Don’t expect any further clarification from the government on medical marijuana until after the next presidential election, at the earliest. The Obama administration seems to be going out of its way to avoid the issue, afraid of the repercussions if it articulates a clear stance. Here’s why: The GOP could have a field day during the next election if it can paint Obama as a pro-pot advocate. On the other hand, the president could be criticized for destroying an entire industry – and the livelihoods of thousands of business owners and workers – if he cracks down too heavily on medical cannabis.
The president is therefore trying very carefully to toe the line, as we saw during a town hall meeting this week in Common Falls, Minnesota.
At one point, a woman in the crowd asked: “If you can’t legalize marijuana, why can’t we just legalize medical marijuana to help the people that need it?”
President Obama’s reply: “Well, a lot of states are making decisions about medical marijuana. As a controlled substance, the issue, then, is, is it being prescribed by a doctor as opposed to — well, I’ll leave it at that.”
That’s as much of a non-answer as I’ve ever seen. If you really want to read into the president’s comments during the town hall meeting, I suppose you could say Obama is insinuating that medical marijuana is OK if it’s prescribed by a doctor. He doesn’t appear to take issue with individual state laws.
Still, I’d caution against viewing Obama’s comments in that light. There simply isn’t enough there to waste the brainpower trying to decipher his statement.