President Barack Obama picked up an endorsement Monday from the United States Medical Marijuana Chamber of Commerce, a 10,000-member group that champions a cause the president has, by most accounts, not supported. Thomas L. Leto III, president and founder of the U.S. Medical Marijuana Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement that the group’s primary concern was the stimulating effect legalizing and taxing marijuana could have on the economy. The group has individual state chapters across the country. “Let’s not get distracted by the myriad of issues that will be brought to the forefront at the upcoming political conventions, the single most important election issue is getting our economy back on track,” Leto said. “The economic potential of the cannabis business in the U.S. is limitless and President Obama understands this. It is our impression that Mr. Romney just doesn’t get it.” According to Leto, legalized cannabis would become a $100 billion annual industry and would bring with it 5 million new jobs within the first year of changing federal strictures.
If Obama does comprehend the potential benefits of a legalized medical marijuana industry, as the Medical Marijuana Chamber of Commerce claims, he has done little to lay a foundation for the creation of one. Obama gave some encouragement to marijuana policy reformers during his campaign in 2008, when he suggested he wouldn’t be “using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws [on medical marijuana].” Amid a fervent federal crackdown on pot dispensaries in states that have legalized medical marijuana, however, Obama tried to clarify that statement earlier this year. “What I specifically said was that we were not going to prioritize prosecutions of persons who are using medical marijuana,” Obama said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana — and the reason is, because it’s against federal law.” This explanation didn’t mollify his critics, however, who have noted that Obama could take more directs steps to reclassify marijuana out of Schedule I, where it currently stands alongside heroin and LSD.
via : Huffington Post
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