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Dear President Obama,
Once upon a time, you campaigned against prohibition. Sadly, you turned into a jaded politician that presided over more marijuana arrests than any other president. You’ve turned hope into dope by acting like one when it comes to addressing it. You came around on gay rights, and now it’s time to come out of the cannabis closet and turn Reefer Madness into Reefer Gladness. You’ve got to do this before you leave office. Having your come-to-Jesus moment after you’ve left the halls of power drastically reduces your ability to effect change (I’m looking at you, Slick Willy!).
Look, I already have my slice of freedom. I’m an upper-middle class white guy with a medical recommendation, so I can inhale in private with relative impunity. I’m asking you to legalize for the people without a voice, the invisible masses that you are so callously walking over on the way to your multi-million dollar lecture career. I’m begging you to consider the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are branded each year by being arrested for merely possessing a substance that the DEA’s own administrative law judge called one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.
So many states have passed some type of law that it is incumbent on the incumbent to do something significant. You need to turn this patchwork of state laws into a hempen quilt of unity, equality and justice. In other words, nut up or shut up. You can use the bully pulpit of the presidency to speak up for the millions without a voice. Please, champion our cause! Sentencing reform is great, but talk is cheap. You must stop putting people in prison for pot. Federal prohibition prevents patients from using the medical necessity defense, as a cancer patient in Iowa just found out. This is the cruelest example of Catch-422 I’ve ever seen.
In the not too distant past, making harsh drug laws was something that members of both parties excelled at. It was a macabre period of this country’s history where white men tried to out-macho each other with the results being the decimation of generations of African-American families. Now, there is unprecedented bipartisan support for reform.
Dab while the nail’s hot. Your DEA was embarrassed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell when he took the Drug Czar FUBAR to task and made her release a shipment of Italian hemp seed (the McConnell Leonhart meeting pictured to the right). It’s time to defang the monster that is the DEA and focus our government’s energies on real problems. When you have Rand Paul and Corey Booker working together you know this is turning into a wrap-around issue. This is much better than the current reach-around Senate with she-man Dianne Feinstein leading the circle-jerk.
Consider Connie Johnson, who holds the poly-oxymoronic distinction of being a free-thinking African-American female politician in Oklahoma. Her stance against prohibition shows that she has more insight and courage than you. As she ascends the ranks of power you would be wise to hitch your wagon to this thoroughbred of a person, or you’ll end up in the glue factory of history with the other nagging prohibitionists.
We the people have spoken, and it’s up to you to listen to us and not to the special interest groups that benefit from prohibition: Law enforcement’s militaristic budgets fueled by asset forfeiture, the privatized prison industrial complex that treats inmates as sub-human slaves, big pharma, alcohol, tobacco, drug testing pariahs, addiction specialists and knee jerk moralistic bloviators like Bill Bennett and Bill O’Reilly. It would be a shrewd political move on your part to legalize. The public is ahead of the politicians on this issue and it’s time for you to stand with the people and stop sleeping with the wolves.
You can end the violence! In your adopted city of Chicago, the streets run red with the blood of young people fighting over the obscene profits made selling drugs. Stop acting like you don’t understand this cause and effect relationship. Didn’t you learn anything at Harvard? Illegal drug money causes violence. You must legalize to pacify.
Release all nonviolent drug offenders and clear their records. Create a new G.I. Bill by providing the veterans of the drug war with zero interest loans and educational scholarships. This will extend a helping hand and help erase the stigma associated with being guilty of nothing more than choosing the wrong substance to recreate with.
Deschedule marijuana at the federal level. Allow research into this tremendously effective substance. Children are literally dying because they don’t have access to non-psychoactive CBD rich cannabis. Adults are being slowly poisoned by a steady diet of opioids in states where they can’t obtain a safe, effective and natural remedy. Just turn the black market into the green market ,and watch the country’s health bloom.
This is no time for more commissions. No more studies. Plenty of research has already been done that shows that cannabis is an excellent medicine and that cannabis prohibition is a disastrous policy. Stop the banking shenanigans, stop the taxing tax laws. Give a new lease on life to dispensaries by stopping the harassment of the lessors. Stop pussyfooting around. Eventually, the clownish judicial system will pull its head out of its collectively cloaked ass. Need I remind you that the Supreme Court once upheld slavery? Act now so you won’t Dred it in the future.
OK, here’s the plan. After you’ve de-scheduled marijuana and legalized it on a national level, announce a mega-R&D effort that will make the Manhattan Project/moon landing/AIDS fight look like a middle school science project. This is the Cannabis Curriculum. The sick and dying need more than platitudes to help them. They need the resources and resourcefulness of American ingenuity to research and develop the many beneficial uses of the numerous cannabinoids. Maybe they’ll name one after you: Tetrahydrocannabibama (THB).
Kickstart the hemp industry. Hempen sails and cordage fueled the age of exploration, and cannabis hemp can energize the modern economy. You need to level the subsidized playing field, and allow hemp to take its rightful place alongside other productive crops. Legalize with reasonable taxes and a minimum of red tape. Hemp was effectively regulated out of existence once and we can’t let that happen again, now can we? This will revitalize farming communities and allow the multiplier effect to create new self-sustaining green communities. We want more small family farms, not more Monsantos.
You must allow the home grow option. Cultivating one’s own cannabis medicine is therapeutic and inexpensive. Don’t let the drug companies control cannabis. Let our people grow! Now that’s my kind of Obama-care. Michelle could even grow cannabis sativa in the White House garden and show people that it is safe and as useful as its was when it was given its Latin name.
You’ve acted like a power drunk dictator for too long. DUI should be based on impairment and not on the presence of cannabinoids in the bloodstream. You said marijuana was less dangerous than alcohol, so why don’t you take another puff and stop acting so tough. Employees should have the right to medicate using cannabis just as they can use other medications.
I’m appealing to you because if you want your legacy to be one of compassion you’ll immediately start issuing executive orders and working with Congress. It’s going to take huge cojones to finally admit that prohibition is a terribly racist, misguided policy and I’m praying that you will grow a pair and really do something.
Photo Credit: Memecentral, Wikimedia Commons, and Hempology.com