Thursday, December 18, 2008

Change: Up in Smoke?, by Michel Anderson

The election of Barack Obama not only gave the United States its first African-American president but also its first openly admitting, former pot smoker. Yes, Obama, on many occasions and in humorous ways confessed to his past experimentation with marijuana. In 2004 he spoke out in favor of marijuana decriminalization. During his primary bid, Obama spoke out in favor of drug policy reform and medical marijuana usage, but as he inched closer to the presidency his tune changed. No longer did he mention the word "decriminalization," though at least he continued to support the rights of the sick to be prescribed marijuana by their doctors. Now that he is about to obtain the powers of the presidency, and is assembling his team, our compassionate leader is rumored to be buckling under DC pressure to nominate Republican Congressman Jim Ramstad as his new Drug Czar. Ramstad is a former alchoholic; however, his compassion for the addicted does not move beyond those zombified on state-sanctioned drugs, and his stance on marijuana is just as dangerous.

We still have a chance to influence the president-elect. Spread the message wildly like a virus even to those who you assume may not be open to the idea -- you may be surprised. Represent your convictions and inner truth and flood the Obama Transition Team's website with the message of change we want in our country's drug policy. Below is a short letter if you'd like to copy and paste into the site's provided field; however, personalizing it makes it all the more effectual:

To the President-elect,

During the campaign you spoke out candidly against the United States growing incarceration rate of non-violent drug users. Please embrace the fact that this issue is very much connected to health care reform and our current economic troubles. You fully acknowledge that the War on Drugs is an utter failure and outrageously expensive. Do not forget your stated and heartfelt position on this as you assemble your Health Care team, appoint your Drug Czar officer, and guide the DEA. You understand that drug use is a health issue. Lead us in a new direction with compassion for the rights of addicts, the sick, and non-violent experimenters. Under US Law you got lucky that you were not caught during your innocent, experimental phase with marijuana. Is it fair that others may not be so lucky? You are becoming the President of the United States -- some Americans can not even go to college or find employment for doing the same exact thing you have done, and worse yet some are spending their life behind bars. Prove to us that you believe in equal opportunity for all Americans . . . and not just those that get lucky (like yourself) or have the financial means to protect themselves against these erroneous and racist laws. Do not forget about common people, and who you once were, as you ascend into political power. Make health care and drug policy reform, which are one and the same, a high priority of your administration. The public mainstream opinion on this issue is not being represented in Washington DC right now . . . it is of extreme importance that you appoint receptive, creative, and open-minded thinkers to the positions that will direct these efforts; and not people like Congressman Jim Ramstad whose positions run counter to your inner truth.

Thank you.

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