I’m one who tends to be pretty open about the fact that different reform groups have different agendas and viewpoints and that’s OK. I rarely chastise a group or leader merely because I differ with their views or strategy.
I am, however, quite surprised and displeased with the quotes from Allen St. Pierre from NORML in this article. If accurate, they don’t serve St. Pierre or NORML (or any of us) very well.
Allen St. Pierre, executive director for NORML, which seeks to reform marijuana laws, says the president might have political as well as legal motivations for reversing his initial position on medical marijuana. St. Pierre argues that current laws prohibit the Obama administration from turning a blind eye to state’s medical marijuana legalization.
“In essence, the administration is sort of hamstrung,” St. Pierre says.
Most definitely not true. The original Holder memo was correct. The government does have significant discretion in how it uses its funds to enforce laws. And it could still enforce current laws without going out of its way to intimidate medical marijuana operations in the states.
The Obama administration has not been just doing what’s necessary. It’s been taking an active role in escalating the crackdown.
St. Pierre says letting states regulate marijuana as they please would burn up a lot of the president’s political capital, adding that Obama has to take action or he risks earning a reputation in 2012 election as soft on drugs.
I don’t think Obama has a chance in hell of being perceived as soft on anything. This is the guy who claims the power to assassinate American citizens with no judicial review. Even Bush wouldn’t go that far.
There may be political capital involved in the medical marijuana decisions, but it’s the definition of “capital” that means “cash,” not the implied “capital” meaning political will and votes.
It appears, unfortunately, that Allen is speaking as a supporter of candidate Obama and/or the Democratic Party, rather than in his role as executive director of NORML.
If Allen is reading this, I’d love to hear what he was thinking.