By now it is clear to most Americans that many of Barack Obama’s campaign promises were nothing more than hollow rhetoric. Obama’s failure to deliver is a relief to most conservatives who weren’t excited about the prospects of net neutrality, higher taxes, and cap & trade legislation while Obama’s base is also livid with him because he didn’t fight hard enough for single payer health care or ending tax cuts for the wealthy, and he also failed to reform our immigration policy. While shocking to virtually nobody, progressives expected more of Obama. After all, he had also promised an unprecedented level of transparency.
Obama appears to be particularly hypocritical in his administration’s prosecutions of medical marijuana. Obama made very specific promises regarding federal prosecution of medical marijuana facilities in states with medical marijuana laws in place.
The White House, in 2009 offered the following statement:
“The President believes that federal resources should not be used to
circumvent state laws, and as he continues to appoint senior
leadership to fill out the ranks of the federal government, he expects
them to review their policies with that in mind.”
Despite numerous vows to the contrary, only days after his inauguration, Obama allowed the DEA to raid multiple medical grow facilities in California and other medical marijuana states. Since Obama took office, his administration has engaged in over 100 aggressive medical cannabis raids- in comparison to the Bush administration’s total of just over 200 raids…. in EIGHT entire years. When not engaging in raids, the Obama administration terrorizes medical marijuana patients and businesses via the IRS. Americans for Safe Access, a medical cannabis advocacy organization, has given Obama a failing grade for his medical cannabis policies.
It appears that Obama considers the cannabis-friendly crowd to be a politically disposable bloc of voters, and maybe he is correct. I suspect, however; that if Montanans come out of their cannabis closet- even if only to vote- that our state legislature will look VERY different in the 2013 legislative session. The question is how to effectively mobilize them- doing so has traditionally been a challenge.
Smaller government is a core belief of the Republican party- one would expect that allowing citizens, with their physicians, to choose the health therapy they prefer would fit into the smaller government component, but that isn’t always the case. While the Republican-led Montana legislature should certainly be blamed for the fate of medical cannabis in the state (a repeal bill masquerading as a reform bill- Senator Jeff Essmann’s SB 423- is likely on Governor Brian Schweitzer’s desk today), not all conservatives support a nanny-state government. Milton Friedman’s criticism of the failed war on drugs was based on his devotion to the principles of limited government. William Buckley, founder of the conservative National Review, supported legalization and mocked silly fear-based rhetoric utilized by prohibitionists. Glenn Beck, Pat Buchanan, and 2012 GOP Presidential hopefuls Ron Paul, and Gary Johnson also support legalization.
While Democrats have traditionally been credited with advocating cannabis reform, Obama has shown us via actions and policy that the Democrat Party does not necessarily support cannabis reform endeavors either. We all need to ask our politicians- regardless of party affiliation and prior to primary elections- specifically how they feel about issues important to us all.