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President Asked To End War On Drugs.

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US: Cohen Pitches To Obama To End War On Drugs


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URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v13/n069/a10.html

Newshawk: http://www.drugsense.org/donate.htm

Votes: 1

Pubdate: Fri, 08 Feb 2013

Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Copyright: 2013 The Commercial Appeal

Contact: http://web.commercialappeal.com/newgo/forms/letters.htm

Website: http://www.commercialappeal.com/

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/95

Author: Bartholomew Sullivan





President Says He'll Consider It


WASHINGTON - Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen said he asked President Barack Obama to reconsider pursuing a war on drugs when the president engaged in a question-and-answer session Thursday at the Democrats' congressional retreat.


Cohen said he was the first to ask a question at the Lansdowne Resort in the Northern Virginia suburbs west of the capital. The president's initial remarks to the gathering were transcribed by the White House but not the question-and-answer session.


"First, I said I'm happy you're re-elected and you're going to serve a second term. I couldn't be happier. And that I'm glad we're getting out of our second longest war, in Afghanistan," Cohen said by phone.


Quoting himself, he continued: "What I want to talk to you about is our longest war, and that's the war on drugs, which has been a failure, and it's cost us a lot in money and a lot in the lives of people in prison."


Cohen said the lengthy question also included his acknowledgment that the president has made prosecutions of recreational marijuana users a low priority. But he said he urged the president to "tamp down" the war, "which has had a disparate impact on African Americans ..."


Cohen said the president responded by saying "he understood it and he said they're going to do something in this term. They will study it and look at it, and look at it more in terms of a health issue and look at medical marijuana as a lower priority.


"He did say he had to enforce the laws we pass, which was kind of - it's true but it's a cop out because there are priorities they can take ... Indictments they seek and the raids they pursue are choices."


Cohen has been a longtime critic of the expense of the war on drugs and its impact on the lives of those caught up in it. He introduced a bill in 2011 that would have permitted states to legalize marijuana, which is still illegal to possess under federal law.


On Friday, the Democratic lawmakers are to hear from former President Bill Clinton.

MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom

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