President Obama’s Marijuana Policy
Recently, President Obama sent new guidelines to federal prosecutors saying they should not go after marijuana suppliers or users as long as they are following laws within their respective states. This policy, despite being created by a Democratic president, is one conservatives should support. The War on Drugs regarding marijuana policy should be kept on the state level, where different cultures and standards create the laws each state’s citizenry want for themselves. Too, there are proven medicinal benefits to marijuana use, and a number of state policies show a recognition of this. Lastly, this change in enforcement will do much to keep our streets and communities safe. We have thousands of people in jail for marijuana violations, and according to WaronDrugs.com about 873,000 people were arrested in 2007 for breaking marijuana laws. This is not the best use of America’s limited monetary and law enforcement resources, especially with the threats of terrorism, violent crimes, illegal immigration and exploding national, state and personal debts and deficits across the country.
Recently, New Hampshire (my native state) debated whether or not to allow the legalization of medicinal marijuana. In the fine tradition of common-sense conservatism- namely, letting the evidence guide policy- the New Hampshire Union Leader- an unabashedly conservative newspaper- supported legalizing medicinal marijuana. As stated in their April 16, 2009 editorial: “We understand the concerns of law enforcement officials who oppose this bill. But at this point, withholding the proven medical benefits of smoked marijuana from those extremely ill patients who cannot be helped by any other treatment would amount to a cruel deprivation of necessary medical care.”
My personal viewpoint (not the opinion of The Lobbyist or its other writers) is that marijuana should be legalized for up to an ounce in one’s home. Similar to alcohol, its use should not be allowed in the streets, and selling it in public (except where medically allowed) and to children should be illegal. If you’ll pardon the expression, there should be a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy towards marijuana, where if a user is doing pot in the privacy of one’s own home he or she should not be punished as long as the marijuana stays in the privacy of one’s own home and is not causing actions that would force police involvement, such as spousal or child abuse, child neglect, dangerous carelessness, etc.- all things public officials would be involved with anyway.
When I stated this opinion on Facebook, a college friend said I almost had a “liberal moment.” The fact is that libertarians (whose ideology I have a definitive leaning towards) have similar views to many liberals regarding marijuana policy, and this is an area where President Obama actually has it right.? It doesn’t happen often, but I support the President’s policy on this matter.