Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, a physician and public health advocate:
“A win/win solution is within reach if we can just shake off the Bush/Obama past and embrace a rational, effective drug policy for the 21st century.”
At the 420 rally in Denver, Colorado, Dr. Stein addressed tens of thousands of marijuana reform advocates. Dr. Stein declared that one of her first actions as President would be to "order the DEA and the Justice Department to cease and desist all attempts to harass or prosecute medical marijuana clinics or other legitimate marijuana-related businesses that are operating under state laws."
Stein asserted that hundreds of thousands of patients who suffer from chronic pain and cancers are benefitting from medical marijuana. It has been deemed legal in 13 states.
Stein criticized Michele Leonhart, a Bush appointee who Obama has promoted to head of the DEA. Leonhart has been behind the “overzealous” attacks on medical marijuana.
"The President promised us change, but in promoting Michele Leonhart he gave us more of the same. One of the first things I would do as President would be to fire Michele Leonhart."
Stein stresses the injustice of the DEA placing marijuana in the most dangerous category of drugs (Schedule 1) along with heroin and LSD. She said that she would direct the DEA to remove marijuana from Schedule 1 and place it in a more appropriate category as determined by medical science.
"President Obama promised to use a science-based approach to public policy. But when it comes to marijuana, he has continued the unscientific policies of George Bush, and has even gone far beyond Bush in his attacks upon medical marijuana clinics. He supports the irrational classification of marijuana in the most dangerous drug category, and he supports the ban on commercial hemp growing. This is mania-based policy, not science-based policy."
Why in this day and age, when 80% of the country is behind the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, would our supposedly Democratic President be against it? For political, impression management considerations, of course. Obama is willing to forego affording a vast number of citizens the benefits of medical marijuana to prevent a generalized “soft on drugs” labeling of himself from conservative Americans, for whom he has pandered and accommodated since day one of his administration.
In addition, this continuing Bush to Obama demonization of ALL marijuana users brings staggering human and financial costs. Hundreds of arrests, trials and jailings. Keith Stroup, founder of NORML (National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Law explains:
“The biggest argument opponents throw at us is that marijuana is a gateway drug to worse things. But 9 of 10 marijuana users don’t use anything else, ... And no one blames alcohol and smoking for leading to marijuana use.”
Stein’s platform on marijuana is reality-based, pragmatic and focused on the needs of our society, not on sacrificing citizen welfare and justice for political advantage:
Stein advocates regulating marijuana in a similar way to alcohol, and has long supported legalization of that drug. According to Stein, this would prevent billions of dollars in profits from pouring into the black market, and would greatly reduce the violence associated with illegal marijuana sales. She feels it would also reduce underage marijuana use, as well as allowing the commercial operations to pay appropriate taxes, thus helping to balance budgets and fund programs to reduce drug abuse.
Stein has toured the country calling for a Green New Deal that would create 25 million sustainable jobs to end unemployment in America, and shift to a new, more democratic economy and politics. "As part of this, I want to see a thriving commercial hemp industry providing food, fiber, and other products from the hemp plant. This will be good for the environment and good for our economy. A win/win solution is within reach if we can just shake off the Bush/Obama past and embrace a rational, effective drug policy for the 21st century."
[cross-posted on correntewire and sacramento for democracy]