Obama’s Opportunity: Will the White House Snub Marijuana Yet Again?

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director January 29, 2012

    Last week, the White House launched the next in its long line of social media engagement initiatives, this one entitled “Your Interview With the President.” The concept was simple, anyone could upload their question to the President on YouTube, others would vote on them, and the highest rated ones would be posed to the Commander in Chief in a Google+ Hangout on January 30th.

    This seemed to be a logical opportunity to ask the administration about marijuana legalization. Last Tuesday, I posted NORML’s question to the White House YouTube page for consideration. We asked, “With over 850,000 Americans arrested in 2010, on marijuana charges alone, and tens of billions of tax dollars being spent locking up marijuana users, isn’t it time to regulate and tax marijuana?”

    The reception was overwhelmingly positive, in just several hours the question received over 4,000 “thumbs up” votes and was one of, if not the, most popular question on the service. Then a peculiar thing happened, the question was removed. After becoming the most positively voted upon question in less than a day, the White House removed the question, deeming it “inappropriate.”

    We informed our audience of the censorship and encouraged them to engage the White House on their own, using our question or a one of their own choosing. Over the next several days the program was inundated with marijuana law reform questions. At first, many met the same fate as our original question and were removed from the site. It seems our persistence ended up paying off and the page administrator finally gave up trying to censor the incoming questions and most marijuana inquiries have remained up since.

    Voting closed last night at midnight and I made some rough calculations of the final results to see how we performed. Of the top 160 questions asked, marijuana reform questions accounted for 105 of them. Reposts of our question brought in an estimated 17,524 up-votes in addition to the 4,028 the original received before being removed. Combined, that is over 21,000 votes for one question, which is 5 times as many votes as any other question on the page. The 105 marijuana reform questions in the top 160 brought in over 74,000 votes, dwarfing any other topic. Our friends at LEAP posted a question as well and it ended as one of the top rated questions. You can read their coverage here.

    Now, we wait. “Your Interview With the President” is scheduled to take place tomorrow, January 30th. Considering this is the same individual who previously stated that, “we need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws” and that legalization is a “perfectly legitimate topic for debate,” maybe he will take this opportunity to address the issue seriously for once. In an election year, this could go a long way towards winning back those who feel disenfranchised with the administration over a perceived lack of progress on the issue and amped up raids on medical programs in states such as California and Colorado.

    The American people are ready for our debate Mr. President, are you?


    139 Responses to “Obama’s Opportunity: Will the White House Snub Marijuana Yet Again?”

    1. […] Monday morning from the north side of the White House, Bronner sealed himself into a metal, cell, like cage with several industrial hemp plants – along […]

    2. Allie says:

      I think it is so absurd to say Marijuana is called inappropriate when so many Americans (including the President) have tried it and would personally support it’s legalization. Not to mention the opportunity to tax–I’m surprised he didn’t jump all over that one.

    3. Bob says:

      OK folks its time to make a stand. The only thing that can get things done is money and votes. Most of us have voting rights, some have money. Email this message to your elected officials and stand firm. Also send to like minded friends and family.

      To the President, Members of the US Congress, State and local elected officials:

      Criminal marijuana prohibition is a failure. Over 20 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana offenses since 1965. I believe that the time has come to amend criminal prohibition and replace it with a system of legalization, taxation, regulation, and education.

      I can no longer vote for elected officials that support the the current laws. I have decided not to vote for any politician that does not publicly support the removal of all penalties for the private possession and responsible use of marijuana by adults, including cultivation for personal use, and casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts.


      Voting Citizen
      & Member of the Movement

    4. murt says:

      AS I read about the thoughts and feelings expressed on this site,and others like this one,I have to ask.How did our government go from protecting the will of the people to imposing the will of the government on the people?Lawmakers,who knew that they would be so good at their jobs?Gives me that icky feeling in the pit of my stomach.

    5. rogerscorpion says:

      In 2004, when running for the U.S. Senate, Obama stated, and I quote, “We need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws.”
      His feet must be held to the fire, on this. I don’t blame him for this. A President gets pressure from many directions. We must make our pressure felt.

    6. rogerscorpion says:

      In 2004, when running for the U.S. Senate, Obama stated, and I quote, “We need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws.”
      His feet must be held to the fire, on this.

    7. Anonymous says:

      While the war on drugs is not winnable. It is continuously fundable. Which is probably one of the main reasons marijuana remains illegal

    8. Anonymous says:

      The war on drugs is not winnable but is continuously fundable which is why marijuana is still illegal

    9. Pauly says:

      It’s funny how this country will decide which poison we can induce in our body which is alchohol the only choice that is on the menue. They have picked for us is worse than the other. That spells corruption.

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