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White House

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director January 31, 2012

    Last night, President Obama took to Google+ and responded to the questions submitted to him from the general public. Despite accounting for a majority of the top questions, the moderator never asked Obama about marijuana legalization and the president certainly didn’t volunteer any comment of his own volition.

    It is immensely disappointing that, yet again, the administration has declined the opportunity to discuss the very serious issue of ending marijuana prohibition in this country. For the ninth time, the White House has solicited the American people for direct input on the issues they cared about, and then, when the resulting answers called overwhelmingly for marijuana law reform, President Obama ignored the will of the American. Over half of the country now supports regulating and taxing marijuana; we can only hope that during the general election the issue is addressed with the respect and urgency it demands. (Alternet)

    You can read more details here.

  • 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?

     

  • by Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator October 29, 2011

    The Obama White House has released its official response to the “We the People” online petition for marijuana legalization submitted by NORML.  The petition, which garnered 74,169 signatures, was by far the most popular petition submitted.  The government response (released late on a Friday to avoid news cycles, we’ll note) repeats the same tired lies and classic misdirections.  Most of all, it fails to answer NORML’s actual petition, which asked:

    Legalize and Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol.

    We the people want to know when we can have our “perfectly legitimate” discussion on marijuana legalization. Marijuana prohibition has resulted in the arrest of over 20 million Americans since 1965, countless lives ruined and hundreds of billions of tax dollars squandered and yet this policy has still failed to achieve its stated goals of lowering use rates, limiting the drug’s access, and creating safer communities.

    Isn’t it time to legalize and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol? If not, please explain why you feel that the continued criminalization of cannabis will achieve the results in the future that it has never achieved in the past?

    Following is the full official White House response, with NORML’s comments interspersed…

    What We Have to Say About Legalizing Marijuana

    By: Gil Kerlikowske

    When the President took office, he directed all of his policymakers to develop policies based on science and research, not ideology or politics. So our concern about marijuana is based on what the science tells us about the drug’s effects.

    Oh, good.  Then we’ll look forward to implementation the 1972 Shafer Commission Report or any of the other government and scientific studies that recommend the decriminalization of cannabis. (more…)

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director September 24, 2011

    This Week in WeedNow streaming on NORMLtv is the latest episode of “This Week in Weed.”

    This Week: thousands of Americans take a stand for marijuana legalization, a study looks at marijuana dispensaries’ effect on crime rates, and we review Dutch coffee shops and their influence on youth drug use.

    Be sure to tune in to NORMLtv each Thursday afternoon to catch up on the latest marijuana news. Subscribe to NORMLtv or follow us on Twitter to be notified as soon as new content is added.

    If you haven’t signed the petition already, you may do so by clicking above.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 15, 2010

    To the surprise of virtually no one who has been following public opinion polls for the past 18 months, the call to “legalize the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana” placed #1 in the 2010 Change.org online vote for the “Top 10 Ideas for Change in America.”

    Open voting at the Change.org website took place for six weeks — during which time citizens voted nearly 210,000 times on over 2,500 different ideas. This morning the website released the top 10 results here.

    Legalization’s first place victory was expected. After all, the issue topped a similar Change.org poll last year. Legalizing marijuana also finished #1 in the White House’s first ever Change.gov poll; it finished #1 in Barack Obama’s first-ever online Town Hall vote; and it finished #1 in the White House’s 2009 ‘Citizens Briefing Book.’

    Yet despite these consistent first-place finishes, the administration and the mainstream media remain dismissive. President Obama has twice publicly retreated from the issue — the second time chuckling that such a question would even be asked of him. His press secretary discounted the issue’s true public support, claiming that groups like NORML had somehow stuffed the online ballot box. As if! Meanwhile, mainstream media outlets brushed off the results as the work of “Internet trolls.”

    Trolls, huh? How do ‘trolls’ explain the consistent victories racked up by marijuana law reformers at the polls year after year? And how do trolls explain the rising public opinion poll numbers that now show that over 80 percent of the public supports legalizing medical marijuana, and a solid majority also backs legalization for all adults.

    Will today’s latest poll results finally be the time that President Obama, his press secretary, stuttering Robert Gibbs, Drug Czar Gil ‘legalization isn’t in my vocabulary‘ Kerlikowske, and the members of the mainstream press start to heed the public’s message that marijuana legalization is not a political liability, but rather it is a political opportunity?

    Probably not. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not going to stop telling them that it is.

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