An analysis from pro-medical marijuana group Americans For Safe Access found that President Barack Obama's administration has spent nearly $300 million on combatting medical marijuana in states that have already legalized it.
The report calculates the total amount of federal spending on medical marijuana intervention at $289 million over Obama's four-and-a-half years in the White House. According to the analysis, the Drug Enforcement Administration alone spent 4 percent of its budget in 2011 and 2012 cracking down on medical marijuana across 20 states. Taken as a whole, Obama's participation makes up the majority of what ASA says is a $483 million war of lawsuits, indictments and asset forfeiture attempts waged by the Department of Justice under the past three presidents.
The group claims that over 1 million Americans are using medical marijuana, and 34 percent of Americans live in a state where its medical use is legal. ASA's report comes on the heels of a separate study from California's chapter of NORML that found medical marijuana charges responsible for a total of over 480 years in prison sentences in the state, where cannabis has been legal for medical use since 1996. That number will likely grow when the Department of Justice hands down a prison sentence for medical marijuana provider Matthew Davies, who accepted a plea deal late last month.
The studies are just the latest figures that underscore Obama's aggressive war on pot. While Obama and members of his administration had left many marijuana reform advocates optimistic in the early stages of his first term, it quickly became clear that the new president was determined to ramp up the enforcement-focused approach to medical cannabis.
While the administration appears to have grown increasingly intolerant of marijuana, the nation appears to be going in the opposite direction. Public opinion polls have shown increasing support for a change in policy, whether it be legalizing pot for medical use or legalizing the drug altogether.