Obama flip-flop on decrim: now it's official

Posted on July 24th, 2011 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Writing on his Celebstoner blog, Steve Bloom recalls that while campaigning for the Senate in 2004, President Barack Obama said, "We need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws." But on July 22, at a town hall meeting at the Univeristy of Maryland, he stated,: "Am I willing to pursue a decriminalization strategy as an approach? No."  Instead, he offered predictable rhetoric about treatment and prevention:

I have stated repeatedly—and it’s actually reflected in our most recent statement by our Office of Drug Policy—that we need to have an approach that emphasizes prevention, treatment, a public health model for reducing drug use in our country. We’ve got to put more resources into that. We can’t simply focus on interdiction because, frankly, no matter how good of a job we’re doing when it comes to an interdiction approach, if there is high demand in this country for drugs, we are going to continue to see not only drug use but also the violence associated with the drug trade.

Watch the clip here. Bloom editorially interjects: "Treatment and prevention for marijuana? Please."

Now contrast that with what he said in 2004:

The War on Drugs has been an utter failure and I think we need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws. But I'm not somebody who believes in the legalization of marijuana, but what I do believe is we need to rethink how we're operating in the drug war, and I think currently we are not doing a good job.

Bloom recommends:

To be entirely clear where Obama stands, the correct question to ask at the next town hall meeting is: "In 2004 you said, 'We need to rethink and decriminalize the marijuana laws.' Do you still stand by that statement?"

Then we'll know for sure if Obama is with us or against us."

But we will point out that Obama did a damn good job of dodging the question entirely at his much-hyped "Twitter Town Hall" earlier this month.

Photo: Death + Taxes


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