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President Obama’s YouTube Forum deems marijuana legalization questions “inappropriate”

  • by Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator January 24, 2012

    NOTE: If you feel marijuana legalization was an entirely “appropriate” topic for debate, tweet your dissatisfaction of the White House’s censoring of NORML’s YouTube question by tweeting them using #WHchat and @WhiteHouse.

    “Pres. Obama, what is inappropriate about saving billions and not arresting nonviolent american citizens for marijuana? #WHChat @WhiteHouse”

    – E. Altieri, Comm. Coordinator

     

    As of 7pm Pacific, I checked the YouTube.com/WhiteHouse page to see how many votes our question received in President Obama’s latest YouTube Forum.  The good news?  Our question, “With over 850,000 Americans arrested in 2010, for marijuana charges alone, and tens of billions of tax dollars being spent locking up non-violent marijuana users, isn’t it time we regulate and tax marijuana?” received 4,023 votes, making it one of the most popular submissions to the forum.

    The bad news?  See for yourself:

    “The submission has been removed because people believe it is inappropriate.”  Hmm, well, who are these people?  The question got 241 “thumbs down” votes from viewers, was that it?  I notice that of the 615 questions submitted that asked about “With over 850,000 Americans arrested in 2010″ in the text, some still remain with 28 “thumbs down” and others are removed with as few as three, so it doesn’t seem like “people” refers to viewers or the public, does it?

    Who are these people, President Obama?  They’re not the people out here who keep making marijuana legalization the number one topic of these online forums.  They’re not the millions whose lives are impacted by a marijuana arrest; the tokers and their families who lose jobs, houses, kids, freedom, assets, respect, security, and peace of mind because of marijuana prohibition.

    Sadly, I think these people are actually just one person… a guy who smoked weed (and snorted coke) back in the day as a teenager in Hawaii and was damn lucky he didn’t get caught or today he’d be Barry the Drug Criminal.

    In 2010, these were the Top 100 questions for President Obama, and they ALL dealt with marijuana legalization

    (YouTube.com/WhiteHouse) On Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 9:00 p.m. ET, President Obama will speak to the nation in his annual State of the Union address.Starting today, you can ask President Obama the questions that are on your mind about the direction of the country and vote on others that you think should be asked. He’ll answer several of your top-voted questions during a special interview, which will take place on January 30, live from the White House. A selection of people who submit questions will also be invited to join a Google+ Hangout live with the President during the interview.

    The deadline to submit is January 28 at midnight ET so submit your question now.

    Here we go again.  How many times will President Obama ask the American people for their questions on national policy, how many times will we resoundingly call for marijuana legalization, and how will he diminish, mock, or ignore our concerns this time?

    1. We petitioned him to legalize marijuana in September 2011, the number one petition;
    2. We Twittered him to legalize marijuana in July 2011, making up one out of eight questions asked;
    3. We asked him via YouTube video in January 2011, with LEAP’s question the number one video;
    4. We asked him via Ideas for Change in March 2010, with legalization again the number one question;
    5. We lobbied him via Citizen’s Briefing Book in May 2009, with the number one idea being legalization;
    6. We asked him via Open for Questions II in March 2009, where he mocked the number one idea of legalization helping the economy;
    7. We asked him via Open for Questions I in January 2009, where legalization topped most categories of questions;
    8. We asked him via Change.gov in December 2008, where legalization was again number one and a dozen of the top fifty questions.

    Maybe the ninth time is the charm?  Once again in this “ask the people” exercise the most popular questions deal with legalization of marijuana*.

    Here’s the official National NORML question:

    YouTube Preview Image

    Here’s my entry:

    YouTube Preview Image

    * Though this time, we may get beaten by SOPA, PIPA, and NDAA questions… which wouldn’t bother me a bit.  A free and open internet, threatened by SOPA and PIPA, is crucial to spreading the message of marijuana law reform.  NDAA is an abomination that allows the president to declare citizens “enemy combatants” and lock them up indefinitely without charge, without trial, and without rights.  We’re big fans of the First and Fourth Amendments here and these acts are counter to the spirit and Constitution of America.

    228 Responses to “President Obama’s YouTube Forum deems marijuana legalization questions “inappropriate””

    1. “President Obama’s YouTube Forum deems marijuana legalization questions “inappropriate”
      | NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform” honestly got myself hooked on ur blog!
      I personallydefinitely will wind up being returning more regularly.
      Thanks -Magda

    2. Retired Bob says:

      The corporate powers that fund the election process decide which of THEIR two candidates you will vote for to be president. They control the country the way a casino controls the odds and results of all their games. Their rules (laws) predetermine that they will always win and wealth and power will always accumulate at the top of the pyramid.

    3. Allen says:

      Bob,

      I appreciate that but it also gives people an excuse not to contribute–“Oh, it’s all hopeless, it’s some oogie-boogie hidden secret cabal. Let’s do nothing, we can’t win. Boo hoo. :-(”

      But Bob, we’re actually winning now. The opponents are completely out in the open and stating their positions clearly. The forces are lined up on the battlefield for all to see. We don’t have to convince them, it’s time to overwhelm them!

      And we succeeding by organizing and out voting them. That’s what’s going on now–state by state! Join up! Contribute to people who are on the winning side such as NORML. Talk to your friends and neighbors on why ending prohibition is a great idea and how it benefits them.

      Best wishes.

    4. Retired Bob says:

      Alan,

      Look at NJ. Medical Marijuana approved by the voters in 2010. Today there is one licensed dispensary that has served a total of 140 people, with over 500 still on a waiting list to get served. Meanwhile possession of up to an ounce is only a $500 fine, but growing one plant is a minimum 3 year jail sentence and a lifetime felony record. Who profits here? Maybe it is a secret cabal.

    5. Lixallot says:

      Ok, so a growing debt over Nixon’s God Damned War against freedom of thought “IS” appropriate for a government “claiming” to be land of the free? Is it inappropriate to insist on the obvious solution to our national debt, over crowded prisons and the one industry Dick-head Nixon had no right to criminalize. We EXPECT leaders w/ common sense in their heads, not a bunch of dust collecting sellouts preaching “Hush hush” governance. If they had a brain among them, we’d see the WPA round up all the unemployed soldiers, and released prisoners for pot charges and put them straight to work rebuilding the infrastructure. But no, let’s not make logic ideas that fix anything. Let’s all pull our pants down and jam our heads in the dirt!!

    6. David J. McDonough says:

      Tricky Dick was not a crook, he was a corporate weasel that could not handle working for a living. So he went into politics. Once he got into control positions he gladly went along with small minded Hippy hater’s, because he was jealous of them.
      Nothing in the management of this country has been descent since Kennedy was killed.

    7. David J. McDonough says:

      They are the beaurockracy that never changes. Fire some of these brain dead please.
      “Sadly, I think these people are actually just one person… a guy who smoked weed (and snorted coke) back in the day as a teenager in Hawaii and was damn lucky he didn’t get caught or today he’d be Barry the Drug Criminal.”
      Barry is just a figure head. If he had been caught some other pin head would be in his position. It is just too bad he has no ball’s, pussy whipped and brow beaten!

    8. Retired Bob says:

      The first person I voted for was Bobby Kennedy in the ’68 California presidential primary. My vote was cancelled with a bullet. I voted for Barry twice. But I think I was played. Barry turned out to be Bush Light. No one in power has a conscience. Carter seemed like he did, but he got sandbagged by the people who really run the world…oil/gas, defense industry, and banking. They decide what happens and who gets elected. They control the economy, the wealth, the press, and almost every elected and appointed official in the country. If any person running for office had a conscience they wouldn’t be nominated by the political parties, which have a monopoly on who can be elected. It would be like expecting a mafia soldier to have a conscience. A free weed with medicinal and spiritual awakening properties is a threat to the corporations’ control of society. That’s why legalizing it won’t stop all the restrictions, foot dragging and the corporations’ right to fire anyone who fails a drug test. It might be legal, but it won’t be easy…

    9. Retired Bob says:

      I stopped smoking pot in 1982 when my company (an electric utility) instituted random drug testing and a no tolerance policy. With a stay at home wife and 3 kids I couldn’t afford to lose my job. I settled for whiskey and still do. Now that I’m retired and we are living on SS and my pension I can afford $150 a month for Jack Daniels a lot easier than I could afford $300 or so an ounce for grass. Not to mention the legal hassles of being in possession. Unless I could grow 6-8 plants legally, I wouldn’t use it, and It doesn’t look like that will happen any time soon.

    10. David J. McDonough says:

      Don’t give up! You settled? for slow suicide? For money reasons. Look at the cost to your health.
      I’m still working toward unrestricted use for everyone. On the West Coast I am seeing oz.’s for two hundred to medicinal users.

    11. Retired Bob says:

      Best of Luck David. I hope you make it for all our sakes. If I was living in California instead of NJ I’d have a card and my plants would be growing!

    12. Lixallot says:

      It’s failed policy, plain and simple. But regardless, it’s not a “Presidential” action to change the designated scheduling of any substances. Look online for a petition that mentions changing both controlled substances Laws AND Drug Czar laws at the same time. Both directed BY PETITION to the ATTORNEY GENERAL, who is in fact the one office responsible for telling the DEA to change the scheduling of any listed Substance!!! But that doesn’t affect the Drug Czar laws, which are in place to obstruct the alteration of any controlled substances’ scheduling.

      http://www.change.org/petitions/change-the-schedule-of-cannabis-cannabis-laws-and-drug-czar-laws

    13. Allen says:

      Lixallot (funny name!)

      I think it actually is a presidential action to change the scheduling. From the same thing you pointed to (see where it says ‘or administratively?’):

      “Rescheduling can be accomplished by an act of Congress, or administratively. Administratively, the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would find that marijuana meets sufficient standards of safety and efficacy to warrant rescheduling. ”

      All those agencies fall under the control of the president. The president appoints the head of HHS, the Drug Czar, the head of DEA.

      It is my understanding that it all hinges on the placement of MJ on the DEA’s schedule. The DEA is compelled to use the findings of HHS.

      Even at that, even if it still remains a schedule one narcotic, the president can direct his DOJ to either de-prioritize enforcement or ignore enforcement of the law entirely. WHAT? (You may well say!) Yes. He just did such a thing last year when he told DOJ to stop enforcing certain immigration laws (for young offenders.)

      ANY law can be deprioritized or ignored by any prosecutor when it no longer matches the public’s concern. That was done regularly when mixed-race prohibitions were still on the books.

      So that’s why I put the entire frigging mess on Obama’s head. He can stop it at any time. Today would be good. ;-)

    14. David J. McDonough says:

      This is exactly what this country has come too. Big corporate type BS. “Controlled substance” is Bull shit. (free country) The office of the Drug Czar?(Russian)? should be abolished. Laws? abolish the Bull Shit now. Abolish the DEA.
      What is wrong with you people? Do you want to be Russian or Natzy?

    15. Retired Bob says:

      David,
      You are not taking into account that the country (maybe the world) is heavily influenced by a controlled news media that pumps the establishment view of the world into people’s brains 24/7 from the day they are born. Anybody fighting the system gets marginalized in school, work, by the courts. It’s a slow and tough process. At least half the country still isn’t on board with civil rights.

    16. Anonymous says:

      Allen makes a great point. It is totally within Obama’s power to decriminalize marijuana nationally. States may still have the power to make it criminal. Civil rights is a great analogy. Harry Truman integrated the armed services after WWII, while some states still had segregation laws into the 60’s. I just saw Gasland II that shows how people whose water was proved contaminated by gas wells and fracking by the EPA tests got sold out when the higher ups had the local EPA’s abandon their support for the victims and side with the gas and fracking companies. Obama controls all of the regulatory agencies, but has run them for the protection of the corporations who financed his campaign. I voted for Obama twice but can see no difference between him and Bush at this point.
      The prison/military/banking/pharma/gas and oil/ industrial complexes have taken over the regulatory agencies and the government, with the full support of the president. Sounds like Obama and Bush are employees of Haliburton.

    17. Retired Bob says:

      I voted for Obama twice and I feel conned.Allen is 100% correct. This is totally within Obama’s ability to fix, but he hasn’t. Why not? Look at what else he hasn’t fixed: Guantanamo, assistance for people being foreclosed, relief for people whose air and water was poisoned by unregulated gas wells and fracking, people imprisoned for pot, US bases around the world with a military stronger than the next 17 countries combined, Patriot Act suspension of the Bill of Rights safeguards. In all the above, the regulatory agencies and the executives have sided with corporations instead of the voters. The prison/military/banking/energy/pharma/agribusiness/chemical industrial complexes have had a complete free hand since Clinton. Party makes no difference. The president is just an employee of Haliburton and the corporations who finance his campaigns. Eventually the people may get pot reform, if they are in the overwhelming majority, but it will be one state at a time. The federal government will continue to hold the issue hostage along with all the others mentioned above, to let the corporations get as much profit as possible out of these laws.

    18. Retired Bob says:

      Harry Truman desegregated the military in 1947. JFK and RFK desegregated Mississippi State college in the early 60’s. They didn’t wait for the Congress to give them permission. Maybe Obama wants to live out his term, but he’s done very little of what he promised, and very little of what it is in his power as head of the executive branch of government to do. What he has done is give the conservatives and the corporations everything they wanted. Go figure.

    19. Lixallot says:

      ATTN: ALLEN!!!!!

      Had you read the fine print of the Controlled Substances Act, signed by “GOD_DAMNED Nixon”, it clearly states that the office to petition IS THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, by the PEOPLE. The president was never intended to be a part of the rescheduling process. THAT WHY NO ONES GOTTEN ANYWHERE!!!!!! Tricky Dick took himself out of the equation INTENTIONALLY!!!!!! WRONG channel, NO RESULT!~!!!!!!

    20. Allen says:

      Ha, Lixallot. Nice try bud. ;-)

      A CAPITAL idea to petition the Attorney General. Please do so. But no, I have not read this supposed “fine print” you speak of that says that the Attorney General is in charge of the Schedule of Narcotics. I’m kind of laughing internally–forgive me. But hey, enlighten me!

      Besides which, the president is the U.S. Attorney General’s boss. As I referenced–did you read it?–last year the president order his AG to stop prosecuting illegal alien minors. So, what the heck man? Why are you stuck on this crazy line you’re on?

      Presidents are not out of the equation. All the president has to do is to hire an honest head of HHS, and honest head of DEA. Or he keeps what he’s got but knocks some heads together. Then the DOJ follows the law. Simple.

      There is also nothing stopping congress from jumping in, but the president can do it all by his lonesome.

      By the way, I disagree that this is (entirely) due to Obama being a corporate stooge. I really think he and most every leader in the Democratic party thinks they’re “saving the children.” They are of course making things far more dangerous for the children but they’re on that mindset. Looks like we–the MAJORITY–are stuck just marching forward and outvoting the idiots, state by state because the leaders of both parties are not listening and they are stuck in the old lies.

    21. Allen says:

      … and if you bothered to read the link you pointed everyone to, you would have found this:

      “Rescheduling can be accomplished by an act of Congress, or administratively. Administratively, the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would find that marijuana meets sufficient standards of safety and efficacy to warrant rescheduling. ”

      Again don’t you know what the administrative branch is? All those agencies fall under the control of the president. The president appoints the head of HHS, the Drug Czar, the head of DEA.

    22. Retired Bob says:

      Allan says: “I really think he and most every leader in the Democratic party thinks they’re “saving the children.” …. I don’t see how this is remotely possible. Why doesn’t he save the children from prison, from a lifetime felony record, from growing up with a parent in jail. How could anyone who smoked pot himself believe it’s more harmful to children than the war on drugs? … I can’t attribute any noble intentions to actions (or lack of them)that result in such carnage. I could maybe buy it from Bush, but from the pot smoking editor of the Harvard Law Review?

    23. Allen says:

      Thanks for the reply Bob!

      I’ve noticed that people don’t always act rationally. But, you know what? I’m commenting on what I feel are the president’s motivation but it isn’t very important to me or this mission. He and others who want to wrongly state they have a legitimate reason that cannabis is a Schedule One Narcotic are on thin, thin, quickly melting ice.

      The masses are just going around them. We don’t need to convince Obama. But this tide, while inevitable, is slow because state elections are infrequent. It takes literal boots on the ground (to get signatures for initiatives.) That’s all: Time and money and volunteering.

      There’s an opposition, it isn’t secret. You can see who contributes to misleading ads in proposition elections. But it doesn’t matter if they are sincere to the cause or if they are paid mercenaries. We are the overwhelming force. We just need to take the field to win.

    24. Lixallot says:

      I agree Bob, Allan seems to think that beating his head on a brick will eventually lead to a solution. We’ve seen DECADES of presidential/congressional attempts to change the law, and still none of these offices are in direct command of the DEA. And if it was the place of a president ‘ALONE’, I think BJ-Bill would’ve granted it already. As for an Act of Congress… You do know a large gathering of BABOONS is also called a CONGRESS.. Nuf said? We can no more rely on congress to do the right thing, than we can expect Bernie Madoff to have a conscious-regret! And let’s all face the truth, presidents will never do it, because they have to consider the next election (even the next in line’s votes). So “UNLESS” we elect Tommy Chong for the next president, you’re never gonna see that channel play through.

    25. Allen says:

      Oh Lizallot… I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at your posts.

      I’m telling you how the laws are set up and what the president has power to do. That is what he can do not what he is likely to do.

      If you bothered to read my posts, you’d know that I feel that the best thing to do is to ignore the president and congress and continue the highly successful end-around using state ballot measures.

      Take care buddy. If a ballot measure is in sight in your state, please get involved.

    26. Retired Bob says:

      California, Oregon and Nevada on the west coast and Massachusetts and Maine on the east coast are considered the most likely states to legalize pot next. If and when that happens, I think the dam of prohibition will be sufficiently cracked for a national movement to succeed. In the 70’s a real groundswell of public sentiment resulted in the elimination of the draft. If polls can be believed, right now the opponents of legalization are much more against it than the proponents are for it. Ironically, even though the majority of voters favor legalization, decriminalization and access to medical marijuana in some states made full legalization less of an issue for the public to be passionate about. If people were still getting 25 years in prison for a joint it would be a no brainer. In NJ the maximum penalty for an ounce is a $500 fine, and in more affluent suburbs the cops look the other way.

    27. Anonymous says:

      Just saw the documentary “Code of The West” about how U.S. Attorneys prosecuted and jailed med marijuana dispensary owners in Montana. They also helped change the med marijuana laws in Montana and other states to be highly restrictive and in many cases to put dispensaries out of business. So now in many states it’s not illegal to use med marijuana, but you can’t grow it or buy it. Nice “Catch 22″. They basically put med marijuana back into the black market, and it’s open season on legal dispensaries. It’s back to the Nixon War on Drugs with a vengeance. State governors and legislators are mostly caving in to those who are using arguments from the 1950’s to repeal med marijuana laws or at least prevent it from being legally sold.

    28. Retired Bob says:

      My post as Anonymous is above. I still can’t quite get over the way the justice department has basically overturned a decade of efforts to make med marijuana legal in the few states that adopted it. They are spouting the same lies that were used in the 50’s. It reminds me of Kent State in 1970, and the occupy movements. Using the vote and our legal rights to organize doesn’t work when it threatens the government’s agenda.

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