The Hill Blog: Legalizing Marijuana Tops Obama Online Poll

Capitol Hill is talking about cannabis, again!
Earlier today The Hill‘s influential Congress Blog posted my commentary:

Legalizing Marijuana Tops Obama Online Poll
via The Hill
Last week, the website Change.gov — the official website of the Obama Transition Team — asked the public to provide them with a list of the top public policy questions facing America. Visitors to the site were then asked to vote on which questions should take priority for the incoming administration.
According to the website, “participation … outpaced our expectations. … Since its launch … the Open for Questions tool has processed over 600,000 votes from more than 10,000 people on more than 7,300 questions.”
Ironically but perhaps not surprisingly the top question for the new administration — as chosen by the general public — was one most politicians seem utterly unwilling to talk about.
“Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?”
… So will Obama’s team respond to the demands of the electorate and initiate an honest, objective, and long-overdue review of U.S. marijuana policies? Or will the incoming administration — like the outgoing one — hide their collective heads in the sand?

As we’ve noted before, The Hill is widely read by lawmakers and by the national media; it is vital that we demonstrate the popularity of the marijuana legalization issue by commenting prolifically. Please post your feedback to The Hill and make a point of disseminating this essay to your friends and colleagues.
(Note: Comments to The Hill are moderated. That means that there will be a delay, sometimes a significant delay, between when you post and when your comment appears live online. That said, all comments will eventually be published. As you can see, my last Hill essay received over 200 comments, one of the highest totals ever received by The Hill on any topic!)
Finally, please take a moment to drop a note to your local news outlet highlighting the results of Obama’s online poll. Currently, this issue is reverberating throughout the blogosphere, but with your help, we can make this a mainstream news story as well.

0 thoughts

  1. We are all saying it the same,
    WTF!
    Q: “Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?” S. Man, Denton
    A: President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.

  2. Next time, how about just, “Why don’t you support the legalization of marijuana?” It’s a simple, straightforward question that would force a real response.

  3. The Question for round two?
    “President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.” Why? The most popular question needs more than a one line answer.

  4. our next question should address decriminalization and medical marijuana. Jumping head first into legalization isn’t going to work unless something drastic happens.

  5. Oh man, that short and brush off answer really got me angry, especially considering some legal issues I am currently going through.
    You guys just got yourself another activist. Sorry I wasn’t around earlier.

  6. keep voting keep voting keep voting until they have no other choice to listen instead of blowing it off as a bunch of pot heads wanting weed to be legal. i dont think they fully understand the situation.

  7. We may have a better chance of decriminalizing
    marijuana than legalization. Think about it….do we really want the government controlling this substance? Look what they’ve done to our food! I think it makes more sense to be allowed to have a bit of it….perhaps even grow a few plants for personal use as in Australia. Yes this may stifle drug cartels, but I would rather grow my own than have to buy it from people who could potentially kill others in order to sell their drugs. I am in favor of the medicinal use of marijuana, as well as its agricultural purposes. It could be the cash crop of the century, if we’d let it. It can be used for a myriad of purposes. Deforestation could easily be eliminated and it is a hearty plant that adapts well and can be grown in a variety of environments. It sickens me to think that the prohibition of it was primarily to control immigrants. More people use it today than ever….people from all walks of life…..not drug addicts…..I’m talking about school teachers, doctors, and even people that go to church. It also sickens me that something as dangerous as alcohol is legal and marijuana isn’t. So many people are imprisoned each year because of marijuana when there are worse crimes like child rape that receive less punishment! Smokers can get put away for a decade and a rapist may get a couple of years and have to register with the state and can freely live next door to you and your kids. What is wrong with America?

  8. I have a question for the next round that might just throw Obama a curve.I would also like to know what NORML thinks.
    We know we are not going to get legalization for personal use.We may get Obama to end federal raids of MMJ patients.
    I think the hemp issue is an area that Obama will have a hard time dodging.
    I don’t know if Alex White Plume is up to trying again to grow hemp on the Pine Ridge Resevation,but forcing Obama to oppose tribal sovereignty over the hemp issue would put him in even more trouble with another segment of the population.
    “Mr Obama…will you support and honor the sovereignty guaranteed by treaty to the Oglala Sioux and end federal intrusions that seek to prevent the farming of a promising and legal crop,hemp, on sovereign land ?”

  9. “A: President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.”
    ______________________________________________
    Well tough titties Mr. Obama. Who the heck cares what you think. Your JOB is to do the will of the people. The People Of America have spoken. it is your JOB to IMPLEMENT WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT!

  10. What a kick to the gut from the Obama administration! Rather than thinking of how we can “push the issue” by flooding the Obama “suggestion box,” I think Americans really need to think about the political process and getting away from traditional Democratic and Republican parties and their special interests. We need to explore who really is going to support the “will of the people.” More and more, it would seem political outsiders are better poised to do so. This one sentence response should not come as a surprise. They are in office now. Its their way or the highway (or jail, or death, whatever is most profitable for them.) Politicians are all crooked. Obama is the head crook now. Get used to it. Or better yet, get ready to vote again in 4 years! Next time, don’t overlook the Ron Pauls of the world.

  11. I’m sorry folks, but we are going about this the wrong way. Instead of simply begging for “legalization of marijuana” how about demanding the government to obey the constitution? The bottom line is that prohibiting things we have the natural right to such as possessing a plant (which does no direct harm to others) is unconstitutional, and we need to voice THAT out rather than simply repeating “we want to smoke pot!”

  12. http://change.gov/newsroom/entry/open_for_questions_response/
    The question that the majority VOTED ON THE MOST, that was submitted to the obama administration. It was voted on roughly 8000 to 600, the next most voted question DIDNT EVEN COME CLOSE, and this was his RESPONSE?!
    “Q: “Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?” S. Man, Denton
    A: President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.” – change.gov
    It is disgusting that this administration would not support or even give an INTELLEGENT answer to the NUMBER 1 most asked question on your very own website. HOW DARE YOU?!
    This will not stand. This only leads more people to further distrust your intelligence and also forces us to question your allegience to the citizens of the United States.
    You are NOT protecting America by not decriminalizing cannabis, and implementing ways of controlling and regulating the substance. You are ruining more and more lives of US Citizens every single day with this stupidity. STUPIDITY.
    You’re answer disgusts me and I DEMAND that you stop being so ignorant on this gravely important issue.

  13. The question should be something along the lines of “will president obama appoint a commission to review the current policies regarding cannabis.” then we are only asking him to look at the facts. facts that will undoubtedly point towards legalization.
    If someone wants to start a forum for this idea on how to ask the right questions next time, and promote the shit out of those questions and PROMOTE!

  14. I’m extremely disappointed. I voted for Mr. Obama expecting change. I know during the election he didn’t support the legalization of marijuana. However, I thought the outcry of the electorate would change his stance.
    I work with low-income, “at-risk” youth helping them get into college and secure financial aid. I think the FAFSA question regarding drug arrests is counterproductive. What message are we sending to those with drug arrests who are trying to better themselves when we deny them the funding to attend college.
    Let’s not give up the fight.

  15. Wow, someone in the White House who could end MJ prohibition
    in a single executive order, a President who is really gonna listen
    to the voice of the people, CHANGE is really gonna come this time —
    OK, OK, it was all a wet dream. Who would have thought?

  16. Maybe the government makes more money by siezing property,fines and courtcosts while putting on a persona of busting the bad guys

  17. Does this really surprise you?
    1) The man hasn’t even taken office yet. They’re already trying to kick him out. Commenting on something like this now could be political suicide. Let the man “settle” into the office. I’m not saying to stop pushing the issue AT ALL. I am saying not to expect a real answer until possibly after the new year.
    2) Less than half of the states have been brave enough to pass legislation allowing for decriminalization or allowing for medical use. If that was the case I’d think he’d be more inclined to offer a more norml response. 🙂
    3) Start small ask for legalization for the sick. (Something that’s already started.) From there you can build and expand on the legalization process.
    4) Change doesn’t have to be “sweeping” it can be small timed steps.
    What we really need to do is exactly what the gay marriage right has been doing. Focus and push the issue state for state for state. We need to start to “standardize” the law from state to state so that it will be easier to pass a federal law on the same issue.

  18. I didn’t vote for Obama (or McCain for that matter), and frankly the majority of people that did vote for Obama obviously didn’t understand what (or who) they were voting for. People really are sheep and will follow the shepherd directly to the slaughterhouse because they believe the shepherd can be trusted.
    Maybe the Cannabis Community can start doing a “Truth” anti-anti-Cannabis campaign; showing all of the things that are FAR MORE HARMFUL than Cannabis, such as the obvious:
    Alcohol
    Tobacco
    To the not so obvious, such as:
    Fast Food (think heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, etc.)
    Coffee/Starbucks (hey, it’s ALSO A DRUG, and your chances of dying due to a coffee overdose are MUCH HIGHER than overdosing on Pot; even though you’d have to drink more coffee than you could actually stand!)
    Global Warming (Deforestation is bad. Hemp could help to counteract this greatly. THINK OF WHAT LIFE WOULD BE LIKE IF AL GORE SUPPORTED THE
    DECRIMINALIZATION/LEGALIZATION OF CANNABIS!!??

  19. The illegal drug black market is networked by marijuana sales. If the government will regulate potency and distribution similar to alcohol and cigarettes, the black market for all illegal drugs will be greatly diminished, if not disappear altogether. Until then, will keep filling the coffers of drug lords and terrorists.

  20. This is something that’s not going to change overnight, unfortunately. Just as it took years to go from immoderately taxing (it wasn’t outright ‘outlawed’ in 1937, people were required to purchase a marijuana tax stamp, which of course was a ludicrous idea, because no one would willingly buy $1000 tax stamp just so they could legally have $5 worth of cannabis. As I mentioned earlier, when people were arrested, they weren’t arrested for possession, they were arrested for tax evasion, because they didn’t have the required stamp.
    As I was saying, this isn’t something that’s just going to become illegal in one stroke of the pen; just as it took years to institute, it will take years to undo. In this instance, first what we’ll need to do is get it decriminalized. The best argument I can think of for that is, do you really want to ruin someone’s entire life (no financial aid for convicted drug users, marring their job applications by having to check off ‘yes’ when asked if they were ever convicted of a felony, etc.) The punishment far outweighs the ‘crime.’
    First we must reduce penalties, then we must decriminalize, then we can think about making it legal.
    The problem with cannabis is that, as I’m sure you know but adamant nonusers don’t, cannabis can grow anywhere, under the most harsh circumstances. Don’t forget too that 5 years after it was outlawed, the US government had the USDA (NOT the FDA) produced ‘Hemp for Victory,’ which of course the government denied and was only forced to admit after copies of it surfaced; feel free to view ‘hemp for victory’ on youtube or google video.
    But as i’ve said before and will say until I die, it’s not a war on (some) drugs, it’s a war on minorities, and the DEA never would have been able to suck billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars year after year if they hadn’t outlawed it, so common it was.
    See tinyurl.com/1mn and tinyurl.com/potconviction and education yourselves, if you haven’t already read them. The first is just a 20 minute read, a transcription of a speech given before the 1995 Calif. Judge’s Association; the 2nd is just a table of contents to the first 10 chapters of work which was later printed in ‘The Marijuana Conviction’ in 1974, done by two university law professors, Whitebread and Bonnie.
    Then if you can afford it (they’re asking about $75 dollars now) order a copy of ‘The Marijuana Conviction’ from half.com.

  21. I just left another comment on that capitol hill blog; after 3 days they still have zero comments. I really berated them for purposely stifling our free speech. I let them know plain and simple that NORML posted a link and invited everyone to leave comments, and after 3 days, there are still none; that gives their readers the impression that no one cares enough about it to leave comments. Then I redirected them back to their very own blog which mentioned ‘in case you think the #1 question was some kind of fluke, 16 of the top 15 questions involved cannabis.’
    Fucking assholes. Makes me want to throw a shoe!

  22. I’m not going to beat around the bush. We need to see where they stand and that’s the bottom line, no matter how we go about asking the question they will still find a way to sneak through it when you discuss an herb that has been so negatively defined for many decades. I respect the fact that they are looking more to science than politics to answer our request and I hope and pray that those few who indeed are willing to fight will actually stand up and not sit down. I’m tired of seeing people have their lives ruined due to the fact that they are on the look out for simple offenses from non-violent individuals. Now, I know they will try and act like it’s nothing but we know that’s not right. I’m not going to say their lieing, let’s see this through and I wish that everyone would see that their is indeed a right and wrong way of going about this. I’m not going to act like I know what’s best but I will say you aren’t going to get anywhere by attacking our future President. It is indeed a bigger issue than they lead on and you all are right, we need to keep on it. Do not let up! Whenever you have the chance to voice your opinion, please do. Let’s just make sure that instead of destroying ties with our elects, we make strong points that will give us answers and even though they have skipped over it like this isn’t a big deal. It is. Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. Sometimes I wish that they would quit it as well but I really see no value in comments that can be taken as over-kill. I used to do it and I feel everyone’s pain, believe me I do. We need to prove that we can be knowledgeable and forward even though they may not be showing us the same courtesy. It upsets me, you have no idea but I beg you all, please choose your words wisely because this is indeed a time for “change” we need to make sure that we don’t step on everyones toes. WE NEESD THEM TO UNDERSTAND US. With the help of everyone I believe that we can take a step forward and achieve a piece of history for ourselves as well. No matter how small it may seem to some. Give him a chance, he at least deserves that much. He has alot on his plate but we are deserved of an answer and a simple no which is not on his behalf won’t suffice. If you try hard enough and long enough they will have no choice, it is what the people are asking their President for and I have a feeling that even though no one likes to discuss this topic we are indeed deserved of a legitimate answer to a direct question and if not then we’ll find a different way. Their is a way. “When the govt. fears it’s people; their is liberty. When the people fear it’s govt.; their is tyranny”. I love you all no matter what. Keep up the fight.

  23. Hi. Me again, same person, same argument, better name. Let’s not make an enemy of the new president just yet! He knows what marijuana is and what it isn’t. ( So does Arnold) If he would have been busted when he was 19 he would not be President now. On the other hand if he hadn’t quit baking when he was 19, he wouldn’t be President now. I was born the same year as Obama, probably started getting high the same year, never stopped, never wanted any trouble and never wanted to be President. We both got what we wanted, ( so far ). Sorry about the bio, stoner’s tend to ramble, now back to the point.
    Politicians with any realistic hope of winning PROSTRATE themselves before the NRA and AARP. Why. Let’s review. In 1987 Reagan proposed Catostrophic Heath Insurance for seniors, out of pocket cost $10.00 per month. If your under 65 the same coverage could be purchased for about the same as the monthly payment on a LAMBORGHINI. The reaction- phone lines and mail service to the White House were shut down. HOW DARE the president ask seniors to pay ANYTHING. Let the young idiots pay for my health care while I vote against theirs. (source P.J.O’Rourke).
    During his first (and only) term, the first George Bush reluctantly agreed to a ban, on IMPORTING military style assault rifles that had no value to hunters of NON HUMAN animals whatesoever.. You could still buy MADE IN THE USA ANTI-PEOPLE weapons. The result, Most gun owners stayed home on the next election. Did they think they would like Clinton better. Of course not, BUT THE MESSAGE HAD TO BE SENT. Gun owners inhabit every hue of the political spectrum, Democrat, Republican,Independent, rich and poor, urban and rural, male female, gay and hetro, ALL RACES OF HUMANITY. They only agree on one thing. When it comes to guns DON’T %$#@ WITH US.
    WHY ON EARTH SHOULD OBAMA OR ANY U.S. POLITICAN MAKE ANY LIBERALIZING MOVE ON MARIJUANA, WHEN POT SMOKERS WILL VOTE FOR HIM ANYWAY. If you voted for Obama or Mccain, Bush or Kerry/Gore, Clinton or Dole/Bush. Reagan or Mondale/Carter. YOU VOTED FOR THE WAR ON MARIJUANA. Just 30 minutes ago I read something very interesting. A columnist was relating how his Gay sister, volunteered for Obama, donated money to Obama, and voted for Obama, She WAS going to have an inaurgural party for Obama. Then Obama invited an anti-gay preacher to lead the prayed at his swearing in. Guess what, the Party’s OFF.
    Tell Obama that YES WE CAN agree to disagree on some issues and work together on others. But true reform of Marijuana laws IS NOT ONE OF THEM. Sorry this post was so long, thanks for reading my book.
    VOTE LIKE A BEAST

  24. Decriminalizing would be a false victory and a trap for smokers. The model should be the same regulations that exist for alcohol and tobacco. In decrim states you will still be denied employment or face termination of employment based on unconstitutional urine and hair follicle tests. A legal user was recently denied a liver transplant in a medical marijuana state. A friend of mine was killed when a very drunk driver was driving the wrong way on the freeway and struck him head on. His family’s lawyer told them they had no chance of compensation in a court of law, his corpse has trace amounts of marijauna. When the U.S. FINALLY adopts a national health care system, drug testing will certainly be a maditory aspect and will void any benifits.
    Decrimilization will solve a lot of the downsides of prohibition for the rest of society. But if you want to continue to smoke marijuana you better be so rich you can pay your own medical bills, don’t need to work for someone else, and have a chauffer.

  25. The fact is. These politicians are only paid to do the will of the American people and they are not pad to act blindly in office based on their opinion or what they support. Me thinks that there is actually a fast way to get this done. It may require something drastic however, we should pour over all the legislation we have, the history, the agenda that brought the laws to be and utilize our lawyers that support this issue to find how this issue can be brought to the people to decide on rather than hypocritical past drug users in office. It’s ridiculous that the bet they can do is sweep the issue under the rug even though it wslas far and away the biggest issue. Let’s get this in the media, mobilize and overthrow this fat cat government. It’s been done before…. The problems are big enough in this country (no taxation without representation!) and politicians ignoring the people is the number one reason for revolution! Shall we?

  26. I think there might be bigger issues rather than getting cannabis legalized. Our time will come sooner than later. In the mean while overgrow America my friends!

  27. A lot of the things going on i would have to blame the people for giving these guys the power to do what they want. They are nothing without the people and we need to give this country back to its people and restore the constitution. Look around and you will see the corruption of the elites. The drug war isn’t meant to be won, war is a business and they want to keep it that way. Until you realize that we are all doomed!
    -RPR12
    Free the People!

  28. “The Latin American drug cartels have stretched their tentacles much deeper into our lives than most people believe. It’s possible they are calling the shots at all levels of government.” – William Colby, former CIA Director, 1995

  29. The Hill has never posted my comments although they were valid, reasonable and positive.
    I mentioned how disappointed I was to be taught the Constitution and Bill of Rights in school only to learn that freedom is a lie in this country.

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