In a speech to tens of thousands of marijuana reform advocates at the 420 rally in Denver, Colorado, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein took the Obama administration to task for its continuing assault on medical marijuana clinics in California, Colorado and other states.
Dr. Stein, a physician and public health advocate, noted that hundreds of thousands of patients suffering from chronic pain and cancers are benefiting from the availability of medical marijuana under state laws. She said that one of her first actions as President would be to "order the DEA and the Justice Department to cease and desist all attempts to harass or prosecute medical marijuana clinics or other legitimate marijuana-related businesses that are operating under state laws."
Stein advocates regulating marijuana in a similar way to alcohol, and has long supported legalization of that drug. According to Stein, this would prevent billions of dollars in profits from pouring into the black market, and would greatly reduce the violence associated with illegal marijuana sales. She feels it would also reduce underage marijuana use, as well as allowing the commercial operations to pay appropriate taxes, thus helping to balance budgets and fund programs to reduce drug abuse.
Stein noted that the DEA has placed marijuana in the most dangerous category of drugs (Schedule 1) along with heroin and LSD. Stein said that she would direct DEA to remove marijuana from Schedule 1 and place it in a more appropriate category as determined by medical science.
According to Stein, "President Obama promised to use a science-based approach to public policy. But when it comes to marijuana, he has continued the unscientific policies of George Bush, and has even gone far beyond Bush in his attacks upon medical marijuana clinics. He supports the irrational classification of marijuana in the most dangerous drug category, and he supports the ban on commercial hemp growing. This is mania-based policy, not science-based policy."
Stein criticized President Obama for promoting a George W. Bush appointee, Michele Leonhart, to be head of the Drug Enforcement Agency. According to Stein, Leonhart has a history of "overzealous" attacks on legitimate drug use, and has been behind the attacks on medical marijuana. "The President promised us change, but in promoting Michele Leonhart he gave us more of the same. One of the first things I would do as President would be to fire Michele Leonhart."
Stein has toured the country calling for a Green New Deal that would create 25 million sustainable jobs to end unemployment in America, and shift to a new, more democratic economy and politics. "As part of this, I want to see a thriving commercial hemp industry providing food, fiber, and other products from the hemp plant. This will be good for the environment and good for our economy. A win/win solution is within reach if we can just shake off the Bush/Obama past and embrace a rational, effective drug policy for the 21st century."