"... Justice Department officials are telling prosecutors and federal drug agents that they have more important things to do than to arrest people who obey state laws that allow some use or sale of medical marijuana.
"The move clarifies what some critics had said was an ambiguous position of the Obama administration on the controversial issue, especially in the battleground state of California, where authorities have raided numerous clinics and made arrests over the years. Some of those California raids followed Obama's inauguration in January, after, as a presidential candidate, he had pledged to stop them."
All well and good. Makes solid common sense to quit wasting tens of millions of federal dollars to stop ailing Americans from alleviating their pain... which is the reason the Obama team gave for abruptly changing their hard-nosed stance.
But I wonder if that's the main reason. Or if the driving concern is as much (or more?) political than either compassionate or budget-minded.
Hear me out: Obama advisors are flummoxed by surprisingly lackluster Democratic fundraising results since President Obama took office. And many segments of the Democratic base are less than pleased with the President's inactivity on core issues.
Under-35 boosters feel largely forgotten by the President who they near-unanimously sent to the White House. And long-time party base liberals feel stung by the President hedging his campaign promises on healthcare reform, gay rights, Bush's brutal "war on terror" tactics, and many other issues.
Loosening marijuana laws ranks as a high social policy priority among most Democrats, especially the under-35 crowd, as well as a smart economic policy per a sizable portion of economic conservatives and minimal-government libertarians.
Despite the President insensitively sneering last April at a popular marijuana-related question at an online press conference, and soon after, the White House clarifying that marijuana policies will "never" be on its to-do plate... the Obama-ites have suddenly found different religion on the topic.
Here's what I think happened: the Obama politicos did their polling, and found that, as the rest of us already realized, there's plenty of political upside, and little political downside, to loosing marijuana laws. Likely all voters who oppose medical marijuana use would never support Obama's agenda anyway.
So besides their self-proclaimed common-sense frugality, the Obama administration realized the politically appeasing gains to be made by reversing the Bush administration's irrational, ideologically-based crackdown on the use and sale of marijuana for medical purposes.
But who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth? Whatever their newly found reasons, the Obama administration did the right thing. And I suppose that's all we need to care about.
Next up: Maine voters decide on November 3rd whether or not "to change the medical marijuana laws to allow treatment of more medical conditions and to create a regulated system of distribution."
Of course, the next logical step should be legalization of all marijuana use, similar to the re-legalization of alcohol in 1933 via the Twenty-first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
But don't look for Obama to take up that cause. Not ever. Political bravery is just not his forte.
Take a few moment so to read Pros & Cons of Legalizing Marijuana. And shout-out your thoughts at my Readers Respond page: Should Marijuana Sale and Possession Be Legalized?