Esquire magazine recently reported in a story by John H. Richardson
(www.esquire.com/the-side/richardson-report/obama-marijuana-legalization-) that representatives from Obama’s administration team admit there will be strong consideration given by the President elect to decriminalize marijuana, by the end of his tenure in office. These remarks follow comments given last summer by Rep. Barney Frank who introduced HR 5843 (Library of Congress - 04/17/08), an act to remove federal penalties for the use of marijuana by ‘responsible adults.’ Frank “doesn’t think it’s the government’s business to tell you how to spend your leisure time.” (CNNpolitics.com 7/30/08)
What gives the Esquire article additional credence is a taped interview of Obama, from January 2004, where then US Senate candidate Barack Obama, expressed interest in decriminalizing the (personal) use of pot. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQr9ezr8UeA )
As someone who is very much aware of how this drug has harmed so many people from my generation, I adamantly disagree with this ‘floating’ proposal. The DEA (Drug Enforce-ment Agency) lists marijuana as “a schedule 1 controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse.” (CNNPolitics.com 7/30/08) How could any responsible representative from President Obama’s administrative team send such a message to millions of young Americans?
Anyone who knows anything about drug abuse, knows that marijuana is considered to be a ‘gateway’ drug. It is irresponsible for members of the incoming administration to ‘float’ this idea. Although I’m sure that many supporters of medical marijuana would disagree. Perhaps they should reconsider. Presently there are over 50 head shops in San Francisco that are front stores for marijuana distribution in the city. According to Fox News Channel’s the O’Reilly Factor, these shops not only attract petty crime but other non-desirable activity also.
Many people are first exposed to the dark world of narcotics by a few puffs of this so-called innocent marijuana cigarette. Marijuana desensitizes people.
The everyday use of marijuana makes people lazy and unproductive. It has been the gateway drug of choice for many users and abusers. It is addictive … I have personally see this substance harm friends whom I have attended school with in the past. Perhaps that’s why I am so upset that such considera-tion would be given.
Still, Congressman Frank got the support from seven other Democrat House members in sponsoring his legislation. Included in that group was Rep. Barbara Lee from District 9 (Berkeley and Oakland). By decriminalizing marijuana, Rep. Lee, a member of the House ‘black caucus’, made light of the recreational use of a drug that is destroying the lives of hundreds of her own constituents.
If Lee wants to be responsible, she should target the drug dealers in her own community who are irreparably damaging the lives of untold numbers of people from her own California district. Instead, Congresswoman Lee says that present (drug enforcement) laws are “inhumane” and “immoral”.
Similarly, if the President elect wants to act responsibly, he should immediately issue a retraction of this ‘floating’ proposal by his advisors.