Washington D.C. -- As his second presidential term comes to an end, Barack Obama, an admitted pot smoker, finally came to terms with the fact that locking people in a cage for possessing a plant that makes them happy is criminal. On Friday morning, the President issued Executive Order 21302, effectively pardoning all non-violent drug offenders and ordering their release.
Also contained within the text of EO 21302 is an addendum which removes cannabis from the Food and Drug Administration's scheduling protocol under the Controlled Substance Act. Instead of simply bumping cannabis up to a level 4 or 5 classification, the executive order removed it entirely.
In a press conference Friday morning, Obama apologized for not acting sooner, but noted that his hands were tied because much of the government exists solely to enforce the war on drugs.
"We understand that this move will undoubtedly eliminate thousands of government jobs who rely on the war on marijuana," Obama said. "However, we cannot continue locking people up for possessing it."
Obama went on to note that in spite of marijuana prohibition, a cache of studies exists which show the incredible healing power of cannabis.
"While some people will undoubtedly be happy that marijuana is now legal for recreational use, the medicinal benefits associated with this plant will serve humanity for decades to come," Obama said. Adding, "now that doctors and scientists will be able to study marijuana without fear of police action, we can only imagine what lies in store for cannabis research."
As the Free Thought Project has pointed out before, cannabis has been shown to kill cancer cells, save the lives of countless epileptic children, treat PTSD, heal bones, treat brain trauma, and a slew of other uses science is only beginning to understand.
While this news is indeed heartening, it begs the question, "why has it taken until now to do this?"
During Friday morning's press conference, Obama addressed this concern.
"Many of you will say that this should have happened years ago. However, it has been an uphill battle against a pharmaceutical industry who vehemently opposed legalizing marijuana," Obama said, shocking members of the press. "What's more," he continued, "prisons and police unions have deep pockets, and their political influence runs deep."
Obama ended the press conference quoting Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, saying, "The war on drugs is a war on people. A criminal record for a young person for a minor drug offence can be a far greater threat to their well-being than occasional drug use.”
As reporters leapt from their seats to ask more questions, Obama simply smiled and turned to walk away.
Before he got all the way out of the camera's view, he turned around, stepped back to the podium, grabbed the microphone and yelled, "April Fools!"
Unfortunately, the rational, logical, humane, cost-effective and peaceful solution to so many problems in the US today, as described above -- is fictional. Obama has no desire to end the war on drugs, much less the war on pot.
The special interests who line the pockets of politicians who perpetuate the war on drugs have far too much power.
Despite talking a big game in July of last year about releasing non-violent drug offenders, Obama has only managed to free a handful of people.
However, there are tens of thousands of non-violent drug offenders locked in steel cages across this country, many of them are in for possession alone. The slow and rusty cogs of the bureaucratic leviathan can't turn fast enough. For every non-violent drug offender the president frees, five more are thrown in. Why?
Locking up drug users has proven to be quite the profitable venture.
It is much easier to walk out on the street corner and shakedown a teenager who may have an illegal plant in his pocket than it is to examine the evidence in a rape or murder case. The so-called “Private” Prisons know this and have subsequently found their niche in this immoral war on drugs.
The term Private Prison is a farce from the get-go.
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A truly Private prison would not be solely funded by taxpayer dollars. These Private prisons are nothing more than a fascist mixture of state and corporate, completely dependent upon the extortion factor of the state, i.e., taxation, as a means of their corporate sustenance.
A truly Private prison would have a negative incentive to boost its population for the simple fact that it is particularly expensive to house inmates. On the contrary, these fascist, or more aptly, corporatist prisons contractually require occupancy rates of 95%-100%.
The requirement for a 95% occupancy rate creates a de facto demand for criminals. Think about that for a second; a need or demand for people to commit crimes is created by this corporatist arrangement. The implications associated with demanding people commit crimes are horrifying.
Creating a completely immoral demand for “criminals” leads to the situation in which we find ourselves today. People, who are otherwise entirely innocent, are labeled as criminals for their personal choices and thrown in cages. We are now witnessing a vicious cycle between law enforcement, who must create and arrest criminals, and the corporatist prison system that constantly demands more prisoners.
The police and prison corporations know that without the war on drugs, this windfall of money, cars, and houses — ceases to exist.
If you want to know who profits from ruining lives and throwing marijuana users in cages, we need only look at who bribes (also known as lobbies) the politicians to keep the war on drugs alive.
Below is a list of the top five industries who need you locked in a cage for possessing a plant in order to ensure their job security.
- Police Unions: Coming in as the number one contributor to politicians for their votes to lock you in a cage for a plant are the police themselves. They risk taking massive pay cuts and losing all their expensive militarized toys without the war on drugs.
- Private Prison Corporations: No surprise here. The corporatist prison lobby is constantly pushing for stricter laws to keep their stream of tax dollars flowing.
- Alcohol and Beer Companies: These giant corporations hate competition, so why not pay millions to keep a cheaper and far safer alcohol alternative off the market?
- Pharmaceutical Corporations: The hypocrisy of marijuana remaining a Schedule 1 drug, “No Medical Use Whatsoever,” seems criminal when considering that pharmaceutical companies reproduce a chemical version of THC and are able to market and sell it as such. Ever hear of Marinol? Big pharma simply uses the force of the state to legislate out their competition; which happens to be nature.
- Prison Guard Unions: The prison guard unions are another group, so scared of losing their jobs, that they would rather see thousands of non-violent and morally innocent people thrown into cages, than look for another job.
What does it say about a society who’s resolute in enacting violence against their fellow human so they can have a job to go to in the morning?
The person who wants to ingest a substance for medical or recreational reasons is not the criminal. However, the person that would kidnap, cage, or kill someone because they have a different lifestyle is a villain on many fronts.
When does this vicious cycle end?
The good news is that the drug war’s days are numbered, especially seeing that it's reached the White House, and they are taking action, even if it is symbolic. Evidence of this is everywhere. States are defying the federal government and refusing to lock people in cages for marijuana. Colorado and Washington served as a catalyst in a seemingly exponential awakening to the government’s immoral war.
Following suit were Oregon, D.C., and Alaska. Medical marijuana initiatives are becoming a constant part of legislative debates nationwide. We’ve even seen bills that would not only completely legalize marijuana but deregulate it entirely, like corn.
As more and more states refuse to kidnap and cage marijuana users, the drug war will continue to implode. We must be resilient in this fight.
If doing drugs bothers you, don’t do drugs. When you transition from holding an opinion -- to using government violence to enforce your personal preference, you become the bad guy. Don't be the bad guy.
Only through a lesser ignorance and the spreading of information will those who continue to enforce this immoral war be exposed as the tyrants they are. The time is now for politicians and police to wake up and decide which side of history they want to be on -- do they want to be remembered as the ones who courageously took a stand and refused to enforce immoral laws, or, do they want to be remembered as the ones who kidnapped, caged, and killed people for a plant that can cure cancer? It's time to make a choice.
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Update: After receiving everything from praise to hate mail on our choice of April Fool's articles, I would like to personally apologize to everyone we inadvertently tricked. This was not our aim.
We've never done a satire article before, and will probably never do another one again. But, rest assured, our intentions were just. We merely took advantage of a day known for joking to make a serious point, using satire, as we thought it to be acceptable given the date.
That being said, someone tweeted at me after I wrote this saying that he loved the second half of the article, but he was heartbroken when finding out the first half was untrue as he had a family member who this would have affected if true. It was not our intention to provide false hope and I am truly sorry from the bottom of my heart for upsetting anyone.
I am also personally affected by the war on drugs as I have seen family members and good friends deprived of their freedom for no other reason than possessing an arbitrary substance deemed 'illegal' by the state.
It was our intention to call out the cruelty, insanity, and horrid nature of the war on drugs -- only. Rest assured that we have learned from this situation and it will only add to the integrity and quality of content coming from the Free Thought Project in the future.
[author title="" image="https://tftpstagingstg.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/magorist-e1456948757204.jpg"]Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Follow @MattAgorist[/author]