(Hat tip to commenter Alan on the NORML Blog)
“What I specifically said was that we were not going to prioritize prosecutions of persons who are using medical marijuana. I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana – and the reason is, because it’s against federal law. I can’t nullify congressional law,” Obama said.
President Obama on the Economy:
Each time, Mr. Obama has emphasized the fact that he is bypassing lawmakers. When he announced a cut in refinancing fees for federally insured mortgages last month, for example, he said: “If Congress refuses to act, I’ve said that I’ll continue to do everything in my power to act without them.”
All in all, the White House’s agenda is clear. “I refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer,” Obama professed in a speech carried out earlier this year. “When Congress refuses to act and — as a result — hurts our economy and puts people at risk, I have an obligation as president to do what I can without them.”
President Obama on Medical Marijuana Law:
“I can’t ask the Justice Department to say, ‘Ignore completely a federal law that’s on the books.’ What I can say is, ‘Use your prosecutorial discretion and properly prioritize your resources to go after things that are really doing folks damage.’ As a consequence, there haven’t been prosecutions of users of marijuana for medical purposes,” Obama said.
President Obama on the Federal Defense of Marriage Act:
The Obama administration started down this path soon after Republicans took over the House of Representatives last year. In February 2011, Mr. Obama directed the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages, against constitutional challenges.
Look, it’s perfectly clear. If the president wants to create jobs for veterans, prevent drug shortages, raise fuel economy standards, curb domestic violence, nominate various “czars”, cut refinancing fees for federally insured mortgages, ignore the Defense of Marriage Act*, curb greenhouse gas emissions, give states waivers from federal mandates if they agree to education overhauls, grant relief to some illegal immigrants brought to the country as children, ease terms on student loans, overrule stronger antismog rules, continue to allow discrimination by federal contractors based on sexual orientation, and wage war in the Middle East, he doesn’t need to heed federal law and can just ignore Congress and do as he wishes.
But if it is not running roughshod over the states that have legalized medical marijuana, his hands are tied.
* Which, by the way, I’m glad he’s doing… I’m just saying if he can ignore federal law that allows states to discriminate against married gays from legal gay marriage states, then he can ignore federal law that allows US Attorneys to persecute medical marijuana providers from legal medical marijuana states.