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Friday, May 6, 2011

Has Obama Changed His Mind on Marijuana?

Obama smoking a joint?




In 2009 the Obama Administration sent a memo to all U.S. Attorneys saying that the government is not interested in using federal resources to prosecute medical marijuana patients who are in clear compliance with their state's laws, but in the past couple of weeks it seems our federal government has made an about face with their feelings on marijuana.

In the past month several states that have active medical marijuana programs and some states that are just getting their programs up and running have received strongly-worded letters from the office of the U.S. Attorney warning them that the government will 'vigorously prosecute' individuals and organizations involved in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana even if they are in complete compliance with state law. The letters have even taken the threats a step further and warned that state regulators could be prosecuted if they allow systems for distribution and regulation to happen.

So what happened? Why the change in rhetoric?

Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of Normal offers an interesting take on the matter via The Huffington Post, suggesting that the government doesn't want medical marijuana businesses operating because people will see the good they can do for a community and want to keep them. They'll realize that the government has been lying to them all along and wonder why we can't just make weed legal for everyone.

What Armentano has failed to address in his article is the ultimate reasoning behind the government's efforts to keep marijuana illegal. Why are they working so darn hard to keep people from smoking weed and using hemp? It all comes down to money.

If marijuana were legal, anybody could easily grow a crop in their back yard or closet or wherever and homegrown marijuana would not be taxed. Since marijuana and hemp serves as a great alternative to so many consumer products that ARE taxed like tobacco, alcohol, prescription drugs, anti-depressants, lumber, plastic, cotton etc., you can see how a lot of people would stand to loose a lot of money on the prospect of legalized marijuana.

I have a feeling that it was pressure from these industry leaders that caused the feds' change of heart.

But what the leaders of these industries don't realize is that a whole lot of people want to and will use marijuana regardless of it's legal status and even more would use it if it were legal. There is a WHOLE LOT of money to be made from the marijuana industry, these businesses just need to adapt to the needs and wants of the people. That's how capitalism works, right? The feds should just back off and let it work.
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