A couple of weeks ago, President Obama said that he had no plans to reform the marijuana laws in the United States before exiting the White House. However, a new budget proposal indicates that while the leader of the free world may not intend to initiate the rescheduling process, he is, in fact, putting legal marijuana states in a position to be shutdown by the Department of Justice.
It seems that while marijuana advocates were expecting the Obama Administration to at least maintain its hands-off approach to states that have legalized the leaf for medicinal and recreational purposes, the president has been gearing up to put the kibosh on legalization efforts across the nation. Obama is doing this by lifting that portion of the law that has supposed to have kept federal drug agents from kicking down the doors of the medical marijuana community for the past couple of years.
In an analysis of the Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposal provided by Tom Angell with the Marijuana Majority, it is revealed that the president has eliminated that portion of the law that stops the Department of Justice and its cronies at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration from bringing the hammer down on states that have allowed marijuana to be made legal. This protective shield, of sorts, has been one largely supported by Congress since 2014, but without it in place, there would be nothing to prevent the DOJ from creating hardships for the 23 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized weed for medicinal use.
President Obama’s proposed budget “would remove the prohibition on federal law enforcement agencies from spending money to intervene in medical cannabis programs when they feel it is warranted,” Angell wrote.
Fortunately, the president’s concept of a budget is nowhere near set in stone. This is just the initial draft of a federal spending scheme that is destined to be ripped apart, amended and added to in the next few months by Congressional powers in an effort to keep the U.S. government running like a well oiled jalopy.
There is a distinct possibility that some of the more pot-friendly lawmakers within the House of Representatives will swell up to borderline psychotic proportions once they realize the Obama Administration is on a slimy mission to drive the nation back into the pit of total prohibition. But then again, it is reasonable to be concerned that the same blatant disregard for marijuana policy that took place during the passing of the 2016 budget — one of which prevented the passing of several other quasi reforms — will ultimately lead to the passing of the president’s wording, catapulting the U.S. into a bizarre war on weed with the capacity to turn the entire nation into a scene straight out of Mad Max.
Angell, who originally pointed out the discrepancy in his report, believes it is just a matter of time before Congress swoops in and corrects the issue.
In a statement to Cannabis Now, Angell said: “It seems pretty inconsistent for the Obama administration on the one hand to consistently talk about giving states room to implement their marijuana laws while on the other hand deleting bipartisan Congressionally-approved language that stops the DEA from interfering with state medical cannabis programs. That said, it seems more likely that what we’re seeing here is just a general preference for budget bills that don’t contain policy riders rather than a big reversal in policy on the part of the White House. It’s worth noting that the president’s budget request from last year also deleted the language, which Congress then added back in. I expect that we’ll pass the Rohrabacher amendment this year with an even greater margin of support than we did last year.”