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Jan-20-2014 13:16printcomments

National Marijuana Reform: Steve DeAngelo Releases Statement on Obama's New Yorker Interview

The political risk of the President taking such actions is at an all time low, with over 50% of Americans supporting full legalization, and close to 80% in favor of medical cannabis.

Steve DeAngelo

(OAKLAND) - In response to Obama’s recent comments in the current issue of The New Yorker (1/27/14) on national marijuana reform “to go forward” - national cannabis leader Steve DeAngelo released this statements today.

“President Obama's belated acknowledgement that cannabis has less a less harmful impact on its users than alcohol deserves applause. After all, with that one statement, he has shown more courage on the issue than any President since Jimmy Carter-- who famously said that the punishment for a crime should not be more harmful than the crime itself. But the applause should not last too long: the time for talk is over, and now it's time for action.

Many believe that only Congress has the power to change federal cannabis law, but the fact of the matter is that the President has authority to take several immediate steps, which would effectively dismantle the war on cannabis:

-- Order the DEA to reschedule cannabis from a Schedule 1 substance (the same as heroin or meth) to a lower and more appropriate schedule, which would dramatically reduce or eliminate federal prison sentences for cannabis

-- Prohibit federal grants to state and local law enforcement agencies from being used for cannabis enforcement (except for sales to minors, use of weapons, cartel involvement)

-- Order all US Attorneys to make all current and future prosecutions for cannabis crimes the very lowest priority of their offices (except for sales to minors, use of weapons, cartel involvement, etc.)

-- Order an end to the denial of federal benefits due to cannabis arrests or convictions (student loans, low income housing, organ transplants, unemployment insurance, etc.)

-- Order NIDA to fund research into the safety and benefits of cannabis (and break what Sanjay Gupta called seventy years of intentional misleading)

There can be no rational dispute that the President has the legal powers necessary to end the daily tragedy and heartbreak caused by cannabis prohibition:

---millions of innocent citizens arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned

---hundreds of thousands of patients needlessly suffering and dying

---thousands of children removed from parents by "protective" agencies

---empowerment and enrichment of criminal gangs and cartels

---corruption and diversion of law enforcement

---loss of billions of dollars in foregone jobs and tax revenue

---erosion of cherished civil rights

The political risk of the President taking such actions is at an all time low, with over 50% of Americans supporting full legalization, and close to 80% in favor of medical cannabis. And 21 states--- close to half-- have passed laws allowing medical or adult use. So, once we have given the President the applause his statement merits, we should raise our voices and ask that his future actions more closely mirror those words, and that he do what he knows to be the right and most ethical thing. After all, if cannabis is less harmful to its users than alcohol, what is the moral basis for keeping it illegal?

Over 50% of Americans know these harms wiNow that even the President has publicly said cannabis is less dangerous to its users thanSo, once we have given the President the few minutes of applause that his belated acknowledgement of the truth deserves, it will once again raise our voices and ask that his future actions more effectively mirror his words. Now that the President has admitted cannabis is safer for users than alcohol, what is the moral, basis for its continued illegality?" - Steve DeAngelo

About Harborside Health Center:

Founded by national cannabis leader, Steve DeAngelo, in 2006, Harborside Health Center is the nation's largest, not-for-profit, model medical cannabis dispensary. The San Jose and Oakland medicinal cannabis collective offers its 130,000 registered patients free holistic healing services, lab-tested medicine and education. Harborside was featured on the Discovery Channel miniseries, "Weed Wars," in December 2011, on the premiere episode of CNN’s “Inside Man,” hosted by Morgan Spurlock in June 2013, and in Fortune Magazine’s cover story, “Yes We Cannabis,” in April 2013.  

DeAngelo also co-founded the nation’s first cannabis-testing facility, Steep Hill Labs, and the country’s first cannabis investment firm, The Arc View Investment Group. 

"Out of the shadows and into the light" epitomizes DeAngelo's mission to enlighten the public on the many medicinal and therapeutic benefits of the cannabis plant and actively works to empower the country to change its image of medical marijuana.



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