explain why a rich country has no food'

    "We only surveyed Keynesian and Monetarist clowns".

  • Brett L||

    If only there were some system that let every individual express to every other individual what value they were willing to exchange for food such that farmers who had lots of food but little money could trade to people who had lots of money but little food. Then every farmer could decide whether it was worth their effort to grow more or less food at the exchange rate.

    Maybe some TOP. MEN. could come up with a system

  • Square||

    Fool. If the farmers need money, we just give it to them. Why go through all that stupid "exchange of food" rigamorole? It only complicates things.

  • JD the elder||

    Holy crap, this one is even more amazing:
    "Sorry, Venezuela haters: this economy is not the Greece of Latin America"
    http://www.theguardian.com/com.....il-poverty

    The comments are actually a mix of fairly decent and the usual insane stupidity, like the guy who parodies "the problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other people's money" with "the problem with capitalism is eventually the capitalists take everyone's money". Uh, funny thing there, billy-boy, I didn't notice the capitalist nations having a shortage of toilet paper...

  • OneOut||

    It's a good thing that Venezuela doesn't have much food.

    Their " Social Democracy" is incapable of providing enough toilet paper to go around.

  • PRX||

    he's merely using chickenshit cocksucker gambit

  • AuH20||

    Ah, the Al Swearengen Maneuver!

  • PRX||

    North Dallas 40. Every time we say its a congressional power, he says it's presidential. every time we say it's presidential, chickenshit cocksucker says it's congressional.

  • Bobarian||

    The Al Swearengen maneuver ends with Cocksuckers getting eaten by the pigs.

    The Obama maneuver ends with pot-smokers getting imprisoned by Cocksuckers.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    It's not something by ourselves that we start changing. No, there are laws undergirding those determinations.

    Some laws are binding. Others... less so.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Any law protecting peoples rights is flexible, any law infringing on peoples rights... binding and unchangeable.

  • Jerryskids||

    I could see Obama ordering the rescheduling of marijuana and the DEA refusing on the grounds that they, not the President, are the ultimate authority on their own regulatory authority and jurisdiction. Worse, I wouldn't bet my life that the Supremes wouldn't back the DEA.

    There's a trickle-down effect to the President asserting that the Constitution is so malleable that it allows for him doing things that appear obviously un-Constitutional - if the President can claim the Constitution means whatever he says it means and that the need to get things done would compel him to ignore the Constitution anyway, why then can't the head of the CIA, FBI, EPA, DEA, etc. etc. etc. make the same claim?

  • R C Dean||

    If Obama were to order the DEA to reschedule pot, and the DEA refused, we would have on our hands a bona fide Constitutional crisis.

    Not only that, but one that even the proggies would be exercised about, since it would be a Constitutional crisis rooted in an attempt to deny the President his legitimate authority over the executive branch.

  • Robert||

    According to the statute, the Att'y Gen'l is supposed to take the word of the Sec'y of HHS as binding on the control criteria.

    Suppose the POTUS orders them to make it a certain way. Theoretically someone could then sue, saying the decision was arbitrary & capricious. But who would have standing to sue? There seems to be no party who could claim with a straight face to suffer damages if pot is legal.

  • R C Dean||

    the Att'y Gen'l is supposed to take the word of the Sec'y of HHS as binding on the control criteria.

    So, Obama calls Sebelius into his office, tells her she has a week to get it done or he'll be posting an opening for her position.

    She can do what she's told, or she can resign and he can appoint one who will.

    I really can't see any challenge to this making it past the first motion to dismiss. No standing, deference to agency expertise, political question, etc. The courts will be desperately looking for a way to stay out of it, and they will have no shortage of grounds for doing so.

  • Invisible Finger||

    If Obama were to order the DEA to reschedule pot, and the DEA refused, we would have on our hands a bona fide Constitutional crisis.

    You just convinced me to vote for Rand Paul. Although I still think he'd chicken out of a reschedule.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "Do you think I'm just going to sign some executive orders without going through Congress? That would be silly! Anyone who advocates such a thing should have his head examined!"

  • rand357||

    +1

  • ||

    This is especially rich comeing from a President who is more than willing to use executive orders to "go around" Congress to enact policies that he sees fit.

    So for him to brush this off by claiming that the President lacks the executive power to tell the DEA what to do pretty much means that he doesn't want to do it, but wants to lie about why.

    He doesn't want to do it because he thinks it's politically risky, and he doesn't care about the lives of people who get prosecuted for marijuana charges, and he's jusdged that the political risk is more important than their lives.

  • paranoid android||

    This is especially rich comeing from a President who is more than willing just the other day promised repeatedly to use executive orders to "go around" Congress to enact policies that he sees fit.

    FTFY

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    Everyone knows the executive branch is made up of racist rethuglican obstructionists who are preventing Obama from acting.

  • rand357||

    He has a pen. ;)

  • R C Dean||

    The punchline, of course, is that he is perfectly willing to exercise executive power where he has no legal authority, but is unwilling to exercise that power where he does have the authority.

  • Brett L||

    Well, he'd be accountable for exercising the power within his authority. Which he seeks not to be.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    ^THIS

    Anything he does that may have concrete consequences and thus require him to lead rather than campaign is to be avoided at all costs.

  • Robert||

    Actually marijuana is not narcotic under federal law. If it were, it would be C-1N rather than C-1. It may still be narcotic under some state classif'ns.

    Other than that, yeah, Obama has for years as president been like, "If only we had a good president who could do something about this...." And yet he talks about doing things on his own without need of Congressional authoriz'n. In the present case, he'd have to just say to the sec'y of HHS that she's got to tell the DEA admin. that pot's OK according to all the criteria, or the Secret Service starts assassinating her family members one at a time.

  • rand357||

    Is Obama the guy to legalize weed for the entire USA? Sadly, no. He will do as he is told and stick to the script.

  • DWC||

    I thought no one could be a worse President that Dubya. Hopey is far worse because most people are blind to his horns.

  • ||

    The best part of this is Obama (and his supporters) suggesting he doesn't have the authority to make this change - they've just ruined the argument for the executive action nonsense from the SOTU right out of the gate

  • Ninth Amendment||

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F.....ndence.svg
    Why is the Drug Schedule so out of line with the facts?
    And is the CSA unconstitutional (by the 9th amendment) in the first place?

  • Tony||

    Unilateral executive action now!

    Tyranny yesterday!

  • Sevo||

    Tony|1.31.14 @ 5:42PM|#
    "Unilateral executive action now!"

    Yeah, shitpile, it'd be a real shame for him to act as if he knew the constitution was more than window dressing, wouldn't it?

  • Tony||

    When the judicial branch negates any of his actions there will be some truth to your hysterical bullshit. We'll just have to wait.

  • Number 2||

    Hmmm...ever hear of Noel Canning, just to name one?

  • pob||

    like Dorothy answered I didnt even know that any one able to profit $6158 in four weeks on the computer. pop over here W­ o­ r­ k­ s­ 7­ 7­ .­ C­ O­ M­

  • Number 2||

    Didn't some guy named Obama recently and repeatedly say something about how the American people can't wait for a disfunctional, do-nothing Congress to act, and how he would use his Presidential powers to make positive changes whenever possible? Something about this being a Year of Action?

    And the media let him get away with this double talk time after time after time.

  • bassjoe||

    Regardless of which definition you prefer, it is hard to see in what meaningful sense marijuana has a higher abuse potential than, say, the barbiturates and benzodiazepines on Schedule III.

    I've known marijuana addicts and benzo addicts. Benzo withdrawal is FAR FAR more terrifying thing to witness than marijuana withdrawal; lasts months and months, extreme schizo-like mood swings, incapable of doing anything productive (or even getting out of bed for days at a time).

  • Sevo||

    "I've known marijuana addicts"
    Those would be the first.

  • OneOut||

    You've known marijuana addicts ?

    That statement is reefer madness at it's best.

  • MSimon||

    I've known sex addicts. You can't get them out of bed for days at a time either.

    We should make sex illegal.

  • John Galt||

    The biggest problem the drug warriors and their collaborators often have with marijuana is it's users enjoy smoking it. Enjoyment often is the first and most important criteria for determining which materials and/or activities the political elites feel authorized to classify as forbidden to the lowly citizenry.

  • Mudhen||

    Read the Controlled Substances Act? You couldn't convince me he's read the constitution either. He's demonstrated numerous times his utter lack of any managerial skill or leadership. He a great politician, but he couldn't manage a nickel lemonade stand.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    A key theme of Mr. Obama's SOTU 2014 is that, where people demand action and change, he will use whatever powers and authority he has to take action and make change happen on the people's behalf. OK. So poll after recent poll (not to mention elections in State after falling domino State) show undeniable majorities of THE PEOPLE demanding that, at least, marijuana be available as medicine under State and Federal law. There also seems to be huge momentum for finally legalizing marijuana for all purposes, medicinal, industrial (hemp), and recreational. Rescheduling of marijuana under the CSA is something that the Executive Branch can do because Congress has ALREADY said so. Obama's failure to walk his own talk only illustrates how hollow and empty his "champion of the people" rhetoric is, especially when you consider that this lame-duck President could also start taking advantage of his outgoing status by using his power of clemency to end the punishment and clear the names of the Federal Drug War's biggest victims. Instead this one-time Choom Gang member passes the buck, mockingly dismisses the issue, or simply ignores and stonewalls. What's up with that?

  • OneOut||

    We didn't want Obamacare , but he forced it on us.

    We do want legalized pot but he won't give it to us.

    Populist President ? I don't think so.

  • ||

  • MSimon||

    Don't use it on the cat and you'll be fine.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    "dronabinol"

    Dronabinol? Is this what the fucker's been on?

  • UpDown116||

    "Reason?" The comments section should be called "Irrational Vitriolic Rhetoric".

  • MSimon||

    Technical Paper on Cannabis cures cancer also search "cancer ceramide THC"

    http://classicalvalues.com/201.....or-cancer/

  • pob||

    like Antonio answered I'm blown away that a person able to get paid $6198 in 1 month on the computer. go to the website ➤➤➤➤➤➤ www.works77.ℂℴ¬m

  • pob||

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  • Ozark||

    Liar or buffoon this POS doesn't deserve public office much less the presidency. He can grant amnesty for non-citizens, delay the implementation of laws, grant exceptions, and even kill American citizens without due process who pose no threat to the USA (I'm referring to 16 y.o. Abdulrahman al-Awlaki - http://www.theatlantic.com/pol.....an/264028/) but he can't tell the DEA to back off.

    Obama is an international embarrassment.

  • pob||

    Peyton. I can see what your saying... Antonio`s c0mment is inconceivable... last monday I bought a gorgeous Ford Focus when I got my check for $4326 this-past/4 weeks and-in excess of, $10 thousand this past-munth. without a doubt its the best work Ive ever had. I started this 5 months ago and right away began to bring in at least $81.. p/h. you can find out more ➤➤➤➤➤➤ www.works77.ℂℴ¬m

  • ||

    He has come to be quite the expert at playing both sides against the middle.

    But like all his campaign promises. He has been unable to deliver.

    Not to worry. The states will take care of doing the heavy lifting for him with the initiative process.

  • julia14juli||

    my best friend's sister-in-law makes $70 /hour on the computer . She has been without work for 7 months but last month her check was $12532 just working on the computer for a few hours. you can look here

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  • Anne Ominous||

    The problem here is that nowhere does the Constitution allow one branch of government to delegate its authority to any other branch. So even if Congress "did that", it wasn't authorized by the Constitution.

    Further, it is very questionable whether even Congress had any Constitutional authority to regulate marijuana in the first place, Wickard v Filburn notwithstanding.

    So Barack Obama is apparently in a situation of not knowing he has authority that he actually, technically, does NOT have and never did. He doesn't have the authority to change marijuana regulations because the President has never had ANY lawful authority to regulate marijuana.

  • Anne Ominous||

    To clarify my comment above:

    It is arguable that Congress has the authority to regulate marijuana under the Commerce Clause (which is where Wickard v. Filburn comes in). But that argument has always been thin and scholars today have increasingly challenged the validity of that SCOTUS decision.

    But even if CONGRESS does have the authority to regulate marijuana, they do NOT have the authority to give the President the ability to regulate marijuana. It is a legislative matter and the President does not have ANY legislative authority except veto.

    (Executive Orders are not "legislative authority", except insofar as they are instructions to Federal employees. Executive Orders have no authority under the Constitution to bind common citizens.)

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