White House Has “Nothing” Planned on Marijuana

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President Obama has no plans to take further actions toward reforming marijuana laws before the end of his term, according to a top White House aide.

In an interview with Huffington Post, Dan Pfeiffer, senior advisor to the president for strategy and communications, was asked if his boss will endorse legalizing marijuana in the next two years.

“He’s done two things on this,” said Pfeiffer. “One, the attorney general has dealt with sentencing disparities with focus, and we have given, within the constraints we have, appropriate deference to the states of Washington and Colorado. And we don’t have anything additional planned on that… Nothing.”

Mike Liszewski, director of government affairs at Americans for Safe Access, called the comments “disappointing” and said there’s more the president can do to “continue the current federal trend toward ending the crackdown on state marijuana laws.” He praised a 2013 Obama Justice Department memo listing guidelines that states with medical marijuana or legalization laws can follow to avoid federal interference, but said “more action needs to be taken by the administration.”

While Pfeiffer’s remarks may disappoint some reform advocates, even if the White House were planning a major move on marijuana policy — such as rescheduling the drug — it is unlikely those intentions would be revealed in an off-the-cuff fashion during an interview with an advisor to the president.

In addition to rescheduling, Liszewski says, “President Obama should grant immediate clemency and full pardons to all of the patients and providers convicted for lawful state medical marijuana conduct.”

The interview is part of a recurring Huffington Post segment called “Drinking & Talking” in which political insiders drink booze and discuss issues of the day. This episode was recorded on December 22 and published Monday night.

Pfeiffer, who didn’t actually touch any of the alcohol on the table in front of him during the interview, nonetheless giggled quite considerably when asked about marijuana.

Dan Pfeiffer Laughs At Marijuana Question

Huffington Post’s Sam Stein, on the other hand, admitted that he and co-host Jennifer Bendery got “a little drunk” over the course of the conversation.  He went on to add that if it were up to HuffPost, legalizing marijuana would be number one or number two on the president’s to-do list before leaving office.

HuffPost Drinks Booze and Talks Marijuana

The marijuana comments come about 26 minutes in to the video here.

About Author

Tom Angell covers policy and politics for Marijuana.com. Separately, he serves as chairman of the nonprofit organization Marijuana Majority, which works to ensure that elected officials and the media treat legalization as a serious, mainstream issue. Marijuana Majority led the effort to get the U.S. Conference of Mayors to pass a resolution telling the federal government to respect state marijuana laws, and orchestrated the first-ever endorsement for marijuana legalization by a U.S. Supreme Court justice (John Paul Stevens). Previously, Tom worked for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (All organizations are listed for identification purposes only.)

43 Comments

  1. Michael Scott Peterson on

    You’re a part of the problem if you believe that Obama truly had control of his Presidency. He’s the definition of manchurian candidate. The government has been controlled by the Wall St banking cartel who pretty much runs with the pharmaceutical companies. If you can’t see you that then you’re just as dumb as the comment you made.

    • By Wall Street? Oh boy, another libtard who has no idea of what they are talking about. You guys come by the dozens I see.

      • Michael Scott Peterson on

        Way to be an adult by name calling this is why I don’t do this often because to many unintelligent people don’t have enough of a vocabulary to properly discuss politics without being a dick. That’s right, I’m a second ammendment gun toting, marijuana smoking legalization advocating, pro death penalty, prochoice libtard whose paid taxes since I’ve started working at 16. Keep talking though.

        • Didn’t even read it. just please, really quick: Enlighten me as to how “Wall Street” is behind all of this.. I’ll wait.

          • Michael Scott Peterson on

            Spare me dude. You insult my intelligence then like a true right wing conservative ask me to educate you on why my explanation is feasible. How about you stop being like everyone else who just want people to do stuff for then and look it up yourself. Meanwhile you have Bill Cosby and the name rapist, like the dad from seventh heaven wasn’t a rapist himself. Gotta love e the simple mindedness of your attack.

          • I’m still waiting for your dumbass to explain how ‘Wall Street’ is behind all of this… What happened? Ran out of stupid shit to say?

          • YOU said “Wall Street” is behind all of this. I asked you to please enlighten us “fuckin idiots” as to how that is true.. All you have done is avoid answering the simple question, and poked fun at my name.. Circular rhetoric for the win.

          • Michael Scott Peterson on

            Because you are an idiot if you think politics is won by voting. Your name is rapist and you call me a libtard insulting me claiming I don’t know what I’m talking.

            Why should I help your ignorant ass out after being insulted by you? That’s like a slave waiting on an apology from a slave owner. NO OTHER PERSON INSULTED ME ACCEPT YOU and now you want me to “enlighten you” on how social security, IRAs, 401Ks, pensions and everything linked to us including all forms of paperwork IE birth certificates and social security cards are accounts linked to Wall Street.

            But you’re too fuckin lazy to figure out this shit for yourself just like a typical Nigger-(n) ignorant individual. Again go do the fuckin research dummy.

          • Wall Street is built on capitalism, if you knew ANYTHING about capitalism works, it’s how this country was built. Capitalism would have allowed the banks to fail, not “bail them out”. The Government and the Federal Reserve is behind it you moron, through such strict regulations and high taxes, it forces companies to out source their work overseas, making it impossible to open a business here.

            The GOVERNMENT squashed the middle class, NOT wall street. YOU Need to RESEARCH before spreading such MISINFORMATION. If you do not know what you are talking about, then you should refrain from speaking on it.

            Also, you sound like you need meds. Switch to decaf.

          • Michael Scott Peterson on

            Capitalism is another word for slavery you fuckin idiot. The government has been integrated with Wall Street executives and lobbyist if you actually paid attention in school shit you’d know that the Fed isn’t even a part a of government it’s a cartel of bankers who have the government at its mercy.

            Thanks to your stupid ass ancestors social security act and hundreds of other useless pieces of legislation they thought was for their own good when they were just selling you and family into slavery.

            You probably think terrorist groups had something to do with 9/11 too. There’s 2 classes of people the 99% and the 1% since your ass don’t make over a billion dollars you’re in the same fuckin boat I’m in. Only difference is I’m not the fuckin moron that believes there’s a such thing as Capitalism.

          • “capitalism is another word for slavery” .. I’m going to say this one last time before I just stop replying to you.. You are SEVERELY ILL-INFORMED. I HIGHLY suggest you REFRAIN from speaking on shit you know NOTHING about. It is quite OBVIOUS. Now please, do yourself a favor, and read a book. Thanks in advance.

          • Sensible advocate on

            both of you need to take your negative personal attacks to some other web forum. you are trashing up the place. When I saw 29 comments i was looking forward to some good reading with informative points of view. iInstead you both engaged in vague substanceless name calling which i can find far too many other places. We are all on the same side on the legalization issue. Isn’t it ok to simply say “we agree that the president should do more toward legalization” without belittling AND GETTING INTO A pissing martch. As an outsider neither of you made a very good point and you both look like douches.

          • Michael Scott Peterson on

            The problem with people like him is he had to be right the facts don’t mean shit.

          • Looking forward to some good reading? LMFAOOOO!! And I am the only one who knows what the fuck I am talking about in this comment section.. LOL thanks for the laugh chief.

          • Also, this is a public forum dumbass (oh no, there I go again with more negative personal attacks, lmfao).. If you don’t like what’s being said here, then just leave. Are you new to the internet?

          • Michael Scott Peterson on

            It is no secret that slavery rests at the foundation of American capitalism and is often synonymous with the sugar, tobacco, and/or cotton plantations that fueled the Southern economy. What many may not know is that slavery also rests at the foundation of many notable corporations. From New York Life to Bank of America, several companies have benefitted from slavery. Many of the companies even acknowledged their involvement in slavery and offered apologies in an attempt to reconcile their tainted history but, is an apology enough?

            History has consistently shown that slavery has diminished the quality of life for African Americans and simultaneously enhanced the quality of life for White Americans. From institutionalized racism to blocked social and economic opportunities, African Americans are often excluded of African Americans.
            Apologies cannot compensate an entire race of people for all of the social and economic ills they face as a result of their enslavement. They cannot address the residual effects of slavery. They cannot provide job opportunities to a race of people who are experiencing high unemployment rates. Apologies without action from the very systems they helped to create. Had it not been for slave labor, many corporations would not be where they are today and for these companies to acknowledge their involvement in slavery and then simply say ‘Oh, I’m sorry”, is to downplay their role in perpetuating the degradation are nothing more than a futile attempt to correct a wrong by pacifying the wronged. Instead of apologies, these companies could give back to the African American community by donating to HBCUs, investing in minority businesses, offering more minority scholarships, or launching initiatives to increase their number of minority employees. These companies include:
            New York Life

            New York Life found that its predecessor (Nautilus Insurance Company) sold slaveholder policies during the mid-1800s.

            Tiffany and Co.
            Tiffany and Co. was originally financed with profits from a Connecticut cotton mill. The mill operated from cotton picked by slaves.

            Aetna
            Aetna insured the lives of slaves during the 1850’s and reimbursed slave owners when their slaves died.

            Brooks Brothers
            The suit retailer started their company in the 1800s by selling clothes for slaves to slave traders.

            Norfolk Southern
            Two companies (Mobile & Girard and the Central of Georgia) became part of Norfolk Southern. Mobile & Girard paid slave owners $180 to rent their slaves to the railroad for a year. The Central of Georgia owned several slaves.

            Bank of America
            Bank of America found that two of its predecessor banks (Boatman Savings Institution and Southern Bank of St. Louis) had ties to slavery and another predecessor (Bank of Metropolis) accepted slaves as collateral on loans.

            U.S.A. Today
            U.S.A. Today reported that its parent company (E.W. Scripps and Gannett) was linked to the slave trade.

            Wachovia
            Two institutions that became part of Wachovia (Georgia Railroad and Banking Company and the Bank of Charleston) owned or accepted slaves as collateral on mortgaged property or loans.

            AIG
            AIG purchased American General Financial which owns U.S. Life Insurance Company. AIG found documentation that U.S. Life insured the lives of slaves.

            JPMorgan Chase
            JPMorgan Chase reported that between 1831 and 1865, two of its predecessor banks (Citizens Bank and Canal Bank in Louisiana) accepted approximately 13,000 slaves as loan collateral and seized approximately 1,250 slaves when plantation owners defaulted on their loans

          • LOL American Capitalism had NOTHING to do with slavery. Slavery existed in Africa long before “whitey” ever stepped foot in that awful place, and still exists in Africa today. The first slave owner in America was black. That had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with capitalism, it was free labor, who WOULDN’T take free labor if they could get away with it? Only a small few..

          • Michael Scott Peterson on

            But it’s so easy to look past what your ancestors did though. Slavery in Africa was from England and European countries they did the same thing to India and Asia. You’re an idiot who just doesn’t want to admit it. If I saw you in public I’d slap the shit of you for how your blind white privilege has taught you nothin but ignorance

          • First off – it wasn’t my ancestors that enslaved Africans. So you’re not going to get guilt me into that one.

            Secondly- Even if it were true, why should I be held responsible for something my ancestors did? Something I had no involvement in, and had no control of whatsoever? Strike two for you.

            Third- Once again, what in the actual fuck does Slavery have to do with American Capitalism? Strike three, you’re out.

          • And I can’t believe I am still replying to you, but why not.. You do know the American slave trade was run by Jews, right? … Just wondering.

          • Most slaves were not on plantations either, so you need to get your facts straight. A MAJORITY of salves were just housemaids for a single family, which is where the term “house negro” comes from, or “porch monkey”. because they would work in the house and on the porches all day. Had nothing to do with Capitalism, once again, too many morons on this site.

          • You say to not look past what my ancestors did, well, let me hit your dumbass with some knowledge. Blacks enslaved whites before ANY whites enslaved blacks… You sound like every other college hipster with your “know it all” attitude.. It’s almost embarrassing to read your posts.

          • Also, if you are so for human rights in Africa, what about the integral slave trade involving their own people in Africa RIGHT NOW? What about the HUGE diamond mine crisis going on over there, with how many thousands of young children dying to dig up mines/gems? Are you just blind? Or are you on dope?

  2. In all sincerity, and I say this from the bottom of my empty heart: Obama should be hung from the tree next to my morning wash. All this “change” B.S., saying he would cease the raid of Medical Marijuana facilities, when in reality, since Obama has been in office; raids have increased.

  3. thewizardofrockandroll on

    If he fails to do anything , it will be his Shame for the rest of his life ! What if President Lincoln had not abolished Slavery…..The Emancipation Proclamation was a presidential proclamation and executive order issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, as a war measure during the American Civil War, directed to all of the areas in rebellion and all segments of the executive branch(including the Army and Navy) of the United States.[1] It proclaimed the freedom of slaves in the ten states that were still in rebellion,[2]excluding areas controlled by the Union and thus applying to 3 million of the 4 million slaves in the U.S. at the time. The Proclamation was based on the president’s constitutional authority as commander in chief of the armed forces;[3] it was not a law passed by Congress. (Wiki)
    Considering today’s modern version of Slavery with a growing Black Prison Population of Afro-Americans being placed in modern day slavery for Marijuana offenses….come on Mr.President , they hate you anyways no Matter what you try to do good at , so really make history ! The Polls all show America is for this and same thing with Gun Control laws but NRA & crooked Politicians cry 2nd Amendment & everyone backs down ! Nobody wants to take your right to bear arms away , just add some Common Sense as Thomas Paine had once wrote to the laws governing and types of weaponry!
    You will be the Hero of the 21 st Century !

    • darthhillbilly on

      I’m all for legalization, regulation, and taxation (well maybe not the taxes) but, I think comparing legalization to the subjugation of a people a bit extreme. I wholeheartedly agree that if POTUS (President of the United States) repealed prohibition it would make him a hero…My hero for sure…but to compare him to the Greatest President we have had, or are likely to ever see again, is stretching it. By that measure any person who doesn’t agree is a Nazi sympathizer when in truth they are just ignorant. Ignorance is the main reason prohibition is still enforced. Everyone knows how to check Facebook, but how many people bother to look up facts? My father believes everything that is spouted on Fox news….many people do. Until the public is educated, Prohibition will probably just keep on keeping on.

      • thewizardofrockandroll on

        Hey darth I was not making a Point that Obama is anywhere near an Abe Lincoln , my comparison was to the similarity of opportunity knocking at your door and after he leaves office he won’t have that anymore . Just like he took the time for USA to engage Cuba cause sure as shit , the old methods had not worked in over 50 years , as the so-called WAR on Drugs hasn’t either . but it keeps wasting taxpayer money in the Billions , that would best be served and used on infrastructure or medical research or anything but this Modern age Prohibition that doesn’t stop drug use , it just makes people criminals , and just like Prohibition the money is being made by the Bad guys , who are organized and raking in billions , which they put some back into the loudest mouth political or media voices that cry Warning Warning Danger Danger Will Robinson ! I think O’Reilly is one of the accepting fellows of Cartel Donations to his retirement fund or he just wants to piss Bill Maher off ! The other comparison was made by a few wise people over the last few years as the Privatization of Prisons has to be supplied with inmates for it to work and make a profit and they work for 2$ a day so what do you think if a better wage was forced into the equation , instead of Slave labor wages , like the sweatshops we complain are used by American Companies having products made overseas by children or the poor , who need the little monies or would have nothing ? I am not saying pay minimum wage to prisoners but if they have a family on the outside let them earn some to help support their family ,instead of them having to get welfare. Hope that helps clarify my comparative reasoning a bit better. It sure would be applauded by those 70% Pro Pot Pollsters ! Plus . Bill Maher loves to see Bill O’Reilly pissed off ,if he don’t get his way too !

        • darthhillbilly on

          I agree…the only problem is that most of the things you are saying makes too much sense. With our broken justice system, bought politicians, and the amount of money involved the only way the world will change is for people like us (being those that read and make an effort to be informed) to vote. My personal philosophy is that as long as there are unsolved violent crimes of any sort that any police officer focused on policing marijuana should be charged with gross negligence. Any person who has actually lived in the real world is aware that it is harder for high school kids to get alcohol than it is to get hard narcotics. You want to save our kids? Take drugs off of our street corners and place them behind counters. The liquor store asks for I.D. the pusher asks if you have the correct change. Free The Weed!

          • Darth , I ‘ll tell you a true story , took place when I was living in Portsmouth then Norfolk Virginia , where my Dad’s family had mostly moved to from Elizabeth City N,C. it was 1972 give or take a year and the first undercover Narc was on TV in a bust that netted over 100 people that included people I would get to know when I became a Hippie and did the Play: HAIR at the Tidewater Dinner Theater , not a backwoods Dinner Theater , we had equity actors in our Plays using fake names , so they did not have union problems from New York Actors Guild . I also took to dealing Pot & Tim Leary’s favorite , to the cast and the US Naval Station , not me but a Navy lifer who loved tripping , mushrooms were not screened for it seemed . So , when the bust was being discussed on the News , the Narc was a member of the Band , Black River Circus , that played in Va, Beach , he also busted his girlfriend on 2 charges , cause he was also dealing the drugs he would buy and charge the Police department a inflated Price to cover his costs. One big point on the News was a bar a block from a Junior High School, that the terrible hippies were endangering these poor innocent kids , and should be closed down , it was called The hard Rock Cafe , no relation to the Int. group and famous chain . We think they stole the Bars name but not sure who was first.The owner or one of them was busted for dealing birth Control pills for Acid , so it was thrown out in court before intent laws were passed . This guy use to take Acid with his dog and the dog was incredibly smart . but people do crazy stuff with and to their pets ! I was running an Earl Scheib Paint Shop a few blocks away and to make the long story shorter , I asked about some downers called Qualudes and was told i had to go ask the kids at the Jr. High School , they were the dealers dealing to the Hippies from the bar , not the hippies dealing to the kids. True story , they were really strange stuff going down in the early days of Ghent becoming Norfolk , Va, version of Greenwich Village in NYC. Police cars hid at Drive-in theaters wirh narcs in plain cars trying to catch people smoking Pot back then ,until the Shit happened one night that really caused a furor , they mistook some kids smoking a cigarette for pot and rushing in their pursuit of them the narcs backed over some kids on a blanket next to their parents car ! That really got big press and the kids were really shook up and lucky only a broken arm & leg and a big suit against the police Dept. of Va, Beach ! Another case the head of narcotics in Norfolk , lost his son in a raid on the wrong House and was shot and killed by the old couple that lived in the wrong numbered house, they had been robbed before and were trying to protect themselves . Also , a Norfolk lawyer took a sub shop owner’s case for free since there was no hash in the 30 grams sold to the undercover Narc , it was Molasses and brown sugar. but the Owner of the Sub Shop realized the guy was not Kosher when he tried to buy more. That also was the case with birth control pills sold as acid but when he asked for more the Musician who sold them informed everyone of his suspicions ! Sorry to TMi you but I just remember somethings and feel the need to say them while fresh in my head , maybe its a Flashback , I heard tell about ….BB

          • darthhillbilly on

            Before my time, but I did enjoy the story. If like minded individuals stick together and actually vote for candidates that are going to change policy, the world will change. My wife laughs at me because I will not refer to marijuana as “pot”, but as medicine. I refer to using it as medicating, not getting “stoned”. My wife was totally against my medicating until she saw what the “legal” prescriptions were doing. I replaced Xanax, Soma, and Oxycodone with “medicine” and my quality of life has done nothing but increase. My “medicine” helped me to get off the opiates, be a better father, and feel like life was once again “worth” living…Free The Weed!!!

  4. Let me help you out, then, President Choom: Cannabis shall be removed from CSA “Schedule I”, and placed in “CSA Subchapter I, Part A, §802. Definitions, paragraph (6)”, appended to the list “distilled spirits, wine, malt beverages, or tobacco”, where it will STILL be the least-toxic in the category [by several orders of magnitude].

    In other words, EXEMPT from CSA scheduling.

    Anything short of that is ABSOLUTELY unacceptable.

  5. The best way to deal with the cannabis situation is to repeal ALL the unconstitutional statutes that criminalized it and criminalized those who grow, trade, possess, or use it. That would restore it to the status it held before the criminalization — an unregulated herb treated no differently from any other common garden plant.

    • Witchwindy , love your idea I am in total agreement and posted how it is a law enacted out of racism motives , directed at a community of our USA Citizens conceived before the War No 2 in the depression and probably influenced by Nazi & KKK sympathizers. I mean these people hated the Music of Duke Ellington & Benny Goodman , that is pure Hate mongers creating a in-just law to decapitate American Musicianship of our greatest Cultural Contribution to the World , JAZZ , w/o Jazz you think R&R would have evolved ….not a chance , I have a Playlist on YT that is full of pre R&R Music and time and again you hear the sounds that were to become the influence to be Chuck Berry , Fats Domino , Professor Longhair , Huey Piano Smith , Jerry Lee Lewis , Bill Haley & The Comets and Elvis Presley. Songwriters Like Lieber & Stoller , Burt Bacharach ,Carole King , Ellie Greenwich (American pop music singer, songwriter, and record producer. She wrote or co-wrote “Be My Baby”, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”, “Da Doo Ron Ron”, “Leader of the Pack”, “Do Wah Diddy Diddy”, and “River Deep, Mountain High”, among others.) Neil Diamond ,Holland Dozier & Holland and Phil Spector , just to name a few. All influenced by the people who came before , many of them known Weed lovers. They wanted to stop the spread of the Demon Weed ! When R&R started they went out of their way to try and put an end to it and its inter-mingling of kids
      both Black & White , who when they got to R&R realized their color really did not make them that different . Shampoo was based on this story , I lived it and American Hot Wax tells some of it , they went after Alan Freed for advocating and coining the new term Rock and Roll , they tried to burn him for WEED and whatever drugs they hoped to find on him , but he was a drinker not a toker and they had to make up the payola Scandals to get him , cause they all took it but freed would not lie and sign a declaration , he never accepted kick-backs. Dick Clark lied but they wanted the man responsible for the Term R&R , besides Clark on TV was as I remember only White kids dancing together til later years.So , anyone out there cannot deny that the Federal Government went after Weed , Pot , Marijuana smokers who were at its enactment into law members of the Colored community , as the racial term used to describe the Black or Afro-American Communities of later years ! The Proof is in the Pen-itentiaries ! Pun intended ! Mr. President , tear down these Penitentiaries of modern Slavery, Walls that incarcerate mostly Afro -Americans as their main targets , that the Category 1 Marijuana laws had been created to inter. They have ruined enough lives over the years with these racially focused laws Mr . President , let those American citizens Go !

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