The Laugh Heard 'Round The World

By George Rohrbacher, NORML Board of Directors

On March 26, in a town hall meeting-style format, President Obama ginned up a laugh that is still ringing, a week-and-a-half later. Obama’s attempt to address the fact that cannabis legalization questions keep pushing their way to the top of his online political issues polling lists, that marijuana legalization had even popped up in the area of economic development. He looked aside at the crowd, “I don’t know what this says about the on-line audience…” Wink, wink…and the people around the President cracked up. “The answer is no, I don’t think that is a good strategy to grow our economy,” Obama chuckled along with them.

Humor is based on tension; a joke releases it. Obama’s pot ha-ha has released a powder keg of tension. The national commentary on the topic of marijuana driven from his laugh has been far reaching: Time Magazine, The Week, Town Hall, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Salon, Boston Herald, etc…

Mr. President, do know what all your ‘cannabis friendly’ Internet polls really say about “the online audience”? What? You don’t recognize us, “the online audience”? We’re the very people that helped get you elected, helped raise all those millions on the Internet–people like my wife and I, both 60-years old, parents and grandparents, business owners, taxpayers, involved in our community, we are the people who want you to end marijuana prohibition, the worst American public policy since slavery.

The question to you, Mr. President, is this: After the 20-million marijuana arrests since 1965, what’s so damn funny???

0 thoughts

  1. Delpart (#78) makes a lot of sense. The raw material for the criminal justice factory is certainly produced by the policy makers (i.e., they produce criminals by criminalizing victimless behavior that has a relatively inelastic demand curve). There are serious individual liberty issues involved. And determining what the central argument needs to be should be thoughtfully discussed.
    But, I would like to see the formulation of a simple “sound-bite” or “elevator speech” statement that the anti-prohibitionists could provide to policy makers that would prevent the policy makers from fearing political danger from opposing prohibitionist policies.
    I’m not sure that the public will be moved by compassion for “criminals” the way they might from fear of gangsters. The trick there would be clearly explaining why eliminating the black market would be more efficacious than contemporary use-of-force tactics (think Elliott Ness). Similarly, I think it will be difficult to convince the public at large that the entities with vested interests in the perpetuation of the current policy (e.g., DEA, prison guards labor union, private prisons, probation and parole officers, etc.) are bad for society. I expect by-and-large that it would cause too much cognitive dissonance to imagine those “protecting the public from criminals” could themselves be causing harm to society. I expect the thought would be rejected.
    I think the ultimate statement decided upon should be thouroughly discussed. But, whatever it becomes, I would like it to be defined by FOCUS. Any more than three points (from what I have heard) will be counter-productive to any political marketing statement.
    As a side note, while I appreciate the intense anger and frustration expressed within this anti-prohibitionist movement; I believe that national protests and civil disobedience could be unproductive to this issue. My opinion is that the culture war and fear of an uprising of doped-up hippies is one of the main thinks that keeps prohibitionism so strongly entrenched. I believe, in this case, effective change should be encouraged from within the system. That said, I like the idea of a media campaign. But, I think it should be crafted with a very careful eye to avoid ANY stereotypes that could trigger the prejudices that seem to be so ingrained in the public when it comes to drug users.

  2. Thank you NORML for reposting this. I am still very angry with the President’s response.
    We are trying, as best we can, to move to Oregon where I’ll most likely get a medical cannabis card.
    With that said, it’s the “high” one experiences from smoking marijuana, it’s the benefits to this ailing body that are a positive experience.

  3. defintaley before 2020 it will be legalized…if not then i owe the government more tax money!

  4. Could you imagine if 10 million people marched at Washington D.C. with all the politicians who are for legalization of marijuana, there with us. The White House would see just how serious we are. Obama needs to understand, that if he continues to laugh at us, he WILL lose the next election. With our numbers, we have the power to bring about a change, rather quickly. We need to be seen and heard on the streets in Washington, our internet voices aren’t enough by themselves.
    To NORML: Please ORGANIZE a march on Washington this summer! Get permits, do whatever it takes. Make it on a Saturday,so the maximum number of people can attend. We can have a massive turnout, without incredible results, and plenty of news coverage.
    We need to go down there respectable and professional. No pot smoking outside at the march. We want to come off, looking good.

  5. He finds several baggies of an herb in his daughters backpack.
    In a state of shock and panic he thinks:
    “Oh my God! I need to call the police, the best thing for my daughter right now is a close relationship with the Criminal Justice System.”
    Or will he:
    “I’d better flush this. I need to call a lawyer. My God, I have to help my daughter!”
    What would Barak Obama do?

  6. Nice try vote like a beast, #59, I have been fighting this war on the frontline for 32 years, also did 5 years in SCHOOL for selling a little weed, so if you have had an experience like mine and many others, you wouldnt be so eager to listen to the bullshit from Obama, The war continues even with all the sympathizers thinking Obama will really stand behind hids word,the only way to get thier attention is in the voting booth, and the wallet, no money, no vote, no bullshit, and dont worry beast, you will be seeing me at some of those Obama rallies, voiceing my opinion, You know that first ammendment thing where people dont try and stifle free speeech cuz they dont agree with what another person says.

  7. Beast one more thing, like the bill states, Frank’s bill would remove FEDERAL CRIMINAL PENALTIES for possession of up to 100grams of marijuana and the not for profit transfer of up to 28 grams 1 ounce it would not change marijuanas classification as a CLASS 1 NARCOTIC, YOU KNOW LIKE HEROINE AND CRACK, and would not change federal law regarding cultivation of marijuana, another nice thing, under federal law 5 years mandatory for over 100 plants at any stage, no marijuana sale for profit, and best of all it would not affect any state laws, you know like Indiana, one joint is a felony, I know you mean well beast, but a trojan horse is a trojan horse.

  8. this shit is not funny! i want to punch every one of those clowns laughing behind obama in the face! i would gladly take the assault charge over it.

  9. I was planning on watching this. I to would like our economy fixed.. but it felt like he was laughing at me… I’m confined to a wheelchair and need good legal medicine.. It really did feel like he was laughing at me and the MANY other sick people of the USA.. He has betrayed us.. I voted for him, I wont vote for 4 more years.. and I bet MANY, MANY of the sick people that felt like he laughed at them.. wont vote for him either.. I shut it off and put a comedy DVD in the player.. but everytime I laughed at the movie, I felt guilty, because of Obama..

  10. *** FRCP56 ***
    you mention an uprising of doped up hippies.. I’m far from a hippie.. and I think most of the Marijuana/Canibas users are far from HIPPIES.. Hell I have a 146 IQ short hair.. OH i have a beard does that make me a hippie.. I really think if a group of people were to show The government the Patent, Where the US government claims it is a Useful medicine.. The Deaths and suffering (ruined lives) that has been caused in the past.. I think things will change. Its really simple.. all we have to do is show them the TRUTH..
    Cocaine is Processed, Morpine is Processed, Meth is Processed, Exatacy is Processed, Hell even Liquor is Procesed.. Marijuana is simply a seed placed into some dirt.. it sprouts into a beautiful plant with buds.. the buds are pulled off and either smoked or eaten.. the only thing processed is the cutters to cut the buds off.. or the paper that its rolled in.. I heard the other day on a video, a Prohibitionist saying that knowone is going out and purchasing vaporizers.. HELL visit gotvape.com or other retailors.. and they will tell you that sales for vaporizers are going through the roof

  11. I guess obama thinks further increasing the pentagon budget and increasing money allotted for our ever expanding wars in the middle east is a better economic strategy than ending marijuana prohibition.

  12. DON’T forget to send out letters on APRIL 20th to the PRESIDENT, SENATE LEADER Harry Ried, ATTORNEY GEN. Eric Holder, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Let’s not miss a golden 420 opportunity.
    Power 2 the POTHEADS!!
    We should all write “LEGALIZATION NATION” on the backs of our envelopes…to show unity.

  13. Sorry Zippy wasn’t trying to stifle free cause that isn’t possible and I wouldn’t try anyway. In my neck of the woods every Republican runs against Barney Frank, which is amazing because I’m not in Massachusetts. They also run against the state of Massachusetts even though the statehood of Massachusetts is seldom an issue here in the South. I was mearley trying to highlight the FACT that
    1. Barney Frank is one of the good guys when it comes to MJ reform.
    2. There are a couple of noteworthy Republicans (who probably oppose any MJ reform) Who also got caught with their pants down in the men’s room. Only they made a career out of condemning Gays(I’d have to look up their records on MJ reform. Didn’t here you say anything about them.
    3. I have to listen to post after post tell me that Obama has betrayed me and Ron Paul wants to legalize MJ. Sorry I’m not buying it. There’s a lot that I admire about Ron Paul and maybe he himself would legalize it, but when he dropped out of the race he could have endorsed 1. the Republicans 2. the Libertarians. 3. Well I don’t see how he could endorse the Greens or Nader, but they were on the same page as him when it came to MJ. No instead he showed his true side (not that he’s ever hidden it, which is another thing to be admired about him) and endorsed The Constitution Party.
    “The Constitution Party will uphold the right of states and localities to restrict access to drugs and to enforce such restrictions.”
    THIS IS FROM THE CONSTITUTION PARTY PLATFORM
    ”Yesterday, September 22, Congressman Ron Paul publicly gave me his endorsement for the office of President of the United States. In his blog at the Campaign for Liberty web site, he said, “I’m supporting Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate.”
    FROM CHUCK BALDWIN’S WEBSITE
    My take is Ron Paul (and the Constitution Party) is against Federal Power. He wouldn’t want the Fed to throw you in Jail for a joint, He also wouldn’t tell your state or County NOT to throw you in jail for a joint. Some people seem to think NORML has a line of open communication with Congressman Paul
    if so let’s ask him the following Question, unlike most politicians I think he would give an honest answer. SHOULD THE STATES BE ALLOWED TO IMPRISON PEOPLE FOR MJ.
    I disagree with a lot of what Greg Williams and Tennessee Activist have posted, BUT they are exactly RIGHT when it comes to how things work in our system. The only way to change anything is by ORGANIZED VOTING.

  14. A week later I just got a return message from Senator Corker stating that no Marijuana legislation is to go before the full Senate.. When are the two bills that Barney Frank introduced to go before the senate..?

  15. I took the liberty of using NORML’s pre-written letter to president Obama, in which I deleted it so I could tell him what I was feeling in my own words;
    I would like to take this time to voice my opinion about why I think it’s
    time to consider legalizing cannabis for adult use.
    This country was founded on the belief that what the “PEOPLE” believed was
    right, would no doubt be taken into account and pushed forth.
    This used to be a fact and held great weight with our elected officials.
    Mr. Obama, you have managed to show the whole country that you are just
    like all the others that have come before you, in the belief that your
    mind was already made up about cannabis legalization before you ever took
    office.
    No matter how many people plead the case that not only is cannabis less
    harmful that tobacco and alcohol, but also has been scientifically proven
    to help various medical needs, and would be a great source of revenue for
    this country as well, in a time when we are in such a desperate need of
    debt revealing monies.
    Mr. Obama, it’s not the politicians, the media, DEA agents or
    pro-prohibitionist’s that should have the final say, but instead, the
    people that cast the votes that you should be listening to.
    I am one of the many many people out here that are sick and tired of
    living in fear of a militant and money addicted law enforcement, who’s
    main mission in life, is to tear decent families apart, just because of a
    plant that God himself placed here on earth.
    I think it’s time to take heed, the policies that California has started
    to adopt and consider letting consenting adults all across this country
    decide for them selves how to treat their own bodies.
    Here in GA, there is a no tolerance posture that says to the people of
    this great state “we do not care about you, and we want everyone to know
    that non-violent people are targets for brutal treatment in prison”.
    This posture MUST stop in this country. Everyday we fear for the loss of
    our freedom, families and properties. This should not even be an option
    for these militant agencies.
    Marijuana smokers are not the problem here, but instead, the ideas of our
    officials that a large part of contributing, voting citizens are wrong and
    will wind up being persecuted for it’s beliefs and non-violent activities.
    Your presidential campaign was based on the promise of “change and hope”in
    which, now, the going conciseness is that you only care about certain
    groups of people that will only go along with the program’s already in
    place from former presidents.
    Personally, I see no change…I see no hope!
    Marijuana users are part of this country too, and we want to be taken
    seriously by you, not made jokes about…sir, their is nothing to laugh
    about here, when you are talking about people who are in danger of loosing
    everything, just because of their personal choice to enjoy one of God’s
    gifts, in the form of marijuana.
    Please take heed in the knowledge that their are millions of us out here
    looking to you for a sign of relief from persecution.
    I say, put it to a nation wide vote and let us choose for our selves on
    whether we should be allowed to use cannabis or not.
    Government control has gotten way out of hand and has gotten to the point
    that we are starting to look more and more like a communist country…when
    will this stop?
    Let adults be adults and raise our children to love and respect Americas
    leaders, not fear them!
    We are counting on you to treat the people of America fairly, without fear
    of the ongoing witch-hunts that we face today.
    The ball is in your court, please show us a little more courtesy in the
    future.
    Mr.Obama, if you really care about the people of this great nation, you
    will not make jokes about an entire society of people that supported you
    in YOUR time of need for votes.
    You may think lightly of the marijuana smoking community, but for the
    millions of people that have been stripped of any legitimate standing in
    their communities, this is no laughing matter…but more like a slap in
    the face for believing in someone who we all thought was on the side of
    righteousness and would finally see the truth in the mistreatment of so
    many liberty loving Americans.
    I would urge you to step back and re-evaluate the impact that has so
    viciously cost the tax paying people of America in it’s all out war on a
    benign and passive peoples that work so hard to live in and support this
    nation.
    “For the people, by the people and of the people”…really has little
    meaning anymore, as we all fear for our lives and freedoms.
    Please take this as a warning…the people voted for you with the
    understanding that you were going to listen to our problems and help solve
    them in a respectful manor, well, this issue of marijuana legalization is
    one of the things we were all hoping you would finally put to rest, but
    the fact that it only sparked a good laugh from you, tells us that we were
    sadly mistaken in the votes we cast on your behalf and that you are NOT
    the president of change and hope, we all thought you would be.
    We are very disappointed! and four years from now, you will be too!
    In closing, I’d like to leave you with this question that plagues my mind
    every day; If marijuana is such a detriment to this country, why is it the
    ONLY illegal substance that has countless, entire groups and magazines
    devoted to the legalization of it?…not cocaine, not heroin, not
    methamphetamine, not opium or ANY other illegal substance…just marijuana
    and marijuana alone holds that honor…there is no denying the fact that
    the PEOPLE want it, no matter what our elected officials think we
    want….it’s not about what THEY want…it’s what WE want!
    Please reconsider your stance on marijuana legalization, because we are
    all watching to see what comes next!
    thank you
    A very disappointed citizen

  16. Thanks Brewmaster #91 for the last paragraph. Maybe this online audience can all vote and convince NORML to publish a congressional record on this site. It is the only way. Check out this link on the REAL Libertarian’s targeting of Bobb Barr in 2002.
    http://libertyunbound.com/archive/2002_08/jansen-barr.html
    Read this and you’ll come to the conclusion that the Libertarian Party is not so MJ friendly after all.
    I don’t want to take quotes out of context so I encourage everyone to read the entire article. Even so here are some highlights
    “The Libertarian Party has targeted drug warriors in the upcoming election( 2002) as part of a national “spoiler” strategy to defeat leaders of the War on Drugs. The “Incumbent Killer Strategy” targets five federal incumbents — three Republicans and two Democrats. The goal is to scare other House and Senate members into backing away from their support for the War on Drugs
    SOUNDS LIKE AN EXCELLENT IDEA TO ME BUT NOT TO MR.JANSEN
    “The Libertarian Party’s decision is an unmitigated mistake.
    If the LP succeeds, it will take out one of the best friends libertarians have in Congress, a man second only to Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), the LP’s 1988 presidential nominee, as a supporter of the libertarian agenda. Except for the War on Drugs, Bob Barr is generally quite libertarian”
    FURTHER ON
    He doesn’t believe that the LP’s plan to target Barr on the drug war will work because the drug war is “way, way down the list” of issues Republican primary voters care about
    The LP has a historic opportunity to present itsellf as a viable alternative to the big parties, instead of spending its money and energy trying to defeat one of libertarianism’s few friends in Congress just because they disagree with him on one issue.
    Who is Bradley Jansen, check out his own website
    http://www.nolanchart.com/author860.html
    I remember in 1980 many of my stoner friends voted for Reagan, after all he wanted to “get the goverment off our backs”. Then as now my answer is the same. When Libertarians or conservatives talk about liberty, their NOT talking about Marijuana.

  17. ALWAYS REMEMBER, MANY WHO POST ON THIS SITE ARE DEA AND OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT. ALWAYS QUESTION MOTIVES, INCLUDING MINE. EVERYONE WHO TELLS YOU YOU ARE RIGHT IS NOT YOUR FRIEND, EVERYONE WHO DISAGREE’S IS NOT YOUR ENEMY. THINK FOR YOURSELF

  18. I’m an Irish toker. Saw the video on youtube as i’ve been following developments in your country very carefully. Essentially Ireland seems to mimic the UK, which in turn mimics the US in terms of laws and general policy 😛 Basically if you guys legalise, alot bigger chance we will too.
    So seeing this video, wow, what a hope shattering moment. Saying no I expected, but the laugh, the general turning of what was a huge issue on the town hall site into a joke…
    I felt sick to be honest.
    Please guys, for the love of all that is tokable in a bong, LEGALISE IT!!!! (LEGALIZE IT!!! for you yanks 😉 )

  19. #111 – Your link lead me to look up US Patent 6630507.
    If “The United States of America as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services” holds a patent on the use of cannabis to treat oxidative stress, while also describing the numerous other medicinal purposes, why can’t we use that documented evidence to force to gov’t to reschedule cannabis from a Schedule I drug?
    Why the F#@K is this not mentioned every…single…time someone from NORML, MPP, LEAP, is on TV?!?!
    How is this any different from getting getting airport handjobs while being against gay marriage? (Sen. Larry Craig)
    Or getting your black slave/mistress pregnant while endorsing slavery? (Thomas Jefferson)
    Or smoking pot frequently then becoming a total hypocrite by punishing people for doing the exact same thing you did? (Our current single term president)
    This needs to be argued in front of the Supreme Court to either get cannabis rescheduled, or have patent 6630507 voided.

  20. Face it. Obama has not only pulled a 180 on MJ legalization, he has stabbed us all in the back by making it a joke.

  21. #123, Good point being careful. Blog sites like this one and others are being monitored but where does the parenting by the Federal Government end? Are you fed up with feeling like a child yet? My personal opinion on Federal and State police agencies is, “They could care less about peaceful pot smokers.” We ain’t the problem, are we?

  22. On the subject of the pharmaceutical companies…of course they don’t want it legalized. If cannabis is legalized, we all (well, those who research this wonderful plant) know what it can do for our medical uses. The big drug companies will lose BILLIONS of dollars in synthetic drugs. So of course they are going to keep all the records showing that cannabis is the “new wonder drug” under wraps.
    Not to mention all the clothing, paper, shampoo, ect. companies will say the same. Think about it, over 25,000 textile uses can be made from this single plant. Proven over the centuries by civilizations all over the world, that it’s strong, eco-friendly, and FREE.
    Now I honestly believe Obama is on our side. He just needs to butter up the other two houses. A president can’t just say “This is legal!” It has to pass through all three houses. (Checks and balances) So I propose the following:
    Back of a LITTLE from Obama with this. Focus on your congress men and women. Once we get the majority of all the houses on our side (Or at least open their eyes), we will have our natural born rights returned to us.

  23. I find it very disheartening that President Obama would marginalize the #1 question. It saddens me. I did vote for him as well. I thought he was more intelligent than that. When I saw his reaction to the question, I was speechless.
    LEGALIZE IT!!!

  24. I think it was just like and Intern at NORML told me. this site and many others like it are only visited 90% of the time by people that are allready on our side.. It easy for me to talk about it because I’m confined to a wheelchair.. I’ve created a video about onec a month. I’m told this last one was VERY powerful. but I have NO idea how to get the politicians to see it..

    Yeah Obama and his little laugh/snicker at his town meeting really made me and my other sick friends feel betrayed

  25. Obama is a fool, he laughs now but it will be WE who laugh last in 4 years when a 3rd party comes along embracing real change, something that is certainly not a “Brand” nor a company because people are not a franchise! PEOPLE ARE HUMAN!!! Power to the freakin’ PEOPLE!!! Why sit here feeling betrayed?! It is we who will betray! It is we who will reclaim our nation! This is what the rest of the world really wants us to do.

  26. i don’t see what’s so funny about legalization to boost the economy. The facts and numbers are all there. There’s no question that if marijuana was treated the same as alcohol and tobacco it would be a huge help to the economy. It’s a shame to see the President I thought would be different transform into every other politician we have. Looks like us voters were played again. How can someone so open to ‘change’ laugh in the face of it?

  27. i was wondering if it does get legalized what would be the legal age and rules of where u can smoke it and the legal limit

  28. I recently wrote to the President. I am a retired police officer. I can tell you that the worst thing about marijuana and other illegal drugs is the fact that the drugs are illegal. The fear of arrest and the rewards of criminalization (drug dealers) is what drives crime…much much more so than the use of drugs. Although, other than marijuana, I do not support the legalization of other street drugs because they do cause great destruction to individuals and society. The government needs to be able to honestly seperate marijuana from much more harmful drugs. We already have the two most harmful and abused drugs legalized. Alcohol and tobacco. These drugs kill hundreds of thousands per year.. Mysteriously though, they also generate over a hundred billion per year in tax revenues. Lets save our expensive jails for criminals that prey on people and not jail otherwise law abiding citizens. People do not respect the enforcement of bad laws. Our new president has a lot on his plate. Bad mouthing him only discredits those who seek change. Write to him and others and make your case for legalization. You really dont earn the right to bitch unless you do something about it.

  29. Its funny to think that the republicans should support, at the very least, decriminalization of marijuana, if not legalization of everything. They want smaller gov’t? Just think, bye bye DEA, 1/2 of law enforcement, border patrol, etc etc etc. I am still glad i didn’t vote for obama. He’s a politician, not your friend, and sure as hell not the jesus that people make him out to be. Nader 2012 baby!

  30. I, too, was initially disappointed with Obama’s dismissive remarks about pot legalization, but I credit him with intelligence, and thus, I think further down the line, he WILL listen to, and reconsider the debacle of pot prohibition (and the ENTIRE “War on Drugs”).
    I live in CA, where we’re trying to legalize COMMERCIAL marijuana growing, by regulating and taxing it. I’ve smoked pot DAILY since 1967 (42 years!), and have helped my state legalize medical pot, while decriminalizing small amounts of pot for personal use. We WILL prevail eventually, completely legalizing its use here in CA. Hopefully, once we accomplish legalization here, other states will follow suit. We legalized medical pot in 1996, and so far, 12 states have done the same thing, with several other states considering medical pot proposals (NJ, PA, ME, etc.).
    Someone asked (brandon, #135) about age criteria and “legal” pot. In my state, CA, if we accomplish legalizing pot, the official age will be “21,” just like our alcohol laws in this state. So, depending on what the legal drinking age is in your state, the same criteria will probably hold true for pot use. The age criteria will most likely be left to the individual state governments, where legalization occurs.
    Back to Obama, I truly think if he’s presented with ALL the researched, educated “facts” about marijuana, along with the prospective BILLIONS that could be realized if pot was legal, he will change his current, publicized “stance.” Not to mention the cost of incarceration. Here in CA, it costs the state a minimum of $38,000 per inmate, money our state can no longer afford.
    He’s already kept one of his pre-election promises, to STOP ALL DEA RAIDS on patients, physicians, and providers who are in compliance with their respective state medical marijuana laws, which was a HUGE step for the Feds. Therefore, I think he can be persuaded to look at the “reality” of pot prohibition’s failure and its cost to the American taxpayer.
    EVERY 37 SECONDS A PERSON IS ARRESTED IN THIS COUNTRY FOR USING POT; almost half of ALL DRUG ARRESTS FOR 2008 were for marijuana use (BTW, these arrest stats are from our OWN federal government!); we currently have the LARGEST PRISON POPULATION IN THE WORLD!! (Once again, the stats come from the Feds, themselves!) If we continue to jail pot users at this rate, it won’t be long before 1-out-of-every-5 Americans will either be IN JAIL, or WORKING FOR the prison industry (prisons are “Big Business” in many states)!
    I’m confident President Obama will “do the right thing,” once he’s fully informed, and as long as we, the people, continue to bombard him with our “enlightened” arguments, reminding him “we’re not going to ‘go away,’ or be silent about this”!
    The last thing I’ll say about this is that I always consider myself an “ambassador” for responsible pot use, and hope, by example, to demonstrate that though I smoke pot daily, I can still follow the conversation; speak, using polysyllabic words; and have EXCELLENT memory retention (both short-term AND long-term)! Furthermore, I’m a taxpayer, and a registered voter — Mr. President, do you think I should be in jail?? Trust me, that’s NO LAUGHING MATTER!

  31. I don’t know if comparing marijuana prohibition to slavery is in our best interest.
    Slavery was a system in which we treated human beings like commodities and deprived them of all rights. Prohibition is a disaster indeed, but is not even on the same level as slavery. Prohibition has many indirect consequences that are comparable to slavery (such as illegal immigrant smuggling and forcing them to operate grow houses in exchange for their debt to the cartels) but there are no direct consequences (Slavery directly made someone the masters, not as an unintended consequence) that are on par. In addition, including only marijuana prohibition weakens the argument even further as many of the drug laws that have the biggest impact on the racism of the drug war have to do with other substances; such as crack-powder sentencing disparities.
    Furthermore, even if you could convince those of us in the drug policy realm it is as bad, I don’t believe these statements should be made in public. The vast majority of the public would find that distasteful and would backlash against us.
    I think sticking with it’s the worst policy since alcohol prohibition gets the message across just as clearly. Especially since it’s quite unanimous (except for the few fundamentalists) that alcohol prohibition didn’t work.
    We don’t want to look like foolish stoners, we want to be taken seriously. And making unnecessary and offensive arguments is only perpetuating stereotype. We have plenty of positive arguments to use, we don’t have to victimize ourselves.
    Thanks,
    John Mola
    PR Director
    SSDP@FSU
    ssdpfsu@gmail.com
    I SECOND THIS GUYS COMMENT! WE ARE NOT FOOLISH STONERS SO DON’T MAKE US LOOK THAT WAY!
    Heidi

  32. Hmmmm… Michael Jackson said it best. Ignorance! How about all the marijuana user go off and have there on genocidal march across the country and take back our land and give it to all. even the Natives. we have the rights and we know how to assembly a group together. learn and now your Enemy!

  33. I laugh and think back of a certian someone saying it is time for change and that time for change is now, saying we can change well doesnt seem he wants to change saying that the online audience is not something to laugh at when its how the people get their voices heard. Good strategy to grow our economy well seeing how if it was legalized that would mean the millions and millions of dollars that is going to marijuana suppliers could be going towards the government and back into our economy. Legalizing it wouldnt fix the economy but it helps push us forward. I hope our president who the online audience voted for doesnt let us down and not do what he said he would do and legalize it.

  34. OK,how do we bombard the congressional decision makers more effectively? Maybe a real million people “pot bag party” nationwide would be helpful. At least all the TV pundits would know that evry one in the streets was pro legalization-regulation-taxation of industrial, medical and recreational marijuana use that would be a win-win on several fronts simultaneously. I believe the main obstructionists are the criminals with badges on who are afraid of losing their jobs, the corporate prison system and the black ops people in the intelligence community who have been controlling drug distribution for years as a primary off-the-books revenue stream to fund their fomenting, starting and conducting imperialist wars for the greedy natural resource thieves, munition manufacturersand war profiteers, who happen to be be making more money than anybody. War is obviously big business and they are not solely funded by tax dollars. Illegal drug control and the money it generates is most likely the primary suspect in the continuance of prohibition.
    Why re-invent the wheel? Surely our brilliant bureaucrats can study the recent Portuguese decision to de-criminalize all drugs. I understand that it has been a huge success. Replicating successful models is a lot wiser than duplicating the same scientific studies they don’t agree with. Why does the government even bother to educate its citizens at all? They obviously will keep laughing at our “stupid” suggestions that will make a significant impact on multiple national problems in one intelligent stroke of a simple writing utensil.

  35. – – Even though Obama appeared to be very open about his previous cannabis use,
    he seems to view this past activity as his ‘greatest moral failing’,
    a youthful indiscretion to “forget who he was” at that time…
    – – I am not as surprised, disillusioned as some here are;
    After all, if you listen VERY CLOSELY to his past discussions / speeches on the topic of
    “marijuana” per se, he is NOT for “legalization” of marijuana, nor EVER was…!!!
    “I think we need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws,” Mr. Obama told an audience during a debate at Northwestern University in 2004. “But I’m not somebody who believes in legalization of marijuana.”
    – – HOWEVER, he could have and SHOULD HAVE acknowledged the SPECIFICS of concerns stated,
    raised in the categorically-relevent, cannabis, hemp and marijuana questions,
    i.e.
    *Industrial Hemp as a superior biofuel, (GREEN ENERGY),
    *As a low-impact, ENVIRONMENTALLY-SOUND food and fiber crop, (ENVIRONMENT),
    *The inanity, insanity and injustice and fiscal-waste of the ‘war on marijuana’, (ECONOMY),
    instead of over-generalizing… 🙄
    (I have to wonder, Did Obama even read the ‘effing’ questions,
    or was he only given a summary by someone else…?!?) 😡
    – – And the subsequent stumbling, bumbling, lame explanations of Obama’s non-response ,
    given by his press-secretary Robert Gibbs;
    Even the news-reporters looked pissed-off!
    And…
    – By the way, cannabis for GREEN-energy is CLEAN-energy!
    Robert Gibbs is an anencephalic, (lacking a brain!), numbskull,
    just doing what he’s told, doesn’t appear to know a d@mn thing about botany.

  36. Guys I am amazed at how many people keep talking about how Obama will legalize MJ or chill he will address it bla bla bla. What gets me so mad is even if he did finally address it or did legalize it by the end of his first term, He just threw us under the bus in that crap at the town hall meeting. If he legalized it next week I would still be against him He just showed me that he is NO diff than MCcain on the issue of MJ policy. He will NOT get my vote next term period.

  37. Prohibition has ruined my life. I’m a great person in real life. My entire family love’s me my community loves me. i was apart of the junior police academy I’ve saved 2 peoples life’s while i’ve been around 1 person frm drowing while i was a lifeguard and another person fromchoking to death while i was apart of the junior police academy program we had in my town.
    I have never been in an arguement or had an enemy in my life everyone talked to me at school and have alway’s spread messages of peace and people uniting as one to take care of the planet…But once i became an anti-war on drug’s activist i got entrapped by the police bringing marijuana to an old man who was wearing a wire.. The only reason i brought it to him was because he was a coke addict and i was alway’s talking to him about just doing marijuana and getting off the stuff… Now my life is destroyed I’m constantly going to court for felony charges people don’t look at me the same anymore… it tears me apart on the inside to the point were if i get proven guilty i think i’ll just jump out the 3rd story window at the courthouse… but that’s just me. I’m one person this world could actually use but this prohibition bullshit has destroyed my life. I’ve saved more people in my short 19 years of life then any of these fucking police officer’s could hope to save in their entire careers.. now I’m the enemy…now I’m the piece of shit.. I’m never gonna help anyone out again till these law’s get reformed because apparently good people get fucked in the ass by the law and the Coke head’s they work with.

  38. No one’s going to vote an independent into office. It may be a matter of principle for some of you to vote against Obama; we still need to be realistic. If Palin gets in in 2012, that’ll be the end of any hope for legalization for ages. Obama’s far closer to tolerance of pot than that bunch of nutjobs. As it is, though, California seems to be doing a good job, and hopefully if it’s legalized there it’ll be easier to convince other states of the intelligence of this idea. Wouldn’t most of you agree that this should be a state issue as opposed to nationwide anyway? Obama shouldn’t be playing too big a role to begin with…

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