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Marijuana Prosecution Not a High Priority, Says Obama

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the law-is-an-ass dept.

Government 449

Hugh Pickens writes "VOA reports that President Obama says it does not make sense for federal authorities to seek prosecution of recreational marijuana users in states where such use is legal. 'As it is, you know, the federal government has a lot to do when it comes to criminal prosecutions,' said Obama during a television interview with ABC's Barbara Walters. 'It does not make sense from a prioritization point of view for us to focus on recreational drug users in a state that has already said that, under state law, that's legal.' When asked if he supported legalizing marijuana, the president said he was not endorsing that. 'I wouldn't go that far, but what I think is that, at this point, Washington and Colorado, you've seen the voters speak on this issue.'"

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This changes nothing. . . (5, Informative)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | about a year and a half ago | (#42301825)

The government has never focused on recreational users. It's focused on the dealers. Recreational users are just targets of opportunity.

Re:This changes nothing. . . (5, Insightful)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | about a year and a half ago | (#42301831)

Of course, if the recreational users all started having half a million dollars in property to confiscate, we'd probably see a shift.

Re:This changes nothing. . . (5, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#42301891)

Of course, if the recreational users all started having half a million dollars in property to confiscate, we'd probably see a shift.

Of course, if the recreational users all started having half a million dollars in property to confiscate, we'd probably see a shift.

Many recreational users already have that much (or more) property.

Do you think all pot smokers are out of work 20 year olds who live in their parents' basement?

Re:This changes nothing. . . (2, Interesting)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302455)

Of course, if the recreational users all started having half a million dollars in property to confiscate, we'd probably see a shift.

Many recreational users already have that much (or more) property.

Do you think all pot smokers are out of work 20 year olds who live in their parents' basement?

Not at all, but I doubt that $0.5M+ pot smokers see the bulk of the anti-drug enforcement. There is a high risk to accidentally stumble upon someone with connections.

Plus other upstanding citizens may see that drug war (especially war on pot) is senseless when they notice their neighbors being arrested. As of now, I assume many pretend that only "bad" people are arrested for drug-possession crimes.

Re:This changes nothing. . . (5, Insightful)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year and a half ago | (#42301917)

what planet do you live on? drug possession only (not dealing) is 80% of those imprisoned for drug-related crimes.

Re:This changes nothing. . . (5, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302099)

He didn't say that, he just said that Federal efforts were pointed at dealers. Busts for possession in "less-than-dealer" quantities are not usually the result of Federal investigations, they're busts based on opportunities like traffic stops, probable cause searches, or other things on the state and local level.

In other words, stopping state criminalization of pot is going to cut down significantly on people being busted for possession, because you generally get busted for that by the local cops.

So what Obama is basically saying is: "we're not going to spend money to take over from the local cops now that they can't bust people for legal possession." What it does not mean is that anything is significantly going to change about what the Federal government does. They've never targeted possession, and they still will not. If they bust someone who happens to be in possession, they'll get run into Federal court, but it's usually like getting fined for not wearing a seat belt after they pulled you over for speeding.

Re:This changes nothing. . . (5, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302243)

What it does not mean is that anything is significantly going to change about what the Federal government does. They've never targeted possession, and they still will not.

Yes, how kind of them.
They did, however, raid quite a few legal and law-abiding dispensaries in CA when they felt like it (despite any promises to keep it low priority)

This sounds like the DMCA move -- we will allow you possession of the [thing] but we will harshly prosecute anyone who manufactures or distributes that [thing] making it difficult to impossible for you to actually get it.

Re:This changes nothing. . . (1)

jfengel (409917) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302221)

Got a cite for that?

Does it hold for the feds, or just for state and local?

Re:This changes nothing. . . (4, Interesting)

alostpacket (1972110) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302299)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Adult_incarceration_statistics_for_the_USA._Timeline.gif [wikipedia.org]

It looks like Federal prisoners account for 1% of the total incarcerations. So I think while what iggymanz (596061) is saying is correct overall, it doesn't have relevance to the current comment.

Anyways, a very interesting read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_in_the_United_States [wikipedia.org]

Re:This changes nothing. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42302119)

They do if you are not white. (coming from a white guy who don't partake)

Re:This changes nothing. . . (4, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302161)

It means that cannabis users in Washington and Colorado will feel more at ease as they go about their legal pastime.

And that's a good thing.

Re:This changes nothing. . . (5, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302269)

I haven't scrolled very far down - but so far, it seems that people are missing the single most important part of this news.

Being arrested for possession is bad. Being jailed is worse. Serving time in the pen is yet worse. But, that's all rather petty, when compared to the people who die during any stage of these processes.

The "war on drugs" never was a "war on drugs". It has always been a war on American citizens. Your kid, your neighbor, your nutty classmate, your cousin, or the local grocer, it doesn't matter WHO they are. They disapprove of the government's mandate, and they disobey the government. As a result, hundreds, if not thousands, die every year.

No city, no county, no state, and not even the feds, should have the authority to more or less stop people randomly, then arrest them for possession of a more or less natural substance.

It's insane, is what it is.

And, I don't even use the stuff. I don't even use the prescription drugs that I'm given. I don't like drugs, don't want drugs, won't be purchasing any no matter how legal they get. But, my idiot son shouldn't be at risk of spending a decade in prison for doing a dooby.

Re:This changes nothing. . . (1)

rinoid (451982) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302419)

It ain't "more or less natural" ... it's a plant from this planet earth. Kingdom: Plantae (unranked): Angiosperms (unranked): Eudicots (unranked): Rosids Order: Rosales Family: Cannabaceae Genus: Cannabis

First (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42301827)

And I'm already high

Re:First (4, Funny)

HairyNevus (992803) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302319)

That explains why you're second.

Asking Obama a question (4, Insightful)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about a year and a half ago | (#42301835)

Is like trying to nail Jello to a wall.

Re:Asking Obama a question (4, Insightful)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year and a half ago | (#42301871)

He can't definitely say "I'm not wasting federal resources and money on that shit" because it's still officially illegal at the federal level, and the President is constitutionally bound to follow the laws established by Congress. Congress itself has to make marijuana legal. The executive branch can, however, determine how to prioritize its use of resources, and Obama basically just said he's more worried about actual threats to the country than someone getting high on the couch.

In other words, if you want pot legal nationwide, you need to write to your Congresscritters about it.

Re:Asking Obama a question (1)

reub2000 (705806) | about a year and a half ago | (#42301931)

Or how about writing to our judges so they can put an end to this illegal drug war. Show that the 10th amendment still has some teeth!

Re:Asking Obama a question (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#42301953)

Obama can say whatever he wants.
Until he promulgates policies restraining the DEA and DOJ it's going to be a problem.
Not to mention the illegality of marijuana screwing up business's relationships with the IRS.

Re:Asking Obama a question (5, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302115)

Of course he can: he's the fucking President, and he can order the Attorney General to stop all prosecution of people who are working entirely within one state and following its laws to the letter while still prosecuting people who are attempting to use the legal status of drugs in one state to allow them to sell in others. If the AG refuses he can be fired summarily. So can every US Attorney, they're all political appointees who serve at the will of the President.

This is just a copout, utter bullshit. The man could use the existing powers of prosecutorial discretion to do just what I suggested, and he could be quite clear about it: "Barbara, I think the important thing here is not whether marijuana is legalized or not. It's about respecting the priorities of individual states - about federalism. That's an issue that many people in my party have been accused of ignoring in the past. And I know that some people are going to accuse us of all being a bunch of dope-smoking hippies that are only fair-weather federalists, but I want to tell you that I mean this both ways - the federal government is going to respect the people who have chosen to make the consumption of cannabis legal, but it's going to respect the people who continue to believe that a ban is the best policy, too. We're not closing down the DEA. "

Re:Asking Obama a question (2)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302135)

He can't definitely say "I'm not wasting federal resources and money on that shit" because it's still officially illegal at the federal level, and the President is constitutionally bound to follow the laws established by Congress.

Sure he can. He's not saying it because he had found it beneficial to occasionally ramp up raids in CA before and may do so again (for whatever reason).

If he can use signing statements [thedailybeast.com] to promise to ignore the law, then he can say anything. (from the article linked):

The signing statement essentially declares Obamaâ(TM)s intention to ignore requirements in the law, including restrictions on data transfers to Russia, new authorities to detain suspected members of al Qaeda, and sanctions against the central bank of Iran.

Re:Asking Obama a question (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302335)

Signing statements are about as legal as me adding a note to my AT&T contract stating that I'm not actually going to pay them any money yet they still have to provide me with service.

Re:Asking Obama a question (5, Insightful)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302155)

There are plenty of laws that aren't enforced, and there isn't a constitutional obligation to press charges. A couple of the Republicans running on the policy that there are obscenity laws that weren't being enfroced, and that they would enforce them. The Obama administration could just not bother with those laws like they don't bother with tons of other laws.

People often have a gross misunderstanding of what the executive branch actually does, but this is actually something that Obama could solve.

Two problems with that reasoning: (5, Insightful)

Uberbah (647458) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302193)

He can't definitely say "I'm not wasting federal resources and money on that shit"

But he can say "after scientific review by the FDA, I am moving marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act" without any action from Congress. Existing law already allows Obama to stop persecuting marijuana users, growers and dealers.

and the President is constitutionally bound to follow the laws established by Congress.

Then where are the prosecutions for Bush's wars and torture (something REQUIRED by the U.N. Convention Against Torture, signed by that hippie Ronald Reagan) and fraud committed by the banks? Glennzilla: [guardian.co.uk]

HSBC, too big to jail, is the new poster child for US two-tiered justice system

Over the last year, federal investigators found that one of the world's largest banks, HSBC, spent years committing serious crimes, involving money laundering for terrorists; "facilitat[ing] money laundering by Mexican drug cartels"; and "mov[ing] tainted money for Saudi banks tied to terrorist groups". Those investigations uncovered substantial evidence "that senior bank officials were complicit in the illegal activity." As but one example, "an HSBC executive at one point argued that the bank should continue working with the Saudi Al Rajhi bank, which has supported Al Qaeda."

On Tuesday, not only did the US Justice Department announce that HSBC would not be criminally prosecuted, but outright claimed that the reason is that they are too important, too instrumental to subject them to such disruptions.

By coincidence, on the very same day that the DOJ announced that HSBC would not be indicted for its multiple money-laundering felonies, the New York Times published a story featuring the harrowing story of an African-American single mother of three who was sentenced to life imprisonment at the age of 27 for a minor drug offense

Obama constantly makes a mockery of the rule of law. If he's going to ignore it, he could at least do it for non-violent non-criminals as opposed to banks that have stolen millions of homes and government officials that tortured over 100 people to death.

Re:Asking Obama a question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42302333)

"the President is constitutionally bound to follow the laws established by Congress."

Obviously not, since he freely ignores the immigration laws for certain special groups (students).

Re:Asking Obama a question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42302479)

Well good, then Mr President can send his drug warriors to Afghanistan to pick poppies.

Re:Asking Obama a question (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42301885)

Is like trying to nail Jello to a wall.

Good grief, another pointless comment from a Tea Bagger Gas Bag.

Re:Asking Obama a question (5, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | about a year and a half ago | (#42301981)

Oh, bullshit. His answer was perfectly clear. And the policy is sensible--declaring the war on pot senseless would just fire up the rabid "family-values" far-right lunatic fringe even more, when he's got more important political battles to fight than that.

Re:Asking Obama a question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42302471)

His words were perfectly clear, until they are followed by actions which belie the words, at which time the words will have meant something else entirely. Just like last time. Or weren't you paying attention, then?

And he has nothing to worry about from 'the rabid "family-values" far-right lunatic fringe'. They're not voting for him anyway.

flip flop flip? (5, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | about a year and a half ago | (#42301855)

So after first de-prioritizing medical marijuana raids in places like California (where they are legal)... only to reprioritize them again... he now flips again about deferring to state based decisions? ...or this is one of his much touted 'evolutions'

One day I would love to know what he actually believes in... other than political expediency.

Re:flip flop flip? (2, Informative)

Uberbah (647458) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302101)

It's Obama trying to have it both ways....his modus operandi on everything but expanding Bush's Unitary Executive power grabs. There he's balls to the wall on telling the press or Congress [time.com] to fuck off if they suggest the power of the presidency should be limited.

Of course, talking out of both sides of your mouth is Obama mocked Hillary for during the '08 primaries, where she tried to have it both ways on giving drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants. Sort of like how he mocked McCain [youtube.com] for wanting to tax your health care benefits, only to strongly back excise taxes in his Health Insurance Profit Protection Act.

If Republicans were slightly less corrupt and incompetent, they could have mopped the floor with Obama this year.

Re:flip flop flip? (2)

maugle (1369813) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302253)

If Republicans were slightly less corrupt and incompetent, they could have mopped the floor with Obama this year.

Yep, I think it's a real shame, even though I voted for Obama. Hopefully one day the Republican party will come back to its senses and pick an actual Republican as its presidential candidate, instead of the batch of crazed neocons we've been getting from them for over two decades.

Re:flip flop flip? (2)

Chewbacon (797801) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302121)

The people in the US have ADD when it comes to the issues and our focus is on whatever is a problem in the media. When high gas prices were a discussion years ago and Katrina hit New Orleans, we forgot about the cost of gas and put Bush under fire for FEMA's lengthy response (which was partly because they had to double back out of the Mississippi River and go through Lake Pontchartrain). The fiscal cliff is a top discussion at the moment and now, with the tragedy in Connecticut, gun control will be a focus. Personally, I don't care about marijauna becoming legal or not. It's your body, so do what you want. You can already drink, smoke, and eat yourself to death... why not get high?

Not flipping, not flopping. Unfortunately. (5, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302181)

I heard what you heard, and I don't get the same takeaway.

He said they wouldn't go after users. Now look at California: Are they going after users there? No. They're going after dealers, growers, MM dispensaries. Now look at what he said. Did he say that they wouldn't go after dealers, growers, dispensaries? No.

So does it appear that he's changed position? No.

Should he change position? Of course. Would it be the right thing to do? Of course. Would it be the politically expedient thing to do, with over 90% of the country still holding on to "pot is teh badz, dur" laws and Washington awash in lobbyists throwing money at everyone in sight to keep drugs illegal? No.

I don't think this is going to be the big step forward people hope. There's a lot of money at stake here. Over a trillion dollars so far. That money has representation in Washington. So does the alcohol industry. Potheads really don't have any. And then there's the easy pickings of anti-drug rhetoric directed to gullible parents at election time. As with just about everything else in Washington, if you want to predict what they'll do, follow the money, and the power. I think you'll find that it doesn't lead to an end to the drug war, or even that part of it that surrounds marijuana.

Re:Not flipping, not flopping. Unfortunately. (4, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302315)

with over 90% of the country still holding on to "pot is teh badz, dur" laws

Not any more. 56% of people are now in favour of legalising pot. That's why things are starting to change. It just won't happen overnight.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/lifestyle/general_lifestyle/may_2012/56_favor_legalizing_regulating_marijuana [rasmussenreports.com]

Re:Not flipping, not flopping. Unfortunately. (2)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302437)

You misread me. I said over 90% of the states are still holding on to these laws. I didn't say a word about the popular opinion. Because we're organized as a republic, not a democracy. The laws are in place, and they are over 90% anti-pot and etc., just as I said. Getting that changed requires working against a money stream that so far has moved over a trillion dollars into various people's pockets, including the legislators and their campaigns.

Follow the money. It's the only path that leads anywhere in Washington. The rest is all smoke and mirrors. Without the ability to outspend the lobbyists that are in place, regardless of public opinion, you've a much more uphill battle than a simple poll of public opinion would lead you to think.

Re:Not flipping, not flopping. Unfortunately. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42302321)

Ummm... The latest polls all show an almost even split between people saying the Feds should enforce laws in states that have legalized, and that they shouldn't. NOWHERE EVEN CLOSE to 90% as you indicate. We're you looking at a poll from 1954?

http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/18/gallup-poll-is-first-to-find-plurality-support-for-marijuana-legalization/

(This poll is on legalization in general, taken before the election)

Obama has no reason not to support legalization at this point. It has plurality and approaching majority support and is very popular in his own party. He's just being spineless on the issue, like he was on gay marriage for many years.

Re:Not flipping, not flopping. Unfortunately. (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302457)

The latest polls all show...

You didn't read what I wrote. See this post [slashdot.org] , please.

Re:flip flop flip? (3, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302207)

Yep, his DAs are prosecuting everyone they can find here in California.

A friend of mine is a landlord who rents out his land to farmers. One of them was growing weed on his farm without his knowledge.

So the feds are trying to seize (asset forfeiture) his farm, and all his other assets, too. (Why his other assets? Just because they can try.)

The worst thing about it (other than the fact the feds are trying to bankrupt someone not involved in the drug trade at all) is that our idiotic Sheriff Mims (who led the "fight", and is trying to bill my friend $100,000 for the police raid that started this) got called before a senate committee, and praised by Senator Feinstein for her efforts.

Re:flip flop flip? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302355)

Yep, his DAs are prosecuting everyone they can find here in California.

Not everyone. The policy before in California, and now in Washington and Colorado is to go after producers and dealers, but not users.

Cultivate your own pot plants (up to 6) and nobody is at risk of prosecution.

The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry about. (4, Insightful)

gapagos (1264716) | about a year and a half ago | (#42301873)

The U.S. government has better legal things to worry about than a few potheads getting high legally. Perhaps like, for instance, mentally-unstable individuals able to obtain semi-automatic assault riffle, also legally, and killing 28 individuals at a public school. Just sayin'.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (3)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about a year and a half ago | (#42301895)

The latest news story is the weapons were not bought by the killer. They belonged to his mother.

Connecticut tragedy (3, Interesting)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year and a half ago | (#42301975)

Without going into my position on this, let me simply put this thought on the floor:

Here's mom. A schoolteacher. She's buying what look like (but of course aren't, because they work approximately like a revolver that doesn't need reloads, not a machine gun) military weapons. How likely is that? Possible, I'll grant you, but it's really unusual.

My gut tells me it is more than slightly possible that mom was buying those weapons for her son, and that we may see, as we learn more, that son couldn't buy them himself. Or some variation on that theme.

Re:Connecticut tragedy (2)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302397)

Here's mom. A schoolteacher.

Really? I mean come on. Stop fishing for news at the tit of the MSM, she wasn't even a teacher, and no one at the schoolboard knows who she was. [weaselzippers.us]

My gut tells me it is more than slightly possible that mom was buying those weapons for her son,

That's possible, but I know no shortage of women from when I was down in the US that were avid shooters. Either in competition, sport, or even recreational. They were devout enough that they handload their own rounds to save money, which should say something.

Re:Connecticut tragedy (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302485)

And, if she's that into it, she should have realized that her son wasn't such a good candidate for gun use and stored her weapons accordingly. Either way, she appears culpable (although she is dead so it will be difficult to tease all that out).

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42301989)

Thus showing that "mentally unstable" or "mentally stable" is useless nattering. These weapons must be banned from private ownership completely.

There is no justifiable reason for anyone to carry around enough firepower to mow down dozens of people within seconds - certainly not self-defense. You don't see civilians driving tanks or carrying rocket launchers either.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42302057)

The second amendment isn't about defense from other citizens. It's about defense from tyrannical government. Automatic weapons are needed for that.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42302217)

Well, in that case, you're fucked, son. Automatic weapons would have worked in 1912, in 2012 you'll need surface-to-air missiles, and you couldn't afford those in quantity even if they were legal.

Can't beat them drones, man.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (0)

KarlIsNotMyName (1529477) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302219)

Tanks and an airforce are needed for that.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302391)

Nope. Tanks aren't really useful against infantry. Great against tanks and buildings, but lobbing a arty shell at an individual doesn't net you much. Airforces still need fuel, which that fuel is stored in country the people in country can dispose of it rather quickly and ground that airforce.

All the big bad ass things that the government could use against us can be stopped in short order since they all depend on american citizens providing the supply chain.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (3, Insightful)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302459)

Again, as has been overly proven in the middle east. They are most definitely not needed.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42302369)

Hell they didn't even have cartridge loaded weapons when the second amendment was written.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302451)

Didn't work so well in the middle east and their airplanes and ground vehicles are a lot more vulnerable than what the US government has at it's disposal.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42302159)

Yay! Then you will have no defense against your own government. Welcome to the new Dark Ages - if you don't like it, tough shit. You will obey or we will have your house destroyed by drone, your fields salted and your kids working at McDonalds for the rest of their lives. The 2nd amendment is to allow the People to overthrow the Government should it become corrupt.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42302327)

The 2nd amendment is to allow the People to overthrow the Government should it become corrupt.

Are you really going to let me point this out to you?

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (5, Insightful)

alostpacket (1972110) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302257)

Thus showing that "mentally unstable" or "mentally stable" is useless nattering.

Please, please do not say this. Improving mental health in this country is preventative while removing guns is mitigating. Both have an equally important role to play in responding to these tragic events. And while mental health gets tossed around by some in the gun debate, it's a different issue, and it should be addressed with as much importance as any gun control debate. This is not an either-or situation. We can take action on both fronts because they are not mutually exclusive. Please don't let EITHER side of this debate use mental health as a dismissive or derogatory tool of their argument, nor let anyone be dismissive of the role it played.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (2)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302295)

You are, you know, promoting a second Civil War. I can assure you that the redder parts of these United States would indeed go to war over an attempt to take away their weapons. And given that the military is composed primarily of people who come from those areas, I wouldn't count on them backing the Union this time.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302329)

As has been pointed out, the 2nd isn't about protecting your home from your neighbor, it's about protecting your country from your government.

It's not the guns that kill people, it's people that kill people. IIRC in Switzerland people got to take home their assault rifles after their (mandatory) military service. I think they abolished that practice, but I cannot really remember Switzerland turning into a ghetto state with gang wars being the issue du jour. Which is odd, by the logic an assault rifle in the hands of every single citizen should ensure a lot of shooting going on.

NEITHER is the right way, neither forbidding guns entirely nor handing them out like we have a "guns for toys" program running. Owning a gun entails the responsibility to wield and especially store it safely. Your right is to have it. Your obligation is to keep everyone safe from it. If you cannot uphold the latter, either by choice or by being too stupid or "psychologically unstable", you do not earn the former.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (1)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302439)

It might also have to do with the fact that an assault rifle is not the right weapon for a gang war and that you can't buy ammunition for the assault that easily in Switzerland. Just saying.

Address the real problem (2)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302373)

These weapons must be banned from private ownership completely.

If you want that, get after a constitutional amendment that makes it possible. That's the only clear path. Make it say that no one but the military (and perhaps the cops, if you believe that's a good idea... but I suggest looking at the events of the last few decades before you go that far) gets to have weapons. Make it unambiguous and clear. Then I, and every other law abiding type, will turn in our weapons. The rest, you can arrest, I suppose, and good luck with that, they're likely to be very, very unhappy, but at least it'd be properly legal, which almost no gun law is at this point.

Having said that, it won't help. The problem isn't guns. The problem is crazy people. See here [wikipedia.org] and here [wikipedia.org] and here [google.com] ? That's what happens when guns are made illegal. Make knives illegal, did I hear you say? Sharpened broomsticks. Motor vehicles. Hammers. Screwdrivers. Chainsaws. Gasoline. Copper Sulphate. Fertilizer. Etc.

No, for certain the problem isn't firearms, or banning them. The problem is we have crazy people. Outright crazy fucktards. Raving loonies. Who we simply can't detect.

So at this point, since we really don't have the tools to detect crazy people, what we need to do is protect vulnerable groups. Armed guards and scanners at school entrances; if you're not student or staff, you don't get in. No one gets in with a weapon. Perhaps bring home all those military types and put them to work actually guarding us from danger, instead of serving as cannon fodder for no more benefit than to keep the arms industry spinning. They can be posted at McDonald's, at stadiums, etc. Everywhere. Make themselves actually useful.

Give us fifty years and I bet we'll have this solved -- we'll either be able to pick you right off the street when you're so fucked up you're actually considering mayhem, or we'll be able to genetically weed out whatever the fuck is wrong with these people, or perhaps even both. There's a really good chance for all of that.

But right now, we have no idea who is nuts and who is not, and we don't have any effective way of telling, even if we gave up every right and liberty we have, much less just regulated firearms.

Of course what's going to happen here is exactly the wrong thing, if anything. And these pointless slaughters of innocents will continue unabated.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (0, Flamebait)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302177)

A school teacher, who had two 9mm handguns and a rifle. I say there's a good chance she was mentally unstable too.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302305)

If only she had bought more guns, she could then have protected herself against him.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (2)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year and a half ago | (#42301961)

It wasn't an "assault rifle [wikipedia.org] ". Semi-automatic? Yes. Rifle? Yes. Assault rifle? No.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42301999)

Moreover, the rifle didn't leave the trunk of his car, because (duh) you can't carry a long gun through a school parking lot inconspicuously. The killings, like 98% of gun homicide in this country, were done with handguns.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302343)

That's why handguns are illegal to carry without a permit in my country, while you can buy, and even carry to most places, any kind of sniper gun at leisure.

Of course, you got that sniper gun just because you're a hunter and have to kill that deer from 2km distance lest you be seen and spook your prey...

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42302435)

There is no difference between a "sniper gun" and a "hunting rifle"; they're the same gun. You're trying to place a medium-large round down a long distance accurately. Your requirements are the same, so your product is the same. The USMC have been using the Remington 700 (probably the most popular hunting rifle in the US) as a marksman's rifle since like Vietnam, and the only difference is they paint the stock green.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42302025)

But how dare you politicize a tragedy! You must tactfully wait until everyone stops talking about how guns sometimes are used to kill people, before you can start talking about how it might be a good idea to control access to guns. The feelings of gun-owners are way more important than the lives of the people who will die in the next attack.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (2)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302351)

You do that so that you don't make laws based on emotional outbursts. When you start legislating for each tragedy, you can do some pretty stupid shit. That's incidentally why there are pot laws to begin with. They just assumed it was bad for you and made it illegal because they were afraid the country would break down into some massive drug den where no one would work and crime would run rampant. The studies being done were perfunctory and not very many in number at the time. It was all fear. At least for pot anyway. Unless you smoke that shit, in which case, you're smoking and smoking really is bad for you.

No one believes that the gun laws are necessarily there to make us safer individually, they're there to maintain liberty. That is why you can keep and bear arms, to maintain a militia that can fight back, if necessary, against a centralized power that has encroached too far into your liberties. History has shown us that discourse does not always remove those sorts of threats.

Here's what really happened. Some nutjob killed a bunch of kids and adults in one school in the US. It was a tragedy. In some other place, someone is poisoning their husband or wife, or stabbing someone with a knife. In another place, a serial killer is slowly killing off more people who died on this day, only it will take him a few years because he wants to savor every one.

This incident is notable precisely because it is not common. It's not even a statistical blip on the violent crime rate. Yet now, we're going to legislate removal of a guaranteed liberty to deal with it, just like blowing up 3,000 people was turned into two wars and even more people dead than from the initial incident.

It's amusing that we are here now asking, "Why won't someone think of the children," when that line gets ridiculed time and time again in other situations.

Personally, I don't even own a gun and never have felt the need to, but even still, you don't want to be making this sort of thing the reason you make laws.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (0)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302137)

I'll give up my guns when the President's bodyguards do. Yeah, he's a lot more likely to need them, but four years from now he's just another former government employee, and last I checked they weren't a special class of citizens under law. I get to defend myself, too.

Re:The U.S. has other "legal" things to worry abou (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302187)

Perhaps you should know that the shootings were accomplished using 2 perfectly ordinary pistols. The only rifle mentioned (not an assault rifle) was found in the killer's car unused.

Quick quiz for you: What characteristics make a weapon a rifle? What makes it an assault rifkle? What makes it semi-automatic? If you had to go look that up, why were you spouting off about them before you knew what you were talking about?

Dear Mr. President (5, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | about a year and a half ago | (#42301883)

Dear Mr. President,

Apparently you did your share of pot and other drugs in your youth. Somehow, you avoided getting a criminal record. Please explain to us why giving millions of Black men like yourself a criminal record might not be such a good thing. Please tell us if you think you'd be where you are today if you had gotten busted.

Sincerely,

A lot of us who are tired of wars on nouns.

Re:Dear Mr. President (5, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302009)

Not just Obama, but Bush2 and Clinton as well.

When we have the last three Presidents widely known for smoking/taking marijuana and way harsher drugs, doesn't that undermine the entire propaganda about drugs being a dead end once someone takes them? Or hypocritical for all of them to persecute others?

Re:Dear Mr. President (2)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302197)

Wrong question; so you get the wrong answer. It's about money. It's always been about money.

Re:Dear Mr. President (3, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302229)

When we have the last three Presidents widely known for smoking/taking marijuana and way harsher drugs, doesn't that undermine the entire propaganda about drugs being a dead end once someone takes them?

More likely that it just highlights the vast gulf between Joe Average and children of the privileged class.

Same actions, wildly different outcomes.

Re:Dear Mr. President (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302365)

yes, it is known, smarter people are more likely to be successful and produce smarter children who are also more likely to partake in illegal behavior in a smarter way.

Sure there's a decent amount of luck involved in it as well, but luck is a huge part of life.

Re:Dear Mr. President (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302309)

No. The propaganda is that continuous use of drugs can lead to a dead end. The presidents you mentioned, as far as anyone can tell, stopped using them. So you have built a straw man to tear down.

As for being hypocritical, they have to enforce the law. They cannot realistically take a position contrary to the laws they have to enforce.

Bring up Congress members all you want, because they control what's illegal. Or mention the FDA's response to re-scheduling controlled substances, while keeping in mind that the president does not control the FDA directly. There are lots of other ways to make your point, but you missed them all.

Re:Dear Mr. President (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302357)

Look at Bush2. You really still want to tell me drugs don't make you stupid?

Re:Dear Mr. President (4, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302047)

You are asking the president to justify Congress' inaction, and I doubt he thinks it is justified. As he said, he is bound to enforce the laws they write. He could phrase his opposition more clearly than "de-emphasizing" enforcement, but that would cause a distraction from other more immediate issues.

See also: Obama's full "states rights" position... (2, Insightful)

Uberbah (647458) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302055)

...on same-sex marriage. If our press was as adversarial as it is in England, we might see questions like:

"Mister President, where do you think you would be in life if you had been convicted for felony drug possession when you were a young man?"

and

"Mister President, if your parents had been married when you were conceived, they could have been arrested in half the United States for violating interracial marriage laws. As a former professor of Constitutional Law you know this full well - so how can you, in good conscience, endorse a "states rights" position on same-sex marriage bans?"

Re:See also: Obama's full "states rights" position (1, Funny)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302279)

Conceived as a bastard by a polygamist and raised by his grandparents, that is one issue where Obama is probably not a hypocrite

Re:See also: Obama's full "states rights" position (1)

Uberbah (647458) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302497)

Conceived as a bastard

Conceivably, that's gross, archaic framing. Because pejoratives should be aimed at kids, because it's totally their responsibility to make sure their parents are married before the sperm meets the egg. In advance, or something.

that is one issue where Obama is probably not a hypocrite

Unless Obama taught that "states rights" was a valid defense of Jim Crow in his Constitutional Law class, of course he's a hypocrite.

after all the war on pirates is profitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42301893)

after all the war on pirates is profitable, while the war on pot is not.Just ask Voltage suing Canadians you scum sucking yanky.

Re:after all the war on pirates is profitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42302031)

It was profitable back when DuPont needed to protect their plastics business from competitors using hemp.
Very convenient that a member of the family was head of the DEA at the time.

Of course they still like to link it to all the other "War On"s but thats just convenience.

War on drugs - and the money involved (5, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302081)

One major effect of the war on drugs (it's not a war on pot) is to channel taxpayer money to the prison system, to law enforcement, and to the corporations that make the various tools that law enforcement uses. To the tune, so far, of about a trillion dollars. That is more than enough money to create a whole swath of lobbyists clamoring for more and harsher drug laws. A very large number of people in the prison system are there for something related to drug charges; that has a direct effect on the amount of money going in that direction.

Then there's the low-hanging candy for politicians to use to pander to the brow-beaten, paranoid parents at vote-collecting time. The whole shooting match is a very big deal, financially speaking, though it isn't exactly all about profit. It supports a lot of jobs, too; just about the entire DEA depends upon the drug war to provide for their paychecks, and that's true for a lot of city cops as well, though most rural shops don't actually have dedicated drug guys, or at least, I hope not. Then there's the prison system, the "rehab" pukes, several generations of psycho-babblers, and on the other side of the coin, the entire alcohol industry which really doesn't want to see a cheaper, more effective, safer high made freely available to the citizens.

So don't kid yourself about there not being a financial motive here. There is, and it's a significant one.

Re:War on drugs - and the money involved (4, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302301)

One major effect of the war on drugs (it's not a war on pot) is to channel taxpayer money to the prison system,

Two words: private prisons
That should never have been allowed anywhere under any circumstances. A for-profit prison!

They sign contracts where state guarantees a certain percentage occupation (90%), so it is no surprise when the state works hard to meet that promise

And now these private prisons are selling prisoner labor at under-$1 an hour rates to make more money. How and why is anyone allowed to profit from prisoner labor?

Oh, and some phone company makes a killing at 24c/minute phone calls for prisoners...

Re:War on drugs - and the money involved (2)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302477)

How and why is anyone allowed to profit from prisoner labor?

Constitution: 13th amendment. Read it. There's your answer.

it also doesn't make sense (4, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year and a half ago | (#42301915)

to call it "interstate commerce" if a person smokes a plant that naturally grows in his backyard, never actually engaging in commerce or crossing interstate lines.

Re:it also doesn't make sense (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302381)

call it "interstate commerce" if a person smokes a plant that naturally grows in his backyard, never actually engaging in commerce or crossing interstate lines

It also doesn't make any sense to start your sentence in the subject line!

As far as your point, that's definitely not the question for the president. That's a question for the frigging supreme court that screwed things for us in Wickard v Filburn [wikipedia.org] , basically allowing anything to be regulated under interstate commerce clause. So far I believe only one case was NOT permitted under "commerce clause" (specifically: a claim that bringing a gun to school will make the school less safe, school area less desirable, thereby eventually somehow affecting the interstate commerce)

So we know we can expect... (1)

3seas (184403) | about a year and a half ago | (#42301963)

.. a rash of busts happening. Given Obama's history of saying one thing and doing another.

keep on hoping (5, Informative)

Meniconi,Nando (666243) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302041)

Heard this declaration before, only to be followed by the highest amount of FBI raids on legal dispensaries since 1996.

Re:keep on hoping (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42302499)

Heard this declaration before, only to be followed by the highest amount of FBI raids on legal dispensaries since 1996.

Legal dispensaries under state law are illegal drug dealers under federal law. You may dislike this state of affairs, but being in denial about it doesn't help anyone. Obama only referred to drug users.

Standard Obama Bullshit, I'm afraid..... (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302077)

The ONLY reason that the feds won't be going after recreational users is that they simply don't have the resources to do so. The DEA has ~5500 agents in total, not nearly enough to go after everybody in WA and CO who likes to smoke grass.

What they are likely to do is much the same as what has been going on in CA and other medical marijuana states--go after the people who are distributing the pot commercially. As soon as the framework is in place for legal distribution and cultivation to start, the federal harassment will kick in. They will start going after stores selling the stuff, shops where people are smoking it, etc.

If the tactics in CA are any guide, they won't even be using the drug laws to do their dirty work. They will use the tax code where they don't allow the dispensaries to deduct the cost of the MJ they sell as a business expense, requiring them to pay more in taxes than they make by selling the stuff. Or they will go after the landlords of the storefronts the dispensaries operate from, threatening property seizure unless the "illegal activities" are evicted. Or go after the banks where the dispensaries have business accounts, wit the threat of prosecution for "money laundering". There are many ways that the feds can make it impossible to run a marijuana business, even without busting anyone for actual drug violations.

Re:Standard Obama Bullshit, I'm afraid..... (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302237)

The ONLY reason that the feds won't be going after recreational users is that they simply don't have the resources to do so.

That's just a restatement of what Obama himself said.

Ignoring the law???? Double Standard??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42302079)

I cant understand how the government can openly say they will not enforce a law enacted by the elected congress of the people. If the law is wrong then work to get it overturned at a federal level. But if it is on the books, at least PRETEND to enforce it. In the current legal climate, something needs to be done to reconcile the conflict over increasingly legal marijuana usage at the state level, and the ongoing federal prohibitions. Ignoring the federal laws is not the answer.

Re:Ignoring the law???? Double Standard??? (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302399)

No, but ignoring the local decisions isn't a good idea either.

I'm a firm believer in the federal character of the US, the choice of every state to make their own decisions and their own laws at the very least in regards that do not affect other states. Of course this cannot reach towards foreign policy and defense, but if ANY kind of decision has only local effects without affecting other states, it's the question whether some kind of drug should be legal or not.

Political topics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42302111)

How are all these political topics news for nerds? It's just mari--...

Oh I see, carry on.

Obama's actions and what he DOESN'T say... (3, Insightful)

Uberbah (647458) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302241)

...are far more significant than whatever pretty words are coming out of his mouth on any given morning. He also promised to back off state-based medical marijuana, only to prosecute more than 10 dimes the number of medical pot facilities in four years than Bush did in 8.

Obama is a hypocritical pot smoking, "a little blow" using jackass who has no problem ending the careers of future Obama's by throwing their asses in prison for the same offenses that he committed with gusto when he was a young man.

And before someone uses the "but he's gotta enforce the laaaaw" excuse, where are the prosecutions of Bush officials that ordered torture and bankers that stole people's homes? Finally, the Controlled Substances Act allows Obama to reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III without having to go through Congress, changing it from contraband to regulated drug overnight.

Yay! The first step towards a sane society. (1)

sootman (158191) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302263)

If we can quit spending money busting and then housing people for doing relatively harmless things to themselves, maybe next we can quit wasting trillions of dollars in decade-long wars and spend some money getting decent care for people so we can go a week without a school getting shot up.

Reduced Microsoft software quality? (1)

Animats (122034) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302293)

I'm wondering how the legalization of marijuana in Washington state will affect Microsoft's software quality. Does Microsoft have drug testing?

Critical questions unanswered (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#42302349)

"VOA reports that President Obama says it does not make sense for federal authorities to seek prosecution of recreational marijuana users in states where such use is legal."

But elsewhere he said (essentially) that the Fed's resources are better targeted at dealers - which leaves medical marijuana providers at risk, as well as the licensed growers/dealers provided for under Washington and Colorado's new laws.

And while he's bound to enforce the laws written by Congress, you'd have a very hard time convincing me that he doesn't have the authority to alter the priorities of enforcing those laws. The Justice Dept is part of the Executive Branch and works for him - not Congress. What I suspect he's really waiting on before making the issue a priority and taking it to Congress is for a critical mass of states to decriminalize. Until then, he's just waffling and blaming Congress rather than taking a stand.

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