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President Obama’s 4/20 Facebook Forum avoiding marijuana legalization question

  • by Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator April 19, 2011

    Here's what happened last time Mr. Obama took votes from the public on policy questions...

    Once more President Obama wades into the online breach with yet another Facebook Town Hall to solicit questions on policy from the public.  The event takes place on April 20th, a.k.a. 4/20, the unofficial national cannabis holiday, without any sense of irony that these forums have been dominated by marijuana legalization questions every time the public votes on these questions.

    (President Obama’s Facebook) WHAT’S HAPPENING
    President Barack Obama will hold a special “Facebook Live” townhall to connect with Americans across the country.

    WHERE & WHEN IT’S HAPPENING
    Where? Well, everywhere! The event at Facebook’s headquarters, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg & COO Sheryl Sandberg, will be live streamed for anyone to watch. Just come back here at the right time: Wednesday, April 20 @ 1:45pm PDT / 4:45pm EDT. Unless invited to attend in person, please do not show up at Facebook HQ. You can watch and participate via the event’s live stream.

    WHAT IT’S ABOUT
    President Obama will connect with Americans across the country to discuss the tough choices we must all make in order to put our economy on a more responsible fiscal path, while still investing in areas like innovation that will help our economy grow and make America more competitive.

    HOW YOU CAN PARTICIPATE
    Facebook will be selecting questions for President Obama to answer during the event. Submit questions now by posting them right here, on this event’s wall. As an alternative, you may submit a question via WhiteHouse.gov/facebooktownhall.

    So how in the world can the president avoid what will surely be voted the number one question once again by the online democracy of Facebook?  Simple… don’t let the public vote.  Scott Morgan from DrugWarChronicle has the scoop:

    It had become clear that as long as Obama’s forums allowed the public to vote on topics for the president to address, the top-ranked questions would be about legalizing marijuana or even ending the War on Drugs altogether. Reluctant to confront the issue further, the White House recently changed its approach and announced an April 20, 2011 event on Facebook in which participants will not be allowed to vote at all. Questions can be sent in by email or posted on the Facebook page, but Obama’s staff will make selections without any public input.

    The inherently democratic, vote-powered economy of ideas on the Internet has proven to be a remarkably powerful tool for discovering content of social value. The ability to click on what you like is the currency of social media and it offers insights into public opinion that may be worth more than meets the eye. The participatory nature of a vote-driven web forum makes people care about the outcome. Advocates for a wide variety of causes are inspired to spread the word and work to make sure their issue gets votes. The Obama Administration has abandoned the process simply to silence one particular idea, but the effect will be to make the forum less interesting for everyone.

    Moreover, the rise of marijuana policy into the realm of mainstream public discussion should fascinate, rather than frustrate, our political leadership. It’s a phenomenon that should at least interest our elected officials, even if they don’t yet fully understand or care that marijuana prohibition funds murder in Mexico, that innocent family pets are slaughtered in botched pot raids, that precious wilderness is being devastated by black-market marijuana manufacturing, that racism defines our marijuana arrest rates, that public servants are being corrupted before our eyes, and that we blow billions each year just to keep the situation as bad as it’s been for so long.

    131 Responses to “President Obama’s 4/20 Facebook Forum avoiding marijuana legalization question”

    1. Brandon says:

      Legalize Marijuana ! Plain and simple.

    2. Mike B says:

      Are you aware of the amount of money that can be made off of the taxation of Marijuana?

    3. Mike B says:

      Are you aware of the amount of money that can be made off the taxation of Marijuana?

    4. Kristofer Morace says:

      Just one more way that America decides to shut the mouths of the PEOPLE that LIVE here. You are nothing but hypocrites, asking people what they think and then shunning them for their ideas and questions. America is TRULY UN-American. Obama….you will change NOTHING. Why? Because even as president (I didn’t capitalize that on purpose) you see only what you want to see. This country will run itself into the ground LONG before a solution presents itself. So alcohol remains legal to drunken up all the violent types….and marijuana not? I feel our country is ran by undereducated, undeserving people. They have shown me NOTHING in the terms of trying to make this country better. You ask the people, then you silence them. You make me sick….

    5. Keith Howard says:

      With the vastly increasing medical evidences of the incredible cancer fighting and pro-health properties of Cannabis derivatives, and the well known industrial, textile, bio-fuel and agricultural uses that have been attributed to Cannabis Hemp fibers and oils, not to mention, the enormous economic potential or the safe recreational relaxation elements, my question for you, is this, Mr. President…

      “How long will it be before, like our first great President, George Washington, there is Cannabis Hemp growing in the White House Garden…?”

    6. Rob says:

      I’ve personally seen what marijuana can do for people in pain – please explain why everyone is forced to go to drug dealers for their medicine? That’s how people get exposed to coke, heroin and lots of pills.

    7. att says:

      What a surprise…

    8. Jeff Thompson says:

      Fascinated or frustrated, I Question why I still support the Obama admistration, But how do you think he feel’s being put in the questionable position of changing the power base of what I believe could be a third of the American financial power base, From Textiles, Pharmaceutical’s, plastic’s, paper, Fuel, Oil’s, protien,and foods, to name a few.
      Imagine the 80yr corporations that could be removed with a swipe of a presidential pen, Lumber,pulp, cotton,Oil company,s, countless drug patent’s, Billions in law enforcement, jail’s, Prisions, courts, lawyers and counsellors,
      Just imagine the scope of legal hemp.

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