The White House Responds to High Times

Our editor-in-chief Dan Skye reached out to the White House when our August 2015 issue – featuring the President on the cover – and asked about the federal marijuana policy. To our delight, the White House officially replied. Below are the communications.

Dear Mr. Obama:

To paraphrase the great Rev. Martin Luther King: “We have a dream.” And our dream is for a United States President to legalize cannabis.

That’s why we took the liberty of posing you on our August 2015 issue standing in a marijuana garden, holding a red, white and blue bong and giving the plant a “thumbs up!” That’s our dream.

Researchers reveal the medical miracles of marijuana daily, but politicians and lawmakers have willfully ignored the facts and criminalized the sick instead. The battle for cannabis legalization has become far more than a fight for our rights as Americans. It’s now a moral issue.

The war that the government has waged on its citizens to forcibly stop them from using marijuana has been tragic and costly: 15 million arrests, a soaring prison population, families destroyed, billions of tax dollars wasted. All this, despite the fact that the history of America—let alone the world—is interwoven with cannabis agriculture and cannabis medicine.

Right now, according to the Controlled Substances Act, cannabis is a Schedule I Drug: one with a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in the US.

We’re asking you to heed his own moral compass and re-schedule or, better yet, un-schedule cannabis altogether. Use your executive power now and free cannabis. Free us!

Dan Skye Editor-in-chief
High Times Magazine


Their reply:

Dear Dan:

Thank you for writing. The Obama Administration is committed to developing policies based on science and research, and the Federal Government has been funding and reviewing studies to better understand marijuana’s effects on individuals, public health, and safety.

This Administration opposes marijuana legalization, and our policy approach focuses on improving public health and safety through prevention, treatment, support for recovery, and innovative criminal justice strategies to break the cycle of drug use and crime. A considerable body of evidence shows that marijuana use, especially chronic use that begins at a young age, is associated with serious health and social problems. Studies also reveal that marijuana potency has tripled since 1990, raising serious public health concerns.

At the same time, we share public concerns about ensuring limited Federal enforcement resources are dedicated to pursuing our highest enforcement priorities, such as preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors, preventing the sale of marijuana by criminal enterprises and gangs, preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana, and preventing drugged driving and other adverse public health consequences.  We will also closely monitor implementation of marijuana legalization in individual States and prevent the diversion of marijuana to States that have not legalized its use, sale, or distribution. Outside of its highest enforcement priorities, the Federal Government has traditionally relied on State and local agencies to address marijuana activity through enforcement of their own narcotics laws.

Like many people, we are also interested in the potential marijuana components may have in providing relief to individuals diagnosed with certain serious illnesses.  That is why we support ongoing research into evaluating what components of the marijuana plant may be used as medicine. To date, though, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition.

Thank you for making your voice heard. You can learn more about the President’s approach to drug control at


The White House

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