Monthly Archives: November 2016

Obama says marijuana should be treated like ‘cigarettes or alcohol’

By Christopher Ingraham

President Obama. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

In an “exit interview” with Rolling Stone magazine, President Obama said that marijuana use should be treated as a public-health issue similar to tobacco or alcohol and called the current patchwork of state and federal laws regarding the drug “untenable.”

“Look, I’ve been very clear about my belief that we should try to discourage substance abuse,” Obama said. “And I am not somebody who believes that legalization is a panacea. But I do believe that treating this as a public-health issue, the same way we do with cigarettes or alcohol, is the much smarter way to deal with it.”

Obama has made comments to this effect before. In a 2014 interview with the New Yorker magazine he said that marijuana was less dangerous than alcohol “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.” More recently, he told TV host Bill Maher, “I think we’re going to have to have a more serious conversation about how we are treating marijuana and our drug laws generally.”

In the Rolling Stone interview published this week, Obama also reiterated his long-standing position that changing federal marijuana laws is not something the president can do unilaterally. “Typically how these classifications are changed are not done by presidential edict,” he said, “but are done either legislatively or through the DEA. As you might imagine, the DEA, whose job it is historically to enforce drug laws, is not always going to be on the cutting edge about these issues.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration recently turned down a petition to lessen federal restrictions on marijuana, citing the drug’s lack of “accepted medical use” and its “high potential for abuse.” Congress could resolve the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws by amending the federal Controlled Substances Act, but …read more

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Trump said hedge funders were ‘getting away with murder.’ Now he wants one to help run the economy.

By Jeff Guo

Steven Mnuchin, the Trump campaign’s finance director, arrives at President-elect Donald Trump’s Trump Tower in New York City on Nov. 29. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Throughout the presidential election, Donald Trump’s relationship with Wall Street ran hot and cold. On the podium, he sounded a populist battle cry — heaping disdain on elites and tarring his opponents by their associations with Wall Street. But behind the scenes, Trump assembled a gang of financiers, bankers and ex-bankers to advise his campaign.

Now, he is drawing on that same set of highflying, high-net-worth individuals to captain his new administration. There was Betsy DeVos, a billionaire investor and a heavyweight political donor, whom Trump nominated as his education secretary. There was Wilbur Ross, also a billionaire investor, said to be Trump’s pick to become commerce secretary.

On Wednesday, Trump named another member of America’s wealthy capitalists for a position in his Cabinet.

Steve Mnuchin, a hedge fund chairman and 17-year Goldman Sachs alum, is Trump’s pick for treasury secretary. If he is confirmed, Mnuchin would be at the helm of any future decisions on bank bailouts or economic stimulus. Previously, Mnuchin was the finance chairman on Trump’s campaign, where he was in charge of soliciting political donations.

Many voters found Trump’s anti-elite message genuine despite this dissonance of a self-styled billionaire claiming to be a champion of the common man. He cast himself as a former “ultimate insider” who knew how the system was broken. Now, after Trump ran a rancorous campaign that reserved its keenest barbs for hedge funders and bankers, the question is whether Americans will also embrace Trump’s new Cabinet of financiers, who are members of the same moneyed class that Trump profited from insulting.

Below, we’ve collected five of Trump’s most famous statements about Wall Street and big banks.

“I’m …read more

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