Archive for the ‘Barack Obama’ category

Obama’s real talk: Pot ‘shouldn’t be young people’s biggest priority’

March 17th, 2015

President Barack Obama wants young Americans to reconsider their political priorities. In a new interview with Vice, Obama talked extensively on marijuana law reform -- and the president had a strong reaction to the fact that the pot topic was the "number one question from everyone on the Internet," as Vice founder Shane Smith said in the interview.

The post Obama’s real talk: Pot ‘shouldn’t be young people’s biggest priority’ appeared first on The Cannabist.

Obama: States Reforming Marijuana Laws Could Lead To Federal Rescheduling

March 17th, 2015
President Obama has been frustrating in a lot of ways to marijuana activists. Has he taken some steps to reform marijuana laws? Sure. For instance his administration late last year issued a memo stating that if Native American tribes wanted to cultivate and sell marijuana on tribal lands, that would be OK. But President Obama has

Press Release: Eighteen Members of Congress Call on Obama to Reschedule Marijuana

February 12th, 2014
February 12, 2014
Contact: Darby Beck: darby.beck@leap.cc415.823.5496


Current Scheduling Limits Medical Research, Creates Hurdles to Legitimate Business

Bill to “Unmuzzle Drug Czar” Also Introduced

WASHINGTON, DC–Citing high numbers of arrests, billions of dollars wasted, disproportionate effects on black Americans and the relative safety of marijuana, a group of eighteen Congress members today called on President Obama to “delist or classify marijuana in a more appropriate way, at the very least eliminating it from Schedule I or II.” The move comes in light of Obama’s recent comments to The New Yorker that marijuana is no more harmful than alcohol and that it was important to allow legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington to proceed.

Currently, marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug, a classification for drugs with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Because of this classification, most medical research on marijuana is prohibited, it cannot be prescribed in accordance with federal law and it creates a host of tax and business regulation problems for state-legal marijuana businesses trying to comply in good faith with all relevant laws.

“No drug should be listed as Schedule I, which limits potentially life-saving research into both benefits and dangers of a substance and guarantees a violent, illegal market for the product,” said Law Enforcement Against Prohibition executive director Major Neill Franklin (Ret.) “This is even more true of marijuana right now, when after four decades of failure, states are doing their best to find something that works and federal regulations keep interfering with their doing so.”


Law Enforcement Leaders Ask Department of Justice to Respect State Marijuana Laws

November 20th, 2012
 Group Cites Public Safety Concerns Created by Illegal Marketplace

 Teleconference With Colorado and Washington Law Enforcers at 12:00 PM ET

 WASHINGTON, DC – This morning a former narcotics cop delivered a letter signed by 73 current and former police officers, judges, prosecutors and federal agents to Attorney General Eric Holder urging him not to interfere with the wishes of the voters of Colorado and Washington State to legalize and regulate marijuana.

"We seem to be at a turning point in how our society deals with marijuana," said Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, the group that authored the letter. "The war on marijuana has funded the expansion of drug cartels, it has destroyed community-police relations and it has fostered teenage use by creating an unregulated market where anyone has easy access. Prohibition has failed. Pretty much everyone knows it, especially those of us who dedicated our lives to enforcing it. The election results show that the people are ready to try something different. The opportunity clearly exists for President Obama and Attorney General Holder to do the right thing and respect the will of the voters."

Neill Franklin delivers a letter to the Department of Justice
There will be a teleconference for reporters interested in speaking with Mr. Franklin and other law enforcement signatories of the letter, as well as an NAACP leader, today at 12:00 PM ET. Please call 1-800-311-9403 (Passcode: "Marijuana"). Individual interviews are also available. The text of the letter delivered today to Eric Holder is online at

The signatories of the letter collectively represent more than 1,100 years of experience in law enforcement.  

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) is a group of police, judges, prosecutors, corrections officials and federal agents who, after witnessing the harms of the drug war firsthand, are now devoted to ending that war. More info at

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 20, 2012
CONTACT: Tom Angell -- (202) 557-4979 or
                    Darby Beck -- (415) 823-5496 or

November 20, 2012

The Honorable Eric Holder
Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Mr. Attorney General and Our Colleagues in the Department of Justice,

As fellow law enforcement and criminal justice professionals we respectfully call upon you to respect and abide by the democratically enacted laws to regulate marijuana in Colorado and Washington. This is not a challenge to you, but an invitation – an invitation to help return our profession to the principles that made us enter law enforcement in the first place.

We went into law enforcement, despite its long hours and constant frustrations, because we wanted to serve our communities. We wanted to save people, to protect them, and there are few more selfless and noble callings on this earth. But the second we overthrow the will of the people, we fail to live up to the promise of that calling.

The great American political writings upon which this country was founded were based in John Locke’s concept of the social contract, which recognizes that the authority of police, and of all government, is derived from the people. And the people have spoken. To disregard the fact is to undermine the legitimacy of the ideas for which our forefathers fought and died.

This is not merely an academic argument. August Vollmer, father of professional policing and primary author of the Wickersham Commission report that served to bring an end to the prohibition of alcohol, opposed the enforcement of drug laws, saying that they "engender disrespect both for law and for the agents of law enforcement." His words ring as true today as they did in 1929. After 40 years of the drug war, people no longer look upon law enforcement as heroes but as people to be feared. This is particularly true in poor neighborhoods and in those of people of color, and it impacts our ability to fight real crime.

One day the decision you are about to make about whether or not to respect the people’s will may well come to be the one for which you are known. The war on marijuana has contributed to tens of thousands of deaths both here and south of the border, it has empowered and expanded criminal networks and it has destroyed the mutual feeling of respect once enjoyed between citizens and police. It has not, however, reduced the supply or the demand of the drug and has only served to further alienate – through arrest and imprisonment – those who consume it.

At every crucial moment in history, there comes a time when those who derive their power from the public trust forge a new path by disavowing their expected function in the name of the greater good.  This is your moment. As fellow officers who have seen the destruction the war on marijuana has wrought on our communities, on our police forces, on our lives, we hope that you will join us in seeking a better world.


Executive Director Stanford “Neill” Franklin, Baltimore, MD
Retired State Police Major (34 years law enforcement experience)

Board and Advisory Board Members

Jack A. Cole, Medford, MA
Retired Police Detective Lieutenant, New Jersey State (26 years)

Peter Christ, Syracuse, NY
Retired Police Captain (20 years)

Stephen Downing, Los Angeles, CA
Retired Deputy Chief of Police (20 years)

James E. Gierach, Chicago, IL
Former Drug Prosecutor (12 years)

Leigh Maddox, Esq., Baltimore, MD
Retired Police Captain (17 years)

Joseph McNamara, Stanford, CA
Retired Chief of Police, Kansas City, MO and San Jose, CA (35 years)

Terry Nelson, Granbury, TX
Retired Customs and Border Protection Aviation/Marine Group Supervisor in Texas, Florida and Latin America (32 years)

Tony Ryan, Sioux Falls, SD
Retired Lieutenant Police Officer, Denver PD (36 years)

Richard Van Wickler, Stoddard, NH
Superintendent, Department of Corrections (25 years)


MacKenzie Allen, Santa Fe, NM
Former Master Police Officer and Drug Detective in Seattle and Los Angeles (15 years)

Daniel-Paul Alva, Philadelphia, PA
Former Assistant District Attorney (2 years)

John Amabile, Brockton, MA
Former Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General (4 years)

James Anthony, Oakland, CA
Former Community Prosecutor (3 years)

Dean Becker, Houston, TX
Former Air Force Security Police Officer (3 years)

Nate Bradley, Sheridan, CA
Former Deputy Sheriff, Wheatland PD (5 years)

Arnold J. “Jim” Byron, Burlington, WA
Retired United States Customs Inspector in Minnesota and Washington State (31 years)

Jerry Cameron, Saint Augustine, FL
Retired Chief of Police (17 years)

George T. Cole, Chicago, IL
Retired Senior Special Agent (26 years)

Beth Comery, Providence, RI
Former Police Officer (5 years)

William John Cox, Long Beach, CA
Retired Police Officer and Prosecutor in Los Angeles and San Diego (40 years)

Richard F. Craig, Travelers Rest, SC
Former Lieutenant Police Officer, Rockland, MA PD (33 years)

Tim Datig, Egg Harbor, NJ
Retired Police Chief, St. Aldans Police Department, Vermont (28 years)

John Delaney, Bryan, TX
Retired District Court Judge, State of Texas (29 years)

Det. David Doddridge, St. George, UT
Retired Military Police Officer and Narcotics Detective, LAPD (21 years)

James A. Doherty, Seattle, WA
Former Corrections Officer and Prosecutor (7 years)

Sean Dunagan, Washington, DC
Former DEA Senior Intelligence Research Specialist (13 years)

Richard E. Erickson, Lakeport, CA
Retired Patrolman (22 years)

Jay Fleming, Mohave Valley, AZ
Former Narcotics Investigator, Spokane, WA (15 years)

Shelley Fox-Loken, Portland, OR
Retired Probation & Parole Officer (19 years)

Leonard I. Frieling, Boulder, CO
Former Judge (8 years)

Michael J. Gilbert, Ph. D., San Antonio, TX
Former Corrections Practitioner (12 years)

Diane M. Goldstein, Santa Ana, CA
Retired Lieutenant Police Officer (21 years)

Judge James P. Gray, Santa Ana, CA
Retired Superior Court Judge (32 years)

Jamie Haase, Greenville, SC
Former Special Agent and Customs Inspector, Baltimore and Laredo (10 years)

Karen E. Hawkes, Boston, MA
Retired State Trooper, First Class (13 years)

Patrick Heintz, Agawam, MA
Retired Correctional Officer/Counselor (20 years)

Wesley E. Johnson, J.D., Tulsa, OK
Former Police Officer (5 years)

Russell Jones, New Braunfels, TX
Former Narcotics Detective (10 years)

Jeff Kaufman, New York, NY
Former Police Officer, Special Assignment (8 years)

Kyle Kazan, Long Beach, CA
Retired Police Officer (5 years)

Leo E. Laurence, J.D., San Diego, CA
Former Deputy Sheriff

David M. Long, J.D., San Francisco, CA
Former Special Agent in Florida and California (9 years)

John Lorenzo, Southbury, CT
Retired Chief of Marine Police (20 years)

Paul R. MacLean, Concord, NH
Retired State Trooper (20 years)

Sean McAllister, Denver, CO
Former Assistant Attorney General of Colorado (3 years)

M. P. McCally, Renton, WA
Former Probation Counselor (7 years)

James W.F.E. Mooney, Washington County, UT
Retired Former Narcotics Undercover Agent and Corrections Official (10 Years)

Peter Moskos, New York, NY
Former Baltimore City Police Officer (2 years)

Richard D. Newton, Aviation Interdiction Agent, El Paso, TX
Retired US Customs & Border Protection in Florida, Puerto Rico and elsewhere (30 years)

Patrick K. Nightingale, Esquire, Pittsburgh, PA
Former Assistant District Attorney (6 years)

James J. Nolan - Morgantown, WV
Former Police Lieutenant and FBI Unit Chief, Wilmington, DE (13 years)

Nick Novello, Dallas, TX
Police Officer (30 years)

John O’ Brien, Fullerton, CA
Former Sheriff, Genessee County, MI (12 years)

Chad Padgett, Walton, IN
Former Correctional Officer (6 years)

James S. Peet, Ph.D., CFE, Sumner, WA
Former National Park Service Ranger, Police Officer, Alexandria, VA (6 years)

Titus Peterson, Denver, CO
Former Deputy District Attorney (5 years)

Howard L. Rahtz, Cincinnatti, OH
Retired Police Captain (30 years)

Richard Renfro, Detroit, MI
Retired Special Agent/Financial Criminal Investigator/Supervisor (25 years)

Charles M. Rowland II, Beavercreek, OH
Former Special Prosecutor (3 years)

Bob Scott, Franklin, NC
Retired Executive Officer (15 years)

Dwayne Sessom, Lawton, OK
Former Deputy Sheriff (3 years)

Carol Ruth Silver, San Francisco, CA
Retired Sheriff’s Department Prisoner Legal Services Director (1 year)

Ethan Simon, Albuquerque, NM
Former Assistant District Attorney (6 years)

Norm Stamper, Seattle, WA
Retired Chief of Police, San Diego and Seattle (34 years)

Eric E. Sterling, Washington, DC
Former Counsel to the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary (10 years)

Thomas P. Sullivan, Chicago, IL
Former U.S. Attorney (4 years)

Betty Taylor, St. Louis, MO
Former Police Chief, Winfield PD (7 years)

Jason Thomas, Denver, CO
Former Detention Officer and Deputy Marshall (2 years)

John Tommasi, Durham, NH
Retired Police Sergeant (37 years)

Kyle Vogt, Port St. Lucie, FL
Former Military Police Officer (4 years)

Richard K. Watkins, Ed. D., Huntsville, TX
Retired Senior Prison Warden (20 years)

Rusty White, Bridgeport, TX
Former Correctional Officer, Arizona State (7 years)

Gary Johnson Calls Attention to Marijuana Prohibition

September 10th, 2012

Gary Johnson, this year’s Libertarian Party candidate for president, spoke at a rally on Tuesday outside the Democratic National Convention. He criticized both President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for avoiding one of the nation’s most important political issues. Obama has laughed off or ignored persistent questions about marijuana legalization, while Romney is equally dismissive, calling the issue insignificant.

During his two terms as governor of New Mexico, Johnson established himself as the highest-ranking public official to call for a dramatic shift in the nation’s drug laws. He explains that during his two terms, he applied a cost-benefit analysis to every issue. Regarding costs of the war on drugs, he has cited the United States’ world-record incarceration rate and the fact that approximately half of current criminal justice expenditures deal with drug cases.

On his campaign website, the former governor also refers to the harms of alcohol prohibition and the parallel harms of current drug prohibitions, including the enrichment of organized crime and the associated violence. The site clearly states his support for legalizing marijuana, specifying that the federal government should “end its prohibition mandate” and allow the states to determine their own policies. This is one area where he agrees with former Republican presidential contender and libertarian icon Ron Paul, to whom he has compared himself and whose supporters he may be courting. Although he does not explicitly call for legalization of other drugs, he does refer to drug abuse as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice problem, making reference to the decriminalization which is in effect in Portugal and presenting it as a model for the U.S. to consider.

Johnson’s support in national polling remains quite low, and his name has often been omitted from the polls. It is likely that he will be excluded from the presidential debates, which does not bode will for his chances of ultimately winning the presidency. However, Johnson is the most prominent advocate of drug policy reform in the race and is expected to be on the ballot in all 50 states. Support of even 5% puts him at the top of the pack of third parties, as it dwarfs the best-ever presidential results for both the Libertarian Party itself and the Green Party, whose candidate Ralph Nader won 2.7% in the 2000 elections. His position in the race not only makes him a significant figure in the drug policy reform movement, but should work to raise public awareness of the issue and to improve the prospects for real reform.

NC NORML is LIVE at the Democratic Convention

September 4th, 2012


9/4/2012 at 5:30pm

Watch Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson, former special agent Jamie Haase, and southern rock artist Greta Gaines as they speak live on behalf of North Carloina NORML to raise awareness and support for ending marijuana prohibition at the Democratic Convention in Charlotte.

Live video by Ustream

WE THE PEOPLE: 12 Marijuana Policy Petitions on the White House Website You Should Sign Right Now!

October 5th, 2011

“When I ran for this office, I pledged to make government more open and accountable to its citizens. That’s what the new We the People feature on is all about – giving Americans a direct line to the White House on the issues and concerns that matter most to them.” – President Barack Obama
The White House recently announced We the People, where individuals can create and sign petitions seeking action from the federal government. If a petition gathers 5,000 signatures, White House staff will review it, send it to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response. Once you have registered on the White House We the People page, you can vote for as many petitions as you’d like.

Here are 12 marijuana policy related petitions currently on the White House We the People petition page:

  1. Give States the Freedom to Establish Their Own Marijuana Laws.
  2. Stop denying the medical value of cannabis (marijuana.) Remove it from schedule one of the controlled substances act.
  3. Release all known beneficial information regarding cannabis (hemp, marijuana) and its derivatives.
  4. End the destructive, wasteful and counterproductive “War on Drugs”.
  5. Remove Marijuana from the Schedule 1 list of drugs in the Controlled Substances Act.
  6. Allow United States Disabled Military Veterans access to medical marijuana to treat their PTSD.
  7. Eliminate or Reform Departments whose Officers are Required by Law to Lie to the American People.
  8. Pardon Marc Emery.
  9. Allow Industrial Hemp to be Grown in the U.S. Once Again.
  10. Stop Interfering With State Marijuana Legalization Efforts.
  11. Legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana.
  12. Legalize and Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol.
The White House plans to respond to each petition that crosses the 5,000 signature threshold. Please share this list of petitions with everyone you know, especially on Twitter and Facebook. Also, we know we missed a few petitions, so please add them in the comments below.

To donate, please visit