U.S. Conference of Mayors asks Obama for flexibility on marijuana

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, June 24, 2013 16:02 EDT
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The United States Conference of Mayors unanimously passed a historic, bipartisan resolution Monday calling on the Obama administration to stop interfering with state and local efforts to deal with the problems caused by marijuana prohibition.

“This resolution will amplify the voices of local officials and voters who are sick and tired of President Obama’s administration doing the exact opposite of what candidate Obama said he was going to do, which was respect state marijuana laws,” Tom Angell, spokesperson for drug reform advocacy group Marijuana Majority, told Raw Story in an email.

The resolution (PDF), co-sponsored by mayors from 18 cities including Oakland, San Diego, Tacoma, Alexandria and Las Vegas, lays out a long list of grievances against marijuana prohibition. The resolution’s primary sponsor was San Diego Mayor Bob Filner (D), pictured above.

It specifically focuses on the dominance of organized crime in the black market, racial disparities in arrest statistics, state laws that clearly express an unwillingness to continue marijuana prohibition and recent polling that favors letting states decide the matter.

The resolution adds that the mayors wish marijuana were reclassified under the schedule of controlled substances, which would allow more medical research into drugs based on marijuana and permit more finely tailored laws regulating production and sales. It also calls for the Controlled Substances Act to be amended so as to allow “states and localities” the autonomy to “set their own marijuana policies without federal interference.”

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the United States Conference of Mayors recognizes that its members have differing views on how to treat marijuana in their cities, and believes that states and localities should be able to set whatever marijuana policies work best to improve the public safety and health of their communities,” they conclude.

Mason Tvert, communications director for The Marijuana Policy Project, praised the resolution, calling it a rhetorical stand in defense of the millions of voters who believe drug laws should be reformed and marijuana should be regulated.

“We commend the U.S. Conference of Mayors for taking action in defense of state and local efforts to move beyond the failed policy of marijuana prohibition,” he said in an advisory. “Our nation’s marijuana policy should reflect the facts about marijuana. If our federal government is unwilling to adopt evidence-based marijuana laws, it is up to states and localities to pick up the slack.”

Marijuana Majority’s Tom Angell echoed that sentiment, saying: “I sincerely hope and believe that when mayors across the country speak with one unanimous voice and demand that the feds give them the opportunity to implement their cities’ forward-thinking marijuana laws that it’ll finally give the president the encouragement he needs to sit down and seriously reconsider his administration’s approach to this issue.”

[Photo: Flickr user Port of San Diego, creative commons licensed.]

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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