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. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    6. 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.

    7. 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?

    8. 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.

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