Obama is to the right of Texas on pot legalization
By Scott Sumner
Here is just one example of the Obama administration’s reefer madness:
Robert Duncan, who managed marijuana-growing for a collective of Northern California medical marijuana dispensaries, surrendered to federal prison Monday, where he will serve a two-year sentence.
Speaking to HuffPost Live’s Marc Lamont Hill outside Mendota Federal Correctional Institution near Fresno, Calif., just minutes before he surrendered, Duncan said he was “frustrated” his incarceration would cost taxpayers upwards of $100,000.
“It’s constantly in the news how much we’re pouring into our prison system,” Duncan said. “There’s momentum for change, and the change isn’t happening.”
Duncan, an employee of the collective, received a modest salary for his work and sought legal advice before taking the job to ensure he would comply with state law. Although California voters legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes more than 17 years ago, the plant remains illegal under federal law, and the grow house was raided by U.S. authorities.
Despite indications from the Obama administration that the federal government wouldn’t intervene with state-sanctioned marijuana operations, Duncan was charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with manufacturing pot. After spending more than $30,000 in legal fees, he took a plea deal that resulted in his sentence.
Hill asked Duncan if he had anything to say to President Barack Obama about his situation.
“It’s a lot bigger than me,” Duncan replied. “There’s a lot more people affected by this. It’s not too late to do something different and to take bigger steps in the direction that the United States wants us to go. There’s no need to send people in this situation to prison. Do what the people want you to do.”
Recent polls indicate that 58 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes. Moreover, eight out of 10 Americans are in favor of using cannabis for medicinal purposes, and nearly three out of four support a fine-only penalty for recreational users.
Obama’s defenders say he privately favors pot legalization, but can’t say that publically because the American public would be outraged. And these are his defenders. Here is a poll result from one of America’s more conservative states:
If the results of recent polls are correct, it seems that Texas residents want what other states have: legalization. A poll conducted by The University of Texas and the Texas Tribune showed that 77 percent of registered voters in Texas believe in some form of legalization. Of that, 28 percent would agree only to medical legalization, while 49 percent are in favor of blanket legalization.
Kids today can’t understand why old folks had a problem with gay marriage. I couldn’t understand how old folks had a problem with interracial marriage. My grandparents couldn’t understand why Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. Each generation has its blind spots. The next generation will be amazed that Obama enforced the medical marijuana laws even more vigorously than George Bush.
It’s the kind of issue that causes giggles among the “very serious people” at places like the New York Times and WaPo. They don’t personally know any families that have been destroyed because mom went to prison for violating pot laws. They just remember their college days–and none of their college friends went to prison for hosting pot parties. They don’t know any of the 800,000 people arrested for violating pot laws each year. Better to focus on the “real issues,” like one possible deserter being swapped for some Taliban leaders. Or the top 1% making too much money.