President Obama's Response To YouTube Drug War Questions

$15.5 billion this year alone, 2/3rds for ineffective law enforcement.
President Obama responded to the most popular question (or, the eighty most popular questions) on’s “Ask Obama” forum regarding the debate on drug legalization in America.  Despite being the most popular question and gaining four times the support of any other non-drug war question, the YouTube moderator didn’t ask the question until #15.  The President’s response is a lot of platitudes about treatment, reducing demand, and reallocating resources, despite the Obama administration’s budget that puts twice the resources toward law enforcement than to treatment. At its core, however, it retains the premise that responsible adult marijuana consumers must be persuaded by our government, through drug tests, drug courts, forced rehab, and incarceration, into not consuming cannabis.
President Obama’s Drug War Answer
Mr. President, we’re never going to stop smoking marijuana. Never. American demand for cannabis is here to stay. You can let criminals control that market or you can do the sensible thing and begin regulating it.

260 thoughts

  1. You have obviously never been sent to prison for growing your own medicine like me. I’m ready to hit the streets. I didn’t sighn up for the drug war but l was a P.O.W. of this war. I have the scars from it. I’m ready to give back some pain. I’ve been financially devestated by this war. If peacefull actions worked, it would have been legal long ago. Ron Paul, is he telling the truth or is he pulling the shit over our eyes like that stinking Obama. I’d like to stick a baskett ball up Obama’s ass! ( l only get this mad when l think of what l’ve been through with this F’n drug war ). Voting is the ideal way, but a lot of elections have taken place in my 52 years of life. Hope for the best but be ready for the worst!
    [Editor’s note: Two wrongs don’t make a right.]

  2. THIS is the kind of hardline attitude I want to see more of in our movement! Looks like it’s time for another donation.
    NORML is awesome for getting people excited and mobilized, but there’s a little too much 1960s optimism and not enough hardline approaches.
    Look, intellectually we are in the right. We all know that. Morally we’re not doing anything wrong. Socially we’re not hurting anyone. We all know that.
    But you know– look at the gay community. They didn’t improve their situation by saying “hey, being gay doesn’t hurt anybody…” no, they said “we’re here/we’re queer/get used to it” and that is the sort of attitude we need to adopt. This is our lifestyle choice and they have no business trying to stop us.
    As one fellow said on Prop 19’s facebook page: putting marijuana users in drug rehab IS the same as sending gay people to straight camp. It doesn’t work, it won’t work, it can’t work. Time to get over it and leave us the hell alone.
    Also, while NORML disagrees with what I’m about to say, there is only so much you can push any group of people before they push back. You can hate the cartels for all the collateral damage they cause, but they really ARE our anti-drug war soldiers… even if they are mercenaries just out to make money off of us. You can only push a minority group so far before you start getting a violent reaction.

  3. I agree with EDITOR, Violence can never come into the equation. It is the antihesis of what we are about. Civil rights come through time and legislation. Send your money to NORML…It will help. Help the only organization that has been fighting this fight for 40 years. Send them the money for one sack, and we can keep pushing forward. Save your seeds, hide your weed

  4. “we’re never going to stop smoking marijuana”, well, until you die of throat cancer like Bob Marley & George Harrison did of course: that will stop you. Vaporisers & edibles are expensive, granted, but it’s worth it.

  5. I am convinced that Obama refuses to free the slaves, he has nice shoes, and when he is buried next to nixon, he will be easily be forgotten.

  6. While I can totally sympathize with the anger and frustration some of you are feeling, violence is definately not the answer!!! Anyone who commits violence because of marijuana is going to set our movement back about 70 years. The police and politicians will see it as a further excuse to use force and violence against us. Please everyone, stay peaceful and try to change the system by educating people and helping vote out the prohibitionists.

  7. Re:202. Cartels aren’t anybody’s soldiers, they’re killers. And the “collateral damage” (God how I wish we could ban that filthy phrase! It would make Camus and Orwell, to say nothing of the late Carl Sagan, puke!) Shane dismisses are human lives. We should turn the violence in Mexico into an argument for loosening the shackles on Americans who want to cultivate.

  8. @ # 199;
    I’m affraid violance is the only answer. Controlled violance like in Egypt. The only thing a bully understands is a good ass whipping. Talking does no good at all. Wish it wasn’t like that.
    [Editor’s note: Violence is NEVER the answer…
    …’we the people’ continue to elect anti-Cannabis candidates.
    ..elect pro-reform candidates…
    there are ONLY 2 CHOICES;
    1. VIOLENCE (which you are against)
    2. THIRD PARTIES (which you have spoken against MANY, MANY times, see # 183 above)
    the ‘pro-reform candidates’ are GREEN and LIBERTARIAN. (i like green WAY MORE than lib., read their platform)
    the dummies(D) and repugnants(R) will never do it, unless FORCED by one of the 2 choices.
    @ # 183; [Editor’s note: Q; Has a single issue candidate ever become president?
    ALL SOCIAL PROGRESS; women’s right to vote, child labor laws, OSHA, the 40-hr. workweek, ‘the new deal’, ending slavery, social security, etc. ALWAYS START AS THIRD PARTY IDEAS.
    -name one that hasn’t, you can’t, there are none.
    we need the CHANGE a third party brings, even if it does not ‘win’, we don’t need to elect a ‘PRO-POT’ PRESIDENT, who gives us NO CHANGE.
    WE HAVE ALLREADY ELECTED 2 PRO-POT PRESIDENTS; carter and kenya (obama), and an ex- (?) coke-head (gWb) WHAT GOOD DID THAT DO US ? none. did they legalize it ? no.
    [Editor’s note: Ralph Nader, swinging the election for Bush.
    funny that so many people belive things that NEVER HAPPENED.
    bush lost the vote, in spite of his obvious cheating (election fraud, with the help of jeb)
    -then, the 5 (republican) supremes HIS DADDY PUT THERE, GAVE IT TO HIM.
    AND if nader wasn’t there, the result would be the same.

  9. see what happened in egypt ??
    they called out the ARMY,

  10. Quote from 171 by Brian
    Let’s be smart? Sorry buddy, but smart isn’t voting for politicians who might do something their 2nd term, but letting them conduct their 1st term NOT in the best interest of the republic, but in the best interest of their reelection bid.
    Unacceptable. YOU need to smarten up.
    So Brian: you’re saying it’s smarter to not vote at all? Because you never know exactly what any president will (or will be able) to do before electing them, and any president is a lot more likely to do controversial things in their second term.
    You don’t seem to have paid much attention to the point of my post. Namely, that it’s smarter and best for not just President Obama, but also the country, for him not to say anything FOX news and the 24 hour news cycle can use to scare away voters. It takes time to get something like marijuana legalization passed. Even if Obama spent every moment on pot legalization, he wouldn’t be able to do it before the end of his first term. If he doesn’t get a second term, and ANY Republican with a decent shot at the 2012 nomination gets elected instead, our chances at any action on legalization at all over the next FOUR years, at least, diminish greatly.
    Would you rather wait another year or so, or another four years or so? Which option is smarter?
    It’s easy to say “unacceptable”, because things aren’t as easy and idealized as you want them to be, and because it makes you feel good to act like you know your way around politics better than a president who has proven he knows both how to campaign and how to get results. The fact remains that the route President Obama is taking could actually work, while your naive alternative cannot.

  11. PS: All this “third party” stuff…
    For most people, it’s not so much that they WON’T support a third party. It’s that they won’t just support whatever third party suddenly springs up. Honestly, if third parties want to be seen as a credible alternative, it’s their own responsibility to achieve a high enough level of visibility and political acumen. There just don’t seem to be any decent third parties at the moment.

  12. The only way way for real change to happen is with a paradigm shift. We must understand that most of the corporations we support with our dollars everyday are benefiting from and supporting the war on drugs(people). And a “boycott” implies their inferior/toxic products are worth anything. Its all in the packaging/advertising don’t you know.
    We must be “above the(ir) influence”
    Seed the world!
    Know who you give your money to.

  13. id like to see the population changes in states that may legalize . the states economy as well.i dont see obama doin it… i see the states eventually , individually. he may roll it off on that.i cant see it being done all at once……seems they may do a test state or drag it out for friggen ever.cause many, many people want to use cannabis in freedom and would be willin to go move…..heh.
    thanks norml for providing a space for people who enjoy cannabis as well as, those who look for information about its use. it enhances many peoples lives and, those who dont use it need to know those things an hopefully gain much needed support from our state reps. peace to you all…

  14. I now understand the big deal behind keeping it illegal. Do you understand the amount of people that would be saved from horrible ailments like Cancer? The government would never tell you we cured Cancer with marijuana. They want to keep pharmaceutical companies fat with all that money they make. When you can buy a pill here for 60 dollars a shot but in Canada get the same pill for 3 bucks. It is very simple to see who and where the president lies in this situation. With the money folks. I have a terrible disease but with the use of marijuana i feel no longer as if i am on my last days on earth. We need to fight this injustice. I know i will and will be using my buds in continuation of my health.Peace to all of you.

  15. on comment 211 the gentleman advocated violence ,the editor said violence is never the answer. we got our independence from great britain with war. and the north and south fought the civil war for civil rights. we fought mexico also. it works occasionally but not often. we will never change our government to a cannabis friendly mode through discussion.

  16. Its amazing how he can speak about it for 3 minutes and say absolutely nothing in direct response to the question. President fail.

  17. Disappointed with Obama…should have known politicians are too spineless to stand up to this issue.
    @#203 POT NERO “well, until you die of throat cancer like Bob Marley & George Harrison did of course: that will stop you.” C’mon man, your on Norml’s blog and that supposes that you are a cannabis consumer and supporter and you spout misinformation like that!? You of all people should know that cannabis consumers have lower instances of head and neck cancers even amongst non-smokers. Also Bob Marley did not die of throat cancer he died of cancer that developed on his toe. Do your research, get informed, and stop speaking about things you know nothing about. If all cannabis activists were as educated as you we’d never get this thing legalized. Unfuckingbelievable!!!

  18. Some of you aren’t aknowledging the fact that Poloitians almost never answer a question with yes or no, especially a with a sensative subject. If you read between the lines, and listen closely, he gives a hint that he supports changing federal laws on marijuana.

  19. @ # 213; Travis; It takes time to get something like marijuana legalization passed. Even if Obama spent every moment on pot legalization, he wouldn’t be able to do it before the end of his first term.
    1. prohibition is blatantlty unconststutional.
    2. prohibition is racist and discriminatory.
    3. prohibition was based on lies, and requires continued lies, to cover the previous lies.
    4. prohibition violates the ‘quality data act’.
    therefore, it could be ended in 10 minutes, with an executive order,
    @ # 214 Travis; There just don’t seem to be any decent third parties at the moment.
    look up the GREEN PARTY, it has been on the ballot in all 50 states for many years, is 100 % pro-cannabis, and has many other good things on their platform. (like health care and a living wage for workers)
    @ # 214 Travis; Honestly, if third parties want to be seen as a credible alternative, it’s their own responsibility to achieve a high enough level of visibility.
    all major media are money hungry whores,
    and if they let a third party buy even $10,000 of ad time, the major parties would threaten to pull MILLIONS of dollars of ads.
    ross perot, a millionaire, was unable to buy ad time at ANY price.
    the ‘2 party system’ and the major media are on the same ‘team’. (the big money team)

  20. power ALWAYS CORRUPTS.
    corruption ALWAYS grows over time.
    when the corrupt COUNT THE VOTES,
    and electronic machines switch your vote.

  21. I voted for Obama. He will not get a second vote from me.
    I think the main problem is there are so many people who do smoke pot behind the scenes, but vote it down because of the stigma that comes with being associated with pot.

  22. It’s High Time for a 100 Million Marijuana March, because that’s how many people there probably are that are in favor of full legalization. Time to Rally. If there was the biggest smoke-in ever in Washington, what would they do, arrest everybody?

  23. 228 Fireweed
    100 million is a conservative number. Just by the polls it’s 50% in favor of full legalization – out of 308 million population. If you extract minors [small children} the number should increase drastically. You’re absolutely right – it’s absolutely time – without delay – to show prohibs [not tell them] – “We mean business!” The word is “Dharna.”

    [Editor’s note: 1) Congress is not in session the third week of April, so any mass gatherings in favor of cannabis law reform in the nation’s capital are symbolically protesting to no one 2) The week of April 20th the city of Denver is hosting the 40th annual national NORML conference.]

  25. quote from GREEN MAN:
    1. prohibition is blatantlty unconststutional.
    2. prohibition is racist and discriminatory.
    3. prohibition was based on lies, and requires continued lies, to cover the previous lies.
    4. prohibition violates the ‘quality data act’.
    1. I agree that keeping pot illegal is probably unconstitutional. The Supreme Court is more suited to
    acting on that than President Obama. There are other issues to worry about besides marijuana. I doubt President Obama (or any other president) would be willing to throw their chances at re-election away to solve an issue that, while possibly on the agenda, is not near the top of the agenda. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to legalize pot. It just means he doesn’t want it to be the last thing he does before being voted out of office. I think the country is better off for President Obama’s stewardship and I do not support him wasting his chances of re-election on this single issue.
    2. Racist? It’s illegal to smoke pot no matter what color or ethnicity you are. Perhaps some races get persecuted and busted more, but that is a law enforcement issue. The laws are not written to say that some groups can consume marijuana while others cannot. Let’s not muddy the issue with this kind of drivel. This isn’t about racism. Every single person I know who has been busted is white. Everyone suffers because of pot being illegal, not just some races.
    3. It is largely based on lies. What’s your point? How is that a relevant response to my post? Did I say the argument for why pot is illegal was a sound one? Don’t think so.
    4. Then, once again, it is the Supreme Court’s duty to take up cases pertaining to that.
    from GREEN MAN:
    look up the GREEN PARTY, it has been on the ballot in all 50 states for many years, is 100 % pro-cannabis, and has many other good things on their platform. (like health care and a living wage for workers)
    I’ve heard of the Green Party, I just have never heard of them actually winning an election, or accomplishing much of anything. I am not going to support a party that has zero chance of winning. I am not going to hand the election to Republicans that way. I’m glad the Green Party is pro-cannabis, but that is not the only thing I care about, and it doesn’t matter if they never win. I don’t claim to know exactly how they can reach voters better, but if they have been around for such a long time, they should be figuring it out for themselves by now. Instead, they seem to be spinning their wheels.
    from GREEN MAN:
    ross perot, a millionaire, was unable to buy ad time at ANY price.
    That’s funny, because I remember seeing Ross Perot ads, as well as the lengthy broadcast he bought himself, which featured many different forms of charts explaining his positions. He still lost because not enough people considered him to be a credible candidate.

  26. WTF!!!! Who is this guy asking about ALL drugs??? We talking about cannabis here, not LSD, Who picked this guy to ask the wrong fucking question? NORML, im sorry, you should have been the one asking the right question.
    Im down with Machete, we should find the list of all these companies and boycott them all.

  27. O.K. Genesis – You’ve convinced me!
    Although I am a “strong believer” of separation of church and state, government has far over-stepped its bounds to prohibit a Sacrament. Not only that – but – prohibs have defied the Constitution of this great land with the mendacity only evil can match.
    I am a Catholic. I guess that would make me a Catholic Genesist. I respect all Sacraments.
    Rebel with a Cause.
    Los Angeles Colony

  28. I too am unhappy with the President’s response. Nevertheless; his election has made so much possible. That is, we can now begin to make these changes ourselves. Vote Obama out? With what???!! Who would replace Obama to our favor? Sarah Palin? Huchabee? These people would have us in concentration camps for holding pro-legalization views. A better strategy I believe is to get better control over State governments. Put the federal government more on the spot with increased liberalization.

  29. Travis – I agree with you that pot should be legalized. I made that abundantly clear in my post. Here is my direct quote – “Legalization is a separate issue – I support it fully.” The danger of buying pot illegally outweighs any moral issues presented by the anti pot people. You should read the full post before you respond.
    But I still pose the most obvious question which no one has yet to answered. Why in the world would you risk smoking something that carries with it potential fine, jail time, job loss, money, … if you didn’t have to? Meaning, if you can achieve the same feeling through legal means, why would you do it illegally? With all due respect, I don’t buy that worn out argument that pot smokers “don’t believe in allowing their freedom to be infringed upon by unjust, nonsensical law”. There are about 1 zillion nonsensical unjust law in the books that you can pick on. Stem cell, deportation of hard working immigrants, gay marriage, insider trading, corporate bonuses, hedge fund cheaters, … the list goes on. Than there’s poverty, human trafficking, child abuse, elderly abuse, child labor, Taliban treatment of women, … all issues that are much more important than your right to smoke a joint. So why are you so compassionate about this one? Trust me – you’re fighting for this cause because you want to smoke a joint. You know it, I know it, and everyone knows it. So just own up to it. I agree with you that pot should be legalized. But it really would not be that important to you if you can achieve the same high through other means. Common sense … really.

  30. Don – I agree with you 100%. The risk of buying from an illegal dealer is a reason enough to legalize pot. But realistically, how many people grow their own pot? Even if they get it from a “friend”, where did their “friend” get it from? So the argument that should be presented to Obama is that it is simply too dangerous to keep pot illegal. Lord knows what people are *really* smoking. They think they’re smoking pot – but what did the “dealer” put in to increase the weight for a higher profit margin? Nobody knows …
    As far as only 1 in a million being able “enjoy” life without smoking pot – you know well as I that 1 in a million is a fabricated number to justify your addiction. There are plenty of people who are ecstatic about their life without purchasing an illegal substance. People do yoga, they eat good food, travel, have sex, hang out with good friends, find a soul mate, they ski, go dancing, play sports, read a good book, enjoy opera, movies … the list goes on – and the list is extremely large. Honestly, I think people smoke pot because it’s an easy way to “enjoy” life without putting in all that much effort. You just stick it in your mouth and puff. No skill required – anybody can do it. Frankly, it’s nothing to be proud of. It’s not like you learned a new skill – like playing a piano – for instance.

  31. @ # 232; Racist? It’s illegal to smoke pot no matter what color or ethnicity you are. Let’s not muddy the issue with this kind of drivel.
    and it is illegal for millionaires to sleep under bridges, or on park benches, just like it is for the homeless. the law is the same for all.
    but millionaires don’t need to, so they never get arrested for it. just the homeless do.
    rich whites can get just as high on prescription drugs as poor blacks can on crack rocks, and they don’t get arrested and jailed for it, do they ? no. not even if they CAUSE a car accident, prescription drugs are no cause for police concern. but if a black is at fault in a car accident, the first thing they will do is search for drugs.
    the majority of pot users are white, the majority of pot prisioners are black / hispanic. this is very well documented.
    and when it was passed, in 1936, the majority of pot users were ex-slave blacks they wanted a way to keep power over, and mexicans they didn’t want ‘taking our jobs’. and in california, there was a law making opium illegal FOR CHINESE, ONLY. prohibition initially was like a ‘jim crow’ law.
    @ # 232; It is largely based on lies. What’s your point?
    It is 100 % based on lies.
    the point is, if it was only passed by way of deliberate deception, (lies) the legal term for that is FRAUD, and therefore; THE LAW IS INSTANTLY INVALID, THE MOMENT IT IS PASSED.
    (just like a contract for murder is INSTANTLY INVALID, the moment it is signed)
    if they had said: we have this new plan; ‘drug prohibition’, and it will never work, will cost many, many $$ millions, and will make the problem 100 times worse, destroy respect for police, shred the constitution, increase police corruption, etc.,
    @ # 232; third party; I am not going to support a party that has zero chance of winning.
    (that’s a self-fufilling prophecy; with no support, of course, there is no chance)
    the 2-party system has spent millions $$, telling you not to ‘throw your vote away’, on a third party.
    -and when you vote ‘realistically’, for the lesser of 2 evils, that really IS ‘throwing it away’.
    @ # 232; ross perot, a millionaire, was unable to buy ad time at ANY price.
    That’s funny, because I remember seeing Ross Perot ads, as well as the lengthy broadcast he bought himself, which featured many different forms of charts explaining his positions.
    AND KEPT HIM OUT OF THE DEBATES, even though a MAJORITY of those polled, of both parties, wanted him there.
    the lengthy broadcast ended up being his last one, and it was still very early in the campaign.

  32. @237 Holly Kudla: I think you misunderstood what I said in my post. I never said only one in a million couldn’t enjoy life without smoking pot! I said: ” I go back to smoking it because I like it – no other reason and getting high naturally must be wonderful for that 1 in a million people that can actually do it”. I think there is a difference between enjoying life and being naturally high. You’re right that I just chose that number though; just to make my point…
    That said, you’re right about getting high not being something that anyone should be proud of. I’m not proud of it but I enjoy it and there is nothing wrong with that. I am proud that I am not one of the close-minded people who insist on keeping the archaic and often brutal laws the way they are; like David Albo, a Virginia representative. He clearly stated that he has no interest in decriminalizing marijuana… Yeah – some representative he is! I am proud and confident that I am doing the right thing by trying to help get it legalized; or at least decriminalized.
    By the way, I’m an ex-marine and received an honorable discharge. I also am learning to speak Japanese since I care for my Okinawan Mother in Law. I also continue to study mathematics, physics, and love space science and nature documentarys. Yes, all this and more from someone who enjoys smoking pot!

  33. 238 green @ #232; third party; “I’m not going to support a party that has zero chance of winning.”
    Maybe that’s why the last place team in any sport is in last place. Good thing the Tea Party doesn’t agree with that line of thought. We stand up for what we believe in – and – we’re willing to fall where we stand. By the way – Ross Peroit was threatened by an undisclosed element, to disrupt his daughter’s wedding and/or more. But- you’re pretty much on the money. Keep up the good posts.
    Los Angeles Colony

  34. wouldent it be easier to go out and protest or march for it , everyone blogs and comments but to this day the only real protest have been old footage of the 60,s . you get a million people all marching on capital hill and there wont be a single news station who isnt airing it out there , informing the people , even the networks who oppose it will have to air it , good old fastion marches , bring on the hoses and dogs and rubber bullets , do what we have to do .

  35. Don – no, I did not misunderstood what you said. Every single person out there has in them the ability to get high without the assistance of illegal substance. It just takes a little effort. But in our instant gratification society, most of us tend to take the easy way out. And there is nothing easier than smoking a joint. Absolutely no skill required except an ability to inhale. That being said, I got nothing against you getting high if it makes you feel better. I also like the fact that you don’t buy it illegally – because, as you know, if you buy it illegally – not only do you put your health at risk because you really don’t know what the drug dealers have put in your pot – but you’re directly supporting the drug cartel. That means you would be directly responsible for creating the underground drug world in the inner cities that is keeping the disadvantaged segments of our society in a place where they really should not be.
    In short – legalization is absolutely critical and I believe if you can explain to Obama, as well as the population as a whole that :
    A) by keeping pot illegal, we’re forcing the pot smokers to purchase the drugs illegally. That means no oversight, no nutritional label on the product, no FDA regulations … that means nobody really knows what the heck they’re smoking. Only thing they know about the pot they’re smoking is that it came from a “criminal” who is trying to make a profit by doing something that is still technically “illegal”. Think about that … Do you really think they’re concerned about your health?
    B) by keeping pot illegal, we’re creating an illegal drug underworld where 13 year old inner city youths are hired as a runner to deliver pot to local frat parties and universities. In short, pot smokers with their illegal purchases are directly contributing to the juvenile delinquency in our inner cities.
    Nothing good can come from keeping pot illegal. We have to legalize it – we simply have no other option.
    Also, I’m impressed with all your achievements. But imagine what you could’ve done if you didn’t smoke pot. You’d probably have 2 or 3 nobel prizes by now. As an ex pot smoker – I know for a fact that smoking pot makes you not care about lots of things in life. It really does feel good. But trust me – you can achieve the same high through other means …
    But if you have to smoke pot – please – either grow your own or make 100% sure that it came from a safe source. For medical pot smokers, you should be fine.

  36. What did you expect from a man who has broken every campaign promise he made?
    Isn’t it ironic? He continues to this day to support a policy that ruins peoples lives for the same things he has admitted doing in his past.
    He’s just another smooth talking politician, hypocrite that”s only focused on his own agenda.

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