Pubdate: Wed, 29 Feb 2012 Source: Register-Guard, The (OR) Copyright: 2012 The Register-Guard Contact: http://www.registerguard.com/web/opinion/#contribute-a-letter Website: http://www.registerguard.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/362 Author: Jim Greig Note: Jim Greig of Eugene is a member of the board of directors for the Voter Power Foundation, Oregon organizer for Americans for Safe Access and co-director of the Regulate Medical Marijuana Political Action Committee. CANNABIS ACTIVISTS ARE READY TO SAY 'NO OBAMA' "...rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual." - Thomas Jefferson A movement in drug policy circles is afoot in this election season that so far has flown under the media's radar but holds the potential to be a game-changer. The movement? A challenge to President Obama from millions of cannabis activists and consumers that simply states, "No change, no vote, no Obama!" As a candidate, Barack Obama pledged that his administration would not interfere in the state's medical marijuana policies. As president he said in a 2009 memorandum on scientific integrity, "The public must be able to trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions. Political officials should not suppress or alter scientific or technological findings and conclusions. If scientific and technological information is developed and used by the federal government, it should ordinarily be made available to the public." The chasm between scientific integrity and U.S. drug policies is one that humbles the Grand Canyon. The president may be able to carry a tune, but he plays the fool in not moving toward the real science of cannabis. As we know from recent raids in Southern Oregon, California, Montana and Colorado, the deeply entrenched federal drug war bureaucracy is doing its utmost to squash states' medical cannabis programs. In a news release last October the Drug Policy Alliance called Obama's medical cannabis policies worse than the policies of the Bush and Clinton administrations. That's saying something. But the real crux has been in Obama's condescending disregard for the dozens of marijuana legalization questions in online polls, White House "We the People" petitions and Twitter and YouTube townhall-type events. In every case, the No. 1 question asked was on marijuana re-legalization. In every response but one, the president was at best dismissive. In January of 2011 he did finally answer, responding to a YouTube question from MacKenzie Allen, a retired deputy sheriff, now a member of and speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. In his statement, the president said that drug legalization is "an entirely legitimate topic for debate." Well, Mr. President, here's a fact your re-election staff hasn't told you: The reason cannabis was the top vote winner over and over again is because it's important to millions of people who are one-issue voters and highly motivated to vote. And we are eager for that debate. In the presidential election years, turnout among young voters is high - - a vote I am sure Obama would like to count on. What he apparently doesn't realize is that polling shows that two-thirds of voters between the ages of 18 and 25 support the legalization of cannabis. Drug policy activists, especially us medical cannabis types, are angered by our president. In Oregon the rising tide of dissatisfaction has led to the founding of six chapters of Students for Sensible Drug Policy on our college campuses, and state cannabis activists are having discussions on the formation of a statewide coalition specifically to deal with the constant assaults on the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. Clearly, there is no doubt that cannabis has proper medical uses, just as there is no doubt about the science of medical marijuana. Unfortunately, since cannabis is still a Schedule I drug in the Controlled Substances Act (meaning it has no accepted medical use in the United States), and because of the power of the multi-billion-dollar drug war bureaucracy, the only studies allowed to be conducted in the United States are those seeking to find harm in cannabis use. Every responsible American should be feeling the pain as cannabis patients, medical cannabis programs and the truth all try to survive under government edicts based not on science, but on plain old-fashioned lies. We, the people, are the leaders on this issue, and we are fed up. We are ready to demonstrate our dissatisfaction in the voting booth. Candidate Obama promised change. President Obama has not changed a thing. This will not be tolerated. We say no. No change, no vote, no Obama. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.