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. steve says:

      I feel so strongly for this cause and it brings me peace of mind to know that there are others who feel just as strongly as I do. I couldn’t support you guys more for what your doing and I will always be there to lend a hand in changing out future and enlightening those who do not see the potential of legalizing marijuana and making it medically available to those who need it most. Keep on pushing, it’s too big to fail.

      Thank you,

    2. Lennon says:

      Sadly enough, as much attention as this question drew, I’m pretty sure its going to get snubbed.

    3. Dhurkst says:

      The government doesn’t care about what the people want; politicians are in it for themselves, and always have been. Newt Gingrich and Obama have both admitted to smoking pot, yet Obama refuses to listen to the ever-growing cries of the American people who want the stuff legalized, and that piece of human trash Gingrich thinks people should be executed for being caught in possession of more than two ounces of it. Politicians enjoy deliberately denying the people things, so that they can be the only ones who enjoy them; it’s in their very nature as tyrants. You could have literally 90% of the entire country’s population supporting marijuana legalization, and the government will continue to not even budge, all the while making their typical bullshit excuses. I support legalization, but it’s not happening any time remotely soon.

    4. Michael says:

      I’m praying that they don’t snub the question because I believe that Marijuana is a answer for the suffering not only physically that our nations people face, but also mentally and financially. Its time to look at the positive effects and embrace the future as a people. If they don’t give us what we want then they must GO.

    5. Tom says:

      It’s worth noting that LEAP’s marijuana legalization question from retired LAPD deputy police chief Stephen Downing was not deleted and got the most votes of all video questions. More info at http://copssaylegalize.blogspot.com/2012/01/cops-marijuana-legalization-question.html

    6. Happy says:

      Norml is fighting a futile battle with the president.

      Marijuana prohibition was brought on by the interests of the democrat and republican parties, and will never be lifted until neither parties are in high office or majority of congress.

      We need more solutions that democrats vs republicans. Otherwise we’ll be fighting the same stupid battles endlessly.

    7. trish(a stoner with a 4.0 GPA) says:

      what kind of president deserves the support of the american people when by snubbing this issue, he is ultimatley refusing to support a majority its citizens. and the people who are against the subject are mostly misinformed by all the propaganda. I wish we had a president that did what was best for the country as a whole, not whats best for his own political agenda

    8. Edited the post to highlight LEAP’s efforts as well, well done.

    9. David Price says:

      Happy said: We need more solutions that democrats vs republicans. Otherwise we’ll be fighting the same stupid battles endlessly.

      I agree and offer: http://www.garyjohnson2012.com/

    10. Michael Maltese says:

      They will continue to censor your comments if The King doesn’t like them because you are NOT entitled to you constitutional rights unless His Lordship agrees with them. Just another liar and promise breaker. But you wanted “Change”. Well, ya got it. How do you deel about it now. signed, another lost vote

    11. Brian says:

      If ron paul is not elected president. Im going to leave this fucking country

    12. Anonymous says:

      obama has got kids that can get marijuana anywhere but if taxed and regulated it would be harder to get.If some day his kids want to try pot he would be sorry he did nothing but snub it.

    13. […] NORML Blog jQuery(document).ready(function($){ var shpOptions = […]

    14. Metroarea4 says:

      Better start packing your bags because that’s not going to happen.

    15. Gimreefer says:

      this is not happening here it is going on world wide. the people are waking up. more and more locations are allowing use for all reasons as it should be and not just medical

    16. brad stewart says:

      just left A blog. with the young turks on current T.V. about youtubes censoring of question to obama hope they air it. and brian ron paul is not the answer the rest of his agenda is not good for america.

    17. Bill says:

      So many lives can be changed for the good in so many ways if it was deemed”legal”.This country could corner the market and with very little time or effort pull the U.S. out of debt just to start with.Nobody has died from pot and i can only imagine the deaths and ruined lives from booze and it is “LEGAL”…someone please explain that to me?why this country allows this? Legalize,regulate and lets legalize this plant that grows on its own anyway.No processing like with alcohol.Its all NATURAL!!!

    18. terry ford says:

      what happened to my liberty? maybe with enuff pissed off people they might start to remember that we are the people in “We the people”!give us are due!and just when did i become the property of the goverment?

    19. Jeff Lucas says:

      NORML should encourage their constituents to vote in the Republican primary by advertising the dates and state by state registration info. It should be legal to encourage people to vote.
      We know we have a two party system, and Obama is running unopposed. We have an opportunity to help keep just say no junkies like Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich away from the White House. In Iowa, the race was decided by 35 votes. In New Hampshire, 48% of the voters in the GOP primary were NON- Republicans!
      Our votes in the Republican primaries could really make a difference. Most states require that you register as a Republican at least one month prior to the election in your state. Google “GOP primary schedule” to find the registration deadline for your state. Vote in the primary!

    20. Mr. President,Your response(or non-response)to medical marijuana will absolutely decide for me whether or not you will receive my vote in November.I hope you will at least put forth the effort to address this subject as the majority of the American people are patiently waiting.

    21. Some day says:

      What would the d.e.a. Do if that Happens the only thing they would be doing is going after the prescription stuff and if that goes leageal then they are out of a job or most of them all about government

    22. David762 says:

      Of course the Obama administration will snub any policy questions regarding cannabis, yet again. AFAIK, the Obama administration attitude regarding social justice issues, changing drug laws, or even birth certificates will be the same post-(Rahm Emmanuel): ” … liberals need to fall into line behind the President and STFU.” No discussion. Change the subject. Period.

      What action other than cannabis re-legalization or complete decriminalization would energize the voters to support Obama? None that I can think of. But Obama (IMHO) considers the War of Drugs to actually be a Federal jobs program; none others need apply.

      It’s time (past time) for We The People to show our disdain for corporate sell-out incumbent politicians of any political persuasion, and vote them all out of office. It also doesn’t hurt to remind those politicians why their jobs are now in jeopardy, so long as it doesn’t spawn a wave of “political disappearances” among constituents, or trigger martial law. Our politicians don’t work for us, and they are double-dipping corporate bribes.

      How many of our politicians are hypocrites as well as treasonous bastards? Broach the subject of campaign cash as bribery, or that Congress is above the law. Even better, confront your Congress-critter to be drug-tested at their town-hall meetings, along with verifiable public results. Test kits run between $15 & $20, IIRC.

    23. Jonathan Tozer says:

      What do you recommend in the event the question does get snubbed? I thinks its important to stay on them with as much pressure as possible. And with 50% in favor our voice should be loud.

    24. Why can’t we get another popular democrat to run for
      president and talk like ron paul
      Because as its looking I can’t see any decent choices.

    25. neil dayton says:

      Of COURSE he’s not going to address the question! They’ll find a reason NOT to answer it. Or they’ll downright snub it, maybe even try to lie to us about it being snubbed. “That question wasn’t the top rated question”, of course it IS, but they won’t acknowledge that! And furthermore, if by some chance he does decide to answer, it’s going to be a half-assed bull shit answer that isn’t going to get us anywhere! He’s a politician! Giving half assed bull shit answers to question IS WHAT HE DOES FOR A LIVING.

    26. Ross says:

      Gary Johnson was running as a Republican. He is fiscally conservative with liberal social policies focused on civil liberties. The Corrupt Republican National Convention won their war to exclude him from every national debate possible. Now he’s running as a Libertarian and has significant republican, democrat, and independent voter support. Plus he is one of the most candid pundits I’ve seen. He has plenty of videos and a great website and he is very much pro-marijuana.

      Learn and spread the news about him, because democrat and republican conventions are corrupt and work together to support a polarized bipartisan congress that cannot agree and refuses to make progress in the name of the American people.

    27. Ross says:

      And what kind of Administration fires law enforcement for supporting marijuana legalization? Obama is corrupt. LEAP members are the real heroes. And NORML! Thanks to both organizations!

    28. Joker Johnny says:

      it will never happen, they were supposed to legalize it 20 years ago 10 years ago 4 years ago this year, it will never happen so we might as well keep smokin n drinkin goldenseal to pass our piss tests

    29. Ross says:

      If a democrat or republican win office in November I think the 50% that support us should start rioting. The arab nations were oppressed and they organized and protested and won freedom. We live in a figure-head republic. They’re trying to censor the internet so we cannot organize and protest.

      Do you honestly think that if a question on policy is regarded as inappropriate and is censored from the “interview with the president”, what’s to stop them from censoring weed off the internet completely?

      Fuck the government.

      Its time to remember this country was founded by rebels that loved freedom.

      Stop letting the government take it from us.

    30. Cyphercrash says:

      Your vote does not count. The President doesnot give a flying F*@K at a rolling doughnut. And the 15 industries that would have to change or gout out of business will not let this happen.

      All industries that would benefit from the leagalization of Cannabis/Hemp

    31. Ray Jay says:

      Give them one more chance to address it. If we get snubbed again……revolt!

    32. teresa says:

      We should have all the returning military, who have no job to return to,sent to the new dust bowl in the southwest and have all the troops plant hemp to enrich the soil and hold it down. Also they should be constructing major solar arrays and wind farms to power the hemp farms. Get us away from subsidized cotton which is so pesticide and water dependent.

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    34. Chris says:

      How many times are we going to do this dance? HEY MR. OBAMA if you ask people what they want they unanimously cry MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION DEBATES, yet somehow it is inappropriate. That kind of “we know what is best” thinking is why nobody respects govt.

    35. JD says:

      I would like to say that it is time that the government listened to the people and worked toward legalizing marijuana. The truth is the truth,the MAJORITY of Americans are for the legalization of marijuana. It has medical benefits that the government refuses to accept. Stop kidding yourselves and thinking you are doing us a favor and keeping it illegal. As you, who are in government and are making those decisions, go home and enjoy that drink to wind down, think about this, if it wasn’t for the repeal of prohibition you dwould be doing the drinking illegally.

    36. james says:

      The shear quantity of hemp we would need 6% of the continental US would make hunting feral populations and the creation of them worth a lot of money, jobs every few months constant hunting for good stands of hemp and jobs in the USA. It could work as currency again? Can soft video game loving stoners really do it? most of our farm land stand Idell and I think we could.

    37. Trevor says:

      Learn all you can. Teach what you know and let the informed decide..because that choice will last them a life time. and thats what our brains are for to decide…and yours is not for censoring other ppl…..k thanks and bye have a good one.

    38. Jim says:

      The safest medicine known to man.

      The safest recreational drug known.

      Demonstrated to halt specific tumor growth or even reverse it.

      Demonstrated clinically to grow new brain cells, or neurogenesis, in the hippocampus (which has been demonstrated for regular aerobic exercise btw).

      Shown to alleviate or ameliorate the suffering or dysfunction of certain ailments, which is now undeniable. Eventually most states will stop trying to deny people medicine known to be a palliative treatment to ailments like epilepsy, MS, glaucoma, cachexia, depression, and so on.

      The height of paternalistic law in this counry, is the unreasonable ban on one of the most useful and versatile plants, in an effort to control people’s private lives.

      Prohibition simply creates organized crime. Drug dealers like prohibition a lot.

      Special interests who benefit from prohibition like it just as much. Just like with drug peddlers, it’s just about easy money. They like money a lot.

      The known history of Cannabis policy in the United States is now well known thanks to the efforts of those like Jack Herer. Hearst, Anslinger, Nixon, the CIA. Everyone knows this story. Newspapers are only know becoming a thing of the past. The wanted to profit from using old wood trees to make paper because hemp was clearly the superior alternative.

      When is it ever “inappropriate” to have a discussion about a serious issue? I still can’t see anyway that word choice makes any sense…

      Millions imprisoned for what is a non-crime

      Billions in lost revenue

      The creation of organized crime

      Billions wasted with no real results because it’s just stupid to try to legislate people’s behavior in personal matter, most especially when they know the government is simply wrong on this issue and too ignorant/arrogant/embarrassed to admit it.

      A slap in the face to responsible adult Americans who choose to use a recreational drug that is safer than eating lunch at fast food restaurants.

      Mr. Obama, avoiding “sensitive” legalization issues like prohibition during the election campaign is one thing. But you won the election. Start the discussion or else it might seem you’re afraid to even talk? about it? Is it taboo?

      Earn that Nobel Peace Prize.

    39. Brian Cole says:

      I think a good question is: why did Obama find it a good idea to reduce the mandatory minimums for possession of crack cocaine, which is know to be both harmful and MUCH more addictive than marijuana, and yet marijuana reform is constantly ignored? I think we can all say the answer is fairly simple…PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES AND THEIR LOBBYISTS. Thats the easy answer, of course there are other interests that keep paying to ensure a continued prohibition of marijuana. But at what point does sense come into play? There are MANY influential users and activists for marijuana..why are they not standing up for REAL change in policy on a nearly harmless natural HERB. Why are other herbs labeled with the FDA notice that essentially nothing that is not created in a lab is medicine, yet marijuana stands alone? Echinacea, valerium, there are many herbs that people take for assistance with medical or emotional issues, but the government allows the sale of these products. How is marijuana different?

    40. Mouse84 says:

      I really hope they don’t dodge this question. We have the right as a “free country” to speak our minds and ask any questions we have. They already lied to us decades ago telling us pot was an evil drug that made a person go crazy and do terrible things…now is their chance to fess up to their mistake and give pot a chance!

    41. Mouse84 says:

      And Brian I SO agree with you!

    42. NewOldSalt says:

      It’s my belief that Obama will act like he’s warming up to decrim with the possibility of legalization the closer the 2012 elections are. He will see the writing on the wall that us Independents who voted for him for “Change” are sorely disappointed and he’s basically a Bush Jr. warmonger, money printer, pawn of the insiders who are destroying the planet and our society.

      Some will fall for it. It’s the old line Lucy used on Charlie Brown about how she’d changed and wouldn’t yank the ball away from him when he was ready to kick it.

      I won’t fall for that political BS, I’ve already decided who I will vote for.

      The only thing that might make me change my mind is if Monday Jan 30th he said he would expose the govt. insider hypocrites and he would immediately work to completely end drug prohibition, i.e. end the Drug War en toto. But as each day passes I know more and more I will not vote for his easily swayed and smooth talking ways.

    43. Joel: the other Joel says:

      I sure like to see the debate between president Barrack Obama and presidential candidate Ron Paul. I’ve wonder who would Ron Paul pick for vice-president?

    44. a lamb says:

      I don’t know what you guys are expecting, but he will address it alright, with an emphatic “No.” Or rather a dull “You have overwhelmingly asked about marijuana reform. This administration, blah blah blah, Tipper Gore, blah blah. And that is why we will not be advocating legalization of marijuana on a federal level. States, yadda yadda, but the Justice Department will prosecute as they see fit according to the best minds on policy. Doingy doingy doing.”
      It’s an election year, what did you expect?. Get him elected, then press him. What will he have to lose then?

    45. a lamb says:

      I think a more important question, is why don’t the people just rise up and flood the system?
      Why don’t you all band together and ignore the laws. Keep your amounts low. Grow grow grow. Don’t distribute for profit, share for good nature. Just ignore the laws, but please don’t smoke and drive. Get arrested, flood the courts. Don’t pay your fines. Be defiant. Be repeat offenders. Sow your seeds across the land. Make THEM work harder. Don’t be afraid. Stand for what you believe in. Ignore them. Turn in meth labs and dealers. Educate kids on the abuse of drugs. Educate them on the safe use of drugs. Educate your family. Educate your friends. Educate your neighbors. Educate to no end! Each one teach one! Only when the bounds of oppression are tested will we see the true specter of prohibition rise. They will see a threat to their economic livelihood maintaining cannabis illegality. And the attempted crack down will break them. People will get over it. Just don’t be dumb about it. Be peaceful. Be respectful. Be civilly disobedient. Why worry about the laws? Make them think twice. Be less discreet. Flaunt your opinion. Organize! Pushing the law makers will get you no where. Show the world there is no marijuana problem. Tell the Mexican cartels we don’t want your crap…

    46. Paradoc says:

      As much as I’d like to see “them” get to, and positively address, our question,. I am hoping for the best-and preparing for the worst.
      Sentence reduction for crack suspicously coincides with an FDA “finding” that a pharmaceeutical(Carbamazapine) reduces the cravings for crack addicts..coincidence is astounding. Now, Sativex® is approved for MS?..I can’t believe that I’m the only one who sees the bigger picture.. FIRST- gov’t “Patent’s” Cannabanoids…NEXT-They award a contract to Kannalife Sciences of N.Y.-to produce medicine from whole plant Cannabis..NEXT-ERADICATE THE HIPPIES!~
      Looking at this from the medical community-I have seen lies, cheating, deciet, corruption and death..And that’s from OPUR FDA..Does anyone remeber Dr. Stanislav Burzynski?-He CURED CANCER with ANTINEOPLASTONS-AND the FDA mounted a 16 year campaign to SHUT IM DOWN..THE FDA MUST BE DISMANTLED NOW-Replace them with ACTUAL scientists-NOT on the “take”, then perhaps we can get medicine we need!~
      Marijuana/Cannabis will NEVER be legal in america(Little a) Third world countries don’t get a capital letter.

    47. Lance s says:

      To me its a simple question, why is marajuana illegal in the first place! We have came a long way since the 50’s and Hoovers PROPAGANDA. I as a registered voter hopes the president will make a stand for marajuana, because he knows the effects from first hand experience. Laws are changed all the time over effects, side effects, safety of the public and so on and so on. There is not enough negative effects to outlaw pot. Drugs are made not grown in the garden. Its time for the machine to quit taking and give something back that would benefit humans. Isnt it funny how tv commercials tell and show you what tobacco and all the chemicals they put in it does to you. There are no pot commercials with people dying from it because that person doesnt exist. Marajuana will not kill you or make you crazy, it calms some people down and lets them live. Sorry about the run on paragraph and no, I am not high. Yet

    48. If you live in Connecticut and want to end marijuana prohibition in our state, please take a minute to visit http://www.ctprimaryproject.com.

      Please pass this on to anyone you know in Connecticut!

    49. Brandon says:

      I feel the reason that Alcohol, Tobacco, and certain prescription drugs remain legal is that it is a form of govt approved population control. As far as good ol’ Mary Jane and Hemp being legalized, you have to remember that our leaders are OWNED by big corporations. They can lobby and contribute to election campaigns on a scale that is staggering. These corporations stand to lose a lot of profits if legalization passes.

    50. propot says:

      It’s election year! What do you think he’s going to promise! Get real, this president is not going to lift a finger to to do anything about legalizing! He will make a promise though, until re-elected. Let’s all hope he is not re-elected!!! RON PAUL 2012!!!

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