Obama’s Decrim Flip-Flop

Steve Bloom

While campaigning for the Senate in 2004, Pres. Obama said, “We need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws.” On Friday, at a town hall meeting at the Univeristy of Maryland, he stated, “Am I willing to pursue a decriminalization strategy as an approach? No.”For years I said people have been asking Obama the wrong question. Don’t ask if he would legalize marijuana, ask if he would support decriminalizing it. Now we know. The flip-flop is pretty much complete. Obama’s answer on Friday was to a question about ending the war on drugs.

He offered predictable rhetoric about treatment and prevention:”I have stated repeatedly – and it’s actually reflected in our most recent statement by our Office of Drug Policy – that we need to have an approach that emphasizes prevention, treatment, a public health model for reducing drug use in our country. We’ve got to put more resources into that. We can’t simply focus on interdiction because, frankly, no matter how good of a job we’re doing when it comes to an interdiction approach, if there is high demand in this country for drugs, we are going to continue to see not only drug use but also the violence associated with the drug trade.” Watch the clip here.Treatment and prevention for marijuana? Please.Then he added: “Just to make sure that I’m actually answering your question, am I willing to pursue a decriminalization strategy as an approach? No.”