U.S. Having "a serious national conversation about marijuana," White House Says As DEA Raids More Pot Dispensaries


The Obama administration responded Tuesday to three petitions calling for the legalization of marijuana. "Coming out of the recent election, it is clear that we're in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana," wrote Obama Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske.

"At President Obama's request," Kerlikowske went on to say, "the Justice Department is reviewing the legalization initiatives passed in Colorado and Washington, given differences between state and federal law. In the meantime, please see a recent interview with Barbara Walters in which President Obama addressed the legalization of marijuana." 

Reason covered Obama's interview with Walters, in which the president said, "It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it's legal."

"Leaving individual users alone does not suggest that Obama is any more enlightened, compassionate, tolerant, or rational than his predecessors," Jacob Sullum noted. "The question is how gung-ho the Obama administration will be in going after marijuana growers and distributors who are no longer subject to state penalties." 

If the actions of the Drug Enforcement Administration in California yesterday are any indicator, the answer is "as gung-ho as ever": 

LOS ANGELES, CA — DEA agents raided three Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensaries Wednesday afternoon, according to a preliminary report from Americans for Safe Access California director Don Duncan. More details were not forthcoming by press time.

According to Duncan, the DEA struck LA Wonderland on West Pico Boulevard, DTPG on South Hill St. near downtown, and the Iron Works in Venice.