President Obama: What Is So Funny About Taxing And Regulating Marijuana?

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 26, 2009


    Here’s another way you can let the White House know what you think. The Drug Czar’s blog, Pushing Back, is asking for the public’s feedback regarding Thursday’s Town Hall Meeting. You already know what they think; let them know what you think here.


    Since many of you are writing President Obama on your own, NORML would like to assist the process by providing you with a link for contacting the White House directly. Please log on and send your e-mails by going here.

    Also, please check The Hill.com (Read and comment here) and HuffingtonPost.com (Read and comment here) on Friday for updated versions of this commentary, and please post your feedback to those forums as well.

    Speaking live moments ago President Barack Obama pledged “to open up the White House to the American people.”

    Well, to some of the American people that is.

    As for those tens of millions of you who believe that cannabis should be legally regulated like alcohol — and the tens of thousands of you who voted to make this subject the most popular question in today’s online Presidential Town Hall — well, your voice doesn’t really matter.

    Asked this morning whether he “would … support the bill currently going through the California legislation to legalize and tax marijuana, boosting the economy and reducing drug cartel related violence,” the President responded with derision.

    “There was one question that was voted on that ranked fairly high and that was whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy and job creation, and I don’t know what this says about the online audience,” he laughed.

    “The answer is no, I don’t think that [is] a good strategy.”

    Obama’s cynical rebuff was short-sighted and disrespectful to a large percentage of his supporters. After all, was it not this very same “online audience” that donated heavily to Obama’s Presidential campaign and ultimately carried him to the White House?

    Second, as I’ve written previously in The Hill and elsewhere, the overwhelming popularity of the marijuana law reform issue — as manifested in this and in similar forums — illustrates that there is a significant, vocal, and identifiable segment of our society that wants to see an end to America’s archaic and overly punitive marijuana laws.

    The Obama administration should be embracing this constituency, not mocking it.

    Third, will somebody please ask the President: “What is it that you think is so funny about the subject of marijuana law reform?”

    Since 1965, police have arrested over 20 million Americans for violating marijuana laws, yet nearly 90 percent of teenagers say that pot is “very easy” or “fairly easy” to obtain. That’s funny?

    According to this very administration, there is an unprecedented level of violence occurring at the Mexico/US border — much of which is allegedly caused by the trafficking of marijuana to the United States by drug cartels. America’s stringent enforcement of pot prohibition, which artificially inflates black market pot prices and ensures that only criminal enterprises will be involved in the production and sale of this commodity, is helping to fuel this violence. Wow, funny stuff!

    Finally, two recent polls indicate that a strong majority of regional voters support ending marijuana prohibition and treating the drug’s sale, use, and distribution like alcohol. A February 2009 Zogby telephone poll reported that nearly six out of ten of voters on the west coast think that cannabis should be “taxed and legally regulated like alcohol and cigarettes.” A just-released California Field Poll reports similar results, finding that 58 percent of statewide voters believe that regulations for cannabis should be the same or less strict than those for alcohol.

    Does the President really think that all of these voters are worthy of his ridicule?

    Let the White House laugh for now, but the public knows that this issue is no laughing matter. This week alone, legislators in Illinois, Minnesota, and New Hampshire voted to legalize the use of marijuana for authorized individuals. Politicians in three additional states heard testimony this week in favor of eliminating criminal penalties for all adults who possess and use cannabis. And lawmakers in Massachusetts and California are now debating legally regulating marijuana outright.

    The American public is ready and willing to engage in a serious and objective political debate regarding the merits of legalizing the use of cannabis by adults. And all over this nation, whether Capitol Hill wants to acknowledge it or not, they are engaging in this debate as we speak.

    Sorry Obama, this time the joke’s on you.

    770 responses to “President Obama: What Is So Funny About Taxing And Regulating Marijuana?”

    1. J Maddox says:

      No just no that all we get. I spent my time and energy on this cowards campain sending emails etc. and he has the oddasity to laugh at us. wow the times change only 5 years ago this is the same guy that was for marijuana decrime and now he laughs at the thought. You rode are coat tails to the top and know u act like we dont matter.

    2. Harold says:

      As a 60 year old man and cannabis user for 39 years, I feel that President Obama dismissed our serious questions as a childish joke. We are not “Cheech and Chong” stereotypes. This is the treatment that racist whites treated the serious demand of blacks for their civil rights or how the homophobic straight community used to treat the gay communities demands for equal rights. The cannabis using community and their friends should feel rebuffed, patronized, and dismissed as a stoner joke. I, for one, will continue to make my views known proudly and openly, and Mr. Obama, as much as I voted and supported many of your viewpoints, I am very disappointed with your attitude toward 40 million Americans.

    3. LoopFiaco says:

      He was laughing because he is a hypocrite who told all the thronging masses what they wanted to hear to elect him and the sheep did!

      Here is a youtube link of his response:


      Read today that the DEA raided a dispensary in SanFrancisco. Thats Strike #2. If you count the earlier diss on change.gov questions. That makes three.

      Forget this douche. He is bought and paid for like all the rest. While his treasury loots our tax money to give to his wall street buddies; we go on asking for the pittance of a right to ingest a fucking plant that grows everywhere on earth except the arctic in the privacy of our own homes!! Change you can’t believe in.

    4. J Maddox says:


    5. Ben says:

      Unfortunately this is about what I expected to hear… Thanks for nothing Mr. President.

    6. Daniel says:

      As a participant in numerous rounds of the open for questions both during and following the election, I am grossly offended at his flippant attitude and comments. Not only is he ridiculing the base which has supported him over the last two years, but he is mocking the very people (internet crowd) this program was intended to engage. I thought for certain this time around the President would have to address the question of cannabis formally and truthfully, but never did I think he would turn such meaningful, thought out questions into a fucking chuckle. The time is coming near when our voices won’t be so easily cast aside.
      Feel free to give them some hell and make it clear that we are not going away, and this is certainly no joke.

    7. Eric Carmichael says:

      As if I needed another reason to be suspicious of Obama..

    8. Bryan M says:

      Some of the most important contributions and discoveries made in the Ancient world still relevant today were all discovered by individuals who self medicated themselves with “natural” remedies of the day, i.e.: Cannabis, Opium and Opiates, Hallucinogenics and other naturally occuring stimulants and nacotics. These People “under the influence of mind destroying and toxifying substances” gave us inventions and theories like, “the Atom”, the modern theory of the earth rotating around the sun, incredibly advanced mathematics, and lets not forget the “7 wonders of the world” just to name a really scant few. Even the most succesful generation of American’s “the Baby Boomers” were able to legally injest substances like cannabis, LSD, Cocaine, and Ecstasy without the horror of government persecution, especially so with Hemp because the government WANTED farmers to GROW HEMP for the war effort (WWII).

      The only difference today is that a general air of ignorance and superfluous excess of ideology prevent us from living the normal, productive and happy lives of our ancestors. It should stand to reason that our Ancestors used the scientific method (or ancient equivalent) on everything. EVERYTHING!!!! But American politicians’, too full of themselves and their self-riteous zeal, believe that their omnipotence, and omnipresence can suddenly change and will snuff out practices THOUSANDS of years old.

      THAT IS WHY THE ALCOHOL PROHIBITION did not work. Not because Americans’ were wrong, not because of the potential billions (modern equivalent) in tax revenues, but because America is fighting a war that is rooted hundreds of thousands even millions of years old.

      Accurate research with the support of Imperical data should still be the presedence upheld today in our *highly enlightened* society, not the belief that “you know what is best for me and mine”. True research is something that our predescessor’s knew all too well to be the ONLY means of changing the minds of everyone. YES even back then! Let us practice what we preach and study the data concerning prohibition, and to hell with the federal governments’ stance.

      Prohibition only increases the threat to ANY government authority from its constituency, just look at data concerning American & Canadian Bootleggers from the 1930’s Alcohol prohibition and look at the American & Mexican Cartels (also bootleggers just of Marijuana).

      I think it’s pretty clear what must happen.

    9. Jim says:

      A better remark at least would have been, “I won’t stand in their way of the California And Massachesetts legislation”
      It’s sad, that he does not acknowledge, that pot yes pot helped get him elected, that hope of change.
      In the back water southern state I live in it seemed having an Obama for President bumper sticker was illegal.
      Obama’s presidency today, is the very emotional and prejudiced reason cannabis labeled marijuana was made illegal in the first place. The congress in 1937 heard how marijuana would make a “black man look twice at a white women”. It was just another tool to use in their Jim Crow minds.
      But he probally just wants to get his budget, and he has found that their outside forces raining on his parade.


    10. Brandon says:

      I would just like to say I was outraged that he simply laughed about legalizing marijuana. I waited and waited. I voted and voted, all for what? Him to not touch on the subject that actually got most of the votes? Blow it off, laugh, and have all of those idiots applaud? I really don’t know what to do anymore… Legalizing marijuana has fallen upon deaf ears. I was an Obama supporter but sadly have changed my mind. Laugh at that one Obama, I have a feeling I’m not the only one…

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