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. 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. 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/

    9. 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

    10. Brian says:

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