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. 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.
    …wtf

  2. 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.

  3. 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
    This is from change.gov
    What does this mean for Marijuana legalization?

  4. The results are in and it’s a swift dodge! The most popluar question on the site gets quickly swept under the carpet because it pertains to *gasp* marijuana! A twelve word response to a question about restoring financial security to the country and bettering the lives of everyone. I also like how it appears 4th on the list of replies.
    Boo to the typical political one-liner blow off.

  5. The Obama administration has replied regarding Marijuana legalization: http://change.gov/newsroom/entry/open_for_questions_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.
    ——-
    “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?”
    Signs point to the latter scenario.

  6. Yeah the government does not like to listen to the people who voted them into office. I do not get why though more then half of the population agrees with marijuana law reform. They do not listen and CHANGE.

  7. Obama is just another politician. Change is only a word used to enthrall the masses. Real change isn’t possible with him regarding drug policies. The only way to make the change possible is by the state level. State Rights trump federal. Viva la revolucion!

  8. it means president-elect obama in dodging the question. a one line response? c’mon now, that is just rude. especially seeing it was the number one question. just another politician out to push his own agenda with deaf ears.

  9. To add insult to injury, the #1 question is placed fourth on the list, hidden at the bottom of the page. These politicians NEVER SEEM TO GET IT!!! Can they honestly say they “work for us?” 99% of what comes out of their mouths is lie after lie after lie…
    This just gets more and more frustrating by the day. When are WE going to make OUR government DO what we want it to do? If we don’t get control of them soon, they are going to run us all into the ground.

  10. It’s time for change my ass! I can not believe that the top question in the “Open For Question” section received a simple sentence response. I guess were stuck with drinking a fifth of whiskey and beating the shit out of someone. Makes a lot of sense huh!

  11. What else do we need to do? We have presented the facts about prohabiton and what harm it causes. Obama has smoked before yet would keep it unregulated. This makes no sense, there is no change it’s more of the same. Ron Paul had it right we just did not listen. Change does not mean anything it just a word . Unless you do something different,

  12. On a brighter note, the next time Change.gov opens up for questions, we need to redouble our efforts and voet this question to the top again. Unless they start rigging the voting (I wouldn’t put it past them) they are going to be forced to give a little bit better of an answer next time around.
    Keep the pressure on them, it will get more media coverage this time around. Slam that question down their lying throats, and demand an answer!

  13. Jeeze… What the heck kind of answer was that… one sentence? No attempt at discussion or thinking about it. The least they could do is look into the issue further..
    They might as well have just ignored the question entirely… -_- (They did ignore the medical, and hemp questions. course.)
    You all know what we have to do now… We need to pose and vote for similar questions to this issue, EVERY time they open for questioning. Keep it as a top issue.
    Maybe a question would be better phrased on “will Obama allow/consider alternatives to prohibition” or something along those lines…
    How disappointing. But I’m sure these responses were written by some low end person, rather than being considered and/or addressed by Obama himself.

  14. I truly want to believe that Barrack Obama really stands for “Change”. It wasn’t that long ago that black men and women weren’t even allowed to eat in the same restaurant as white men and women, and we have overcome that. It wasn’t that long ago that people would have laughed in your face at the thought of a black man becoming President of the United States of America, and we’ve proven that it CAN happen.
    So now it’s time to Emancipate the American People of the Prohibition on Cannabis and end the racist, prejudicial and fear-based “propaganda” that has escalated needlessly into the War on Drugs aka “The War on Personal Freedom”.

  15. Politics is the art of distraction.
    We the *majority* have a solemn duty to keep elected officials attention on our demands and moral best interests. Remember people, they work for us.

  16. This pisses me off. I was one of the people responsible for pushing to get that question to #1 and he just blows it off. He didn’t even answer the medical marijuana question. We need to keep pushing… when he comes out with another one, we will focus on medical marijuana. In the meanwhile, guys, we REALLY need to figure out how to make this legal. We need to organize.

  17. The response on Change.gov is ridiculous! For once I actually tried to make an effort to vote for something I believe in and the man I vote for will not give a suitable reason for giving America an answer of “No”. We need to keep voicing our opinions as well as the truth by using literature such as the Beckley Foundation’s Cannabis Commission Report, for one example, to show that current marijuana policy is unjust as well as absurd for a plant that is less harmful then the legal tobacco and alcohol,

  18. Ok guys, We have to chalk the first round as a loss. When round 2 of questions comes around …. we need to include somthing in our most voted on question, that will spark the media to grasp hold. We need to convey that if America was given a ballet to legalize marijuana. We the People,Land of the Free would finnaly make the change. Nice comment too bye the way Buffal Bill

  19. True change will not come from Obama. The fact is that 99% of politicians Republican and Democrat do not understand the concepts of freedom and liberty.
    RON PAUL was the only candidate that truly believed in freedom and liberty. However, millions of people were brainwashed into believing Obama was really about change. The only change Obama wants is more big government.

  20. Currently http://www.change.org is taking votes on what should be presented to Obama on inauguration day. There are marijuana listings on the following pages.
    In Criminal Justice “Legalize the Medicinal and Recreational Use of Marijuana” it is in 1st place
    http://www.change.org/ideas/browse/criminal_justice
    In other “End the war on drugs” is 4th place
    http://www.change.org/ideas/browse/other
    In Government Reform “end the prohibition of marijuana” is in 6th place
    http://www.change.org/ideas/browse/government_reform
    In Economy “The War On Drugs has Failed- Decriminalize Marijuana” is in 3rd and 4th
    http://www.change.org/ideas/browse/economy
    In Agricultural Policy “Save family farms growing hemp for methanol production” is in 3rd and 4th
    http://www.change.org/ideas/browse/agricultural_policy
    In health care “End DEA classification of Marijuana as having no medical benefits!” is in 5th position
    http://www.change.org/ideas/browse/health_care
    It is second in Environmental conversation “Stop Deforestation, Use Hemp For Paper Instead of Trees” is in 2nd place
    http://www.change.org/ideas/browse/environmental_conservation
    Voice your thoughts to President Elect

  21. So disapointing, so much for change…And how covnient that it’s not in its rightful place at the top of the list.

  22. hear here, Buffalo Bill.
    I just left a comment on the capitol hill blog, they better f’in’ publish it because, of course, as soon as I clicked ‘submit’ the page was cleared with absolutely no trace of what I had just entered, which, if i can remember correctly, went something like this:
    “Cannabis, and all naturally occurring drugs were outlawed after the civil war freed the slaves and ‘grandfather clauses’ were found unconstitutional, so the corrupt, racist federal government outlawed all these drugs that were being used by minorities since before history was recorded. Read tinyurl.com/1mn and tinyurl.com/potconviction for the research leading up to the publication of ‘The Marijuana Conviction’ by two University of Virginia law professors (Whitebread and Bonnie) in 1974. It’s not a war on (some) drugs, it’s a war on minorities, and I’m disgusted to be an American, something I had absolutely no control over. I was born here.”

  23. Oh yeah I also somewhere in there mentioned Harry Anslinger and his newly created government office the FBN; that is, Federal Bureau of Narcotics, something which cannabis ISN’T.

  24. At first I was kinda pissed, but after thinking about this a bit I think we might consider this possibility. That question represented the whole cookie, everything we want. To legalize cannabis. I think for now he has to answer that way. We should concentrate on the lesser questions next time. We asked for everything and yes for now he said a simple no. Let’s respect that and vote on decrimilization. If we could acheive that it would be such an accomplishment and would really represent CHANGE as well.

  25. like stated before, we need to keep this at the top of the list. a flood of hand written letters may also help.

  26. This is all I get as an answer?
    “A: President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana. ”
    Change.gov and the new presidential team are already upsetting me. This is not an issue just to blow off.
    What must we do to get our voices heard?

  27. “The next Open for Questions feature will go live in the coming days.”
    I guess we’ll just have to keep bugging them.

  28. The next time around why don’t we ask something more pointed? Like, “Why do you continue to ignore the will of the people on the issue of marijuana legalization/regulation or at least reclassification to allow greater research” I know thats not the perfect question but the idea is there, instead of asking if they will do it, lets ask why they will not. Hopefully this time it will be a response of more than 12 words, because that was a real big slap in the face for me as someone who benefits from medicinal cannabis.

  29. i participate in every bit of activism i can on our issue, i wrote obama directly, as well as my senators and reps. yeah, this guy is an empty suit. i knew that before my fellow americans voted him in.
    but i will not stop. this isn’t the first of my volleys nor will it be the last. i just encourage you all to keep the faith, and keep clogging their rivers with our dead. i want my country back, dammit.

  30. How can ANY of you people be surprised? Haven’t you seen the slimy political going-on in Obama’s home state, Illinois? Don’t you know that this state raises nothing but the slickest liars known to man? The only change you will see is the change Washington elitists WANT you to see. It’s not about YOU. YOU are STUCK with Obama and his hand-picked “all about change” crowd.
    I’m sorry, but you got what you asked for. It isn’t about change… it’s about money and power, and for 4 years, change is what you will have in your pocket, not in government.

  31. maybe 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.

  32. You can go to change dot gov, click ‘contact’ in the footer table and send them messages via form.
    here’s what I just sent them:
    Dear Mr. President:
    With all due respect…tough shit. In this democratic republic, we vote, the law adheres. The DEA has been broadcasting outright lies since 1937 regarding cannabis. Now we know better, you know better, and we know you know better. Prohibitions do nothing but reduce government intake while pushing black market violence to the streets. It’s not a war on (some) drugs, it’s a war on minorities. ( Read tinyurl.com/1mn and tinyurl.com/potconviction ) Have you sold your soul to get to that office *we* put you in?
    Legalize. Regulate. Educate.
    Sincerely,
    The American People

  33. This is proof that President Elect Barack Obama is not immune to the same corruption as every other politician except RON PAUL. Wow. A one sentence answer to the one question in the poll that addressed an actual CONCERN of the people in the United States of America. We the People should not tolerate this, and I’m not going to. We have to FIGHT for our constitutional, if not, HUMAN rights.

  34. Color me a paranoid conspiracy freak, but alcohol prohibition in the U.S. would still be law if the government had covered up its failure as staunchly as cannabis prohibition’s failure has been denied. Is it possible that the legalization of marijuana would create such a shift of wealth in the world that the established aristocracy simply will not allow it?

  35. Let the smell of freedom reigns supreme over the Innaguration Ceremony, so strong that the taling heads covering it must acknowledge marijuana in attendance. I look for a concert like atmosphere.

  36. I guess the comments section on the hill is messed up again. I know I posted a comment but it still says “0”.

  37. “A: President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.”
    Wow. That hurts.
    **********************************************
    * * * * * * * * * IMPORTANT! * * * * * * * * *
    **********************************************
    According to Change.gov, “The next Open for Questions feature will go live in the coming days.”
    This means we need to vote again and make sure legalization remains on the #1 spot until they are forced to do something about it.

  38. All these comments need to be on the HILL BLOG’s comments section where other policy makers will see them!! The “in” we have right now, until they open up questions again, is to post there. I was just there and fornd ZERO comments for Armentano’s article. You are preaching to the choir here !!

  39. seems like all the obama voters have been scammed, theres no change coming, that was just a buzzword to get everyones blood boiling. the only thing that changed are names and faces, but all policies will remain, or they might even make it worse. RON PAUL in 2012!

  40. Jillian, there’s a delay on the capitol hill blog; they’re not automatically added as soon as they’re submitted. Someone has to take the time to actually go through each one and then approve/deny each one to be listed on the page. They should be fairly decent about it though, as long as the submissions don’t include profanity or hateful language towards others. I remember there being a long delay (a few days) the last time NORML pointed us towards it.

  41. They stuff their prisons with nonviolent drug offenders, MOSTLY minorities (because that’s who the cops target, although you never see police cruising college campuses, where not only pot but just about every illegal substance is available) who of course can’t afford a lawyer; I myself had a run-in with police and couldn’t afford a lawyer and the ‘public defender’ DIDN’T and strong armed me into taking a plea deal which led me to attending anger management once a week for 9 months and costing me well over $500 dollars. There are more prisoners per capita in the US than any other country on earth. They are replacing slave labor with prison labor. Big corporations give jobs to the prison system so they can pay, literally, pennies on the dollar to have their product manufactured…by prison inmates, instead of having to pay minimum wage for actual employees.

  42. You know I didn’t expect him to say that he will sign an Executive Order his first week in office to legalize Marijuana. But, a little more than 12 words on something this country spends billions of dollars a year on would have been nice. Instead all we get is the “because I said so” response. What an insult.
    We do need to keep the pressure on. For those of you who might not know this. Getting the original question on the front page of Digg.com helped to get drug policy reform into first place. Please go to http://digg.com/politics/Obama_plays_down
    _overwhelming_support_for_Marijuana_iRepo and help keep this subject active on Digg. Digg get ALOT of traffic and will help our cause immensely. Go to that site and submit, comment, and “Digg” as many drug policy reform question as possible.

  43. Maybe the next question should be for decriminalization of Cannabis. Politicians are understandably afraid of “legalization” as it makes it sound as though they support that position and they prefer to be ambiguous on potentially unpopular views so that they can claim to be misquoted or that their words were taken out of context.
    If we are lucky Obama may be more willing than others to make real change, but we cant expect a POLITICIAN to take initiative.

  44. We must continue to press this issue, the full unhindered LEGALIZATION of cannabis, without compromise. Time to “overgrow the government!” The Obama “all star” team will continue to ignore our demands, but for how long? My guess? At least the next four years, and possibly the next eight (I really hope not!)
    I tried to convince as many of my friends as I could, “don’t vote for Obama, and don’t vote for McCain!” Most of them believed Obama would “change” things. Come on, I know Americans must be smarter than that! It’s too late now, but we still have the future.
    As long as either party is in office, NOTHING WILL CHANGE! The Constitution will remain “just a goddamned piece of paper…” Jobs will continue to be lost, and foreign crusades will become the norm.
    Vote Libertarian, or vote for Ron Paul. Donate as much money as you can to get them in office – they are our ONLY HOPE for REAL “CHANGE we can believe in!” We are moving toward a police state in the US, and the only way we can stop it is if we rise up and take OUR COUNTRY BACK!

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