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

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive 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. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    6. 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!

    7. 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

    8. 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.

    9. 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

    10. Ray Jay says:

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

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