When President Barack Obama was in the midst of his first campaign for the Nation’s highest office, he made some appealing promises to advocates of drawing down the War on Drugs and lightening restrictions on medical marijuana in the United States.
What a difference a few years can make.
According to a new report produced by Americans for Safe Access, a leading advocate of medical marijuana, the Obama Administration has not just been tough on American pot users — it has spent much more on medical cannabis enforcement than both the George W. Bush and Bill Clinton White Houses.
From the report, titled “What’s the Cost”:
…President Obama has dedicated nearly $300 million to such enforcement efforts, despite his repeated pledges to not use Justice Department funds in this way. In 2011 and 2012, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) spent four percent of its budget on the medical marijuana crackdown. Having conducted at least 270 paramilitary-style raids during the past four years, Obama’s DEA spent approximately $8 million to carry them out. However, the amount of taxpayer dollars spent on raids was dwarfed by the amount spent on investigative efforts preceding raids, indictments, and lawsuits, which has totaled more than $200 million.
In a press release detailing its findings, ASA mused that most people probably don’t realize how harsh Obama has been on pot: “Did you know that the Department of Justice has already spent nearly a half a billion dollars fighting medical cannabis? Did you know that the Obama Administration spent over half of that money on medical cannabis investigations, paramilitary-style raids, prosecutions, incarceration, and civil asset forfeiture lawsuits? Most Americans do not know these things, but what is worse is that most Members of Congress don’t know that either.”
It’s not surprising that ASA assumes many people have no idea the Obama Administration is skewering marijuana users and spending heavily to do so.
Here’s what the current President’s campaign representatives sent a reporter for StoptheDrugWar.org back in 2008 when questions about Obama’s marijuana policies came up:
Thank you for contacting Obama for America to inquire about the Senator’s position on allowing severely ill patients to use marijuana for medical purposes.
Many states have laws that condone medical marijuana, but the Bush Administration is using federal drug enforcement agents to raid these facilities and arrest seriously ill people. Focusing scarce law enforcement resources on these patients who pose no threat while many violent and highly dangerous drug traffickers are at large makes no sense. Senator Obama will not continue the Bush policy when he is president.
Thank you again for contacting us.
Obama for America
Well, at the email was truthful in saying Obama wouldn’t continue Bush’s tactics; the current President appears to have doubled down.