O-Blow-Off: Obama Site Ducks Marijuana Reform Questions (Again!)

Voting ended late last week on the President-Elect’s website Change.gov. As was the case in December, questions regarding marijuana law reform proved to be extremely popular.
Of the more than 76,000 questions posed to Obama by the general public, the fourth most popular question overall called on the incoming administration to cease arresting and prosecuting adults who use cannabis. And in the sub-category “National Security,” the most popular question posed by the public pertained to amending U.S. drug policies.
But you wouldn’t know it by listening to the administration’s latest video response (posted online here) — as neither issue received even a passing mention from incoming White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. (The Obama administration’s woefully inadequate response to last month’s top-rated marijuana law reform question appears at the bottom of the Change.gov page here.)
Am I surprised to learn that the Obama team has decided to hide their collective heads in the sand? Not at all. But by doing so, they’re missing the bigger picture.
The latest round of Change.gov online poll results illustrate two important points.
One: 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.
Two: 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.
The Obama administration should heed these poll results and understand that marijuana law reform is not a political liability; rather, it is a political opportunity.
Fortunately for the public, there will be other “opportunities” for the Obama administration to address marijuana law reform. 
This Friday, the social networking website Change.org, in concert with the Case Foundation, will hold a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC to announce the top 10 ideas — as voted on by the public — for the new administration. At the event, the two organizations will also announce the launch of a national advocacy campaign behind each idea in collaboration with nonprofit partners to turn each idea into actual policy.
The top issue, as determined by the public? You guessed it: “Legalize the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana.”
Friday’s press conference will no doubt be covered by the mainstream media. Imagine the splash we will make when the public’s call to legalize marijuana is presented as the #1 idea for the new administration. Perhaps then the incoming administration will finally be forced to answer the question on the minds of millions of Americans:
“Is President Obama going to continue to define himself and tens of millions of otherwise law-abiding Americans as criminals, or is he ready to publicly acknowledging that prohibition causes far more harm than the responsible use of marijuana itself?”
Change.org voting ends at 5pm eastern time on Thursday, January 15, so if you haven’t yet voted, please do so now.

0 thoughts

  1. This serious conversation is highly anticipated by tons of people. The only thing im afraid of is the same cliche responses of the harm of marijuana law reform.
    They need to relize the looooooooooong list of benifits.
    Someday I wish I could sit down with “congress/president/lawmaker” have them tell me every reason why it should be illegal. Ive heard it ALL and got scientific/personal/medic/industrial answers to every con they think they can say.
    If they would stop dodging the questions and finally have a serious honest talk backed up with the past 15 years or so of data and statistics since they seem to throw those at us all the time, to show them the real facts.

  2. I am growing extremely frustrated that the future administration is calling for extreme change in our country, and when an issue comes up that they don’t want to touch, they simply ignore it and throw it aside. The reason they aren’t putting their answer so clearly is that they’re afraid that the issue would ruin Obama’s future presidency re-election… that’s what it always is. He may nationally recognize medical use, but I honestly don’t think he’ll consider legalizing recreational use until his second term (if that happens).
    Legalizing marijuana would have nothing but positive effects in our nation (provided that drugged driving laws are passed nationally as well). 820,000 responsible non-violent Americans would be free of having their lives and reputation ruined because they had a joint in their pocket, and the nation would be BILLIONS richer (enough where Marijuana alone would pay off the $700 billion bailout over time). This shouldn’t even be an issue. Marijuana is not dangerous, and when left illegal, allows the black market to reap billions of dollars in benefits instead of our government.
    I’ll be honest: I was not in favor of legalization until 1.) I tried it (LOL) and 2.) after I learned the undisputed facts of marijuana. The thing we need to do is keep pushing the issue and do not give up. Keep this issue as #1 on change.org and get constant media coverage and non-profit support on the issue. We need to let our voices be heard.

  3. Politicians do not legalize marijuana for a reason. It is because of the many hundreds of billions of dollars made in it’s prohibition. This number is from the totals of oil, pharmaceutical death pills, prison industry, police state rolls, and confirmed CIA involvement in drug smuggling(hey, what do you think Iran/Contra was all about?).
    However, with a collapsed currency, growing dissent from joblessness, the criminal continuation of trickle-down economics, etc., they may not have much choice. Personally, I think we are in grave danger of revolution in this country. There is a large faction of our citizenry who believe, as I do, that this depression was intentional. Legalizing marijuana would go a long ways toward restoring faith in the system again. ‘At least the states are beginning to assert their rights again. I believe this is where reform will come from. States have to deal with the dissent on a more personal level. And many states are broke already, with no federal ability to apply real and substantial relief. After all, the next cash infusion is only going to hasten the demise of the currency by devaluing it to the point of ridiculousness anyway.

  4. Either they have something in the back room about legalization in order to get the tax revenues and allow the private sector to create jobs in the cannabis trade or change, as far as cannabis is concerned to them, is merely defined as changing the people who keep everything the same. Obama’s definition of change: Changing the people who maintain marijuana prohibition, which at its core essentially the basis for new institutionalized racism that results in more people of color being disenfranchised because they are caught up in the criminal justice system. Show some freakin’ balls, man! Do not cave in to the prohibitionists!

  5. I have two suggestions.
    1) Obviously, certain people are not taking their request seriously by looking at the results of the very poll that they put out there for the people have a say in what they want. As far as I am concerned, those people on the hill work for us, not the other way around.It does not matter what “they” want, its what “we” want that matters.
    2) Obama could end this very easy. He could say that this is something that the federal government does not need to enforce. That said, he should just have cannibis removed as a federal schedule I drug, and then push it off onto the states to determine what to do. Obama said, if I am not mistaken that he wanted the citizens to be more involved, well this would be a first step in the citizens in deciding on what is best for them.

  6. “Is President Obama going to continue to define himself and tens of millions of otherwise law-abiding Americans as criminals, or is he ready to publicly acknowledging that prohibition causes far more harm than the responsible use of marijuana itself?”
    this is what ive been saying forever!

  7. Oh man, this is beautiful. I think this is our chance to get our voice heard loud. This has got to be the strongest hit we’ve had in a long time.

  8. Personal use of a natural herb is a gift from God,not the matter of the Government. A government that makes profits from Alcohol and Tobacco is NOT morally qualified to make that decision.

  9. DON’T ASK, President Obama to Legalize marijuana, or you’ll, you’ll, well OK vote for him anyway.
    TELL, President Obama we better see at least SOME improvement, OR NO MORE VOTES.
    YES WE CAN agree to disagree on some issues, but being arrested, losing your job, having your future (and your children’s) held hostage IS NOT ONE OF THEM.
    This is the ONLY message you need to send, as it’s the only one that matters. NO HELP = NO VOTES. President Obama ALREADY knows all he NEEDS TO KNOW about marijuana. As someone who “inhaled” and like Mayor Bloomberg ” enjoyed it”.
    1. He already knows it’s not even close to being as harmful as alcohol or tobacco.
    2. He already knows that he can find for law enforcement “better things to do”.
    3. He already knows all the money that’s waisted on the WOD, and all the tax money that legal marijuana would bring in.
    4. He already knows that THE MINORITY who support prohibition WILL NOT accept compromise.
    5. He already knows that THE MAJORITY who support real reform. WILL

  10. Is there anything that can be done starting at a county level? If it starts with the state, then how do we get a proposition to the ballot. If legalization IS truly popular, then we can vote this in one state at a timetime.

  11. I hope he is just hiding his cards untill he gets into office; otherwise I might have to move to Canada afterall.

  12. As much as it sucks, it is kind of nice to tell those Obama preachers “I TOLD YOU SO!” This guy is a politician more worried about his approval then what is right (unless your view of “right” refers to the inequality and inherently racist undertones of affirmitive action). I predict in 5 months, when absolutly nothing has changed, everyone will stop refering to him as “the first black president” and switch to the “half white president obama.” Thanks alot, JERKS

  13. he’s going to duck and cover. anyone who thought president elect obama would bring about real change is toking the schwag advertised in High Times. i want to believe.

  14. Every one of you who voted for obama wasted your vote. He said clearly he would not spend any political capital on marijuana reform. When a politician says I will not help you, that’s one you can take to the bank!
    Everyone seems to think this guy is Jesus or Moses and he’s going to part the sea and lead us all to the promise land. A lot of people are in for disappointment were getting ours now!
    The only thing different about Obama is his skin color that he got elected is a tribute to us not him. Underneath he’s the same charismatic sociopath we always elect.
    In the future if your gonna bother to vote at least read the libertarian party’s platform first. I know, I know if I don’t vote for the Republicrat or Demopublican “my vote won’t count”.
    Well it didn’t mean shit this time did it?

  15. Mr. Obama says he wants to restore faith and trust in the federal government. Who is going to trust a government that continues to tell us that “marijuana is evil and must be prohibited”? Who can have any faith at all in a government which “can’t handle the truth” and acts on the basis of propositions which rational people know are FALSE?

  16. Americans wake up; Obama is a puppet just like Bush was, the only difference is that he’ll be able to sell “unpopular measures” much better than Bush did, due to his charisma and oratorial skills. The banking cartel (Fed) that owns him has no interest in legal cannabis, for this would cut their profits 90%. Wake up people.

  17. Hi All, Please vote for this issue on change.org. Don’t get discouraged and give up especially when there is finally 66% public approval on this legalization issue. Obama does not want to touch this issue because he would be considered weak on crime and war. 2 American staples. Vote and get involved and someday we’ll liberate cannabis and finally after all these years of complete totalitarian right-wing police state rule we’ll be free.

  18. Well I for one didnt vote for him…i know how these evil politicians work. I do not trust obama or any other politician and I never will. They would kill millions just to put a dollar in their bank they have no concern for true good things.

  19. NOW HEAR THIS!!!…We smokers, collectively, need to provide the straw that breaks the camels back. How, you ask???…By conducting a march on Washington, DC on 04-20-09…I am only proferring the idea and need help putting into action this momentous deed…Please do what you can…Just think if a million or more decended upon our nation’s capital…Obama then would not be able to ignore it any longer…
    Puff…Puff…

  20. I just voted down the two questions above the marijuana reform one in the Citizen Book on the change.gov site, and it ADDED 10 points to the vote. Both times.
    Surprise!
    Don’t downvote anything, just upvote the marijuana question.

  21. What did our founding fathers say about government without representation? It’s clear that just as those in office before him have done, Obama will protect his political future rather than actually tackling the tough issues. He has failed to provide a plan for the oversight and regulation for $750 billion in “bailout” money, and now he wants $850 billion more! Do not allow the Obama administration to operate without limits. If they will not acknowledge the will of the people, do not grant them billions in “funny money.” Contact your State Senator today and tell them you do not support any bailout plan without specific checks and balances. Failing to answer the questions of the American people is not acceptable, and our very futures are on the line. If they will not be open to all forms of reform in America, do not give them a blank check with which to operate!

  22. People, people, please; calm down! What’s with all this ll this weeping and gnashing of teeth and threats to vote Republican. Quit yer bellyachin’. You folks are in need of some perspective, here.
    So Obama’s not in a hurry to legalize pot; big deal! You didn’t really expect a quantum shift in policy just like that, did you? Let’s be realistic.
    Here’s what I suspect will happen. Obama will do as much as he feels it is politically safe to do. I suspect he’ll make good on his promise to stop the DEA from arresting people for growing and using medical marijuana and THAT’S progress. The question is, what will he do to make that change permanent? I also suspect he’ll stop the DEA from preventing serious research to be done on the medicinal benefits of marijuana. He might even take us up on our suggestion that he commission another exhaustive scientific study into the alleged dangers of marijuana and the pros and cons of legalizing it.
    The point is, progress will continue to be incremental, but I believe it will still go a lot faster and smoother than it would under a Republican. I believe he is secretly in favor of at least decriminalizing pot and will cut us some slack, which is more than McCain would do. Spark one up, take a puff, and RELAX. Let’s wait for Friday and see how this plays out. Let the man get into office and get started before you break out the pitch-forks, torches, and GOP 2012 buttons.

  23. Should have all voted for Ron Paul. Oh I forgot I did!
    But then in the end my “hope” and vote was for Obama. All I have to say is keep home alive. I have been in the treaches of the drug war having to keep people locked up for marijauana and I don’t like it. I like the president have in the past smoked marijuana. As a teen and enjoyed it. I don’t smoke now because I would probably, no would loose my job. Keep on fighting and someday hopefully before I retire I can relax once again. Because when I retire yeah I will fire one up, legal or not! Only 20 years to go! There is nothing wrong with marijuana.

  24. Anyone can rent space for announcements or press conferences at the Nat’l Press Club. Second term, if ever. Be patient grasshopper.

  25. Also, it’s not likely that any mainstream press will even be there, unless they make the same mistake that most people do…………. Change.org v. change.gov

  26. It wouldn’t be a bad idea either to sign this petition to get someone with common sense and intelligence as Drug Czar rather than this Jim Ramstad creep. Sign it!

  27. This is extremely frustrating. Why is it that I pay taxes, vote for Obama, take the time to write my opinion and vote for these ideas and I am rebuffed! I am a citizen! I am a taxpayer! I demand the reclassification of cannabis away from Schedule 1. I demand that non-violent drug offenders be treated.

  28. The position in time in which we are in will be a pivotal one for the Legalization movement. We need to let Barrack Obama know how we feel so he can help guide us to sensible marijuana policy. The president-elect has created a website to here what type of change people want. Go to the website Change.org and click the link for ideas. Incredibly, the Legalization for the Use of Medicinal and Recreational Cannabis is #1! Let’s hope this is a real wake-up call to the Obama administration, who has failed to address any marijuana related questions. I encourage readers of this to go to the site and vote for that as well the #4 most popular idea, which is to End the Drug War. This issue might be an even more important one as a federal decriminalization policy is more likely to occur during Obama’s term than a Legalization policy. So please go to the website and be heard.
    Change.org
    (Ideas)-> link in the upper right hand corner.
    Go to Top Rated Ideas.
    Sign up and Vote!

  29. Anybody else notice that two of the three anti-prohibition related ideas on change.gov have mysteriously disappeared? They have consistently been in the top 10 to top 15 every day I have checked.
    The end the drug war-idea and the decriminalize hemp/marijuana-idea are gone. At least the top one is still there: “Legalize the Medicinal and Recreational Use of Marijuana”

  30. Don’t complain about , Obama . If it were , Mccain’s brain marijuana would be a felony . After all his wife is a drug dealing alcoholic whose been behind the war against marijuana along with the drug compamies .

  31. Continue to push the issue. It is an issue in the public light, under heavy scrutiny, and one deserving justice.
    Medical, Mediclinical, Medicinal, Regulated, Reformed, and Enforced as a legal controlled substance.
    Prostitution was once illegal, now we have a bunny-ranch. Alcohol was once illegal, now it can be purchased at every street corner. It should be illegal for the federal government to regulate things which are not a direct harm to the government. Just as it should be illegal for states to regulate things which are not a direct harm to the state, or citizens. Proven harm, without a doubt, and repeatable with full disclosure, tried before civilians and presented by officials.
    There is too much abuse of power.
    There needs to be one civilian testing facility, for every government testing facility, for true double-blind testing that is uncensored, and not tampered with.
    Anything the government says, as advertisement/propaganda, should be approved by random civilians, and not allowed if the message is deceptive, unclear, false, or without possibility to prove or disprove the content of the message. They are making us look bad, and stupid. Those are not our words, not our thoughts, not our ads. But we pay for it in taxes, and in the lives we live, after they ruin them.
    Go to every blog, website, newspaper, TV station, radio station, whatever… and voice as many facts as you can. Point back to the sites that provided that info, or simply type one phrase…
    “What do you know about marijuana? Is it fact or child-protection propaganda? Grow-up, learn the truth. Google it!”

  32. Take all the prisons, turn them into housing for the homeless. Use them for the emergency relief disaster programs. Use them as a secure facility for those who feel threatened by abusers. Free to come and go, facilitated by the non-violent criminals that are legitimately housed there. Civil-maids, cooks, health-agents, education facilitators, janitors, whatever…
    We still need the DEA to remove individuals using illicit growing and sales methods in the future. That will never go away, but now it will be in a manageable quantity.
    Continue to educate, facts, and show parents how to be parents. (Now that kids won’t feel compelled to hide their criminal actions.)
    Turn it into aspirin, and it will only have a party-appeal, and not a daily-appeal to teens. “Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.”
    It will still be the number one used teen recreation. That is a good thing. The alternative is abuse of cigarettes, which is a daily event, and beer/alcohol which will ultimately cause them to potentially kill someone in the future as an abuser, or while drunk driving. I would rather they used something that can be stopped, moderated, and is not desirable to do all day, every day. (Which cigarettes and alcohol is, in most cases.)

  33. We can only hope. By being assertive we bring hope closer to reality. It would be great for Barak to cut us puffers a break and we as responsible smokers have to earn that break. We earn that break by enforcing amongst ourselves an honorship of good smoking practices. Things like not selling to teenagers, no use operating heavy equipment or driving, certainly no public use unless your on the golf course. things like this have to help to some extent. I am all for the Million Puffers March. If this was done quietly we could all just meet somewhere on a certain day with a voice so loud it would be heard from coast to coast.
    pillion puffers march

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