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Florida Congressman Calls Obama Administration Marijuana Policy “Schizophrenic”

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A Florida congressman this week called the Obama Administration’s policy on marijuana “schizophrenic,” according to CBS News.

U.S. Representative John Mica, who chairs the House Oversight Committee’s Government Operations subpanel, suggested the president’s recent comments to The New Yorker on marijuana may contribute to the growing use of marijuana among teens. Despite these comments, the administration continues to oppose state-based efforts to legalize marijuana, Michael Botticelli, Deputy Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, told Mica’s subpanel on Tuesday.

The administration has been “consistent in its opposition to attempts to legalize marijuana and other drugs,” Botticelli said. Congress classified marijuana as a harmful drug under the Controlled Substances Act, and “the Department of Justice’s responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged.”

In his interview with the magazine, President Obama said he thought marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.” He said he does not think marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol, and added smoking marijuana is “not something I encourage.”

Mica said, “Given the recent statements… the president may, in fact, be a major contributor now to some of the declines we see in the perception of risk” associated with the drug. “We’re going from ‘Just say no,’ to ‘I didn’t inhale,’ now it’s ‘Just say maybe.’” He added, “We have the most schizophrenic policy I have ever seen.”

Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland defended the president’s approach to marijuana. He said he shares Obama’s concern at the disproportionate number of minorities who are arrested and imprisoned for marijuana use. Cummings said, “It’s one thing when you have equal enforcement, but it’s another thing when some people are engaged in purchasing marijuana in the streets and other ones in the suites. You have many African-American young men… spending long sentences sitting in prison while others law enforcement don’t even touch.”

6 Responses to this article

  1. Linda / February 6, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    What careless use of a real mental health diagnosis, and I believe, insulting to those who experience the condition and their loved ones.

  2. Howlandwoof / February 6, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Sorry for the typo’s. It should have read as follows: Typical response from one of the nation’s most ignorant governors, who opts to take the “Law & Order” , “War on Drugs” approach, while having successfully cut a substantial amount of funding for treatment.

  3. bob wiley / February 6, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    These hearings are a refreshing spotlight identifying the abject failures of our federal anti-drug messaging. Please take the time to watch this c-span clip and comprehend how our messaging needs to be revised.
    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/clip/4483565

    How could the Deputy Director of ONDCP be so uninformed about the relative harms caused by drugs? If they are unable to speak honestly, their office should be abolished.

    How could he be uninformed about the prohibition of ONDCP to speak about rescheduling of drugs? They are REQUIRED by law to oppose any rescheduling of any schedule I drug.

  4. jboside / February 6, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland “You have many African-American young men… spending long sentences sitting in prison while others law enforcement don’t even touch.” This is alot of legalizer lies. Acording to DOJ there is .01% of individuals incarcerated in the United States for simple marijuana use. President Obama and Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland should find out the real facts and stop parioting the Drug Policy Alliance party line.

  5. Avatar of Lauren Doninger
    Lauren Doninger / February 6, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Referring to a policy as ‘schizophrenic’ helps to perpetuate stereotypes of the mentally ill. John Mica owes people suffering with schizophrenia and their families an apology.

  6. bob wiley / February 6, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    jboside…. The consequences of arresting over 750,000 Americans every year for marijuana infractions, over 86% for simple possession is Draconian. Half of all drug arrests are for marijuana. Is that justified??? Yes few go to prison, but waste of public safety resources expended in arresting, prosecuting and punishing for marijuana offenses is beyond justification. Why do we arrest people for possession of a plant less harmful than alcohol?

    Please watch the clips of the testimony and let us know if the priorities of ONDCP, DEA and the rest of the drug warriors is justified. They are unwilling to admit that cannabis causes less harm than heroin and our teens then get the message that pot and heroin are equally damaging. Is that the message we want to promote?

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